Seed picking with Philosophers

 

Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. Acts 17:18 NKJV.

Babbler, spermologos, Strong’s #4691: Athenian slang for:

  1. A bird that picks up seeds;
  2. Men lounging around the marketplace, making a living by picking up whatever falls from the loads of merchandise;
  3. A babbler, chatterer, or gossip retailing bits and pieces of misinformation;
  4. A pseudo-intellectual who insists on spouting off.

Tragically, the super-intellectuals on Mars Hill failed to see in Paul all the necessary ingredients for being a truth bringer.

Epicureanism (seeking tranquility as the highest good) and Stoicism (being free passion and passively accepting everything in life as inevitable, impersonal fate) were popular philosophies.

 

 

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Thematic maps of the Apocalypse

ALL OVER THE MAP

A Blog by Betsy Mason & Greg Miller

These 15th-Century Maps Show How the Apocalypse Will Go Down

The triangles in this map from a 15th-century German apocalyptic manuscript predict the rise of the Antichrist between 1570 and 1600.  THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY

The triangles in this map from a 15th-century German apocalyptic manuscript predict the rise of the Antichrist between 1570 and 1600.
THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY

In 15th-century Europe, the Apocalypse weighed heavily on the minds of the people. Plagues were rampant. The once-great capital of the Roman empire, Constantinople, had fallen to the Turks. Surely, the end was nigh.

Dozens of printed works described the coming reckoning in gory detail, but one long-forgotten manuscript depicts the Apocalypse in a very different way—through maps. “It has this sequence of maps that illustrate each stage of what will happen,” says Chet Van Duzer, a historian of cartography who has written a book about the previously unstudied manuscript.

The geography is sketchy by modern standards, but the maps make one thing perfectly clear: If you’re a sinner, you’ve got nowhere to hide. The Antichrist is coming, and his four horns will reach the corners of the earth. And it just gets worse from there.

The manuscript is also the first known collection of thematic maps, or maps that depict something that’s not a physical feature of the environment (like rivers, roads, and cities). Thematic maps are ubiquitous today—from rainbow-colored weather maps to the red-and-blue maps of election results—but most historians date their origins to the 17th century. The apocalypse manuscript, which now belongs to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, was written two centuries earlier, Van Duzer writes in his recently published book, Apocalyptic Cartography.

According to the manuscript, the four horns of the Antichrist will extend to the ends of the earth between 1600 and 1606. The horns represent the ways he will persuade people to follow him: deceit, cunning, cruelty, and imitation of the Deity. THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY

According to the manuscript, the four horns of the Antichrist will extend to the ends of the earth between 1600 and 1606. The horns represent the ways he will persuade people to follow him: deceit, cunning, cruelty, and imitation of the Deity. THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY

According to the manuscript, the four horns of the Antichrist will extend to the ends of the earth between 1600 and 1606. The horns represent the ways he will persuade people to follow him: deceit, cunning, cruelty, and imitation of the Deity.

 

THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY

The manuscript was made in Lübeck, Germany, between 1486 and 1488. It’s written in Latin, so it wasn’t meant for the masses. But it’s not as scholarly as other contemporary manuscripts, and the penmanship is poor, Van Duzer says. “It’s aimed at the cultural elite, but not the pinnacle of the cultural elite.”

The author is unknown. Van Duzer suspects it may have been a well-traveled doctor named Baptista. If so, he was in some ways very much a product of his time, yet in other ways centuries ahead of it.

The cartographic account of the Apocalypse begins with a map that shows the condition of the world between 639 and 1514. The earth is a circle, and Asia, Africa, and Europe are depicted as pie wedges surrounded by water. The text describes the rise of Islam, which the author sees as a growing threat to the Christian world. “There’s no way to escape it, this work is very anti-Islamic,” Van Duzer says. “It’s unfortunate,” he adds, but it was a widespread bias in that place and time.

THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY Unlike the Huntington manuscript, many works published around the same time, such as this hand-colored German book published in 1470, used pictures to depict the impending horrors of the Apocalypse. (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS)

THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY
Unlike the Huntington manuscript, many works published around the same time, such as this hand-colored German book published in 1470, used pictures to depict the impending horrors of the Apocalypse. (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS)

Subsequent maps, which you can see in the gallery above, depict the “Sword of Islam” conquering Europe, followed by the rise of the Antichrist, a massive triangle that extends from pole to pole. Another map depicts the gates of Hell opening up on Judgment Day, which the author predicts will occur in 1651. A small, featureless globe depicts the world after that.

Unlike the Huntington manuscript, many works published around the same time, such as this hand-colored German book published in 1470, used pictures to depict the impending horrors of the Apocalypse. (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS)

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

All the maps in the manuscript are symbolic, but the post-apocalyptic map takes minimalism to the max. “There’s nothing on it, but it’s very clearly labeled as a map,” Van Duzer says. “It raises the question of what is a map, and it explores that boundary.”

The text is filled with idiosyncratic details. The author calculated the distance to Paradise: 777 German miles from Lübeck to Jerusalem, and thence another 1000 miles to the eastern end of the Earth (a German mile is an obsolete measurement with many variations, making it difficult to pin down the modern equivalent). He also calculated the circumferences of Earth and Hell (8,000 and 6,100 German miles, respectively, though his use of different numbers for pi suggests a shaky grasp of geometry).

In addition to the apocalyptic section, the manuscript includes a section on astrological medicine and a treatise on geography that’s remarkably ahead of its time. For example, the author writes about the need to adjust the size of text to prevent distortions on maps and make them easier to read, an issue cartographers still wrestle with today. (At the same time, he also chastises mapmakers for placing monsters on maps in places where they didn’t exist, an issue cartographers rarely wrestle with today.)

The geographical treatise ends with a short discussion of the purpose and function of world maps. It’s here, Van Duzer says, that the author outlines an essentially modern understanding of thematic maps to illustrate characteristics of the people or political organization of different regions.

“For me this is one of the most amazing passages, to have someone from the 15th century telling you their ideas about what maps can do.”

—Greg Miller

 Interesting?

 

The Pope who claimed to be Jesus Christ in the flesh

THE CURIOUS CASE OF CARDINAL SARTO’S HOMILYsick

Does the pope speak?
It is Jesus Christ who is speaking!

“The Pope is not simply the representative of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, he is Jesus Christ Himself, under the veil of the flesh, and who by means of a being common to humanity continues His ministry amongst men … Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ Who is speaking. Does he teach? It is Jesus Christ Who teaches. Does he confer grace or pronounce an anathema? It is Jesus Christ Himself Who is pronouncing the anathema and conferring the grace. Hence consequently, when one speaks of the Pope, it is not necessary to examine, but to obey: there must be no limiting the bounds of the command, in order to suit the purpose of the individual whose obedience is demanded: there must be no cavilling at the declared will of the Pope, and so invest it with quite another than that which he has put upon it: no preconceived opinions must be brought to bear upon it: no rights must be set up against the rights of the Holy Father  to teach and command; his decisions are not to be criticized, or his ordinances disputed. Therefore by Divine ordination, all, no matter how august the person may be — whether he wear a crown or be invested with the purple, or be clothed in the sacred vestments: all must be subject to Him Who has had all things put under Him.”

Source: Evangelical Christendom, Vol. 49, January 1, 1895,  pg. 15, the organ of the Evangelical Alliance, published in London by J. S. Phillips. (See also Index pagepg. 14)

Frequently quoted, this blasphemous claim is attributed to the inaugural sermon (given in St. Mark’s) of Cardinal Giuseppe Melchior Sarto, Patriarch of Venice (1893-1903). His elevation to Cardinal and Patriarch, in June of 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, was contested and delayed for 18 months by the Italian government, who claimed the right of exequatur, but withheld their approval. (See Evangelical Christendom, Vol. 48, May 1, 1894, pg. 142.) During that time, Cardinal Sarto was even denied entry into the city of Venice. King Humbert finally relented September 5th of 1894, giving his assent to the appointment. In his first pastoral letter to the Venetians, Cardinal Sarto then wrote:

“Harmony between the different social classes must be re-established; peace must reign on earth. This is the task I intend to perform for you; this is the duty I promise to fulfil that all may once again be subject to the dominion of God, Jesus Christ and His Vicar on earth.”

Source: Saint Pius X, The New Italian Life Of The Saint, by Fr. Hieronymo Dal-Gal, translated and adapted by Rev. Thomas F. Murray, M.A., fourth revised impression, published by M. H. Gill and Son Ltd., 50 Upper O’Connell Street, 1954, pg. 104.

Dal-Gal continues:

“On the afternoon of November 24th 1894, a steamboat of the Royal Marine carried Cardinal Sarto over the peaceful waters of the Grand Canal, stopping in the close vicinity of the Golden Cathedral of St. Mark. All the bells of the city announced the joy and triumph of the multitudinous throngs lining the canals and crowding at the windows of the palaces. They waved their white flags beneath the rich marble balconies and shouted a prolonged chorus of jubilation as the Cardinal in his scarlet robes passed by, blessing them as a father does his children. … Midst such festivity, flourish and magnificence did the humble Patriarch enter the city of the Doges; … [pg. 107] Cardinal Sarto’s first real meeting with the Venetians took place the following morning when he celebrated Solemn High Mass in the Cathedral of St. Mark and addressed his first words to them from the pulpit. The Cathedral was brilliantly illuminated, and a huge crowd of people hastened to take a closer glance at their new Patriarch and listen to his words.”

Source: Ibid, pgs. 106 & 107.

As first reported by Evangelical Christendom, the Cardinal’s homily was, in context, boldly asserting the Pope to be the sole authority to appoint the Princes of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Sarto later became Pope Pius X (1903-1914). His sermon was also cited in:

  • Catholique Nationale, July 13, 1895 (Reported in the Protestant Church Review of October 3, and November 14th, 1895, and the India Watchman, in The Friend, A Religious And Literary Journal, Volume LXIX, 1896, Philadelphia, pg. 154.)
  • Daniel and the Revelation: The Chart of Prophecy and Our Place In It, A Study of the Historical and Futurist Interpretation, by Joseph Tanner, published in London by Hodder and Stoughton, 1898, pages 153, 154.

In Publications of the Catholic Truth Society, Volume 29, 1896, The Catholic Truth Society of London published a booklet by Rev. Sydney F. Smith S. J. titled Does The Pope Claim To Be God. On pages 10 and 11 it reveals that Cardinal Sarto was queried about the alleged homily, and that he gave the following reply in a letter written sometime before Jan. 10, 1896:

“… I have read all the homilies I have made since my coming here in Venice, and only in the sermon for the anniversary of the election of the Holy Father, I said these exact words: ‘The Pope represents Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore is a loving father. The life of the Pope is a holocaust of love for the human family. His word is love. Love, his weapons; love, the answer he gives to all who hate him; love, his flag, —i.e., the Cross, which signed the greatest triumph on earth and in heaven.’ … &c.”

The Pope at the time, Leo XIII, was elected on February 20th, 1878, so the date referred to by Cardinal Sarto for his homily celebrating the Pope’s anniversary would have been on or about February 20th of 1895, while the blasphemous homily attributed to him was given at the first Mass he celebrated in St. Mark’s, which was on Sunday November 25th, 1894, some three months earlier. Note that the above article in Evangelical Christendom was already in print and on the street some two months before Cardinal Sarto gave the sermon he offers as the genuine one!  I find that very curious indeed.

Clearly when Cardinal Sarto was contemplating his reply, he was not aware of the Evangelical Christendom article of January 1st, 1895, that essentially pinpointed the homily as the one he gave the day after he had so triumphantly entered the city of Venice as its new Patriarch, a mere five weeks earlier. And who would need to check their records in order to ascertain if they had ever given such a sermon and made such claims? I would suggest that rather than being a credible denial, Cardinal Sarto (Pius X) offered an evasive and inadequate reply that does not exonerate him, rather it tends to support the reported blasphemous homily as being completely genuine.

A new and revised edition of Rev. Smith’s booklet titled Does The Pope Claim To Be Divine? published in 1929 makes no mention of, or defense of, Cardinal Sarto’s homily. Very curious indeed.———-Do you wonder why?