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Neil Godfrey

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  1. Hello Neil,

    I am hoping you might be of some assistance. I am doing some research into the character(s) of Alphaeus as mentioned in the New Testament, and I came upon the following quote of yours:

    “Alphaeus is a designator given to a child thought of as a substitute for one lost. Levi, son of Alphaeus, is called by substituted in the list of Twelve by another son of Alphaeus, James.”

    While I am familiar with the information you kindly provide in the first sentence, I am afraid I am bit confused about the point you are making in the second. You write that “Levi…is called by substituted”. As the name “James” or “Jacob” itself means “supplant” rather than “substitute” (as you yourself make make mention), and in general there would thus seem to be no indication of Levi being called by any one personally referred to as “substitution” (i.e. Alphaeus) — though, of course, both Levi and James are given as sons of Alphaeus….

    At any rate, I have a feeling I’m simply missing something rather fundamental apropos of the whole point of the second sentence! As I have a feeling it may very well be quite profound, any clarification you would good enough of to provide would be terrific….. In fact, any and everything else you have shedding light on the identity of Alphaeus I would as well warmly welcome

    Thanks again,

  2. I noticed your back and forth with McGrath and thought this paper might prove helpful. It mentions demons in the air and celestial realms and also mentions the Ascension of Isaiah. Do you have access to JSTOR?

    Where Do Devils Live? A Problem in the Textual Criticism of Ephesians 6, 12Author(s): Christopher J. A. Source: Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sep., 1976), pp. 161-174 Published by: BRILLStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1583331

  3. Neil,

    I am trying to get you interviewed on a fledgling but successful (number 3 in votes for show type) atheist and skeptic pod/blog.

    Ive asked Steve Wiggins (sects and violence) similarly.

    I hope you dont mind me being forward in promoting you in such a manner.

  4. Hey Neil,
    Love the website, find it very insightful. Id love to talk to you about many things but your parallel between Odysseus’ Bow and Jesus’ Cross will suffice for now. I mentioned this to MacDonald and he dismissed it for some reason telling me that, initially it didn’t seem to satisfy his criteria, I found that odd considering that to me the parallels are almost eerie and haunting. Since he emphasizes Jesus’ death as imitating Hector’s death he may be overlooking the possibility that Mark may have still used Odysseus as a model one last time and found inspiration in book 21 of the Odyssey. Nevertheless, the parallel is dead on and may reveal more if looked at more closely, good job with that one Neil. However you emphasize the similarities between Simon and Eumaeus but not the Cross and Bow. Please allow me to add several things.

    1. The Bow and Cross are both intricate to the Heroes’ Identities. They are merely mentioned early throughout the stories and only appear at the end. Odysseus says, “well I know how to handle a fine polished bow” and later speaks of the one stored at his house. Also, Jesus says, “he that wants to follow me must deny himself and take up his cross”. Strangely, they too (the bow and cross) are associated with following and forsaking though there are differences but Penelope says to the Suitors that she will ” ‘follow’ the hand that can string the bow with the greatest ease, yes ‘forsaking’ this house”, that would be Odysseus. The disciples are told to follow and forsake their homes in respect to Jesus and his cross. Also the 12 could not handle the cross just as no one could handle the bow, Antinous says, “no easy game I wager, to string his polished bow”. 3 times Peter denies Jesus and Telemachus strained to string the bow 3 times. One can notice also that rewards are offered to those who can string the bow and take up the cross, “here is the prize at issue, right before you look, a woman who has no equal” for those who string the bow and Jesus tells Peter and the twelve that if they take up their cross that they would be awarded in the world to come. Greasing the bow was also a way to make it easier to string but Odysseus didn’t need it Like Jesus who didn’t need to take anything to make the cross easier to bear. All this on top of the objects being carried to the Heroes, to the place of slaughter.

    2. You did mention that Jesus bears more than Odysseus, and you also mentioned the insults that Odysseus has to deal with by the spring but the insults for both heroes continues once the rustics hand over these sacred objects. Both Homer and Mark here emphasize the Heroes’ royalty, Eumaeus takes the bow to his “King” while the inscription on Jesus’ cross reads “King” of the Jews.
    While Odysseus holds the bow and Jesus is on the cross more
    mocking occurs for both of them. While usually the taunts are private and one on one the final taunts are collective. Homer says that “a suitor would glance at his neighbor, jeering, taunting, look at our connoisseur of bows, sly old fox…I wish him luck! Some cocksure chimed in”. Same for Jesus, “those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying you who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, etc. These taunts are specific because they refer to the so called ineptness of the heroes to deal with the bow and cross. The taunts emphasize that Odysseus cant string the bow, Jesus cant come down.

    3. Here I’d like to compare Jesus crying out a Psalm to the bow singing like a swallow. It may be the weakest comparison here but not so crazy. Under Odysseus’ touch the bow sang out clear and sharp as a swallows cry. Now the cross in Mark doesn’t cry out but Jesus does, a Psalm, as poetic as the bow. Jesus’ cry caused confusion but the bow’s cry was clear and sharp. A talking cross is not so crazy as you know in the Gospel of Peter the cross actually speaks!

    4. Lastly the Heroes’ God sends a sign. Zeus sends a lightning bolt, “his blazing sign” and there is complete “darkness” while Jesus is on the cross. The suitors finally see the beggar for who he really is just like the Centurion who finally sees Jesus as God’s son. Mark may be mixing in the Iliad with the Odyssey at this final point of the narrative. Odysseus strips himself of his rags, (is he nude?) when he finally reveals himself while Jesus is most likely naked since they stripped him of his purple cloak, royal wear, a bit of Transvaluation going on.

    Anyway Neil, hope I was a little helpful and I would love to hear more from you about this. Cheers.

    Jason B.

  5. Hi, Neil/Tim,
    I have stopped receiving the very interesting postings as a subscriber.

    I wonder if there is a problem somewhere or if I have been unsubscribed.


  6. Richard Bauckham’s “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” 2nd edition was publisht recently. Any plans for an updated review at all? Is there a pdf somewhere pls of your 1st edition critique?



    1. I have not come across the second edition yet. I don’t really want to buy it if the only difference is the addition of a new chapter. Why can’t he simply make the additions or revisions free online?

      Anyway, I wrote those Bauckham reviews a long time ago. I would want to re-read them and possibly revise them before collating them into a single file, especially for tone. I do intend to put some of my series of posts up on vridar.info one day.

      1. As you were. I just realized I do have access to the second edition after all. I will at least have to write something about his three new chapters.

  7. Hey, Neil. Love your work. Do you have any perspective on the hypothesis that “the Rock” was one of the names used for the god of the Old Testament, which has since been replaced by other words since the Catholics wanted to restrict its use to their supposed first Pope, Peter? Thanks in advance.

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