JEWS OR ISRAELITES?
So far we have used the familiar term "The Jews" in the way in which it is commonly understood today. To have introduced the present speculation earlier would have entailed introducing too many qualifications to the basic arguments, and diverted attention from the main issues. As has already been noted, references to the Jews vary in quantity and location in the Greek received text of the New Testament. Now we shall endeavour to consider just who, or which people are referred to by the term during the first century of our era.
We first encounter Jews in the Old Testament, which will surprise no one, but the context is slightly different. The people known by this name are in fact the descendants of Judah, or are of the "tribe" of Judah, or simply "Judaeans" by virtue of living in the southern part of Palestine know as Judaea. The people from whom they sprang, in general racial terms, were largely Hebrews and Arameans (or "Syrians"). [Syria was also known as "Aram-Syria," and it seems probable that Aram is the oldest known name for this part of the world]. In a religious sense, in that the people we now know as Jews are upholders of the Law or Torah of Moses, they were and are the Children of Israel. "Israel" can mean "upright (true, straight) of God" and was first given, according to the Old Testament, to an individual Hebrew, formerly called Jacob in Genesis 32:28, and the name was transferred to his descendants, as well as in a general sense to all people who owed allegiance to the same Mosaic Law. In an earlier period, Palestine was divided into just two regions - Israel in the north, and Judah in the south. Judah became our Judaea, though somewhat smaller, and by the time of Jesus what had been Israel was divided, with Galilee in the north, and Samaria lying between it and Judaea in the south.
The Greek word used for Jews throughout the New Testament is in fact the direct equivalent of Judaeans. Although the distinction may be more clearly expressed in languages other than English, most non-Jews (in the modern sense of the term) have little or no idea of the nature of Jewish religion, and similar misconceptions probably operate among all Gentiles today, whatever word is used. In the case of first century Greeks and Nazarenes we could be very mistaken in transposing to the first century the understanding and concepts of our own, and it is likely that this is often done, even by theologians and scholars not directly addressing the matters of our enquiry.
When therefore the Christian scriptures speak of the Jews, they are
quite possibly talking about Judaeans, if we read them in their own time and
place rather than through the spectacles of later Christian apologetic and
theological debate. We have already observed that apart from some form of
allegiance to the Law of Moses, the majority of the inhabitants of what we know
as Palestine or the Holy Land seem to have had varying views concerning the
proper use and application of the Law and correct religious practice. The
Qumran Essenes clearly had their own strongly divergent opinions, and the
schismatic Samaritans had their own, separate place of worship and their own
version of the scriptural canon of the time. On the philosophical level the
variety was probably even greater.
Let us reiterate what was said earlier - at the time of Jesus there was no such thing as a single religion of the inhabitants of Palestine which we may designate as Judaism in the sense that this may be done today. The three main schools of thought seem to have been just that, concerning themselves mainly with interpretation of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. All may be regarded as belonging to "Israel" in a generic sense, but not in a geographical sense. The debate may have been engaged, but its outcome had not been decided. [For a fuller account see article, "Israel": Judaism and its Social Metaphors by Jacob Neusner in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, LV/2 pp. 331-361].
If we had lived in that part of the world in those days we would most probably have been either Galileans, Samaritans, or Judaeans. Jesus and his twelve disciples were all, or nearly all, Galileans. In the gospels, Jesus speaks of going "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" - not to the Jews, or Judaeans. It may well be, in a number of passages in the New Testament, that references to the Jews are actually references to Judaeans, i.e., inhabitants of Judaea, and to Judaean opponents of the Nazarenes. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that references to the Jews in many places are used in the way in which the followers of the Law of Moses might have used the term Israelites. This could indicate that the Greek-speaking world of the first century, from which our"official" versions of the New Testament derive, had the same lack of understanding concerning Israelite religion as the Gentile world of the twentieth.
If this conjecture is valid, it would assist us greatly in the very complicated task of trying to decide how much of the Greek New Testament is an authentic record dating from original eye-witness sources, and how much is anti-Jewish polemic of a later church which wanted to distance itself from Israel as much as possible for political and evangelical reasons. We know that from the Council of Nicea in 325 for example such councils began to be called not by the church itself, but by Roman emperors, as Christianity had by then become an important and recognised religion. A plea for acceptance within the Greek-speaking Roman Empire underlies much of the writings of early Church Fathers well before this date.
There, for the moment, we must leave this short digression, but it is likely that the issues which it raises and the questions it poses are unlikely to go away. The scope of this work does not allow for any detailed discussion on a text by text basis, fascinating and necessary as such a task might be. At best we can draw a large outline, ask some pertinent (or impertinent) questions, and put forward some ideas and thoughts which may help some sincere Christian-minded people to discover the religious essentials and truths which lie at the heart of a religion which, though it may not appear to be so, has been steadily and slowly digging its own grave for about a thousand years. Where, on the face of it, we would expect to see Christian embracing Christian the world over, we have in fact seen church attacking church, Christians cursing Christians, and Christians fighting and murdering each other in the name of a man who preached love and goodwill. It is still going on. I can almost hear Jesus saying to many of today's alleged Christians, "Woe to you hypocrites!" And I can well imagine a latter-day Paul writing a general letter to the churches of the twentieth century along the lines of 1 Corinthians 1:10ff:
"Now I beseech you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be of one accord, and let there be no divisions among you; but be perfectly united in one mind and one thought. For I have been informed that there are disputes among you. I say this because there some among you who say, "I am a follower of the Pope," and some who say, "I am a follower of Luther," or "I am a follower of Chrysostom," - or Canterbury, or Ian Paisley.
"What? Is Christ divided? Was the Pope, or Ian Paisley, crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Chrysostom, or Luther, or Canterbury?
"It is written, "He who glorifies, let him glorify in the Lord." Who then is the Pope, or Ian Paisley, or Canterbury, other than ministers through whom you were converted? Each is gifted as the Lord has given him. I have planted, the Pope, and Chrysostom, and Canterbury have watered, but the increase is given by God.
"Let no man deceive himself; whoever among you thinks that he is wise
in this world, let him consider himself a fool, so that he may become wise, for
the wisdom of this world is like foolishness to God. Let no one exalt himself
over his fellow man on account of another man!"
I can easily imagine Jesus, too, saying to the churches, as in Mark 7:7f:
"Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, hypocrites, saying, "This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain they worship me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men."
It is a desire to sort out the difference between the commandments (and opinions) of men and the Law of God that has prompted this present undertaking, to which we shall now return, except that where it seems appropriate, we shall use the terms "the Jews" and "Judaeans" when referring to Greek New Testament sources in the sense in which it is suspected the original of the source may have intended.
PAUL THE APOSTLE
We have seen that concessions were made to Gentile converts in the matter of observance of the Mosaic Law, and that "we joined in writing" to that effect. Paul himself refers to this event in his letter to the Galatians: [The New Testament According to the Eastern Text, George M. Lamsa, A.J.Holman Company, Philadelphia 1968].
"And when they knew that the grace had been given to me, then James, Cephas, and John, who were considered to be pillars, gave to me and to Barnabas the right hand of fellowship; that we might labour among the Gentiles, and they among the people of the circumcision." [2:9] [Note here the use not of "the Jews," nor even of "the people of Israel," but "those of the circumcision."]
Paul does not mention anything being put in writing, though that does not mean that it was not, and a version of the letter appears in Acts 15:23ff. It is interesting to note that the dispute to be resolved is raised "by some of the men who had been converted from the sect of the Pharisees." [Acts 15:5] This is in a part of Acts that is not among the "we" sections mentioned earlier, and appears to be an enlargement of the "we" account in the later chapter.
The whole of the letter to the Galatians is of interest for our enquiry, as it is certainly one of the earliest of the letters of Paul that has survived. The letter was clearly written to a community in which the requirements of the Mosaic Law concerning circumcision were in dispute, i.e., whether male converts to the new movement should be circumcised. It is also a letter which brings to light in a fairly clear way the difference between "Jews" and "Judaeans." In 1:13 Paul writes:
"You have heard of my way of life when I was in Judaism, that I zealously persecuted the church [Greek ecclesia, assembly] of God, and ravaged it, and progressed in Judaism beyond many contemporaries of my people, being entirely zealous for my ancestral traditions."
As a disciple of Gamaliel he was certainly "in Judaism." In chapter two of Galatians we find the well known account in which Paul takes Peter to task for siding with the "Judaising" party when their representatives came to Antioch, where both apostles were at the time:
"For before some came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they had come, he drew back and separated himself, being afraid of those of the circumcision." [2:12].
It would seem from this account that the wholehearted support of the
"pillars" in Jerusalem may not have been as enthusiastic as we are led to
believe, for Paul states that "even Barnabas" was swayed by the Jerusalem
party. Paul claims that they are not acting according to the truth of the
gospel, [note that there is no reference to the letter mentioned in Acts, only
to the gospel] but this appears to mean that Paul's version of the truth no
longer requires even the Israelite converts to be circumcised, which was
clearly no intention of the Jerusalem agreement reported in Acts. Either Paul's
position has changed, or he was less than honest while in Jerusalem
Another almost self-evident fact is that even in Antioch, and now, as the letter shows, in Galatia, the issue of circumcision was still a matter of argument, and even a cause of dissension. It is possible that the actual conversation recorded with Peter in 2:14 may be a later addition, for if we read the text as a continuous narrative, it appears that Paul's discourse immediately following is a continuation of the speech to Peter, which does not make sense in context, especially as it could represent Peter as a Judaean, when we know he was a Galilean. Additionally, it is the only section of the letter which contains any other references to "Jews" other than a single reference in 2:15, which could even belong to the suspect passage. Either way, we see another example of Peter showing vacillation and weakness, as in his denial of Jesus during the period before the crucifixion, On the face of New Testament testimony, it is difficult to believe that Jesus actually placed Peter at the head of the Nazarene community, and, as we have seen, in practice we do not find him occupying this position, which is clearly belongs to the brother of Jesus, Jacob or James.
Not only do we see from this letter that the issue of circumcision is still very much in dispute with regard to the Gentile and communities, but that there is still a marked division between Israelite converts and Gentile converts. Elsewhere we can discover that among the nations, i.e., the Gentiles, there was already a fairly large proportion of people attached to the synagogues who stopped short of circumcision, but otherwise accepted the general traditions and laws of Israel. These were known as proselytes, "God-fearers," or hearers of the Law, which latter term transferred itself into the later Christian church, and remains there in some Eastern churches to this day, even if its rules are not always observed in practice.
Circumcision or the lack of it was not the reason for the later Christian distinction however, but baptism. In the letter to the Galatians we are, as is the case with all of Paul's letters, in the formative period between the crucifixion of Jesus and the later general dispersion of the Jews [Judaeans] and Nazarenes alike, for at this time the Temple still stood in Jerusalem, and a Nazarene community under James still flourished there.
Paul's position was quite clearly that all converts to the gospel of Christ should be on equal terms, and that rather than have all gentiles circumcised according to Mosaic Law, the spiritual children of Israel should no longer be required to accept it. This was shrewd, and perhaps even necessary politics, no doubt based upon Paul's experience and observation of his own people among the nations (gentiles) and he was better qualified for an objective approach than any native of Judaea or Palestine, having himself been born among the nations and brought up at Tarsus, in Cilicia (now in modern Turkey). A practical consideration was quite possibly that in the case of native-born Israelites, children were circumcised on the eighth day after birth, as is recounted concerning Jesus, and a fairly simple affair. For adult converts however, such a prospect must have been alarming, to say the least, certainly very painful, and even dangerous. Had Paul not, in the end, won the day, it may well be that Christianity might have become nothing more than an obscure Jewish sect.
What, however, we must ask ourselves, was the attitude or teaching of Jesus upon which Paul's claim was made, not with the matter of circumcision in particular, but with the suggestion of a mission to the Gentiles which did not require strict observance of the Mosaic Law? The matter of circumcision does not arise in the four gospels, the only references being to the circumcision of Jesus in Luke, and one speech in John 7:22ff, where Jesus says:
"Moses has given you circumcision, not that it comes from Moses, but from the fathers, and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, in order that the Law of Moses is not broken, are you angry with me because I made a complete man healthy on the Sabbath? Judge not according to appearances, but judge a just judgement."
This is a very slender text upon which to hang a complete doctrine, and the only thing that could commend it is the apparent reference to his accusers as "you," which could be taken as an indication that Jesus considered circumcision as a practice which mattered to others, but no longer to him. The purpose of the story is clearly to demonstrate, as in many other places, that Jesus accused his contemporaries in religion of following the letter of the Law while neglecting its spirit, and it is fair to observe that this would seem to be the main purpose of Paul's attitude in Galatians and elsewhere. Paul, it can be argued, is concerned, like Jesus, with the spirit of the Law above all else. Unlike Jesus however, he seems to approve of the abrogation of the old Law in favour of a new Law to accompany the New Covenant.
Alternatively, Jesus' own idea of fulfilling the Law may have been expressed obliquely in his frequent condemnation of the adherence only to the letter of it, in which case he might well have been in full agreement with Paul - a claim in fact made by Paul himself:
"But I want you to know ... that the gospel I preached is not from men. For I did not receive it from man, but through the revelation of Jesus Christ." [Galatians 1:11f].
This claim depends upon acceptance that he was enlightened by the risen Christ. Whether we accept the literal truth of this or not, the church itself depended upon a similar claim, especially as exemplified in the command of the risen Jesus in Matthew 28 to go and make disciples of all nations ... in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; i.e., to evangelize the Gentiles, the Nations, which is what they did. Their interest in doing this obviously increased after the destruction of the Temple in the year 70, and the nascent missions and churches cannot but have been reinforced after the final revolt in 135, when the Holy City of the Israelites was completely overcome by the Romans, and its people dispersed throughout the known world. The developments that took place after the year 70 however are beyond the scope of this present enquiry.
Much has been made, as mentioned before, of Nazarene-Essene connections, and there are similarities. The Essenes had the equivalent of a central committee of twelve members under a president, and we find Jesus adopting exactly this structure for his own organisation. As late as the middle of the second century a similar organisation still existed in Alexandria in Egypt, whereby the twelve actually elected their own Patriarch, a practice which ceased on the death of the Patriarch Julian. [Bigg, The Christian Platonists of Alexandria, p.39, Oxford 1886]. In other matters however, the differences are far greater than the similarities. Jesus did all the "wrong" things, even by Pharisee standards, especially with regard to the observance of the details of the Law.
The Essenes seem to have been noted for their frequent ritual ablutions and austere asceticism, at Qumran at least, and even the most liberal Pharisee washed his hands before eating. On the other hand the liberal attitude to such matters on the part of Jesus and the first Nazarenes was clearly extreme, even among the customs of his own people. His call to repentance and absolute obedience to the spirit of the Law was, on the other hand, probably greater than any of them. But - apart from or as well as from God - from where did it come? To adapt his own parable, if the sower receives a revelation from on high, by whatever means, the seed he sows needs fertile ground in which to germinate; soil so fertile that his teaching was able to convert even Galatian Pharisees, and perhaps one of the staunchest Pharisees of his day, the apostle Paul.
The ancient Christian churches in the East did not refer to the rites of Baptism and Eucharist as Sacraments, as they became known in the West. They spoke, and often still do, of celebrating the Divine Mysteries. "Mysteries," as a religious term, has become associated in the West with the pagan religions which predated Christianity, and to some modern ears can easily suggest "occult" connotations, particularly as a fashionable non-Christian or anti- Church trend appears to be seeking to make respectable the gnostic churches of the early centuries, all of which were condemned (often at very great length) by the early Church Fathers. The word "gnostic" simply means "knowledge," though used in a particular sense by such sects, and much of the Christian gnosticism of the early centuries claimed to possess a mystic knowledge received directly from the risen Christ, or from an equivalent spiritual being of the same name and ethos. Lengthy and often absurd "conversations" are recounted as having taken place between the gnostic disciples and Jesus, and a strange (and unlikely) document published by an American, Edmund Bordeaux Szekely, as The Essene Gospel of Peace actually has Jesus giving detailed instructions for giving oneself an enema by doing strange things with a gourd!
A number of Church Fathers, in attacking this kind of literature, described it as "Gnosticism, falsely so-called." They went on to claim that Christianity offered the only true gnosis. This particular activity took place after the period we are considering, but it is interesting in that it shows a mystery element in the early church for which there is some support in New Testament scripture.
In Judaism in the beginning of Christianity, (SPCK London, 1985, p.41) Jacob Neusner writes:
" ... after 70 C.E. ... we witness the beginnings of the active construction of a new mode of being. The decision is to exercise freedom.
"It is a seeking of the world, not outside this one, but different from and better than the one formed by ordinary history ... a quest for eternity in the here and now, an effort to form a society capable of abiding amid change and storm."
It is probably true to say that this is the main underlying factor in religion today; so much so that people seem to take it for granted. As Neusner has shown, such a perception - apart from some of the Greek philosophers - did not form part of the standard religious ethic of the ancient world, whose people applied their religion very much to this world and the very ordinary benefits that might be obtained through the intercession of the gods. The Mosaic Law prescribed formulas for regulating almost every aspect of human life in the world, and its focus at the Jerusalem Temple was primarily to ensure the goodwill and favour of YHWH for the people of Israel. To love YHWH, and one's neighbour as oneself was, we may suspect, seen as applying to a supreme benefactor who had saved his people from the Egyptians, and provided and earthly, rather than a heavenly kingdom for them to inhabit.
Among the Pharisees, but not the Sadducees - who controlled the Temple at the time of Jesus - there was clearly a certain, even strong element of mysticism, but this seems to have been something offering exclusive access for a favoured few; in short, it was an esoteric philosophy, or even a gnosis. A mystery - in the sense of a puzzle - occurs in another letter of Paul, his second to the Corinthians [12:2-3]:
"I knew a man in Christ more than fourteen years ago, but whether I knew him in the body or without the body, I do not know: God knows; this very one was caught up into the third heaven. And I still know this man, but whether in the body or without, I cannot tell: God knows; how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." [Lamsa translation].
Not only is Paul telling us that he knows someone, but that he does not know the manner in which he knows him - is he perhaps disembodied? God knows, and apparently only God. Was Paul subject to some kind of hallucination in which he was unable to distinguish material substance with certainty?
Is he describing what we would call an out of the body experience? It may be that a scribe who copied this passage from an original Aramaic version did not know what this passage meant, for the Greek text can be taken to indicate that the uncertainty regarding the bodily state relates to Paul's acquaintance specifically; in other words, Paul was not sure whether his friend went to the third heaven in or out of it.
What is this "third heaven?" It is fair to infer from the text that the third heaven is effectively the same place as Paradise, where unspeakable words may be heard, and which it is not lawful to repeat. How many of these "heavens" are there? Three, at least. And what law prevents someone from repeating what has been heard? Is this a reference to the oral or unwritten Law of Moses claimed by the Pharisees - of whom he was one?
But Paul is writing to the Corinthians, and there is a historical context. The story takes up just two verses, and there is no explanation. This can only mean one thing: it was not a mystery to the Corinthians.
The quest for an "eternity here and now" which developed after the year 70, like the Nazarene movement before, must have had some foundation upon which to build. In the Greek-speaking world a ready-made foundation was already to hand in the Platonist philosophy, which from being a teaching belonging to a philosophical elite came to underlie a considerable area of Christian expression, especially in Alexandria. Later it led to the confusion and bitter debates concerning the nature of the person of Jesus as Christ. By the time of the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century the conflict had caused most of the earliest Church Fathers to be effectively condemned as heretics, if not directly, then through the condemnation of their writings and opinions.
None of this, on the surface, would have been of much concern to Jesus - or would it? He often refers to his Father in Heaven. [This is the usual translation, but the word used is plural, i.e., heavens. The same is true of the Hebrew equivalent term in Genesis]. In fact the Greek word is in the plural - Father in the heavens. Maybe Jesus had a "secret doctrine" concerning a number of "heavens," and some very early Jewish and/or Christian writings deal with a doctrine of "seven heavens." A small but significant hint of just such a possibility occurs with the conversation with the thief on the cross:
"Today you shall be with me in Paradise." [Luke 23:43].
The only other New Testament reference to Paradise is in the book of Revelation:
"He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: To him who overcomes I will give to him to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." [2:7].
This would seem to be a reference back to the Tree of Life in Genesis, which stood in the Paradise of Eden, from which the first humanity [Adam] was expelled. The author of Revelation is holding out the promise of a return to the original human condition before the disobedience and fall from divine favour and grace; and here we find a common thread. This is also the claim and the purpose of the ministry of Jesus, of the preaching of Paul, of the apostles, and of all the Nazarenes: the opportunity for "salvation." At least one author has dismissed as naive the suggestion that the whole story could be represented as a kind of rescue mission, but if there is any truth, however puzzling or paradoxical, in the Genesis account of the fall of humanity, then that is precisely what it was, or intended to be.
Humanity, through disobedience to the spiritual, not the literal Law,
had been expelled, not from the heavens (or heaven) but from Paradise, the
proper place of its original creation. Here then was rescue, a means of
restoration to divine favour, not through "works of the Law" - though these
would help - but through a new obedience, available through a new covenant with
God; and obedience to the spiritual, hidden, or oral teaching to which even
Moses had been admitted. [Cf. Acts 7:22. "And Moses was trained in all the
wisdom of the Egyptians]. In modern idiom, the apostles and evangelists were
saying to the new communities and converts, "Okay folks, we've got the tickets,
and we're going home! Here's what you do to get yours .... "
By whom, during our period, might such a "hidden" teaching have been preserved and developed? The answer is clear - among Essenes and Pharisees. The Nazarenes seem to have had connections with both, while belonging to neither. Was there some kind of esoteric "freemasonry" among its adherents? Once again the tantalizing glimpse of Jesus at the house of Gamaliel ["House of Gamaliel" in Hebrew/Aramaic would be Beth Gamaliel - the usual designation for a Rabbinic School] darts across our vision. Some New Testament references deserve our attention:
"Jesus spoke ... to the people ... in parables ... so that it might be fulfilled what was said by the prophet ... "I will bring out secrets hidden before the foundation of the world." [Matt. 13:35ff].
"And he did not speak to them without parables; but to his disciples, among themselves, he explained everything." [Mark 4:34].
"Now I entrust you to God, who will confirm you in my gospel which is preached concerning Jesus [the] Christ, in the revelation of the mystery which was hidden since the world began." [Romans 16:24].
"But we speak wisdom of God in a mystery which has been hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory." [1 Corinthians 2:7]. [Including a doctrine of 3 or 7 heavens?]
All through the gospel accounts Jesus is acknowledged as a rabbi; himself, like the Pharisee Nicodemus, "a teacher in Israel." A teacher of parables to the people, but of secrets to his disciples. A revealer of mysteries "hidden before the world began." Was his offence that he broke the rules of the hidden oral tradition claimed by the Pharisees? [According to relatively modern rabbinic tradition, the oral Torah was written down in the early centuries of our era in the shape of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Modern students and exponents of the mystical tradition in Israel would vigorously dispute this]. Were the Nazarenes a sect which concurred in this, and following the crucifixion, continued it? Something of the sort could well be possible.
Certainly the Corinthians had received teaching from Paul of this kind, as the extracts from his two letters to them indicate. At the same time, it seems that much, or even most of the oral tradition and teaching remained secret. Jesus and his disciples had some influential friends that we know of: Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and Gamaliel are a few who are named. All were Pharisees. Maybe there were others. It was the Pharisees, as Neusner has shown, who would take the religion of Israel into the new era, including the oral tradition, the hidden teaching received from unnamed masters, the "Kabbalah." The Nazarenes may well have done the same. If, however, we hope to recover any of it, we will have to find our own source of the oral tradition; we shall have to "search the scriptures," for it is plain that while the "wisdom hidden in a mystery" is explicitly mentioned there, it is not explicitly explained there.
There is no absence of later evidence that this is a possibility, but it is not to be found directly in the period of Nazarene formation, but much later in both Christian and Jewish branches of the study of the mysteries of God. It is unlikely that we shall find it in books, though like the scriptures, they may offer us glimpses and clues, even keys perhaps. Ultimately, however, as with the first discoverers of the truth, it will be found in the secret places of the heart and mind, the inner recesses of the soul, and even deeper, as it is written in 1 Corinthians:
"But as it is written, "Eye has not seen and ear has not heard," nor
has it risen up into the heart of man "the things that God has prepared for
those that love him." But God has revealed them to us through the Spirit, for
the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows
the mind of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one
has known the things of God except the Spirit of God. But we have received, not
the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, that we may
understand the gifts that are given to us by God."
THE NAZARENES A speculative enquiry into Christian origins - © Copyright A.M.Bain 1989 Nazarenes Part 1, Nazarenes Part 2, Nazarenes Part 3, Nazarenes Part 4.
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
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