Archive for February, 2012

Gospel of Judas

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Gospel of Judas is a gnostic gospel that was recently discovered. It is believed to have been discovered by a farmer who was looking around in caves in Egypt for special artifacts that could be sold for decent value. Rather than being written by Judas himself, it is believed to have been written by early Gnostic Christians, dating around 280 AD. Rather than portraying Judas as the betrayer of Christ and the ‘ultimate sinner’, this gospel portrays him as following Christ’s orders in order to fulfill prophecy. Gnostic skeptics believe that Judas served Jesus in order to release his soul from its physical form.  The Gospel of Judas teaches that Jesus did not teach the true Gospels to any of the disciples but Judas Iscariot, who was thought to be Jesus’ most trusted disciple.

This Gospel has been met with much controversy by modern non-gnostic Religious groups. It dis-agrees with many of the teachings of the Bible.

<—– A page from the recovered gnostic gospel according to Judas Iscariot.


Herod the Great

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Religious-Based Posts

King Herod the great was born around 73-74BC(E). He was born to an Idumean man called Antipater, and his mother was an Arabian-born woman called Cyprus. Antipater, Herod’s father was a supporter of Hyrcanus, a prince that was struggling to take control of Judaea. The great Roman general, Pompey, intervened in this conflict in Hyrcanus’ and Antipater’s favour, and because of his co-operation with the Romans, Herod was appointed governor of Galilee.

In 44BC(E), Julius Caesar was murdered. His successors, Mark Antony and Octavian, promised to punish his murderers. Each Roman state had to pay a tax towards Caesar’s murderers. In order to get the money to pay the tax, Antipater had to take harsh measures, and in the ensuing trouble he was killed. With Roman help, Herod avenged his father by killing his father’s murderers. Hyrcanus’ nephew tried to take the throne, but Herod defeated him. In order to keep Hyrcanus’ line on the throne going, Herod married his daughter. This greatly enhanced Herod’s claim to the throne.

After some conversation, Herod managed to convince Mark Antony that he should be heir of the throne. Mark Antony appointed him ‘basileus’ of Galilee, a title that the Jews were not happy with, because Herod was born to an Idumean father and an Arab mother.

Because of his fight for power, rather than being remembered for providing Galilee with some of the greatest architecture in the world, Herod was remembered as a madman, corrupted in his search for power. He even went as far as to slaughter every first-born Jewish boy during a census so that Jesus, the Messiah, couldn’t take over his rule as king of Israel.  Because of this, Herod the Great is the most prominent Herod in Jesus’ life.

Herod had three sons, Herod Philip, Herod Archelaus and Herod Antipas. Each of them ruled over a certain part of the land.

1st-Century Palestine

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Religious-Based Posts

To start this post off, here is a detailed map of first century Palestine:

For thousands of years, Palestine was ruled by foreign-governments, with brief periods of independence in-between. During the first century, the Jewish were ruled by the Romans. The Romans were some of the first people to allow freedom of speech when it came to Religion. Despite being a highly Religious country, the Palestinians were unwilling subjects of Roman rule. The Jewish loathing of Roman rule grew steadier as Herod proposed to kill all newborn babies one night in order to lengthen his rule and as he started placing forbidden artifacts in the Jewish Great Temple.

Another reason for the Jewish to hate the Romans was because they were Gentile (non-Jew), despite allowing various Religions into their Empire. Jewish people worked hard to dis-associate themselves with Gentile people, as they were thought to be unholy.

Despite this, Palestine hosted a large amount of cultural diversity, and with this came language diversity also. Though Jesus’ everyday language was Aramaic, Palestine was also a place where Greek, Latin, and Hebrew were commonly spoken too.

In any village, the Synagogue was a central meeting place, and also housed the local Jewish government. Another hub, or meeting place, was the central shop/market area. Village houses were 1-2 room square homes with dirt floors and mud brick roofs and walls.

As I mentioned before, Religion played quite the part in first century Palestine. In this post, we will go into a little more detail about that.


The Pharisees were the fathers of modern-day Judaism. They believed that there was an afterlife in which God punished the wicked and rewarded the loving for their work on Earth.  Another important aspect of the Pharisees’ belief was that there would come a Messiah who would bring forward God’s good news.


The Sadducees were opposing of the Pharisees’ opinion to incorporate Hellenism into their lives. The Sadducees believed only in Written Law, and since the Torah does not mention anything about the afterlife, the Sadducees consequently did not believe in it. The Sadducees died out after the destruction of the second temple in 70AD.


The Essenes rose out of disgust out of the other two factions. The Essenes believed that the other two had corrupted the city, the Temple and other holy places.


Scribes were required to write down copies of the Torah and other Jewish holy books with utmost precision. The scribes were required to replace their pen’s ink and wash their entire body every time they wrote down God’s name in a book.


The zealots were a political group in ancient Palestine whose aim was to expel the Roman rule from their Holy Land. The word Zealot comes from “zealous,” which means devoted to a person. In this case, the Zealots were devoted to God.