The Crazy Real-Life Story Of The Satanic Panic

With Sam Smith’s…demonic performance at the 2023   Grammy Awards, all things Satanic  Panic seem to be back in the news.   But this recent trend actually has a long history  that stretches back to the Reagan administration. Satanic Panic was preceded by the  rise of evangelical Christianity that,  

In some opinions, cultivated a paranoid fear  of supernatural evil. This is exemplified by   the “evil empire” speech delivered by  President Ronald Reagan on March 8,   1983. The speech was delivered to the  National Association of Evangelicals,   shortly before Reagan was re-elected to a  second term. Though Reagan was talking about  

The Soviet Union, his use of concepts like good  versus evil spoke to a sea change in Americans’   relationship with religion, especially as many  joined the evangelical Christian movement. “We will never abandon our belief in God.” Because of this change, Reagan courted  the favor of the Moral Majority. The Moral  

Majority was a political action group formed  in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell,   Sr. It successfully aligned itself with  conservative values and the political right,   setting the stage for the conservative  Republican politics that are still active in   the U.S. government. After Reagan’s election in  1980, his ties to the Moral Majority continued.

A growing number of Americans were taking part  in conservative Christianity that pushed back   against the more liberal cultural changes of the  1960s and 1970s and new religious practices like   the Church of Satan. Though the Church of  Satan was actually atheism dressed up like  

A carnival sideshow, from the outside it was  terrifying to Bible-believing evangelicals. As the 1980s progressed, it was clear  that mental health services were going   to be a more prominent part of American life.  However, the rise of legitimate psychologists,   psychiatrists, counselors, and other health  professionals was mirrored by the rise of  

Quack practitioners as well. Dubious  therapies like hypnotic regression also   helped to set the stage for a Satanic Panic  based on concepts like “recovered memories.” According to the British Psychological Society,  recovered memories are especially controversial   because they are often difficult to prove.  Additionally, they may be generated whole-cloth  

As patients ruminate on their experiences with  the help of over-eager therapists. Adding to   the confusion was the desire for fame and fortune,  which seemed to push many professionals to ignore   concerns as they gained renown for fighting  back against evil but unseen Satanists.

The proliferation of mandatory reporting laws  and strengthened child protection services over   the course of the latter 20th century is  also tied into the story. Unfortunately,   there’s no doubt that child abuse was a  persistent problem long before the 1980s. But,  

The growing attention towards abuse, paired with  rising concerns about the very soul of the nation,   primed a powder keg. With so many Americans  worried about evil in both its temporal and   supernatural forms, it now seems that  something explosive was bound to happen.

“Michelle Remembers,” published in 1980,  was the first work to claim that Satanic   practitioners were ritually abusing children.  Written by Michelle Smith and psychiatrist   Lawrence Pazder, the book contained lurid  stories of abuse uncovered during Smith’s   therapy sessions. It was during those sessions  that Pazder began to use hypnotic regression.

At first, these were worldly horrors  like purportedly witnessing a murder,   but as the sessions continued, the  recollections took on a paranormal tinge,   with graveyard rituals, consumption of human  remains, and even the Devil himself. At one point,   Michelle claims, occultists installed  horns and a tail into her own body.

“Michelle Remembers” has now been thoroughly  debunked, both because Pazder used unproven   methods and because no corroborating evidence  was uncovered. For those who believed that   well-organized Satanists were wreaking  havoc in the world, this was a stark,   terrifying confirmation. For others, it was  a graphic, compelling story that took hold of  

Their imaginations and made the changing world  all the more terrifying. For Smith and Pazder,   it was the ticket to a highly public and  lucrative career as speakers and consultants. “The book’s already a big bestseller!” “Did you realize that?” Though the writers of “Michelle Remembers” claimed  that a well-organized Satanic cult was operating  

In Canada, it wasn’t long before the Satanic Panic  hit the U.S. In California, the McMartin preschool   case proved to be one of the most expensive and  traumatic legal affairs to stem from the panic. It began with a call made in August 1983.  Judy Johnson, whose son went to the McMartin  

Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, told  the police that her son had been abused by a   teacher. In a letter, she also said that her  son witnessed the teacher, Raymond Buckey,   flying through the air. His mother and school  administrator Peggy McMartin Buckey supposedly  

Took Johnson’s son to an armory where a “goatman”  was present in a “ritual-type atmosphere.” “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” During the investigation, police sent a  letter to the parents that graphically   referred to “possible criminal  acts” and named Raymond Buckey.  

This set off a panic. When interviewed, most  children at first denied that anything happened   but questionable interview techniques  pushed them to make lurid confessions. The court case that followed dragged  on for years and cost $15 million. It   fizzled into nothing after investigators found  no evidence to support the claims. Eventually,  

Judy Johnson’s initial testimony was  brought into question. After her death,   it was revealed that she had been  diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Many of the children interviewed for the McMartin  preschool investigation spoke with Kee MacFarlane.   MacFarlane and her team, none of whom were  licensed, spoke to hundreds of children.

MacFarlane employed controversial techniques. One  assistant told children that others had already   divulged their “yucky secrets” in an effort  to defeat the teachers who were “sick in the   head.” The investigator even directly asked at  least one girl if “Mr. Ray” did the touching.  

When the girl denied this, the investigator  repeatedly asked how Mr. Ray “would have”   touched someone until the girl pointed to an  anatomically correct doll’s private parts. Could young children, who spoke of  secret tunnels beneath the school,   goatmen, and flying teachers, be trusted  when investigators like MacFarlane goaded  

Them on? In at least one exchange, quoted  by The New York Times, she told a child, “You’re just a scaredy cat.  How come you won’t tell me?” These and other dubious techniques spread  throughout the Satanic Panic. Investigators,   some of whom helped to imprison  accused people for years,  

Relied on unproven techniques like  the analysis of children’s drawings,   how they played with toys, and interviews  packed full of leading questions. As the panic grew, police departments began to  train officers for what seemed to be a rising   tide of Satanism. At least, that’s what people  like Kee MacFarlane believed. MacFarlane, the  

Unlicensed investigator who worked on the McMartin  preschool case, told California legislators that, “Preschools in this country in some  instances I think we must realize have   become a ruse of larger unthinkable  networks of crimes against children.” Police training for the Satanic Panic has  come into question. The training taught  

Police investigators to treat everything  from graffitied pentagrams to heavy metal   music as evidence of occult activity. One  document from the Chicago Police Department,   assembled by a “gang crimes and  ritual abuse specialist” in 1989,   alleged that even the innocuous peace symbol  was really an occultic “Cross of Nero.”

While paranoia grew within police departments,  practically no evidence uncovered a vast,   satanic conspiracy. Yet, people like Lawrence  Pazder, who co-wrote “Michelle Remembers” and   helped to set off the panic, remained in  high demand as a paid “expert” consultant.

As part of the Satanic Panic, people began to  grow wary of the imagery and culture of heavy   metal music. Tipper Gore, wife of then-Senator Al  Gore, helped to form the Parents Music Resource   Center in 1985. The PMRC was founded with  the intent to give parents greater control  

Over children’s access to music with violent  or sexual imagery, including occult themes.   It was tied to the same moral fears that gave  rise to the Satanic Panic. At the same time,   police departments and investigators were told  to be especially wary of metal music, which  

They were told contained hidden occult messages  that led teens along a dark, otherworldly path. “Well I know he and his friends  listened to devil music.” “The night Chicago died?” The paranoia surrounding the  look and sound of metal music   very nearly killed Damien Echols. Along  with Jessie Miskelley and Jason Baldwin,  

Echols was convicted of the 1993 assault  and murder of three boys in West Memphis,   Arkansas. The three young men were eventually  called the “West Memphis Three.” The evidence   linking the trio to the murder was scant and  largely circumstantial. The convictions were  

Based in part on their goth aesthetic and love of  metal music, which investigators linked to occult   elements that were supposedly identified  at the crime scene, but never confirmed. Though Echols was initially sentenced to death,   all three have now been released from prison. The  true killer of the boys has never been identified.

While people grew frantic at the prospect of  satanic groups abusing children, real people   were being convicted on little evidence. Some,  like Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three,   just barely escaped execution. Others  were imprisoned for many years,   only to be released when people questioned the  evidence presented. A few remain in prison today.

Frank and Ileana Fuster were arrested in August  1984. They were charged with committing abuse at   their home daycare in Miami, Florida. Janet Reno,  then serving as the Dade County state attorney,   prosecuted the couple based on child  testimony, a single medical test,  

And Ileana Fuster’s confession. Some argued  that the children were pushed to confess,   much like the minors in the McMartin preschool  case. Furthermore, Ileana eventually recanted,   maintaining her innocence while saying she  simply wanted the ordeal to be over. She   was imprisoned for three years and  then deported to Honduras in 1989.

A 1990 made-for-TV movie, “Unspeakable Acts,”  may have influenced public perception of the   case. Frank is still in prison today. Though the  evidence presented at the Fuster’s investigation   and trial was shaky, the truth remains that  Frank had prior convictions. This points to the  

Distinct possibility that some children, both  in the Fuster case and beyond, may be genuine   abuse victims whose stories are overshadowed  by claims of conspiracies and the supernatural. Though the U.S. seemed to be the heart of  a mysterious network of Satanic abusers,  

The panic spread outwards into other countries.  In 1992, it struck Martensville, Saskatchewan. A   local daycare was targeted after children claimed  to have been abused by the people working there.   Some claimed to have been taken to a blue shed  outside of town, which they called the “Devil  

Church.” It was there that they were supposedly  trapped in cages and made to participate in blood   rituals. The accusations went to trial  in 1993, but further scrutiny brought   police investigation techniques into question.  Though some of the accused were convicted, the  

Vast majority of their sentences were overturned  after authorities failed to produce any evidence. In 1997, Italy experienced its own Satanic Panic  with the “Devils of Lower Modena.” After a local   parent referred her child to a psychologist to  counter possible abuse, it spun into a widespread  

And paranoid investigation. Children claimed  that they were made to participate in murders,   blasphemies, and gory nighttime rituals held in  cemeteries. Sixteen children were removed from   their families and six people were convicted.  As in so many other cases of Satanic Panic,  

No one ever uncovered proof that satanic  ritual abuse or murder had taken place. Media outlets began to grow skeptical of the  moral panic beginning in the late 1980s. In 1992,   the U.S. Department of Justice published a study  written by Special Agent Kenneth Lanning that  

Debunked the whole affair. Lanning, who was a  consultant on hundreds of Satanic Panic cases,   criticized the mutable definitions  of Satanism used by law enforcement   agencies. He also noted that some of the  alarming symbols used by “Satanists” were   ultimately innocuous things like heavy  metal music and role-playing games.

By 1995, a television film  produced by HBO, “Indictment:   The McMartin Trial,” marked the  growing disbelief surrounding the   specter of satanic ritual abuse.  The movie portrayed Ray Buckey,   the accused man at the center of the McMartin  preschool trial, as a victim of moral panic.

That doesn’t mean the Satanic Panic was  entirely over. A training film called the   “Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults” was  produced in 1994. Cases bearing the marks of   the panic are still in the court system. The  “Devils of Lower Modena” case that supposedly  

Centered on satanic ritual abuse in Italy was  still being argued in court as recently as 2019. Though it’s now largely derided by mental health  professionals, belief in ritual abuse committed   by a highly organized and efficient underground  group of devil worshippers is still out there. One  

Therapist practicing in Salt Lake City, Barbara  Snow, was put on probation for reportedly planting   memories of satanic ritual abuse in her patients.  Snow, who is still a practicing therapist,   at one time treated Teal Swan, a controversial  spiritual leader. Swan maintained that she had  

Been the victim of Satanists. The investigation  on her behalf stalled when Snow came under fire.

#Crazy #RealLife #Story #Satanic #Panic

1. The Resurrection of Jesus (Introduction)

ARGUMENT VASKRSENJA ISUSA HRISTA Isusovo vaskrsenje jeste suštinska osnova hrišćanstva. Naša vera na ovome ili opstaje ili propada. Apostol Pavle postavio je ovu osnovu veoma rano, u svom prvom pismu Korinćanima. “Ako Hristos nije vaskrsnut iz mrtvih, onda je naše propovedanje uzaludno, i vaša vera je uzaludna. Tada smo čak i lažni svedoci Boga,

Jer smo svedočili o Bogu da je vaskrsnuo Hristosa, koga nije vaskrsnuo, ako je tačno da mrtvi nisu vaskrsnuti. Jer ako mrtvi nisu vaskrsnuti, onda ni Hristos nije vaskrsnut. A ako Hristos nije vaskrsnut, uzalud vam vera vaša, još uvek ste u gresima svojim. A i oni koji su zaspali u Hristu, nestali su.

Ako samo u ovom životu imamo veru u Hrista, onda nas treba sažaljevati više od bilo koga. Dakle, ako Hristos nije vaskrsnut onda nema ni hrišćanstva, i sve što radimo je uzaludno. Međutim, sa tako velikim ulogom ipak imamo sreće jer je vaskrsenje čudo koje ima više istorijskih dokaza od bilo koje tvrdnje o čudu.

Entoni Flu postao je deista pri kraju svog života ali dok je još uvek bio ateista, priznao je sledeće “Dokaz za vaskrsenje bolji je od čudotvornih tvrdnji iz bilo koje druge religije. Izuzetno se razlikuje i po kvalitetu i po količini…” Pre nego što pređemo na dokaze, moramo postaviti određene temelje.

Mnogi skeptici tvrde da, osim ako nemamo apsolutni dokaz, onda se vaskrsenje nije desilo i ne možemo reći da se desilo. Kao i obično, to nije tačno. Običan skepticizam i postavljanje izuzetno visokog praga neće predstavljati problem u istorijskoj odbrani vaskrsenja. Ako svi dokazi ukazuju na vaskrsenje, a neko ne misli da je to dovoljno,

Samo zato što su proizvoljno postavili prag tako da se ne može dostići, to neće opovrgnuti čitav slučaj, niti će ponuditi bolje objašnjenje za iznete dokaze niti će pokazati da dokazi nemaju zaključak da se vaskrsenje najverovatnije desilo. Možemo da nastavljamo da branimo slučaj vaskrsenja, bez da se brinemo za nekoga sa ovakvom dozom skepticizma.

To zapravo ne predstavlja problem za sam slučaj niti nudi bolje objašnjenje za dokaze. Pa, kako onda branimo slučaj i koji je cilj argumenta vaskrsenja? Cilj ne može biti pokazivanje da je vaskrsenje tačno na način kao što neko može da pokaže da se nešto dogodilo time što će ponoviti eksperiment.

Vaskrsenje je događaj koji se dogodio u prošlosti i ne može se ponoviti. Zato se zaključak može postići na način na koji se pokazuje istorijska činjenica ili na način kojim se zaključuje forenzičko istraživanje. Kao što Avizer Taker kaže, “Istoriografija ne rekonstruiše događaje. Ona ne može oživeti Cezara niti ponoviti bitku kod Akcijuma.

Istoriografija pokušava da pruži hipotetički opis i analizu nekih prošlih događaja kao najbolje objašnjenje prisutnih dokaza. Osoba procenjuje dokaze a zatim zaključuje prema teoriji koja najbolje objašnjava podatke. Ovo može da potvrdi vaskrsenje onako kako bi se pokazalo da se neki drugi istorijski događaj dogodio.

Tu predlažemo više teorija a zatim gledamo koja se najbolje uklapa u podatke. Ako teorija ne podržava podatke, ona se odbacuje kao nedovoljna i kao manje verovatna u odnosu na druge teorije koje bolje opisuju prisutne podatke. Takođe želim da kažem da jedini fer način pristupa prema vaskrsenju jeste pristup metodičke neutralnosti,

Gde onaj koji tvrdi nešto ima odgovornost da to i dokaže. Ako ja kažem da je Isus vaskrsao iz mrtvih, onda moram i da pokažem da ta teorija najbolje opisuje podatke, dok druge teorije to ne mogu. Međutim, ovo je mač sa dve oštrice. Jer ako ja prikažem slučaj, ateista ili musliman

Ne mogu samo da kažu da nisam u pravu i da Isus nije vaskrsao. On ili ona moraju da pruže kontraargumente sa boljim objašnjenjem onoga što oni misle da se dogodilo i moraju da pokažu zašto objašnjenje vaskrsenja nije u stanju da objasni podatke.

D. H. Fišer ističe da je “teret dokazivanja uvek na onome koji donosi tvrdnju, ali takođe i na onome koji opovrgava ili daje suprotstavljajuću tvrdnju.” Naravno, čovek može i da bude suzdržan i da ostane agnostik po ovom pitanju. Ali, to lično ubeđenje ne stvara objektivni argument protiv onoga koji iznosi istorijsku tvrdnju

Niti izaziva ili pobija predstavljen argument. Ako to žele da urade, onda moraju da predlože suprotstavljajuću teoriju i podrže je dokazima i verodostojnošću. Na kraju, za sam argument za vaskrsenje pomaže nam da prvo adresiramo ove tri stvari. One nisu nužno potrebne za slučaj vaskrsenja ali pomažu u celokupnom cilju.

Prvo, mogu se pružiti dokazi o postojanju Boga u vidu formalnih argumenata. Pre nego što pružimo dokaze za vaskrsenje i ustanovimo da je hrišćanstvo tačno, pomaže ukoliko prvo imamo dokaze za opštog teističkog tvorca. Kombinujući argumente iz prirodne teologije sa argumentom vaskrsenja dobijamo bolji, akumulisaniji slučaj za hrišćanski teizam.

Pošto smo ovo već uradili, naš slučaj bi ojačalo to ako već postoje dokazi da Bog postoji i da je u stanju da prouzrokuje takav događaj. Drugo, korisno je stvoriti slučaj i za pouzdanost Novog zaveta. Kad budemo prolazili kroz dokaze, nećemo da pretpostavljamo

Da je Novi zavet inspirisan ili da je precizan u svakom detalju, ili čak i u većini detalja. Samo ćemo se držati činjenica koje podržavaju naučnici i dokazi. Ali, barem bi trebalo da stvorimo slučaj da dokumenti nisu u potpunosti nepouzdani i da imaju dobar istorijski slučaj.

A pošto smo i ovo uradili, to će pomoći našem celokupnom argumentu. Treće, moramo da pokažemo da čuda nisu logični nemogući događaji, a ovo smo takođe uradili. Sada, kada smo dali dokaze za teistički pogled na svet, pokazali da je Novi zavet pouzdan i ustanovili da su čuda barem logički moguća,

Možemo nastaviti sa argumentom za vaskrsenje, uz ovo kao našu osnovu. Zatim ćemo ispratiti sa dodatnim dokazima, prikazaćemo sukobljene teorije i pobićemo prigovore koji postoje. INSPIRING PHILOSOPHY Preveo: Filip Eskić

#Resurrection #Jesus #Introduction

Who is Satan? – The Devil Explained

The devil the bane of human existence. The personification of evil, appearing in some from in almost every human religion and thought. The problem of evil is a touchstone of any religion. From our direct confrontation with evil results suffering, and thus endless questions about the meaning of life.

That is why all religions have to give a proper answer regarding the origin, nature and end of evil. The general pattern in Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism is to consider evil as the effect of spiritual ignorance. But in many ancient religions, pantheistic religions and Judaeo-Christian religions evil has a face.

Anthropologists say that the story of religion starts with animism – the concept that all people, animals, plants, water, air, the world and the heaviness are all spiritual beings. Anthropologists state that this was a means for man to interpret and understand the meaning of life and the world around them.

These Ancients also often believed in evil spirts, often people who could not find rest in the afterlife spirit and that disturbing the natural order of things brought pain and was the cause of evil and pain in the world.

This system of belief still exists in some parts of the world, notably Africa, and it led naturally to the pantheism found in ancient societies like Greece and Rome. And it also led naturally to the eastern spiritualist religions as well. In eastern religions the concepts of animism lead naturally to the concept that physical

Matter was bad and the spiritual was good. In these religions pain is caused by attachment to the harsh physical world and to truly gain power and perfection is to escape physical existence. Meanwhile this animistic thought lead to the concept that beings were the cause for all the pain and destruction in the world.

In many ancient religions such as the religions of the Aztecs, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans evil was explained through the imperfections of the gods and by gods of chaos and destruction who manifested evil. In many of these ancient religions good and evil were at war with each other and this

Led to dualistic religions such as Zoroastrianism where good (Ahura Mazda) and Evil (Angra Mainyu) oppose each other. Angra Mainyu – meaning evil spirit attempts to undermine god’s creation by creating death and tempting mankind to sin. Anthropologists often state that these religions owe Zoroastrianism for the concepts of heaven

And hell and Satan, but naturally Christians, Jews and Muslims would not accept this view. This brings us to the Judeo- Christian religions Jews, Chrisitans and Muslims explain evil entering the world through the creation account but all of them view the devil very differently.

Devil comes from the Greek word diabolos, “slanderer,” or “accuser” which is a translation of the Hebrew word Satan. Judism has an unclear view of the devil and view in judism vary from just being a metaphor to being an opposer to God.

Some Jews even think of satan as being an agent of Gods or even someone who acts as a courtroom prosecutor. The word satan appears numerous times in the Hebrew bible, but often it is unclear whether it is an evil spirit or an agent of god.

Forinstance in 2 Samuel 24:1 god tells David to have a census and 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that god did it. In the book of Job Satan speaks to god concerning Job and seems to be acting as ‘devils advocate’ no pun intended.

But it is clear that satan is an evil force in other passages like 1 king 22 and in the book of samual in the from of a evil spirt harassing saul. In Christianity satan is more clearly a fallen angel and an opposer to God.

The new testament interprets passages of the old and identifies the snake in the garden as being the devil. Romans (16:20) and revelation (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). Satan acts as an antagonist to Jesus, attempting to tempt him in the wilderness and unlimitly leading to Jesus death by insiting Judis to betray him.

But in this instance satan is acting according to Gods plan possibly without knowing it. The Devil in the end times will attempt one last rebellion but will usimitly fail. The devil is sometimes called Lucifer, particularly when describing him as an angel before his

Fall, although the reference in Isaiah 14:12 to Lucifer, or the Son of the Morning, is a reference to a Babylonian king. The new testament allows for this though, as it often adds second meanings to passages outside of their original context forinstace Psalm 22 which is originally about king David,

Is interpreted to be about Jesus in the new testament. In Islam the devil is often known as Iblis. Iblis also likely comes from the same root as the word devil, but Muslim scholars often link it to an Arabic word meaning ‘without hope’.

Iblis is mentioned in the Quranic narrative about the creation of humanity. When God created Adam, he ordered the angels to prostrate themselves before him. All did, but Iblis refused and claimed to be superior to Adam out of pride.[Quran 7:12] Therefore, pride but also envy became a sign of “unbelief” in Islam.

Thereafter Iblis was condemned to hell, but God granted him a request to lead humanity astray, knowing the righteous will resist Iblis’ attempts to misguide them. To summrise devils appear in many religions in the from of evil spirits or evil in general Some religions use the devil as a metaphor for evil

Some religions believe evil is caused by the physical world and our attachment to it Judaism has varied ideas about the devil, but usually identify him as an evil spirit or a metaphor Christianity and Islam both believe that Satan is a fallen angel or angelic creature who was guilty of pride.

In Christianity the angel wanted to be as great as God In Islam the angelic Jinn wanted to be greater than man What are your thinking on the topic of satan?

#Satan #Devil #Explained

Are Satan Worshippers Real?

– Hail oh deathless one. Who calls me from out of the pits? – [Voiceover] You can turn back now or learn the stuff they don’t want you to know. Here are the facts. In the 1980’s and 90’s people across the united states were convinced that satan worshippers worked in secret across the country. Stealing children for dark rights. Sacrificing animals and innocents and practicing sorcery.

In what became known as, “The Satanic Panic.” Numerous people alleged that they had been ritually abused during their childhood. They claimed that hypnosis and regression therapy revealed these long suppressed memories. Yet, when authorities investigated they ultimately found no proof to back up the accusations. Today the deluge of reports is considered part of

A moral panic. Like McCarthyism or witch hunts. Many people wondered if actual theistic satan worshippers existed at all. So, are there any real devil worshippers? Here’s where it gets crazy. Yes, though perhaps not the way you’d assume. Before we find devil worshippers we have to define the devil itself.

That’s tougher than it sounds. Afterall, one religion’s god may often be another group’s satan. Consider the Yazidis ethnic group. Often called devil worshippers by the nearby Muslim majority. The Yazidis worship an angel called, “Melek Taus.” Who in their religion refused God’s command to bow to Adam.

This bears great resemblance to stories of Shatam and Muslim lore. But the Yazidis don’t consider Melek Taus an evil deity. A similar disconnect occurs between gnostics and mainstream Christians. There are generally two broad camps in the world of genuine satan worship. Symbolic and theistic. The symbolic satan worshippers

Believe in philosophical aspects of satan as a concept. Or satan as an ideology. The theistic satan worshippers believe in a supernatural entity that can interact with the mortal world. Of these theistic satanists, many follow a Lucifer erratically different from the common Christian depiction.

Not an evil force, so much as a disruptive innovative one. Are there really any theistic satanists who genuinely believe they worship an inferno evil deity? While the tales of massive satanic conspiracies don’t seem to bear any fruit. There have been isolated cases of violent criminal acts

Carried out by people claiming to worship satan. And not just any ancient past either. In 2005, Louisiana pastor Louis Lamonica turned himself into the Livingston detective, Stan Carpenter. Lamonica listed in detail, ritualized child abuse that he and other members of his congregation participated in for a number of years.

This included things like animal sacrifice, ritual masks, and dedication of a child to satan. In 2011, Moises Maraza Espinoza confessed to killing his mother as part of satanic right. And there are a number of other proving crimes involving the use of satanic symbols and purported rituals. However, these crimes are not all representative

Of the satanic community. The majority of which, is law abiding. Despite these cyclical allegations of widespread, large scale of networks of devil worshippers, there simply hasn’t been any solid universally acknowledged proof. Those who believe in the conspiracies say the powerful groups have too much control to be reported.

And they point to other supposedly buried reports of abuse. Such as the infamous Franklin Case. Instead it seems that the only individuals or groups actually doing all of those sterotypical satanic things from Hollywood horror films are isolated and quite possibly, insane. Unless of course, there’s something more to the story.

Something they don’t want you to know. – So here comes satanism. Most of us would like to write off as harmless antics by some lunatic fringe. A few years ago maybe, but not now. We have seen that satanism can be linked to child abuse and murder. It has lead seemingly normal teenagers into monstrous behavior. They preach mysticism.

Other people, however, practice evil. And that is why we brought you this report tonight.

#Satan #Worshippers #Real

Baphomet: The Templar Knights’ Dirty Secret (Angels & Demons Explained)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Wondrium   Many of us are familiar with the Knights Templar  – or simply, the Templars – a Catholic military   order formed in the mid 12th century who rose  to surprising heights of power in such a short  

Space of time. The Knights themselves were often  thought to be some of the most skilled warriors   in Crusades and donning foreboding armour, those  that were not without their distinct white mantles   bearing the red cross, they were  certainly a force to be reckoned with  

And not one that you’d want to be on the bad  side of. But most of the Templars weren’t   actually fighters but were instead more  like financiers and those more interested   in the economic infrastructure throughout  not just in their own Christian kingdom,  

But the rest of the world too. In fact, it can be  argued that given the global reach of the templars   during their century long operation, that  they were the first multinational corporation.   But when the Holy Land was lost and support  for the order waned, rumours about the Templars  

Began to circulate, those very rumours which  came to cast a most ominous and spine-chilling   shadow around this most suspicious group.  In fact, these rumours became so palpable   that King Phillip IV of France, who happened to  also be in debt to the order – took advantage  

Of the Templars’ decline and seeking to erase his  debts, had many of the Templars arrested, tortured   and executed. After harassing Pope Clement V for  long enough, the Pope disbanded the Templar Order,   but those rumours that had permeated the air  would live long throughout the ages and spur  

On speculation that the Templars were far more  sinister than one might’ve realised… perhaps even,   owing to the supernatural. Amongst those rumours  was the idea that the Knights Templar worshipped   not the Christian god to whom their operations  seemed to revolve around, but instead a more  

Fiendish and hellish deity known as Baphomet. Today’s video is brought to you by Wondrium.  [You’ve heard me talk about The Great Courses  Plus before… well, the folks behind The Great   Courses are making big moves to create even  better, broader, bigger, and more mind-blowing  

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Gain access to a library of over 11,000 videos  and lectures about… well, pretty much anything   from science, maths, history, literature or  even the more creative arts like photography.  If you’re enjoying hearing about the demons in  my recent videos, you might like to explore the  

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Amongst the crimes that the Templars were accused  of, some were more outrageous than others.   Accusations of the usual heresy, homosexual  activity and spitting and or urinating on the   cross were all quite typical, but the latter  of these crimes – the spitting and urinating  

On the cross were thought by some historians to  have actually been conducted by the Templars so   as to mentally prepare them for violations  they might have been forced to commit should   they have been captured. But interestingly, there  exists accounts that the spitting on the cross was  

Also a ritual commanded by the cult of Baphomet  and that this was seen as an initiation process   within the Knights Templar. With this idea, the  Templars, or at least a sect of them, were not   actually Christians and were using the image of  Christ as a guise for much more sinister antics. 

In his book The Knights Templar and their  Myth, Peter Partner states that one of the   main accusations made against the Templars  was their worship of the deity Baphomet,   but that the description of Baphomet  varied from confession to confession,  

Leading many to believe that the Templars who were  accused of this were tortured for their admissions   until they just made something up. Some were  resolute in their denial of Baphomet and explained   that they knew nothing of this deity, but others  would confess that they had worshipped the deity  

And described him as being anything between  a severed head to a being with three faces.   Others spoke of it taking a zoomorphic form and  possessing limbs and features incongruent with   the standardised image of God. Yet despite these  accusations, there did not seem to be any concrete  

Evidence from this time period that suggests  the Templars were in league with Baphomet,   further suggesting that those who confessed did  so out of desperation to end their suffering.  Another idea proposes that the Templar  Knights who were posted in the Crusader states  

Had come to adopt Islamic doctrine into their own  beliefs and either discovered a dual faith, or   had outright converted. This would of course have  been viewed as the utmost heresy in a time where   Medieval Christians believed that the Muslims  were idolaters and that the prophet Muhammed  

Was a false prophet. In fact, Muhammed would have  been referred to as Mahomet in Old French and by   some, it was believed that the name Mahomet was  at some point transformed into Baphomet. Mahomet   would also become ‘mammet’ in old English and as  one might imagine, it would become the definition  

Of a false god. It might also be the case that  Baphomet had more Byzantine Greek influence   and that the name Baphomet originated from the  Greek name for Muhammed – Moameth. This is further   substantiated by the fact that the Templars were  exposed to Greek culture in the first crusade  

And would have come to learn of Moameth  and the sinister reputation he had   amongst the contemporary Greeks. BIblical scholar Hugh J Schonfield argues   in his book The Essene Odyssey that the word  Baphomet came about with the Atbash substitution  

Cipher in mind – a complex system which replaces  the first letter of the alphabet for the last,   and the second for the second last and so on.  Using this system, the word Baphomet becomes   ‘Shofya’ which can be interpreted as the name  Sophia – meaning wisdom. With this, not only  

Does Baphomet become a more androgynous figure  as the name Sophia is adopted, but also comes to   stand for sagacity and intelligence – elements  that perhaps the Templars were keen to absorb.  Another idea regarding the Templars  association with Baphomet comes from a  

Belief that the Templars were actually gnostics  and thus, subscribed to polytheism. Of course,   Baphomet was thought to be one of these deities  that they worshipped, though given their secrecy   it’s possible that this was kept under wraps so as  to avoid public outcry and political admonishing.  

Furthermore, some ideas – chiefly from Viennese  Orientalist Jacob Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall,   suggests that Baphomet was indeed an  androgynous figure based on various stone   antiquities that share the same name. These  Baphomets were thought to be hermaphrodites   and possessed additional limbs or even features  that were placed in unconventional places.  

Hammer-Purgstall argued that many of these  stone ‘Baphomets’ were inscribed with Arabic,   furthermore suggesting an Islamic origin,  but this link is hard to determine.   There are also claims by Hammer-Purgstall that the  Templars carried these Baphomets in their luggage   and that these were indeed articles that  served as idols, but again these claims  

Are almost certainly born out of assumption. By the mid 19th century, Baphomet would become   popularised by the French esoterosit and poet  Eliphas Levi who likened Baphomet to that of the   Sabbatic Goat. In fact, in his book Dogma and  Rituals of High Magic, he illustrated his own  

Idea of Baphomet that would become known as the  Goat of Mendes. It’s likely that this followed   the account by Greek writer and geographer  Herodotus, who spoke of the God of Mendes   (Mendes being an Egyptian city) as having a goat’s  face and a goat’s legs. Levi depicts the deity  

As a winged humanoid goat that much like  Hammer-Purgstall’s idea, also possessed   breasts and thus adopted a more androgynous form.  There was also a torch sported atop the goat’s   head where the sign of a pentagram can also be  found. Baphomet’s hands are also positioned to  

Form the sign of the occult, according to Levi,  with one hand pointing up to promote kindness   and love and the other pointing down to promote  judgement and limitation. It was believed by Levi   that the positioning of Baphomet’s hands  promoted the perfect harmony between mercy  

And justice – one hand that expressed love  and the other which expressed judgement.   One of his arms is female and the other is male,  yet again incorporating the blend of both sexes   and forming something of a representation  for everyone in existence. The torch  

Positioned between his horns was thought  to be either symbolic for intelligence   or symbolic for the soul itself, which through  Baphomet could elevate beyond the physical state.  Levi tells us himself in Dogma and Rituals  of High Magic: “The beast’s head expresses  

The horror of the sinner, whose materially  acting, solely responsible part has to bear   the punishment exclusively; because the soul is  insensitive according to its nature and can only   suffer when it materializes. The rod standing  instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life,  

The body covered with scales the water, the  semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the   feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is  represented by the two breasts and the androgyne   arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.” The depiction of Baphomet by Levi  

Was also believed to have been a  symbol for a more heretical tradition   that existed outside of typical religious belief  and that the symbol stood for the emancipation   of humanity and a perfect social order. He  would also come to speak of his own belief  

In the ‘astral light’ that shone from between the  horns of Baphomet – that which was a magical light   that promoted the progressive idea of blending  religion and science. Or at least, advocated a   social system that championed both religion  and science without one impeding the other. 

But many might be wondering why a goat was  used for Baphomet’s face at all – other than   the possible inspiration that Levi may have  drawn from Herodotus. Well, Herodotus did   speak of goats being revered creatures in  Egypt and that by one of his observations,  

He saw a woman having sex with one – thus was the  prominence of the goat in the region of Mendes.   Furthermore, some goats that were worshipped  were even believed to have been given ceremonial   burials when they died and that public  mourning of the goat was not uncommon. 

Fans of Aleister Crowley might also be interested  to know that the Occultist recognised Baphomet   as the ‘hieroglyph of arcane perfection’ and  that this deity was a reflection of ourselves.   Baphomet would become an important figure  within Crowley’s cult of Thelema in the early  

20th century and he would also be recognised by  Crowley’s writing as an androgynous being that   stood for life and love. As anyone who’s studied  Crowley for more than a minute, you’ll know that   sex magic played an integral role in his beliefs  and according to Crowley, Baphomet was also  

Symbolic of the ‘magical child’ that was produced  through such sex magic. With this in mind, it was   believed by Crowley that Baphomet represented  the convergence of opposites; especially in this   instance where the magically infused child would  be conceived through the physical act of sex.  

Both magic in the ritualistic copulation  and the biological fusing of sperm and egg   would in a sense become a representation of  Baphomet, he who resembled the opposites.   Interestingly, this is not the first time that  Baphomet has been addressed as a deity who marries  

Up the opposite elements, for Levi himself in  his illustration of the Goat of Mendes details   him as having the Latin word Solve (meaning  dissolve) on one arm and the Latin word Coagula,   (meaning coagulate) on the other- yet again  supporting this idea of two opposites coinciding. 

But let me know of any tales that you might have  heard in regards to Baphomet in the comments below   and as always, if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode,  then don’t forget to give this video a thumbs up   and don’t forget to subscribe  for more content just like this. 

Until next time

#Baphomet #Templar #Knights #Dirty #Secret #Angels #Demons #Explained

The Birth of Satan | The UnXplained

For thousands of years, people around the world have believed in the existence of Satan, an entity that is thought to be the embodiment of pure evil. But is Satan just a myth, a figment of our collective imagination? Or is he lurking, ready to tempt us and possess our souls?

Well, that is what we’ll try and find out. [music playing] [non-english singing] WILLIAM SHATNER (VOICEOVER): Jerusalem, Israel, the Holy Land. For thousands of years, religious pilgrims of many faiths have come to this sacred city to express their devotion to God. But just outside the walls of Jerusalem

Lies the Valley of Hinnom, an ancient place of unholy worship, where evil deeds were performed long ago in honor of God’s enemy, Satan. In the Book of Jeremiah, God reports through his prophet that people outside Jerusalem in a place called the Valley of Hinnom are sacrificing their sons and also their daughters.

And God explicitly says, I never asked you to do this satanic ritual, and expresses that he’s angry, that there’s going to be a terrible punishment for this. Historically speaking, in the days of the Bible, not everybody was faithful to the Lord. Satanism influenced the Israelite community.

And what they would do literally was they’d create a big pit of fire, and they actually would sacrifice their first-born male through the fire. This was performed in the Valley of Hinnom, which is actually the Hebrew word today for hell. I can’t imagine what would cause someone

To want to sacrifice their own child to anything for any reason, but this demonstrates how in antiquity, people believed that their crops wouldn’t grow, that the rains wouldn’t come, if they didn’t offer sacrifices up to some satanic demons, spirits, whatever. And now you have introduced this new being

That’s responsible for the bad things, and his name comes to be Satan. WILLIAM SHATNER (VOICEOVER): What can explain the shocking events that took place in the Valley of Hinnom thousands of years ago? Was it simply the result of human wickedness? Or is it possible that, as the biblical accounts suggest,

Satan and his demons were and still are real entities that have the power to influence people? Some people think of Satan as Beelzebub or Lucifer or the Prince of Darkness or the Evil One or Old Nick. And some of these names come from scripture. A lot of them come from folklore.

And if you think of Satan as this ubiquitous figure who’s constantly tormenting and tempting people, then it makes sense that the devil can be known by all of these different nicknames. Is there really a character of the Satan? Well, the definition of that is going to differ between the major world religions.

But fear of an eternal damnation in the afterlife has always been sufficient to keep people religious and in line with the beliefs of their religious clerics, who warn them that failure to comply will lead to an eternity of suffering in damnation. Or in other words, the stories from which this developed

Were to teach moral lessons. Throughout history, many religions have interpreted the world through the lens of having a figure of evil, Satan, who is responsible for evil in the world. According to Christian tradition, Satan was one of the most powerful and beautiful of the angels. He rebelled against God.

A third of the angels sided with Satan, and there was a war in heaven. Satan lost and was cast down into hell. Satan is the embodiment of evil, a fallen angel who tempts you to not follow your best values. He is a god of sorts, and he can offer

Something like that to us– great knowledge, control, mastery, the stuff of transcendence. Of course, it will cost us everything. After all, this is not a straight shooter. This is not somebody who’s going to tell the truth. His job is to tempt you. CHRIS BADER: Satan is believed to have tried

To tempt Jesus when he was in the desert with visions of earthly delights. So Satan is continually throughout the Bible someone trying to draw people from God to evil.

#Birth #Satan #UnXplained

What Biblically Accurate Angels Look Like (And Why You Wouldn’t Want to Meet One)

Angels, as we’ve come to understand them, are  beings that reside in a higher plane of our own –   celestial beings, if you will, that go about doing  God’s bidding and also offer a certain, ambiguous   protection to the righteous man. Typically,  they are depicted as glorious, beautiful  

Winged creatures that gracefully glide across the  heavens, humanoid in appearance and the epitome   of physical perfection. Some come with halos,  some come with wings but a common misconception,   at least, according to the bible,  is that all of these angelic beings   are wonderful to behold. In actuality,  nothing could be further from the truth…

We’ve seen angels appear in the bible quite  frequently from the very beginning of Genesis   and in these pages we’ve come to see the  angels perform a variety of roles. Most often,   they are seen as messengers – those delivering  the word of God to either bring warning,  

As we see them do in Genesis 19 where they  warn Lot to leave Sodom before its destruction,   or to bring hope, as we see them do in Genesis 16  where they bless Hagar with numerous descendants.   It’s easy to imagine the angels in these  more innocent and nurturing roles as being  

Beautiful and graceful and full of such virtue  that their physical appearance would reflect that.   But in other accounts, we see  them behave more violently,   such as where David is punished for numbering  his people, which sees an angel sent to destroy   Jerusalem. Or when Jerusalem is later  attacked, which sees an angel of death  

Slaughter the one hundred and eighty five  thousand Assyrians who were responsible. With these more destructive and vengeful  characteristics, it becomes more conceivable   that the angels were not these handsome champions  of regal charm and glamour, but instead something   far more menacing and perhaps something truly  terrifying to witness. In today’s episode, we’ll  

Be exploring some of these more uncanny angels in  detail in an effort to discover what they looked   like, what their purpose was and how bizarre  and downright fearsome some of them really were. The Cherubim… Sometimes considered to be the highest form  of the angelic beings, the cherubim are  

Occasionally scattered throughout Scripture  and appear to take on a varied set of roles.  The Cherubim, or in their singular form ‘Cherub’,  were considered to be angelic servants of God,   those who performed divine duties upon  the earth and set about to ensure his will  

Was being carried out. But primarily, their  occupation far preceded the antics of man,   where they were initially thought to have been  created by God to guard the gates of Eden.  We’ve all likely seen the Cherubim from western  Christian artwork where they appear to be small,  

Plump boys with wings – sometimes even  babies – that hover around the clouds   looking pretty innocent. It’s likely that  this was inspired by the putto – a figure   in classical artwork depicted by a chubby  child and that the use of a child in this  

Instance in accordance with the Cherubim,  was to exemplify their purity and innocence.   The putto would also become closely associated  with that of the Roman and Greek god Cupid or   Eros and so, it is not uncommon for the Cherubim  to be confused with the mythological deities.  

But this stout and chunky form of the Cherub  would not be its only representation, for it   would come across as far more intimidating in  the descriptions from the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel.  In the bible, Ezekiel is seen to have noticed  the Cherubim transporting the throne of God  

Across the river Kebar in Ezekiel 1:5-11 titled  Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision, where the beings   are described as having the likeness of man, but  with the addition of four heads – that of a man,   a lion, an ox and an eagle. We are told, “I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out  

Of the north—an immense cloud with flashing  lightning and surrounded by brilliant light.   The centre of the fire looked like glowing metal,  and in the fire was what looked like four living   creatures. In appearance their form was human,  but each of them had four faces and four wings.  

Their legs were straight; their feet were like  those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.   Under their wings on their four sides they had  human hands. All four of them had faces and wings,   and the wings of one touched the wings  of another. Each one went straight ahead;  

They did not turn as they moved.” (Ezekiel 1:4-8) Here, we get a pretty good description of what   these beings looked like – that they had four  wings, that they were human in form and that  

They had four faces made up of animals. We also  see that some of their limbs appear to be like   those of animals – notably their feet which belong  to those of a calf. It is understood that the four  

Faces are representations of the four domains  of God’s rule – man which stands for humanity,   the lion for wild animals, the ox for the  domesticated animals and the eagles for the birds.   It’s also interesting to note that  they moved like flashes of light,  

Implying that they were swift and were likely  far beyond the power of a regular human man.   Interestingly, Ezekiel does not actually refer to  them as Cherubim in this part of the bible, but   confirms their identity in chapter 10, telling us “I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim  

Four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim;  the wheels sparkled like topaz. As for their   appearance, the four of them looked alike;  each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel.   As they moved, they would go in any one  of the four directions the cherubim faced;  

The wheels did not turn about as the cherubim  went. The cherubim went in whatever direction   the head faced, without turning as they went.  Their entire bodies, including their backs,   their hands and their wings, were completely  full of eyes, as were their four wheels.  

I heard the wheels being called “the whirling  wheels.” Each of the cherubim had four faces: One   face was that of a cherub, the second the face of  a human being, the third the face of a lion, and  

The fourth the face of an eagle. Then the cherubim  rose upward. These were the living creatures I   had seen by the Kebar River.” (Ezekiel 10:9-15) Now, you might’ve noticed that his description   of them slightly changes from his account in  chapter one. You’ll notice that here, the face  

Of the ox is replaced by the face of a cherub –  though the reasoning for this is ambiguous. There   is also an implication here that the Cherub face  looked strikingly different from the human face,   though Ezekiel does not go on to explain what  these differences were. Furthermore, another  

Difference that’s quite profound in this chapter,  is that the entire cherub is described as being   covered with eyes and is either centred within or  around a set of ‘whirling wheels’ – that which is   also covered with eyes. The wheels themselves  are quite an interesting feature for they are  

Otherwise referred to as the ophanim in hebrew  and are sometimes thought to be the wheels of   a chariot used by God – but more on those later. This is an east orthodox art piece from the 5th or   6th century that depicts Ezekiel’s vision and is  referred to unofficially as the tetramorph cherub.  

In this mosaic and other pieces of Christian  art, the tetramorph shows us a being with wings   and the four animals as described in Ezekiel  1:4-8. It also believed that each of these four   components represent the four Evangelists  with Matthew being the man, Mark the lion,  

Luke the ox and John the eagle. The mosaic is  also thought to be an amalgamation of the seraphim   that Isaiah sees in Isaiah’s Commission or  the six winged creatures found in Revelations   where John sees what might have been  another set of Cherubim in chapter 4.  

Often in Christian mythos, the Cherubim are  thought to be second to the Seraphim in the   angelic hierarchy and whilst details can differ  between the two classes depending on the source,   the key distinction between them appear to be  their closeness to God (with the Seraphim being  

Above the Cherubim) as well as their form, with  the Seraphim appearing with up to four wings.   Yet again, even these details can  be altered depending on the author   where one can expect to find even the mechanics  of their wings to be a point of contention.  

Whilst Ezekiel’s account of the Cherubim appears  to be one of the most vivid, we are still left   in the dark as to who the Cherubim are and what  exactly their role is, other than to serve God.   We see them carrying his  throne across the Kebar river  

And we see their presence amongst the  whirling wheels in Ezekiel’s vision,   but beyond this Ezekiel does not tell us what  purpose they serve in the grander scheme of   things. Some ideas propose that the Cherubim are  merely just another sect of angels or celestial  

Beings – similar to the seraphim, or that they  are physical representations of God’s judgement.   This likely stems from the account in Genesis 3  after God has banished Adam from the Garden, where   we are told “So the Lord God banished him from  the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which  

He had been taken. After he drove the man out,  he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden   cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and  forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”  Here, the role of the Cherubim is  primarily to guard the gates of Eden  

And to prevent man from getting back in. After  Adam had taken fruit from the tree of knowledge   of good and evil, his natural progression would  have been to take fruit from the tree of life   and to gain immortality. But after having  betrayed God by falling for the serpent’s words,  

God deemed man unworthy of immortality and so  denied him from ever supping from the tree.   Taking no chances, we even see him here give  the Cherubim (as if they weren’t strong enough   already) a flaming sword, to fend off man  should he dare find his way back to Eden.  

Yet another idea regarding the Cherubim also  relates to the fall of man, in that they are   considered by some to be a symbolic representation  of a redeemed humanity – or a humanity   who had never sinned. The Cherubim by this idea  are perfect in appearance, eternally youthful,  

Powerful and the closest to God. By this, they  serve as a reminder of what could’ve been had   Adam and Eve not given into their temptations  and remind believers that they should strive   to be better. There is also hope in this idea, in  that should one be righteous and not make the same  

Mistakes as Adam and Eve, they might yet achieve  the Cherubim status and become closer to God.  There is also an idea that the  Cherubim are a symbol of God’s mercy,   for in Exodus 25 we see God make a covenant  with the children of Israel as he sets out  

Instructions for the construction of the Ark –  that which was a golden chest which contained   the tablets of the covenant. He tells them, “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and   a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide.  And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the  

Ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and  the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim   of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The  cherubim are to have their wings spread upward,   overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim  are to face each other, looking toward the cover.  

Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the  ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will   give you. There, above the cover between the two  cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant  

Law, I will meet with you and give you all my  commands for the Israelites.” (Exodus 25:17-22)  As can be seen, God’s instructions state that  two cherubs are to be fashioned out of gold   and placed on the cover of the ark. This is  otherwise referred to as ‘The Mercy Seat’ – a  

Term which has hubraic meaning to ‘cover,  appease, cleanse or make atonement for.   It was believed that once a year, a high  priest would sprinkle blood of a sacrificed   animal onto the Mercy Seat so as to atone for  his own sins and the sins of the Israelites  

In an effort to appease God’s anger. It was also  believed that here in the presence of the Ark,   was the only place where forgiveness  from God could be truly achieved.   With that, the inclusion of the Cherubim atop  the Mercy Seat certainly make them seem like  

Advocates for God’s mercy and figures that  represent God’s compassion towards mankind.  God also tells the Israelites that “There, above  the cover between the two cherubim that are over   the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you  and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”  

(Exodus 25:22) and by this, it might be said that  the Cherubim are something of a bridge towards God   or perhaps as close as one can ever get on the  mortal realm. By promising the Israelites that   he will meet them there before the Cherubim, the  Cherubim automatically become hallowed tokens or  

Characters – those which are still held today in  high regard as they signpost the way to God.   The Seraphim It is in chapter 6 of the book of Isaiah that we  

Are given a look into what exactly the prophet had  seen in one of his more compelling visions. It was   in the year that King Uzzah had died and Isaiah  tells us in what is known as ‘Isaiah’s Commission’  

That he had seen God seated upon a throne. But  it wasn’t just God that had caught his eye,   but also the six winged angelic creatures that  floated above him. These, as Isaiah tells us, were   the Seraphim (or the singular Seraph), otherwise  known as ‘The Burning Ones’ or ‘The Fiery Ones’. 

Isaiah tells us, “In the year that King  Uzzah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted,   seated on a throne; and the train of his robe  filled the temple. Above him were seraphim,   each with six wings: With two wings they covered  their faces, with two they covered their feet,  

And with two they were flying. And  they were calling to one another:   “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;  the whole earth is full of his glory.”   At the sound of their voices the  doorposts and thresholds shook and  

The temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1-4) We understand from this passage, that the Seraphim   had six wings and that Isaiah had seen these  creatures flying around the exalted throne of God.   You’ll notice, he described them as having their  wings covering their faces and feet, though  

The reasons for this are uncertain. It has been  suggested that they cover their faces to protect   Isaiah, for they shone so brightly, that they  would blind him if they were to reveal themselves.   We know that the word Seraphim was the hurbraic  root word for ‘Seraph’ meaning, ‘to burn’,  

Hence ‘burning ones’, so by this it could be  understood that the Seraph were akin to fire   and thus, did indeed emit fierce, radiant light  that Isaiah would not have been able to bear.   You’ll notice that whilst Isaiah recognises that  they do have faces, it is unclear whether he gets  

To see their features, or is merely assuming they  have human facial features based on the rest of   their composition. Additionally, the covering of  their feet might be in respect to God, who they   constantly circle around, for they would not want  to reveal any dirt or uncleanness in his presence.  

This could also be another reason why they use two  of their wings to cover their faces, for they wish   to remain humble in the presence and God and deem  themselves to be unworthy to even look upon him.  With this constant circling, they repeatedly  proclaim the holiness of God and his glory, making  

It clear that he is the highest being and that he  is the one that they hold in the highest regard.   The declaration of him being holy outlines God  as being sacred and certainly determines him   as greatness personified – an entity that is  and should be constantly worshipped – perhaps,  

An example to believers that their celebration of  God should never be forgotten. What’s interesting   about this passage is the Seraphim’s declaration  of the word ‘Holy’ three times in a row. In   ancient Jewish culture, the number three was  considered to be a representation of fulfilment  

And so, anything that came in  threes was usually a good omen.   In this instance, holy is used three times not  just as an affirmation of the holiness of God,   but also the wholeness of God, which believers  see as evident in the past, present and future.  

The use of holy thrice, also connotes  the appearance of God in the Father,   the Son and the Holy Spirit, suggesting that the  Seraphim’s repetition of the word Holy three times   is not coincidental, but actually meaningful  and to promote the greatness of God. 

Amongst this, Isaiah also speaks of the sound of  the Seraphim voices, those which are so intense   that the doors shake and the entire temple in  which he stands is flooded with smoke. Whilst this   could be merely a sign of their power in that they  cause the foundations of the building to rumble  

With just the sounds of their voice, it might also  be said that this was symbolic of earthquakes or   tremors, those which in ancient times could have  been equated with the divine presence of God,   or associated with God because of the  tremors he was seen to evoke in the bible. 

Isaiah’s account continues with him becoming  painfully aware that he is unprepared for this   encounter and that unlike the Seraphim,  he has not hidden his face nor his feet,   and has not shown the high levels of humility  that God would have likely expected. With this,   he immediately begins to panic, telling us 

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a  man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of   unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the  Lord Almighty.”Then one of the seraphim flew to me  

With a live coal in his hand, which he  had taken with tongs from the altar.   With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this  has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away   and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:5-6) As we can see, Isaiah fears the worst. He  

Recognises that he is unclean and a sinner  and that he has come from unclean sinners,   yet he has now seen his God in the flesh –  something he deemed himself unworthy of doing.   Yet, it is perhaps because of  his immediate realisation of this  

And his subsequent repenting that the Seraphim  take pity on him and rush to absolve him of his   sin. They realise that his sorrow is genuine  and that going by his reaction, he probably   would have taken better precaution to be humble  had he been more prepared for this encounter.  

As we can see, one of the Seraphim flies over  to him and places a coal, which he had taken   from the altar, upon his lips. There he tells  Isaiah that because this had touched his lips,   his sin and guilt was now removed. Because  the coal would likely have been boiling hot,  

It links in with an idea that Isaiah was  purified by the fire – or by the Seraphim   who were in essence the ‘fiery ones’. There is  also an idea established here that the Seraphim,   along with being the eternal worshippers of  God, also have the ability to remove people’s  

Sins if they believe them to be authentic  in their repentance. With his sins cleaned,   Isaiah was then able to speak to God directly and  proceeded to nominate himself to do God’s bidding.  Whilst Isaiah’s account appears to be the  only reliable source of Seraphim in the bible,  

In that he literally does identify and describe  them as such, the Seraphim do exist in other   biblical apocrypha including the Book of Enoch,  where Seraphim are mentioned alongside Cherubim   as they coexist around the throne of God. Both  entities are described as relating to the sun,  

Or that they are elements of the sun itself, which  would fit in quite well with the Seraphim being   known as the ‘Burning Ones’. The implication  here would of course be that the Seraphim   shine so brightly that it would not  be possible to perceive them – well,  

Not without blinding yourself anyway – or that  they can produce such a high intensity of heat,   that only God can bear to stand next to them. In other ideas of Christian theology,   the Seraphim can be seen as the caretakers of  God’s throne and much like Isaiah’s account,  

They too continuously sing the words ‘Holy, Holy,  Holy’. There are also ideas that the Seraphim   assisted God in maintaining order in the world,  though the specifics of this are often vague.   Other ideas focus on the heat or the fire  that the Seraphim have been associated with,  

And that the fire is a symbolic notion of  themselves and their relationship with God. Fire’s   movement is constant and gradually rises upward  – much as the Seraphim do as they fly above God,   and the constant crackling of the fire could be  linked with the constant praising of his name.  

The other idea that paints the Seraphim as fire is  that fire consumes that which it touches and thus,   destroys – or in the case of the  Seraphim, destroys the sin of a person,   much like that which is done for Isaiah. Some  might say that the fires cleanse and in this,  

The Seraphim are indeed quite similar. There is  also the idea that we’ve already discussed that   fire emits light and the Seraphim share that same  property, though a far more divine and intense   light that can be comparable to the sun itself. In Judaism, Isaiah’s vision is recognised in  

Various Jewish services and the Seraphim are  acknowledged. In the Kabbalah for example,   the Seraphim are seen to drift from God,  only to burn up and return to his side.   Whilst in other beliefs, the Seraphim become  equivocal to that of the Cherubim as seen in  

Ezekeil’s vision. But in more conservative  Judaism, the Seraphim and angels in general   are seen as more symbolic than anything else. In Islam meanwhile, a hadith by Persian scholar   Al-Tirmidhi speaks of a conversation between the  prophet Muhammed and Allah where they speak of  

The ‘Exalted Assembly’ – those being the angels  amongst Iblis who disputed the creation of Adam,   or who had refused to bow to him. It is  believed that the Seraphim are included   within this category, or that Iblis had been of  the Seraphim himself, or perhaps the only Seraph,  

For he was created from fire – fire being  a key trope for these angelic beings.   Though this belief and idea is not  universal, nor is it specified in the Quran.   In fact, Seraphim, at least in the way described  by Isaiah do not seem to have much of a presence. 

Another interesting idea regarding the Seraphim  paint them in a more malevolent light where they   adopt the form of serpents. In Numbers 21:6 for  example, God sends venomous serpents amongst   the Israelites after their rebellion in the  wilderness, but in some translations and ideas,  

The serpents are replaced with that of the  Seraphim. This is also true for Deuteronomy 8:15,   where the wilderness is described as being  a thirsty and waterless land with venomous   snakes and scorpions. In the original hubraic, the  term ‘seraph’ can be found instead of ‘snakes’,  

Suggesting that God might have sent the Seraphim  as a means to punish those who had rebelled.  Some have interpreted the meaning of  this translation as a particular type of   snake – this ‘Seraph Snake’ and that they might be  referring not to an angel, but instead a reptile  

Of some kind. There is also the idea that the  snakes were venomous and so, their bite could   be linked with the burning sensation one might  feel should they have come across a fiery Seraph.   Another cool idea is that the snakes in the  wilderness are described as flying – something  

They certainly would have in common with the  Seraph. Other ideas propose that the Seraphim   were the angels who supported Lucifer in his  rebellion, or that Lucifer himself was a Seraph   which some believe facilitated his transformation  into a serpent in the garden of eden.   The Ophanim One of the most strangest and  

Downright weirdest creatures that are thought to  exist within scripture are the Ophanim – those   that are believed by some to be just a  mechanism of God’s chariot and by others to   be angelic beings with significant powers. The reason why they are called the Ophanim  

Is because in ancient hubraic, the word  Ophanim was thought to have meant wheels.   It was also believed that the word could  be spelled as auphanim or ofanim, as well   as a third variation as ‘galgalim’. In other  beliefs, Ophanim are also described as spheres or  

Whirlwinds, or again the very wheels that  were attached to the chariot of god and the   reason for all three of these ideas can likely be  pinpointed once in the visions seen by Ezekiel.  As mentioned earlier, Ezkiel’s Inaugural Vision  consists of some pretty wild and extraordinary  

Things, but as far as the Cherubim and the  Ophanim go, Ezekiel tells us, “As I looked   at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the  ground beside each creature with its four faces.   This was the appearance and structure of the  wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four  

Looked alike. Each appeared to be made like  a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved,   they would go in any one of the four directions  the creatures were faced; the wheels did not   change direction as the creatures went. Their  rims were high and awesome, and all four rims  

Were full of eyes all round.” (Ezekiel 1:15-18) The ‘living creatures’ that Ezekiel sees here   are indeed the cherubim as we’ve already  established, but he spends an equal amount   of time taking in the sight of these four wheels  – these Opahnim. He describes them as glistening  

Like topaz and that all four assembled to make  the shape of one wheel intersecting another.   He also adds that whilst they appeared  independently mobile, they only moved wherever the   cherubim were facing, which has since led some to  believe that the Cherubs controlled the Ophanim,  

Or was a symbol for their outranking of them.  He continues to state that they do not appear   to ever change their direction, and that all the  rims of their being were covered with eyes.   But with this passage alone, it only raises  our intrigue as to what these wheels were  

And what exactly their function was. Ezekiel  is able to paint a somewhat vivid picture   of what these wheels looked like, but perhaps  what makes them so stark and fascinating is how   elusive they are. These wheels are not something  that appear frequently throughout the bible  

And the fact that God allows Ezekiel to see  them only teases the idea that they do have   some significance that we are not grasping. One interesting idea that further supports the   notion that these wheels were the wheels of  God’s chariot comes from a song of praise  

By David in Psalm 18, where we are told  “He (God) mounted the Cherubim and flew.   He soared on the wings of the wind.” (Psalm  18:10) In this rather unique imagery,   it could be said that Cherubim had more of  a practical function as they served as God’s  

Vehicle, or a means for which to transport  him across the sky, or from heaven to earth.   The Cherubim in this instance become the  chariot and by this, the wheels that they   are seen to manipulate become the wheels of  that very chariot. Those being, the Ophanim.  

But Ezekiel does not make this connection, but  is instead taken aback by what he continues to   witness. He tells us, “When the living creatures  moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when   the living creatures rose from the ground, the  wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go,  

They would go, and the wheels  would rise along with them,   because the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels. When the creatures moved,   they also moved; when the creatures stood still,  they also stood still; and when the creatures  

Rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with  them, because the spirit of the living creatures   was in the wheels.” (Ezekiel 1:19-21) Here, he essentially confirms the idea that the   wheels were controlled by the Cherubim, and that  they did indeed have power over these elements,  

And that wherever the cherubim went, the  Ophanim would go too. He also adds that   the very spirit of the Cherubim exists within  the Ophanim, suggesting that on some level,   perhaps these strange creatures are extensions of  the angels, as opposed to being angels themselves.  

Touching once again upon the chariot idea  as hinted by the song of David in Psalm 18,   one might also say that the Cherubim were the  drivers of the chariot and the wheels were   merely just that – wheels. With this idea, they  are not angelic and they do not have sentience,  

But instead are more along  the lines of machinery.   Yet, the idea that the Ophanim were indeed angels  – perhaps, the weirdest of angels given their   appearance, remains to be consistent within some  communities and traditions. We can agree from  

Ezekiel’s account that despite their association  to the Cherubim, there is nothing particularly   angelic about the Ophanim. They do not appear to  have human characteristics like all other angels,   they do not speak and bring prophecies and they  do not appear to even have wings. Reference of  

Them is made in the second book of Enoch, where  we see Enoch ascend before the throne of God.   He tells us, “ I saw there a very great light,  and fiery troops of great archangels, incorporeal   forces, and dominions, orders and governments,  Cherubim and seraphim, thrones and many-eyed ones,  

Nine regiments, the Ioanit stations of light, and  I became afraid, and began to tremble with great   terror, and those men took me, and led me after  them, and said to me:Have courage, Enoch, do not   fear, and showed me the Lord from afar, sitting  on His very high throne.” (2 Enoch 20:1-2)  

Whilst again not specifically  mentioned as ‘Ophanim’,   Enoch does refer to them as the ‘many-eyed ones’,  which correlates with Ezekiel’s description.   What’s interesting here is that he later  identifies all the present entities   including the Cherubim, Seraphim and these ‘Many  Eyed Ones’ as being men and that these men took  

Him and led him to the throne of God, where they  reassured him he was safe. Whilst hard to say   given that Enoch does not explicitly determine  these Many Eyed Ones to be the Ophanim,   it could be said that in this story, that the Many  Eyed Ones did maintain some characteristics of men  

And that instead of wheels, they possessed a more  expected and relatable form. They also share the   same compassion as the Cherubim and the Seraphim  and seek to comfort Enoch when he would otherwise   panic, thus suggesting another layer of benignity  to these otherwise misunderstood creatures.  

The second book of Enoch continues to  tell us of the Many Eyed Ones that,   “And the Cherubim and Seraphim  standing about the throne,   the six-winged and many-eyed ones do not depart,  standing before the Lord’s face doing his will,  

And cover his whole throne, singing with gentle  voice before the Lord’s face: Holy, holy, holy,   Lord Ruler of Sabaoth, heavens and earth  are full of your glory.” (2 Enoch 21:1)   Here, we get a sense that the Many Eyed Ones  guard the throne of heaven and along with the  

Cherubim and the Seraphim, they will remain  here for eternity at the beck and call of God.   It is also established that they sing with gentle  voices, which yet again humanizes the Many Eyed   Ones and portrays them as more relatable,  perhaps even as a charming set of characters.  

With the Many Eyed Ones singing, it could also be  associated with several Jewish prayers known as   the Kedusha, where the Ophanim are told to offer  praise upon God and glorify him as the creator.  

Whilst the second book of Enoch refers to them  as the Many Eyed Ones, the first book of Enoch   refers to them directly as Ophanim and they are  said here to also guard the throne of heaven   and that together with the Seraphim and the  Cherubim, they do not sleep. Enoch tells us here,  

“And round about were Seraphim, Cherubim and  Ophanim: And these are they who sleep not. And   guard the throne of His glory.” (1 Enoch 71:1) There appears to be some variation in these very   angels when it comes to both their  ranking and their closeness to God.  

Most commonly in Jewish expositions of angelic  hierarchy, the significance and purpose of the   Cherubim, Seraphim and the Ophanim seldom seem  to coincide across all traditions. To some,   the Cherubim are the closest to God and  as mentioned before, they are his chariot.   More significantly, they are  much more prominent in the bible  

And actually appear to Ezekiel, thus giving  them the edge at least in terms of recognition.   The Seraphim by comparison are also seen in a  variety of ways including as a caretaker to God’s   throne, and as the bible shows in Isaiah’s vision,  the Seraphim can be viewed as absolvers of guilt.  

To more conservative Judaisim though, the  Seraphim are more symbolic in nature.   These inconsistencies, if you will, are  the same for the Ophanim in Jewish beliefs,   with some believing them to be the closest  of all the angels to God (as told to us by  

Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides) or as  ‘the thrones’, another classification of angels.   Many other Jewish philosophies confirm this idea  that the thrones and the Ophanim are one in the   same and one of the ways that this is done  is by one interpretation of Daniel’s Vision,  

Where Daniel tells us he sees God in  his chariot. He states, “As I looked,   thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days  took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow;   the hair of his head was white like  wool. His throne was flaming with fire,  

And its wheels were all ablaze.” (Daniel 7:9)  With this idea, the thrones become established   as the wheels of God’s vehicle and are set  in place before he takes his seat upon it.   A quote from American spirituality writer Rosemary  Ellen Guiley sums up the notion of the thrones  

And the Ophanim being the same quite concisely,  where we are told “The ‘thrones’; also known as   ‘ophanim’ (offanim) and ‘galgallin’, are creatures  that function as the actual chariots of God   driven by the cherubs. They are characterized by  peace and submission; God rests upon them. Thrones  

Are depicted as great wheels containing many  eyes, and reside in the area of the cosmos where   material form begins to take shape. They chant  glorias to God and remain forever in his presence.   They mete out divine justice and maintain  the cosmic harmony of all universal laws.”  

As we can see, going by this interpretation,  the thrones – or the Ophanim – lose their more   typical angel appearance and again resume the more  biblically accurate depiction as a mechanism.   In any case, one might say that the function  of the Ophanim, whilst intriguing and novel,  

Is not essential to believers, which is why  concrete information about them is so scarce.   Whether it be from the characters of the  bible themselves or scholars who studied them,   the wheels are only vital in their accordance  to God. They serve to remind believers that  

Their mystique and uncanny form is just one of  many of the creations that God has made that man   cannot understand and in some cases, it might  serve to humble believers into realising that   they do not have all the answers. It also brings  God’s enginerial ingenuity into the limelight,  

For whilst many may take for granted  the way in which the world was created,   elements like the Ophanim remind them of how much  of mechanical mastermind a supreme being like God   must be – especially given we to this day would  not be able to create something so unusual.  

Others might see the Ophanim as a representation  of God himself, in that because they are covered   with eyes, the eyes become symbolic of God being  all-seeing. If the Ophanim have a multitude of   eyes and spin omnidirectionally, then it would  be believed that they can see everything from  

Every angle. This would imply then that God  could very well do the same – as we know he can   from very specific mentions in the bible that God  is everywhere and God knows everything. Thrones

As previously mentioned, the Thrones are  a class of angels that are similar to the   Ophanim – and sometimes, are outrightly assumed  as being the same as the Ophanim. Very little   is actually known about this type of angel  and its appearance in the bible is scarce.  

One of its more notable appearances is in  Collisians where we are told “The Son is   the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over  all creation. For in him all things were created:   things in heaven and on earth, visible and  invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers  

Or authorities; all things have been created  through him and for him.” (Collisians 1:15-16) What the Thrones actually looked like is up for  some speculation, with some believing them to look   similar or identical to the Ophanim or for them  to appear as a combined image of the Throne of God  

-hence their name. In some interpretations,  it is believed that the Thrones are also   wheels within wheels and that these wheels  are also spinning and covered with eyes.   In another interpretation that coincides  with the idea that the Ophanim are the  

Wheels of God’s chariot, some believe that the  Thrones take on the form of the chariot itself. Another interesting idea proposes that the Thrones  show up much later in Revelations 11 as ‘Elders’.   John of Revelation tells us that these Elders  appear to be gathered around the throne of God  

And are all praising him. Whilst the Elders  are not described, it is their proximity to   God that is most interesting to us. It could  be the case that these are not just older men,   but instead the very Thrones that are described in  Collisians. Of course, this can also be dismissed  

Given that the only reason this is speculated  is because the Elder men appear to have actual   thrones of their own, those that are gathered  around the one throne of God. Others believe that   if these are the Thrones, they have likely taken  the form of old men so as to make it easier for  

John to digest what he is seeing, for John had by  this point seen so many ghastly and bizzare things   that it may have pushed him over the edge to  see the Thrones in their truest appearance. In his work De Coelesti Hierarchia,  Greek author and Christian theologian  

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite tells us  that the Thrones were the third highest of   the 9 classes of angels, ranking just  below the Seraphim and the Cherubim.   In many classifications, these are considered  to be the ‘First Sphere’ of angels,  

And these are the angels that serve God directly  and thus, are closer to him than any others. It should be noted that many angels in the  Old Testament do not even get a description   and instead are believed to have appeared simply  as men. They had no halos, no wings and no  

Tangible physical aspect that separated them from  the common man if not for a certain demeanour.   For example, the men who appear to Abram to bear  prophecy and also have their feet washed by him   are not visibly angels, but Abram can tell  that there is something special about them.  

The same could be said for the angel who wrestles  all night with Jacob, and whilst this character   was later depicted as an angel in classical  art, the bible simply describes him as a man.   These angels, you might say, were what 12 century  Jewish scholar Maimonides described as the  

Mal’ak – the ancient Hebrew word for ‘Messenger’  and whilst they had a certain distinction about   them, they were not as outlandish in appearance as  the Cherubim, Seraphim or Ophanim. You might say   that they adopted a guise that was more suited to  their task, choosing to appear in a more humanoid  

Form to deliver their message, instead of scaring  the living daylights out of the recipients.   The Mal’ak, or the Malakim (plural), were  just one type of angel that appeared in   Maimonides’ classification of angels – a  sort of angelic hierarchy, if you will,  

But the question still remains that if these  Mal’ak, these messengers, took the form of men   instead of appearing in their natural state…  what horrors were they sparing us from seeing? On the subject of angels appearing before man,  there is a concept from several classifications  

That incorporate the ‘Second Sphere’ of angels,  these being the angels that govern over earth   and thus, are not as close to  God as the aforementioned angels.   Of this second sphere, the angels  adopt a more familiar look… Dominions The classifications of these ‘Second Sphere  angels’ do not appear in the bible as such.  

However, several of the angels who do appear  in the bible have been classified into these   various groups. The Dominions for example can be  angels who help keep the world in order. They act   on behalf of God, often carrying out his tasks  and or directly implementing his divine plan.  

According to many classifications, these angels  also bring about God’s judgement against sinful   situations within the world, and whilst humanity  might not understand or agree with the work that   takes place, the Dominions are believed  to enforce the biblical God’s perspective.

Of course, because the Dominions operate on Earth,  they are believed to take the form of humans,   much like the Malakim, perhaps in an effort to  avoid scaring the humans they interacted with. An   example of Dominions at work could be when angels  are sent down to Sodom and Gomorrah to inspect the  

Land of what the biblical God perceived as ‘sin’.  These Dominions took the form of men so as to   not arouse suspicion, although ironically,  this is exactly what they ended up doing.  The Dominions are also believed to  deliver the wisdom of God to humans,  

Most notably to those in leading positions  such as world leaders. In essence,   it is believed those that pray or seek the  aid of God will be answered by the Dominions   who may appear in physical form to guide  one into taking the best course of action.  

To some, these angels are led by the Archangel  Zadkiel, an angel whom some believe prevented   Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. Dominions  in this essence are believed to take on the same   role, intervening (often at the last minute) to  spare someone from making a terrible decision.  

Naturally, to those of us with a more  sceptic nature, it would be natural to   argue that angelic beings do not descend from the  heavens to stop us from making mistakes. However,   some rationalise that these Dominions act from the  shadows and or are imperceptible to the human eye.  

In this, they can alter our fate  without us really knowing it,   or may put obstacles in our path so as  to prevent us from making a wrong choice. Virtues One of the more baffling entity of angels  that appear in the ‘Second Sphere of Angels’  

Are the Virtues. Unlike the Dominions, the  Virtues aren’t necessarily believed to possess   a form at all, but instead appear as a flash  of light, which would explain their secondary   moniker as ‘The Shining Ones’. Their role  within the universe is much less understood,  

Though it is believed that they have  some influence over the elements   and over nature. To others, the Virtues can  be interpreted as a sort of ‘divine energy’,   one that can both encourage and strengthen  one’s belief in God. In some classifications,  

The Virtues are believed to perform miracles  to the deserving, where they reward the noble,   the righteous and those who are doing their  best to get back into the algorithm. Hi. Powers or Authorities The Powers or Authorities are angels that as you  might imagine, ensure order within the earthly  

And the celestial realms. You wouldn’t be wrong  for considering these angels as ‘warrior angels’,   those who do battle against evil spirits and  demons. Whilst not specified in Revelation   where the ultimate battle between good and evil  took place, it is not a stretch to assume that  

The angels who battled against Lucifer in his  rebellion were likely the Powers and Authorities,   those who would’ve been donned in full  shining armour and wielding fantastic weapons.   However, in other beliefs, it is these  very angels who were swayed by Lucifer  

Given that he was believed to be the Chief of  Powers. This may have led to the strength of   Lucifer’s army and why the rebellion was not  so easily thwarted by God in the first place. Despite maintaining a human appearance, the  sight of such an angel is believed to be quite an  

Intimidating one. These were mean faced soldiers  that probably stood a whole head height taller   than the tallest man, with wings that were sharp  to the touch and with weapons too heavy for any   mortal to wield. To some, these angels could be  viewed as God’s taskforce against evil entities,  

Those that don’t necessarily have to be of the  demonic persuasion. The angel of death that is   sent to destroy Jerusalem may very well have  likely been of the Powers or the Authorities,   which goes to show their immense and dastardly  strength given that God only sends one of them.  

Yet again though, the original authors do  not give a vivid description of these angels,   making their actual image all the more elusive. Principalities Beyond the ‘Second Sphere’ of angels, we  have the ‘Third Sphere’, these being angels  

That are believed to exist on the earth, and thus  are the most likely set of angels that a human   might run into. Luckily for us, these angels,  much like the Dominions and the Malakim, adopt   the form of humans and so out of all the angels,  it’s probably these ones that you’d have the  

Most in common with. Unlike the other angels the  Principalities also live on the earth, and by this   you might say that these angels are more in touch  with what is happening in the world and thus,   more relatable. To some, these Principalities,  or ‘Princes’, directly inspire world leaders,  

Nations and in some cases churches, in an effort  to keep things running smoothly. Given their   status as ruling various areas of the earth,  or at least, imparting power to various people,   these angels are believed to wear crowns and carry  with them a staff or a sceptre. To some believers,  

It is the Principalities who bless mankind with  art, science, maths or some wholesome intention   that will benefit the world in some way. In other  cases, the Principalities are believed to give   strength to those who will go on to do  something miraculous. Ideally, as mentioned,  

If you were going to run into an angel, the  Principalities might be your safest bet. Or maybe not, if you ask St Paul. St Paul believed that it was actually  the Principalities who joined Lucifer  

In his rebellion (as well as the Powers), where  he tells us in his letter to the church of Ephesus   “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,   but against the principalities, against the  authorities, against the powers of this dark world  

And against the spiritual forces of evil  in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Here, St Paul speaks of man’s struggle not being  with each other, but instead with a more spiritual   threat – the principalities and the powers. This  leans into the idea that the principalities,  

Along with the powers now worked against  mankind in an effort to corrupt them.   With the idea that these angels joined  Lucifer, you may very well label them as fallen   angels – those who now do the opposite of what  the Principalities were originally created for.  

Indeed, where they were once dolled out wisdom,  inspiration and even strength, St Paul gives us   the idea that they would now sooner give out lies,  demotivate man and even sap away his strength. Nephilim The Nephilim predominantly appear in the  Book of Enoch, where they are described as  

Performing exceptionally evil deeds. Whilst  not actually angelic beings themselves,   the Nephilim were produced by  the angels and the mortal women   in the times before the flood. Now, if you  thought some of the angels were scary to behold,   you’ll likely find that their offspring  are simply the stuff of nightmares.

The Nephilim – these sons of the fallen  angels could technically be considered as   part fallen angel, part human and  part giant. Indeed, they were large,   hulking beasts that were more animal than man,  and when they weren’t tearing apart the landscape  

And devouring the fields for food, they were  spilling blood like it was going out of style.   We see that when man can no longer  sustain the Nephilim’s diet,   they begin to hunt man, devouring them without  hesitation, and when they run out of men to hunt,  

They turn cannibal, consuming their own  kind to satiate their ungodly appetite. There’s an idea that these Nephilim obtained their  tremendous size and strength through the merging   of angelic DNA and human biology, something that  even the biblical God shudders at the sight of. In  

Fact, he is so disgusted by the offspring of the  angels that he is seen to send down his archangels   to destroy them. In other ideas, some believe that  this purge of the Nephilim wasn’t enough for God  

And that he deemed the Nephilim to be so hideous,  that their existence is what warranted the flood.   What you might take away from this is that these  sons of the angels must’ve been truly ghastly   monsters, for if even Enoch’s God is disgusted by  them, then surely man would be outright repulsed. Fallen Angels

The Fallen Angels certainly have a  lot to answer for given that in the   case of the Powers and Principalities,  they still conspire against mankind.   Meanwhile, in the Book of Enoch –  where they are known as ‘The Watchers’,  

It is they who fornicate with the mortal women and  bring to life the dreaded abominations that are   the Nephilim. But would you believe it, there’s  another trick the Fallen Angels are believed to do   in some Christian Mythos, and that is  to transform themselves into demons.

Whilst this belief was not shared by the original  authors and translators of the Hebrew bible,   it has since become a popular trope – especially  when used in conjunction with the fall of Lucifer,   where the angels who side with him appear to  go through something of a demonic transition.  

As you might’ve guessed, these are probably the   worst kind of angels you could come  into contact with, for like Lucifer,   they hate mankind and will do whatever needs  to be done to lure them away from their god. 

As far as what these now evil angels look like,  the bible doesn’t really give us much to go on.   Instead, we have to look to more mythological  sources or even rely on literature. John Milton’s   Paradise Lost shows us several fallen  angels that are unique from one another,  

Including Beelzebub, Moloch, Chemos, Baal, Dagon,  Belial and even the Egyptian Gods themselves. In various classifications, the likes of  Beelzebub, Moloch and Baal have each earned   colourful depictions, showing us that if we  were to come into contact with these entities,   we’d probably faint from shock. The fallen  angel Beelzebub, after his demonic transition,  

Can be seen in some stories as being  made up of flies – likely owing to his   moniker as the ‘Lord of the Flies’. In other  depictions, he appears as a grim, bloated fly. Moloch on the other hand is often portrayed with  a bull’s head and with his arms outstretched  

Over a fire. His role is to sacrifice  children and so, you can imagine that   running into this fallen angel would be pretty  detrimental, depending on how old you are. Baal, often determined to be the nemesis of  Yahweh, also appears similarly to Moloch,  

Opting to wear a bull’s head. Despite being listed  in Milton’s Paradise Lost as a fallen angel,   Baal was also considered to be a Cannanite deity,   showing us that perhaps Lucifer isn’t the only  angel wishing to step out of his God’s shadow.

There is an idea that the reason the bible is  not keen to describe the angels that appear   before men, is because to do so would either  be impossible, in that there were no words   to illustrate such a creature, or that they  were so horrendously abnormal that to do so  

Would scare anyone out of ever being open  to seeing one. You might’ve noticed that on   more than one occasion, the first words out of an  angel’s mouth is ‘Do not be afraid!’. We see this   shortly after the birth of Jesus when an angel  appears to the shepherds in the nearby field,  

And we see it when Paul sails for Rome and an  angel appears to him to declare the very same   thing. Now, this may simply be the angels being  courteous for having dropped in unannounced and   attempting to placate the sudden alarm one might  experience after being snuck up on. But some argue  

That this is because the angels in question  are so inexplicably strange or even monstrous,   that they have to first convince the recipient  of their message that they are not a threat. In   this sense ‘Do not be afraid’ is not a directive,  it is an earnest request from the angels, seeking  

To soothe man’s fears and anxieties in the wake of  beholding something that they cannot comprehend. The exact nature of an angel’s appearance is  still relatively unknown to us, though it would   not be out of the realm of possibility to assume  that angels can pretty much take whatever form  

They want – or that perhaps more likely, God has  specifically designed each one with an intended   purpose. It should also come as no surprise that  in heaven, or a cosmic environment that is beyond   us in some spiritual plane, there will likely be  elements and characteristics that simply cannot be  

Explained, much less imagined. The Cherubim,  Seraphim and Ophanim for example may be the   least weird angels that exist in such a celestial  region. Indeed, it is not farfetched to suggest   that there are probably far more diabolical  things lurking in our own universe, let alone  

A spiritual plane that we know even less about. Let me know in the comments below which angel   stuck out for you the most and which  angel you think you’d be most scared of. As always guys, if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode   then don’t forget to give it  a thumbs up and don’t forget  

To subscribe for more content just like this. If you’d like to continue supporting the channel,   you can do so by hitting the blue Join button  beneath the video to become a channel member.   You might also find more incentive to become a  Patreon where I have some merchandise available! Until next time

#Biblically #Accurate #Angels #Wouldnt #Meet

Interpretation—A Global Dialogue on Museums and Their Publics

– Hello, I’m Heidi Holder, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chair of Education at the Met. And I’m delighted to welcome you to the second session on the first day of our virtual convening titled Interpretation. As part of our program, People: A Global Dialogue on Museums and their Publics.

This is a critical time to examine interpretation, which refers to those activities, experiences, and products that publics and museums do and engage with to make sense of the objects and artifacts within institutions care. In the next session, we will explore innovative ways to approach interpretation that can be drawn from inside

And outside of the art and cultural field. How do we challenge traditional approaches to complex stories? What are the possibilities of new technologies? Or what are the effects and how meaning is conveyed to audiences? How can we amplify different vantage points and perspectives on objects and artifacts and more?

We hope that you’ll use the chat in the presentations and during the panel discussions. Our hope is that these presentations are catalysts for discussions that you’ll join us in that conversation by participating in the chat with questions and comments. We are also offering closed captioning. You can turn closed captioning on or off

By using the CC icon towards the bottom right of your Zoom toolbar. Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce our speakers. Haidy Geismar is Professor of Anthropology University College London. She’s also the Curator of the Ethnography Collections, co-directs the Digital Anthropology Program, and is also faculty vice dean of Strategic Projects,

Developing a new set of research and teaching activities focused on media, heritage and collections. She’s author of the 2018 book “Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age”. Jack Tchen is a historian, curator, dumpster diver, and teacher, and he’s Inaugural Clement A Price Professor of Public History and Humanities

And the Director of the Price Institute at Rutgers University, Newark. His book, “Yellow Peril” an archive of anti-Asian fare from 2016 is a source book on Western xenophobia and violence. He’s founding Director of the Asia Pacific American Studies Program and Institute at NYU. He co-founded the Museum of Chinese in America.

Kamini Sawhney, is the Director of the Museum of Art and Photography in Bangalore India. As MAP’s first Director, Sawhney is focused on creating a new museum experiences for audiences in India. In her earlier roles Sawhney was the head of Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation at the CSMVS Mumbai. Before her career in museums,

She was a journalist and television anchor reporting on political and cultural events. Governor Brian Vallo is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma tribe in New Mexico. Governor Vallo has 30 years of experiences. Governor Vallo 30 experience working in areas of museum development, cultural resource management, repatriation of ancestoral and cultural patrimony,

The arts and tourism. This session will be moderated by Vishakha Desai. Dr. Desai currently serves as the Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to President Lee Bollinger, Chair of the Committee on Global Thought and Senior Research Scholar in Global Studies at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Prior to joining Columbia university, Dr. Desai had a variety of positions at the Asia Society from 1990 to 2012, initially as the Director of the Asia Society Museum and for the last eight years as president and CEO. It’s now my pleasure to hand it over to our session participants. Let’s talk, let’s listen.

Thank you. [ No Sound ] [ No Sound ] – Greetings, and thank you Heidi and the entire Education team at the museum for organizing this very special 150th anniversary program at the Metropolitan Museum. I am delighted to be able to moderate this very special session at this point in time.

And I come to you not just as a former director of a museum, or former President of the Association of Art Museum Directors, but particularly as, first and foremost, a museum educator, then a curator, then a director, and now an academic observer both of museums and of things global, and also

As a writer of a new book called “World as Family” in which art plays a very important role. I want to frame this discussion with just a few observations because we have wonderful group of panelists who are really going to take us through the what, and the why, as well as the how

Of the interpretation in museums. So over 50 years or so of my life as a museum person which means that my entire adult life pretty much, I’ve learned one thing, and that is that often when we think of museums especially historical museums, we think that somehow they are either

Cabinets of curiosity as they were called in Germany, window cabinets, or as high temples of aesthetics, somehow housing objects that go above and beyond time and space. At the same time, we know all of us who’ve worked in museums, that it is actually not true, because if you think about museum objects

While you might feel that objects are unchanging, the reality is all these objects are also riddled with many stories, many contexts, and many lives. What do we mean by that? What I mean by that is objects can also be thought of as the time when they were made, the intent of the object,

And then there is the observation and a life of an object over many centuries. For those of us were art historians training in early art from other parts of the world, we know that over 200, 300 years or even a millennia, artists can go through many, many different iterations.

And it’s important to recognize therefore that while the object may seem static in museums, the lives they lead, the context they provide, and the stories they tell, are anything but static. And that is just about the objects. There’s also about the information or the interaction of object with viewers.

So that viewers, especially now when we all try to get many different kinds of years to come to the institutions and change the institutions in the process, we have to recognize that viewers too bring their specific stories, their specific perceptions, and therefore their particular way of looking at an object.

So with all that, let’s just be clear about one thing. And there are about three things that I would say I’ve learned over a lifetime of working in a museum. And that is that actually objects that you interpret, which is the focus of our panel, that interpretation in the very word interpretation

Is a particular point of view. There is no such thing as only one way of looking at an object or presenting an object. So therefore let’s be clear that as museum professionals, those of us who work in museums, is that our point of view is just a point of view.

It is not the point of view, and therefore let’s get away from what sometimes we call in the performing arts industry “the voice of God,” the institutional voice, because everything we do has a particular point of view. So that’s number one. Number two, what is our responsibility? Our responsibility as museum people,

And I say this now, both as an insider or an outsider, is that how can we create a space for opening up other points of view, a point of view that actually may not be your particular point of view. In other words, number one, lay the intent bare.

Let people know where you’re coming from, that may be a point of view. Number two, open up the processes by which there are other interpretations possible. Number three, it isn’t just the interpretation as in the label you write, interpretation comes from the context, how you install objects, what is in relation to what,

Who is gonna speak to whom in terms of the objects. So let’s think about the context in which the objects are seen. And last but not the least let’s also recognize that it is impossible to be all inclusive about all possible interpretations. Therefore, what you choose will say as much about you,

The institution and where you wanna go with your viewers. So the idea of a dialogic museum, which is something my friend and colleague Jack Tchen has talked a lot about, you would know that that dialogue occurs not just between a viewer and an object, but even in the life of an object,

How it talks from one to the other. Having said all of that, the last piece that I would say we should remember is that art refuses to be put in a box. And what I mean by that is that for art, and this is true particularly art objects as we define them.

But art is as much about telling a point of a particular point, a particular story, of a particular time, specificity of time and history and geography matters, but it also has the capacity to transcend time and space to live independently in that space and that’s not just true of an art object,

It’s true of music, it’s true of all kinds of art forms, dance, literature. That it can speak across boundaries, and it also reflects a specificity of time and place. Given that, it’s fair to recognize that in the Euro-American world, especially in America, for much of the 20th century,

We have privileged one part of art, that is to think about the temple of learning above time and space, art object existing independently of time and space. Now it’s time for us to actually go back to also embodying the specificity of an object, not just the original intent

But how it may have been perceived, what it is the product of, and bring it back and imbue the object with that specificity of their stories, their histories, and the perceptions of those objects. However, if we go too far into that pendulum we will also lose that duality,

The multiplicity that art objects function in. So one of the challenges that we will have is as we begin to think about interpretation for our age, for this moment democratisation of interpretation, let’s also make sure that art exists as much for curiosity, imagination of the world we have not seen,

As it is also about giving voice to the voicelessness that has existed for way too long. With that right let’s dive into the conversations today and I’m really delighted that the first presentation is gonna be by Jack Tchen. Thank you. And we’ll come back and have a conversation together

After all the presentations are over. So over to you Jack. [ No Sound ] – Thank you Vishakha. It’s a delight to be on this panel, and thank you for that wonderful context that I think is extremely useful and gets us much further down into this conversation.

I also wanna thank the Met education staff for putting this on, it’s really been a delight being involved in this. And, you know, I didn’t realize until you mentioned it Vishakha that this was 150th anniversary of The Met, which I should have known. I should also mark that it’s also the 100th anniversary

Of the second international eugenics congress that happened at the American Museum of Natural History. I’ll get back to why that’s significant. But also the Vishakha I think it’s really important to mark that this is your 50th anniversary being involved in museums. So I think that trajectory in some ways

Speaks to some of these questions that we’re talking about. The Met of course, was seen as an institution that originally had reproductions and also was meant to be a way to educate the working people of the city who were increasing by leaps and bounds, right? So we’re talking about the 1870s.

The first number of decades are really the heyday of what we think of as the Gilded Age, in which great numbers of Eastern Europeans, Jews especially Southern Europeans were entering into the city in very large number but also Irish of course, and these are in many ways

People who are not considered part of, kind of traditional founding “Native American group” of Anglo-American Protestants. And in may ways, this is a moment in which the founding institutions such as The Met or the New York Historical Society, other kinds of founding institutions the American Museum of Natural History were information

And really coming up with their systems of classification of knowledge production, of what should be displayed. So I think it’s useful to provide a kind of a historical framing as to what those original foundations were, and then the great numbers of people who began populating this nation

And populating the city and sometimes coming to these institutions because there’s a way to aspire and a way to kind of identify with the culture, of the dominant culture, but it was also a place that many people did not feel comfortable coming to, right? So in some ways we’re now grappling

With these kinds of questions of what those deep historical exclusions and deep historical roots are. So I think the tension that Vishakha has identified is a very important one, at the same time I really do believe in museums and these spaces because I think they are, with all their flaws,

Places in which democratic dialogue, and the examination of unresolved issues of the past can happen. But it becomes then a question of whether we as institutions, institutions builders, or people within institutions, or the educators can embrace that. And whether we can actually rise to those challenges.

So I guess I would like to maybe begin with saying a little bit about this question of whether democratic interpretations of objects can really significantly change the perspectives that we begin to develop in places such as museums or about the city itself, for example.

And I’m really bringing in New York City into this because I think this combination of institutions that we have in the city are really quite unique, and also speak to the possibilities of a polyphonic democratic culture. But at the same time, you’re free to look at any of the mainstream primary institutions.

Then we start getting a more kind of layered complex understanding of how wealth and power have operated. So for me, the question of whether inviting broader perspectives alone will then begin to change our interpretations of objects, I think yes, and no. Yes, in the sense that I think it’s absolutely critical

For those who come from many different places, and Vishakha you’re an example, I’m an example, which has different kinds of deep historical cultures, to have those voices and perspectives and frameworks, historical, philosophical, spiritual frameworks brought into dialogue with the objects that are oftentimes from those cultures that are now in these museums.

So the history, for example, in my case of the British introduction of opium from the colony of India and creating the cash crop with opium and introducing that into China was fundamental to the way I was raised being the anchor baby, and the first one born in the United States.

So my very Chinese mother would talk to me about the opium wars, here I am in the Midwest, growing up on the prairie land. And the streets of this new suburb were full of indigenous names. And there were arrowheads in the ground. And I was trying to figure out

How to make sense of all this, right? And in some ways that speaks to the contradictions of a settler American society, but also how do we make sense of the land that we’re on, and the culture that surrounds us and the culture that dominated the Midwest that I grew up within,

In a way that can actually allow for more interpretations and then the civics lessons than they were gaining. So part of my journey has been to look for those clues, those fragments, in which the Chinese American experience, the history of Chinese laundry workers, the history of garment workers

Was really not considered part of anything important to look at, because after all these were people who were doing very modest work and were not considered to be the leaders and the patriarchs of the founding institutions and significant in those ways. If we were to look in the archives

We could not find really anything about Chinese. That would be true at the New York Historical Society. When I first arrived in New York in the mid, in 1975. And it continues to be true to many degrees. So there’s a question of what are the stories that are told about the city?

What are the archives that exist? What are the histories, the official histories? And really what is the kind of awareness that people who come from very different backgrounds with very different frameworks of understanding the past, what do they bring to that? So then we enter into a space such as New York City

The many monuments, for example, in New York City or the many objects that may exist in a history museum or an art museum, what are the dialogues that we have coming from these different knowledge backgrounds, and what are the official stories that are being kind of told in the school rooms,

In the history books, what is being taught in the PhD programs, what books are being created and what are the cannons of the different institutions that we’re entering into? So what I’m suggesting is that there is a contestations and that the more diversity there is of points of view and backgrounds and experience,

The more significant that dialogue can be but not everyone has the equal access or power to actually be in positions to counter and to be in dialogue. So I think those are really important questions that New York institutions are now just starting to reckon with, or maybe I should say

That New York City institutions have necessarily gone through cycles of reckoning. So, and we’re in one of those moments right now, I think where the larger challenges of our society are now being clearly played out, not only within the United States and within the Americas, but within the global world.

So Black Lives Matter, for example, has raised so many so many questions that also relate to why is it that there was a Chinese exclusion law and why is it that most Americans don’t even know about it? So these questions of where are those blank spots,

What we don’t know is actually just as important as what we think we know, and what we think are the kind of civics lessons or the foundational stories that we live, and are tested on, and are able to gain our citizenship based on.

So I guess I would say that it’s important for us, especially being having a more global and more critical perspective on the practices of any one place or any one nation to also understand how knowledge and knowledge systems are constructed. So it’s not strictly about the knowledge of one person,

But something deeply about the political culture of any given place that we’re in. So I would just say maybe two more things. One is that the work that I started doing in New York Chinatown increasingly I understood as increasingly necessarily being not just about the China trade and the fact that

Yes Chinese too are part of New York, and that we have been in New York for a long time. I mean, those are the usual ways in which we claim kind of belonging and citizenship. But in fact, the China trade was foundational to the very formation of the American identity

Of the U.S. project itself. And that speaks to the trade and the desire for luxuries amongst the European aristocracy, but also as that aristocracy transplanted in the new nation of the United States and Canada, those kinds of Anglo America’s values also transplanted so that the desire for certain kinds of luxuries,

And a certain kind of way in which political arithmetic could be used to enrich the country drove a lot of the dispossession of indigenous peoples. So that like clearing the land based on certain kinds of dubious justifications from the Pope to John Locke. Those dubious justifications enabled the extraction

Of resources from the land in a way they could be used to help further the trade. I would also say that therefore enslavement also is part of this picture, because once the land was cleared there needed to be a cheap, if not indentured, if not very low paying ways in which people

Can be brought in to create value from the land itself. So what I began to realize is that the history of Chinese and Chinatown in the United States it’s not simply an isolated phenomenon of bias and prejudice and therefore the artifacts of all that experience should be isolated

In understanding that, but that the experience of Chinese in this country and the China trade are deeply involved in the dispossession and in the enslavement nexus. So with that understanding it helped me understand how racialization processes, and the ways in which we let’s say then acknowledge or don’t acknowledge monuments for example.

For example, the Theodore Roosevelt monument in front of the American Museum of Natural History. How do we understand that? How do we understand Christopher Columbus’ statue that stands in the middle of Columbus Circle? It depends on the frameworks that we have as to whether we have we bring very different perspectives to that

And we can actually engage fairly in a dialogue. And I would say that we have not been. I served on the Mayor’s Commission for Public Art Markers and Monuments, and it was a chaotic experience in which there was no way to ground the many monuments and markers and public art

In the city other than simply saying we should just have more. And somehow if we don’t have enough women, we should have more women. If we don’t have somebody to counterbalance Teddy Roosevelt we should, well, that doesn’t seem to be really the best way to tell the story truthfully of the history

Of a city, but it does open up the possibilities if we can actually have a historical discussion have a dialogue as to why these objects are there. I’m using that example about the city as really also a way to understand the institutions and the objects that we have within museums themselves.

So I would just say that we have to understand these objects as parts of classification and framing systems and those systems are the things that we really need to understand now especially at these moments in which it’s not just more inclusion, it’s not just more voices, but the fundamental frameworks

Of understanding meaning within those frameworks, have to be challenged and reexamined. So maybe I’ll just end them there because there’s so much more to be said, thank you [ No Sound ] – Good evening everybody. And thank you very much for the invitation to participate in this conference.

And I’m really honored to be on a panel with such distinguished companions. And I’m looking for very much to the discussion at the end. So I think I’m picking up on a theme of the entire symposium, which is working in the field of museums at this place, wherever we might be,

And at this time the stakes feel pretty high. And I’m going to talk today from my vantage point as somebody working within a university, with university collections, to really think particularly about how our current moment raises huge questions particularly for example, COVID-19 around contact between people and objects.

And I hope my argument feeds into some of the bigger questions of the panel about how important objects and materiality of things are as well as digital and multimodal ways of knowing, especially as we are so temporarily distanced from many of our collections. I also want to emphasize that it’s important to think

Not just in terms of outcomes or outputs from exhibitions to events, but really it also about practices and ways of working, and that’s what I really want to talk about today. Opening up formations of practice curatorial collections management, as forms of care not just for objects, but for social relationships.

And I’m drawing very much on the concept of a relational ethics that was proposed by a Savoy and Sarr in the very influential report on the restitution of African collections from France. Rather than thinking always as the kind of end outcome or output of what we do,

We need to think about what kinds of relationships and processes we create around our engagement with collections. And I think as it’s already been alluded by Jack, we’ve really seen some dramatic developments and interventions into the museum world in recent years, museums have been drawn into public dialogues

About recognition of past and present injustice, about colonial histories and futures, about restitution and restorative justice. And this is really intensified over the COVID period. And we see debates about repatriation, colonial legacies, decolonization becoming more mainstream than ever. And to me into popular discourse in a way I think that’s quite unprecedented.

So today I want to briefly present some of the moments of dialogue and practice that have emerged in the work I’ve been doing with colleagues at UCL, University College London, in the ethnography collections, which I curate. These are teaching collections that are housed in our department and give us,

I think a bit more of a possibility of experimentation because we’re not working so much within the confines of a formal museum framework. And working with our collections, we ask every day how we can develop ways of working that share a curatorial and interpretable authority with others.

We are always asking how we can work against the internalization of colonial categories and power imbalances. And we work not just to diversify our output but our practice, even those practices that may be less visible to the public. And this is particularly important given the troubling history of ethnographic collection

Which really demands that we ask these questions of ourselves all the time. And I want to just give you two examples of some of the projects that we’ve worked on over the last few years in which we have tried to extend some of this power and interpretable authority

Outside of the university in ways that I think have actually been incredibly influential shifting and changing the very form of what we do. My first example is a project that we called This is a Maori term. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, Aotearoa in New Zealand. And it means pathways of spiritual or intangible energy. It was the name of a collaboration between myself and Stuart Foster an interaction designer and Kura Puke, a Maori artists who were both based

At Massey University in New Zealand. And also with Timatahiapo Research Group a cultural and community organization based in Taranaki in the north of Ireland. And the project focuses on this beautiful cloak which is part of the ethnography collections. Originally collected by the Wellcome Institute,

The cloak came to UCL sometime in the mid 20th century. We aren’t sure when, because we have very bad provenance for many of our collections. It was part of a series of donations of nonmedical collections of cloaks that the Institute made to different museums and universities,

Objects they didn’t consider as core to its mission. It was marked only as Maori and had no known provenance. We do not know who made her. We don’t know where or when she was made, but we know she must have been special, a treasure, a Towner, and possibly

Because of her small size woven for a child. The cloak is finding waiver now to New Zealand flax with tassels made out of the hair of the Cudi or Polynesian dog now extinct, and a Wolf fringe bordering the beautiful red and black Tomiko border.

And the condition you can see here is so fantastic. We can gather that not much has happened with this cloak over the years. She’s basically been in storage for nearly 100 years. Intrigued by my characterization of the cloak along with many of our collections as an orphaned object, Kura and Stewart set about

Bringing their massive digital work and grassroots community practice to the cloak. With a background in designing a virtual environments and a long-standing practice of connecting to light and sound to Maori treasures, their intention was in their words to bring the cloak into the light and bathe it with energy from New Zealand.

And working closely with Timatahiapo, we developed a long-term ambition working through the medium of digital technology. Throughout our project the term (foreign language) meaning spiritual energy was used as an encompassing term for the digital, just as digital communication media largely exists as wireless waves of information transmitted all around us.

So do (foreign language) treasured possessions, create networks of conductivity across time and space. And the connection of this cloak through broadband and cellular activity to people in London and in New Zealand was not framed therefore as something new, but actually as a continuation of the kind of work that these treasured artifacts

Are supposed to do, to link people, activate, maintain connections and networks of knowledge. So this is the cloak on display in UCL’s octagon gallery. And you can see the kind of immersive environment that Kura and Stewart came to London to set up in 2014. On June 17th, we created a ceremonial environment

In which transformed our octagon gallery into a Maori space, a Marae, and we at UCL became the guests that were welcomed into this space by Timatahiapo who were at their Marae. (foreign language) at the foot of Mount Taranaki. So as guests, we were ushered into the space, and welcomed and responded with call.

I want to play you a very short clip which I’ve poorly edited, and doesn’t do justice to the events just to show you how the event was recorded in both sites simultaneously So that just shows you how the traditional call and response of a Maori pōwhiri, or a welcoming ceremony where mediated across time and space using basically a FaceTime connection. And what you could also see was that the connection didn’t work perfectly, whilst we could be heard perfectly in New Zealand

Because of broadband inequities in New Zealand, and the fact that they were using a cellular connection rather than the kind of wifi connection we had at UCL, we at UCL was unable to hear all of the words of their welcoming incantation. And as the project progressed and the technology was increasingly a challenge

Frustrating our attempts to communicate clearly, we started to talk more and more about that. What was happening in those gaps. And I started to wonder if actually that imperfect connection was actually one way we could acknowledge the distance and disconnection that is also a part of the cloak’s history

As well as this more celebrated digital connection that we were also creating. Perhaps the failings of technology, the way that it kept reminding us of its presence, as it fails around us, evoked the situation we were in a brave attempt to recreate a connection that can never be fully salvaged to work

Across the distance that is still present and that still remains. At the end of several weeks of exhibiting the cloak, Te Urutahi who you see here in this image in another impoverished FaceTime session, gave our cloak a name, holding our phones high into the air,

We ran around the campus trying to hear clearly and we ended up in the geography department to be told better or to better hear her tell us that the cloak will now be called Tukutuku Roimata, a name that evokes the tears of the ancestors from the spiritual realm into woven

And connecting us with the physical realm through the cloak. And so this is very much a name that evokes absence as well as presence, and the project as a whole explored the capacities of new technologies to connect and explore new relationships between colonial era collections and contemporary source communities in this global context

Speaking to a broader politics of restitution, repatriation, and return. When Kura and Stewart left UCL, they left us with a kind of DIY kit that enables us to plug the cloak in to New Zealand at any time you can dial in, and you can bathe the cloak in the sound

Through speakers and through LED light strips that bring through this digital energy channel lightened sand from New Zealand into our story, and so we continue to activate this relationship. My second very brief example focuses on ongoing work that I’ve been doing with our collections curator, Delphine Mercy

In an afterschool club for high school students. We call this the Young Curators Project, and we explore narrative and poetic strategies for connecting to the ethnography collections. Every student picks an object in the collection to research and they go back into their homes and communities and chooses another object from there

To bring the two together. And then they work with poets, anthropologists, to narrate those connections in their own words for their own exhibition which we show both online and in the university. I just want to show you this little display that was made by Tyanne Hudson, who is from the Harrison Victor’s Academy

In Croydon in south London. She chose to work with lantern slides depicting life in Nigeria in the first half of the 20th century, which speaks to her own cultural background. But she linked them to a collection of cinema tickets that were made during trips that she bought during trips

To the cinema with her family. And this is a little poem that she wrote for her label in the exhibition. And she wrote in a longer text I’m quoting, “I’ve chosen this object because it represents friendship and helps me remember my experiences. For example, when we went to see “Deadpool 2″

As a leaving party and my friend who was leaving didn’t show up”. And she went on to write, “Lantern slides, were used as a way to present information much like PowerPoint, they are photos that can be projected onto a screen used to teach students from UCL

And around the same time they were made. And I chose these images because they are both linked to memories and ways of learning about different cultures.” The films talk about the 21st century, the things we find interesting, and the lantern slides teach us about life in 20th century, Nigeria.

They’re also connected by the way they were shown both on projectors for large audiences. During COVID-19 we created another version of this club because we couldn’t have people into the collection who are Young Curators Online. And this is the kind of online course, which you can do in your own time,

Which creates the dialogue around key issues, statues, and public spaces, and naming of places and important debates around the history and legacies of colonialism particularly in collections. We also train students and oral history recording so they can start to think about what forms of knowledge is in their own communities

That might then become part of a museum or archive. And the course ends with an opportunity to submit an object to a virtual museum of COVID-19. And here you can see a selection of objects that were most meaningful to the lives of young people that participated in the course

During the lockdown of last year. And we start to wonder, are these objects perhaps the ethnographic collections of the future. I’ve only had a very short time to give you two very different examples, both of which are trying to leverage the opportunities inherent in digital technologies, not as ends in of themselves

But as portals to really think about how we might start to reimagine a new future for our collections. I’m very much thinking about the work of Eric Alara and Shelley Butler in that kind of formulation of curatorial dreams, the opportunities that we have as museum workers to imagine how we would really like

To do things if we weren’t always so constrained. And in my curatorial dream, the ethnography collection is activated as a resource not just to connect people to their own cultural heritage, and I very much agree with Jack’s point about it’s not really enough just to say let’s reinterpret

And let’s give multiple perspectives on things, it’s not just about trying to make better displays. It’s also about bringing different people in as the arbiters of those displays to structure and very much inflect the practices that are implicit or often invisible around them. The problematic legacies and histories of the anthropological collection remain.

They’re very much with us. We can’t escape them, but the platforms and the rate them to create sense and meaning can be shifted. Within the collection we have been collecting the documentation from these projects, not in order to connect people to museums and collections, but to develop a new generation of museum practitioners

And to create new, more equitable and open collections for the future. Thank you. [ No Sound ] – Good evening, everyone. I’d first like to thank The Met for inviting me to speak at the symposium. I’m very happy to be a part of the conversation that looks at the museum as learner.

It probably is that the museums should be rethinking their relationship with the community they serve, as equals who share and exchange information that makes the experience so much richer for everyone. So I pulled, I would basically give you an idea of what MAP is all about

Before I move on to the main subject of the discussion, because I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with us. So MAP is a new museum that’s coming up in the heart of Bengaluru in South India. And our mission is to take art back into the heart of the community.

And create a museum going culture because the joke with MAP is we have the most crowded cities in India with the emptiest museums. So we’re hoping that there’s something we can do to change that. And this map gives you an idea of where we are located in the heart of town

Close to the Metro stations, opposite a beautiful park and positioned on one of the arterial roads in the city so that we are easily accessible to everyone. This is an artist rendering of what MAP will look like because construction is still underway and we hope to open in December

Of this year, COVID permitting. And we see MAP as not just a place for objects, but a space for ideas and conversations that we initiate through the collection. So the collection really becomes the catalyst to grow MAP into a kind of cultural hub where there’s plenty of interaction and exchange.

While the collection has different categories of objects, we have pre-modern, modern and contemporary, textile craft and design, living traditions, photography, popular culture. So we are looking to really collapse the hierarchies between what is perceived as high and low art and not view the collection in vertical silos but draw connections across the collection.

We are one of the few if not the only museum in India that has popular culture as integral part of the collection. And the idea is that people from different communities, backgrounds, race, religion, all feel that some part of their lives or cultures reflected here and they are able to connect.

So inclusion and accessibility really are the two pillars of MAP. And we are working on how to be accessible to people with not just physical, but also mental disability. We are fortunate that we are working with the new building. So right from the start, we’ve sat down with the architects

And our consultants, which is the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Center so that we work together to try and make everyone feel that they are welcome at MAP. And this goes for our website as well. We use fonts, colors, color contrast, or text, so that people with visual disabilities

Find it easy to navigate our site. All our events have subtitling and sign language interpretation to help the hearing impaired. So when we talk about accessibility we really need to examine the relationship with the museum has had with audiences in the past. Traditionally, the museum voice was seen as THE voice

That best understood the story and therefore was in the best position to tell that story. Today of course we know that is not true. Curators, art historians, scholars bring knowledge and learning to what they do all very valuable but that is Vishakha said is one aspect of a story.

When we deal with objects, for example that have cultural religious or traditional significance there are several layers of knowledge and storytelling, this would come from members of the community specifically practitioners of that ritual that the object is associated with, worshipers, craftsman involved in its making and so many more.

And context becomes particularly relevant when we are exploring, say living traditions, for example butta pula is a poem of spiritual worship. That’s practiced in Southern Karnataka, the state that MAP is located in. It is a centuries old practice that is performed still today where local spirits or deities are channelized by ritual specialists.

These ceremonies are very significant for the community because traditionally family and village disputes are accord to the spirit as are matters of political justice or even legitimizing political authority. We have a number of such objects at MAP, masks, breast plates, et cetera, that are used in these ceremonies.

And much of the knowledge around these rituals rests with the practitioners in the community. And I would hesitate any interpretation of these objects without drawing on their knowledge. I thought I’ve been speaking of another example from our section on living traditions that includes the work of indigenous artists

From different parts of the country. One of the opening exhibitions on our digital platform represented the work of Bhuri Bai, a Bhil artist from central India. And though her book is now well known, her story has most often been told without her involvement. A conversation that the curators had heard

Was quite revealing because she said that she had all these catalogs, books, articles, about her over the years that she had accumulated but because she was illiterate, she really had no idea of what was being said on her behalf. So taking this into consideration, our exhibition,

“My Life as an Artist” was put together in collaboration with Bhuri Bai, so the curatorial team traveled to Bhopal to meet her record audio interviews and discuss how the exhibition would take shape. These conversations then formed the basis of the exhibition’s narrative. So when we talk about interpretation

It’s often dependent on the scope of the collection, the story that this selection of artwork tells. But what does it exclude? Because those object histories are not represented within the collection and every museum has its wishlist there are bound to be gaps in most collections, and it’s important for museums to recognize that

And to be transparent about it. This is particularly visible in institutions that house private collections where collectors have acquired objects based on a particular interest or preference. At MAP where the core of the collection is donated by its founder, this is a challenge we face as well

And we are very conscious of it. But today, a key factor that is changing the equation between the museum and its audiences is the information freeway. The world online has democratized access to information and learning to a large extent. And yes, it is a double-edged sword. You have inaccurate information,

Information that comes with its own biases, information that is channelized to reinforce our prejudices, but with all its downsides the net has made knowledge sharing much more widespread than it has ever been before. This becomes especially relevant if we think of the museum as an array of difficult histories

Such as colonial pasts, political and racial oppression. Whose story are we telling? As many of us have pointed out. And whose point of view I’ll be presenting? For example, if you look at India’s colonial history and some of the defining moments in that relationship between the colonizer and the colonized,

How do we read evidence? For example, this photograph of the ruins of Lucknow taken in 1860, does it allude to the Indian mutiny of 1857 as the British described it, or the first war of Indian independence as Indians like to think of it. Does the museum as an institution have a role

In altering social attitudes and political structures that enable oppression? In contemporary India, for example, we still struggle with injustice that is experienced as a result of past hierarchies or gender discrimination. The pandemic has simply accelerated the online relationship with audiences as we all experienced. And at MAP we were completely focused

On the roadmap to the physical museum, but the virus literally stopped us in our tracks. And as people brainstorming about the way forward, the message that we were getting from our advisors, our board, friends of MAP, why are you so fixated on the physical space?

For now why don’t you launch a digital museum? And so we decided that if people cannot come to MAP then we need to take MAP to people. And it had its benefits because it expanded the whole scope of how we conceive our audiences. It allows us to reach many more people,

To build a growing international network, and to use the tools that this medium offers to create different experiences. The digital space has also introduced a more informal mode of interaction that’s much less hierarchical because it brings the museum into your home. It creates a new intimacy.

It allows you to be part of cultural discourse seated in your favorite armchair. And technology has also allowed us new modes of storytelling. And we have MAP labs that lies at that intersection of technology and art. And since we are located in the IT capital Bangalore of India,

It made sense to collaborate with the industry to discover tech solutions for art. So our first collaboration was with Accenture on a project that uses artificial intelligence to create a 3D persona of the artist M F Husain. Husain is no more but visitors can interact with him through this holographic persona,

Chat with him asking questions. It’s a way to get young people to know more about one of our iconic artists. We have a small clip of one of those interactions, which we’ll play for you. – What is your name? – You can call me Husain Sahib,

But my full name is Maqbool Fida Husain. – How old are you? – Want to take a guess? As of today I’m over 100 years old. – Are you real? – As close to real, enough to impress you. Please ask me what do you need to know about me?

– So that was the Husain experience. The virtual world has allowed us to connect with museums across the world as well in a time when neither people or objects could travel. So during the pandemic, we developed Museums Without Borders. A collaborative project that makes it possible for objects and people to travel virtually

And encourages new ways of seeing. Basically it juxtaposes an object from MAP with an object from the partner museum. And this could be based on similarities or differences and maybe theams, geographies, mediums. And when objects are placed in dialogues some really interesting conversations emerge,

These are articulated by the curators from the two museums. And this is an example of our collaboration with The British Museum. It contrasts the work of a modernist from India. (indistinct) an 18th century miniature painter from the collection of the BM. We use music as a lens through which to explore them.

So on one hand, you have the solitary drummer beating out a rhythm in this frenzy of despair juxtaposed with this celebratory group of trumpeters. And it becomes particularly interesting when you connect objects in different cultures. For example, the work of two indigenous artists one from India and the other from Canada, Each of their selected words features a central bird figure an owl by Ishiva from the RISD collection and a majestic peacock by Sham in MAPs collection where we juxtapose the unique styles of painting the tremendous impact they work at And let me conclude with another collaborative

Digital project that we are working on with Microsoft, that uses artificial intelligence for cultural heritage. The initiative called Interwoven Global Connections to south Asian textiles has Microsoft working with our curators and collections department to develop the AI tools which can recognize distinct patterns, motives and techniques, which are used in south Asian textiles

From MAPs collection, as well as the data base of images we put together from partner collections in the region. So the platform then connects these textiles with those from around the world, such as the Middle East, Africa, and Central South America. These connections can be explored on an interactive platform.

Our curators have mapped certain journeys through connected artworks with accompsnying text where we then tell stories of how these similarities occur, be it through trade or collaboration, or just by accident. For example, the AI tools may recognize the Paisley motif and link examples of this motif found in Indian textiles with trade textiles

For the European markets in the 19th century, and then how that same motif was picked up in popular culture in the 1960s, and popularized by bands such as the Beatles. And in fact, The Met has come on board as one of our partners on this project. So these are some of the ways

We are looking at our collections, trying to interpret them afresh, and build a more interactive experience with our audience. Thank you very much. [ No Sound ] – Good afternoon. I wanna thank The Met for the invitation to participate in this afternoon’s program and to join all

Of these wonderful speakers for this conversation today. My name is Brian Vallo, and I am the Governor at the Pueblo of Acoma tribe in New Mexico. For those of you who are not familiar with New Mexico, Acoma tribe is located about one hours drive west of Albuquerque.

Acoma is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in North America. This was my home. For the past 30 years, I have worked in cultural resources management addressing a myriad of issues on behalf of my own tribe and other tribal communities throughout the Southwest. This opportunity has provided me

The chance to have dialogue with other tribal communities and all institutions from throughout the Southwest concerning repatriation, concerning museum and exhibit development, interpretation, access and collections management practice. I’ve also had the opportunity to work directly with tribes in creating their own tribal museums. A movement here that is reshaping

And shaping the ways in which indigenous communities in this country are presenting themselves, their culture and their histories. This work experience has provided me with these great opportunities. And one in particular is the opportunity to implement a federal policy called, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

This was a federal policy that was passed by the Congress in 1990. And what this policy provides is protection of items housed in museums, institutions, and agencies of the federal government and the federal system, which include items of objects of cultural patrimony, ancestral human remains, and their associated funerary objects.

This initial work centered on a review of inventories of items protected by this policy, NAGPRA. And again including human remains associated funerary objects and cultural patrimony. These inventories were mandated by this law. So each institution who was a recipient of federal funding was required to provide to tribes

Throughout the country inventories of their collections of native American materials. For the Pueblo of Acoma, and over the course of the first three years of enactment of this policy, we had received nearly 300 inventories of these items and representing almost a million items that fell under those various categories that were identified

As coming from my tribe. This prompted a second, I guess phase of this implementation, which called for visitation to a numerous institutions throughout the country. And in this photo, the photograph here of the exhibit, some of you might be familiar, is at the Field Museum in Chicago.

And this exhibition, when I first saw it along with other representatives from my tribe, we were utterly shocked and dismayed at the presentation, but really at that time did not have much to say or do to address the concerns that we had concerning exhibition.

What we were concerned with and what we were there for was to review items that were provided in their inventory of Acoma human remains and associated funerary objects. These inventories and these visits to the various museums exposed me personally to just a number of issues and concerns around the ways in which museums

In this country were stewarding these collections. And also other general collections of what were classified as Native American art or cultural items from Native American tribes in this country. And this is really a time in my life when my focus transitioned from cultural resources management to a focus on repatriation and museum development.

So I had the opportunity to work with many museums and to visit some of our country’s flagship institutions where it was quite apparent that in addition to the problem that ancestors of my ancestors remained stored in these facilities, that there were some other glaring issues around presentation, around narrative of not only Acoma

Materials on display, but other materials from tribes throughout this country that were on display. A lot of the information was in error. A lot of the ways in which things were presented in exhibit were likely offensive to many tribal people, including myself. And so it opened my eyes to the issue

That at that time had not been discussed openly among tribal representatives. So NAGPRA brought to the forefront various issues for both native American tribes and museums, many of which remain unresolved due to a number of complex reasons. What this has created however, is a movement among native American museum professionals,

Tribal historic preservation officers, tribal governmental officials, Native American organizations, and thankfully a number of museums who share the same concerns and a desire to invoke some change through more meaningful consultation, collaboration, and inclusion of Native America in museums. Some of the initial outcomes of this process and the photo on the left

Of the reburial of ancestral materials, burial items is a result of the NAGPRA law, the re actual repatriation that has been occurring since the enactment of that law of ancestral human remains and associated funerary objects. The challenge here is that there are so many materials, literally millions of items in museums

That need to be repatriated. The cumbersome process associated with this federal policy and museum policies don’t allow for a – any real ease in the process of repatriation. And so while we remain engaged in that process of repatriation, we have also exerted our tribal sovereignty around these issues around federal policy

But also the need for representation in the world of museums. And it took a congressional act to eventually create the National Museum of the American Indian which is now located on the national mall in Washington DC. And this institution represents all indigenous tribes of this hemisphere, and it is

Houses one of the largest collections of Native American materials in a separate facility in Suitland, Maryland. Many tribes work directly with the National Museum of the American Indian on the repatriation of items back to tribes and the review of document existing documentation around collections on exhibit and development and programming,

And a number of other issues that are important to tribal nations in this country. But there’s much work to be done. And even while the National Museum of American Indian does exist, does actively repatriate and does actively engage with tribes and institutions throughout the world. There is much work to be done,

And on all levels where policy is concerned, on the federal level but also within the field of museum studies, anthropology and archeology. But this movement is something that is evolving and is proving that with continued commitment on the part of tribes and institutions, that there is some promise.

In 2014, I joined the school for Advanced Research which is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As the director of the Indian Arts Research Center. And it was there that I had the opportunity to work with many tribal and non-tribal museum professionals from across the country on an initiative

Led by my predecessor, Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar, to develop a set of guidelines of how museums can work with source communities. The published guidelines for collaboration had an immediate impact on the field, strengthening established relationships between museums and tribes, instituting discourse on processes for engagement with tribes, by museums for both short

And longer term projects and initiatives, and forging discussion among tribes and museums about building trust, establishing communication, and understandings, and identifying those opportunities for mutually rewarding relationships. The guidelines have strong support of national museum organizations, including AAM and ATALM or the Association of Tribal Archives Libraries and Museum. Many museums throughout the nation

Are utilizing these guidelines. They have implemented these guidelines for specific projects and have used the guidelines to just to begin a dialogue between museums and source communities. I always like to acknowledge the Field Museum in Chicago for being one of the first flag ship institutions in this country to study the guidelines

And to develop a process for engagement of tribal community, source community representatives, and their current and ongoing effort to rehabilitate the Native American Hall. And earlier – an earlier slide, you saw the photo, the black and white photo of a museum tour passing by some display cases of mannequins

Dressed in Native American traditional attire. This is that same exhibit that was on display for nearly 70 years. This movement is creating positive change. It is making the museum field inquisitive and certainly much more responsive to Native American tribes. It is also fueling a critical and creative thought among non-native museum professionals.

I applaud The Met and other institutions for also taking bold steps in response to this movement. This level of commitment is crucial towards achieving equity and true representation of Native America in our museums. In this photo, I want to also highlight that the Yale University assembled students at Yale University,

Assembled an advisory committee of Native American experts to assist them in the curation of an installation at the university. So there’s acknowledgement and there’s engagement and it is active. And this is probably the most profound experiences that we are having now in this time. And again, congratulate The Met on taking that step

In the creation of the Art of Native America, with a advisory committee comprised of both native and non-native experts. The presentation of this private collection of Native American art items in this collection was a process that was quite involved. And the outcome of this was I believe successful.

It really set the stage for the ways in which The Met will continue to work with Native American tribes, will continue to present Native America within its walls and provide opportunities for Native American artists contemporary Native American artists to be part of The Met culture. So many Native American museum professionals,

Tribal leaders, cultural leaders and other experts are engaged in meaningful projects. Many of which will set a new bar for consultation and engagement. I want to spend the remainder of my time to mention briefly the projects associated with the photos in the slide. I mentioned the Yale student exhibition

Which is the first photo. The middle photo is a project at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, where we have a very unique situation of this particular institution working around and navigating the complexities associated with receiving a promised or gift of Native American materials,

And how these materials will be presented in the future, how they will be accessed in the future, and more immediate is how these items will be presented in a publication. This involves and has involved almost two years of consultation with tribal experts to determine how best to present these materials

In a catalog, in a publication. And then of course, the third photo, there is two employees from the Field Museum who I had the opportunity to work with during the dismantling of the former exhibit, and the requests that I made of them for us to bring two significant pieces of materials

From Acoma outdoors, to give them air, to rejuvenate them, and re-engage those items with the natural environment even while this was in Chicago. So there are opportunities, and I hope that the commitment of our museums to this movement remains strong. As I said, there is much work to be done

And I’m very grateful that there is a shown commitment on the part of some institutions and our federal government and of tribal communities alike. Thank you very much. [ No Sound ] [ No Sound ] – Thank you very much for a very rich presentations. There’s so many different questions

And also things are coming up in the chat. Lots of people have things to say. They’re very specific questions to each one of you but let me just start with some broad observation and then ask you some questions. I mean, I thought it was rather interesting that we started

With the idea of specific stories, specific histories, and Jack talked about things that are excluded. And then Brian, with your conversation you brought us back to things that are excluded that actually people who are excluded, who need to be part of the conversation in shaping that dialogue.

Most of you, except for Kamini did focus on the more anthropological aspect of museums, meaning it’s in ethnographic collection at the University of London. Or Brian you’ve talked about the native traditions and especially in the historical museums but now also in the art museums and what we can do.

One thing that I keep thinking about is that for many big museums and I refuse to use the word encyclopedic museums and I tell you why, because I have come to the conclusion there is no such thing as encyclopedic museums. There are museums that are accidents of history and museums of partial histories,

Depending on what they have and what they don’t have. So what we have to figure out is not only to deal with what is excluded, but also what is there that also is about symbols of power and sometimes the aura. So I’d like you to really help our viewers,

Readers, listeners, on this call to think about, especially for art museums which is the world that I inhabited for a very, very long time. There is something about the aura of art and Native American collection when it comes into the art museum it somehow is seen as a little different

From when it was at the Museum of Natural History let’s say. So how do we deal with dismembering if you will or trying to really question that idea of aura of art that exists, especially in art museums and deal with ways of actually looking at the material that also gives you the specificity

Because it does have something to do with that kind of duality, that art objects seems to exist in. And Kamini I’ll start with you and also Jack, when you add something to say there. ‘Cause especially in your case Kamini, you at MAP are trying to really bring

In many different kinds of objects together, from traditional fine art object, to photography, to indigenous collection or the tribal collection and more casual objects. But it seems like a lot of the things you’re doing now online, it would be interesting to find that how you will actually follow

That in front of the object itself. There’s something about objects that we still have to deal with especially objects as seen as art museums. Any thoughts from any one of you? Jack, oh, Kamini and then Jack. – I think the object, you know the focus has so far

Been largely in the past on the collections. And I think it’s so under collections, but the collections exist, the museum exist. We always collections exist for the visitor. So I think what we need to focus as well is to balance this whole relationship between the collection

The focus on the collection and the focus on the visitor. We have all these objects in our museums which have a whole range of stories to tell, and it is for us to unlock those stories, but how do we make this relevant to the visitor who’s coming into the museum now?

So I think the idea of relevance is what we need to search for. And we need, the museum stops has to stop being the dominant voice. We are so used to controlling the conversation. I think we need to become listeners. We need to listen to what our audiences want.

And we at MAP have actually done that because we conducted a study now because we are a new museum. We want our communities to tell us what did they expect to see in a museum? What would they like to see? What do they hope from us? And then instead of us deciding exactly

You must see this and this is how we must see it. Let’s try and bring together both the visitor and our courts and try and create an experience for everyone will enjoy. – So the conceptual focus from museum as collection of things to a place of interaction

Between viewer and the things, is that an important important inflection point to change. Jack any thoughts? – Yeah, I agree that’s very important. At the same time there is so much power invested in a certain way in which the Canon and the gaze has actually existed,

So that it’s very tricky to figure out how to, in some ways, surface that gaze. So that sufficiently understood that it can actually be in some ways put in its place and not just dominant without any critical understanding. Here I’ll just mention the great French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who has studied both empirically

But also qualitatively the whole idea of distinction and how distinction is made and especially Western democratic cultures, and how it’s related to thoughts of prestige, thoughts of what’s important, but also what’s especially important for elites to understand and to appreciate. So why was George Washington, you know this is my favorite research example.

Why was George Washington so obsessed with getting the latest Chinese porcelain wear during the heat of the Revolutionary War in Manhattan? You know, I mean what does that tell us about what those objects represented and how the consumption and association with those objects meant for George Washington?

And it’s not just an idiosyncratic personal quality it’s something that was pervasive throughout the larger culture, of kind of Western enlightenment, Western enlightenment culture of distinction. So it has certain kinds of capital, it’s not just financial, but it’s also the cultural educational, social capital that is embodied.

And the aura, as you were saying Vishakha of that object. I think it’s really important for us to unpack all that in the process of also bringing more voices in because I think it’s very possible that the larger culture itself also is imbued with those kinds of notions of distinction.

And then it’s really not so dynamic conversation or not such a dynamic set of listenings. – So that part of it is what you would say is that knowledge systems embody many other presupposed notions of power, status, for who, unless we question that, and interrogate that it will only be a patchwork.

And that is one of the big fundamental thing. And I think that Brian one of the last slides that you mentioned which is a Yale professor who said to engage with native culture is to rethink America. That actually something to that effect.

And I always think of a Vartan Gregorian who used to say you know, because he too was an immigrant. And he said that every immigrant who comes to this country learns how to be American, but in the process also changes what it means to be American.

And that some point we have to acknowledge that we still haven’t learned the latter part, that it also means to change America. It’s not just that people come in to become what it means to be American. So from your perspective Brian, and also for you

Haidy, that when you work with this anthropological objects especially those that are alive, if you will, and you’re trying to bring the cultures together and I love the way Haidy talked about how even the fact that it couldn’t work properly was to remind us of the disjuncture of that process,

Which I think is really interesting. But the question that sometimes people would ask is that, therefore at what point is it appropriate for you to have that object? And it was in the chat function as well. At what point repatriation is the most important thing?

And I come from that whole questions of repatriation with sort of a double set of eyes, you know both as an Indian who grew up in India, but also as an Indian American who also sees a firsthand experience, my own experience as working with a young African American kids

And getting them excited about objects from the world that they knew nothing about, and really getting very passionate. So how do we think about this issue of repatriation? And I think Brian, you’ve talked a lot about engagement, not just about repatriation to the native land, if you will.

So both of you, what are your thoughts on this particular question, especially because the Sarr-Savoy Report has been so much on people’s minds. – Brian, would you like to go first or should I? – Haidy go ahead. – Thank you for the question. I think I’m very supportive of repatriation and, you know

We’re very open to those discussions with our collection, but I think it has also become perhaps divisive in ways that are obscure some of the kind of generative potentials of the discussion about repatriation, that gets hidden by kind of this polarized perspective between the people that kind of are trying to hold

On or resist this kind of, you know, revisiting of a painful past or don’t want to let go of their authority over objects versus people who have, you know are carrying a really heavy legacy of pain and suffering that has stemmed from those moments of extraction,

And those histories are there and very real. But I think what, you know, why people ask for objects back is because that’s a way a strategy to deal with the relationships that were forged through the ways in which those objects were taken. And we have got opportunities to think about

Remaking relationships in the present that refuse to just perpetuate those dichotomies or perpetuate some of those power imbalances and are re reframed in different ways. And when you see that happening, I think and Brian was talking about that in some of his experiences at places perhaps like the Field Museum,

When you see those relationships developing over time and the conversation about repatriation can change or shift to become something different. So whilst I think it’s very important to recognize you know, the histories of theft and injustice and to make amends for that, and I think that can happen for your return of objects.

The reason those objects are going back as a form is about rebuilding relationships and that’s the most important thing, and we can work on those relationships in a whole host of different ways. So someone in the chat said, is there a request for repatriation of the Maori cloak that I presented?

And no, that cloak is because of the relationships that we have built up at the moment it’s happy, the community that we’ve connected to are happy for the cloak to be in UCL. They have relationship with it and they have and they do set the terms of engagement it.

And we won’t do anything with the cloak without consulting that community, as that relationship shifts the conversation may change and then may be a request in the future, this is a dynamic changing environment. So I think it’s frustrating when the conversation about repatriation becomes so zero sum that it forgets

That really this is about rebuilding, rebuilding trust and relationship building. And that’s what I was trying through all of this. – Very important point you’re making, just at the center of it all the real 300 pound gorilla is the power dynamics, right? Who has the say? Who decides what?

And how do we change that? And I thought, Brian your discussion around that was particularly powerful. And so when you think about repatriation Haidy just, I mean, actually talking about the kind of work you’re doing, but are there issues that come up where you find that the power dynamics still operate

In such a way that the voices of people who are excluded don’t get command and therefore in the name of collaboration it’s an acquiescence to, you know, status quo. – Thank you for the question. So repatriation just makes all of us uncomfortable, right? That discussion, even when the federal policy became law

Many institutions, including our own Smithsonian Network wasn’t sure how to respond. And it took some time for many of these institutions to determine how they would engage in the discussion. But even before that, their understanding of the federal policy was, it was varied, right? From one institution to the next.

And even as inventories were being developed because many unfortunately many of these institutions did not have inventories, and so they were under a time constraint to get the inventories done, and eventually they arrived on our doorsteps but the process almost 30 years later has improved within some institutions while with others,

And I will, you know, use The Met as an example. We’ve not had that conversation. And I don’t know if that conversation will ever happen. And there are many things and so other things associated with us, right? So you have active illegal trafficking of cultural patrimony even today.

We’re currently working on another federal policy. Hopefully it becomes a law this year, that would strengthen this NAGPRA law, the provisions of the law while also provide more protections of these cultural patrimony items. And that’s a whole another conversation. But within museums, I would say that there has been

There have been enough and thankfully successes of repatriation and consultation, meaningful consultation that not only address the repatriation, but open the door for that idea of building trust, a willingness to commit time and resources on the museum’s part, to have a discussion with source communities around not only, again not only repatriation,

But stewardship of these collections while they remain in these institutions until repatriation occurs, access cultural sensitivities around access, even by source community members, because even there that becomes that’s a huge issue. And, you know and then there are other unique situations depending on the institution that sometimes are put on the table

That most tribes are willing to, you know listen and have a conversation about. So, you know, it’s evolving it’s evolving and it’s going to take some time. The other thing, if you don’t mind if I can go back to the aura of art, right? So we haven’t really had the discussion about

The terminology within some institutions because, you know item of cultural patrimony protected by this federal policy for some institutions would be classified as art. There’s still much work to do in that area, but you know, this movement if it will continue and it will, I think, foster those difficult conversations moving forward.

– I mean, I think in a way, what you say is that sometimes I’ve heard from my native friends that museums of natural history are a little more forthcoming than the art museums, partly because there is something around this notion of possession of art and the aesthetic that somehow takes them

To different realms. It’s worth coming back to this ton of questions, which we can’t even go to. But I want to ask last question before this panel ends and that is that Louis Console, colleague and a friend was on this conversation mentioned that how in the late ’60s

Which was another influxion point and early ’70s civil rights struggle in New York City that gave rise to museums like the Museo del Barrio, like the Studio Museum in Harlem, so some things happen. And some of us who came of age at that time we really bought into the idea of museums

With the potential of being institutions of change. That’s what made us passionate, you know because we were all the warriors in that struggle. Then where we are today, and what happened in the ’80s and ’90s is quite different from where we are today. ’90s was even another inflection point

With kind of multiplicity and multiplicity of cultures and the multicultural reality especially in America. I would like all of you as museum leaders to observe and reflect on this moment, we feel it’s an inflection point, too much is going on if anything COVID has really laid bare the fissures of the society,

Things that were always there but they have laid bare. They also have made it possible as Kamini says, about potential of expansiveness of some sort, if you are to project out 10 years, where do you think the museum world will be? And where do you wish it to be?

In terms of interpretation of objects because that’s our panel, interpretation generally speaking in the museum world. So limit your conversation to interpretive aspect of where do you think the world will be 10 years from now I’ll be too old. So I don’t have to answer that question.

Kamini you’re the baby in terms of museum world, because you are a new director of a new museum, where do you think that all this is gonna lead to in 10 years from now? – No, I would be very nervous to make any projections

Vishakha, because one year ago, one and a half year ago did any of us imagine we would be where we are or the whole world would be turned on its head. So I think museums, you know, in any case they cannot be these temples of intellectual asceticism

In future, they really have to reflect a language and an interpretation that looks at the non-elite start-up society as well. And I’m not saying that we go from one extreme to the other, but as one director asked me who are you doing this for? Who are we doing this for?

So I’ll be doing this for an exclusive club or be talking to each other, or I’ll be talking to the people who visit us. So that I think is extremely important for us to do. And going forward, if we don’t only look at the interpretative aspect, but also the hybrid model

For me, I see the way forward as both the digital museum and the physical space sort of forming hybrid going ahead, because I see both of them distinct parts where it’s two parts, at least from up the whole, each has their strengths, the tools that they give us to

Be able to communicate with our audiences. So I think it’s important to address both of these and look at a hybrid model going forward – Thank you. Haidy. – In one sentence. I mean, I think what happened in COVID when museums had to shut as well as exhibition spaces,

I think is really instructive because I think too much emphasis is placed on exhibitions actually, a lot of what we’ve been talking about today has been there, but it isn’t visible. It’s the things that happen in the store rooms and then the library and archive and in offices,

And in the kind of relationship building that’s not happening through public exhibition spaces. And I think, you know, particularly in the UK it’s because museums have become so associated with kind of revenue streams from blockbuster exhibitions. That’s one of the reasons why there has been such a crisis because that seemed to disappear.

And I think we need to bring back actually this idea of museums or spaces for all these other things to, spaces where people can come. Like I think Kamini says absolutely participate in processes of the archiving and collection and research of their own cultures

And as spaces where they can learn about other people. So my final one, I think would be, I mean, Jack said in his talk, he felt optimistic about museums as spaces. And it’s hard to feel optimistic particularly when you work in with ethnographic collections it’s a very heavy history.

But my vision my curatorial dream that I was trying to kind of suggest would actually be to recuperate the good parts of the ethnographic collection without the colonialism without the extractivism, without the violence but the bit, that’s actually about the commitment to understanding the world in its most broad iteration.

And I think art just to tie it all up, art is really working against us in so many ways. And you know art has become a way out for ethnography collections. We talk to artists, we rarely reinterpret collections and they kind of make it all look better because we’re allowing them

In and we give artists authority in a way that we don’t necessarily feel comfortable giving to everyday people that haven’t had an early art training or aren’t participating in elite global art worlds. And I think we need to go back to kind of a more essence of the ethnographic

If we can separate that from it’s difficult history. – Thank you. I think in a way just you take the good bad and the ugly and make sure that we can continue to recognize it and move forward. It’s really very important. Brian, last word, and then I’ll get Jack to round this out.

– Well, I hope that in the next 10 years, that institutions whether they be flagship institutions in this country, or our tribal museums, that we are presenting Native America in a way that is representative of the contemporary voice of Native America, through that lens of knowledge of traditional knowledge and history

Of our own people. And I really hope that there will be a greater level of collaboration between institutions and source communities that needs to happen. And stewardship collections care, conservation, that these areas are also at the forefront sometime in the short-term future,

Because there is a great deal of work that needs to be done. Some understandings that need to be developed, and a mutual commitment between source communities and museums to really care for these items which are so important to our cultures. So I look forward to that continued movement. – Thank you. Jack.

– Yeah, the creativity that we prize so much, the individual creativity that is oftentimes embodied in the notions of the Renaissance artists, those are very valuable I don’t want to discredit that, but at the same time I think what’s being said is that the creativity of generations of people, the creativity of cultures,

The creativity of social groups to tackle problems that we’re facing. I’m very mindful of the clock ticking about global warming. And it’s hard for me to think about the 10 years, without thinking about the six years and change that is supposed to be the tipping point

In which things are gonna get a lot worse and the cascading impacts of fires and hurricane systems. And once in a hundred, once in a thousand year you know, occurrences, aren’t going to start combining. And our current pandemic is really a part of that. It’s a symptom of that.

So I feel that, that same creativity has to be applied in this very artistic, beautiful, joyful way, but in a way that reconnects us to the land. And I know this is an indigenous framework that I’m really just in some ways expressing and relying on the intergovernmental panel on climate change has referred

To specifically indigenous local knowledge as part of the solution that we have to embrace. And that raises profound questions about the carbon economy and extractivism and how we have to really creatively and collectively and collaboratively re-imagine what we’re doing every day, and that to me, seems like a grand creative project

That we should all be happy to take on. But again, the problem of thinking of that as an individual effort or somehow the right one person in the right one position where the right technology to solve all that, I think that’s not gonna be the answer.

So this has to be a much bigger project that we all take on. – Right. I think in a way, what you are saying is that first and foremost, let’s recognize that institutions, museums, and otherwise are part of a larger ecosystem, cultural and otherwise, therefore what is our obligation

To the survival of the planet? That’s kind of a big question. And what is our obligation to the continuing richness of this humanity of 7.7 billion people that inhabit this world. And having just on this book “World as Family” is exactly about that, which is to say,

That unless we think of this larger humanity as part of our family and in that family, we respect, we use, we have dignity, the words that number of people mentioned in the chat it is really not about just access and equity, it’s about partnership. It’s about empathy.

And it is about dignity of others that you bring into the conversation to create this larger world, that Kamini as you said, is to recognize that museums are not just collection of things, they’re about systems. They’re about other things that people don’t get to see and how do we change all of that?

So you’ve all provided out… Jack, you have something to say? – Just add in the only way we’re gonna have a chance to grapple with this is to really deal with the land and our relationship with the land. I mean, I’m learning that the U.S. soil is largely depleted

Because of the system of agriculture as really a destroyed land, the forests are being completed. So really to acknowledge and to enlarge what is alive and not to have the hierarchy in which humans are above all else, and some humans are more equal than others.

I mean, somehow we have to be able to grapple with that in a creative and profound way. – And with that, I hope that all of you who have been on this Zoom conversation have enjoyed this conversation. There’s much more to say, I know that tomorrow

Will be yet another group of fabulous panelists. So please remember to register and continue the conversation. And please join me virtually in thanking our panelists for really providing for such food of thought. Thank you very much everybody, and have a good evening. If you’re in New York, and good day

No matter where you are. Bye-bye. [ No Sound ]

#InterpretationA #Global #Dialogue #Museums #Publics

Evidence of Jesus’ Birth Revealed | Full Episode

>> NARRATOR: In a backwater of the ancient world, a newborn child heralds new hope for mankind. It is a birth riddled with paradox. A virgin has become a mother; God has become human; a child is King. The biblical account of Jesus’ birth has enraptured millions. But the passage of 2,000 years

Has obscured the historical events that inspired it. What really happened? The answers, though elusive, may still be within our grasp– in clues contained in the Bible, in ancient historical documents and in recent new discoveries by scholars and scientists. Join us as we try to reconstruct the true story of a birth as

Mysterious as it was momentous. [Captioning sponsored by A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS] >> NARRATOR: For many, the search for the truth begins here. This sanctuary in Bethlehem was built in 326 A.D. at the behest of the mother of the most powerful man on Earth. A decade earlier, Constantine

The Great had altered history by declaring Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. His mother Helena became convinced by local residents that his newfound faith began on this spot. Visitors to the Church of the Nativity can descend to a grotto below, where Jesus is said to have been born.

Many share Helena’s belief. Others, who do not, still acknowledge the site’s symbolic if not historic value. Here, both can find satisfaction. Here, they can touch Christmas. For Christians, the birth of Jesus marks the moment when the world was transformed by the arrival of humanity’s savior. To others, it is an epochal

Turning point: the dawn of the dominant figure of Western culture. The mystery of Jesus’ birth is contained in two books of the New Testament: the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. But many scholars believe that they are works concerned not so much with facts than faith. To extract history from their pages is problematic.

>> DANIEL SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: The Hebrews knew that some truths are more profoundly communicated by telling a story than simply narrating historical events. That presents us an interesting difficulty. Sometimes we have to take a biblical passage and decide how much of this is the narration of events and how much of this is

Story and how do we tell the difference? >> ELIZABETH McNAMER: Our idea of history is different from writers who were writing then. We’re interested in the facts and only the facts. People writing at that point were interested not just in what happened, but in the interpretation of what happened.

It didn’t disturb them at all to add things to put forward their own theology, and it didn’t disturb their readers, either. >> JUDY YATES SIKER: They weren’t historians and they weren’t biographers. They were people whose communities had been impacted by the life of one they called Jesus of Nazareth, and it was

Imperative that they tell the story. >> NARRATOR: But did Matthew and Luke base their accounts of Jesus’ birth on actual events? Or did they merely invent the story after Jesus rose to prominence? The answers are all the more elusive because the narrative known to millions is in fact a fusion of two strikingly

Different tales. It begins when God chooses an obscure young virgin named Mary to carry his son. He tells her of his plan in an extraordinary encounter known as the Annunciation. >> “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in

Your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.'”– LUKE 1:30.

>> NARRATOR: When Mary reveals her pregnancy to Joseph, her fiancé, he disbelieves her story. But when another angel visits him to verify it, his devotion to Mary is restored. Months pass… then a drama begins that is described by Luke but never mentioned by Matthew. The Emperor demands that all the

Roman world, including the Hebrew people, return to their ancestral homes in order to be taxed. >> “Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited Earth. And all were proceeding to register for the census,

Everyone to his own city.”– LUKE 2:1. >> NARRATOR: Joseph, originally from Bethlehem, must escort the pregnant Mary on an arduous journey to his home city, 90 miles away. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: One of the realities that we must always keep in mind in thinking about the Christmas story is that Palestine was Roman- occupied Palestine.

This was not a time or a place when the Hebrew people were in control of their own fate. Rome was very much in control of the fate of these people. So, there’s a human drama: There’s the drama of a father and a mother protecting their child and of trying to do the

Right thing. There’s a larger drama, and that is, this is a Hebrew family trying to do the right thing under the brutal occupation of Palestine by a foreign entity– the Roman Empire. >> NARRATOR: When Mary and Joseph arrive, they discover that Bethlehem is crowded to capacity. With no lodging available, the

Couple’s dilemma worsens. Mary goes into labor. >> “And she gave birth to her newborn son, and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”– LUKE 2:7. >> NARRATOR: The setting where Jesus was born is not specified.

But the presence of a manger– a feeding trough for livestock– has led many to believe it was a stable. Both Matthew and Luke describe how God makes known the miraculous birth to a receptive few. But they differ about who was informed and how. According to Matthew, God conveys the news through a

Wondrous morning star. It serves as a beacon for foreign dignitaries, who travel hundreds of miles to pay homage to the infant Jesus. >> “The star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over where the child was. And they came into the house and

Saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. And opening their treasures, they presented him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.”– MATTHEW 2:9. >> NARRATOR: In Luke’s version, the message of the birth is carried by an angel. It is delivered not to powerful

Foreigners, but to the local area’s most humble inhabitants. >> “There were shepherds in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people.

For today, in the city of David, there has been born for you a savior, who is Christ the Lord.'”– LUKE 2:8. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: The birth of Jesus represents one of those shining moments in human history when there seems to be a kind of sunrise in human darkness.

The birth of Jesus and the life and teachings of Jesus provide us with a level of hope, a message of trust and of just the human possibilities, and I think even non-Christians can come to appreciate that in Jesus as well. >> SIKER: Whether you are a person of faith or not, you have

Echoes of the story in art, in literature, and you can’t avoid it. And so, one needs to be aware of what this story is and what the significance of this story is in order to survive in Western culture. >> MARVIN MEYER: There’s something about the birth of any child that is a wonderful

Moment. It’s a wonderful moment for a family, but in the case of the story of the birth of Jesus, the point of it is, here is a birth that may have some meaning for a bigger family, for the family of Israel, for the family of humankind. >> NARRATOR: One man’s birth

Would turn the world upside down. A new faith would challenge the old order. Jesus, claiming to be the Son of God, would be seen as a threat to Caesar, who claimed to be a god himself. Two charismatic leaders, each asserting their divinity, would offer a revolutionary choice for the future.

>> JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN: For millions of people, Caesar as divine made sense. He owned the legions, he controlled the Mediterranean world, he brought peace to it and he lived in a huge palace over there on the Palantine Hill in Rome. Now, over here is another story, a counter-story, an anti-story,

Which says, “No, God is not the god of power and violence incarnate in Caesar; God is the Jewish god of justice and righteousness incarnate in a little child who was born in a tiny country, an occupied colony of the Roman Empire, born just about as low as you can imagine.

So you hear of the clash of two gods.” And the question of the story– and it is the Christmas question– “Where is your god? Is your god in power or in justice? Take your choice.” >> NARRATOR: For two people, the choice is never in doubt. The virgin and the carpenter who

Bring Jesus into the world are the first to love him and all he represents. Surprisingly, however, the Gospels tell us little about them. All efforts to trace the historical roots of Christmas lead back to two pivotal figures. The human drama in the story belongs to Mary and Joseph.

They are the parents of God’s only Son, responsible for bringing up the Savior of the world. Yet the Gospels provide little information about them. Today, we think of them simply as a virgin mother and a humble carpenter. Mary’s identity has been obscured by centuries of idealization, encouraged by the Catholic doctrine of the

“Immaculate Conception.” >> SIKER: The phrase the “Immaculate Conception” is often misunderstood as a reference to the immaculate conception of Jesus, when, in fact, it is a reference to Mary. There was a sanctifying grace that preserved her from the stain of original sin. It was important that Mary’s pureness be preserved.

And so, I think that in order for this young woman to be the mother of one who was later, in Christianity, considered God, that it was important that we not have original sin stain this family. >> NARRATOR: For a less romanticized, more accurate portrait of Mary, scholars take

A deeper look into the Gospels. According to Luke, she is neither meek nor mild, but driven by a sense of purpose. She reveals herself in a powerful proclamation now known as the “Magnificat.” >> “My soul exalts the Lord. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent away the rich empty-handed.”– LUKE 1:46. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: What is the image that Luke portrays for us of the young Mary? It is not an image of this kind of glowing, white, virginal woman floating in the air. It’s the image of a

Revolutionary young woman in Roman-occupied Palestine, who sees the implications of the coming of her child to be expressed in those powerful words that the rich will be sent away, the poor will be fed, and the powerful will be pulled down from their thrones. This is a very politically savvy young woman.

>> NARRATOR: If Luke saw Mary as a revolutionary, he also saw her as a virgin. For historians, the virgin birth defies analysis. They are not equipped or inclined to discuss miracles. In their quest to understand the Christmas story, they must confine themselves to a conventional approach. In recent years, they have

Discovered other possible explanations for Mary’s dual role as virgin and mother. Advances in reproductive biology have focused attention on a phenomenon called parthenogenesis. It is a rare process in some plants and animals in which an egg can develop into a new organism without being fertilized. No instance of the process

Occurring in a human female has ever been recorded. Still, it leaves open the possibility that a virgin birth could have a basis in science. Some scholars, however, believe the Gospel authors did not base the virgin birth on a real event, but were inspired by an Old Testament prophecy.

>> “The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.”– ISAIAH 7:14. >> NARRATOR: According to some scholars, the Gospel authors likely claimed Jesus was born of a virgin to remain consistent with Isaiah’s prophesy of the

Coming Messiah. >> ROHALD F. HOCK: Isaiah himself, so far as we know, had no intentions of looking that far ahead, but the standard procedure throughout the ancient world was to make connections between the present and the past, and Christians are doing that with Jesus by connecting him with the past Scripture– in

This case, the prophecy of Isaiah. >> NARRATOR: Ironically, however, some claim it is possible that Isaiah never intended to predict that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. His words, written originally in Hebrew, may have taken on an erroneous new meaning when translated into the Greek version available to Matthew and Luke.

>> MEYER: In the original Hebrew of Isaiah, the word that is used for, well, “virgin” is actually ” alma,” the Hebrew word that means “a young woman”– a young woman of the age when women can conceive and bear children. And there is no more baggage than that that is connected to

That particular term. >> SIKER: When this gets translated into the Greek, which is what the early Christians would have been using– the text that they would have had– is ” parthenos,” which is more heavily nuanced as “virgin.” >> MEYER: The fact of the matter is, the doctrine of the virgin

Birth works better with the Greek than it does with the original Hebrew. >> SIKER: I don’t think that the speculation that the whole idea of Mary’s virginity comes from this “mistranslation” is one that argues very well. For one thing, it’s not a mistranslation. It is one of several words that

Is perfectly acceptable as a translation. But it does have a more heavy nuance of virginity. >> NARRATOR: Scholars who scrutinize the virgin birth focus not only on Isaiah’s prediction in the Old Testament, but also the Gospels themselves. In an apparent contradiction, the same biblical authors who celebrate Mary’s virginity also

Write that Jesus had several siblings. >> “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters with us?”– MATTHEW 13:54. >> McNAMER: The orthodox tradition on this is that they were children of Joseph by an earlier marriage.

The Roman Catholic tradition is that these were simply cousins of Jesus. >> NARRATOR: Matthew and Luke, however, provide no information supporting this interpretation. >> MEYER: If one will insist, theologically, upon the perpetual virginity of Mary, then there are some great problems when it comes to the brothers and the sisters of Jesus.

And then some creative theological and historical work has to be done. The spin doctors have to go to work. I think that the simplest way to read those accounts is to understand that Jesus had real brothers and real sisters. It was that kind of an ordinary family. >> NARRATOR: If Jesus had

Biological siblings, it would negate only the notion that Mary was a virgin her entire life– not necessarily her virgin birth of Jesus. >> “Joseph knew her not until she had borne a son, and she called his name Jesus.”– MATTHEW 1:25. >> NARRATOR: Some scholars argue that this verse implies that Mary conceived Jesus

Miraculously, and later lost her virginity as she and Joseph assumed a conventional sexual relationship. For skeptics, the question remains: “If Mary was not a virgin, and God was not the father of Jesus, who was?” The most likely candidate, predictably, is Joseph. But in the first century, a rumor surfaced of another possibility.

It was chronicled by the Christian theologian Origen, who taught in Egypt in the second century. He wrote of an allegation that Jesus was the offspring of Mary and a Roman soldier. >> “The Jew, speaking of the mother of Jesus, said that she was guilty of adultery, and that

She bore a child to a certain soldier named Panthera. It was to be expected, indeed, that those who would not believe the miraculous birth of Jesus would invent some falsehood.”– ORIGEN, AGAINST CELSUS, CHAPTER 33. >> SIKER: Origen argues that they had to create this lie– this lie of Mary and the Roman

Soldier– because they knew, and they unwittingly admitted in their lie that Jesus’ birth was not a usual birth. And so, if they couldn’t accept the miraculous nature of this birth, what else would they do but create such a lie? >> CROSSAN: The accusation that Mary was raped by a Roman

Soldier and produced a child, therefore out of wedlock, seems to me to be the obvious rebuttal that I would make if I didn’t accept the virginal birth. This is the nasty, within-the- family, and therefore very nasty name-calling that goes on between Christian Jews and non-Christian Jews in the first

Century, each sort of saying rather nasty things about the other. >> NARRATOR: But could this accusation have any basis in fact? One clue scholars have examined is the name of the Roman soldier mentioned by Origen– Panthera. >> MEYER: Lo and behold, it turns out that a tombstone of a

Certain “Panther” has been found in Germany– the tombstone of a Roman soldier whose name was Tiberius Julius Abdes Panther. And it is said that he was a Sidonian archer who was based in Palestine. And so, that leads then to the speculation: Could it be the case that Mary was actually

Raped by, seduced by– but, at her age, we would call that rape– raped by a Roman soldier? And it is one of the historical possibilities. >> NARRATOR: The tombstone, discovered in 1859 in the city of Bingerbruck, is an intriguing yet inconclusive piece of evidence. Some scholars have argued that

Panthera was likely a common name among the ancient Romans. So, finding it etched on an ancient tombstone should not seem surprising. The discovery has become part of a 2,000-year-old theological debate over Jesus’ parentage. But the issue was once a private crisis for one humble carpenter. After Joseph learns Mary is

Pregnant, say the Gospels, he naturally assumes she has betrayed his trust. Under the laws of his time, he could have Mary stoned to death for her perceived infidelity. Instead, he quietly breaks their engagement. God intervenes. He sends an angel to Joseph in a dream, who tells him that her child has been miraculously

Conceived. Joseph accepts the divine explanation. He and Mary resolve to carry out God’s miracle. In 1997, archaeologists make a remarkable discovery three miles from Bethlehem. The pinkish limestone appears utterly ordinary, except it is located precisely in the center of the ruins of a 5th-century church. The church, it seems, was built

Purposefully around it. The diggers believe they have found the fabled kathisma– the Greek word for “the seat.” According to an apocryphal text, Mary rested on it on her way to give birth to Jesus. Ancient Christians gathered here to commemorate her journey to Bethlehem. The find renews debate over an age-old historical question:

Where was Jesus born? >> McNAMER: I believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just as the stories tell us. The reason I believe this is that there were very early traditions in the church of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. These would have surfaced very soon after his death, when

People still remembered things, that he was born in Bethlehem. >> MEYER: I think it was likely Nazareth. Jesus was known as Jesus of Nazareth. And, typically, people were known by their birthplace. This is where the family lived. The way in which Matthew and Luke go through some contortions

To get the family to Bethlehem in order for Jesus to be born there seems to indicate that there’s something that is theologically motivated about this kind of account. >> NARRATOR: Some scholars believe that the Gospel authors knew Jesus was born in Nazareth, but altered the truth in the name of faith.

Their inspiration, once again, may have been a prophecy from the Old Testament. >> “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel.”– MICAH 5:2. >> NARRATOR: From Bethlehem,

Predicts Micah, will arise a Messiah for God’s chosen people. If Luke and Matthew wished to exalt Jesus as the awaited King, no other city would suffice as his birthplace. Whether inspired by facts or faith, Luke’s account of the journey to Bethlehem is complex and colorful. His story begins in Nazareth,

Where Mary and Joseph await the birth of Jesus. But the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, orders a census of his empire. >> HOCK: A census involved essentially finding out the numbers of people, the wealth of people, for purposes of taxation. So you had to have figures. You had to have concrete data

About what a province could generate in terms of taxes so that when the Empire decided what its tribute should be, they would be able to raise those funds. And, presumably, the reason Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem is because Joseph has property there and, for that reason, is required to register

Himself there rather than at Nazareth. >> NARRATOR: Luke does not specify their means of transportation. But since donkeys were commonly used to move both goods and people, the popular image of Mary riding one is entirely plausible. The roads in Palestine, even by ancient standards, were primitive. The food commonly taken on an

Extended journey was bread and water. Scholars imagine the 90-mile trek would have been grueling. Slowed by Mary’s condition, they would have traveled perhaps ten miles a day. The entire journey would have lasted more than a week. The question remains whether Joseph and Mary really endured such a journey.

The key to the answer may lie in the census that Luke says motivated it. >> “This was the first census taken while Quirinius was Governor of Syria.”– LUKE 2:2. >> NARRATOR: Independent historical sources confirm that a Roman census did occur during the reign of Quirinius. But it occurred in 6 A.D., long

After Jesus was born. It has been suggested that Luke misidentified the Governor; he may have meant to specify the similarly named Quintillus. His reign began in 6 B.C., around the same time that another Roman census was conducted. Even if this is true, however, paradox persists. Roman records indicate that

Every census ordered by Caesar Augustus over a 42-year span involved only Roman citizens. Mary and Joseph would not have participated. Also suspect is a census that required registrants to return to the city where they were born. >> CROSSAN: If everyone goes back to their ancestral home to be recorded and then goes back

To wherever they live, that’s a bureaucratic nightmare. It’s not the way the Romans did it. They wanted you recorded where you were working. “We want to know where you are to pay your taxes.” So, it’s a story which Luke creates in order to get Mary and Joseph and Jesus, of course to

Be born yet, to Bethlehem. But it is not factual. It’s fictional. >> DR. RICHARD HORSLEY: For a long time, we thought that this was just a story, and that this was just a literary device. Well, we’ve discovered papyri in Egypt, now, that put a whole different slant on this.

The Romans required peasants who had found themselves unable to both pay their taxes to Caesar and provide for their families to return to their villages precisely in order to be down on the farm where they would raise crops and pay the Roman taxes. Then that puts some great credibility back in this legend

That Joseph and Mary journey to Bethlehem on the occasion of Caesar having decreed a tax. >> NARRATOR: Whether Luke’s story of the census is credible or not, there may be a completely different scenario that compelled Mary and Joseph to journey to Bethlehem. Some scholars suggest it is possible that Mary was aware of

The Old Testament prophecy in Micah. They believe she may have purposely delivered her baby in the predicted city to bolster his role as the Messiah. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: Let’s remember Luke’s portrayal of Mary as a socially and politically very sophisticated young woman who sees her role as part of the resistance of the

Hebrew people to Roman-occupied Palestine. For this woman to associate the coming of this messianic child with the line of David and to make a move to Bethlehem to emphasize that association would be a politically very savvy move on her part. Is it possible? Absolutely, I think it’s possible.

>> NARRATOR: If Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it is still a mystery as to the precise setting. One passage, however, may hold the answer. >> “And she gave birth to her newborn son, and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there

Was no room for them in the inn.”– LUKE 2:7. >> McNAMER: Luke says to us, “There was no room at the inn.” Actually that can be translated: “It was not the place for them in the inn.” You know, an inn was simply an open field, surrounded by a wall

Where travelers could go to be safe from the animals and robbers, and there was a huge fire in the middle where they could do their own cooking, and many travelers would have been staying there. It probably would be the last place in the world you would want to have a baby.

>> NARRATOR: Luke’s mention of a manger implies Jesus was born in a stable, where it would most likely be found. But it is doubtful it would have been a freestanding structure. The more likely setting is a cave, as caves were commonly used to house livestock in the Holy Land.

Wherever Jesus was born, Matthew and Luke call attention to the modest nature of the setting. Though they decree Jesus a King, they make clear that he was not born in a palace. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: Virtually all of the Gospel accounts want to emphasize the humble beginnings of Jesus– the poor beginnings of Jesus.

Look at the setting for the arrival of God’s Messiah. God chose the least, God chose the powerless as the stage upon which salvation shall be worked out. That’s a very profound and important point. >> NARRATOR: For Christians, Jesus’ birth signifies a new beginning for mankind. 2,000 years later, the centuries

Themselves are measured from this pivotal moment in history. But when it occurred still remains a mystery.ou a merry Christmas We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… ♪ >> NARRATOR: Every December 25, millions embrace Christmas with reverence and revelry. >> ♪ Navidad, Navidad, hoy es Navidad… ♪

>> ( chanting in Latin ) >> NARRATOR: But unconsciously, the entire world celebrates it every day. In theory, every minute and second that ticks by is measured from the moment Jesus drew his first breath. On New Year’s Eve, the number emblazoned above Times Square declares how many years we believe have passed since Jesus was born. The only problem is that we are almost certainly wrong. The answer was a mystery even in Jesus’ own time. For the early Christians, the defining moment of his life was not its beginning, but its end. The question of when Jesus was born was not an issue until the second century. Christians found themselves

Challenged by a splinter group of believers who claimed Jesus had never been born in the conventional sense. >> McNAMER: I believe that the birth of Jesus only became important in the second century with Gnosticism. Gnostics were an heretical group within the church who were suggesting that Jesus never had a real body.

They essentially did not believe that matter was good. The only thing that was good was spirit. They did not believe in the incarnation. They believed in what we call the Docetic Christ– he only appeared to have a body– and I believe that the infancy narratives were written to counteract this heresy.

>> NARRATOR: When the early Christians became more curious about the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, they began to speculate about the date it occurred. In Egypt, a bishop named Clement determined that Jesus was born on November 18. Elsewhere in North Africa, an anonymous scholar of the same era declared it to be March 28.

Why they chose these dates is unknown. By the fourth century, Christians were no closer to finding the truth. But they decided which day seemed most appropriate– at least symbolically. December 25 had long been celebrated as the pagan holiday honoring the Sun God, Mithras. It was part of a two-week

Festival of the winter solstice, when the days began to lengthen. For the first several centuries of Christianity, the church found itself in fierce competition with popular pagan religions. What better way to challenge them than to usurp their holidays? >> CROSSAN: In the same way that you might take a pagan temple

And put a Christian shrine right on top of it, you put a Christian feast, the birth of Jesus, right on top of the winter solstice, right on top of a pagan feast. You sort of obliterate the pagan layer with the Christian layer. >> NARRATOR: Beyond the practical motivation was the symbolic.

>> McNAMER: I suppose we could say that Jesus was the light of the world, and this was a wonderful time to have the celebration, when there is darkness and then there is light– this light suddenly appearing. >> NARRATOR: In the year 349, Pope Julius formally designated December 25 as Christmas.

Believers now had an official date on which to celebrate, but the declaration extinguished whatever curiosity remained to discover the actual date of Jesus’ birth. Throughout the centuries, few clues have surfaced to solve the mystery. One is provided by Luke in one of the best-known passages from his Gospel.

>> “There were shepherds in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night.”– LUKE 2:8. >> NARRATOR: In ancient Israel, shepherds guarded their flocks at night only during the season when the ewes gave birth to their lambs. It happened in the spring. In December, sheep were generally kept in corrals, unwatched.

Some scholars believe Luke’s reference suggests we may be celebrating Christmas eight months too late. Ultimately, determining the month and day Jesus was born may be impossible. But determining the year offers scholars more hope. The effort began some 500 years after his birth. By then, the Christian Church had expanded its influence to

All dimensions of life. Perhaps the only untouched dimension was the most intangible of them all: time. To that point in history, calendars measured time beginning with the founding of Rome or the reign of some of its rulers. For Christians, this was no longer acceptable. >> Meyer: As Christians were contemplating a calendar, they

Thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there would be a calendar that would be geared into Christian values? Wouldn’t it be remarkable if there could be a Christian calendar that would begin with Jesus?” And then it becomes important to find out: “Well, when did Jesus begin?” >> MOSLEY: The question of the

Nativity– the date of the birth of Jesus– has puzzled people for 1,500 years. >> MOSLEY: Church Fathers decided that rather than count years from the beginning of the reign of an impious, non- Christian Roman emperor, that they should count the years with the birth of Jesus. And so Dionysus Exiguus, a monk

Within Rome, was given the project of determining when precisely Jesus was born. >> NARRATOR: For reasons known only to Dionysus, he decided to place Jesus’ birth in the year 753 of the old Roman calendar. He then invented a new calendar, decreeing that Jesus was born on December 25 in the year 1 B.C.,

With the year 1 A.D. beginning a week later. Today, many scholars believe Dionysus made a critical error. They say he failed to take into account a key piece of information from the Gospels. >> SIKER: One of the details in Matthew and Luke’s infancy stories is that his birth took

Place during the reign of Herod. So, if we can determine the reign of Herod and the death of Herod, then we can more closely determine the date of Jesus’ birth. >> HORSLEY: The question of the timing of Herod’s death is not in question. We’re fairly sure that Herod died in what would be

Chronologically 4 B.C., and then that provides the symbolic if not the actual point at which Jesus must have been born: just before that happened. >> NARRATOR: 4 B.C. Perhaps a few years earlier. Until additional evidence is discovered, this range is as close as we can come to the answer. This renowned astronomer

Believes he may have found the answer. For several years, he has been investigating yet another mystery of the Christmas story. >> NARRATOR: The search for Christmas transcends the bounds of Earth. Light years away might be one of the tale’s greatest mysteries: the Star of Bethlehem. >> “Behold, there came wise men

From the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.'”– MATTHEW 2:2. >> NARRATOR: For centuries, the star has endured as a mesmerizing symbol of Christianity– almost as powerful as the cross.

But did it truly exist, or was it created after the fact to make Jesus’ birth seem more miraculous? >> McNAMER: Generally, after people died, it was often said that a star had proclaimed their birth. This was said for Alexander the Great. It was said for the Emperor Augustus himself, that a star

Appeared at his birth. In fact, Shakespeare tells us the heavens themselves tell forth the birth of princes. I don’t believe there was a star. I don’t believe that there were magi who came from the east. >> SIKER: I don’t know what that Star of Bethlehem was, but I do

Think that it’s highly likely that there was an astrological event that occurred in that region that was brought into the legend, brought into the story, brought into the tradition of the birth of Jesus. >> NARRATOR: For centuries, astronomers have tried to determine if the Christmas star was more than a myth, and what

Celestial phenomenon could have accounted for it. >> MOSLEY: The first astronomer to speculate on what the Star of Bethlehem might have been was the great Johannes Kepler, 400 years ago– the man who worked out why it is that the planets move the way they do– and when Johannes Kepler saw an exploding

Star in 1604, he thought, “Aha! That might have been what the Magi saw. What could be more glorious?” And we can look at the old Chinese records and they recorded all stars that exploded that they saw, but none appeared at the time of the birth of Jesus. So, despite the charm of the

Idea, and despite Kepler’s enthusiasm for it, apparently it was not an exploding star. >> MICHAEL MOLNAR: Some astronomers have proposed comets, or in particular, Halley’s Comet, which is probably the most famous comet of all, and it appeared at around the time that we believe Jesus was born. However, if you look at the

Ancient texts and try to understand what the people of ancient times believed in, they feared comets. Comets didn’t indicate the birth of a king. It really meant, usually, the death of a king or the start of a war. So, we really cannot propose that a comet, or in particular

Halley’s Comet, was the Star of Bethlehem. >> NARRATOR: For some modern astronomers, the key to unraveling the truth lies in understanding the point of view of the magi. The term “magi” is the root from which we derive the word “magic.” They were a respected class of advisors in the ancient Near

East who used astrology to predict the future. >> MOSLEY: The magi thought the planets moved because the gods were causing them to move. The gods were making them go this way and that way, and when one planet happened to line up with another planet, that that was because the gods had

Something in mind for us, and there was some correspondence between what happened in the sky and what happened down below. They believed in magic, and they believed in the magic of the sky. >> NARRATOR: In the ancient Near East, belief in astrology began several centuries before the birth of Christ.

It was almost universally accepted throughout the region. The only place where it had little influence was the nation in which Jesus was destined to be born. >> MOLNAR: We find that tiny Judaea is sort of an island in a sea of astrology believers. That is, all the countries, the

Cultures in and around Judaea, they believed that astrology did predict the future, that it was a science, and that it really helped them to understand their own lives. But only when we go to Judaea, we find that it is not practiced or believed in. >> NARRATOR: Judaea’s lack of astrological insight is evident

In a key passage from Matthew that may help explain what the Star of Bethlehem was. >> “Then Herod secretly called the magi, and inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.”– MATTHEW 2:7. >> MOSLEY: An important clue in Matthew is that only the magi saw this star, whatever it was.

Herod and his advisors didn’t know about it. They had to inquire diligently of the magi what they’d seen, so that tells us it wasn’t something spectacular in the sky, like a bright comet, that everyone cave seen. >> NARRATOR: Some astronomers believe that what the magi saw, and the Hebrews did not, was a

Visually subtle conjunction of planets. It happens when one heavenly body appears to cross the path of another. It is a common occurrence. But many scholars believe that 2,000 years ago, a specific conjunction may have been viewed as a sign that the Old Testament prophecy had been fulfilled– that the Messiah had finally

Been born. John Mosley, of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, has had an avid interest in the Star of Bethlehem for 20 years. He believes he has discovered the celestial phenomenon that attracted the magi. >> MOSLEY: I think that what the magi saw was a series of conjunctions. There were three conjunctions of

The planet Jupiter and the star Regulus, and two very close conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus over a ten-month period of time during the years 3 and 2 B.C., and the final of these conjunctions was really spectacular. It’s the sort of thing that I would love to see. Jupiter and Venus were so close,

They almost touched. So, if you were looking for something of great astrological interest– and after all, the magi were astrologers– then I think you could do nothing better than to look at these conjunctions– this series of events– as the sort of thing that would have made the magi think, “Aha, this is important.

The prophecies were fulfilled.” >> NARRATOR: Michael Molnar, an astronomer formerly of Rutgers University, has a different theory. His interest in the Star of Bethlehem began when he discovered a clue on an ancient coin at a New York collector’s show. It was minted in Syria in 13 A.D. His findings represent perhaps

The most significant recent insight into the Christmas story. >> MOLNAR: One side had the god Zeus on it, or our Jupiter. I’ve seen lots of coins with that god on it. But I flipped it over and the other side was a beautiful picture of Aries the Ram, a sign of the zodiac.

There was the ram, leaping across the sky, looking backwards at an overhead star. Aries the Ram is key to the whole puzzle. We astronomers were looking in the wrong part of the sky for the Star of Bethlehem. The star had appeared in Aries the Ram. >> NARRATOR: Molnar’s research into ancient astrological texts

Reveals that each sign of the zodiac represented a particular kingdom. Aries represented Judaea. Molnar discovered that a specific set of conditions occurring in Aries would have convinced the magi that a person of cosmic importance was to be born there. >> MOLNAR: The most important star that would confer

Kingships– make a young boy a king– was the star of Zeus, which we call the planet Jupiter today. So I knew that the star was most likely the planet Jupiter. I found that the moon played a very important role, and that the closer the moon was to Jupiter, the better were the

Conditions to have the birth of a young king. But most important was that Jupiter had to be in the east. Well, “in the east” means, according to the beliefs and practices of stargazers of 2,000 years ago, that it was about to emerge as a morning star– that is, in the eastern morning sky.

>> NARRATOR: Molnar’s challenge was to find the precise moment when this particular set of conditions occurred in the constellation of Aries. >> MOLNAR: Well, to make a long story short, I ran my computer program for a huge swath in time that biblical scholars believe Jesus was born, and we find that

In 6 B.C.– on April 17 to be exact– these events happened. Jupiter was in the east, in Aries the Ram, and at the same time, the moon came extremely close to Jupiter. The moon came so close, in fact, that it eclipsed Jupiter, and these celestial objects in Aries the Ram indicated, according to

The astrologers, that there was the birth of a great king. >> NARRATOR: Molnar’s findings are perhaps the most compelling evidence that the Star of Bethlehem was a genuine phenomenon. His theory is all the more intriguing in that it places the star’s appearance in the very year that many scholars believe Jesus was born.

The magi, whose belief in astrology compelled them to follow the star, are as much of a mystery as the star itself. Tradition holds that there were three wise men, but Matthew never specifies how many there were. Matthew also never tells from what nation they came, but many scholars think they were from

Babylonia– the site of modern- day Iraq. Outside of Israel, no other country was as aware of the tale of a coming Jewish Messiah. 500 years before Jesus’ birth, the Babylonians conquered the Hebrews and exiled tens of thousands of Jews back to their kingdom. Scholars believe that it was therefore inevitable that the

Ancient prophecy became common knowledge among the Babylonians. Ironically, their astrological interpretation of the star would compel them to believe that their true king had emerged from a nation they had vanquished. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: The Babylonians were one of the most brutal ancient regimes to have ever conquered the Hebrew people, and here come the

Babylonian descendants, subservient to the birth of a Hebrew Messiah, so deeply impressed with the significance of this birth that they come on bended knee to this child. There is a wonderful irony in this story, almost as if the Gospel writers are saying to us, “Remember the people who thought

That they were so powerful and who conquered us so many centuries ago? Even they now are on their knees before the birth of our humble Messiah.” >> NARRATOR: According to Matthew, the magi present the infant Jesus gifts of gold and two aromatic resins: frankincense and myrrh. The gifts held deep symbolic

Significance for the readers of Matthew’s day. >> McNAMER: Some believed that the Messiah, when he came, would be a king. Some believed that he would be a great prophet. Some believed that he would be a priest. Gold is for a king, frankincense for a priest, myrrh would signify a prophet.

So, what Matthew is doing in this little story is simply telling his audience, “Whatever you were expecting in the way of a Messiah has been born.” >> NARRATOR: Although every nativity scene depicts the magi honoring a newborn, many scholars believe they arrived when Jesus was as old as two.

The Greek word Matthew uses to describe Jesus is one the Greeks attached not to a baby, but a toddler. For 2,000 years, the comforting images of the Christmas story have warmed the hearts of millions. But the search for the tale’s historical roots leads to one of the most horrifying incidents

Described in the Bible. The birth of Jesus triggers an event that bathes the streets of Bethlehem in blood. It begins when the Magi, led by the star, pause in Jerusalem. They seek an audience with King Herod the Great. For more than 30 years, Herod has ruled despotically over

Judea as a loyal ally to the Roman Empire. His power is matched only by his unpopularity. The Magi hope that Herod can help them find the infant destined to be king. But their questions inadvertently imperil Jesus’ life. >> “The Magi arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he

Who is born king of the Jews?’ And when Herod, the king, heard it, he was troubled.”– MATTHEW 2:1. >> NARRATOR: According to Matthew, Herod regards Jesus as a dangerous political rival. Fate has pitted an innocent child against one of history’s most ruthless and vengeful leaders. >> HORSLEY: This fellow was the

Very epitome of a tyrant. He had secret police. He had informers sort of spying on the people, especially in Jerusalem. The minute he would hear of any resistance, he’d send out the troops first and ask questions later. He was suspicious of his own sons, and he killed his own sons.

He put to death his own sons that would have been his heirs. >> McNAMER: He murdered so many of his own family, including his mother, his favorite wife, Marianna. He was unscrupulous and extraordinarily cruel. >> NARRATOR: Herod’s paranoia is ignited by the Magi’s news of the Messiah’s birth. His thoughts turn instantly to

Murder. But he keeps his intentions secret from the Magi, hoping that they will lead him to his target. >> “And he sent the Magi to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make careful search for the child, and when you have found him, report to me, that I, too, may come and worship him.'”–

MATTHEW 2:8. >> NARRATOR: After the Magi honor Jesus, writes Matthew, an angel informs them of Herod’s scheme. They defy his order to return to his palace and hastily leave Judea. By taking a different route than the one they used to arrive, they avoid capture by Herod’s soldiers and interrogation as to Jesus’ whereabouts.

Enraged, Herod hatches an alternate plan. Estimating Jesus’ age from the time the Magi first saw the star, he orders that all boys in Bethlehem aged two and under be killed. From Jerusalem, the Christian Era’s first death squad approaches. At this moment, according to Matthew, the unsuspecting Mary, Joseph and Jesus are asleep.

But God sends an angel to alert them to the danger. >> “The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt.'”– MATTHEW 2:13. >> NARRATOR: As the family escapes, Herod’s soldiers sweep into Bethlehem. The king’s cold-blooded order is

Carried out. The incident becomes known as “The Slaughter of the Innocents.” Matthew’s account of what occurred in these streets is the most dramatic episode of the Christmas story. But many scholars contend it never happened. They cite a lack of any corroboration from other sources. >> SIKER: If this event was indeed as horrific as Matthew

Described it, it seems that it would appear in Luke’s Gospel. It seems that it would have appeared in the writings of one such as Josephus, a significant Jewish historian of the first century. I think that those things indicate to us– especially the absence in Josephus– indicate to us that… Matthew may have

Been up to something else. >> NARRATOR: Some scholars say the lack of corroboration is not by itself proof that the slaughter is simply Matthew’s invention. They point out that the population of Bethlehem was then perhaps 1,000, and that there could have been as few as 20 infants under two.

The limited scope of the slaughter may have kept it from entering the history books. >> CROSSAN: It would certainly have been awful, but it would probably not have been a huge number. And yes, of course, it could easily have escaped Josephus. So I couldn’t argue that it didn’t happen because Josephus does not mention it. It’s quite possible he wouldn’t have heard of it, or he could

Have heard of it and not thought it was important. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: Could the Slaughter of the Innocents have happened? Was Herod the kind of ruler capable of this kind of brutality? The answer to that question is, absolutely yes, he was capable of that kind of brutality. We have account after account of

Ancient rulers terrified of the idea amongst their captive population that a ruler was going to come, that a deliverer was going to come, and their attempts to try to deal with it. This is not at all an unbelievable element to the story. >> NARRATOR: Whether fact or fiction, the Slaughter of the

Innocents is reminiscent of another horrific episode from the book of Exodus. It describes how the Egyptian pharaoh tries to murder another messenger of God– the infant Moses– by ordering the execution of all Israelite boys. Some scholars believe Matthew’s account is an invention based on the older story, and an effort

To reinforce Jesus’ role as the deliverer of his people. >> CROSSAN: In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is the new Moses. So the same way that Pharaoh tried to kill all the children and almost killed Moses but Moses escaped by divine power, bad Pharaoh becomes bad Herod. This is Matthew working the

Parallelism between Jesus, the new Moses in his life, so Jesus must be born, as it were, and almost killed like the old Moses was. >> NARRATOR: In Egypt, writes Matthew, the young Jesus finds safety from Herod’s wrath. But Matthew provides no details about how Mary and Joseph endure

The 250-mile trek to bring him here. Some scholars speculate that they finance the journey by selling the gold, frankincense and myrrh given to them by the Magi. But other scholars doubt they ever venture here. No historical evidence has been found to support Matthew’s account. And Luke’s Gospel contradicts it, describing how Mary and

Joseph travel uneventfully with the newborn Jesus back to Nazareth. Where the holy family lived and how long they stayed in Egypt, Matthew does not say, but a number of legends have survived. In Cairo, the Church of Saint Sergius is built upon the site where it is believed that they stayed for three months.

Outside Cairo, Christians since the fifth century have gathered at this ancient sycamore. They call it the Tree of Mary… for here they believe she sought shade beneath its branches. >> McNAMER: I have visited those sites in Cairo, and they are fun to go to, and if they help people’s piety, that’s fine, but

I don’t think they have any, uh… have any basis in history. >> NARRATOR: One reason that scholars believe Jesus never visited Egypt is that his teachings many years later bear no sign of Egyptian influence. >> CROSSAN: I don’t find anything that Jesus would have learned in Egypt, even if I take

Literally the idea that he went there as a young child and lived there for a length of time. I do not find anything in the teachings of Jesus or the life of Jesus that does not come straight out of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish tradition. >> NARRATOR: Despite the lack of

Any Egyptian nuance to Jesus’ ministry, some scholars believe he may have indeed spent time in Egypt. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: Jesus would’ve been a member of a minority in Egyptian culture. It could very well be that the Egyptian influence on Jesus was exactly the opposite of what some people speculate.

In other words, it may have solidified his Hebrew identity and not so much made him open to Egyptian influence. After all, we know that living in exile, living in Diaspora, sometimes makes people intensely more interested in their cultural tradition, and so less interested in the influences of the majority culture around them.

>> NARRATOR: After an unspecified time in Egypt, writes Matthew, Mary and Joseph receive a message from God that it is safe to return. >> “When Herod was dead, an angel appeared, saying, ‘Arise and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the

Child’s life are dead.'”– MATTHEW 2:19. >> NARRATOR: Joseph escorts his family back to Judea to the city of Nazareth. There, some 30 years later, Jesus will begin his earth-shaking ministry. Reconstructing the history of Jesus’ birth begins by examining the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. But there is another version of

The first Christmas unknown to millions of believers: The Infancy Gospel of James. It was purportedly written soon after Herod the Great died, which scholars believe happened in 4 B.C. The author claims to be James, one of the brothers of Jesus alluded to several times in the New Testament.

James is identified as Jesus’ brother in the books of Matthew, Mark and Galatians. And Josephus, the first-century historian, corroborates James’ identity when he writes of James’ death at the hand of a treacherous high priest. >> “So he assembled a council of judges and brought it before James, the brother of Jesus,

Known as Christ, and several others, on a charge of breaking the law and handed them over to be stoned.”– JOSEPHUS, THE JEWISH ANTIQUITIES. >> NARRATOR: Although The Infancy Gospel of James was accepted by early Christians, the church never authorized it as scripture. As such, it has been relegated

To the biblical literature known as the Apocrypha. It presents many of the same elements as the traditional story. There is the census, the trek to Bethlehem, the Magi and the Star. But there, the similarities end. James writes that Mary goes into labor not in Bethlehem, but before they are ever able to

Reach the city. >> “When they came to the middle of their journey, Mary said to him, ‘Joseph, take me off the donkey, the child is pushing from within me to let him come out.’ So he took her off the donkey and said to her, ‘Where will I take you and shelter you?

This area is a desert.’ And he found a cave and led her there while he went to find a Hebrew midwife in the land of Bethlehem.”– THE INFANCY GOSPEL OF JAMES 17:10. >> NARRATOR: In contrast to Matthew and Luke, James specifies that Jesus is born in a cave which coincides with what

Many scholars believe to be the true setting. While Joseph is away searching for a midwife, Mary begins to deliver the baby Jesus. At the same moment, a bizarre phenomenon occurs. Joseph is stunned as time literally stands still. >> “With utter astonishment, I saw the birds of the sky were not moving.

And I looked at workers picking food up and they were not picking it up. And I saw sheep being driven, but the sheep were standing still.”– THE INFANCY GOSPEL OF JAMES 18:4. >> HOCK: He is suddenly struck by everything in nature– the heavens, the stars, the birds, the workers, the animals all

Around him stopping right in their tracks, and then suddenly, everything returns to the way it was, and life goes on as it had formerly. And presumably in the context of that story, the moment of the suspension of time, Jesus himself is being born. >> NARRATOR: Joseph returns to the cave with two midwives.

But Mary has already given birth. One of the midwives believes Mary’s claim that she is a virgin. But the other, named Salome, is skeptical. >> “The midwife said ‘Mary, position yourself, for not a small test concerning you is about to take place.’ When Mary heard these things, she positioned herself.

And Salome inserted her finger into her body. And Salome cried out and said, ‘Woe for my lawlessness and the unbelief that made me test the living God. Look, my hand is falling away from me and being consumed by fire.'”– THE INFANCY GOSPEL OF JAMES 20:1. >> NARRATOR: Salome begs

Forgiveness for her lack of faith. God hears her prayer and sends an angel to heal her. James’ account reaches its dramatic peak with a version of the slaughter of the innocents that differs slightly from Matthew’s. >> HOCK: You do have the murder of the infants with Herod attacking the babies.

Mary, who had given birth to Jesus in a cave, now hides Jesus by placing him in the manger so the familiar manger from Luke is now used in a different way in The Infancy Gospel of James. >> NARRATOR: Is it possible this intricate tale is the most accurate version of the Christmas story?

Although James’ Infancy Gospel was supposedly written just after the death of Herod in 4 B.C., scholars believe it was produced as much as 150 years later after the books of Matthew and Luke. They note that it is written in a literary style not invented until the second century.

The style is known as an encomium, which follows strict rules of composition to praise virtuous persons– in this case, the Virgin Mary. And James, they argue, could not possibly have been the author. The historian Josephus records that he died in 62 A.D., a hundred years before the document was apparently written.

>> HORSLEY: One of the reasons why The Infancy Gospel of James seems to have less credibility, perhaps, than the stories contained in Matthew and Luke is it doesn’t seem to be quite as familiar with local color in Palestine– the thought being that maybe whoever put this together, didn’t really have

Much direct knowledge of Palestine. >> SIKER: It was also probably not someone who was Jewish, because there are errors in the understanding of Jewish customs and traditions. >> NARRATOR: Many scholars believe that the only knowledge the author had of Jesus’ birth was what had been recorded several decades earlier in the

Gospels now familiar to millions. >> CROSSAN: The major source that the author of The Infancy Gospel of James has is Matthew and Luke. There is not any clear evidence that he has any other real information. It does not seem that he has any sort of raw, unfiltered traditions that Matthew and Luke

Didn’t know about, but somehow this author has found out about. It’s possible, of course, but that doesn’t seem to be what the author has. What the author has simply is two sources and a very, very good imagination. >> NARRATOR: Although its value as an historical source is questionable, the Gospel of

James still provides valuable insight. Many scholars believe it represents the earliest effort to idealize Mary– an effort that centuries later would culminate in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: The significance of these writings is often that they give us a picture into the concerns and

The cares of the time they come from. So sometimes these writings give us very interesting insights in what were Christians thinking and worried about in the 200s, in the 300s, in the 400s. For that question, these writings are very important and very valuable. But for missing historical information, not very important.

>> NARRATOR: The Infancy Gospel of James is ultimately more intriguing than it is enlightening. Rather than holding any key to the truth about Christmas, it is perhaps the earliest effort to speculate on what that truth may be. To what degree the Christmas story should be considered historical fact may never be known.

To Christians, the Christmas story is an imponderable miracle– God’s invasion of human history in a stable 2,000 years ago. The miracle, however, lies dormant for some 30 years. Then, as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus emerges with a message that redefines man’s purpose. The man born in the most humble

Setting imaginable teaches that the poor are imbued with as much dignity as the most powerful king. The man born beneath a shining star teaches that hope will burn brightly as long as men love each other as brothers. The man born of a virgin teaches that the world can be

Transformed by the pure in heart. >> McNAMER: The message of Jesus was the most powerful and the most idealistic message ever. I mean, to stand on that mountain and say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are you when you forgive your enemies. Be good to them that hurt you.”

>> MEYER: “To do unto others as you would have them do unto you. To turn the other cheek. To go the extra mile.” To do those sorts of things that may make our world a better place for all of us to live in. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: Suddenly we’re presented with an

Incredible hope that burns brightly, a hope that there is a god who cares about us, a hope in the possibility that we can live with each other differently than the way we so often have, a hope that there’s a different way of being a human society, and the very coming of Jesus

Embodies that hope in a profound sense. >> HORSLEY: Not only was he understood as the Savior and Christ by the new religion Christianity that developed, but Jesus was the one who really defined and articulated the agenda for ordinary people who were struggling for independence from domination by foreign powers and their own unjust

Rulers, and laid out an idea of what a life of justice and mutual caring could be. >> NARRATOR: Jesus’ revolutionary ministry is but a continuation of the Christmas story– as the Son of God carries out his plan to save mankind from sin and death. It continues further with his arrest, trial and execution.

The significance of his birth in the manger can be understood only by recognizing his sacrifice on the cross. Still, it is Jesus’ resurrection that marks the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan. 30 years after a miracle brings Jesus into the world, another enables him to rejoin his heavenly Father.

From the empty tomb emerges the faith destined to transform the world. >> SIKER: There are those who would argue that it’s based on a lie, that’s it’s based on false rumors of disciples who stole the body of Jesus to make a good story, and yet, somehow, this story has made its way through

History and time in a way unequaled. >> NARRATOR: Beginning as a fringe faith, Christianity receives widespread acceptance after the Roman Emperor Constantine accepts Jesus as his God and Savior. 300 years after Jesus’ birth, Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire. As the centuries pass, its influence becomes immeasurable:

Art and science, politics and economics, self and society– all are transformed by Christianity. But Christianity’s impact on history is not always positive. During the crusades, medieval Christians try to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. In the name of Jesus, they kill thousands of innocent men, women and children. During the Inquisition, the

Church supports torture as a means of coercing confessions from those considered heretics. By the 16th century, the church grows so powerful, it becomes corrupted by its own success. One measure of its decline is that salvation, once only earned by the faithful, can now be purchased by the rich. A German monk, Martin Luther,

Declares his outrage. Inspired by Jesus, who cast the moneychangers from the temple, he fights for reform. The Reformation splits its believers into Catholics and Protestants. Today, millions of Christians still struggle to live up to the high standards of their own faith. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: We have had a very checkered history as

Christians of trying to embody the teachings of a peaceful Messiah who calls on us to care for each other rather than dominate each other, to share with each other rather than hoard from each other. And it’s unfortunate that the first 2,000 years of our attempt as humans to embody the

Teachings and example of Jesus have not been terribly successful. >> McNAMER: Gandhi once said about Christianity, “It is so magnificent. What a pity it’s never been tried.” I do believe it has been tried. There are just hundreds and hundreds of wonderful people in the pages of history of Christianity that show that

It has been tried and has made a difference. >> CROSSAN: Christianity has done many things in the name of Jesus for which I, as a Christian, am ashamed. It has also done many good things in the name of Jesus for which I am very glad as a Christian, and which makes me

Very glad to be a Christian. >> NARRATOR: 2,000 years after Jesus was born, a third of the world’s population professes to be followers of the faith he inaugurated in a manger. For Christians, Christmas celebrates how God gave the world a gift it never deserved but needed more than anything. To accept the gift is to acknowledge the responsibility of giving something back. >> SMITH-CHRISTOPHER: The Christmas story is intended to question us on the deepest levels of being a human being.

Here was the coming of a new way of living. Here was the coming of a new hope. Here was a profound challenge to how we as humans think that the world has to run, as opposed to our belief that the only way that we can live together is to

Be armed to the teeth and to be ready to fight. Here was one who brought a message: “No, that’s not the way. We can care for each other; we can take care of each other; we can live justly; we can live at peace.” If we miss that profound challenge, then we miss the

Significance of the Christmas story. >> SIKER: For me, the Christmas story is an account of the recollections of people like you and I who had an experience of God’s presence that was so powerful that they couldn’t hold it in. It’s a story of mystery and a story of hope replete with the

Possibilities of peace and goodwill in a world where both are in short supply. >> NARRATOR: For generations to come, the search for the historical truth of the day it all began– the search for Christmas– will continue. No matter what is discovered along the way, millions will always find comfort in the story.

They will find fulfillment in the images of an infant’s gentle smile and a virgin mother’s loving glance. [Captioning sponsored by A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS Captioned by The Caption Center WGBH Educational Foundation]

#Evidence #Jesus #Birth #Revealed #Full #Episode

Ancient Aliens: The Satan Conspiracy (S6, E5) | Full Episode

NARRATOR: He is the personification of evil. Satan was the source of torture and death and destruction. NARRATOR: He is the ruler of hell. He grew arrogant, and he lost his heavenly position. He was thrown out of the heavens and fell. NARRATOR: And he commands an army

Of demons united on a vengeful quest to destroy mankind. A demon needs a body to accomplish its evil purposes– You can’t have her. So they can bring about their plan of death and destruction. NARRATOR: But is the character known as the Prince of Darkness merely a myth?

Or could he be something much, much more? Satan may well be a person, a god, an angel, an ET who’s been maligned in a sense. NARRATOR: Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true?

Did ancient aliens really help to shape our history? And if so, could evidence be found in centuries old stories of a fallen angel? Could there really be a Satan conspiracy? [theme music playing] He is called Satan, Lucifer, the devil, and his name conjures up horrifying images

Of a horned demon whose sole purpose is to corrupt and destroy mankind. Satan is portrayed as the enemy of God, trying to destroy good people, to make good people bad, and to keep them from being saved, keep them from going to heaven so that they can go

To hell where he’s in charge. KATHLEEN MCGOWAN: Satan has become the catchall for the embodiment of evil. When we think of Satan, I think there are two different ways that our brains can go. The first is this almost comical character that rules over the land of flames,

The red guy with the horns and the pitchfork. But then on the darker side, I think that Satan has become this very, very terrifying, frightening embodiment of evil who causes man to do terrible things, who is the source of torture and death and destruction. NARRATOR: But are these perceptions of Satan correct?

Is he really the master of all things evil in the universe? Lakeland, Florida, 2012. Hundreds of faithful followers congregate at the Ignited Church to witness the removal of demons from those who believe they’re possessed by the devil. You let him go. All the pain and the hurt you’ve caused this man,

You let him go. The devil wants to get even. How else to hurt the heart of God to the greatest possible extent but to harm the beloved of his creation, the height of his creation, the thing that God loves most, humanity, human beings, me, you, every single person on Earth?

NARRATOR: In the ritual known as exorcism, a priest or minister performs a sacred right in order to confront Satan and drive him back to hell. It is a ceremony that dates back hundreds and perhaps thousands of years and is considered quite controversial even within the Catholic church.

I torment you by the blood of Christ. When I’m battling Satan, there are a lot of mind games going on, and it’s a bit of a chess match. You think you have her, don’t you? Don’t you? – Yes. You think she’s yours, don’t you? Well, she’s not.

So I have to be mentally and spiritually prepared for that. How long have you had her? Long time. Yeah? Well, now it’s going to be a short time. Torment to you. Torment! Torment you. NARRATOR: But just who or what is Satan? And why is he determined to corrupt all of humanity?

Perhaps the answers can be found in the myths and legends that describe Satan’s ancient origins. ADAM BLAI: In the beginning, Satan was one of the angels that was created by God before the physical universe was created, and there was basically a sphere of angels around God, worshiping God.

And Satan at that time was Lucifer or the day star. He was the brightest of the angels. KATHLEEN MCGOWAN: Satan is actually one of the archangels. He is one of the high angels, one of the highest ranking, one of the most beautiful, the most beloved. He is beloved of God.

He is a bringer of light. When God created man in his image, he ordered all the angels to worship his image in this man. And Satan refused. He says, look, they’re mud people. We’re made out of fire. I’m not going to do it. And so he gets kicked out.

He grew arrogant. He began to challenge God. And for this arrogance, he lost his heavenly position. He was thrown out of the heavens and fell. ADAM BLAI: When Lucifer was cast down, it was instant and abrupt and total. And he was cast down to Earth to roam here

Until the end of time. NARRATOR: Although few references are made to Satan in the Hebrew testament, he is depicted as an opposer or accuser and is generally acknowledged to have been the inspiration for the serpent in the Garden of Eden. BRETT PETERSON: One of the great stories in the Bible

Is Adam and Eve in the garden. You know, we have this picture of a beautiful garden scene, and Adam and Eve in their innocence just enjoying God and each other and this beautiful creation. And all of a sudden enters Satan in the form of a snake.

And he finds Eve close to the one thing, the one law God gave mankind. NARRATOR: According to the book of Genesis, God placed two trees in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge and forbade Adam and Eve to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge.

Satan convinces Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she convinces Adam to do that. And, of course, we see that suddenly their whole personality changes. BRETT PETERSON: Prior to eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were sinless.

It means that the one law that God gave them, they had not disobeyed. Satan himself decided that if he could get them to break that one law, then sin would enter mankind. And when Adam ate, all mankind from that point on has been selfish, prideful, and were genetically

Given the ability and really the desire to rebel against authority and thus obtained the knowledge of good and evil. NARRATOR: But is this story of Adam and Eve really a fanciful account of how evil entered the world? Or might there be another even more profound explanation?

You can make a case that Eve actually wants to mature. She wants to grow up. God wants to keep us in a state of perpetual innocence, infantility perhaps. Eve decides that knowing everything she can know about this world into which she has been placed

Is more important even than obeying a particular command of God. The serpent enables her. Satan’s wanting to give humanity all this incredible wisdom that maybe can even elevate humankind to the level of gods. But the Old Testament God Yahweh is saying not so fast. Humankind aren’t perhaps worthy of this knowledge,

And this becomes then the battle between God and Satan. NARRATOR: Was the serpent’s temptation of Adam and Eve really a case of sabotage? Was it a deliberate effort to seduce mankind into sinning against its creator? Or might Satan’s real purpose have been to encourage mankind to share the fruits of God’s wisdom?

Ancient astronaut theorists believe more clues may lie in another book of the Hebrew testament. Southern Israel, this dry sun-blasted desert was once the realm of Edom, an ancient kingdom that some researchers believe was home to the biblical figure Job. According to the Hebrew Bible, Job was among the wealthiest men in the kingdom

And owned enormous herds of cattle, sheep, and camels. He was also among the most righteous, making sacrifices to the Almighty God to atone for his transgressions and the sins of his family. BARRY H. DOWNING: In the story of Job, Satan as part of the heavenly council of angels

And the council meets and God is at the council meeting and basically he and Satan have a discussion. WILLIAM FULCO: And God says, you know, look at Job. He’s very faithful. And Satan, in charge of quality control, and says, well, of course, you know. You give him everything. What do you expect?

KATHLEEN MCGOWAN: And Satan actually challenges God and says if Job were tempted, if he no longer had all of these wonderful things that God had given to him, what happens to him then? Satan convinces God the Job should be tested to see if he is really all that good.

And this is where Satan becomes the first adversary, the first tester of humans. JONATHAN YOUNG: So it’s interesting in this story, Satan is actually working with God as a kind of member of his staff or his heavenly council. WILLIAM HENRY: The divine council of God is very interesting because we learn

That it is composed of various angelic beings including Satan. And the idea is that these are advanced beings who carry out God’s orders and God’s wishes from the commands of this council. It really seems like we’re seeing some kind of divine bureaucracy, something like you would see in a corporate

Or a governmental bureaucracy. NARRATOR: Could our notion of Satan as an evil force be incorrect? Ancient astronaut theorists believe there is much more to this story and that the answer may be found not only in the pages of the Hebrew Bible but on ancient scrolls, scrolls whose origins date back thousands of years.

Qumran, the West Bank. Here during a series of excavations beginning in 1949, archaeologists unearth hundreds of ancient scrolls. They are believed to have been written by a Hebrew sect known as the Essenes more than 2,000 years ago. Several of the scrolls contained fragments of what has become known as the Book of Enoch

And the account of a rebellion launched by a group of angels called the Watchers. One of the most famous parts of the Book of Enoch is the story of the Watchers. This is a story about 200 angels that were charged with watching over mankind in its early stages and basically taking care

Of us, looking out for us. The Watchers are a group of angels who were dispatched to watch humans and to help humans. Now the Watchers are very interesting because they are angels who interact with humans. ADAM BLAI: There’s a brief reference to this in Genesis,

But the Book of Enoch essentially expands that story and tells a more full story. This was taken out of the canon of the Bible early in the church’s life, but it was in for a period of time. KATHLEEN MCGOWAN: Once the Watchers begin to interact with humans, they become infatuated

With this new species, and they become lustful of this new species. And all of the sudden, the original idea, the original commands that they were given seem a lot less interesting to them. ADAM BLAI: They came to a point where they wanted to take wives and have children, and so they decided

To rebel, create bodies, marry, and bear children. NARRATOR: According to the Book of Enoch, the leader of this rebellion is a watcher known as Samyaza or Sataneal. Could this be the same character we know as Satan? So what we’re seeing in the story of Samyaza

And the Watchers is very similar to the story of Lucifer in charge of the angels. In both cases, we are confronted with a hierarchy of a species which is between us and God, the leader of which disagrees with God and basically wants to live amongst mankind.

When you look at a different versions of the Book of Enoch, the one thing that combines all of them is that they talk about the Watchers, the Watchers from heaven, and they are the ones who gave knowledge. And when I look at terms such as Watchers from heaven,

Then personally I interpret them as possible extraterrestrials. NARRATOR: Do the ancient accounts of Samyaza’s revolt and Lucifer’s fall suggest that Satan’s efforts to corrupt mankind in the Garden of Eden were actually an attempt to give man forbidden knowledge? And might these legends be based not on myth

But on actual historical events, events involving extraterrestrial visitors? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes and believe that close examination of the Book of Enoch may point to physical evidence of where Satan’s so-called rebellion against God may have actually occurred. Mount Hermon, Lebanon. Straddling the border of Syria, this legendary mountain

As described in the Book of Enoch is the peak where Samyaza and the Watchers descended to Earth. ADAM BLAI: In the Book of Enoch, there’s a reference to Mount Hermon. We see the angels basically descending to Mount Hermon. So Mount Hermon was both a place of connection with heaven

And kind of sally port between Earth and heaven. The Watchers being angels from heaven knew the sciences of heaven. Samyaza was basically an expert in enchantment and lute cutting. You could think of it as basically witchcraft, the casting of spells, creating magic, and using roots to create potions.

The Book of Enoch lists very specifically the subjects that are taught to humans by the Watchers, by these angels, who begin to share their wisdom with them. NARRATOR: The Book of Enoch describes Mount Hermon as the place where Samyaza taught humans about magic and medicine.

Other powerful angels passed on knowledge of metallurgy, weapons, astrology, science, and even warfare. SCOTT ROBERTS: The Watchers delivered to humanity the forbidden knowledge of God. All the stories in ancient cultures cross-cultural had these tales of beings that would deliver the forbidden knowledge of the gods to humans,

And they were all condemned for it. KATHLEEN MCGOWAN: The Watchers through Samyaza give us extraordinary tools which make our lives much, much better on Earth. So is Samyaza really a bad guy, or did he in fact liberate humans from ignorance? And if Samyaza actually is the forerunner of Satan,

Has Satan actually been misrepresented all of these years? NARRATOR: Is it possible that Samyaza and the other Watchers were extraterrestrial beings that gave humanity the foundations for civilization? Then if so, how did Satan come to be so misunderstood and misinterpreted by history? PHILIP COPPENS: If we equal Samyaza and Satan, what we’re

Confronted with here is a larger framework which basically tells us that Samyaza, Satan we’re here to civilize us. The Watchers were civilizing deities. They basically helped us to develop our skills of civilization. And so what we are confronted with here is basically the conclusion that civilization

The way we know it is not something divine but is literally satanic. It was Satan who gave us the tools of civilization. NARRATOR: Was Satan really a civilizing force for early humans as some ancient astronaut theorists believe? And if so, might further evidence be found by examining other ancient myths and legends?

In ancient Sumeria, you have these very curious stories of the Annunaki. The Annunaki where half god, half man who came down from the stars. They were instructing the Sumerians in various arts of civilization. They were very strange looking. They had elongated heads. They looked almost like insect-type people

Or what they call reptilian features in a sense or a viper visage as the Watchers were called in the Bible. In global cultures, we find constant references to these giant celestial beings coming to Earth and initiating or instructing humankind. Satan himself is considered to be a Seraphim, which means

Winged serpents or fiery serpents, but yet the word Seraphim contains the word ser meaning serpent and raphim them meaning giant. NARRATOR: Was the character we know is Satan really an extraterrestrial being, one who broke with his own species in order to live among our distant ancestors?

Did he, along with other so-called fallen angels, actually break with God not out of spite or arrogance but instead to help mankind? Perhaps further clues can be found in legends of a flying serpent and in the story of a titan who is savagely punished for all eternity. The Yucatan Peninsula.

Here in the jungles of Southern Mexico lie the ruins of the great Mayan city Chichen Itza. Constructed more than 1,000 years ago, Chichen Itza was one of the largest and most powerful cities in the Mayan world. And dominating the site is the Great Pyramid El Castillo.

A temple built to honor the Mayan serpent god Kukulkan. WILLIAM HENRY: Kukulkan is a name for Satan or for the winged serpent. He’s always portrayed as a wisdom burying being who delivers this cosmic knowledge to humankind. Often we’ll see Kukulkan portrayed

As half human or half serpent or as a human being coming out of the mouth of a serpent. This is how Christianity will traditionally portray Satan as a dragon figure or a serpentine like being. The question is why is he depicted as such,

And I think we really can find out that Kukulkan is not unique in this sense. NARRATOR: One of the most powerful gods in the Mayan pantheon, Kukulkan was believed to have descended from the stars. He is also credited with teaching astronomy, mathematics, and agriculture to mankind.

WILLIAM HENRY: This is identical to the Christian tradition of Satan being the serpent of the tree of knowledge delivering the forbidden wisdom to humanity. In the Book of Enoch, we learn of the Watchers who are described as having visage as of vipers or the face of a serpent and delivering

This powerful knowledge to humankind. So it’s possible that what we’re seeing in all of these instances is the same figure or representative of the same tribe of angels, the satanic beings or these serpentine like angel beings. NARRATOR: Are the stories of Satan and Kukulkan

Really based on the same being as many ancient astronaut theorists believe? And if so, might this same character also be found in the myths and legends of other ancient cultures. PHILIP COPPENS: Satan is a creature who comes out of nowhere to live amongst mankind

And teaches is not something which is limited to the Bible. We find it in most traditions across the world. NARRATOR: According to the legends of ancient Greece, the titan known as Prometheus sinned against the gods by stealing the secret of fire and giving it to man. For his transgression, he was doomed

To suffer a gruesome eternal punishment by being chained to a rock and having an eagle eat his liver only to have the organ grow back each night so that the eagle could continue to feast on it the next day. RICHARD RADER: He’s a God that becomes associated with humans

Because he is a champion for humans. Right and the mythological stories talk about how Prometheus is basically like they’re representative. NARRATOR: Another such deity was the god Viracocha. Worshipped by the ancient Inca in the Andes of South America, Viracocha was a powerful creator god who came to Earth to pass on celestial knowledge.

Like Prometheus, this Incan god was described as a bringer of light and is depicted in ancient Incan sculpture as holding two lightning bolts and wearing the sun as a crown. WILLIAM HENRY: The Inca describe a luminous being called Viracoco or Viracocha who brought knowledge of medicine, astronomy, and other advanced sciences.

It’s possible that Viracocha is the same as Samyaza or Satan as a figure bringing this liberating wisdom to humankind that seeks to bring us along the path of advancement and enlightenment. So you have to ask yourself why would such diverse cultures have such similar mythologies. PHILIP COPPENS: In the case of Viracocha,

What we see is a deity which manifests itself from Earth, lives amongst mankind, gives us sciences, and after a number of years, disappears again. NARRATOR: The ancient Egyptians had cults that worship the god Set, a divine being who like Satan ruled over darkness and chaos. PHILIP COPPENS: The tradition traditional civilizing deities

Who go around civilizing, educating us is something which we find in all traditions whether they are the great cultures of Egypt, Inca, or the Mayan empires, or smaller cultures elsewhere in the universe. And so what we’re finding is that the story of Satan has a civilizing deity is definitely not unique

But sits within a clear framework across the entire world. And it shows you that the importance of Satan is not just something limited to the Bible but really tells us an awful lot about civilization as a whole. NARRATOR: Could it be that these ancient myths were actually

Describing the same creature, the fallen angel we now refer to as Satan? But how then did a creature who is so often credited with bringing mankind knowledge and enlightenment become thought of as the personification of all things evil. ERICH VON DANIKEN: The word Lucifer comes from Latin, makes looks fiery, making light.

It’s the same as in the Greek mythology from Matthaios, who stored the light from the gods. It’s really a sympathic idea that all these figures are finally just one figure in different languages but they were all sympathetic to the humans. It is quite possible that our religious traditions and those

Who selected the old holy texts some thousands of years ago, they made out an evil figure out of Lucifer and the devil. And maybe it was the other way around. He was the good one. PHILIP COPPENS: When we’re looking at something like Satan, we’re not necessarily

Talking about morality, but we’re actually exploring things about our ancestors. We’re exploring mythology. We’re exploring accounts of our ancestors saying that they developed civilization not on their own but with the help of non-human intelligences. And in the case of one such story, we see that that intelligence is Satan.

DAVID CHILDRESS: In many ways, Satan may well be a person, a god, an angel, an ET who’s maligned in a sense. Lucifer is Prometheus. He’s the light bringer. He’s the god of hard work. He’s the one who brings us fire. He’s the one who gives us the opportunity to do things ourselves.

NARRATOR: If the biblical character of Satan is really based on an extraterrestrial being, one who stole technology from his masters in order to benefit early man, then why is he now reviled as a creature of consummate evil? Ancient astronaut theorists believe the answer may lie not in ancient scriptures

But in numerous accounts of demonic possession. Klingenberg, Germany, located 32 miles southeast of Frankfurt. This small city is home to one of the most famous and frightening cases of demonic possession ever recorded. In September 1973, a young woman named Anneliese Michel began hearing voices that told her she was damned

And would rot in hell. When medical treatments failed, she sought the help of an exorcist. [speaking german] Demonic possession is perhaps the most frightening and visceral of all phenomena associated with Satan. According to Christian tradition, possession occurs when a demon enters the body, corrupting a person’s physical and spiritual being.

The belief in demonic possession is widespread. It seems to show up pretty much all over the planet. It was believed to be the presence of a satanic energy, truly dark, terrible evil that could take over a person, take over their body, take over their mind.

And they would be acting with no free will. They would be a complete slave to the power of the dark side. ADAM BLAI: Demons manifest on Earth to interact with people to afflict us and tempt us in various ways. The oppression involves physically wounding us attacking us, causing effects

On our body and our mind. Possession is when we surrender our lower faculties to them and they take over our body and use it as their own. And in rare cases, they can appear visibly to multiple people as supposed human spirits. NARRATOR: Most Christians believe

Demons are evil incarnations of the other angels who followed Lucifer in his rebellion against the Almighty God. They bear names like Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Moloch, and Mammon and are dedicated to corrupting the souls of mankind. Biblically speaking, the demonic comes from the fallen angels, those who fell with Lucifer during the great wars

In heaven. And their purpose is to deceive humanity, to lead them astray, to distract them from God, and there are many castes. They range from your basic thugs in the bottom all the way up to your, if you will, your intelligentsia that is governing behind the scenes of the affairs of mankind.

ADAM BLAI: It is essentially you can imagine a military structure with generals, officers, privates. There’s basically nine levels which are fallen angels of various ranks serving under each other, ultimately serving Satan. NARRATOR: In many religious traditions, there are sacred rites to exorcise these demons from the bodies of the afflicted.

Let her go. Let her go. I come against you again, Satan, by the blood of Christ. NARRATOR: The Reverend Bob Larson is an evangelical minister, an exorcist, who says he has come face to face with the demonic and the truly satanic. The blood of Christ, I torment you, Satan.

You can’t have her. She belongs to God. Torment you. I torment you by the blood of Christ. Torment you! I’m here to be an instrument of God to cast out the devil, to free human souls. It’s not my power that does it. It’s God’s power. I’m simply the instrument that he uses.

But my mission is to get every demon possible out of every possible human being and send them straight to hell. How long have you had her? Get me some oil please. I anoint you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How long have you had this woman?

How many generations? How many generations? The demon is metaphysical. It is invisible. It’s spirit. Doesn’t have a physical body so a demon can’t really do anything evil. A demon can’t start a war, can’t pull the trigger of a gun, can’t rape anybody. A demon needs a body to accomplish its evil purposes.

So demons are looking to inhabit human souls so that through the physicality of human beings, they can bring about their plan of death and destruction. NARRATOR: According to Larson and other Christian theologians, demonic forces have always been present on Earth, and demons are continually traveling to Earth to sow the seeds of ruin.

But where exactly are they coming from? Is it hell or perhaps someplace else? BOB LARSON: Both the Jewish and Christian scriptures as well as other religious books that delve into the subject of demonism never fully describe the nature of their existence, where they operate.

It seems to be in a kind of parallel reality, another dimension, out of our time, space continuum. They’re there. We’re here. Einstein opened a little bit of a door into the possibility of other realms. We are getting a small glimpse of the reality that exists beyond our understanding.

We just need to know there’s another realm out there, and when I do an exorcism, I step in and out of those realms. I’m in the physical natural realm, but I’m also invading the realm in which demons operate. So I step from the physical into the metaphysical.

I don’t have to understand what’s going on there. I’m on a simple mission, not to find out everything I can about that world but to get the demon out of the human soul. NARRATOR: Might devils and demons really be beings from another realm?

And might that realm not be hell but an actual extraterrestrial world? And are they really malevolent? Or might they have another perhaps even more profound agenda? Ancient astronaut theorists believe the answers may be found in the mysterious prophecies of the Book of Revelation. Megiddo, Israel. Located 11 miles from Nazareth, this ancient city

Is mentioned more than a dozen times in the Bible, most prominently in the prophetic Book of Revelation. According to the religious text, it is outside this city on the so-called plains of Megiddo where the forces of the Almighty God will wage a final battle against Satan and the forces of evil.

The Book of Revelation is certainly one of the most complicated books in the Bible, and it belongs to a separate set of material that’s called apocalyptic. It is a book that gives visions of the future to come. BRETT PETERSON: There’s a battle that will take place

In a valley in Israel called Megiddo or Har Megiddo, thus Armageddon we get the term. Satan himself will gather the armies of the world to Megiddo to fight Jesus Christ. Satan takes on a more physical appearance, uses various technologies to enslave more and more of mankind.

Ultimately, he becomes a geopolitical force, basically essentially a dictator of the entire world. NARRATOR: The Book of Revelation further describes that this battle will be fought in heaven and on Earth. Angels will descend from the sky. Demons will spread out across the land to destroy with fiery swords.

And the Almighty God will reign destruction down upon Earth. KATHLEEN MCGOWAN: The Book of the Revelation is really a pretty terrifying document if we’re to look at it and think that these things could happen literally. I mean, when you look at what’s happening in the book, we have cataclysms on the Earth.

We have earthquakes. We have fire raining from the sky. We have angels doing battle in heaven. And then repeatedly we have Satan coming back. NARRATOR: But could it be that this biblical prophecy isn’t a doomsday prediction of cataclysm and war but it has another even more profound interpretation?

The Book of Revelation gives us some of the clearest depictions of what not a few moderns would call extraterrestrial activity. Think about it. We have supernatural beings flying through the cosmos blowing trumpets, casting fire upon the Earth. We have great conflict between light and darkness, good and evil.

There’s a cosmic dualism going on here that involves in the end the reassertion of divine authority over those wayward angels who had gone astray so long ago. NARRATOR: Extraterrestrial combat? Could the Bible’s Book of Revelation really be referring to a galactic war, one waged over the ultimate fate of mankind?

If so, who or what is Satan? Is he a demon, the devil, the personification of evil? Or was he, in fact, a benevolent extraterrestrial being, one who stole technology from alien beings in an effort to lead early man out of darkness and ignorance?

If so, then why did Satan become a force for evil? Does he seek to punish mankind for siding with our creator against him? Perhaps he is testing us, using alien technology to modify human behavior in ways we have yet to understand. He’s this idea of an adversary, this idea of a liar

Or a tester combined with this concept of Lucifer, the fallen angel, combined with this leader of the Watchers who also leads rebellion. I think that ultimately what we find is that Lucifer is a conflation, a character who is a composite of all of these different ideas and different characters.

It’s important for us to remember that Satan is part of the class of angels called Seraphim. The Seraphim were sent to Earth as benefactors of humankind bringing wisdom. The church has created this evil monster out of Satan, perhaps even out of thin air, when in reality Satan’s entire mission

Was about bringing knowledge and wisdom to humanity and, in fact, caring about humanity, not seeking to destroy humankind. DAVID CHILDRESS: In a sense, Satan’s not such a bad guy. You cannot have the light without the dark. You can’t have right without wrong. And we have to learn these things for ourselves.

And ultimately through choice, wrong and right, we grow, and we become who we are. And ultimately that is to be like our makers to become gods ourselves. NARRATOR: Might Satan’s reputation as the personification of evil really have been his punishment for giving mankind scientific knowledge? If so, might his evil acts really

Be expressions of revenge against the human creatures that abandoned him? Or are the evil deeds associated with Satan really a part of a grand plan, a series of moral challenges intended to prepare us for our next and perhaps final close encounter?

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