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Greek Connection
In Response To: Re: Alexander and monotheism ()

Hi!

One may wonder when and under which circumstances the Hebrew scriptures were written and edited. One may also wonder about the Hebrew language, the Biblical Hebrew in which these scriptures were written. Was it perhaps solely a priestly language used exclusively for the writing of "sacred scriptures"? Didnt the people speak Aramaic?

And the Hebrew script itself, the "Chatibah ashurith", the boxy Hebrew letters as opposed to the ancient Phoenician or "Paleo-Hebrew" script. When and where, and by whom, was it invented?

One must also, of course, recognize that the Hebrew "sacred history" writings belonged to a certain literary tradition, namely the Canaanean/Phoenician (for example Ugarit) tradition, which in turn is known to have been largely influenced by or related to the Greek tradition as reflected in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

To what extent, then, was early Judaism influenced by or related to the Greek tradition? Maybe that influence was far greater than has generally been acknowledged? If, as one may assume, the birth of Judaism and its religious scriptures are of a relatively late period, then one major influence may definitely have come from Greece.

After all, there are some very evident, but perhaps largely overlooked, similarities between the two traditions. Foremost, perhaps, are the very similar structures of the Greek Alpha-beta and the Hebrew Aleph-bet. The names of the letters are almost identical. And both alphabets have letters that are also used as numerals, thereby through gematria giving unto words and sentences also a numerical value or "vibration" in a mystical sense. The NT Greek scriptures are well known to use such number mysticism to a large extent, as are the Hebrew scriptures, and foremost among them the Torah itself. Also, in both traditions, the individual letters of the alphabet carry in a kabbalistic sense each its own arcane meaning, giving added connotations to the words that are being formed.

Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy is known, at least to some degree, to permeate much of the NT. And if one looks a little closer at Judaism perhaps much of the Greek philosophy, mythology, and cosmology will be found there, too, although of course almost entirely judaized. For example, in the Platonic teachings, the ultimate source of all existence is named The One (Greek 'To hen'). Could it be that this is echoed by the very words of the Judaic creed: "Hear, O Israel, YHWH, our God, is ONE"?

Sometimes it is as if the two traditions mirror each other in a peculiar way. YHWH, the Hebrew sacred name of God, written with consonants only, seems to be strangely mirrored by the Greek IAO, written with vocals only. One provides the consonants, the other the vocals, as it were. Each name signifies God the Creator and both names carry the same kind of arcane letter and number symbolism.

The very emblem of Judaism, the Six-pointed Star or so called "Shield (or Star) of David", is largely a symbol belonging to Hellenistic and Hermetic arcane lore. The twelve Olympic gods are mirroring the "twelve Tribes", of course, and in the same manner the very Seven-branched "Menorah" may be seen to reflect the symbolism of the Seven-stringed Lyre of Orpheus.

In a similar way as the roots of Christianity can be traced not only to Flavian Rome but also to Greece, Persia, Egypt, and even India, so can the roots of Judaism be traced to several traditions. In a sense I think it could be said somewhat paradoxically that Christianity in fact is much older than Judaism - not, of course, the pro-Roman gospels of the first century CE, but the "Gnostic" Christianity that existed a long time "before Christ", so to speak, even as far back as in ancient Egypt.

Since a lot of Hellenism went into Christianity (along with other influences) it is only reasonable to think that a lot of it went into the forming of Judaism, too, only a lot more thoroughly assimilated and judaized.

Helge