Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Civilisation Judas - Uncivilisation Jesus

*** An audio version of this book is available on YouTube.

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Civilisation Judas - Chapter 9 - Uncivilisation Jesus

According to the New Testament the story of Christ occurred within the world of Roman, Jewish and Greek society. In fact, in the Gospel of Saint Luke it's stated that the sign placed above Jesus, mocking him as "king of the Jews", was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. [1] It's quite interesting how all three of these cultures, each essential in the development of western civilisation, seem to overlap in this melting pot of the New Testament. As per the last chapter it may be the case that all three are simply different versions of the same story. Strands of history telling the tale of the rise of city-driven civilisation. Jewish life with its laws, trade and literacy. Greece with its various city states. Rome, the ultimate city state.

When we read the New Testament this is precisely the sense we get, though most readers often miss it. In Christianity we see a rebellion or an amendment of civilisation. In many ways it's more a political movement than a spiritual one. Though again, in these earlier times the two are thoroughly intertwined.

The social and political dimensions are quite easy to see once you start looking. For instance, one of the overriding themes of the New Testament is the difference between rich and poor. In it the wealthy are "hypocrites". The poor, suffering and ennobled. Very similar to the modern haves versus have nots political debate we often witness now. Again, as with the Jewish or Roman attitude to foreign peoples found in the last chapter, it all seems mundanely similar to modern life once you strip back the ostentation. When indulging in the romance of history we often forget the humdrum reality it must have all, like ourselves, existed in.

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew we find the following quotes;

"No man can serve two masters ...Ye cannot serve God and mammon." [2]

"What shall it profit a man, though he should win all the whole world, if he lose his own soul." [3]

"..it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. And moreover I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." [4]

The poor and needy are failed by civilisation. Suffering in destitution. Meanwhile the priests and leaders make a show of their piety with their rituals and public display. Yet, in their hearts, they're more concerned with grandstanding, material wealth and self-interest.

"Whensoever therefore thou givest thine alms, thou shalt not make a trumpet to be blown before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, for to be praised of men." [5]

These days we would call this virtue signalling. Doing a good act to be seen to be good. To be praised and rewarded, rather than from a genuine desire to help. It's similar to modern arguments about the hypocritical rich. Be it celebrities in their private jets preaching about climate change. Or wealthy politicians, from their relative comfort, preaching austerity and other such things. It's in many ways identical to today's left versus right arguments over the excesses of "capitalism" and the failings of the system we're living in. [6] In fact, Jesus throwing the money changers from the temple could be viewed as the ultimate symbol of man railing against crony capitalism "...my house shall be called the house of prayer. But ye have made it a den of thieves". [7] The system is corrupt. Its institutions misused. For all the laws and showings of civilisation it has lost its true moral compass and soul. However, Jesus goes even further than the modern left/right blame game and suggests that we're all guilty to some extent ..we're all sinners. It's a problem embedded in us all. In all human society.

In Jesus we essentially see a figure coming from within civilisation - a Jew from within the Jewish tradition. An inhabitant of the Roman world. Trying to simplify and correct the excesses of legal and civil advancement. In fact, it's notable that the apostle St Paul, in The First Epistle to the Corinthians, attempts to compel his fellow Christians to stop going before the law courts with their problems. Imploring them to solve things amongst themselves in a spirit of compassion;

"How dare one of you having business with another, go to law under the wicked, and not rather under the saints? ..are ye not good enough to judge small trifles? ..is there utterly no wise man among you? What, not one at all, that can judge between brother and brother?" [8]

This all returns us to the "washing of hands" of the last chapter. In response to questions as to why the followers of Jesus did not do this;

"Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread." [9]

Jesus responds, not with an appeal to the written law, but with an appeal to higher morality;

"Hear and understand. That which goeth into the mouth defileth not the man; but that which cometh out of the mouth defileth the man." [10]

Elaborating further;

"..those things which proceed out of the mouth, come from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts: murder, breaking of wedlock, whoredom, theft, false witness bearing, blasphemy. These are the things which defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man." [11]

Essentially saying, if I may paraphrase Jesus, that it doesn't matter so much whether a man obeys the law or not. What matters is that he has good intentions, and by extension does good actions. It probably would be better in a practical sense if the disciples of Jesus did wash their hands ..I certainly wouldn't like to shop at a bakery ran by Jesus (!). However, from a moral point of view he's perfectly correct. If someone chooses to not wash their hands before eating that's their choice. Whereas the person using the law to enforce their will upon another, they're the one in the wrong.

This moral underpinning is something that can often get lost when people get bogged down in the technicalities of the law. It must always be remembered that laws are at best necessary evils. To arrest someone is to use physical force against that person. Something in of itself an infringement of that person's rights, and a moral injustice if taken in isolation. However, we may deem it necessary at times to do this in order to protect the rights of other people. If the person being arrested is abusing the rights of others through theft, violence, or some other criminal act, then we deem this use of force justified. It's an unsavoury, but necessary tool we must give society in order to protect the good from the bad, the law-abiding from the criminal.

However, when we forget that it's only ever a necessary evil. Or the people making the laws simply don't care, or deliberately misuse the law. Then the legal system and its enforcement becomes a threat to the very freedoms it's supposed to be upholding. The law then being used to force people to live and behave in a particular way. Perhaps being used by a majority to force their will and way of life upon a minority. Or abused by the most powerful group in a society to manage and control the rest.

Again, the "washing of hands" example from above serves us well. To use the law to force someone to wash their hands before eating would be an injustice, as it would be an evil carried out against one person, who had posed no threat, nor carried out no crime towards another. However, if that same person had, under false pretences, sold or given bread made with unwashed hands to another, then maybe the force of law would need to be involved. As in that case they would be carrying out an act that would possibly infringe or threaten another, and therefore the necessary evil of the force of the law would be needed to protect this potential other victim. The confusion surrounding this simple concept continues to this day. A classic example is governments today using the law to micro-manage how people live - stating what they can and can't do, what they should and shouldn't eat, etc. Instead of doing their job, which is to protect the individual's freedom to live and to choose. Though to be fair, things are never quite as simple as this in reality. [12]

In the New Testament Jesus sums all this up incredibly simply. When asked which is the chief commandment (i.e. law) Jesus states;

"Love the lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and chief commandment. And there is another like unto this. Love thy neighbour as thyself. In these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." [13]

The sentiment may seem a little opaque to anyone blinded by the religiosity of the statement. However, it essentially boils down to this - if you view the world with love and good intent, and you care for others the way you care for yourself then you can't go far wrong. It's a practice that works regardless of belief in God, unbelief or agnosticism.

Again, in essence he's saying, it doesn't matter if you have technically broken the law as long as you haven't committed an immoral act. As the law itself can be morally wrong if it isn't operating upon moral foundations.

If we return to the themes above we can see that the legal system, though in principle there to protect the individual and uphold justice, can often through its sheer complexity or misapplication lead to suppression and injustice. Be it minor infringements of freedom - such as a forced compliance with an over-zealous health and safety law. Or a more serious injustice. Such as the deliberate use of a legal technicality to suppress free speech. Or the imprisonment of a political dissident by the use of laws crafted to work in favour of the state power against the individual.

In the New Testament we see Jesus and his followers echoing a similar sentiment to this. Urging a return to the simplicity and humanity of basic moral, emotive judgement, and a break with the complexity of technical written law. Be it Jewish or Roman. Therefore the story of the New Testament could be read as the story of people from civilisation urging a return to nature. Or at least urging a realignment of civilisation so that it operates more harmoniously with human nature. Christianity in this regard being a check on the madness of civilisation. A return to simplicity. A putting on of the breaks, and a re-evaluation of the overall societal situation.

Once again, this is something that most of us can appreciate today. That feeling of being "trapped" by civilised living and its endless demands. With a wish to escape to the country or some other remote wilderness. The feeling that this way of living isn't natural ..that this isn't true freedom. In fact, often at the fringes of society we see people attempting to "drop out" of civilisation all together. The stereotypical "hippy" commune being a classic example. Likewise the homeless too. For instance, though many homeless are often forced into homelessness for reasons completely beyond their will, some choose to drop out of the system as they simply can't bear living within it anymore. Sadly however, in most parts of the world, leaving civilisation in any sort of real sense is just not an option, and there's no way of ever returning to true freedom by simply "dropping out".

If a homeless person follows his or her natural instinct and tries to build a shelter or start a fire. Then someone "from civilisation" (a law-enforcement officer or another "official" of some description) will come and put a stop to this behaviour. If you want to build a house it has to be officially sanctioned by civilisation. If you want to start a fire it likewise requires permission. If you want warmth, food and shelter you have to play by the rules, no matter how fair or unfair they may be. Or how overly complex or unnecessary they are.

In uncharted places far from the reach of civilisation this wouldn't be the case, and man would be free from any such prohibitions, but as civilisation has spread those uncharted places have increasingly rescinded. Therefore the bearded homeless person on our streets is the closest we ever come to seeing the true face of natural man in our modern everyday life. A mirror we tend to avoid looking into, but that's nevertheless ever present and deeply relatable.

In fact, the beard itself is in some sense a symbol of the outside world and of natural man. Since for a man to be clean shaven he needs to have the trappings of civilisation to some extent. A few weeks trekking through the jungle or out on the high seas, without the facilities to shave the face everyday, quickly reduces man to his natural, bearded state. Therefore, clean-shaven equals civilised, and fully bearded equals outsider - the barbarian at the gate.

The word barbarian itself is also interesting in this regard. The general explanation for its etymology is that it stems from ancient Greece. The story being that to the civilised Greeks all foreign languages just sounded like "bar bar bar" - leading to the term barbarian being used as a catchall for all uncivilised outsiders.  We also have words like babble of course, which seem to play into this sentiment. [14]

However, it's also worth noting that the word barbarian is similar to words like barbarossa - meaning "red beard" (barba + rossa). So perhaps barbarian simply means "bearded". Which would make slightly more sense, what with uncivilised people generally being bearded by nature. So the "barbarian at the gate" theme from popular history, in a very literal sense, is in essence symbolic of the wilderness at the gates of civilisation. The bearded homeless man at the gate, or in the shop doorway perhaps, being a modern manifestation of this dichotomy.

Jesus, of course, is likewise generally depicted as fully bearded. In keeping with this clash of worlds. Furthermore he's often shown with long free-flowing hair. Such aspects of the male appearance are in many ways incidental and superficial, however they help tap into a recurring archetype in the collective imagination. Often in modern times the outsider figure, the threat to the social order, takes on this appearance. Whether it be foreign threats to western civilisation, such as Che Guevara, Osama bin Laden or the Ayatollah Khomeini. Or by people threatening to change our world from within, such as John Lennon in his bearded "Bed-In For Peace" phase. Or the numerous other hairy hippies, rockers and revolutionaries.

Another interesting avenue regarding the etymology of the word barbarian is that it also comes with connotations of cutting. Barb meaning "to cut", as in barbed wire. There's an obvious relation to hair here too. As in the word barber. It's said that in former times barbers would also perform other cutting procedures, such as the aforementioned castration. Bringing us back full circle to earlier themes. In fact, the classic red and white barber's pole commonly displayed outside a barber's shop is said to have its origins in the blood soaked rags that barbers would hang up outside their premises. So it would seem that civilisation is associated with cutting in general. With both cutting of the hair and cutting of the foreskin being totemic of belonging to the civilised order.

Returning to the topic of circumcision it's worth noting here that according to The Gospel of Thomas (part of the Nag Hammadi texts discovered in Egypt in 1945) it's stated that Jesus believed circumcision to be unnecessary;

His disciples said to him, "Is circumcision useful or not?" He said to them, "If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect."

Again, if this account is to be trusted, it would further add to the theme of man returning to his natural state, and turning back, away from civilisation. The sentiment is likewise echoed in the First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, where it's stated; "circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of God is all together." [15] Paul then further mentions circumcision in the Epistle to the Galatians;

"Behold I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing at all. I testify again to every man which is circumcised that he is bound to keep the whole of the law. Ye are gone quite from Christ, as many as are justified by the law, and are fallen from grace. We look for and hope in the spirit, to be justified through faith." [16]

Further strengthening the sentiment. Though in this sense also suggesting a strong tie between the act of circumcision and the state of being under the law itself. Perhaps indicating a very real link between circumcision and the state of citizenship, as per earlier chapters. He prefixes this statement with the following; "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and wrap not yourselves again in the yoke of bondage." Again, likening being subservient to the law to being in a state of slavery in respect of it. Though we should once again remind ourselves that when we talk of law during this period we're also talking of religion in the same breath. The two being so imperceptibly intertwined. [17]

It's also perhaps worth noting here the attitude Jesus conveys towards things such as work, placing an emphasis on allowing nature, or God, to organically provide for man's needs. Ask and ye shall receive so to speak.

"Behold the fowls of the air; for they not sow, neither reap, nor yet carry into the barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?" [18]

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They labour not, neither spin." [19]

We could read this as impelling one to return to an almost animal state of naturalism. An absolutist return to the wilderness. It also ties in with the emphasis Jesus constantly places on faith in the New Testament. The importance of which he also frequently stresses whilst carrying out the many faith healings or exorcisms he performs in the gospels. A thing that may seem something akin to charlatanism to the more rationally-minded reader, but that perhaps has a deeper resonance when one considers the psychosomatic factors that can often be at play in regards illness. As too with things such as the placebo effect. Again, something that seems to work because of faith, regardless of a person's wider religious leanings.

In regard the stress of civilised living, it could likewise be hypothesised that much of the depression, anxiety and ill health we see in today's world could be a consequence of our lack of faith. Our God-less, materialist atomic-soup world, where nothing has any purpose or deeper meaning. Which leads us to have confidence in nothing but the certainty of our own death. Sometimes it's nice for someone to come along and say "don't worry, everything's going to be okay" - it can have an incredibly powerful effect, both mentally and physically. Especially if it's said with genuine confidence, or belief in fact, as per the case with Jesus. However, in our rational and sceptical world such confidence and faith is assumed folly. Though the wonders of it, again as with the placebo effect, are clear to see.

The worldview in the New Testament even has an almost Buddhist lilt to it at times;

"Care not then for the morrow, but let the morrow care for itself; for the day present hath ever enough of his own trouble." [20]

Again, perhaps an antidote to the stress and worry that comes with living a planned and micro-managed life in the city. Likewise we see a similar attitude with regard to material possessions;

Freely ye have received, freely give again. Possess not gold, nor silver, nor brass in your girdles, nor yet scrip towards your journey; neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet a staff. For the workman is worthy to have his meat. Into whatsoever city or town ye shall come, enquire who is worthy in it, and there abide till ye go thence. [21]

The parallels with the above referenced homelessness, and this idea of leaving civilisation is easy to observe. It doesn't seem like very practical advice to forego money and the comforts of civilisation, but then again perhaps it really is a question of faith. The sentiment is also markedly similar to the sentiments expressed in the doctrine of communism. The idea of abandoning material possessions and keeping things in common. It's very Christian in ethos. Perhaps unsurprisingly, like Christianity, communism is another thing that also has deep ties to Jewishness. In fact, the bearded Karl Marx could be another "barbarian at the gate", threatening the civilised social order with his Communist Manifesto.

This overlap is also something we see in regards Israel too, with for example the Kibbutz collective farming communities. One of the early main drivers for Jewish people wanting to return to Israel was their desire to leave the "Jewish" professions (such as law, accounting, pawnbroking, etc) which was their allotted life in the western world, to return to a more natural, agrarian lifestyle. In essence a return to the land. Ironically expressing the same urge back to nature that the Jewish Jesus expressed in the New Testament. In fact, both of these could be said to be manifestations of the same Jewish spirit. A spirit wrestling with the twin forces of the pull to nature and the pull to civilise. Of course, this Jewish spirit is identical to, or just another strand of, the spirit common to all civilisation in general. Likewise for the "Jewish professions" above you could just as easily read city professions. Therefore, in many ways Israel, with its bearded Rabbis and clean-shaven tech wizards, is a microcosm of the wider human struggle to divine the best way forward for society.

Returning to the New Testament it's clear that the archetype of the figure of Christ is something that we can all recognise and embrace to some degree. Nor does it require absolute belief to understand and see these themes. It seems that both Christians and non-Christians often get bogged down in the ifs and whens of the story. As is often the case with discussions about all religion. However, this misses the point in many ways. The meaning remains regardless of whether or not the story is historically or factually true. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. The sentiment holds regardless who said it, or when it was first uttered. In fact, what sincere believing Christian would throw this doctrine out and stop subscribing to its tenet upon learning that Jesus never actually said it?

This finally returns us to what was mentioned in the first chapter regarding what I call archetypal Christianity. In many ways the character of Jesus can be viewed as an archetypal man. Symbolic of all men, including each of ourselves. Likewise the various biblical Mary figures can be viewed as archetypal women (as we'll cover in the final chapter). This doesn't mean that the actual stories are untrue. Perhaps they are completely verbatim. It just provides a broader way of looking at things. A way that doesn't require absolute literal belief in the stories to find personal value in them. It also allows the character of Judas to be viewed through a slightly different lens. In this regard Judas simply becomes the mirror image of the male Jesus archetype. Jesus is the hero. The ultimate version of man. A man who sacrifices himself for all humanity. Whereas Judas is the anti-hero. The man who through fear and self-interest "sells out", takes the money (or "thirty pieces of silver"), and betrays Christ (his fellow man, and by extension the whole of humanity).

Having both sides of the story allows us to visualise the processes and emotions involved in both journeys. Journeys resulting in the same outcome. Jesus hung on a cross (or a tree) for his willingness and bravery to become a martyr. Judas hanging himself from a tree because of his feelings of guilt and shame. Both are extreme aspects of ourselves. Archetypes of man that we can empathise with and learn lessons from.

Returning to the politics of the New Testament, and how it has themes in parallel with the modern political or economic world. We can see that Judas can stand in for the modern "capitalist" shill or greedy fat cat. The person putting money or their career ahead of the wider moral concern. Judas is the embodiment of the self-interested materialist. A caricature or archetypal figure representing civilised man at his worst. In opposition to Jesus, the self-sacrificing and conscientious moral crusader. We may view Judas as the enemy, as the bad guy. However, he is part of ourselves. A higher-self or storybook avatar, representing our pragmatic, materialistic and fear-based aspects.

Like it or not we're all on a spectrum somewhere between Judas and Jesus.



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Notes/references.

[1] The Gospel of Saint Luke. Chapter 23. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002. - "And his superscription was written over him, in Greek, in Latin and Hebrew. This is the king of the Jews."

[2] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 6. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[3] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 16. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[4] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 19. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[5] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 6. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[6] I've put capitalism in inverted commas because really what's generally meant when people complain of capitalism is not so much trade and commerce itself, but rather the crony capitalism and unfair banking practices that often seem to go hand in hand with it. The right to own and trade goods or property is something that most people would agree is a good thing, however it's easy to throw out the baby with the bath water when considering the failings and unfairness seen in wider society.

It's interesting to note that in the Qur'an usury is forbidden, but trade encouraged. This would lend weight to the idea that the Islamic Empire was in some sense a trading empire. Yet also suggests it had an astuteness in recognising the unfairness inherent in interest based money lending.

Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one whom Satan by his touch hath driven to madness. That is because they say: 'Trade is like usury,' but Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury.

Sūrah 2 - Al-Baqarah - The Heifer. The Holy Qur'an. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2000.

[7] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 21. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said to them: It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer. But ye have made it a den of thieves."

[8] The First Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Chapter 6. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

"How dare one of you having business with another, go to law under the wicked, and not rather under the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? If the world shall be judged by you, are ye not good enough to judge small trifles? Know ye not how that we shall judge the angels? How much more may we judge things that pertain to the life? If ye have judgements of worldly matters, take them which are despised in the congregation, and make them judges. This I say to your shame. Is there utterly no wise man among you? What, not one at all, that can judge between brother and brother, but one brother goeth to law with another, and that under the unbelievers?"

Likewise in The Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 3, it states;

"That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident. For the just shall live by faith. The law is not of faith, but the man that fulfilleth the things contained in the law (shall live in them). But Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law, and was made accursed for us."

Suggesting the rigours of religious law had become a "curse" or burden to man.

[9] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 15. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] It's perhaps worth adding here a point regarding the difference between legal and moral wrongs. This is quite a simple concept, but again, it's another thing that often gets forgotten in the hubbub of social and political discussion. It seems oftentimes there's a natural clamour for anything deemed immoral by wider society to automatically by extension also be deemed illegal.

Ideally an action should only be deemed illegal if that action directly infringes upon the rights and freedoms of another. However, forgetting this basic rule, people will often use the law to impose their morality or codes of behaviour on others.

For example, take drug use. Let's say cannabis. The general argument tends to be a simple binary one. On the one side we have people arguing that cannabis use is bad, and that it should therefore be illegal. On the other hand we have people stating that cannabis is great, and that it should therefore be legal and widely available.

However, if we separate out the legal judgement from the personal judgement, we really have two different questions that can each have a different answer.

1) Should people be allowed to use cannabis?

2) Is cannabis use good or bad for an individual?

It's therefore possible to believe that cannabis use is bad, and urge against it. Yet at the same time advocate for a person's freedom to choose as an individual whether they use it or not. After all, the decision taken only affects the person choosing to use it, and doesn't directly infringe upon the rights of anyone else. People so confuse personal judgement with legal judgement though that it's often hard to make such subtle arguments in the public sphere. In fact, one of the things that makes it so hard to legalise cannabis is that people are so ingrained with this sense that the law is their moral father or guardian. So much so that legalisation would not just be seen as a permission to use it, but also as an advocation of its use.

People would say; "It must be good for you, otherwise it would be illegal". Potentially in turn then leading to hoards of people engaging in something that may potentially have negative consequences. If these negative consequences then become apparent the cry would then come; "..but why aren't the government doing something about this?!". So we complain about the nanny state, but we also beg and plead for it to make our judgements for us.

In the debate about sexual freedom this confusion is particularly apparent. For instance, most people across society generally deem adultery to be an immoral thing, and will chastise a person for committing it. However, in the west, we generally see this as a purely moral issue, and would never countenance jailing a person for such behaviour. This is not the case in other parts of the world though, such as places under Sharia law. Likewise attitudes were quite different in western countries in earlier periods.

Now such legal prohibitions on things like adultery seem obviously antiquated from our western perspective. However, in substance it's no different to the cannabis debate. The logic is the same; adultery is deemed immoral and is believed to have a negative impact, it therefore needs legal prohibition. Otherwise the law (slash religion) would appear to be giving such behaviour the green light, which would then lead to more adultery and more negative consequences.

In this regard the modern "nanny state" is in many ways just another form of religious creed.

[13] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 22. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[14] The word babble is similar to the name Babel, which is another variant of Babylon. The biblical story of the Tower of Babel states that before the building of the tower all the people of the Earth were a single united people with a single language. However, following the destruction of the tower God scattered the peoples of the Earth. Confounding their language so that they couldn't understand one another. Leading to all the various world languages.

So here again we see this bar bar babbling sound associated with both language and confusion. We also have baby-talk too, where babies string random sounds together in a similitude of real language. Or alternately where adults speak random "coochie-coo" type sounds when interacting with babies. So perhaps to be in Babylon is to be in a state of confusion or babyishness - i.e. in a state of ignorance or unknowing.

The word bible itself is also similar. It's said to derive from the Latin biblia, meaning book/books. However, given that books are used to record written language it seems reasonable to think there may be some relation to speech here too.

[15] The First Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Chapter 7. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[16] The Epistle to the Galatians. Chapter 5. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[17] Another passage of interest in this regard comes from The Epistle to the Colossians, Chapter 3. Where we find written;

"But now put ye also away from you all things: wrath, fierceness, maliciousness, cursed speaking, filthy speaking out of your mouths. Lie not one to another, that the old man with his works be put off, and the new put on, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that made him, where is neither gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarous or Scythian, bond or free; but Christ is all in all things."

This strings together several of the dichotomies between civilised and uncivilised that we've been speaking of - Jew and Gentile, circumcision and uncircumcision, slave and freeman, Scythian and barbarian. Though in that last pair we're presented with something slightly new. The Scythians are generally viewed as being somewhat wild and unruly. However, in this example they're presented in counterpoint to the "barbarous". Suggesting that perhaps the Scythians were more civil than is often credited.

[18] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 6. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] The Gospel of Saint Matthew. Chapter 10. William Tyndale's New Testament. Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2002.



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