Brother AACOOLDRE : Lazarus: The human passover

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    AACOOLDRE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Jul 26, 2001
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    Josephus tells a story which becomes the causus belli for Titus’s final assault on the Temple in 70AD.

    … I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians? It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard. I had indeed willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age; and besides, my country would have had little reason to thank me for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time…

    There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar (Lazarus), of the village Bethezob, which signifies the House of Hyssop (A. John 19:29) She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she east at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow (B. Luke 2:34-35), when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with any thing but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, (C. Matthew 24:19)she said, "O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews." As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them (D. Luke 10:40-42/John 12:2-3), and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, "This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also." After which those men went out trembling, being never so much a frighten at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.
    5. This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. But for Caesar, he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. That they had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple which we have preserved hitherto; and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. That, however, this horrid action of eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself (E. Luke 2:33-36), and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these. And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in; nor could he expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the avoiding whereof it only was probable they might have repented”. –(War of the Jews Book 6.3. 199-211)

    Josephus describes the incident as “so portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age/time”. Why would this event be portentous to posterity and how would Josephus have “innumerable witnesses”? with this introduction, Josephus seems to be signaling that this story represents an enigma to be solved. Although the event was reportedly discussed among many, there could be at most a few of the “seditious” who witnessed the Cannibal Mary display of half her son’s carcass, and no witnesses at all to Mary’s first speech, or to the murder of her child Eleazar in greek Lazarus in Hebrew.

    The timing of this incident (At Passover), the reference to “the house of hyssop (a plant used to mark Israelite houses at the time of Passover), and the statement that the child’s is roasted to prevent breaking bones, lead to the conclusion that the child is a human Passover sacrifice. Thus, Josephus’s tale reprents a grimly concrete actualization of the spiritualized ritual of the Christian Eucharist of eating Christ penis symbolized as manna/Mushroom. The idea of the myth came from Osiris (El-Ausar-us) whose body was cut in parts with the penis being eaten by a Nile-Fish.
    The names of Mary and Eleazar also suggest a possible relationship to the New Testament. In Luke 2:34-35, Simeon gives Mary a prophecy that “A sword will pierce through your own soul”: a prophecy apparently fulfilled by the famine, which “pierced through her very heart and marrow”. Mary’s admonition to the “varlets” to “come, eat of this food” is reminiscent of Christ’s words at the Last Supper, and the mention of “innumerable witnesses” seems to be an echo of the multitudes who reportedly witnessed Jesus resurrection, which indeed was a myth “portentous to posterity”.
    Mary describes the event as “A myth for the world”, and a “fury to the varlets” that would “complete the calamities of the Jews”. Joe Atwill further sees a pun on the words “mythos” (myth), “Mysos” (an atrocity), and “misos” (inspiring bitter hatred, in this case the bitter hatred by the Romans against the Jews). This again seems uncalibrated and inappropriate as a commentary on the plight of the starving Jews; but if it’s talking about the anti-semitic effects of the Christian myth against the Jews, it is tremendously perceptive, if not prescient.
    Atwill noted another odd parallel between Joesphus passage in War of the Jews and the New Testament. Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:2-3 both describe a dinner at which Mary and Jesus are present, and Martha is serving. If we assume that the two passages are both describing the same dinner they may be taken together as follows:

    Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (John 12: 1-3)
    But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

    In this periscope, Lazarus has just recently been raised from the ground of the dead, not raised to life. However, he’s been dead for 4days, which is one day later than his souls would have departed from his body, according to Jewish lore. So unless one is inclined to believe in very unlikely miracles (from either a Gentile or Jewish perspective), Lazarus is nothing but a dead body. We also meet Mary, who is served a meal of “the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her”. This, of course, is exactly the same portion that cannibal Mary has saved for herself of the child. And if Lazarus is dead, “They made him a supper” is an invitation to draw the conclusion that a macabre double entendre was intended. Therefore, the Christian Eucharist was in part to parody the famine they had when they fought the Romans and lost. So its black comedy and has nothing to do with spirituality. The grim joke is pulled together in part together by the very specific verbal motif of the “good portion…not taken away”. The Joke is on us.
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