Artifacts & Biblical History

Jimmy Akin writes:

It’s getting near Christmas, and you know what that means. That’s right! It’s time for another book to be released telling us the sensationalistic “truth” about Christianity.

This time we have The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson.

You may remember Jacobovici from his involvement in previous biblical-archeological shenanigans like the discredited “Jesus family tomb” claims of a few years ago—in which Jacobovici similarly claimed that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

So what do he and sensationalist co-author Barrie Wilson have in store for us this time?

Zecharias Who?

The key text used in their new book is preserved in a set of writings attributed to Zecharias Rhetor (i.e., Zecharias the Rhetoritician), also known as Zecharias Scholasticus (i.e., Zecharistias the Scholar), also known as Zecharias of Mytilene.

He was a native of Gaza who lived in the late A.D. 400s and early 500s and who became the bishop of Mytilene.

He wrote a number of works in Greek, including a work on Church history that was later translated into Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic), with various editorial changes.

It is this Syriac text, brought to the British Museum in 1847, that Jacobovici and Wilson are using in their new book.

Simcha Jacobovici

What They’re Claiming

Among other things, Jacobovici and Wilson claim that they have discovered a lost gospel that is written in code and, when properly decoded, states that Jesus was married, likely to Mary Magdalene, and that they had two sons.

None of this is true.

 Not Lost.

First, the text in question is not “lost.” It is not some newly discovered work that scholars were previously unaware of.

The particular manuscript that Jacobovici and Wilson rely on was brought to the British Museum for more than a century and a half ago, and the same text has been known through other sources for centuries.

The scholarly community has been well aware of it, and translations of it in English and other languages are common.

To give you an idea of how not-lost this work is, it’s been in print for centuries,I have it in my own library, and here’s a version you can read online from a book printed in 1918.

Not a Gospel.

The work is also not a Gospel. Although some scholars use the term “Gospel” in surprising and misleading ways, a Gospel (in the literary sense) is a book about the life and/or teachings of Jesus.

That is not what this text is. This text is not about Jesus. The story it tells is not even set in the first century, when Jesus lived.

It’s set more than a thousand years before the time of Christ.

To read the whole article, click HERE.

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The Bishop with all our Clergy in Thessaloniki

The ancient Christian writer and theologian Tertullian once asked the Church, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?”

He asked the question as Christianity spread from Israel into the Greek world; and as Greek intellectuals looked for deeper insight into the Christian mystery. Tertullian was asking whether pagan Greek culture—philosophy, poetry, the arts, history and literature—had anything of value for those first missionaries proclaiming the Christian gospel.

Two weeks ago, on a plane landing in Athens, I asked myself Tertullian’s question.  I was in Athens to begin a spiritual pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey “in the footsteps of St. Paul.” I was with a group of pilgrims celebrating the 15th anniversary of Spirit Catholic Radio: eight priests from Lincoln and Omaha; three deacons;140 lay Catholics from across Nebraska and beyond. 

We were led by Steve and Janet Ray, expert pilgrim leaders, and Jim and Karol Carroll of Spirit Catholic Radio. It was a joy and a grace for me to walk as a pilgrim in the footsteps of St. Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, with fellow disciples of Jesus Christ from our state.

Our Ship Docked on Island of Patmos

By cruise ship on the Aegean Sea, we visited and celebrated Holy Mass in Thessoloniki, Philippi, Istanbul, Pergamon, Ephesus, Patmos, Athens and Corinth. We heard talks at these holy sites, given by Steve Ray, Catholic convert, author and film maker, who leads Catholic pilgrimages all over the world.  We heard inspiring homilies by holy priests. We prayed together for all the special prayer intentions we brought with us from home.

Everywhere I traveled, I asked myself “what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” In Athens itself I learned the answer: Athens has everything to do with Jerusalem.  The Gospel can only really be understood in the midst of understanding culture; to understand Christianity as Western Catholics, we need to understand the fundamental history of western civilization.

The Bishop and Steve on Mars Hill in Athens where St. Paul Taught

When St. Paul arrived in Athens, he preached the gospel at the famous Areopagus, a gathering place just beneath the Parthenon. He was able to speak to the Greeks in their own language. He was able to quote Greek poets and philosophers. He appealed to Greeks in their own cultural language because he was schooled in Tarsus, the successor to the school of Athens as the center of learning and education in Asia Minor.

Paul was run out of town after his first visit to Athens.  But he was able to plant the Lord’s seeds of conversion in the hearts and minds of the Athenians—the movers and shakers of the ancient world. He would eventually come back to cultivate those seeds that were planted.

Paul was able to use his fluency with the language, culture and customs of the Greek world in order to present the compelling message of Jesus Christ in a way that was attractive and persuasive. To be sure, St. Paul suffered a great deal during his missionary journeys to the Greek world. The Greeks were highly educated and influential. They were also utterly pagan. They worshiped false gods, they were self-indulgent and decadent, and they were infatuated with progress, technology, and the latest new fad. Paul preached to a world not much different than ours today….

The whole article is excellent and you can read the rest of it HERE. Also on Zenit.org.

You will find out why the picture below was the highlight of Bishop Conley’s trip.

Iraqi's in Athens

 

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Outdoor Mass at Corinth

Thunderstorms were forecast but the rain stopped when we arrived in Ancient Corinth. Blue sky broke thru and we had a moving Mass on a rock outdoors in front of the Judgment Seat where Paul was brought.

After a tour of the ancient city where St. Paul lived for 18 months we went to a site unknown to most to give evidence of the truth of Scripture. (See second video.)

Everyone contributed to buy a magnificent gift for Bishop Conley. Watch to see what it was as he describes it.

Back to the hotel for a Saturday evening Mass, dinner, an early night and off to the airport and home. Everyone left happy and thankful. It was a great and spiritually profound pilgrimage.

Steve’s Talk at the Erastus Stone, well worth the long walk.

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Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter

October 14, 2014

              St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my [...]

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Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

October 13, 2014

It is often asked: how do we know these are the real sites where Jesus and Mary lived and walked. The earliest Christians realized the importance of these sites and immediately viewed them as sites to be remembered and venerated. Small chapels were built and pilgrims came from around the world to visit these spots [...]

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Flint Knives and the Gospel

October 5, 2014

Ah, excuse me? What do flint knives have to do with the Gospel? A whole lot! Abraham believed God against all odds and as a reward he was given the special sign of the Covenant with God. And what was that wonderful sign between them? In Genesis 17:10-11 God announces this sign to Abraham: “This [...]

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How the Ancient Hebrews Viewed the Universe

September 28, 2014

This is part of Logos Bible Software. I encourage every Catholic to get this Catholic and Bible Study software. Visit http://www.logos.com/steveray

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Finalizing My Book on Genesis…Here are a Few Favorite Paragraphs about Creation

July 5, 2014

Here are a few paragraphs from my new book on Genesis which is nearly done. Genesis 2:7 is foundational and crucial to the whole story of the cosmos, Man and salvation. God takes dust or clay from the ground and like a potter he fashions a human being. The scientific formulas used by God still [...]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live – Link Now Available

June 25, 2014

It was one of the funnest and fastest shows ever! Great questions and lively discussion. Here are the questions I answered. The topic was “Abraham: Father of Faith and Works.” Here is the link for listening on-line and here for downloading as a podcast. 1) Did Abraham know that God wouldn’t have him actually go [...]

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One Thing I Know About Abraham: He was Sweaty all the Time!

June 15, 2014

We flew from Israel to Istanbul and then from Istanbul Urfa. We then boarded the van for the one hour drive to Haran. It was 100° and the van didn’t have air-conditioning or windows that opened. It was a stifling trip but paid off with what we found.  Haran is mentioned 19 times in the [...]

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Planting a flag in the Holy Land

June 6, 2014

Today we stood where Abraham first arrived in Canaan 4000 years ago. I built an altar and talked about Abraham and how that altar he built was like marking his claim in this land, putting his flag in the ground. In our DVD I’m going to show the astronauts planting the flag and the moon [...]

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Why Protestants Reject 7 Books of the Bible – the Short Answer

April 30, 2014

Gary Michuta is an expert on the canon of Scripture, especially in regards to the Deutero-canonical books, what the Protestants call the Apocrypha. You can read his book Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger to see what I mean. Recently a friend asked Gary for the short answer as to why the Protestants removed seven books from [...]

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Was Jesus Crucified Naked?

April 17, 2014

A gentleman heard me on Relevant Radio earlier. I had mentioned on the air that one of the great humiliations of a crucifixion was that a man was crucified naked. This thoughtful gentleman wrote to challenge my comments. Below is his e-mail and my response. Dear Mr. Ray, Please correct your description of the Passion. [...]

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Interesting Insights While Working on Abraham Script: Tent vs. Altar, Jews Sent Back to Square One

March 31, 2014

Two things struck me today as I am feverishly writing the script for our upcoming Abraham DVD (Footprints of God series). First, when God punished the Jews by sending them into exile in Babylon it was the ultimate punishment and insult. Babylon was the site of Bable and the confusion of languages. It was also [...]

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Amazing! Pope will Celebrate Mass in the Upper Room

March 27, 2014

This is quite incredible since it has not been done since Pope John Paul II received permission from Israel to celebrate Mass there on his visit to the Holy Land. Pope Francis will do the “not allowed”–he will celebrate Mass in the Upper Room. Seems odd, eh, that the place where the first Eucharist was [...]

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Pictures from Nazareth over 100 Years Ago (see the Virgin Mary :-)

March 25, 2014

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation. These pictures are over a hundred years old from Nazareth. Not much changed between then and the first century. When you look at these old pictures and hundreds more I have in a book I purchased in Nazareth (written in Arabic), you can imagine Mary as [...]

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