Preppy Sex Part II
Hello, and welcome to this edition of The Preppy Chronicles. Throughout course of discussing the exact nature of the current subject and the possible tone of the following articles, I feel it is necessary that I share a conversation I had with a friend about this series.
All that I ask is that you set aside your preconceived ideas and read the entire series of articles. If you become offended, stop and ask yourself the following question: What is it about this that offends, is it your own belief system or is it the truth of the matter? To quote Gloria Steinem, “ The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off. ”
“ My dear Bumby, you may wish to give some additional thought to what you are writing for your next installment. It’s a bit offensive to contrast Catholics and Christians, for Catholics (and Greek Orthodox, and Maronites as well) are Christians too, as much so as the most rock-ribbed Puritan of New England. Catholics too believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our sole Intercessor and Savior, Who died for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will come again in glory to judge both the quick and the dead. Nothing rejoices the devil more than when Christians are at odds with one another. To judge by the demographics in this country, probably 40% of your readership are Catholic; no need to put them off unnecessarily.”
“Always a pleasure to hear from you. To the contrast, I find that one cannot truly deal with the subject matter that I have chosen without making the extreme comparisons. To understand the Puritan mindset in 1630, is to understand the basic reasons for the reformation, the split from the Roman Catholic Church, the creation of the Church of England, and then again the split from The Church of England, to all out reform. One of the main reasons the King chose the Puritans was because of their zeal against “The Pope and his church.” The King did not want the “New England” to become Catholic. The origins of this country and thus the origins of the American psyche, in regards to sex, crime, punishment, restoration and politics, all stem from the same religious tap-root. Which was Anti-Catholic.
I know all too well the risk that I take by telling the truth, and I will try to couch it. “ The Truth is rarely pure and never simple.” (Oscar Wilde)”
I am out of necessity going to diverge, examine, then reassemble the variations of the Scriptures. My reasoning is simple, I am trying to understand the deeply held beliefs of the Puritans of 1630 and the daily thinking that will eventually spawn the eternal words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (The United States Declaration of Independence)
What did the pursuit of Happiness mean to them ?
To give foundation to this precept, I need to look the biblical scriptures that were being commonly used in the colonies at the time.
Lest I forget why I started down this road, and for those that are just tuning into the discussion, a reminder : I started down this pathway because, I realized that my core belief system about sex and sin, (sex outside marriage is sin) that these closely held beliefs were, in fact, cemented into my psyche at an early age by well-meaning people. These beliefs had held me hostage for over 40 years, and I needed to see if these beliefs hold any truth and what is that truth. To understand that this belief system has been in place in my family for close to 400 years. Why? How did this system come to take root in my family, was it a Biblical view? Can I live with it and is it still relevant today? To understand the genesis of this line of questioning, Please read the post that started me down this pathway: The Road Less Traveled.
OK, time to go into the mire that is research. After hours of sifting through endless, mind numbing documents on the subject, I have found that Wikipedia has the best boiled down version. Thus, I will be using it as my source. This is good stuff, but it does require that you wade through.
For this narrative, I accept that the Jewish Torah or as it is sometimes called the Pentateuch, written in Hebrew is the source document. The oldest known fragment dates back to 600 BCE. In 3rd century BCE, when Jewish scholars translated the Torah into Koine Greek, things changed.. The request was made by King Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the son of Queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony. The request was made so that the Torah could be included into the Library of Alexandria. The Septuagint derives its name from the fact that the King summoned 72 Jewish scholars put them into 72 different chambers, and it took 72 days to translate.
The primary reason that this is so important is that none of the scholars knew for what purpose that they had been summoned. The king instructed each man separately : “ Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher.” Each translation was exactly the same. Then it changes again, after the original translation, books that are not found in the Hebrew bible were then added. They are known as Anagignoskomena “things that are read.” They are :
Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus Sirach, Baruch, Epistle of Jeremy (in the Vulgate this is chapter 6 of Baruch), additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, Sosanna and Bel and the Dragon), additions to Esther, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, i.e. all the Deuterocanonical plus 3 Maccabees and 1 Esdras. Some editions add additional books, such as Psalm 151 or the Odes, including the Prayer of Manasses. 2 Esdras is also added as appendix in the Slavonic Bibles and 4 Maccabees as appendix in Greek editions.
Technically a Pseudepigrapha is a book written in a biblical style ascribed to an author who did not write it. In common usage, however, the term Pseudepigrapha is often used by way of distinction to refer to apocryphal writings that do not appear in printed editions of the Bible, as opposed to the apocryphal texts listed above. Examples include:
Letter of Aristeas
Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
Joseph and Aseneth
Life of Adam and Eve
Lives of the Prophets
Ladder of Jacob
Jannes and Jambres
History of the Rechabites
Eldad and Modad
History of Joseph
Odes of Solomon
Prayer of Joseph
Prayer of Jacob
Often included among the pseudepigrapha are 3 and 4 Maccabees because they are not traditionally found in western Bibles, although they are in the Septuagint. Similarly, the Book of Enoch, Book of Jubilees and 4 Baruch are often listed with the pseudepigrapha although they are commonly included in Ethiopian Bibles. The Psalms of Solomon are found in some editions of the Septuagint.
The primary reason I have included all this is that these changes become the basis of the Vulgate, (the Latin translation) translated by one Jerome. Jerome by all accounts was a very tortured soul. It is his translation of the Bible that became the basic text of the Catholic Church. By most accounts, the man was a reprobate.
He began in 382, by correcting the existing Latin language version of the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Vetus Latina. By 390, he stopped using the Septuagint as his source, and began using the Hebrew Bible, He completed this work by 405. Prior to Jerome’s Vulgate, all Latin translations of the Old Testament had been based on the Septuagint. Jerome’s decision to use a Hebrew text instead of the Septuagint went against the advice of most other Christians, including Augustine, who considered the Septuagint inspired.
I am going to stop now, and pick this back up next time. I am happy to say that we are well on our way to 1630. The first steps are the hardest, and the last are the most difficult.
Thank you for coming with me on this adventure.
Artwork Princeton art Museum, via the Web.