Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lucian the Assyrian

Another purported witness to ancient Canaanite myth is De Dea Syria or "On the Syrian Goddess" attributed to Lucian of Samosata. This ancient Greek book is disputed on two levels. Many scholars doubt that it was actually written by Lucian of Samosata and they also dispute that it accurately reflects Syrian religious beliefs and practices. In this writing, a temple in northern Syria and its rites are described. Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 125 – after AD 180) was a rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature. Although he wrote solely in Greek, he was ethnically Assyrian. In his works, Lucian refers to himself as a "Syrian", and "barbarian", perhaps indicating "he was from the Semitic and not the imported Greek population" of Samosata. Lucian was also one of the earliest novelists in Western civilization. In A True Story, a fictional narrative work written in prose, he parodied some fantastic tales told by Homer in the Odyssey and some feeble fantasies that were popular in his time. He anticipated "modern" fictional themes like voyages to the moon and Venus, extraterrestrial life and wars between planets, nearly two millennia before Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. His novel is widely regarded as an early, if not the earliest science fiction work. Lucian also wrote a satire called The Passing of Peregrinus, in which the lead character, Peregrinus Proteus, takes advantage of the generosity and gullibility of Christians. This is one of the earliest surviving pagan perceptions of Christianity. (Peregrinus Proteus was a real person who was a member of the Ebionite Jewish Christian community but was excommunicated.) His Philopseudes ("Lover of Lies or Cheater") is a frame story which includes the original version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. (This story was made popular by the Disney Cartoon featuring Micky Mouse.) Lucian almost certainly did not write all of the more than eighty works attributed to him — declamations, essays both laudatory and sarcastic, satiric epigrams, and comic dialogues and symposium with a satirical cast, studded with quotations in alarming contexts and allusions set in an unusual light, designed to be surprising and provocative. His name added luster to any entertaining and sarcastic essay: over 150 surviving manuscripts attest to his continued popularity. The first printed edition of a selection of his works was issued at Florence in 1499. His best known works are A True Story (a romance, patently not "true" at all, which he admits in his introduction to the story), and Dialogues of the Gods and Dialogues of the Dead. Lucian was trained as a rhetorician, a vocation where one pleads in court, composing pleas for others, and teaching the art of pleading. Lucian's practice was to travel about, giving amusing discourses and witty lectures improvised on the spot, somewhat as a rhapsode had done in declaiming poetry at an earlier period. In this way Lucian travelled through Ionia and mainland Greece, to Italy and even to Gaul, and won much wealth and fame. Lucian wrote Attic dialect with a facility almost equal to Plato. He further imitated Herodotus's Ionic dialect so successfully in his work The Syrian Goddess that some scholars refuse to recognize him as the author. Lucian is important as one of the earliest non-Christian historians to write about Jesus. Lucian of Samosata (Born 115 AD) was a well-known Greek satirist and traveling lecturer. More than eighty works bear his name. He mocks the followers of Jesus for their ignorance and credulity, although he does credit Christians with a certain level of morality. He is considered important to Christians for giving insight into the Historical Jesus. We have three quotes about Jesus and his followers. The first quote tells of the lore of the Christians, who worship a man crucified in Palestine because he introduced a new cult to the world. Lucian says, "He was second only to that one whom they still worship today, the man in Palestine who was crucified because he brought this new form of initiation into the world." He continues, "Having convinced themselves that they are immortal and will live forever, the poor wretches despise death and most willingly give themselves to it. Moreover, that first lawgiver of theirs persuaded them that they are all brothers the moment they transgress and deny the Greek gods and begin worshiping that crucified sophists and living by his laws." Lucian's final quote criticizes Christians, "They scorn all possessions without distinction and treat them as community property. They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time."

De Dea Syria ("Concerning the Syrian Goddess") is the conventional Latin title of a work, written in a Herodotean-style of Ionic Greek, which has been traditionally ascribed to the Hellenized Syrian essayist Lucian of Samosata. It is a description of the various religious cults practiced at Hierapolis Bambyce, now Manbij, in Syria. Because of its supposed connection to Lucian, whose reputation as a civilised witty scoffer is well born out by his many genuine essays and dialogues, the value of De Dea Syria as an authentic picture of religious life in Syria in the 2nd century has been unnecessarily diminished, as Lucinda Dirven demonstrated. De Dea Syria describes the orgiastic luxury of the sanctuary and the tank of sacred fish, of which Aelian also relates marvels. According to De Dea Syria, the worship was of a phallic character, votaries offering little male figures of wood and bronze. There were also huge phalli set up like obelisks before the temple, which were ceremoniously climbed once a year and decorated. The story begins with a re-telling of the Atrahasis flood myth where floodwaters are drained through a small cleft in the rock under the temple. For the rest the temple was of Ionic character with golden plated doors and roof, and much gilt decoration. Inside was a holy chamber into which only priests were allowed to enter. Here were statues of a goddess and a god in gold, but the first seems to have been the more richly decorated with gems and other ornaments. Between them stood a gilt xoanon, which seems to have been carried outside in sacred processions. Other rich furniture is described, and a mode of divination by movements of a xoanon of Apollo. A great bronze altar stood in front, set about with statues, and in the forecourt lived numerous sacred animals and birds (but not swine) used for sacrifice. Some three hundred priests served the shrine and there were numerous minor ministrants. The lake was the centre of sacred festivities and it was customary for votaries to swim out and decorate an altar standing in the middle of the water. Self-mutilation and other orgies went on in the temple precinct, and there was an elaborate ritual on entering the city and first visiting the shrine under the conduct of local guides.

How do you say "Word of God" in Aramaic?

It is relatively easy. It is "Miltha D'Alaha." Miltha means "Word." It is feminine in gender but refers to the masculine Jesus. (We shouldn't think of grammatical gender as always corresponding to our literal of physical genders.) Alaha means "god." In the Aramaic section of the book of Daniel, God is called "Al-law." When Jesus was on the cross, he says, (in Mark), "My God," which is transliterated as "Elahi." So, it is clear that the Arabic way of saying God is derived from the Aramaic. But the Islamic concept of God is vastly different to that which was taught by Jesus Christ.

Mel Gibson's Maccabee Movie

Gibson has also courted controversy with the production of Maccabees, which would tell the story of Judah Maccabee, the Jewish hero whose revolt against the Seleucid Empire is celebrated each Hannukah. The Anti-Defamation League condemned the project last fall.
Gibson recently butted heads with Maccabees screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, after Eszterhas wrote Gibson a letter that concluded, "you hate Jews." There is also a recording of Gibson unleashing on Eszterhas a tirade concerning his long-in-the-works script. Eszterhas is no longer attached to the project.
During his interview with, Gibson touched on his in-limbo Maccabees project, and shared his version of events, saying, "A guy gets paid to write a screenplay and doesn't turn anything in for 14 months. That's a serious problem. Not even an outline so I lost my nutter with him. I developed a Viking script almost a year after he started and I already had a second draft and he hadn't even given me an outline…. I DO want to make it [Maccabees] and I will make it. And that'll be a great film."

Obama's problematic quotes

Middle East crisis "noise" and death of ambassador "bumps on the road."

Obama born into privilege-not poverty report raises questions about narrative of Obama's early life Read more:

A newly published report raises questions about some established narratives in the early life of President Obama, suggesting the president's upbringing was one of privilege and not hardship. The Washington Examiner published a 10-part report detailing Obama's path to the White House. Some of the information appears to conflict with the narratives the Obamas and the Democratic Party have pushed, most recently at the party's convention in Charlotte. At the convention, Michelle Obama said they "were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way of money or material possessions." Examiner Executive Editor Mark Tapscott questioned that. "I'm sure he had a difficult childhood given the circumstances with his parents, but from a financial standpoint and social standpoint and so forth , it was not an underprivileged childhood," Tapscott said.

Foxnews: "It's not Islamophobia, it's Islamorealism."

A provocative ad that equates Muslim radicals with savages is set to go up in the city's subway system as violent protests over an anti-Islamic film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad sweep over much of the Muslim world. A conservative blogger who once headed a campaign against an Islamic center near the Sept. 11 terror attack site won a court order to post the ad in 10 subway stations next Monday. The ad reads, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." The ad was plastered on San Francisco city buses in recent weeks, prompting some artists to deface the ads and remove some of the words, including "Jihad," or holy war. The blogger, Pamela Geller, said she filed suit Thursday in the nation's capital to post the ad in Washington's transit system after officials declined to put up the ad in light of the uproar in the Middle East over the anti-Islam film. Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and publisher of a blog called Atlas Shrugs, called an order by a federal judge in New York allowing the ads "a victory for the First Amendment" and said she wasn't concerned that her ad could spark protests like the ones against the depiction of Muslims in the video "Innocence of Muslims." Violence linked to the movie has left at least 30 people in seven countries dead, including the American ambassador to Libya. "If it's not a film it's a cartoon, if it's not a cartoon it's a teddy bear," she said. "What are you going to do? Are you going to reward Islamic extremism? I will not sacrifice my freedom so as not to offend savages." Geller, as head of a group called Stop Islamization of America, helped spur a monthslong campaign two years ago to remove a planned Islamic community center blocks from the World Trade Center site, which she called the "ground zero mosque." Plans to build a larger center are pending, although Muslims still have regular prayer services at a mosque in the building. Geller's group has also placed ads in Metro-North Railroad stations north of New York City that read: "It's not Islamophobia, it's Islamorealism." The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority hadn't seen Geller's lawsuit on Thursday, spokesman Dan Stessel said. The agency told Geller the ad would be "deferred" because of the ongoing violence in the Middle East, he said. [Deferred is a form of censorship. Recently, a privately owned business in Massachusetts placed anti-Obama ads on his private property. The city said they would file suit because the signs violated "zoning ordinances." If the signs were pro-Obama, I have no doubt that the city wouldn't sue. These are all tactics to get around the constitution and to violate free speech.] "To be clear, we have not rejected the ad," Stessel said, but "merely asked the advertiser to be sensitive to the timing of the placement out of a concern for public safety, given current world events." Read more:


The American Embassy in Islamabad, in a bid to tamp down public rage over the anti-Islam film produced in the U.S., is spending $70,000 to air an ad on Pakistani television that features President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denouncing the video. The State Department said Thursday the embassy had compiled brief clips of Obama and Clinton rejecting the contents of the movie and extolling American tolerance for all religions into a 30-second public service announcement that is running on seven Pakistani networks. Obama and Clinton's comments, which are from previous public events in Washington, are in English but subtitled in Urdu, the main Pakistani language. Read more:

The anti-Mohammed movie had nothing to do with terrorist attacks-it turns out that the protesters at the American Embassy in Cairo were demanding the release of "the Blind Sheik"-who was behind the first WTC attack-and not protesting the movie. Most Muslims have learned about the movie from Obama-they seemed to be largely unaware of it until he began using it to divert the blame for the attack from Muslims and onto the United States. Obama's tactic in dealing with terror is to downplay it-he did it with the Fort Hood Shooter, The Christmas Diaper Bomber and with the 911 anniversary embassy attacks. NOTE: Obama will not allow the Fort Hood Bomber go to trail as long as he is president. He must protect his fellow Muslim.

A Muhammad cartoon a day
Daniel Pipes
Published September 21, 2012
When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in his magical 1989 realist novel "The Satanic Verses," Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He issued a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West. We don't insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.

That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot or kill.
Khomeini's edict also had the unexpected side effect of empowering individuals – Western and Islamist alike – to drive their countries' policies.
Fleming Rose, a newspaper editor, created the greatest crisis for Denmark since World War II by publishing 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad. Florida pastor Terry Jones sowed panic among American commanders in Afghanistan by threatening to burn a Koran. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and friends prompted a crisis in U.S.-Egyptian relations with his amateurish "Innocence of Muslims" video. And the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo caused the French government to temporarily shut down
diplomatic missions in 20 countries. Plans by the German satirical magazine Titanicto publish attacks on Muhammad likewise led German missions to be closed.
On the Islamist side, an individual or group took one of these perceived offenses and turned it into a reason to riot. Khomeini did this with "The Satanic Verses." Ahmad Abu Laban did likewise with the Danish cartoons. Afghan President Hamid Karzai goaded his people to riot over burned Korans by American soldiers, and Egyptian preacher
Khaled Abdullah turned "Innocence of Muslims" into an international event.
Any Westerner can now buy a
Koran for a dollar
and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other, as confrontations occur with increasing frequency.
Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media outlets reached a consensus -- "Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day, until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot"? What would happen if Korans were recurrently burned?
Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?
I predict the latter. A Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, would make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs. Westerners could then once again treat Islam as they do other religions – freely, to criticize without fear. That would demonstrate to Islamists that Westerners will not capitulate, that they reject Islamic law, that they are ready to stand up for their values.
So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.
Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.
Read more:

An organized Al-Qaida attack-not a spontaneous demonstration About 100 attackers carried out a "coordinated assault" last week on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, intelligence sources tell Fox News, further discrediting earlier Obama administration claims that the deadly attack was a "spontaneous" outburst in response to an anti-Islam film.
Fox News' sources say the attack came in two waves and involved rocket-propelled grenades, as well as mortar fire, and both the consulate and safe house were attacked seemingly with inside knowledge.
Libyan officials are now "absolutely convinced" the attack was preplanned, sources say, adding to recent indications that Al Qaeda was involved, specifically a former Guantanamo detainee named Sufyan Ben Qumu.
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the strike, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, initially described the attack on the consulate as spontaneous with little evidence of a well-planned assault. Administration officials also pointed to the anti-Islam film that has fueled protests in the Mideast against the United States, suggesting the consulate attack may have begun as one of those protests and escalated.
But this week, the administration began shifting its explanations for the attack, with National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen testifying before the Senate on Wednesday that it was a "terrorist attack."
Carney followed up by saying for the first time Thursday that it was "self evident" that the attack was an act of terrorism, but President Obama seemed to backtrack a bit when pressed later that day by a TV interviewer. Obama did not reference terrorism, instead invoking the controversial film, which some analysts have said is being used as a tool of extremists to incite violence.
Qumu, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee, is a Libyan who was released from the U.S. prison in Cuba in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition he be kept in jail. He was released by the Qaddafi regime as part of its reconciliation effort with Islamists in 2008. [Amazing! Released from prison in about one year!-and released to kill more Americans.]
His Guantanamo files also show he has ties to the financiers behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The declassified files also point to ties with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a known Al Qaeda affiliate.

Read more:

The Librarian of Basra-(This is a children's book that portrays American soldiers burning down libraries and tormenting elderly women.) I was deployed to Iraq twice. I was in Basra when this story is purported to have taken place. When I returned from Iraq, I was substitute teaching and I read this book. This book is an attack on me and all the soldiers who served in Iraq. I believe it is all a vicious lie-and anti-American propaganda. I think this book can be emotionally harmful to children. Children in an American classroom could have a parent, sibling, or aunt or uncle who has served or is serving in combat and this book portrays our heroes as vicious monsters terrorizing an old woman and burning down libraries. I was in Basra, and I can tell you from experience, we weren't burning down libraries there. Its a darn lie. How do you think a child feels when the teacher tells them that their family member, whom they love and admire, are doing all of these terrible things? In response to this book, I wrote "A Soldier in Iraq" for children, so that they can know what we were really doing in Iraq and what it is like to be deployed, so I can explain it to them at a child's level and perhaps calm their fears and anxieties. I rate this book "NO STARS"-its garbage. Drawings of our American heroes in this book gives them a demonic appearance. This book can be emotionally harmful and damaging to children whose family members serve in the armed forces and I know from experience-it is not a true story. [[ASIN:1456338153 A Soldier in Iraq]]

News stories about Copts-I have been to Egypt three times and I have seen the persecution of Copts myself. I have been trying for twenty-years to create awareness. And it is almost impossible. Even after mass killing of Copts by rabid Islamic radicals-the Liberal News Media isn't interested. But now, I haven't ever seen as many news stories about the Copts and who they are. I guess the key to creating awareness is to create low-budget anti-Mohammed/anti-Islamic movies.

Coptic Orthodox Church braces for backlash

Q&A: Coptic Christians on film sparking protests

Egypt's Christians anxious, anticipate troubles

It is time for Hillary Clinton to Resign by Arthur Herman

"This is Libya's moment. This is Libya's victory and the future belongs to you."

--Hillary Clinton, October 17, 2011 That was our Secretary of State on a visit to Libya almost a year ago, when administration was touting the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi as its biggest foreign policy triumph after killing Usama Bin Laden–and the success of "leading from behind." Well, now we know that leading from behind was just the excuse for a policy of weakness and passivity–and the cost of that weakness in American prestige and lives, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Remember that Hillary Clinton ad in the 2008 presidential campaign, about who we would want answering that phone call to the Oval Office at 3 a.m.? Now we can assume she would answer the same way she's handled this Libyan debacle: with weakness, prevarication, and stunning misjudgment. As details leak out about the events leading up to the brutal murder of Stevens and three other Americans, it's becoming obvious the State Department knowingly put Stevens in danger of his life, and Secretary Clinton needs to take the lion's share of the blame. After all, Benghazi was no remote tropical post. Clinton was the first cabinet-level visitor to Libya back in October after Qaddafi's fall. Libya has been a major focus of the administration's policy on the Arab Spring, which has been to get the US out of the way and let the locals run wild. All the talk has been about the success of America's hands off policy in Libya, even as armed militias were not only roaming the streets but taking over security, including supposedly protecting our consulate in Benghazi. The British knew better. A rocket-propelled grenade attack on an embassy motor convoy on June 11 in Benghazi led them to close their consulate there, but ours stayed open even after someone exploded a bomb nearby five days before. Then as the September 11 anniversary loomed, nervous Libyan officials issued a warning to the American embassy three days beforehand about the danger of an attack–a warning Clinton and the State Department ignored. Ambassador Stevens himself was worried. Pages from his diary found by CNN note his fears about security threats, a rise in Islamic extremism in Libya, and even that he might be on a Islamist "hit list." Yet the State Department still gave him no security detail for his visit to Benghazi–and the two Navy SEALs who died at his side had volunteered to help, since no one from the State Department was stepping up. Finally, diplomatic sources say forty-eight hours before the attack State Department officials got "credible intelligence" that there might be attacks on US diplomatic missions on the 9/11 anniversary: yet did nothing to alert anyone in Libya, Cairo, or anywhere else. Then Secretary Clinton compounded her failure by insisting, even after the Libyan president said there was no doubt the Benghazi attack was "coordinated" and "preplanned, " that the deaths were the result of spontaneous demonstrations caused by a six-month old You Tube video, not by our failed policy and State's crass negligence. Almost a week after our government's head of the Counterterrorism Center admitted to Congress it was a "terror attack," she's said nothing to correct her version of events. In fact, the weekend after the murders, as that version was steadily unraveling, she let UN ambassador Susan take the flack-and perpetuate the lie. So what's Hillary been doing lately? Appearing on Pakistani TV in a groveling apology for that same video–even as Pakistanis were rioting in the streets, killing 14 and wounding 70; the Al Qaeda flag has been raised over the US embassy in Cairo; and Libya is racing closer to chaos and civil war. The Secretary of State is the person most responsible for how the United States presents itself to other nations–and protecting those who do that job for us. In normal times, under a normal president, Hillary Clinton's performance on both would be enough to force her to step down. But these aren't normal times. So for now, she's still at the helm at State-- to our nation's shame.
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