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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Altar Beyond Olympus for a Deity Predating Zeus

Romans 1:16-23 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By John Noble Wilford - February 4, 2008 PHILADELPHIA - Before Zeus hurled his first thunderbolt from Olympus, the pre-Greek people occupying the land presumably paid homage and offered sacrifices to their own gods and goddesses, whose nature and identities are unknown to scholars today. But archaeologists say they have now found the ashes, bones and other evidence of animal sacrifices to some pre-Zeus deity on the summit of Mount Lykaion, in the region of Greece known as Arcadia. The remains were uncovered last summer at an altar later devoted to Zeus. Fragments of a coarse, undecorated pottery in the debris indicated that the sacrifices might have been made as early as 3000 B.C., the archaeologists concluded. That was about 900 years before Greek-speaking people arrived, probably from the north in the Balkans, and brought their religion with them. The excavators were astonished. They were digging in a sanctuary to Zeus, in Greek mythology the father of gods and goddesses. From texts in Linear B, an ancient form of Greek writing, Zeus is attested as a pre-eminent god as early as 1400 B.C. By some accounts, the birthplace of Zeus was on the heights of Lykaion. After reviewing the findings of pottery experts, geologists and other archaeologists, David Gilman Romano of the University of Pennsylvania concluded that material at the Lykaion altar “suggests that the tradition of devotion to some divinity on that spot is very ancient” and “very likely predates the introduction of Zeus in the Greek world.” As Dr. Romano remarked, quoting a quip by a friend, “We went from B.C. to B.Z., before Zeus.” The discovery by the Mount Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project was described last week in interviews and a lecture by Dr. Romano at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Penn. Mary E. Voyatzis, a project co-director from the University of Arizona, discussed her analysis of the telltale pottery. The project’s third co-director is Michaelis Petropoulos of the Greek Archaeological Service. Other archaeologists familiar with the discovery tended to agree with Dr. Romano’s interpretation, though they said that continuing excavations this summer and next should reach a more definitive understanding of the altar’s possible pre-Greek use. “Evidence uncovered certainly points to activity at the altar in prehistoric times,” said Jack Davis, director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, who visited the site several times. The project was conducted under the auspices of the American school, but he was not a participant. “We certainly know that Zeus and a female version of Zeus were worshiped in prehistoric times,” Dr. Davis continued in an e-mail message. “The trick will be in defining the precise nature of the site itself before historical times.” Ken Dowden, director of the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, in England, who was not involved in the research, said that it was not surprising to find the migrating Greeks adapting a sanctuary dedicated to gods of an earlier religion for the worship of their own gods. “Even Christians would on occasion reuse a pagan sanctuary in order to transfer allegiance from the preceding religion to Christianity,” he noted. “You have some god being worshiped on a mountaintop, and the arriving Greeks have translated the god as ‘Zeus,’ their god of the sky, lightning, weather and so on,” Dr. Dowden said. “It’s going to be pretty close to what they found there, and given the site, it makes very good sense.” The affinities of Roman gods and goddesses to earlier Greek ones are well known. Jupiter, for example, is a virtual stand-in for Zeus. In antiquity it was perhaps no heresy to have different names for the same deity. The place of Mount Lykaion in practices venerating Zeus is documented in literature and previous archaeological research. The Greek traveler Pausanias, writing in the second century A.D., described the sanctuary of Zeus on the mountain, 4,500 feet above the rural countryside. “On the highest point of the mountain is a mound of earth, forming an altar of Zeus Lykaios, and from it most of the Peloponnesus can be seen,” Pausanias wrote. “Before the altar on the east stand two pillars, on which there were once gilded eagles. On this altar they sacrifice in secret to Lykaion Zeus. I was reluctant to pry into the details of the sacrifice; let them be as they are and were from the beginning.” In “Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion,” Jane Ellen Harrison, a British scholar, wrote in 1903, “The Zeus of Homer demanded and received the titbits of the victim, though even these in token of friendly communion were shared by the worshipers.” The proximity of Mount Lykaion to Olympia, 22 miles northwest, initially attracted Dr. Romano’s attention. Another sanctuary of Zeus, Olympia was a prominent site of the Pan-Hellenic athletic competitions after which current Olympic Games are modeled, and Dr. Romano is an authority on these ancient festivals of sports. His colleagues point out that he is the only archaeologist they know to have a master’s degree in physical education. At Lykaion, Dr. Romano began excavations of the hippodrome on a high meadow, where Greek athletes competed in horse and chariot races and other sports. Not far above, on the southern summit, meanwhile, the research team mapped the altar site and dug a test trench, under the direction of Arthur Rhon, emeritus professor of anthropology at Wichita State University. Bones, mostly goats and sheep, were collected. A few bronze artifacts were recovered. Also a seal stone with an image of a bull, suggesting influence at one time from Minoan Crete. Altar stones were burned and cracked from the sacrificial fires. A geological survey by George Davis of the University of Arizona revealed an ancient fault bordering the altar site on three sides. Could this fault be related to the selection of the site? The region is prone to earthquakes. Dr. Voyatzis said the potsherds were the most telling finds. Their undecorated style, gray color, the feel of the clay and the way it was fired, she said, were diagnostic of pottery 5,000 years ago. “You wouldn’t establish a settlement in a stark, fearful place like this,” Dr. Voyatzis said in an interview while visiting Penn. So the pottery, she added, was presumably there as part of ceremonies at the altar. Like Dr. Voyatzis, Gullog Nordquist of Uppsala University in Sweden was troubled by the jumbled nature of the potsherds in the trench. She said it “raises questions of exactly how it came to be there.” In an e-mail message last week, Dr. Nordquist, who has visited the site but was not a team member, said that the potsherds “may have belonged to vessels found in graves by people in later times and given to the gods as offerings.” Or they could be remains from an early Bronze Age settlement, although she, too, said “it would be a very inconvenient place to live.” Dr. Nordquist said that she preferred the explanation that the Lykaion site was indeed used as a cult sanctuary in the time before Zeus. Little is known of the pre-Greek inhabitants, but some scholars think they originated in what is now western Turkey. “We do not yet know exactly how the altar was first used in this early period, 3000-2000 B.C., or whether it was used in connection with natural phenomena such as wind, rain, lightning or earthquakes, possibly to worship some kind of divinity, male or female, or a personification representing forces of nature,” Dr. Romano said. “But this is what we are thinking at this moment.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/science/05zeus.html?ex=1359867600&en=740714802a2213b5&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Vatican: Away with the manger

Saint Peter's Square nativity scene nixes stable for Joseph's workshop WORLDNETDAILY - December 15, 2007 Christmas eve visitors to St. Peter's Square at the Vatican expecting to see a traditional nativity scene will be surprised to find no stable, no manger, no hay, no sheep and definitely no Elvis. In a move Vatican officials say is meant to "reflect a return to the story of the nativity as told by Matthew," Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus will be shown in Joseph's Nazareth carpentry workshop and not in the Bethlehem stable. The presepe, or nativity scene, will feature three rooms, including the workshop, complete with "the typical work tools of a carpenter," a "covered patio" and the "inside of a pub with its hearth," the London Telegraph reported. Moving the Christmas story 70 miles north from Bethlehem to Nazareth was inspired by Matthew 1:24-25 as rendered in the Catholic Bible translation: "When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home; he had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus." The King James Version of the same passage does not translate the Greek as "home." Pier Carlo Cuscianna, director of technical services for Vatican City, told Catholic News Service he knew of the "polemic" in the press over the unconventional nativity display, but, he said, "I am certain Matthew reflected well on the meaning" of home in the passage used by Vatican officials to create the new design. In the better known story from Luke's gospel, the focus is on Joseph and Mary going from Nazareth to Joseph's ancestral home of Bethlehem to register for a census. Unable to find lodging, they join farm animals in a stable or cave where Mary gives birth and places the baby in a manger. Local shepherds, alerted in the fields by angels, come to the stable to pay homage. Matthew tells of the wise men, the slaughter of male children by King Herod, the family's flight to Egypt and return to Nazareth. Matthew, like Luke, states Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but a Vatican spokesman said, "It was time for a change, and a return to St. Matthew's gospel." Moving the Christmas story 70 miles north from Bethlehem to Nazareth was inspired by Matthew 1:24-25 as rendered in the Catholic Bible translation: "When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home; he had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus." The King James Version of the same passage does not translate the Greek as "home." Pier Carlo Cuscianna, director of technical services for Vatican City, told Catholic News Service he knew of the "polemic" in the press over the unconventional nativity display, but, he said, "I am certain Matthew reflected well on the meaning" of home in the passage used by Vatican officials to create the new design. In the better known story from Luke's gospel, the focus is on Joseph and Mary going from Nazareth to Joseph's ancestral home of Bethlehem to register for a census. Unable to find lodging, they join farm animals in a stable or cave where Mary gives birth and places the baby in a manger. Local shepherds, alerted in the fields by angels, come to the stable to pay homage. Matthew tells of the wise men, the slaughter of male children by King Herod, the family's flight to Egypt and return to Nazareth. Matthew, like Luke, states Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but a Vatican spokesman said, "It was time for a change, and a return to St. Matthew's gospel." http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59227 FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.