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Date: Friday, 06 Apr 2012 21:48
Easter is the most important religious holiday of the Christian liturgical year, observed in March, April, or May to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred after his death by crucifixion in AD 27-33 (see Good Friday). Easter can also refer to the season of the church year, lasting for fifty days, which follows this holiday and ends at Pentecost.

In most languages of Christian societies, other than English, German and some Slavic languages, the holiday's name is derived from pecach the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked.

Easter depends on Passover not only for much of its symbolic meaning but also for its position in the calendar; the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion is generally thought of as a Passover seder, based on the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of John has a different chronology which has the death of Jesus at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs, which may have been for theological reasons but which is regarded by some scholars as more historically likely given the surrounding events.

This would put the Last Supper slightly before Passover, on 14 Nisanof the Hebrew calendar. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration."

The English and German names, "Easter" and "Ostern", are not etymologically derived from Pesach and are instead related to ancient names for the month of April, Eostremonat and Ostaramanoth respectively. According to the 8th century Christian monk and historian Bede, this month was dedicated to the pagan fertility goddess Eostre. The Easter Bunny is often identified as a remnant of this fertility festival, although there is no evidence of any link.

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Liberty   New window
Date: Sunday, 12 Feb 2012 18:26
a) The condition of being free from restriction or control.

b) The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing.

c) The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.

Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control.

A right or immunity to engage in certain actions without control or interference: the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights.

[Middle English liberte, from Old French, from Latin lberts, from lber, free; see leudh- in Indo-European roots.]

The Duty of Standing Fast in Our Spiritual and Temporal Liberties
A Sermon, Preached in Christ-Church, July 7th, 1775.

Before the First Battalion of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia; And now published at their Request.

By the Reverend Jacob Duche´, M. A. Philadelphia.

Galatians, Chap. 5 Part of First Verse

Stand fast, therefore, in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.

Gentlemen of the First Battalion of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia,

Though I readily accepted of the invitation, with which you were pleased to honor me, and am fully satisfied that there can be no impropriety in complying with your request, yet I confess, that I now feel such an uncommon degree of diffidence, as nothing but a sense of duty, and a sincere sympathy with you in your present trying circumstances could enable me to overcome. The occasion is of the first importance: the subject in a great measure new to me – Throwing myself, therefore, upon your candor and indulgence, considering myself under the twofold character of a minister of Jesus Christ, and a fellow-citizen of the same state, and involved in the same public calamity with yourselves; and looking up for counsel and direction to the source of all wisdom, "who giveth liberally to those that ask it" – I have made choice of a passage of scripture, which will give me an opportunity of addressing myself to you as freemen, both in the spiritual and temporal sense of the word, and of suggesting to you such a mode of conduct, as will be most likely, under the blessing of Heaven, to ensure to you the enjoyment of these two kinds of liberty. Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath mad us free.

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "freedom, Liberty"
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Demon   New window
Date: Friday, 03 Feb 2012 21:04
In religion, folklore, and mythology a demon or demoness is a supernatural being that has generally been described as a malevolent spirit, daemon (Greek: daimonion) and djinn (Genie (Arabic: jinni; variant spelling djinni) or jinn is a supernatural creature in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings which occupies a parallel world to that of mankind). A demon is frequently depicted as a force that may be conjured and insecurely controlled. The "good" demon in recent use is largely a literary device (eg: Maxwell's demon). In common language, "demonizing" one's opponent is an aspersion.

The Greek conception of a daemon (δαμων) appears in the works of Plato and many other ancient authors, but without the evil connotations which are apparent in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible and in the Greek originals of the New Testament. The medieval and neo-medieval conception of a "demon" in Western civilization (see the Medieval grimoire called the Ars Goetia) derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late (Roman) Antiquity: Greco-Roman concepts of daemons that passed into Christian culture are discussed in the entry daemon. The Hellenistic "Demon" eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.

The Greek daµµa daimonizomai (Matthew 8:28, Mat 8:33, Mat 9:32, Mar 5:15, Luk 8:36, etc) means "to be under the power of a demon." The Greek word daµ daimonion meaning "evil spirits or the messengers and ministers of the devil."

According to a Jewish opinion which passed over to Christians, the demons are the gods of the gentiles and the authors of idolatry, hence:
17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.
—Deut. 32:17
The idea of demons is as old as religion itself, and the word "demon" seems to have ancient origins. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the etymology of the word as Greek daimon, probably from the verb daiesthai meaning "to divide, distribute." The Proto-Indo-European root *deiwos for god, originally an adjective meaning "celestial" or "bright, shining" has retained this meaning in many related Indo-European languages and cultures (Sanskrit deva, Latin deus, German Tiw), but also provided another other common word for demon in Avestan daeva.

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John Piper - Demonic power and indwelling sin

L63GzG...


Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Levi   New window
Date: Monday, 30 Jan 2012 22:09
Levi/Levy (Hebrew: לֵוִי Leviy, n. Levi, Levite, "joining", from לָוָה lavah "to join, be joined") was, according to the Book of Genesis (Gen 29:34), the third son of Jacob and Leah:

She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore his name was called Levi. —Gen 29:34 ESV

The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob's firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. —Gen 35:23 ESV

Levi is also known the progenitor of the Israelite tribe of Levi (the Levites); however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an Etiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. Certain religious and political functions were reserved for the Levites, and, according to textual scholars, the early sources of the Torah - the Jahwist and Elohist - appear to treat the term Levi as just being a word meaning priest; scholars suspect that "levi" was originally a general term for a priest, and had no connection to ancestry, and that it was only later, for example in the priestly source and Blessing of Moses, that the existence of a tribe named Levi became assumed, in order to explain the origin of the priestly caste.
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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "be joined, Israel, joining, Levi, son of..."
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Jan 2012 20:51
David Gerald Littman (born July 4, 1933) is a British historian and a human rights activist at the United Nations in Geneva, representing various NGOs.

David Littman: The UN In The Last Year interview with Pamela Geller.
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Biography
David Littman was born on July 4, 1933, in London, England. He was educated at Canford School, Dorset, England (1951), and Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned his BA with honors and MA degrees in Modern History and Political Science, followed by post-graduate studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London. He married his Egyptian-born wife Gisèle (née Orebi) (later known by her nom de plume Bat Ye'or), in September 1959. They moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, the following year.

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization was founded by his brother, Louis Littman.

Operation Mural
Littman volunteered for a clandestine humanitarian mission to evacuate Jewish children from Morocco to Israel, via Switzerland. At the time, Moroccan Jews were prohibited from leaving the country. Littman thought he was working for the Jewish Agency – years later it was revealed it was arranged with the assistance of the Mossad. From March–July 1961, posing with his wife and baby daughter as Christians, the 27-year-old Littman ran the Casablanca office of the Geneva-based international NGO for children Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants de l'Afrique du Nord (OSSEAN). His code name was "Mural", and the code name for the mission was "Operation Mural". After months of negotiation by Littman, the children left Morocco in five convoys under the guise of a supposed holiday in Switzerland (with Littman accompanying the last convoy), and from Switzerland went to Israel. In all, he assisted in evacuating 530 Jewish children to Israel. The children's families joined them several years later.

The story of Operation Mural was first made public in 1984, in an article in Maariv. That in turn led to public recognition by President Chaim Herzog at an official presidential reception, followed in 1986, on the 25th anniversary of the operation, by a gathering of the children at which Littman was honored with the Mimouna award in recognition of his activities. A documentary film on the operation, filmed by Yehuda Kaveh, screened in 2007.

On June 1, 2008, at a special private commemorative event at the presidential Jerusalem residence – with Littman, his wife, two children, three grandchildren and former key agents from the Mossad, who had worked with Littman – Israeli President Shimon Peres, said:

"Well, it is a belated ceremony, but it doesn’t lose its value, because what you did stands on its own legs and is not affected by time. I think that the saving of 530 children is, I imagine, the most moving experience a man can have. You say in Hebrew: 'The one who saves one life, is like the one that saved the life of the whole world.' But when you save 530 children, it’s really unforgettable. I want to express, on behalf of our people, our nation, our recognition of your courage, your wisdom, of your determination under extremely difficult conditions".

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "David Littman"
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Date: Saturday, 14 Jan 2012 12:01
Michael (Hebrew: Miyka'el, Strong's H317 מיכאל) From מִי (H4310) and (the prefix derivative from) כִּי (H3588) and אֵל (H410) — one of, the chief, or the first archangel who is described as the one who stands in time of conflict for the children of Israel is the archangel mentioned in the Book of Revelation:

7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. (Revelation 12:7)

And this, as a result of Isaiah's account of Lucifer's rebellion and fall from heaven:

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15 KJV

The name means "who is like God," the title given to one of the chief angels (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). He had special charge of Israel as a nation. He disputed with Satan (Jude 1:9) about the body of Moses. He is also represented as warning against "that old serpent," called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:7-9).

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Archangel Michael, Book of Revelation"
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Christmas   New window
Date: Saturday, 24 Dec 2011 21:42
Triptych with the
Adoration of the Magi
"O Holy Night"
By David Phelps
Christmas (literally, the Mass of Christ) is a traditional holiday commonly observed on 25 December. In most Eastern Orthodox Churches, even where the civil calendar used is the Gregorian, the event is observed according to the Julian calendar, which coincides with the predominant reckoning of 7 January. It is celebrated by most Christians to mark the birth of Jesus, which is believed to have occurred in Bethlehem in the Roman Province of Judea between 6 BC and AD 6. Christ's birth, or nativity, was said by his followers to fulfill the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin. Efforts to decide upon a date on which to celebrate his birth began some centuries later.
The word Christmas is a contraction of Christ's Mass, derived from the Old English Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe, in 1131. In Dutch it is Kerstmis, in Latin Dies Natalis, whence comes the French Noël, and Italian Il natale; in German Weihnachtsfest.

It is sometimes abbreviated Xmas, probably because X resembles the Greek letter Χ (chi) which has often historically been used as an abbreviation for Christ (Χριστός Christos in Greek).

The Nativity of Jesus refers to the Christian belief that the Messiah was born to the Virgin Mary. The story of Christmas is based on the biblical accounts given in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18-2:12 and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26-2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem. According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a "stable", surrounded by farm animals, though neither the “stable” nor the animals are mentioned in the Biblical accounts. However, a "manger" is mentioned in Luke 2:7 where it states "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Christians believe that the birth of Jesus fulfilled many prophecies made hundreds of years before His birth.
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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Bethlehem, birth of Jesus, Christmas, Ho..."
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Date: Thursday, 22 Dec 2011 16:50
The Rothschild family (often referred to simply as the Rothschilds) is an international dynasty of German Jewish origin that established worldwide banking and finance operations and was ennobled by Austria and the United Kingdom.

In a 2008 article on corbettreport.com, James Corbett writes:
In a startling interview on The Alex Jones Show yesterday, Matthew Rothschild went further than ever before on Infragard, the secretive FBI program to deputize business that Rothschild first detailed in an article for The Progressive magazine (article pulled).
Speaking about what one source told him, Rogthschild revealed that martial law is "going to be when, not if, according to the FBI and Homeland Security."
This revelation comes through an Infragard whistleblower, one of the sources for Rothschild's original Progressive article, who also detailed that members of Infragard are authorized by the FBI to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law. Rothschild has spoken at length about the shoot to kill powers of Infragard members (most notably in this recent appearance on Democracy Now) but it's the first time he has revealed that the FBI and Homeland Security consider the implementation of martial law a certainty.
Of course, this comes as little surprise to those who have witnessed the long, methodical build-up to martial law that has been taking place for years now. This has been evident, for instance, in legislative moves to strip away safeguards against the implementation of martial law, such as the abolition of posse comitatus under the John Warner Defense Authorization Act. Other obvious steps in this direction include NSPD51 (article pulled), the National Security Presidential Directive in which President Bush granted himself dictatorial powers over government in the event of martial law, and the well-documented construction of US FEMA camps to detain citizens in the event of insurrection which have now been reported on in the San Francisco Chronicle.
As Rothschild's source indicates, it seems the government is indeed in a mindset that martial law will be declared in the U.S. sooner or later. One can only speculate why the government is scrambling to prepare for this eventuality and what manufactured incident might set it off.
Look for the FBI to issue another phoney denial which disputes none of the facts provided like they did with Rothschild's original report (article pulled).
 Rise to Prominence
The family's rise to international prominence began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812), the son of Amschel Moses Rothschild, a money changer. Born in the ghetto (called "Judengasse" or Jew Alley » See: Jerusalem Jewish Quarter/Jewish quarter (diaspora)) of Frankfurt am Main, he developed a finance house and spread his empire by installing each of his five sons in European cities to conduct business. An essential part of Mayer Rothschild's strategy for future success was to keep control of their businesses in family hands, allowing them to maintain full discretion about the size of their wealth and their business achievements. Mayer Rothschild successfully kept the fortune in the family with carefully arranged marriages between closely related family members. His sons were:
  • Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773–1855): Frankfurt
  • Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774–1855): Vienna
  • Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836): London
  • Calmann Mayer Rothschild (1788–1855): Naples
  • Jakob Mayer Rothschild (1792–1868): Paris

The Rothschild coat of arms contains a clenched fist with five arrows symbolizing the five sons of Mayer Rothschild, a reference to Psalm 127. The family motto appears below the shield, in Latin, Concordia, Integritas, Industria, (Harmony, Integrity, Industry). The German family name means "Red Shield".

Families by country:
  • Rothschild banking family of Naples Rothschild banking family of England
  • Rothschild banking family of Austria
  • Rothschild banking family of France
British war effort and Napoleon
The basis for the Rothschild fortune was laid during the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars. From 1813 to 1815, Nathan Mayer Rothschild in London was instrumental in the financing of the British war effort, handling the shipment of bullion to the Duke of Wellington's army in Portugal and Spain, as well as arranging the payment of British financial subsidies to their Continental allies. Through the commissions earned on these transactions, the Rothschild fortune grew enormously.

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Rothschild family"
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Date: Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011 18:58
Liberation theology is a school of theology within Christianity, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. It emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism. Its theologians consider sin the root source of poverty, the sin in question being exploitative capitalism and class war by the rich against the poor. It has a range of meanings: broadly, especially in the media, it may refer to any politically-activist Christian thought, but the technical sense is narrower.

Liberation Theologians use political theory, primarily Marxism, to help understand how to combat poverty. Some elements of certain liberation theologies have been rejected by leaders of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church over the last 30 years. At its inception, liberation theology was predominantly found in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council. It is sometimes regarded as a form of Christian socialism, and it has enjoyed widespread influence in Latin America and among the Jesuits, although its influence diminished within Catholicism after liberation theologians using Marxist concepts were harshly admonished by Pope John Paul II (leading to the curtailing of its growth).

The current Pope, Benedict XVI, has long been known as an opponent of certain types of liberation theology, and issued several condemnations of tendencies within it while head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
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Anthony Bradley on Headline News Network

Obama & The Black Liberation Theology Of The Church He Attended

Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "BArack H. Obama, Jeremiah Wright, libera..."
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Date: Tuesday, 20 Dec 2011 17:29
click image for full map
With a population of 3.5 to 5 million), Alexandria (Greek: Αλεξάνδρεια), is the second-largest city in Egypt, and its largest seaport. Alexandria extends about 20 miles (32 km) along the coast of the Mediterranean sea in the northwest of Egypt. It is home to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the New Library of Alexandria, and is an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez.

In ancient times, the city was known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and the Library of Alexandria (the largest library in the ancient world). Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbour of Alexandria (which began in 1994) is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

The city of Alexandria was named after its founder, Alexander the Great and as the seat of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, quickly became one of the greatest cities of the Hellenistic civilization — second only to Rome in size and wealth.

However, upon the founding of Cairo by Egypt's mediæval Islamic rulers, its status as the country's capital ended, and fell into a long decline, which by the late Ottoman period, had seen it reduced to little more than a small fishing village. The current city is Egypt's leading port, a commercial and transportation center, and the heart of a major industrial area where refined petroleum, asphalt, cotton textiles, processed food, paper, and plastics are produced.

It was the residence of the kings of Egypt for 200 years. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and only incidentally in the New Testament (Acts 18:24; 27:6; 28:11). It was for a long period the greatest of existing cities, for both Nineveh and Babylon had been destroyed, and Rome had not yet risen to greatness.

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Date: Sunday, 18 Dec 2011 21:05
Flagellation of Christ,
Artist: CARAVAGGIO,
Date: c. 1607
Born in Bethlehem and active in Nazareth; His life and sermons form the basis for Christianity (circa 4 bc - ad 29).
The Gospels were all composed during the latter part of the first century, and there is distinct historical evidence to show that they were used and accepted as authentic before the end of the second century.

The principal sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels though some scholars argue that other texts (such as the Gospel of Thomas) are as relevant as the canonical gospels to the historical Jesus. Most critical scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies believe that ancient texts on Jesus' life are at least partially accurate, agreeing that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer. They also generally accept that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire.


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JESUS DE NAZARETH
Edmar Castaneda Live At Jazz Standard




Jesus De Nazareth
Edmar Castaneda Live At Jazz Standard

Christian views of Jesus (see also Christology) center on the belief that Jesus is divine, is the Messiah whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament (e.g. Deut. 18:15;Judges 13:5;Amos 2:11;Lam. 4:7;Isaiah:53;Isaiah 7:14, etc.), and that he was resurrected after his crucifixion. Christians predominantly believe that Jesus is the "Son of God" (generally meaning that he is the son of God, the second person in the Trinity), who came to provide salvation and reconciliation with God by his death for their sins.

Other Christian beliefs include Jesus' virgin birth, performance of miracles, ascension into Heaven, and future Second Coming. While the doctrine of the Trinity is widely accepted by Christians, a small minority instead hold various nontrinitarian beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus.

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Bethlehem, Christianity, Christmas, Gali..."
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The Magi   New window
Date: Saturday, 17 Dec 2011 20:25
The Journey of the Magi
by James Tissot


Jesus, the Magi and Herod
close
The Magi (singular Magus, from Latin, via Greek μάγος ; Old English: Mage; from Old Persian maguš) was a tribe from ancient Media, who - prior to the absorption of the Medes into the Persian Empire in 550 BC - were responsible for religious and funerary practices. Later they accepted the Zoroastrian religion (Zoroastrianism), however, not without changing the original message of its founder, Zarathustra (Zoroaster), to what is today known as "Zurvanism", which would become the predominant form of Zoroastrianism during the Sassanid era (AD 226–650). No traces of Zurvanism exist beyond the 10th century.
The best known Magi are the "Wise Men from the East" in the Bible, whose graves Marco Polo claimed to have seen in what is today the district of Saveh, in Tehran, Iran. In English, the term may refer to a shaman, sorcerer, or wizard; it is the origin of the English words magic and magician.
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
—Matthew 2:1-3

Nature of the Magi

Unlike Luke, the author of Matthew pays no attention to the actual birth of Jesus, focusing instead on what occurred before and after. Skipping the actual birth, Matthew introduces the Magi, who have come to pay their respects, while accidentally informing Herod of Jesus' existence. The word Magi is a Latinization of the plural of the Greek word magos (μαγος pl. μαγοι), which is a derivative from Old Persian Magupati. The term is a specific occupational title referring to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time a highly regarded science, only later giving rise to aspects of mathematics and astronomy (as well as the modern practice of fortune-telling going by the same name.) Their religious practices and use of astrological sciences caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic.

The KJV translation as wise men may be somewhat politically motivated: the same word is translated as sorcerer to condemn "Elymas the sorcerer"
7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord
—Acts 13:8-10 NIV

and is translated "sorcery" to describe Simon Magus in Acts 8. Treating Simon Magus as being as wise as the Magi that visited Jesus could be viewed as heresy — Simon Magus was considered by many Christians as the founder of Gnosticism, a Christian group condemned as heresy. It is unlikely that the New Testament would deliberately refer to Simon Magus in glowing terms; the name of the canonical crime of simony derives from the name of Simon Magus.

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Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "The Magi"
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Date: Friday, 16 Dec 2011 17:35
The Damascus Document also
known as CDC, the
Covenant of Damascus
from Cairo,
© Cambridge University Library
The Damascus Document is the name given to one of the works found in multiple fragments and copies in the caves at Qumran, and as such is counted amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. The current majority view is that the scrolls are related to an Essenes community based there around the first century BC.

The fragments from Qumran have been assigned the document references 4Q265-73, 5Q12, and 6Q15. Even before the Qumran discovery of the mid-20th century, this particular work had been known to scholars, through two manuscripts found during the late 19th century amongst the Cairo Genizah collection, in a room adjoining the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat. These fragments are housed at the Cambridge University Library with the classmarks T-S 10K6 and T-S 16.311 (other references are CDa and CDb, where "CD" stands for "Cairo Damascus"), and date from the tenth and twelfth centuries, respectively. In contrast to the fragments found at Qumran, the CD documents are largely complete, and therefore are vital for reconstructing the text.

The title of the document comes from numerous references within it to Damascus. The way this Damascus is treated in the document makes it possible that it was not a literal reference to Damascus in Syria, but to be understood either geographically for Babylon or Qumran itself. If symbolic, it is probably taking up the Biblical language found in Amos 5:27, "therefore I shall take you into exile beyond Damascus"; Damascus was part of Israel under King David, and the Damascus Document expresses an eschatalogical hope of the restoration of a Davidic monarchy.

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The DEAD SEA SCROLLS by Zola Levitt (1938-2006)

Walid Shoebat, Zola Levitt When Good is Called Evil

Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Dead Sea Scrolls, The Damascus Document"
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Date: Thursday, 15 Dec 2011 13:53
Jesus' crucifixion as
portrayed by Diego Velázquez
Crucifixion is an ancient method of execution, where the victim was tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang there until dead. It is mostly widely known as a not uncommon but extremely dishonorable as well as excruciating form of judicial execution in the Roman Empire, though similar methods were employed in other ancient cultures. Crucifixion has special significance in Christianity, which holds that Jesus was crucified but later resurrected. Because of this the Christian cross or crucifix has become a common symbol of Christianity.

Crucifixion was used by the Romans until about 313 AD, when Christianity became the dominant faith in Rome . However, it has been used in various places in modern times.
24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews."
—Mark 15:24-26 ESV

Details of crucifixion
Crucifixion was rarely performed for ritual or symbolic reasons.

Usually, its purpose was to provide a particularly painful, gruesome, and public death, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Widely different crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period.

The most widely known, and historically verified, crucifixion in the history of the human race was that of Jesus of Nazareth. Not only historians, but other great minds such as Mahatma Gandhi accepted the crucifixion as a fact.
Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.
—Matthew 27:38 ESV

"He who when being killed bears no anger against his murderer and even asks God to forgive him is truly non-violent. History relates this of Jesus Christ. With his dying breath on the Cross, he is reported to have said, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what to do.'"
—Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political leader (1869-1948)

—Gandhi vs. Christ Editorial by Fr. Benny Aguiar, in the Examiner, the official organ of the 'Mumbai' diocese of the New Church, 26th September 1992.

This following passage from the the book of Isaiah was written over 700 years before the birth of Jesus. It is found in Jewish Bibles today, though it is left out of the weekly synagogue readings, as are many other texts of the Bible. When people read Isaiah 53 without knowing which part of the Bible it comes from, they often wrongly assume is from the New Testament. Did Isaiah foresee the crucifixion of Jesus Though many modern rabbis —and some ancient rabbis— say the sufferings described are those of the nation of Israel, most ancient rabbis said it refers to Messiah's sufferings. Read it for yourself:

1 Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53 (KJV) authorship dated 740-701 BC
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portrayal of Roman Crucifixion
History Channel "Crucifixion" Alden Olmsted
Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?
Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Crucifixion"
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Samson   New window
Date: Wednesday, 14 Dec 2011 19:08
Samson, (Hebrew: שמשון Shimshown "like the sun")  is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Children of Israel mentioned in the Tanakh, and the Talmud. He is described in the Book of Judges chapters 13 to 16.
Samson captured by the Philistines
The exploits of Samson also appear in Antiquities of the Jews written by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the last decade of the 1st Century AD, as well as in works by Pseudo-Philo, written slightly earlier.

Samson is a Herculean figure, who is granted tremendous strength through the Spirit of the Lord to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats unachievable by ordinary men: wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with nothing more than the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a temple.

He is believed to be buried in Tel Tzora in Israel overlooking Nahal Sorek. There reside two large gravestones of Samson and his father Manoah. Nearby stands Manoach’s altar.
19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

21 The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God." 23 But his wife said to him, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these." 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him.
—Judges 13:19-24

The altar is located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

Biblical Narrative
Samson's activity takes place during a time when God was punishing the Israelites, by giving them "into the hand of the Philistines." An angel appears to Manoah, an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, in the city of Zorah, and to his wife, who had been unable to conceive. This angel proclaims that the couple will soon have a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. The wife believed the angel, but her husband wasn't present, at first, and wanted the heavenly messenger to return, asking that he himself could also receive instruction about the child that was going to be born. Requirements were set up by the angel that Manoah's wife (as well as the child himself) is to abstain from all alcoholic beverages, and her promised child is not to shave or cut his hair. He was to be a "Nazirite" from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for awhile could take a nazarite vow, which included things like the aforementioned as well as other stipulations. After the angel returned, Manoah soon prepared a sacrifice, but the Messenger would only allow it to be for God, touching his staff to it, miraculously engulfing it in flames. The angel then ascended to Heaven in the fire. This was such dramatic evidence as to the nature of the messenger, that Manoah feared for his life, as it has been said that no-one can live after seeing God; however, his wife soon convinced him that if God planned to slay them, He would never have revealed such things to them to begin with. In due time the son, Samson, is born; he is reared according to these provisions.

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← Samson and Delilah

Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Book of Judges, Flavius Josephus, Judges..."
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Date: Friday, 09 Dec 2011 22:03
Michael Casts out
all of the Fallen Angels 
 Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, redivided into twelve books (in the manner of the division of Virgil's Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification; the majority of the poem was written while Milton was blind, and was transcribed for him.

The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men" and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and free will.

Milton incorporates Paganism, classical Greek references, and Christianity within the poem. It deals with diverse topics from marriage, politics (Milton was politically active during the time of the English Civil War), and monarchy, and grapples with many difficult theological issues, including fate, predestination, the Trinity, and the introduction of sin and death into the world, as well as angels, fallen angels, Satan, and the war in heaven. Milton draws on his knowledge of languages, and diverse sources — primarily Genesis, much of the New Testament, the deuterocanonical Book of Enoch, and other parts of the Old Testament. Milton's epic is generally considered one of the greatest literary works in the English language.

The story was revised into twelve books after initial publication, following the model of the Aeneid of Virgil. The book lengths vary—the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines and the shortest, Book VII, having 640. In the second edition, each book was preceded by a summary titled "The Argument". The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being told in Books V-VI.

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Milton's Paradise Lost Book 2 audio
Scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost Part I
Scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost Part II
Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Adam and Eve, fall of man, Fall of Satan..."
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Date: Thursday, 08 Dec 2011 14:00
 Earthrise over the Moon,
Apollo 8, NASA. 
Science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge, skill') is a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as the organized body of knowledge gained through such research. Science, as defined here, is sometimes termed pure science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of scientific research to specific human needs.

The renewal of learning in Europe, that began with 12th century Scholasticism, came to an end about the time of the Black Death, and the initial period of the subsequent Italian Renaissance is sometimes seen as a lull in scientific activity. The Northern Renaissance, on the other hand, showed a decisive shift in focus from Aristoteleian natural philosophy to chemistry and the biological sciences (botany, anatomy, and medicine). Thus modern science in Europe was resumed in a period of great upheaval: the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation; the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus; the Fall of Constantinople; but also the re-discovery of Aristotle's during the Scholastic period presaged large social and political changes.

Thus, a suitable environment was created in which it became possible to question scientific doctrine, in much the same way that Martin Luther and John Calvin questioned religious doctrine. The works of Claudius Ptolemaeus (astronomy) and Galen (medicine) were found not always to match everyday observations. Work by Vesalius on human cadavers found problems with the Galenic view of anatomy.

The willingness to question previously held truths and search for new answers resulted in a period of major scientific advancements, now known as the Scientific Revolution. The Scientific Revolution is traditionally held by most historians to have begun in 1543, when De Revolutionibus, by the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, was first printed. The thesis of this book was that the Earth moved around the Sun. The period culminated with the publication of the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687 by Isaac Newton.
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Galileo and the Church
Creation As Science by Dr. Hugh Ross
Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "anatomy, Aristotle, botany, Creation, ev..."
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Lot   New window
Date: Tuesday, 06 Dec 2011 23:27
 In the Bible, Lot (לוֹט "Hidden, enclosed, covering") was the nephew of the patriarch, Abraham (previously named Abram). He was the son of Abraham's brother Haran. (Gen. 11:27). Both Christians and Muslims revere Lot as a righteous man of God. As a son of David, Jesus Christ is a descendent of Lot through David's great-grandmother Ruth, who is descended from Lot's son Moab.

The further describe Jesus' being a descendent of Lot, Boaz was a rich landowner who noticed Ruth the widowed Moabite daughter-in-law of Naomi, a relative of his, gleaning grain from his fields. He soon learns of the difficult circumstances her family is in and Ruth's loyalty to Naomi. In response, Boaz invites to her to eat with him and his workers regularly as well as deliberately leaving grain for her to claim while keeping a protective eye on her.

Eventually, Boaz and Ruth strike up a friendship which leads to Ruth asking him to marry her. Boaz accepts, but cautions that there is a family member who has a superior right to her hand in marriage. However, he arranges a meeting with the relative and convinces him to buy Naomi's husband's land while forfeiting his right to marry Ruth to avoid complicating his inheritance with his existing heirs.

Although Boaz is noted to be much older than Ruth in the Biblical account and he marries her for Naomi's sake, most dramatic adaptations have Boaz as a handsome young man so as to enhance the romantic nature of the story.

Their son was Obed, father of Jesse, and grandfather of David (cf. Ruth 4:21-22). The genealogy of Jesus further describes the lineage of Jesus from Adam to his legal father, Joseph (see also Matt 1:2-16).
The story of Lot is told in the Book of Genesis 11-14, 19.

Lot followed his uncle from Haran. He accompanied Abram and his family in his journeys to Egypt.

When Abram traveled to the Land of Canaan at the command of God, Lot accompanied him. (Gen 12:1-5). Abram had always a great affection for him, and when they could not continue longer together in Canaan because they both had large flocks and their shepherds sometimes quarelled (Gen 13:6,7), he gave Lot the choice of his abode. Lot went southeast to plains near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, since the land there was well watered. (Gen. 13:10-12).

About eight years after this separation, Chedorlaomer and his allies attacked the kings of Sodom and the neighbouring cities, pillaged Sodom, and took many captives, including Lot. Abraham armed his servants, pursued the confederate kings, and overtook them near the springs of Jordan. He recovered the spoils they had taken and brought back Lot with the other captives. Abraham was offered a reward by the King of Sodom, but refused even a shoelace.

In Gen. 19, when God decided to overturn and destroy the five cities of the plain, he sent angels to rescue Lot and his family. The men of Sodom sought to rape (in some translations, meet) the angels (Gen. 19:5). Lot offers the men his virgin daughters instead (Gen. 19:8), but the men are not interested.

When the sins of the Sodomites and of the neighboring cities had called down the vengeance of God to punish and destroy them, two angels (presumed to be Michael and Gabriel) were sent to Sodom to forewarn Lot of the dreadful catastrophe about to happen. The angels took Lot, his wife, and his daughters by hand and drew them forcibly out of their house, saying, "Save yourselves with all haste. Look not behind you. Get as fast as you are able to the mountain, unless you be involved in the calamity of the city." Lot entreated the angels, who consented that he might retire to Zoar (Hebrew: צער Tso`ar meaning "small" or insignificant Genesis 19:21-23 — a city at the southeast end of the Dead Sea grouped with Sodom and Gomorrah as being one of the 5 cities slated for destruction by God; spared at Lot's plea as his place of refuge (see also Genesis 14:1-3). His wife, looking back on Sodom, was turned into a pillar of salt.

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Sodom and Gomorrah Parts 1-3
Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Abraham, Boaz, David, Jesus, Lot, Ruth, ..."
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Date: Monday, 05 Dec 2011 20:23
Depiction of Jesus Christ
being nailed to the cross
Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus, the Christ, as recounted in the New Testament.

With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents, Christianity is the world's largest religion. Its origins are intertwined with Judaism, with which it shares much sacred text and early history; specifically, it shares the Hebrew Bible, known in the Christian context as the Old Testament. Christianity is considered an Abrahamic religion, along with Judaism and Islam.

In the Christian scriptures, the name "Christian" (thus "Christianity") is first attested in Acts 11:25-27:
25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
(Greek Χριστιανός Christianos "a follower of Christ", from Christ Χριστός Christos, which means "the anointed").

Within Christianity, numerous distinct groups have developed, with diverse beliefs that vary widely by culture and place. Since the Reformation, Christianity is usually represented as being divided into three main branches
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True Christianity
Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Bible, Christian, Christianity, F aith, ..."
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Date: Sunday, 04 Dec 2011 19:17
Mesopotamia refers to the region
now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern
Syria, and southern Turkey
Mesopotamia (Hebrew: ארם נהרים 'Aram Naharayim "Aram of the two rivers" from אָרַם 'Aram "exalted" and נָהָר nahar "stream, river" or "to flow, flow together" see Isaiah 2:2)  refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, and southern Turkey . The name comes from the Greek words μέσος "between" and ποταμός "river", referring to the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris (the Arabic term is بين نهرين Bayn Nahrain "between two rivers"). The fertile area watered by these two rivers is known as the "Cradle of Civilization," or "cradle of humanity" and it was here that the first literate societies developed.

The biblical Patriarch Abraham was from Ur in Mesopotamia.
10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor. 11 And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, "O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the young woman to whom I shall say, 'Please let down your jar that I may drink,' and who shall say, 'Drink, and I will water your camels'—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master."

15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16 The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. 17 Then the servant ran to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water to drink from your jar." 18 She said, "Drink, my lord." And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19 When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking." 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. 21 The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the LORD had prospered his journey or not.
—Genesis 24:10-21 ESV

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Civilisations — Mesopotamia Parts 1-6
Author: "Zhivago of Tookland (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Mesopotamia"
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