A Christian Perspective

A site to muse on Christian Spirituality, Church History, and other things of interest to me.

Probably the last post before I come home on Saturday

Posted by James Bennett (jimb) on 3/1/07
Well, I haven't posted in almost two weeks. The class has been over for about eight days, however I am continuing private lessons with Malphono Abrohom Nouro. I spent three days very sick and in bed but have been over that for several days.

On Monday, Simon, Farhad (a friend of his), and I went to Palmyra. An entire ruined 3c Aramean city. The Temple of Bel was HUGE, as was the colonnaded street. It was several hundred meters long and many of the columns that lined the street contained inscriptions in both Greek and Palmyran (an Aramaic dialect).

I spent tuesday kind of resting, studying, and taking additional lessons since we exerted ourselves at Palmyra and it had been my first day out of bed. Wednesday I spent the day shopping and picture taking at the Souqs (ie, the largest "indoor shopping mall" in the middle-east and maybe the world). Today was the day to tour as many churches within an easy walk of my flat and take pictures inside and out. Tomorrow I will do the same throughout Aleppo, or at least the Jdeide or Christian quarter. The main reason I am limiting myself to there is mainly because it is so large that I can get most of the pictures I want, and the Souqs were oustide and so I already have pictures from there. I may also try a turkish bath if I can find one open tomorrow.

I leave for home Saturday at 9:50am Aleppo time, transfer in London, Chicago, and my wife picks me up in St. Louis after 9pm Saturday night Missouri time. That makes for about twenty hours of travel...I should have some pictures up within a week and I will start writing more about my thesis project and Aphrahat.

In the meantime, read the last post I made on the Harrowing of Hell or the Storming of Sheol and see if any of the questions I raise are interesting enough to discuss. Also, just to maybe get things sparked a little and going, here is what Aphrahat had to say, and if you remember, I said that he tends to strictly use the biblical texts without brining in any other material except his own deductions:

You can read online here http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf213.iii.ix.x.html or in the quote below. I will put my own translation online later:

Again the Prophet Isaiah also said:—Thy dead shall live, and their dead bodies shall rise again; and the sleepers of the dust shall be awakened, and shall glorify Thee—When Death heard all these things, amazement seized him, and he sat him down in mourning. And when Jesus, the slayer of Death, came, and clothed Himself in a Body from the seed of Adam, and was crucified in His Body, and tasted death; and when (Death) perceived thereby that He had come down unto him, he was shaken from his place and was agitated when he saw Jesus; and he closed his gates and was not willing to receive Him. Then He burst his gates, and entered into him, and began to despoil all his possessions. But when the dead saw light in the darkness, they lifted up their heads from the bondage of death, and looked forth, and saw the splendour of the King Messiah.  Then the powers of the darkness of Death sat in mourning, for he was degraded from his authority. Death tasted the medicine that was deadly to him, and his hands dropped down, and he learned that the dead shall live and escape from his sway. And when He had afflicted Death by the despoiling of his possessions, he wailed and cried aloud in bitterness and said, “Go forth from my realm and enter it not.  Who then is this that comes in alive into my realm?”  And while Death was crying out in terror (for he saw that his darkness was beginning to be done away, and some of the righteous who were sleeping arose to ascend with Him), then He made known to him that when He shall come in the fulness of time, He will bring forth all the prisoners from his power, and they shall go forth to see the light. Then when Jesus had fulfilled His ministry amongst the dead, Death sent Him forth from his realm, and suffered Him not to remain there. And to devour Him like all the dead, he counted it not pleasure. He had no power over the Holy One, nor was He given over to corruption. And when he had eagerly sent Him forth and He had come forth from his realm, He left with him, as a poison, the promise of life; that by little and little his power should be done away. Even as when a man has taken a poison in the food which is given for (the support of) life, when he perceives in himself that he has received poison in the food, then he casts up again from his belly the food in which poison was mingled; but the drug leaves its power in his limbs, so that by little and little the structure of his body is dissolved and corrupted. So Jesus dead was the bringer to nought of Death; for through Him life is made to reign, and through Him Death is abolished, to whom it is said:—O Death, where is thy victory?

Have fun... I am :)