Natural Mathematics and the Light of Nature

One of the most interesting things about human people is that we often do not notice what truths about ourselves plainly present themselves.  For instance, the obvious fact that we have ten toes and ten fingers, each paired as two “fives.”  If we take the human, somatic structure (physical body) as a guide for the divine intention, we find much the same categories presented to us that Dr. Kant describes in his more technical volumes.

If we consider just what fingers are purposed for, it is immediately evident that we count with them, and we use them to manipulate our environment.  We use them to fit screws to wood, or manage screwdrivers, hammers and nails, etc.   But we do not often put these “finger-uses” together.  The better management of the environment — tool-making — represents what we might call “early technologies.”  And the study of the rules and formulae that make them useful, and their application to the planned development or use of tools, based on numbers, we could call “young science.”

By following this somatic pattern, we learn that the numbers of greatest interest to us, when we do economics or work at the sciences, should be ten, five or two.  Our hands, feet, legs, etc. come to us in pairs (2’s).  We have almost 3 of nothing.  The number 3 has to be inferred as the difference between five (as with fingers) and two (as with our hands).

Our bodies prove symmetrical, which is of the nature of rules of “equality,” commutative, associate, reflexive, and distributive properties of equality, for instance.

I shall continue this blog post when convenient (Ei theos thelei)

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Special U.N. Orders Given by Dr. Ptolemy P. Craig

In the past I have been asked about the fact that I was given U.N. special powers.  It has become generally well-known that the United Nations gave me this extraordinary latitude, to give orders to the nations that the law — international law — requires them to follow.

So far these are the orders I have given with which the nations are expected to comply.  These are permanent standing orders — These are the Orders of Mercy, Liberty, and of the General Welfare, given by Dr. Ptolemy P. Craig, by means of U.N. special authority:

  1.  The electric chair, or anything analogous to it, is forever banned as a method of capital punishment, being as they are, instruments of cruel and unusual punishment, forbidden by the international authority of the Geneva Convention Protocols.  All nations, from time to time, will conduct a search for any such instruments on their soil, as an ongoing search and destroy effort.
  2. All terrorists camps, or anything like them I have placed under a like ban — with the search and destroy order in effect for these as well.  Sometimes these are jail cells converted to kill people, using radioactive substances or other like dangerous materials, and/ or contaminated food.   These must be shut down since they skirt due process of law, do not guarantee (but much threaten) the humane treatments of prisoners, violate the Geneva Convention standards, and amount to the ongoing perpetration of crimes against humanity.
  3. All abortion clinics, or anything like them, also remain under a like ban — with a search and destroy order in effect for these as well (as a permanent, standing order also).  These necessarily inflict cruel and unusual punishment against the innocent, and perpetrate crimes against humanity.
  4. No religious institution (or any other) may make a public display of any cross or crucifix, which had as its sole purpose by Roman intent, to destroy the entire human being in the most agonizing, degrading, and humiliating manner ever conceived.  Putting them on display in public does in fact promote cruel and unusual punishment after the fact.

The order for all religious institutions (or any other) remains to search for these and destroy them.  Their private use or display is not in question, nor is it affected in any way by this order.  Here, the distinction of public and private specifically refers to the viewing of the cross, put on display for others to see.  In an enclosed area, “behind closed doors,” is what is meant by “private.”

5.     I have ordered, and do order, a permanent moratorium on the execution of four-footed and two-footed (also said four-legged, and two-legged) animals, as they are naturally born.  In the waters, this order of mercy shall also include under its protection whales, dolphins and porpoises (and these only).  Any sentient being, that clearly displays what is in ordinary language called a “mind, a will, and emotions,” shall be considered a natural person for purposes of legal description, and no innocent person may ever be killed.  This current and popular practice is already forbidden by all laws that affirm animal rights, since if an animal has any right at all, its very first and foremost is the right to life — the life given it by our beloved Creator.

6.   This is an order of both mercy and liberty.    No nation (or any other body politic) may ever again impose as the law of any land, or given legal force to, Christian orthodoxy, to its teaching (s), its categories, historical claims, or practices — either taken from it.   Nor may any make these a test for personal or corporate rights or liberty.  All orders found contrary to this one, whether ordered by emperors of the past, ecclesiastical councils, or lesser authorities of any kind, religious or civil, are hereby repealed forever.

7.  This is an order of truth.    For legal purposes and legal definitions, the United States of America, as found to be taught in its own founding documents, shall be considered a Deist nation.

Moreover, since, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain, inalienable rights … life, liberty and property,” the courts and others shall have every right to regard these claims as “Self-evident,” meaning no proof may be required at law to prove them.  These are, legally and ethically, properly-basic beliefs.

This means that all teachings regarded as veridical or probable — including all notions of evolutionary development, or any philosophy of science, that disallows them, and thus denies this legally-proper basic affirmation, are necessarily excluded from all locations and jurisidictions paid for, in part or in whole, by taxpayer money.

8.  This is an order of the promotion of the general welfare and common good.  This order forever repeals and obviates the traditionally-styled “capital gains tax,” and any analogous equivalent given under a different name.   Instead, let the market prevail.

9.  My Estate, and the guardian of the earth-care package, is authorized to release to the nations what they believe needful for the temporary relief of medical or nutritional (basic life) needs of all persons, afflicted in any nation, by any threat to the general welfare of its people, to be taken from the earth-care package, up to the amount of $ 200 Billion (USD), from today’s date (2/26/17), over the next fiscal year.

10. This is an order of Mercy for the quality-control of basic necessities and for the good of the free markets (general welfare and common good).

The nations of the world will refine and purify their food stuffs and all salable items employed for personal care — hygiene, clothing, etc — and cause them to conform to the standards of those same food stuffs and other items — as was commonplace in the United States before the year 2000.  All food must be both healthy and nutritious, according to the good laws (administrative law) of the U. S. Health Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and according to the order of the Geneva Convention Protocols.

11. This is an order of the promotion of the general welfare and common good.  No stock exchange, market-maker, broker, or other legalized seller of common-stock, shall permit the sale of any equity security earlier than one year from its date of purchase.

This effectively ends the volatility of trading, and replaces it with new investment money, money drawn into the more stable markets by the global and local market’s recent (added) stability.  It also requires more studious and careful scrutiny PRIOR to the purchase of any equity security (e.g. stock shares).   These features will add value to the global economy by adding stability, predictability, value and more investments, which means more jobs available in the long run.

12.  Others orders for the promotion of the general welfare and the common good includes these:

The name of the city of what has been called “Istanbul,” in the nation of Turkey, shall instead forever bear the Greek name, “Sunesa,” (Say SOON – ESS – UH) which means “Understanding,” or abbreviates it as “the City of Understanding.”

13.  This is an Order of Truth and Mercy.   The Decrees  of All Religious Councils, churches, Popes, clergy and their commands, decrees and writings, and All Christian Legal Codes, I hereby revoke, rescind and nullify altogether, and I hereby clearly mandate that all these shall be considered and made of no authority whatever.  All original manuscripts (or autographa) of what many call “the Bible,” of the Older Testament and the Newer, shall be destroyed — for the good of all (hu) mankind, and for that of the animal kingdom, as well as for the better advancement of the sciences, and of scientific and technological advancement.   This is a permanent, standing order of Dr. Ptolomon Craig.

14. This is an order of truth and wisdom.  All written constitutions shall, now and hereafter, acknowledge with express gratitude for, and that the creator /(s) of all things have / (has ) indeed:

a.  procured all rights and freedom (s) that exist for all humans and animals (Animal rights are now almost universally acknowledged, which show us that animals are persons, since only persons have rights).  Almost nothing inanimate may or can have legal rights, with a few rare exceptions such as wills and estates, which still need persons to represent them, like executors of estates.

b.  remain (s) the origin of all real authority, and its final judge by way of nature’s light (not any alleged holy book or like literature).  This is proven by the necessary fact of representation, wherein, the higher one goes in the chain of authority in the social order, generally, the fewer are those in number who hold authority, and the greater that authority becomes as you climb the hierarchic ladder.  This shows that authority arises from the creator (s), at the top of the “chain of authority,” and not the bottom.  That is, authority does not originate with any feature of the creation, including the people or citizens of any body politic.

 

The Wisdom Contest, An Essential Aspect of any Sophiocracy

Many in today’s world remain quite familiar with the beauty contest, but almost no one has ever seen a wisdom contest.  This blog post has the following proposal to offer: an annual, or else bi-annual wisdom contest could prove so profitable, it is unbelievable that corporations, universities and nations do not presently sponsor them.

Consider the following points, offered from the perspective of one who believes in Sophiocracy (i.e. we should only have the most wise in charge):

  1. Someone has to represent wisdom.  This is inescapable, since some people do not seem particularly wise, and others much the more.  This implies that someone is the wisest, when considered overall, comparatively.  Discerning judges and good criteria can enable the distinction necessary to the task, just as the Miss universe beauty contest always has a number 1, a number 2 and so forth.
  2. The wisest people represent the gods and goddesses, since they (our creators) are necessarily the Wisest, and because they better represent this attribute than by any other.
  3. Wisdom has a kind of material adequacy to it we want to call “profitability” — so as we say, “The bottom line is the bottom line.”
  4. With a panel of judges, carefully chosen for their wisdom, scoring the answers of the contestants, the process of quantifying each answer could easily show the winner — in a certain number of points, similar to game shows that ask questions of contestants, and then score their answers.

A Working defintion of wisdom is certainly possible.  First, we will want to brainstorm to find the descriptive attributes associated with it, and then we should move on to study it, as it is found in the natural world, including the world’s (university) studies of language, logics, literary criticism, of the sciences and of their preconditions, rules and formulae.

For any one definition of wisdom — or description of it — that runs a bit too short and pithy, a good rejoinder always awaits.  Nevertheless,  Wisdom can resolve easily into its different aspects (salient components), which I take to include:

understanding; discernment; discretion; insight; innovation; prudence (or “horse sense”); problem-solving; training; instruction, and knowledge

Likely consequences of the Wisdom contest include —

the longer-term “smarting up” of society, through the hiring of very wise people (winning contestants) at the universities, corporations, as national and international leaders and advisors, and the like;  broader learning by all of society through the study of the best answers given (studied perhaps later as an academic discipline called “sophiology’);  better intellectual capital production in society that serves as a progressive and growing body of insights — for the better improvement of civilization (and better voters and citizens); more efficient and skilled behavior in the marketplace; more interest in education — both formal and informal — generally, and a host of other residual benefits should follow, whose particulars we cannot guess in advance.

The University of Chicago has a great wisdom-research web-page which aims at a more scientific understanding of the nature, scope and effects of wisdom — usually which form different important aspects of a definition.  http://wisdomresearch.org/Themes/basic/Arete/ResearchGrants.aspx

The NT and The Genealogical Nature of Western Time Construction

Most people are familiar with the genealogies that run throughout their Bibles, beginning with Genesis 5, the genealogy of Adam, running into the NT, with Matthew 1 and Luke 4, offering the apocryphal genealogies of Jesus.  This was a way — the primary and predominant way — of identifying a person by his heritage, when living in a pre-technological world (Judea was indeed mostly pre-technological), before the advent of I.D. photographs and cards, before the DNA test, retinal scan or fingerprint kits.

A person would memorize his genealogy, and could use it to identify him (or her) -self to others.  I believe this personal history as memorized tradition eventually came to form the stories of the OT and the NT, and of all classical history along with it, that built up the early western view of history and historical writing (historiography).  It went at some point, gradually, from personal history as tradition to corporate history of people and nations — but by way of traditions about the lives of individuals.  These were the ancient biography tradition of Plutarch’s Lives, and the Life of Constantine by Eusebius of Caesarea.  But interestingly, what began as a way of identifying one’s self would have a very important way of constructing time itself, a notion implicit at the least, in the development of any view of history.

This tradition of genealogical time was itself rooted in the ancient cosmogenies (mythological traditions of the Genesis of All).  They reach from the present moment (generation of the individual considered as the target of the genealogy), to the past, gradualistically, generation by generation. This is precisely the view of genealogical history as “evolution in reverse.”

This view moves progressively backwards, and includes the Semitic notion of greater honor accorded to “the fathers” of the past per the fifth commandment (You shall honor your father and your mother, that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you).

This implies a view of the future, that as one moves forward, we encounter a time of less and less honor, less and less virtue, and accords with the notion of a future apocalypse, a time when the earth becomes so corrupt that God must bring a worldwide disaster.

The Renaissance actually began a new, much more critical (skeptical) and more scientific attempt to understanding history, and with it — time.  Following the Novum Organum of Francis Bacon, the spirit of the age began to take on a more empirical character, and its historians to demand evidence to substantiate “traditional” claims.  “Linear perspective” had begun to distinguish illusion from reality, and Lorenzo Valla, had after all, absolutely defeated tradition with skeptical inquiry and rational investigation. And Nicolas Copernicus had challenged the “mere appearance of things” (phenomena) as sufficient to give an astronomical account (found in the Almagest), by a more rational account, using Ockham’s razor as a philosophical adjunct to scientific inquiry.     And the Enlightenment continued this trend all the more aggressively.

The question in astronomy follows the genealogical notion of time, as the retrograde motion of the planets, one of the primary points of contention in the Copernican Revolution.  The Sun, moon and planets are our timekeepers (historically), both daily, and when we try to mark world-history with specific events like solar or lunar eclipses.  But the king’s lists like Manetho’s Chronology (with Christians, lists of popes beginning with the present one — tracing them backwards, generation by generation, to this or that first pope, say, the apostle Peter) show a different, and quite genealogical, notion of time — just as hinted at by the study of the retrograde motion of their celestial counterparts.

This would compare kings to luminaries by timekeeping of historiographic analogy.  King’s list run somewhat “genealogical,” as do the dynasties of Egypt.  And they show “identity” rooted in origin by retrograde (generation counting) motion.

This genealogical view of time constructed our understanding of history in Western Civilization, until about the Renaissance. It still abides with us, here or there, in various cultural reflections, as with the surnames.  We still use names, esp. surnames, to identify ourselves, and these still end with -sen, -son, or -san, meaning the son of this or that person, e.g. “Johnson,” “Petersen,” or “Jensen.”   These imply the old genealogical construction of temporal understanding.

The construction and thinking of identity and time in terms of genealogies may have come from the flow of Hebrew (being compared to the Western tradition’s Greek) a language that moves “Backward,” reading from right to left.   “Literary time” — the time it takes to move through a story when reading it.  moves in a one direction.  Here, moving right to left is divinely ordained and “God-breathed,” and the scrolls, together with their literary view of time, becomes the way to keeping time by a kind of tacit command, itself seeming to be consistent with the fifth commandment.

This notion of time must figure into our understanding of how Western Civilization (ironically from an Eastern set of documents, written in Hebrew) has constructed both time and history — at least until the Renaissance, during which time we began to repeal it in favor of a much more critical and progressive view of time.  The future as progress — ethical, legal, scientific, economic and the like — with no apocalypse included, running forward indefinitely to greater and greater eras of human understanding and development, must forever remain the Deist grasp of time.

Our is based upon the blessing of God given at the outset, the infallible goodness and perfect governance of God, and the actual (empirical) historical record, which shows incredible progress of human achievement.  Oh sure it has been a bumpy ride, not smooth and steady progress, but it has been very progressive the entire time, volatility notwithstanding.

The best and more obvious progress of the human race began on my account with four great innovations

  1. The Copernican Revolution
  2.  The Printing Press
  3. Discovery of the New World.   This was precipitated by the maritime innovation of a new kind of ship that made possible the explorations of the world of the new knights — explorers like Magellan as the new Caballeros Andantes.
  4. The Donation of Constantine (Exposure by Valla).

Progress is the nature of time for those devoted to God and his unfolding goodness.

 

The Reconstruction of Time: Continuing the Project

In my earlier posts, I shared a view (I oversimplified it a bit for a more popular consumption) of how I believe social orders come to be as they are — a theory of socio-cultural development.  Any good “phenomenologist” in the philosophy of science (Long live C. Bas Van Fraasen et al) can tell you that the way one measures, counts or rates this or that process or feature — as one does with his criteriology and his measuring sticks — in some measure determines how we see the thing itself.

There is a sociologically “constructive” element in the way we experience time, for instance.  We measure it mechanically (watches, clocks, sundials), and we measure it mathematically — days are 24 hours, a minute is composed of 60 (not 90) seconds, etc.  And we measure it (betimes) atomically.

“Naming” is another way in which we import “character” — imply a certain set of attributes — to the units of time we employ to help structure our lives – one of the primary “personal” and market-driven reasons for dividing, measuring and naming our standard time units.  We structure our lives by, and to some extent inherit the attributes of — the socially “standardized” units of time.  We construe time according to the attributes under which they are named (tacitly, not necessarily self-consciously)

Today I wish to propose, for the Deist community (and all more scientifically-minded types), a new way of measuring and constructing both months and days.

As it is, we have named our months strangely.  June is named for the Roman goddess “Juno,” (Hera for the Greek-inclined), July for Julius Caesar, and August for the Roman emperor named Augustus and October for his other name “Octavian.”  September is named for “Septimius” [Severus], etc  There is, to my liking, much too much Caesar worship going on here.  This may be causing social effects of which we remain ignorant, causing the spatial and temporal (over time) spread of certain “Roman leadership phenomena,” like the role played by the Roman catholic church that some might find to be very bad for science, and other positive cultural developments like constitutionalism and free-market capitalism — historically not Rome’s favorites.

To defeat the Roman scourge, we must rebuild our characterization of time. We should rename the days of the week for the great and excellent virtues that make for good people.  We can actually change people (and their character) by the reconstruction of time — as both wise and virtuous.  To do this, we should rename our basic units of measurement — days of the week, months of the year — after the virtues of wisdom and moral excellence.  I would recommend the Greek tongue for doing so.  Our months should read something like:

  1. Wisdom     2.  Understanding   3.  Discretion  4. Piety, devotion (Gk. Theosebeia)  5. Loyalty   6.  Charity   7.   Mercy      8. Truth    9.  Justice  (I would use the Gk. construction “Pro” + “Dikia” — In Greek “adikia” is lawlessness, so “prodikia” is justice, the pursuit of lawful order) 10.  Blessing   11.  Courage  12. Profitability

b.  The days of the week should read similarly.  Study to find the most excellent of all virtues and use these for the days of the week. Use only the very best after much “thesaurus searching” and discussion and debate. To urge on this venture, try together to construct a priority list for the various virtues you find in your dictionaries and thesauroi.

c.  A Bit More About the Construction of Time — An Orthographic View

Societies, we have learned, arise from the interactive use of language, and the predominant “central” or ” sacred” intellectual capital upon which we found them.  These have often been cosmic myths contained in stories transmitted by oral or else written traditions — as with Homeric (Greece and Rome), Egyptian or Hebrew and Christian mythological traditions.

The language that frames the primary intellectual capital (PIC hereafter) is born along by a certain set of symbols (signs and signifiers) managed by a certain set of rules (grammar, sytax, etc).  This gives extremely important status to the symbols used — letters and numerals in our case.  These are like the building blocks or bricks used to make the socio-cultural buildings we live in.  Just like the units of time we opt for in order to build up our overarching notion of time (history, which implies a certain philosophy of history — or [forgive me] “historiography”  <— STUDENT ALERT — you must put this word on your vocabulary list! — it is a “philosophy of history,” or of the way in which various cultures have understood, written and constructed their histories).

The tricky part about time stems from the fact that it leads forward, not only from the Big Bang (or else The Damn Loud BOOM), but also into the far distant future, as suggested by the book title “Megatrends 10,000 and Food Storage: Preparing for Y10k.”  However any one culture may construe the temporal flow, it will have to describe its view of time in words (language). I wish to suggest here something somewhat novel — even the very script we use to do our describing, curves and shapes our thinking and our constructions of time.  If you use letters that are square blocks (like Alexandrian Bibles), you will end up inventing movable type as square blocks (see your printing presses, typewriters and computers), and live in houses that are largely square blocks, like almost all business building and houses in the USA. These are almost always and only squares and triangles — a combination of Alexandrian square letters and pythagorean theorem triangles of geometry and trigonometry.

One recent book declares (after a significant study) that the Pythagorean theorem is in fact THE founding principle of Western Civilization.  I would suggest that this is a bit overdone, but that the affirmation contains a great deal of useful insights.

Here is another novel suggestion: the letters we use in our alphabet form both curved letters — the lower case “a,” the “O,” and the “Q,” and of straight letters like the capital “E” and the “L.”  I believe and would predict that an alphabet consisting ONLY of these — either the curved-letter only alphabet or else the “straight-letter only” alphabet, would yield radically variant results.  And one of them is the correct way to do things and the other not.  Both would construct our understanding of time –as well as our understanding of everything else — if used in a culture exclusively.

The correct way flows from the use of straight-letters only.  Ockham’s razor suggests these should be made as clear and distinct as possible.  These should comprise our ten letters, and our ten numerals.  Fewer penstrokes is generally easier on the eye, and is easier to write.  But with the development of the “keystroke” (Computers use keystrokes making the actual number of penstrokes to print a single letter not so relevant as it used to be.

The use of curved letters will tend to lead to a view of “curved space,” see Einsteinian relativity, and probably to a view of society that we would call lady-centered (matriarchy), while the use of straight letters leads toward its complement (patriarchy).   The deconstructionists would understood this claim intuitively.  We should also consider the constructive use of punctuation, and the dots that help build letters like the “i” or “j” – since dots and lines are not at all the same kind of formations.  These form starts and stops in their use as a kind of punctuation, similar to the notion of starts and leaps “punctuated equillibria” in biology.  Darwinian notions that “Natura non saltum”  (Nature makes no leaps — gradualistic development) is consistent with a kind of continuous script (scriptum continuum in ones PIC) — which is onrunning — and has no such breaks.

Kant left the orthographic and phenomenological features of the construction of time out of his categorical assessment.  Time is not constructed merely by our incipient categories, but by our social constructions, from the microcosmic level of orthography, to the macroscopic level of PIC that involves cosmic-mythological traditions.  Dr. Kant: we understand time in “built-in” ways according to our fundamental categories.  Dr. Craig: You are as accurate as a timepiece made in Switzerland, Dr. Kant, but the cognitive and perceptual categories by which we grasp our cosmic situation must be filled in with semantic content, determined by the symbols we use to construct literacy, and literacy to construct the episteme and value system that makes sense of the world for us.

I will print more about this topic if and when our beloved Creator wills it.

Challenging the Historicity of Pontius Pilate

The credibility gap between the Gospel claims about PP in early Xn literature and other sources has begun to widen.  For quite some time, I accepted the testimony of archaeology in favor of his existence. But the Pilate stone has ceased to impress me, and other considerations lean further yet in the direction I’ve been heading.  I now doubt the historicity of PP, but am not yet willing to conclude decisively against him.  Here are some of the facts under consideration, related to the topic at hand which I am presently investigating.

  1. Caesarea Maritima was the capitol of the Judean province on the Mediterranean (Palestinian) coast. The Gospels know nothing of this whatever (They have heard of no such location in the travels of the apostles in the Acts, or during the “lifetime” (Ahem) or ministry of Jesus; and Josephos even seems to leave the impression at times (though he knows better) that Jerusalem (obviously) was the center of the universe, and therefore it was “obviously” the capitol of Judea.
  2. Josephos says that Jerusalem’s population could swell to over 1M people during the Jewish holidays, but that its standing population ran far less (fewer).  This seems to mesmerizing at a sales pitch that Jerusalem was the center of the universe, so I am calling this estimate false (like those of many an ancient sales pitch — see Herodotos’ 10k Greeks vs. 100k Persians (bogus) claim.  Numbers always fall first in the array of ancient propaganda attacks set against the factual record.
  3.  The Pilate Stone inscription reads in Latin. This seems botched.  Every person in the NT who has Roman blood speaks only in Greek in the narrative. One Roman soldier (Acts 22?) even requires of Paul, “Do you speak Greek” (also, like we do?).    I put the connotation of the question in parentheses.  The first Xn “father” to write in Latin was Tertullian (210), and it is because he is from Carthage.  According to Dr. Bruce Metzger, even in 250, the city of Rome was still predominantly using Greek, not Latin.  It is highly unlikely that the Pilate Stone is authentic, given its Latin script form, probably written after 180.

This fictitious inscription by Christians from the second (perhaps third) century follows neatly upon the Lukan titulus, the inscription written over the head of Jesus just prior to his crucifixion, about which Pilate supposedly said, “What I have written I have written.”  Luke says that Pilate had inscribed there, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (preposterously) in three tongues — Hebrew (wrong, it would have been Aramaic according to Acts 1.18-19 and the LXX [which left Hebrew behind]), Latin (wrong; almost no one in Judea for the Passover could read Latin) and Greek.  Only Greek was needful. Everyone who could read either Hebrew or Latin in Judea at the Passover could also read Greek.

Then we have the nasty little problem of writing this when it was pitch black from noon to three in the afternoon. Holy Moses [Wink].

  1.  The name “Pontius Pilate,” so far as I can tell, is in fact an apocryphon.  No one was named “Pilate” in the ancient world. “Pontius” itself is extremely rare.  This person did not exist (most likely), or if he did, he lived a life very different than our standard tradition says.

Here is an apocryphal (heroic and homeric) account by Jospehos from the tradition, “proving” the existence of Pilate.  It is hokey (Somewhat like the reader’s digest condensed Book of Esther), so here it is:

Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War 2.169-174 (http://www.livius.org/articles/person/pontius-pilate/pontius-pilate-4/?)

Pilate, being sent by Tiberius as prefect to Judaea, introduced into Jerusalem by night and under cover the effigies of Caesar which are called standards.   This proceeding, when day broke, aroused immense excitement among the Jews; those on the spot were in constern-ation, considering their laws to have been trampled under foot, as those laws permit no image to be erected in the city; while the indignation of the townspeople stirred the countryfolk, who flocked together in crowds.

Hastening after Pilate to Caesarea, the Jews implored him to remove the standards from Jerusalem and to uphold the laws of their ancestors. When Pilate refused, they fell prostrate around his palace and for five whole days and nights remained motionless in that position.

On the ensuing day Pilate took his seat on his tribunal in the great stadium and summoning the multitude, with the apparent intention of answering them, gave the arranged signal to his armed soldiers to surround the Jews.  Finding themselves in a ring of troops, three deep, the Jews were struck dumb at this unexpected sight. Pilate, after threatening to cut them down, if they refused to admit Caesar’s images, signaled to the soldiers to draw their swords.

Thereupon the Jews, as by concerted action, flung themselves in a body on the ground, extended their necks, and exclaimed that they were ready rather to die than to transgress the law. Overcome with astonishment at such intense religious zeal, Pilate gave orders for the immediate removal of the standards from Jerusalem.

This account runs “oh so typical” of heroic lore, of which Josephos’ writings are filled.  He is a typical ancient, with a certain love of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs tradition for Jews (see Daniel and Esther), a sample of which you have just read.  This may even have been added belatedly by Christians like Eusebius of Caesarea et al (say, about 331) as a retrofit. Our earliest complete manuscript for Josephos is from about the 9th century.  It was most probably well-worked over by the Christians, so I cannot blame all the traditional excess on FJ.

I shall improve upon this blog post when convenient.