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Pythagoras loved him, and instructed him in sublime speculations concerning sacred rites, and the nature of the Gods. Some say this youth was named Thales, and that the barbarians worshipped him as Hercules. Dionysiphanes says that he was a servant of Pythagoras, who fell into the hands of thieves and by them was branded. Then when Pythagoras was persecuted and banished, he followed him binding up his forehead on account of the scars. Others say that, the name Zamolxis signifies a stranger or foreigner.

Pherecydes, in Delos fell sick; and Pythagoras attended him until he died, and performed his funeral rites. Pythagoras then, longing to be with Hermodamas the Creophylian, returned to Samos. After enjoying his society, Pythagoras trained the Samian athlete Eurymenes, who though he was of small stature, conquered at Olympia through his surpassing knowledge of Pythagoras' wisdom.

While according to ancient custom the other athletes fed on cheese and figs, Eurymenes, by the advice of Pythagoras, fed daily on flesh, which endued his body with great strength. Pythagoras imbued him with his wisdom, exhorting him to go into the struggle, not for the sake of victory, but the exercise; that he should gain by the training, avoiding the envy resulting from victory.

For the victors, are not always pure, though decked with leafy crowns. Later, when the Samians were oppressed with the tyranny of Polycrates, Pythagoras saw that life in such a state was unsuitable for a philosopher, and so planned to travel to Italy. At Delphi he inscribed an elegy on the tomb of Apollo, declaring that Apollo was the son of Silenus, but was slain by Pytho, and buried in the place called Triops, so named from the local mourning for Apollo by the three daughters of Triopas.

Going to Crete, Pythagoras besought initiation from the priests of Morgos, one of the Idaean Dactyli, by whom he was purified with the meteoritic thunder-stone. In the morning he lay stretched upon his face by the seaside; at night, he lay beside a river, crowned with a black lamb's woolen wreath. Descending into the Idaean cave, wrapped in black wool, he stayed there twenty-seven days, according to custom; he sacrificed to Zeus, and saw the throne which there is yearly made for him.

On Zeus's tomb, Pythagoras inscribed an epigram, "Pythagoras to Zeus," which begins: "Zeus deceased here lies, whom men call Jove. When he reached Italy he stopped at Crotona. His presence was that of a free man, tall, graceful in speech and gesture, and in all things else. Dicaearchus relates that the arrival of this great traveler, endowed with all the advantages of nature, and prosperously guided by fortune, produced on the Crotonians so great an impression, that he won the esteem of the elder magistrates, by his many and excellent discourses.

They ordered him to exhort the young men, and then to the boys who flocked out of the school to hear him; and lastly to the women, who came together on purpose.

October 3: Holy Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite

Through this he achieved great reputation, he drew great audiences from the city, not only of men, but also of women, among whom was a specially illustrious person named Theano. He also drew audiences from among the neighboring barbarians, among whom were magnates and kings. What he told his audiences cannot be said with certainty, for he enjoined silence upon his hearers.

But the following is a matter of general information. He taught that the soul was immortal and that after death it transmigrated into other animated bodies. After certain specified periods, the same events occur again; that nothing was entirely new; that all animated beings were kin, and should be considered as belonging to one great family. Pythagoras was the first one to introduce these teachings into Greece.

His speech was so persuasive that, according to Nicomachus, in one address made on first landing in Italy he made more than two thousand adherents. Out of desire to live with him, [ Foreign visitors were so many that they built whole cities, settling that whole region of Italy now known as Magna Grecia. His ordinances and laws were by them received as divine precepts, and without them would do nothing.

Indeed they ranked him among the divinities. They held all property in common. They ranked him among the divinities, and whenever they communicated to each other some choice bit of his philosophy, from which physical truths could always be deduced, they would swear by the Tetractys , adjuring Pythagoras as a divine witness, in the words. During his travels in Italy and Sicily he founded various cities subjected one to another, both of long standing, and recently. By his disciples, some of whom were found in every city, he infused into them an aspiration for liberty; thus restoring to freedom Crotona, Sybaris, Catana, Rhegium, Himera, Agrigentum, Tauromenium, and others, on whom he imposed laws through Charondas the Catanean, and Zaleucus the Locrian, which resulted in a long era of good government, emulated by all their neighbors.

Simichus the tyrant of the Centorupini, on hearing Pythagoras's discourse, abdicated his rule and divided his property between his sister and the citizens. He rooted out all dissensions, not only among his disciples and their successors, for many ages, but among all the cities of Italy and Sicily, both internally and externally. He was continuously harping on the maxim, "We ought, to the best of our ability avoid, and even with fire and sword extirpate from the body, sickness; from the soul, ignorance; from the belly, luxury; from a city, sedition; from a family, discord; and from all things excess.

If we may credit what ancient and trustworthy writers have related of him, he exerted an influence even over irrational animals. The Daunian bear, who had committed extensive depredations in the neighborhood, he seized; and after having patted her for awhile, and given her barley and fruits, he made her swear never again to touch a living creature, and then released her. She immediately hid herself in the woods and the hills, and from that time on never attacked any irrational animal. At Tarentum, in a pasture, seeing an ox [reaping] beans, he went to the herdsman, and advised him to tell the ox to abstain from beans.

The countryman mocked him, proclaiming his ignorance of the ox-language. So Pythagoras himself went and whispered in the ox's ear. Not only did the bovine at once desist from his diet of beans, but would never touch any thenceforward, though he survived many years near Hera's temple at Tarentum, until very old; being called the sacred ox, and eating any food given him. While at the Olympic games, he was discoursing with his friends about auguries, omens, and divine signs, and how men of true piety do receive messages from the Gods.

Flying over his head was an eagle, who stopped, and came down to Pythagoras. After stroking her awhile, he released her. Meeting with some fishermen who were drawing in their nets heavily laden with fishes from the deep, he predicted the exact number of fish they had caught. The fishermen said that if his estimate was accurate they would do whatever he commanded. They counted them accurately, and found the number correct. He then bade them return the fish alive into the sea; and, what is more wonderful, not one of them died, although they had been out of the water a considerable time.

He paid them and left. Many of his associates he reminded of the lives lived by their souls before it was bound to the body, and by irrefutable arguments demonstrated that he had bean Euphorbus, the son of Panthus. He specially praised the following verses about himself, and sang them to the lyre most elegantly:.

As the young olive, in some sylvan scene, Crowned by fresh fountains with celestial green, Lifts the gay head, in snowy flowerets fair, And plays and dances to the gentle air, When lo, a whirlwind from high heaven invades, The tender plant, and withers all its shades; It lies uprooted from its genial head, A lovely ruin now defaced and dead. Thus young, thus beautiful, Euphorbus lay, While the fierce Spartan tore his arms away. The stories about the shield of this Phrygian Euphorbus being at Mycenae dedicated to Argive Hera, along with other Trojan spoils, shall here be omitted as being of too popular a nature.

It is said that the river Caicasus, while he with many of his associates was passing over it, spoke to him very clearly, "Hail, Pythagoras! It is well known that he showed his golden thigh to Abaris the Hyperborean, to confirm him in the opinion that he was the Hyperborean Apollo, whose priest Abaris was. A ship was coming into the harbor, and his friends expressed the wish to own the goods it contained. Of Pythagoras many other more wonderful and divine things are persistently and unanimously related, so that we have no hesitation in saying never was more attributed to any man, nor was any more eminent.

Verified predictions of earthquakes are handed down, also that he immediately chased a pestilence, suppressed violent winds and hail, calmed storms both on rivers and on seas, for the comfort and safe passage of his friends. As their poems attest, the like was often performed by Empedocles, Epimenides and Abaris, who had learned the art of doing these things from him. Empedocles, indeed, was surnamed Alexanemos, as the chaser of winds; Epimenides, Cathartes, the lustrator.

Abaris was called Aethrobates, the walker in air; for he was carried in the air on an arrow of the Hyperborean Apollo, over rivers, seas and inaccessible places. It is believed that this was the method employed by Pythagoras when on the same day he discoursed with his friends at Metapontum and Tauromenium. He soothed the passions of the soul and body by rhythms, songs and incantations. These he adapted and applied to his friends. He himself could hear the harmony of the Universe, and understood the universal music of the spheres, and of the stars which move in concert with them, and which we cannot hear because of the limitations of our weak nature.

This is testified to by these characteristic verses of Empedocles:. Indicating by sublimest things , and, he surveyed all existent things , and the wealth of the mind , and the like, Pythagoras 's constitution of body, mind, seeing, hearing and understanding, which was exquisite, and surpassingly accurate, Pythagoras affirmed that the nine Muses were constituted by the sounds made by the seven planets, the sphere of the fixed stars, and that which is opposed to our earth, called "anti-earth. Diogenes, setting forth his daily routine of living, relates that he advised all men to avoid ambition and vain-glory, which chiefly excite envy, and to shun the presences of crowds.

He himself held morning conferences at his residence, composing his soul with the music of the lute, and singing certain old paeans of Thales. He also sang verses of Homer and Hesiod, which seemed to soothe the mind. He danced certain dances which he conceived conferred on the body agility and health. Walks he took not promiscuously, but only in company of one or two companions, in temples or sacred groves, selecting the quietest and pleasantest places.

His friends he loved exceedingly, being the first to declare that the goods of friends are common, and that a friend was another self. While they were in good health he always conversed with them; if they were sick, he nursed them; if they were afflicted in mind, he solaced them, some by incantations and magic charms, others by music. He had prepared songs for the diseases of the body, by the singing of which he cured the sick.

He had also some that caused oblivion of sorrow, mitigation of anger and destruction of lust. As to food, his breakfast was chiefly of honey; at dinner he used bread made of millet, barley or herbs, raw and boiled. Only rarely did he eat the flesh of victims; nor did he take this from every part of the anatomy. When he intended to sojourn in the sanctuaries of the divinities, he would eat no more than was necessary to still hunger and thirst.

To quiet hunger, he made a mixture of poppy seed and sesame, the skin of a sea-onion, well washed, till entirely drained of the outward juice; of the flower of the daffodil, and the leaves of mallows, of paste of barley and pea; taking an equal weight of which, and chopping it small, with Hymettian honey he made it into mass. Against thirst he took the seed of cucumbers, and the best dried raisins, extracting the seeds, and the flower of coriander, and the seeds of mallows, purselain, scraped cheese, meal and cream; these he made up with wild honey. He claimed that this diet had, by Demeter, been taught to Hercules, when he was sent into the Libyan deserts.

This preserved his body in an unchanging condition; not at one time well, and at another time sick, nor at one time fat, and at another lean. Pythagoras's countenance showed the same constancy was in his soul also. For he was neither more elated by pleasure, nor dejected by grief, and no one ever saw him either rejoicing or mourning.

When Pythagoras sacrificed to the Gods, he did not use offensive profusion, but offered no more than barley bread, cakes and myrrh; least of all, animals, unless perhaps cocks and pigs. When he discovered the proposition that the square on the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle was equal to the squares on the sides containing the right angle, he is said to have sacrificed an ox, although the more accurate say that this ox was made of flour.

His utterances were of two kinds, plain or symbolical. His teaching was twofold: of his disciples some were called Students, and others Hearers. The Students learned the fuller and more exactly elaborate reasons of science, while the Hearers heard only the chief heads of learning, without more detailed explanations. He ordained that his disciples should speak well and think reverently of the Gods, muses and heroes, and likewise of parents and benefactors; that they should obey the laws; that they should not relegate the worship of the Gods to a secondary position, performing it eagerly, even at home; that to the celestial divinities they should sacrifice uncommon offerings; and ordinary ones to the inferior deities.

The world he Divided into opposite powers; the "one" was a better monad , light, right, equal, stable and straight; while the "other" was an inferior duad , darkness, left, unequal, unstable and movable. Moreover, he enjoined the following. A cultivated and fruit-bearing plant, harmless to man and beast, should be neither injured nor destroyed.

Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras (). English translation

A deposit of money or of teachings should be faithfully preserved by the trustee. There are three kinds of things that deserve to be pursued and acquired; honorable and virtuous things, those that conduce to the use of life, and those that bring pleasures of the blameless, solid and grave kind, of course not the vulgar intoxicating kinds.

Of pleasures there were two kinds; one that indulges the bellies and lusts by a profusion of wealth, which he compared to the murderous songs of the Sirens; the other kind consists of things honest, just, and necessary to life, which are just as sweet as the first, without being followed by repentance; and these pleasures he compared to the harmony of the Muses. He advised special regard to two times; that when we go to sleep, and that when we awake.

At each of these we should consider our past actions, and those that are to come. We ought to require of ourselves an account of our past deeds, while of the future we should have a providential care. Therefore he advised everybody to repeat to himself the following verses before he fell asleep:. What deeds? What duty left undone? Such things taught he, though advising above all things to speak the truth, for this alone deifies men. For as he had learned from the Magi, who call God Oremasdes, God's body is light, and his soul is truth.

He taught much else, which he claimed to have learned from Aristoclea at Delphi. Certain things he declared mystically, symbolically, most of which were collected by Aristotle, as when he called the sea a tear of Saturn ; the two bear constellations the hand of Rhea ; the Pleiades, the lyre of the Muses ; the Planets, the dogs of Persephone ; and he called be sound caused by striking on brass the voice of a genius enclosed in the brass. He had also another kind of symbol, such as, pass not over a balance; that is, Shun avarice.

Poke not the fire with a sword, that is, we ought not to excite a man full of fire and anger with sharp language.

Pluck not a crown, meant not to violate the laws, which are the crowns of cities. Eat not the heart, signified not to afflict ourselves with sorrows. Do not sit upon a [pack]-measure, meant, do not live ignobly. On starting a journey, do not turn back, meant, that this life should not be regretted, when near the bourne of death. Do not walk in the public way, meant, to avoid the opinions of the multitude, adopting those of the learned and the few.

Receive not swallows into your house, meant, not to admit under the same roof garrulous and intemperate men. Help a man to take up a burden, but not to lay it down, meant, to encourage no one to be indolent, but to apply oneself to labor and virtue. Do not carry the images of the Gods in rings, signified that one should not at once to the vulgar reveal one's opinions about the Gods, or discourse about them. Offer libations to the Gods, just to the ears of the cup, meant, that we ought to worship and celebrate the Gods with music, for that penetrates through the ears.

Do not eat those things that are unlawful, sexual or increase, beginning nor end, nor the first basis of all things. He taught abstention from the loins, testicle, pudenda, marrow, feet and heads of victims. The loins he called basis , because on them as foundations living beings are settled. Testicles and pudenda he called generation , for no one is engendered without the help of these. Marrow he called increase as it is the cause of growth in living beings.

According to the Book of Exodus , Moses was born in a time when his people, the Israelites , an enslaved minority, were increasing in numbers and the Egyptian Pharaoh was worried that they might ally themselves with Egypt's enemies. Through the Pharaoh's daughter identified as Queen Bithia in the Midrash , the child was adopted as a foundling from the Nile river and grew up with the Egyptian royal family. After killing an Egyptian slavemaster because the slavemaster was smiting a Hebrew , Moses fled across the Red Sea to Midian , where he encountered The Angel of the Lord, [10] speaking to him from within a burning bush on Mount Horeb which he regarded as the Mountain of God.

God sent Moses back to Egypt to demand the release of the Israelites from slavery.

John Chrysostom

Moses said that he could not speak eloquently, [11] so God allowed Aaron , his brother, to become his spokesperson. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died within sight of the Promised Land on Mount Nebo. Several etymologies have been proposed. An Egyptian root msy , "child of", has been considered as a possible etymology, arguably an abbreviation of a theophoric name , as for example in Egyptian names like Thutmoses Thoth created him and Ramesses Ra created him , [17] with the god's name omitted.

The Biblical account of Moses' birth provides him with a folk etymology to explain the ostensible meaning of his name. She named him Moses Moshe , saying, 'I drew him out meshitihu of the water. The Hebrew etymology in the Biblical story may reflect an attempt to cancel out traces of Moses' Egyptian origins.

The problem of how an Egyptian princess, known to Josephus as Thermutis identified as Tharmuth [21] and in later Jewish tradition as Bithiah , [24] could have known Hebrew puzzled medieval Jewish commentators like Abraham ibn Ezra and Hezekiah ben Manoah. Hezekiah suggested she either converted or took a tip from Jochebed.

The Israelites had settled in the Land of Goshen in the time of Joseph and Jacob , but a new Pharaoh arose who oppressed the children of Israel. At this time Moses was born to his father Amram , son of Kehath the Levite , who entered Egypt with Jacob's household; his mother was Jochebed also Yocheved , who was kin to Kehath. Moses had one older by seven years sister, Miriam , and one older by three years brother, Aaron.


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One day after Moses had reached adulthood he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. Moses, in order to escape the Pharaoh's death penalty , fled to Midian a desert country south of Judah , where he married Zipporah.

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Moses returned to carry out God's command, but God caused the Pharaoh to refuse, and only after God had subjected Egypt to ten plagues did the Pharaoh relent. Moses led the Israelites to the border of Egypt, but there God hardened the Pharaoh's heart once more, so that he could destroy the Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea Crossing as a sign of his power to Israel and the nations. After defeating the Amalekites in Rephidim , Moses led the Israelites to biblical Mount Sinai , where he was given the Ten Commandments from God, written on stone tablets.

However, since Moses remained a long time on the mountain, some of the people feared that he might be dead, so they made a statue of a golden calf and worshipped it , thus disobeying and angering God and Moses. Moses, out of anger, broke the tablets, and later ordered the elimination of those who had worshiped the golden statue, which was melted down and fed to the idolaters. Moses delivered the laws of God to Israel, instituted the priesthood under the sons of Moses' brother Aaron , and destroyed those Israelites who fell away from his worship.

In his final act at Sinai, God gave Moses instructions for the Tabernacle , the mobile shrine by which he would travel with Israel to the Promised Land. From there he sent twelve spies into the land. The spies returned with samples of the land's fertility, but warned that its inhabitants were giants. The people were afraid and wanted to return to Egypt, and some rebelled against Moses and against God. Moses told the Israelites that they were not worthy to inherit the land, and would wander the wilderness for forty years until the generation who had refused to enter Canaan had died, so that it would be their children who would possess the land.

When the forty years had passed, Moses led the Israelites east around the Dead Sea to the territories of Edom and Moab. There they escaped the temptation of idolatry, conquered the lands of Og and Sihon in Transjordan , received God's blessing through Balaam the prophet, and massacred the Midianites , who by the end of the Exodus journey had become the enemies of the Israelites due to their notorious role in enticing the Israelites to sin against God. Moses was twice given notice that he would die before entry to the Promised Land: in Numbers , once he had seen the Promised Land from a viewpoint on Mount Abarim , and again in Numbers once battle with the Midianites had been won.

On the banks of the Jordan River , in sight of the land, Moses assembled the tribes. After recalling their wanderings he delivered God's laws by which they must live in the land, sang a song of praise and pronounced a blessing on the people, and passed his authority to Joshua , under whom they would possess the land. Moses then went up Mount Nebo to the top of Pisgah , looked over the promised land of Israel spread out before him, and died, at the age of one hundred and twenty.

More humble than any other man Num. Moses is honoured among Jews today as the "lawgiver of Israel", and he delivers several sets of laws in the course of the four books. The first is the Covenant Code Exodus — , the terms of the covenant which God offers to the Israelites at biblical Mount Sinai. Moses has traditionally been regarded as the author of those four books and the Book of Genesis , which together comprise the Torah , the first section of the Hebrew Bible.

The modern scholarly consensus is that the figure of Moses is a mythical figure, [3] and while, as William G. Dever writes, "a Moses-like figure may have existed somewhere in the southern Transjordan in the mid-late 13th century B. My mother, the high priestess, conceived; in secret she bore me She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid She cast me into the river which rose over me. Despite the imposing fame associated with Moses, no source mentions him until he emerges in texts associated with the Babylonian exile.

Aidan Dodson regards this hypothesis as "intriguing, but beyond proof. The name King Mesha of Moab has been linked to that of Moses. Mesha also is associated with narratives of an exodus and a conquest, and several motifs in stories about him are shared with the Exodus tale and that regarding Israel's war with Moab 2 Kings 3. Moab rebels against oppression, like Moses, leads his people out of Israel, as Moses does from Egypt, and his first-born son is slaughtered at the wall of Kir-hareseth as the firstborn of Israel are condemned to slaughter in the Exodus story, "an infernal passover that delivers Mesha while wrath burns against his enemies".

An Egyptian version of the tale that crosses over with the Moses story is found in Manetho who, according to the summary in Josephus , wrote that a certain Osarseph , a Heliopolitan priest, became overseer of a band of lepers , when Amenophis , following indications by Amenhotep, son of Hapu , had all the lepers in Egypt quarantined in order to cleanse the land so that he might see the gods.

The lepers are bundled into Avaris , the former capital of the Hyksos , where Osarseph prescribes for them everything forbidden in Egypt, while proscribing everything permitted in Egypt. They invite the Hyksos to reinvade Egypt, rule with them for 13 years — Osarseph then assumes the name Moses — and are then driven out. Shmuel notes that "a characteristic of this literature is the high honour in which it holds the peoples of the East in general and some specific groups among these peoples.

The extent to which any of these accounts rely on earlier sources is unknown. The figure of Osarseph in Hellenistic historiography is a renegade Egyptian priest who leads an army of lepers against the pharaoh and is finally expelled from Egypt, changing his name to Moses. All that remains of his description of Moses are two references made by Diodorus Siculus , wherein, writes historian Arthur Droge, he "describes Moses as a wise and courageous leader who left Egypt and colonized Judaea.

After the establishment of settled life in Egypt in early times, which took place, according to the mythical account, in the period of the gods and heroes, the first Droge also points out that this statement by Hecataeus was similar to statements made subsequently by Eupolemus. According to theologian John Barclay, the Moses of Artapanus "clearly bears the destiny of the Jews, and in his personal, cultural and military splendor, brings credit to the whole Jewish people.

Jealousy of Moses' excellent qualities induced Chenephres to send him with unskilled troops on a military expedition to Ethiopia , where he won great victories. After having built the city of Hermopolis , he taught the people the value of the ibis as a protection against the serpents, making the bird the sacred guardian spirit of the city; then he introduced circumcision. After his return to Memphis , Moses taught the people the value of oxen for agriculture, and the consecration of the same by Moses gave rise to the cult of Apis.

Finally, after having escaped another plot by killing the assailant sent by the king, Moses fled to Arabia , where he married the daughter of Raguel [Jethro], the ruler of the district. Artapanus goes on to relate how Moses returns to Egypt with Aaron, and is imprisoned, but miraculously escapes through the name of YHWH in order to lead the Exodus. This account further testifies that all Egyptian temples of Isis thereafter contained a rod, in remembrance of that used for Moses' miracles.

He describes Moses as 80 years old, "tall and ruddy, with long white hair, and dignified. Some historians, however, point out the " apologetic nature of much of Artapanus' work," [56] with his addition of extra-biblical details, such as his references to Jethro: the non-Jewish Jethro expresses admiration for Moses' gallantry in helping his daughters, and chooses to adopt Moses as his son. Strabo , a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher, in his Geographica c.

He writes, for example, that Moses opposed the picturing of the deity in the form of man or animal, and was convinced that the deity was an entity which encompassed everything — land and sea: [58]. An Egyptian priest named Moses, who possessed a portion of the country called the Lower Egypt , being dissatisfied with the established institutions there, left it and came to Judaea with a large body of people who worshipped the Divinity.

He declared and taught that the Egyptians and Africans entertained erroneous sentiments, in representing the Divinity under the likeness of wild beasts and cattle of the field; that the Greeks also were in error in making images of their gods after the human form. For God [said he] may be this one thing which encompasses us all, land and sea, which we call heaven, or the universe, or the nature of things By such doctrine Moses persuaded a large body of right-minded persons to accompany him to the place where Jerusalem now stands In Strabo's writings of the history of Judaism as he understood it, he describes various stages in its development: from the first stage, including Moses and his direct heirs; to the final stage where "the Temple of Jerusalem continued to be surrounded by an aura of sanctity.

Egyptologist Jan Assmann concludes that Strabo was the historian "who came closest to a construction of Moses' religion as monotheistic and as a pronounced counter-religion. The Roman historian Tacitus c. His primary work, wherein he describes Jewish philosophy , is his Histories c. By his account, the Pharaoh Bocchoris , suffering from a plague , banished the Jews in response to an oracle of the god Zeus - Amun. A motley crowd was thus collected and abandoned in the desert. While all the other outcasts lay idly lamenting, one of them, named Moses , advised them not to look for help to gods or men, since both had deserted them, but to trust rather in themselves, and accept as divine the guidance of the first being, by whose aid they should get out of their present plight.

In this version, Moses and the Jews wander through the desert for only six days, capturing the Holy Land on the seventh. The Septuagint , the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, influenced Longinus , who may have been the author of the great book of literary criticism, On the Sublime. The date of composition is unknown, but it is commonly assigned to the late 1st century C. In Josephus ' 37 — c. IV, describes Solomon's Temple , also known as the First Temple, at the time the Ark of the Covenant was first moved into the newly built temple:.

When King Solomon had finished these works, these large and beautiful buildings, and had laid up his donations in the temple, and all this in the interval of seven years, and had given a demonstration of his riches and alacrity therein; The Feast of Tabernacles happened to fall at the same time, which was kept by the Hebrews as a most holy and most eminent feast.

So they carried the ark and the tabernacle which Moses had pitched, and all the vessels that were for ministration to the sacrifices of God, and removed them to the temple. Now the ark contained nothing else but those two tables of stone that preserved the ten commandments , which God spake to Moses in Mount Sinai , and which were engraved upon them According to Feldman, Josephus also attaches particular significance to Moses' possession of the "cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. In addition, he "stresses Moses' willingness to undergo toil and his careful avoidance of bribery.

Like Plato 's philosopher-king , Moses excels as an educator. Numenius , a Greek philosopher who was a native of Apamea , in Syria, wrote during the latter half of the 2nd century CE. Historian Kennieth Guthrie writes that "Numenius is perhaps the only recognized Greek philosopher who explicitly studied Moses, the prophets, and the life of Jesus Numenius was a man of the world; he was not limited to Greek and Egyptian mysteries , but talked familiarly of the myths of Brahmins and Magi.

It is however his knowledge and use of the Hebrew scriptures which distinguished him from other Greek philosophers. He refers to Moses simply as "the prophet", exactly as for him Homer is the poet. Plato is described as a Greek Moses. The Christian saint and religious philosopher Justin Martyr — CE drew the same conclusion as Numenius , according to other experts.

Theologian Paul Blackham notes that Justin considered Moses to be "more trustworthy, profound and truthful because he is older than the Greek philosophers. I will begin, then, with our first prophet and lawgiver, Moses Most of what is known about Moses from the Bible comes from the books of Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy. Moses is also given a number of bynames in Jewish tradition. The Midrash identifies Moses as one of seven biblical personalities who were called by various names. Jewish historians who lived at Alexandria , such as Eupolemus , attributed to Moses the feat of having taught the Phoenicians their alphabet , [82] similar to legends of Thoth.

He named the princess who adopted Moses as Merris, wife of Pharaoh Chenephres. Jewish tradition considers Moses to be the greatest prophet who ever lived. Arising in part from his age of death according to Deut. Moses is mentioned more often in the New Testament than any other Old Testament figure. For Christians , Moses is often a symbol of God's law , as reinforced and expounded on in the teachings of Jesus.

New Testament writers often compared Jesus' words and deeds with Moses' to explain Jesus' mission. In Acts —43, 51—53, for example, the rejection of Moses by the Jews who worshipped the golden calf is likened to the rejection of Jesus by the Jews that continued in traditional Judaism. Moses also figures in several of Jesus' messages. When he met the Pharisee Nicodemus at night in the third chapter of the Gospel of John , he compared Moses' lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness, which any Israelite could look at and be healed, to his own lifting up by his death and resurrection for the people to look at and be healed.

In the sixth chapter, Jesus responded to the people's claim that Moses provided them manna in the wilderness by saying that it was not Moses, but God, who provided. Calling himself the " bread of life ", Jesus stated that He was provided to feed God's people.


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Moses, along with Elijah , is presented as meeting with Jesus in all three Synoptic Gospels of the Transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17 , Mark 9 , and Luke 9 , respectively. His relevance to modern Christianity has not diminished. Moses is considered to be a saint by several churches; and is commemorated as a prophet in the respective Calendars of Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church , the Roman Catholic Church , and the Lutheran churches on September 4.

However, in addition to accepting the biblical account of Moses, Mormons include Selections from the Book of Moses as part of their scriptural canon. Latter-day Saints are also unique in believing that Moses was taken to heaven without having tasted death translated. In addition, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery stated that on April 3, , Moses appeared to them in the Kirtland Temple located in Kirtland, Ohio in a glorified, immortal, physical form and bestowed upon them the "keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.

Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual and his life is narrated and recounted more than that of any other Islamic prophet. Huston Smith describes an account in the Quran of meetings in heaven between Moses and Muhammad, which Huston states were "one of the crucial events in Muhammad's life," and resulted in Muslims observing 5 daily prayers.

Moses is mentioned times in the Quran; passages mentioning Moses include 2. Most of the key events in Moses' life which are narrated in the Bible are to be found dispersed through the different Surahs of the Quran, with a story about meeting Khidr which is not found in the Bible. In the Moses story related by the Quran, Jochebed is commanded by God to place Moses in an ark and cast him on the waters of the Nile, thus abandoning him completely to God's protection.

She convinced the Pharaoh to keep him as their son because they were not blessed with any children. Moses responds by pleading to Allah that he and his brother Aaron be separated from the rebellious Israelites. After which the Israelites are made to wander for 40 years. He is described as having been "for a long time a shepherd in the wilderness," of having had a stammer , and of being "much hated and detested" by the Pharaoh and the ancient Egyptians of his time. He is said to have been raised in an oppressive household, and to have been known, in Egypt, as a man who had committed murder — though he had done so in order to prevent an act of cruelty.

Nevertheless, like Abraham, through the assistance of God, he achieved great things and gained renown even beyond the Levant. Chief among these achievements was the freeing of his people, the Hebrews, from bondage in Egypt and leading "them to the Holy Land. Furthermore, through the law, Moses is believed to have led the Hebrews 'to the highest possible degree of civilization at that period. Moses is further described [ by whom? There is a current among the followers of Zera Yacob Amha Selassie who considers that Moses went up Nile until arriving at Ethiopia as "Land of provision".

And that, after founding a monotheistic community there, he continued by boat his journey to the land of Abraham ; Canaan , setting sail from Eritrea. After that, he would continue his journey through India to the north and then west towards the Mediterranean. But dying before reaching its destination and creating with it a route that would later be called " silk route ". These are based on the customs, legends and local traditions of both Ethiopians and India. In a metaphorical sense in the Christian tradition, a "Moses" has been referred to as the leader who delivers the people from a terrible situation.

Bush and Barack Obama , who referred to his supporters as "the Moses generation. In subsequent years, theologians linked the Ten Commandments with the formation of early democracy. Scottish theologian William Barclay described them as "the universal foundation of all things… the law without which nationhood is impossible. References to Moses were used by the Puritans , who relied on the story of Moses to give meaning and hope to the lives of Pilgrims seeking religious and personal freedom in America. John Carver was the first governor of Plymouth colony and first signer of the Mayflower Compact , which he wrote in during the ship Mayflower ' s three-month voyage.

He inspired the Pilgrims with a "sense of earthly grandeur and divine purpose," notes historian Jon Meacham , [] and was called the "Moses of the Pilgrims. Next to the fugitives whom Moses led out of Egypt, the little shipload of outcasts who landed at Plymouth are destined to influence the future of the world. Following Carver's death the following year, William Bradford was made governor.

He feared that the remaining Pilgrims would not survive the hardships of the new land, with half their people having already died within months of arriving. Bradford evoked the symbol of Moses to the weakened and desperate Pilgrims to help calm them and give them hope: "Violence will break all. Where is the meek and humble spirit of Moses? Dever explains the attitude of the Pilgrims: "We considered ourselves the 'New Israel,' particularly we in America. And for that reason we knew who we were, what we believed in and valued, and what our ' manifest destiny ' was.

On July 4, , immediately after the Declaration of Independence was officially passed, the Continental Congress asked John Adams , Thomas Jefferson , and Benjamin Franklin to design a seal that would clearly represent a symbol for the new United States. They chose the symbol of Moses leading the Israelites to freedom. After the death of George Washington in , two thirds of his eulogies referred to him as "America's Moses," with one orator saying that "Washington has been the same to us as Moses was to the Children of Israel.

Benjamin Franklin , in , saw the difficulties that some of the newly independent American states were having in forming a government, and proposed that until a new code of laws could be agreed to, they should be governed by "the laws of Moses," as contained in the Old Testament. John Adams , 2nd President of the United States , stated why he relied on the laws of Moses over Greek philosophy for establishing the United States Constitution : "As much as I love, esteem, and admire the Greeks, I believe the Hebrews have done more to enlighten and civilize the world.

Moses did more than all their legislators and philosophers. Historian Gladys L. Knight describes how leaders who emerged during and after the period in which slavery in the United States was legal often personified the Moses symbol. In the s, a leading figure in the civil rights movement was Martin Luther King Jr.

This is something of the story of every people struggling for freedom. Michelangelo 's statue of Moses in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli , Rome , is one of the most familiar masterpieces in the world. The Hebrew word taken from Exodus means either a "horn" or an "irradiation. Stephen Lang points out that Jerome's version actually described Moses as "giving off hornlike rays," and he "rather clumsily translated it to mean 'having horns.

Moses is depicted in several U. In the Library of Congress stands a large statue of Moses alongside a statue of the Paul the Apostle. Moses is one of the 23 lawgivers depicted in marble bas-reliefs in the chamber of the U. House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. The plaque's overview states: "Moses c. Hebrew prophet and lawgiver; transformed a wandering people into a nation; received the Ten Commandments.

Thayer's Notes:

The other twenty-two figures have their profiles turned to Moses, which is the only forward-facing bas-relief. Moses appears eight times in carvings that ring the Supreme Court Great Hall ceiling. His face is presented along with other ancient figures such as Solomon , the Greek god Zeus and the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva. The Supreme Court Building's east pediment depicts Moses holding two tablets. Tablets representing the Ten Commandments can be found carved in the oak courtroom doors, on the support frame of the courtroom's bronze gates and in the library woodwork.

A controversial image is one that sits directly above the Chief Justice of the United States ' head.