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10 April 2006

Sunday Sermon on Acid No. 1: "Stop Snitching. Judas -- this means you."

This excellent collage of
courtesy of the excellent Jack L.
who dwelleth in the shadow
of the Adirondack Mountains
of New York State USA.

Vleeptron is slightly broken the last few days.

We've been programming in QuickBASIC. And we're not ashamed.

Before that, we were writing something about Snitching.

And about Easter, which is nearly upon us.

(If you're in one of the Eastern Orthodox branches of Christendom, Easter is still nearly upon you, but not as near as for most Christians.)

Well -- I don't know. Do Easter and Christianity have something to say about Snitching? Whaddya think? Ya think maybe?

Or do Easter and Christianity ONLY have something to say about ONLY ONE INSTANCE of Snitching?

In other words, Christianity is absolutely right on the money when it says Judas shouldn't have snitched on Jesus to the Romans.

But in the USA, police and prosecutors are absolutely right on the money when they say everybody else SHOULD snitch on anyone they can snitch on. It's good to make money by calling the cops to report any crime you know about or hear about.

But don't drop a dime on Jesus, okay? That's not right. It's not Christian.

Anyway, Vleeptron found this whole subject so depressing that we paused in the middle of it and started programming the QuickBASIC thing.

But here's the STOP SNITCHING/EASTER thing so far. Let Vleeptron know your thoughts.


To travel to the ancient land of Israel, the birthplace of western religious tradition, is to be profoundly touched by history. And then, to be involved in the re-discovering of this ancient past through the discipline of archaeology, is to feel incredibly connected. The discovery and excavation of a Byzantine Church (4th - 8th Centuries), in the hometown of one of the disciples of Jesus, helps bring the biblical world to light.

Share the adventure in this 26 minute video.

Contact Educational Resources for more information

© Copyright 2005, Educational Resources, Inc. All rights reserved.


Yeah, cool, a disciple of Jesus.

But ... which one?


Here, maybe this will help clarify the Moral & Ethical Problem raised in the previous post.

The paid confidential informant or snitch who was one of Jesus' closest personal associates in the last years of Jesus' life was Judas, or Judas Iscariot. Iscariot is a Greek form of his Hebrew nick, a word others in his circle would have used to differentiate him from Judas of Caesaria or Judas of Bethlehem; there were a lot of guys named Judas around in those days.

Iscariot means "of Keriot," which often appears in both Testaments in English translations spelled Kerioth. Doesn't matter how you spell it in any Indo-Euro lingo, the only spelling that counts is the original, in the Hebrew alefbet. My guess is, that's Kush Resh Tov, with some little vowel dots underneath for the Kiddies, or for Sacred Text. (Also the little dots and dashes are very helpful for what you remember of Hebrew/Ivrit from 45 years ago in the USA, when I was in the running to be named the Huckleberry Finn of World Jewry. The Barefoot Bar Mitvah.)

I've never been to Israel. There are a lot of reasons I'd love to go. And a lot of reasons I wouldn't set foot there right now if the Tourism Minister sent a private jet for me, followed by a free week at a Dead Sea resort, with native dancing girls and free drinks.

I don't know how much subsequent Christian theology squeezes out of this oddity, but Keriot was in the ancient kingdom of Judah, but all the other eleven disciples were from the other end of the Jewish kingdoms in Galilee.

My guess: At least 600 books, doctoral dissertations, masters' theses, and 58,000+ Sunday sermons, in at least 73 languages. But it does seem a bit odd. After Kings Saul, David and Solomon, there was a civil war among the twelve Jewish tribes in 922 BC, and the original Israel split into Judah in the south, with the sacred city Jerusalem its capital, and Israel in the north, with Samaria its capital.

Jesus was a reform-oriented rabbi or religious teacher, an itinerant preacher of the kind we might have recognized in 17th-century England as a non-conformist preacher outside sanctioned mainstream Protestant worship; both traditions included a lot of run-ins with the cops, dungeons, days locked in the stocks, those sorts of punishments.

Jesus is a Romanized version of the name he was known locally by, Yoshua, a variant of Joshua. (Amazingly enough, the tongue of the Jews has no consonant that sounds like J.) By his day, Hebrew had died as an everyday spoken language; Jesus and his neighbors spoke a Syriac language, Aramaic, which still survives as a spoken language and language of Christian and Muslim worship in the mountain boonies of Syria.

Jesus' reformist message conflicted with the official state worship of the Temple priests -- Cohens and Levites -- in Jerusalem.

I am proud to say that throughout the entire history of the Roman Empire, and the Macedonian Empire of Alexander and his dad Philip ("the Barbarian") which preceded the Roman hegemony, the Jews seem to hold the record of making the most trouble. Under the Maccabee priestly family, they flat-out kicked the Greek Army, battle elephants and all, entirely out of the tiny Jewish Region on the eastern Mediterranean shore. They were unable to repeat this amazing feat after the Roman Army moved in.

Things were going so miserably for the Jews after the Romans conquered them that the air was thick with rumors of impending Divine Intervention, which might take any of dozens of forms, but whichever form it pleased God to choose, it was clearly just around the corner. All Jews would recognize the miracle by the prompt departure of the Roman Army and the restoration of some degree of autonomy and independence to the locals.

In particular, the Jews would again be allowed to practice their monotheistic religion without also pretending to worship the Roman pantheon.

To the slim degree the Roman Empire even knew where this place was, the centerpiece of Rome's foreign policy was that no such miracle would ever happen. Rome had a slight facility at diplomacy and bribery (foreign aid), but whenever these things did not produce exactly the results Rome desired, they sent in the Roman Army, or another Roman Army, or as many Roman Armies as it took to restore some troublesome corner of their world to total obedience.


that's it so far
it's still depressing
let me know your thoughts



Blogger Leo Wong said...

So what are you programming?


Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Yo Leo!

Sorry my reply has taken longer than it might; I've been in Total Shock that any other human being is curious about what I was programming!

Okay okay let me make a standalone .exe out of it and ship it to you!

Every Yankee Magnetic Software program comes with the YMS 100 Percent No-Cooties Guarantee!

When I finally get done with this Easter/Snitching Thing, maybe I'll crank out a post about The Morals & Ethics of writing Malware. (I just heard this New Word about a month ago; the practice of writing Malware is abominable, but The Word's pretty spiffy, I think.)

Thanks for asking!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous jamesjolson said...

You have, of course, seen the news of late that a fragment of the Gospel of Judas has turned provides an account that Judas really didn't "snitch" but was instructed by Jesus to leak the details of his location for the last few hours of the evening in question to the Roman authorities, in order to precipitate his arrest, trial and execution.

Keep in mind that any account of the events surrounding this are Canonical, meaning that Bishops several centuries after the fact read through all the "gospels" circulating around the ancient world and chose only the four that were deemed to be the most historical and most in line with what Christianity had become in the first three or four centuries after Jesus' death. And, lest you think that early Christians were the only ones who did this, remember that what we know of the Torah and the historical and poetical books of Hebrew Scripture were heavily redacted at least four times in the span of Jewish history.


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