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Old 02-27-2020, 02:51 PM
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There were Jews documented in noticeable numbers even as far east as S. India in 70AD so they had to have been there for quite some time before that.
Travel from Syria or Mesopotamia to India was easy in ancient times. You just take a boat down the Euphrates to Basra. From there catch an Indian Ocean-going dhow at the right time of year and the trade winds blow you direct to Kerala. Which explains how Kerala got its Jewish community anciently, plus Christianity and Islam as soon as they respectively formed.
  #52  
Old 02-28-2020, 11:18 AM
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Heide


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I am surprised by the OP because I have a good friend named Heide. Not Heidi. She is from Vienna and I always assumed that that was the Austrian version of Heidi. That name is generally thought of as the German version of Heather. Could you comment?
Yes, "Heide" also means "heather" as well as heath.
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:05 PM
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If you take them as mystic Jews coming to worship the new born King of the Jews, that's entirely consistent with the Matthew. If you have an "angle" to generate that Jesus is the King of All (which the text explicitly does not state), then you have to do some mental gyrations.
Just because something is possible doesn't mean it's a likely interpretation. Matthew was particularly concerned with linking Jesus to Jewish traditions. If he intended the Magi to be specifically Jewish wise men, I would assume he would have been more explicit about it.

Do you have a cite for any early commentators or traditions that identified the Magi as being Jewish, or is this just your own speculation? As soon as they appear in tradition they are depicted in dress associated with Eastern religions rather than Judaism.
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:38 PM
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Just because something is possible doesn't mean it's a likely interpretation. Matthew was particularly concerned with linking Jesus to Jewish traditions. If he intended the Magi to be specifically Jewish wise men, I would assume he would have been more explicit about it.

Do you have a cite for any early commentators or traditions that identified the Magi as being Jewish, or is this just your own speculation? As soon as they appear in tradition they are depicted in dress associated with Eastern religions rather than Judaism.
I am not speculating that they were definitely Jewish. I am merely pointing out that there is no statement that they were Zoroastrian or some such. The text, as simply read, would imply a decent likelihood of them being Jewish.

Given the use of "magi" for non-Zoroastrians around that time, it is unwise to jump to a conclusion that they were.

And arguing based on traditions that pop up afterwards is much like arguing that there were 3 named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. None of that is in Matthew either.
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Old 02-28-2020, 05:32 PM
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I understood "pagan" as country folk following the old ways and not some new-fangled "religion" stuff, while "heathen" usually paired with "savage", not following your culture's rules.

We noticed certain nomenclature during our time in Chiapas (southernmost Mexico) and Guatemala, where Roman Catholicism was the default. Non-Catholics were "Protestants". Muslims. Quakers. Mormons. Hindus. Scientologists. Voduns. Buddhists. They're all Protestants, every last one of-em. Mayan Catholics include many "pagan" (traditional) elements in their worship, but as long as a priest and madonna are around, they're normal.

How pagan can Catholicism be? The cathedral in Chichicastenango Guatemala is a Mayan temple. Incense burns constantly at the base of the front steps, which only elders may ascend; all others enter and exit by the side door. The interior has no pews; the floor is scattered with flower petals, which worshipers cross on their knees. Elders sit at the alter playing loud music on a boombox. The walls are lined with oversized holy figures, carried during street processions.

Are Mayans in Chichicastenango pagans, heathens, or devout Roman Catholics?
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:31 PM
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I understood "pagan" as country folk following the old ways and not some new-fangled "religion" stuff,
That's my understanding; the word pagani originally meant "country folk" and is etymologically related to "peasants". In the sixth century, when Benedict of Nursia arrived at Monte Cassino to found his monastery, he found the local villagers holding a festival in honor of the god Apollo.


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Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 03-01-2020 at 02:34 PM.
  #57  
Old 03-01-2020, 03:46 PM
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The text, as simply read, would imply a decent likelihood of them being Jewish.
Only if what you mean by "as simply read" is "ignoring the context and concerns of the author of Matthew." As I said, the author of Matthew was especially interested in linking Jesus to Jewish traditions. It the author intended the figures to be Jewish mystics of some kind, he would undoubtedly have been explicit about it. Given this, there is no reasonable likelihood that they were intended to be Jewish.*

*And to reiterate, they weren't "actually" anything. There is no evidence such figures actually existed. The only reason they are in the story at all is because Matthew was trying to make a point about them.
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