Jun 23, 2022
"Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." (from the Book of Jude) The Septuagint Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, made for the Library of Alexandria, was literally "The Bible" of early Christianity, and it included several additional texts (Apocrypha) not found in other Bibles. A translation of it in contemporary English has been published.
Aramaic Was the Language of the Original Jesus Movement: There are impressive Aramaic-Syriac manuscripts of the New Testament that have been translated into English, and even older Aramaic-Syriac manuscripts of the four gospels. Discover the Peshitta, and the Old Syriac Gospels (Evangelion da-Mepharreshe) from Codex Sinaiticus.
Divine Light in the Dead Sea Scrolls: We next turn our attention to the Dead Sea Scroll discovery of Qumran, and hear selections of hymns (psalms) composed by the enigmatic prophet, who was the founder of this community in antiquity, known only as "The Teacher of Righteousness". Also mentioned is the Book of First Enoch, quoted by Jude in the New Testament, and a popular text at Qumran.
The Psalms of Early Christianity Are Back: The book where the Messiah perhaps for the first time begins to materialize, makes his first literary appearance in the first century A.D., is the Book of the Odes. This mysterious collection of ancient hymns written in Syriac, a dialect of the Aramaic language, has been described as "some of the most beautiful songs of peace and joy that the world possesses." These mystical poems and prayers remind me of Rumi and other Sufi poets. Sometimes I refer to the Odes as 'the would-be book of New Testament psalms', and I find the Odes to be a very spiritual book, one of the finest examples of a "lost book of the Bible" that got misnamed, misfiled and misplaced somewhere along the way. And, yes, it was viewed to be scripture in some places, such as Asia Minor, Syria/Mesopotamia and Egypt.
The Author of the Gospel of Luke Said "Many" Had Already Composed Gospels Before He Wrote His: We learn about Sayings Gospel Q, a collection of the sayings of Jesus. Quotes from it were included in several early Christian gospels. We also explore a translation containing over twenty gospels and surviving fragments of gospels from the early centuries A.D.
The Gospel of Thomas, A Wisdom Gospel or Gospel For Contemplative Mystics Seeking A Present-Tense Kingdom of God Here and Now: The Gospel of Didymus Jude Thomas the Twin, a collection of the sayings of Jesus, went missing for almost two millennia until three copies of it were almost miraculously discovered several decades ago: two sections of it written in Greek found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and a more complete edition in the Coptic language discovered near a monastery not far from Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt buried under the sands of time in a clay storage jar. This important lost book has been found again. Practically predicting it’s own rediscovery the book of Thomas says: "Know what is before your face, and what is hidden from you will be revealed to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor anything buried which will not be raised." (Saying Five) Also mentioned is the possible inclusion in the Gospel of Thomas of a few sayings of Yeshua from another early Christian scripture known as the Gospel of the Hebrews.
If You Don't Want Your Saints and Mystics, We'll Tak'em! In the West, they might not be known, are not usually quoted, and their names are never spoken. Today we remember a few of the "orphan" saints and "homeless" mystics of Christianity, including those from the almost unknown community called "The Church of the East". Shared are excerpts from the out-of-this-world prayers of Joseph the Visionary.
This Spiritual Awakening Radio podcast includes a list of recommended reading: translations of the scriptures referring to above, anthologies of apocryphal writings, and also mentioned is the book, Disciples, by Keith Akers, a scholarly, rather thorough and impressive documentation of the vegetarianism of the Jesus Movement (Ebionites or Hebrew Christians).
In Divine Love, Light, and Sound,
Spiritual Awakening Radio