Friday, January 18, 2019

Laketown, but not Esgaroth

I think most readers of J. R. R. Tolkien are familiar with a town of which the Mayor was fat and of which a watchman, Bard, was moody. In the English "translation from Westron" it was Laketown, in Sindarin (or Doriathrin) it was Esgaroth.

There was a Laketown in what is now Switzerland too. Wait, verifying on wiki, there were more than one. And all around the Alps, from France to Slovenia. I was probably thinking of the very well known one in the lake of Zurich. The piles have been found, but little else has, as far as I know, which leaves a lot of room for imagination.

In fact, they are probably all smaller than Esgaroth, as to what one has found. But there are 111 sites, or rather these are a selection from 937 ones. Here is Unesco on them:

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps

This serial property of 111 small individual sites encompasses the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements in and around the Alps built from around 5000 to 500 B.C. on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands. Excavations, only conducted in some of the sites, have yielded evidence that provides insight into life in prehistoric times during the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Alpine Europe and the way communities interacted with their environment. Fifty-six of the sites are located in Switzerland. The settlements are a unique group of exceptionally well-preserved and culturally rich archaeological sites, which constitute one of the most important sources for the study of early agrarian societies in the region.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Now, when is this?

5000 BC is a carbon date which is a misdate. It is from a time when carbon 14 levels were lower, since even carbon date 3100 or 3200 (at most recent 2900) BC is actually the time of Genesis 13 and 14, around 1940 - 30 BC.

So, one can presume, the inhabitants of the laketowns arrived, at least the earliest of them, dated 5000 or 4000 BC, when Abraham was a child or before he was born, perhaps even a few centuries before he was born. However, the latest ones, around 500 BC, are from a time when atmosphere already had a the present ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12, meaning the carbon date 500 BC probably does correspond to a real date 500 BC.

Why is this important? Well, Ninus lived about the times of Abraham, and he is the founder of the idolatrous type of paganism, the idolatry of Babylon. While the earliest inhabitants were no longer speaking Hebrew, they might still have worshipped the true God. Here is from my own translation of Peter Comestor:

Meanwhile they obtained Egyptians and Assyrians thus: In the days of Sarug, Belus the Nerothid [=?=Nemrothid, with a missed nasal stroke?] the king of Babylon, because there was another Belus, king of Greece, entered Assyria, but obtained too little therein. When he died, his son Ninus obtained all Assyria, and amplified the city in which the head of the kingdom was by the day's march of three days, and called it Ninive after his name.

This is why some histories say that the kingdom of Assyrians started with old Belus: which is true as far as the beginning is concerned. Others say it started with Ninus, which is also true, as far as the enlargement of the kingdom. Ninus defeated Cham [!] who was still alive and ruled in Thracia, and was called Zoroaster, inventor of magic arts, who also inscirbed the seven liberal arts in fourteen columns, seven of bronze and seven of tiles, against either doom (?). But Ninus burned his books. From these the same, idols were thus begun:

On the Death of Belus and the Beginning of Idols

When Belus was dead, Ninus, in consolation of the grief, made himself an image of the father, to which he showed such reverence, that he spared all criminals who took refuge to it. Accordingly people of his reign started to impend divine honours in the image; by example hereof many dedicated images to their celebrated dead ones, and as from the idol of Belus the others took their origin, so of his name they took the general name of idols. As he was called Belus by Assyrians, so also other nations according to the idiom of their tongues, named some of the Bel, some Beel, some Baal, some Baalim. Even more, they specified names, some saying Beelphegor, some saying Beelzebub. But at last let us pursue the genealogical series of Shem.

So, presumably, when we see clear idols emerging in Mesopotamia, we can consider we are dealing with the days of Sarug. Note also, Sumeria is not the oldest place in Mesopotamia, but Göbekli Tepe seems to be from before idolatry. This means, carbon date 5000 BC in the Alps may be earlier but need not be so. This is then perhaps from pre-idolatry times, and considering how far it is from Mesopotamia, probably from a pre-idolatry population.

So, how would one reconstruct the dwellings?

In Tolkien's Laketown, you have houses like those found in Norway on the coast : tall wooden houses with vertical planks where the architecture, much like Edoras in the Peter Jackson films, recalls the stave churches of Norway. In fact, the reconstruction at Lac de Chalain, rive occidentale, next to original piles, or stumps of them, also has vertical planks, perhaps because the archaeologists were Tolkien fans. However, they have proven that vertical planks are at least technically possible.

In Tolkien's Laketown each house or each wealthier house had more than one storey, like two or perhaps three including the ground level. In the Middle Ages, which he was aligning his prehistoric uchronia with, a tradesman would have his shop in the ground level and his living space upstairs.

This would be one way to avoid the cold of the water which was even colder for being shaded by the houses.

In the reconstruction, by Unesco, there was one storey. Supposing this correct, how did the inhabitants avoid freezing? One idea is, they would have been living there in summer for some coolness. Another is, they would have had plenty of textiles inside, insulating the ground floor and walls. And obviously, if you would hardly light a fire directly on the planks, you could perhaps still have some kind of hearth in a ceramic firepot - even the oldest of the cultures involved have ceramics.

Firepots already existed around the time of Babel (Göbekli Tepe) in what is now South America:

Fell’s Cave, a rock shelter in the valley of the Río Chico not far from the Strait of Magellan, was initially occupied by hunters around 10,000 B.C. who left behind an impressive layer of refuse. Sealed by hundreds of pounds of debris from the fall of the shelter overhang, the hunter’s refuse included firepots with the broken bones of native horse, sloth, and guanaco, as well as stone and bone tools.

Citing : Fell’s Cave (9000–8000 B.C.)
Laura Anne Tedesco, Independent Scholar
October 2000 (originally published), September 2007 (last revised)

H/T Wikipedia : Fire pot

Or perhaps, the reconstruction could have two storeys with a ladder between them once you were inside? And plenty of hay under your buttocks. That can also keep you fairly warm.

Would firepots have been constructed so that they could be safe even close to hay? Possibly, if you were very careful.

What would have been the political structure of these dwellings? If one had found a large one, as large as a town, one could imagine Tolkien's alignment with a Medieval commercial city state would have been appropriate. As small as the ones we do find are, perhaps more like small villages. Were they or weren't they connected over larger areas? We don't know.

And considering the area, we could imagine that the inhabitants were descending from Gomer. They could have been speaking what later became Celtic when it was more Indo-Europeanised by Sprachbund phenomena.

Imagine you had been wandering for some hours in a winter day, and you arrived in the evening. You walked out on a wooden ponton, a raft tied to both the lake shore and the house. You sounded a brass bell, someone looked at you using a firepot as a lantern, and then said "come in". He lowered a ladder to the raft, you climbed up, you came in through heavy curtains of textile, and it was warm and they were sitting around a firepot, man, wife, children, youngest adult son who had welcomed you standing up and telling "we have a visitor" and the father of the household telling you "sit down". And whatever served them for tea, perhaps holly, was given as a hot drink, while a plate of meat and vegetables was prepared for you.

Don't tell me everyone was miserable prior to the industrial revolution.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Chair of St. Peter in Rome

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Difference between fairy tale and legend, illustrated from Hungary

Hungarian Folk Tales: The Two Princes with Hair of Gold
Hungarian Folk Tales | 3.IV.2017

Die Belagerung von Ödenburg >> Traditionelle Sagen >> Ungarn

For those who don't know German, the second title translates as "Siege of Ödenburg" or "Siege of Sopron", and the first sentence is like this in German and in English translation:

1605 kamen die Anhänger des Stephan von Botskay, aus Siebenbürgern, Ungarn und Türken bestehend, von dem Neusiedler See herangezogen, verbrannten auf ihrem Zuge alle Dörfer, und Mord oder Gefangenschaft war das traurige Los der in ihre unmenschlichen Hände geratenen Bewohner.

In 1605 the adherents of Stephan von Botskay, consisting of TRansylvanians, Hungarians and Turks, came along from the Neusiedler See, burnt all villages on their way, and murder or captivity was the sad fate of inhabitants who had come into their inhuman hands.

Now, can you pick out, which of these two, I or II, is fairy tale, and which one is legend?

Before you look at the solution, here is the deal: fairy tales are like novels, they invent freely for entertainment. Sure, the freedom can be limited by some conventions, but there is no need whatsoever to take any of it as limited strictly or less strictly by historical fact. Legends are history as orally or artistically transmitted.

If you still don't know, here is the solution : Solution on legend vs fairy tale

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Anthony the Great

Saturday, January 12, 2019

John MacArthur Confusing Sunworship with Sun as a Person

Here is a passage from his* sermon on day 4:

Now let’s just look at the greater light to govern the day, that’s the sun, that’s the sun, literally, to rule over the day. And that’s what the sun does. Down in verse 18, to govern the day, that’s the sun’s function. And by the way, when it says this, we want to stop right here. We are not talking about anything that’s a persona here, that ancient tribes have worshiped the sun god, the Egyptians worship Ra, the sun god. They worship the god and goddess of the moon.

The bizarre pagan idolatrous ideas that somehow the sun, the moon, and the stars are literal rulers. They are deities that govern the life of men. That’s not what’s intended here. Ancient Babylonian accounts make the sun and the moon and the stars into gods endowing them with personality and intellect and will. And strangely enough, some of the rabbi’s even picked up on some of this stuff. There are rabbinic myths influenced by such paganism, which make the luminaries into persons. Who somehow communicate with their creator so that some of the Jews actually got involved in worshiping the sun and the moon and if you read Ezekiel chapter 8 you will find an illustration there. Israelites, in the temple of God worshiping the sun. All such idolatry, all such myth is excluded by the Old Testament. They are simply material creation.

Worship and myth are not the same.

Now, worshipping the Sun is forbidden.

However, considering God set an angel to move the visible material creation of the Sun around (partly each day, ultimately each year around the Zodiac) is not forbidden and is definitely not excluded by the Old Testament.

Rather, it is even rather specifically endorsed.

  • In Joshua 10, Joshua, as a miracle worker of God, is adressing Sun and Moon as persons, so, the angels who move Sun and Moon about, on God's order were obeying Joshua;
  • In Judges 5, Debborah and Barac praise the Lord for a cause which seems curious to modern readers:

    War from heaven was made against them, the stars remaining in their order and courses fought against Sisara.

  • Stars and morning stars sing praise to God, when He creates:

    When the morning stars praised me together, and all the sons of God made a joyful melody? (Job 38:7)

    And the stars have given light in their watches, and rejoiced: They were called, and they said: Here we are: and with cheerfulness they have shined forth to him that made them. (Baruch 3:34-35)

There are at least two more passages with the same implication, if not three:

He hath set his tabernacle in the sun: and he, as a bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber, Hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way: [Psalms 18:6]

[58] O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [59] O ye heavens, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [60] O all ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.

[61] O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [62] O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [63] O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [64] O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [65] O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. [Daniel 3, Sun, Moon and stars mentioned among "angels" and "spirits" of the Lord.]

Perhaps also this one:

[11] Thy pride is brought down to hell, thy carcass is fallen down: under thee shall the moth be strewed, and worms shall be thy covering. [12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? [13] And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. [14] I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High. [15] But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit. [Isaiah 14, implying that Satan before his fall was ruling one "morning star" and wasn't satisfied with it.]

Now, let's pick apart what John MacArthur says:

The bizarre pagan idolatrous ideas that somehow the sun, the moon, and the stars are literal rulers. They are deities that govern the life of men. That’s not what’s intended here. Ancient Babylonian accounts make the sun and the moon and the stars into gods ...

We most certainly do NOT believe that these angels rule our destinies, God does, and confides part of the daily ruling to guardian angels, other than those governing stars. Neither those rabbis, nor Catholic scholastics. Among whom myself.

... endowing them with personality and intellect and will. And strangely enough, some of the rabbi’s even picked up on some of this stuff. There are rabbinic myths influenced by such paganism, which make the luminaries into persons.

A totally different question : how can you rule out God created them that way?

Where in Genesis 1 does it say "God created the Sun as a lifeless burning ball of gas, and the Moon as a lifeless cold rock and confided them not to angels but to gravitation or electromagnetism"? It simply doesn't. MacArthur is reflecting a very modern prejudice, not a Biblical doctrine here. When he claims that the Old Testament excludes this, he is reading things into it which are not there.

And he is ignoring things that are there in the Old Testament, as I enumerated.

He has made an idea a sign of idolatry of Sun, Moon and Stars which isn't such. Namely the idea they are or are more likely governed by persons. In fact, the Catholic Church has at least twice condemned the idea they are persons, not on the highest level, but on the somewhat lower levels of one Church Father (at least), St John of Damascus, and one local bishop, Tempier of Paris. Whether the alternative that they are governed by angels was present to the cultural context of St John of Damascus, I don't know. That it was present in the time of bishop Tempier is however clear, since he made this condemnation about 3 years after the death of St Thomas Aquinas who had promoted the idea of angelic movers. More than once. And he did not condemn it.

Index in stephani tempier condempnationes

Capitulum VII Errores de intelligentia uel angelo

Condemned proposition: 12 of the chapter (77 in total).

Quod si esset aliqua substantia separata que non moueret aliquid corpus in hoc mundo sensibili, non clauderetur in uniuerso.  That is a separate substance existed which was not moving any body in this sensible world, it would not be included (enclosed?) in the universe.

Capitulum XII | Errores de celo et stellis

Condemned proposition: 1 of the chapter (92 in total).

Quod corpora celestia mouentur a principio intrinseco*, quod est anima ; et quod mouentur per animam et per uirtutem appetitiuam, sicut animal. Sicut enim animal appetens mouetur, ita et celum.  That celestial bodies are moved by an intrinsic principle, which is a soul; and that they are moved by the soul and by the appetitive power, as an animal. Since, as an animal is moved (moves itself) by desire, so also heaven.

So, we have a reference to angels moving bodies - either one saying they do, and condemning that when they don't, they are outside the universe, or one condemning the idea that they aren't included in the universe, don't exist, if they aren't moving bodies.

You have another saying stars are not animals, moved by an own soul.

Between these, you have possibilities like stars are angels or stars are moved by angels, the latter being the more common interpretation.

And obviously, there is no mystery in how angels have access to God : as long as they are not fallen, they adore Him.

Now, there is a penalty for John MacArthur confusing this position with idolatry of heavenly bodies as gods or rulers of human fates or influencing directly human souls (positions which are soundly condemned by both Tempier and St Thomas). He is stuck with modern astronomy, attributing the movements to gravitation and inertia, which makes geocentrism difficult and even with geocentrism lands the phenomena of aberration and parallax as tied to same distance to Sun, only differring distance to Earth, by which such a geocentrism misses out on these having nothing to do with the distance from Earth and being useless to determine distances.

And this leaves MacArthur admitting stars are several thousands or even hundred thousands of light years away.

HERE he has a problem with the Distant Starlight Implication for time.

Now, our little light beam has to travel another 80,000 years at it’s six trillion miles per year pace to reach the Magellanic Clouds which is the closest galaxy or series of galaxies to our Milky Way, we are now, having left this morning 160,000 years into the future. And our light beam still moving of the same speed of 186,000 a second faces 1.8 million years of empty space before it reaches the end of the Andromeda Galaxy, which is close enough to earth to be seen with the naked eye.

Obviously, if so the "end of the Andromeda galaxy" is shining light on us which left it 1.8 million years ago, normally. Which contradicts a recent creation of the universe, more recent than 1.8 million years ago, that is.

The question is often asked, how can such distant light reach the earth so fast in a six-day creation? If it takes our little light beam hundreds of thousands of years to get out there, doesn’t it take hundreds of thousands of years for a light from those far away stars, doesn’t it take hundreds of thousands of years for the light to reach us? Well, first of all, you can file this somewhere. God could not only make the stars out there, make us here, but he could make all the light in between instantaneously. It is also true that light already existed, it was created on day one according to verse 3 of Genesis. And so, all he had to do was put it where he wanted it.

That's how I explained it myself, back at age 12 after reading Swedish translation of a book the final title of which was From Nothing to Nature (Edgar Andrews) ... when revisiting the question, I have come across the problem that novas pose for this theory. Supposing that God created a full light beam from 1.8 million light years away from a star, if that star exploded right away, we would still have to wait nearly 1.8 million years (minus 6 or 7 thousand) until we could see that explosion.

Other possibility:

But I really do lean, after continuing to read on the subject to the fact that as one scientist put it, at the time of creation the speed of light was possibly 10 billion times faster than it is now. Some scientists have been working to demonstrate that because of the effect of the fall the speed of light is slower now than it’s ever been and it’s getting slower all along. And if you push it back six or seven thousand years ago, it would be ten billion times faster.

Other scientists claim however, to me at least somewhat believably, that the experiments in question are not fully reflective of the speed of light and that the implications of a real radical slowing down would be chaos in physics.

The best case for a slowing down would be if Rømer had determined a higher speed than the actual one. He determined a lower one:

By timing the eclipses of the Jupiter moon Io, Rømer estimated that light would take about 22 minutes to travel a distance equal to the diameter of Earth's orbit around the Sun. This would give light a velocity of about 220,000 kilometres per second, about 26% lower than the true value of 299,792 km/s.

From : Rømer's determination of the speed of light

So, either the speed of light has become faster (if for instance more hydrogen in space has been used up, so light travels to sth closer to vacuum), or Rømer was off.

Neither way can Rømer's calculation be used to claim that we have observed light slowing down over last 3 centuries.

Setterfield has claimed that speed of light slowing down has led to longer halflives of radioactive decay. But we know historical time distance to objects from Rømer's time and comparing this to radiocarbon dates for such objects, when of organic material, would tend to confirm that half life has been constant and that also during this period the approximate level of carbon 14 has been constant (somewhat lowered for combustion of old carbon from fossil fuels, since Industrial Revolution). So, I could be missing something on the lines of both level and halflife being other than presumed, but equalling out, but normally, I'd say halflife has been constant, in AD times and most recent BC times carbon level has been constant, meaning, on Setterfield's view, speed of light should have been constant too.

If I instead consider geocentrism as true and the movements described as "aberration" and as "parallax" (or the one movement described as a compound of these) is from angelic movers, then I don't have any Distant Starlight Problem either. AND I don't need to take a distance from "old timer" Catholics of 13th C. whether a saint as St. Thomas or just a regular bishop as Bishop Tempier. AND I can enjoy thinking of the Sun as my brother and fellow servant of God.

Altissimu, omnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.

Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentouare.

Laudato sie, mi Signore cum tucte le Tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate Sole,
lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione.

I also think I have a guardian angel, and though I confide myself to him, I don't worship him as if he were God.** If thinking of my guardian angel as an actual person is not idolatry, why would believing the sun has one imply idolatry? Or St Michael***? I wish him to trample the devil down, but I don't worship him as God. John MacArthur's criterium is nonsense. Since he prefers consulting Umberto Cassuto on Genesis 1 over consulting St Thomas, I am not quite surprised.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Tatiana, martyr

* For those who think of a general, this pastor is fifth cousin to the general. Link to sermon on Spanish mirror site:

** Guds engel min beskyddare, åt dig har Guds faderskärlek anförtrott mig. Upplys, skydda, styr och led mig idag!

*** Sancte Michael archangele, defende nos in prelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto presidium. Imperet illi Deus, tuque, princeps militie celestis, Satanam, aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Report from an Unfinished Novel

I have come a way:

With 57 461 words and intending to write about same amount more, I am halfway through.

Beginning is near finished, middle and end need much more work. I use the chapters already written "after" what I am writing as an outline of what is to come./HGL

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Can We Have Medieval References for Clemens Scotus and Albertus Gallus?

I found this in The Martyrs' Mirror which (though it may perhaps surprise some?) is not a Medieval document:


When Clement, having come from Scotland, had joined the aforesaid Albert as a companion, and united with him in regard to doctrine, he not only began, but ceased not, even as the friend whom he had found, to combat with the spiritual armor, and, if possible, to overcome, in an evangelical manner, the pope and the Roman church, in various points, touching mostly her ceremonies. Thereupon he was also accused, and put to death in such a manner as in the proper place, we presently hope to show.

The accusations brought against him were of the same nature as those preferred against Albert, his companion; which was not at all strange, since he had placed himself under Albert, not only as a friend and companion, but also as a disciple. For this reason, the pope, through the accusation of Boniface, the papal legate, pronounced the same excommunication against him.

But when he presented himself for the purpose of vindicating his conduct in a full synod, Boniface prevented him from taking this course, making the people believe that it were not lawful to admit a heretic who had been excommunicated or excluded from the church, to divine worship, or to a synodal assembly; yea, that such an one should not be permitted to have the benefit (in whatever this might consist) of the laws or ordinances of the church.

Seeing that by this pretense his lips were sealed, making it impossible for him to properly defend himself, he had recourse to his pen and wrote a book concerning this matter, against Boniface.

Finally, it is stated and maintained that this steadfast witness of Jesus Christ, was burned as a heretic by the Romanists, even against the will of pope Zacharias, about A, D. 750, or a little after. Compare this entire account of Clement with Willibaldi, Kaucleri, Aventini. Balae. Alij ubi supra. Also, Annal. Boj. Bernhard. Lutz, in Catal. Hceres., Tom. 2, Concil. Also, A. M., 2d book, H. M., 1619, fol. 328, 329. Hist. Mart. 1. S., 1645, fol. 30.

Please note, it is generous enough to give sources, these also not Medieval:

  • Willibaldi, Kaucleri, Aventini. Balae.

    These names - Willibaldus, Kauclerus, Aventinus, could be late Medieval, but definitely not from the time being. Since a printing place is given (Balae may be faulty for Basileae = Basel, Bâles) it is after Middle Ages.

  • A. M., 2d book, H. M., 1619, fol. 328, 329. - printing year 1619 is a near millennium after this is supposed to have taken place.

  • Hist. Mart. 1. S., 1645, fol. 30. - and so is the printing year 1645.

  • Annal. Boj. Bernhard. Lutz, in Catal. Hceres., Tom. 2, Concil. - can't identify it, but Tome 2 indicates we are dealing with someone after printing.

No first millennium Medieval source cited at all.

Now, note, I do accept Snorre and Saxo as indications that Odin came to Uppsala in more or less late BC times (like times of Julius Caesar to Snorre or times of Alexander or Cyrus to Saxo, preferring Snorre), but I do this as dealing with times in which Sweden was hardly documented by written indigenous contemporary sources at all. Germanica by Tacitus is very unspecific about who could have lived there by then.

On the contrary, in 750 Gaul if not Scotland was very well documented. And Scotland in the modern sense didn't exist yet.

The Kingdom of the Picts in the early 8th century, when Bede was writing, was largely the same as the kingdom of the Scots in the reign of Alexander I (1107–1124).

Of course, there were the Scoti who were Gaels:

Thereafter, periodic raids by Scoti are reported by several later 4th and early 5th century Latin writers, namely Pacatus,[4] Ammianus Marcellinus,[5] Claudian[6] and the Chronica Gallica of 452.[7] Two references to Scoti have recently been identified in Greek literature (as Σκόττοι), in the works of Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, writing in the 370s.[8] The fragmentary evidence suggests an intensification of Scoti raiding from the early 360s, culminating in the so-called "barbarian conspiracy" of 367–368, and continuing up to and beyond the end of Roman rule c. 410. The location and frequency of attacks by Scoti remain unclear, as do the origin and identity of the Gaelic population-groups who participated in these raids.[9] By the 5th century, the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata had emerged in western Scotland. This kingdom was inevitably conquered and consumed by Pictland, spreading its culture to it in the generations preceding and following its conquest. The name came to be applied to all subjects of this now predominantly Goidelic speaking Pictish kingdom – hence the modern terms Scot, Scottish and Scotland.

In Dal Riata:

Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) (/dælˈriːədə/) was a Gaelic overkingdom that included parts of western Scotland and northeastern Ireland, on each side of the North Channel. At its height in the late 6th and early 7th centuries, it encompassed roughly what is now Argyll in Scotland and part of County Antrim in the Irish province of Ulster.

Where the presence of Iona makes anti-Roman positions very unlikely, except on marginal issues like the date of Easter (same article):

No written accounts exist for pre-Christian Dál Riata, and the earliest known records come from the chroniclers of Iona and Irish monasteries. Adomnán's Life of St Columba implies a Christian Dál Riata.

Gaul was of course much better documented, as can be seen from the figure of Theodulf of Orléans, born this year or ten years later.

But, there is a clincher, there is a real Clemens Scotus, namely St Clement of Ireland:

Saint Clement of Ireland (Clemens Scotus) (c. 750 – 818) is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Born in Ireland, he founded a school for boys under the patronage of Charlemagne and figures in the Carolingian Renaissance of learning. ... The 17th-century hagiographer John Colgan, in his Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae (Louvain, 1645) says that he was living in 818, and gives the date of Clement's death as 20 March and the place as Auxerre, where he was interred in the church of Saint-Amator.

In fact, there is a Saint Albert or Adalbert which fits in with the times of St. Boniface even:

Saint Adalbert of Egmond (also called Adelbert of Egmond) (died c. 710 in Egmond) was a Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon missionary. He was one of Saint Willibrord's companions in preaching the gospel in Holland and Frisia.

And this Willibrord is praised by St Boniface:

Pepin of Heristal died in 714. In 716 the pagan Radbod, king of the Frisians, retook possession of Frisia, burning churches and killing many missionaries.[6] Willibrord and his monks were forced to flee. After the death of Radbod in 719, Willibrord returned to resume his work, under the protection of Charles Martel. Winfrid, better known as Boniface, joined Willibrord and stayed for three years, before travelling on to preach in Frankish territory.


In 752/753 Boniface wrote a letter to Pope Stephen II, in which it is said that Willibrord destroyed the Frisian pagan sanctuaries and temples.

Here is an iconographic representation on St Adalbert (third from left, click to enlarge):

Attribution is probably welcome: By Jan Joesten van Hillegom - Frans Hals museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands, Public Domain, Link

So, the Martyrs' Mirror takes two less known saints, one of them actually popular in the region (perhaps Clemens Scotus was so too) and turns their lives upside down, into martyrs killed by Roman Catholicism and this in a time when ... that is, the supposed killing, not the book, in a time when Inquisition is not known to have existed nor to have handed over anyone to Secular Arm for burning.

Well, I'd say The Martyrs' Mirror is nearly as historical as the Iliad, in which Hittites aren't mentioned and about the destruction of a Troy (arguably level VII) that probably post-dates destruction of palaces in Pylos and Mycenae, but even so, Achaean kings are systematically attributed to living in palaces.

Now, Homer had the excuse of taking his sources from a purely oral tradition in which Hittites were forgotten and in which periods were mixed before they arrived to him. This doesn't mean everything is false, it only makes for some inaccuracies ... which can be appreciated as anachronisms, perhaps also omertà, once they are recognised as such. But whoever came before, and perhaps also Thieleman J. van Braght, the author himself of The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660, they were one or other or both, misrepresenting epochs from which written records are had and were accessible in their times.*

Next to the Bible, the Martyrs Mirror has historically been held as the most significant and prominent place in Amish and Mennonite homes. ... The Martyrs Mirror is still a beloved book among Amish and Mennonites. While less common now than in the 20th century, in Mennonite homes Martyr's Mirror is a common wedding gift.

Next to the Bible ... you bet (unless the real importance is reversed).

Now, the event with "Anabaptist" or "Protestant martyrs" Clemens Scotus and Albertus "Gallus" are comment on at somewhat great length, the book citing: FURTHER OBSERVATIONS TOUCHING THE CASE OF ALBERT AND CLEMENT, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF SEBASTIAN FRANCK, SPECIAL ACCOUNT OF CLEMENT, ACCORDING TO P. J. TWISCK. Franck lived in * 1499 in Donauwörth; † 1542 in Bazel and while Netherlandish wiki has no article on P. J. Twisck, I don't doubt he's named after the village Twisk - which for one thing is not documented before 1200's and for another a man from there back then would have been Tuiscus, not Twisck, so, again, the documentation is at least as late as Renaissance.

Probably this did not at all bother Thieleman J. van Braght, who probably would have frowned on the original documentation for being:

  • in not quite Classical Latin
  • by people whose theology he would have identified as Papist.

I'll give him a point as history forger for a well chosen theological cause (if an error can be well chosen).

You see, Matthew 28:20 requires the presence of Christ's true Church on Earth "all days". This cannot be had for Anabaptism - his confession - with normal documentation. But it can be had by twisting testimonies, as he did with one Germanos' canons about adult baptism in Constantinople, which he twisted into a refusal of child baptism, though it is highly improbable and cannot be documented, and it can be had by relying on someone else's forgeries, like in the case of these two saints, probably the forgeries of ex-Catholic (that is apostate) writer Sebastian Franck.

The fact that the point is fairly crucial is why I bother to reply to Martyrs' Mirror.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Genevieve

Update : while the context for Joyce Arthur quoting this Luther quote is an attack on Duane Gish, it is perhaps much better suited to illustrate original context, if not necessarily Thieleman J. van Braght, at least men like Sebastian Franck:

"What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church...a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them." --- Martin Luther (full citation at end)


As cited in Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, by Sissela Bok, Pantheon Books, New York, 1978. The full citation given in Bok's book is: Martin Luther cited by his secretary, in a letter in Max Lenz, ed., Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmuthigen von Hessen mit Bucer, vol. 1.

So, the Luther letter is even involved in a correspondence also involving Bucer? This is not totally irrelevant, since Bucer, apart from being Reformer of Strasburg, was also mentor or part mentor to both Cranmer and Calvin. He's not a Lutheran Reformer, but he's definitely both an Anglican and a Calvinist one. I don't know how Bucer reacted, or if he was told of Luther's stance./HGL

* Unlike Linear B, which was out of use when Homer lived and which anyway was not used as far as we can see, to document events, but as an aid to bureaucratic bookkeeping. That Troy's human destruction level is VIIa and that this is later than destruction of palaces in Mycenae can be gathered from La Grèce préclassique, pp. 72-73, by Jean-Claude Poursat. This means if Mycenean Achaeans destroyed Troy, it was after their own city was destroyed in its "classical" (or rather not, but Mycenean) shape. I differ from him in taking this as ruling out Trojan War roughly speaking as described in Iliad and Odyssey. Having a palace is not a military prerequisite for destroying one, and can be a requittal for an earlier destruction of one's own.

The city of the archaeological layer known as Troy VIIa, which has been dated on the basis of pottery styles to the mid- to late-13th century BC, lasted for about a century, with a destruction layer at c. 1190 BC. It is the most often-cited candidate for the Troy of Homer and is believed to correspond to Wilusa, known from Hittite sources dating to the period of roughly 1300–1250 BC.

These dates correspond closely to the mythical chronology of Greece as calculated by classical authors, placing the construction of the walls of Troy by Poseidon, Apollo and Aeacus at 1282 BC and the sack of Troy by the Greeks at 1183 BC.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Second week of Tishri + 15 Month = Christmas

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Soon Christmas · New blog on the kid : On the Date of Christmas · Φιλολoγικά / Philologica : Second week of Tishri + 15 Month = Christmas

Here is the argument of Dwight Longenecker:

Here’s how it goes: We know that John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah was a priest who served in the temple at Jerusalem. While he was serving an angel appeared announcing that his wife Elizabeth would become pregnant and the boy’s name would be John. The Jewish priests were on a schedule according to their family lineage because the priesthood was hereditary. Zechariah was a priest of the class of Abijah. This is recorded in Luke 1:5. The class of Abijah was the eighth class of priests. This is recorded in Nehemiah 12:17. Each class served one week in the temple twice a year. The Abijah class took their turn during the second week of the Jewish month of Tishri. On our calendar that would fall between 22 and 30 September. Count ahead nine months. We celebrate the birth of John the Baptist on 24 June.

How does this connect with Jesus? When the angel comes to Mary to announce the conception of Jesus Christ after her assent, she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother and wife of Zechariah) when Elizabeth was six months pregnant. This is recorded in Luke 1:36. If John the Baptist was conceived around 25 September, this means Jesus was conceived around March 25 –the date Christians celebrate the Annunciation–. Count forward nine more months and you get December 25 as the date for the birth of Jesus Christ.

Yes, Jesus Really Existed and He Was Born on December 25
December 20, 2018 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Now, "in our calendar" - depends on what year.

I was counting on 19 years, consistently adding 365.2425 days to the account at the start of a year, and consistently deducting 29.5 days per lunar month, ignoring when around half days the new days fall, but otherwise miming the functioning of Hebrew years. A bit too the Cycle of Meton, on which they are currently more or less based.

Now, after month IX, the days left of the year varied between 100 and 127 in those 19 "years". Now, "second week" of a month are its days 8 to 14. In Tishri, that includes ...

9 Tishrei – Erev Yom Kippur
10 Tishrei – Yom Kippur – (Fast Day)

This means, we can well imagine Zacharias was offering the sacrifice of Iom Kippur ...

It also means, we can check whether Iom Kippur is a September 25, typically ...

2017 date Sunset, 29 September – nightfall, 30 September[1]
2018 date Sunset, 18 September – nightfall, 19 September
2019 date Sunset, 8 October – nightfall, 9 October
2020 date Sunset, 27 September – nightfall, 28 September

Yes, a September 25th date is possible, though not the only possible one.

Im Jerusalemer Tempel wurden an diesem Tag besondere Opfer dargebracht, es war der einzige Tag, an dem der Hohepriester – allein und streng abgeschirmt – das Allerheiligste im Tempel betreten durfte, um stellvertretend für das Volk die Vergebung der Sünden zu empfangen. Dort besprengte er die Bundeslade mit dem Blut von zwei Opfertieren.

It was the only day on which the High Priest - alone and strictly screened off - could enter into the Holy of Holies in the Temple ... however, Zachary was seemingly not offering blood of sacrificial animals on the Ark of the Covenant, he was offering incense:

According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: (Luke 1:9-13)

I wonder, does this mean, Zachary was doing incense while the High priest was entering the Holy of Holies? In fact, it seems Zachary never officiated as High Priest, according to the wikipedian list of High Priests:

Ananelus, 37-36 BC
Aristobulus III, paternal grandson of Aristobulus, 36 BC He was the last of the Hasmoneans; II and brother of Herod's second wife Mariamne I.
Ananelus (restored), 36-30 BC
Joshua ben Fabus, 30-23 BC
Simon ben Boethus, 23-5 BC (his daughter Mariamne II was third wife of Herod the Great)
Matthias ben Theophilus, 5-4 BC[13]
Joazar ben Boethus, 4 BC
Eleazar ben Boethus, 4-3 BC
Joshua ben Sie, 3 BC - ?
Joazar ben Boethus (restored), ? - 6 AD

On the other hand, since there are question marks at Joshua ben Sie and Joazar ben Boethus, this is not totally certain ... this means, Zachary would not have entered the Holy of Holies and therefore, he would not have been required not to offer incense on Iom Kippur - unless indeed the offering of incense was broken off due to fasting - and we cannot tie nor exclude Zachary's service to Iom Kippur. Only to the week.

Now, again, the Jewish year falls with its months and dates on various parts of the Gregorian or back then Julian year.

the earliest date on which Yom Kippur can fall is September 14, as happened most recently in 1899 and 2013. The latest Yom Kippur can occur relative to the Gregorian dates is on October 14, as happened in 1967 and will happen again in 2043.

Remember, Iom Kippur is 10 Tishri, second week of Tishri begins 8 and ends 14 Tishri ...

8 Tishri can therefore fall between September 12 and October 12, 14 Tishri between September 19 and October 19. So, overall, between September 12 and October 19. This means, between September 12 and "September 49".

49  38  11
11  /2  19
38  19  30

And no, the mean of this is not September 25, but September 30.

This means, in order to calculate forward to December 25 fifteen months later, one would have needed ... either another mean corresponence between Julian and Hebrew years then than now, or exact knowledge on which day of Tishri in which year and which years had late and early months, like if previous year had two Adar months, the Tishri would be late, but if that had happened the year before, the Tishri would be early.

Or even a record keeping in the Temple on what Roman dates corresponded to a Jewish year, if this knowledge came to the Church from the Temple.

It is nearly necessary to suppose such a thing in order to calculate anything, since the Challoner comment says:

[5] "Of the course of Abia": that is, of the rank of Abia, which word in the Greek is commonly put for the employment of one day: but here for the functions of a whole week. For, by the appointment of David, 1 Par. 24., the descendants from Aaron were divided into twenty-four families, of which the eighth was Abia, from whom descended this Zachary, who at this time was in the week of his priestly functions.

September 25 - 24 weeks = September 25 - 168 days

September 25
April 178 - 168 = April 10 - that would have been within his previous turn.

September 25 + 168 days = "September 193"

S 193  J 70
O -31  F 28
O 162  F 42
N -30  M 31
N 132  M 11
D -31
D 101
J -31
J =70

His next turn would have included March 11. In other words, an exact knowledge of when is necessary. At a minimum, if a priest became Christian after year 70, he must have been able to work it out backwards from Destruction of Temple, following the courses.

While Christianity is not Rabbinic Judaism, it starts out involved in Judaica, and when Jews convert, Christianity can get added info, not on doctrine, but on history. Church Fathers start mentioning Christmas after year 70 (and well before when Aurelian invented Sol Invictus - and Christmas is not even coinciding with Saturnalia). I think it is probable, the Church has at least known of December 25 since back then.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. John's Day

PS, I also enjoy this article, about the place:

How Can We Be Sure That Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem?

Dwight Longenecker at his best:

The evidence that Christians were worshipping at this site therefore dates from the beginning of the second century–at most one hundred and twenty years after the birth of Christ. Would the local people have retained a memory of the exact site? I think so. We only have to look around at the world today to see how the homes of famous people are remembered, identified, marked, and become places of pilgrimage. What famous person was born a hundred and twenty years ago? C.S.Lewis for one. His Oxford home has been turned into a study center and pilgrimage site for visitors, and this article tells how his boyhood home in Belfast is visited by C.S.Lewis fans.

PPS, one more thought on this : even the text of Luke presupposes that he had access to someone (probably St John the Gospeller, with whom the Blessed Virgin lived) who knew that Zachary had served in the course of Abiah. So, probably, that is how the Church knew when Christmas was./HGL

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ockham - Protestant, Sede or Trad?

Russell Grigg, on CMI, seems to imagine him as a Protestant.

Michael asked Ockham to study three papal bulls4 showing what Pope John XXII had previously written on the use of property. From these, Ockham concluded that Pope John was not just mistakenly wrong, but was stubbornly and heretically wrong, and so had forfeited his mandate. In short, Ockham protested that John was a pseudo-pope. Indeed, Ockham has the distinction of being designated ‘the first Protestant’—by no less an authority on this subject than the Catholic Encyclopedia.5

Actually, when I look up the article, I find:

He has, indeed, been called "the first Protestant". Nevertheless, he recognized in his polemical writings the authority of the Church in spiritual matters, and did not diminish that authority in any respect. Similarly, although he rejected the rational demonstration of several truths which are fundamental in the Christian system of theology, he held firmly to the same truths as matters of faith.

So, no, not a Protestant. Perhaps Russell Grigg had consulted the other one, which I have not been able to access ...

How about the quoted paragraph? The one quoted by Russell Grigg?

From these, Ockham concluded that Pope John was not just mistakenly wrong, but was stubbornly and heretically wrong, and so had forfeited his mandate. In short, Ockham protested that John was a pseudo-pope.

Sounds like a Sedevacantist. You know the guys who go:

Other Catholic
(since 2014)
You really should accept Evolution, Pope Saint John Paul II said "evolution is more than just a hypothesis".

Yeah, I know it was not "more than just one hypothesis" as some had hoped, I can only conclude Wojtyla was a pseudo-Pope. As Bergoglio for pseudo-canonizing him.

Other Catholic
(prior to 2007)
You can't go to the Masses of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, Pope Paul VI has changed the liturgy.

Yeah, I avoid their Masses too, now, since they pray "una cum papa nostro benedicto" (prior to 2007, remember) and Montini with successors Wojtyla and Ratzinger are pseudo-Popes.

So, was Ockham a Sede about John XXII? In fact, others seem to have had misgivings too. He momentarily entertained soul sleep, and said even the saints don't see God in Heaven prior to the Last Judgement. One or two saints promptly opposed this and their wording - "withdraw obedience" - can at least be reasonably interpreted as an euphemism for "go Sede". He did repent on this one.

Relationships between the parties deteriorated and in May 1328 Michael, Ockham, and some Franciscan sympathizers fled Avignon to the protection of the Holy Roman Emperor, Louis IV (Ludwig) of Bavaria, who became Ockham’s patron. Pope John promptly excommunicated Ockham and his companions, not for heresy but for defiance of his authority (i.e. leaving Avignon without his permission).

Sounds a bit like the reaction of "John Paul II" in 1988.

"Yeah, I know, you are concerned we are not sufficiently traditional in Rome, you think you have to defend tradition on your own, but hey guys, as long as you accept I am Pope, what you did is disobedience to the Pope on a very grave matter (consecration of bishops without authorisation by the Pope), so, just want you to know, the Church Law automatically excommunicated you ..."

VERY loose rendering of the notification act of Antipope Wojtyla on hearing bishops Lefebvre and Castro-Mayer had pulled through with consecrating four bishops at Écône. One of which, Mgr Williamson, is, by the way fairly strictly Creationist, excplicitly references Adam and Eve and the Flood. And the upcoming Antichrist.

So, as far as the mode of non-obedience is concerned, one can debate on whether William was Protestant (very improbable) or Sedevacantist or Trad (Lefebvrist). The latter two are more probable. Except, he was Caesareo-Papist:

In his controversial writings William of Ockham appears as the advocate of secular absolutism. He denies the right of the popes to exercise temporal power, or to interfere in any way whatever in the affairs of the Empire. He even went so far as to advocate the validity of the adulterous marriage of Louis's son, on the grounds of political expediency, and the absolute power of the State in such matters.

What a horror ...

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Stephen