Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Leviticus 19 and Justin Martyr's First Apology 64-66

Leviticus 19 – There are many more “Holiness Rules.”
-       You must honor your parents and always keep the Sabbath
-       Turn aside from idols
-       Eat all peace offerings by the day following the sacrifice
-       Leave some grains after harvesting for the poor and alien
-       No stealing, lying or defrauding
-       No withholding wages overnight
-       No cursing the deaf or putting stumbling blocks in front of the blind
-       No dishonesty in rendering judgment
-       No partiality either to the weak or to the mighty (19:15)
-       No slander
-       “You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your hearts.  Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him” (19:17).
-       “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (19:18).
-       Do not cross-breed animals or crops or mix threads in your garments
-       Regarding sex with female slaves who are committed to becoming another man’s wife (19:20).
-       Fruit trees planted in the land you are to be given—time to wait to eat fruit.
-       No eating meat with blood in it
-       No divination or soothsaying
-       No clipping hair at temples or trimming of beards
-       No laceration of bodies, tattooing
-       No prostitution for daughters
-       No mediums, fortune-tellers, etc
-       Show respect for the old
-       No molesting aliens—treat equally “for you too were once aliens” (19:34)

It is interesting to consider that in modern times, a good many of these rules seem very antiquated – not all for sure but some:  having sex with slaves who are supposed to be marrying someone else? Cross-breeding animals? No tattoos? Certainly everyone must agree that just because a prohibition is stated in the text does not make it something we must accept today. It is more complicated than that. I don’t know how anyone could think all are equally compelling. But I also think those who argue that the Old Testament has no “teaching” on homosexual are not facing up to the reality.

Some early Quakers seemed to have been obsessed with things like divination, soothsaying or fortune-telling; I don’t feel comfortable with these but I don’t think most people feel that way any more.

Early Christian Writers
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) – First Apology
Further Misrepresentations of the Truth
64 – He returns to his obsession with the ways the “poets” of Rome have borrowed from the Jewish scriptures in crating some of the stories of the sons/daughters of Jupiter: Proserpine – associated with water in the way the Spirit of God is associated with water in the creation story; Minerva, a daughter of Jupiter “not by sexual union but the “first conception” ; and others he doesn’t mention.

Administration of the Sacraments
65 – Returning to the routines of entering into the Christian community, he talks about after baptism has occurred, the new member is brought into the common assembly where prayers are offered up for everyone and for the newly “baptized [illuminated] person.”

When prayers are over “we salute one another with a kiss.” And bread and a cup of wine mixed with water is taken to the “president of the brethren” and he takes them, “gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length.”  The people assent by saying “Amen” – Hebrew for “so be it.”

Those who are deacons give to everyone a bit of the bread and the wine mixed with water, and if someone is not at the gathering, some will be taken to that person as well.

Of the Eucharist
66 – This food we eat is call among us the Eucharist and “no one is allowed to partake [of it] but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.”

“For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.”

The apostles in their memoirs – called the Gospels – “delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body,’ and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, ‘This is My blood,’ and gave it to them alone.”

He calls those who copied the Christian Eucharist in what they call the “mysteries of Mithras” “wicked devils.”

No comments:

Post a Comment