Major Male Figures in Religion
Jesus who was he, what did he say, what did he teach?
Messiahs who didn't make the cut
Judas of Galilee or Judas of Gamala led a violent resistance to the census imposed for Roman tax purposes by Quirinius in Iudaea Province around AD 6. The revolt was crushed brutally by the Romans. These events are discussed by Josephus in Jewish Wars and in Antiquities of the Jews. Judas is mentioned in the New Testament Book of Acts of the Apostles. The author has Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin, refer to him as an example of a failed Messianic leader. This is evidently an error, since it describes the revolt of Theudas, which would not actually take place for another ten years, as happening before that of Judas, see also Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles. source:wikipedia
Simon of Peraea or Simon son of Joseph was a former slave of Herod the Great who rebelled and was killed by the Romans in 4 BC. He has been identified as the messiah of Gabriel's Revelation. He is mentioned by Flavius Josephus source:wikipedia According to some he was a prototype for a dying and resurrected messiah and may have inspired Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels. Was he Jesus' great uncle and did he take Jesus the boy to England and India?
Constantine the Great
Full name Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus born Born 27 February ca. 272 Birthplace Naissus, Illyria (modern-day Niš, Serbia) Died 22 May 337 (337-05-22) (aged 65)
Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or Saint Constantine,was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine reversed the persecutions of his predecessor, Diocletian, and issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of Christians throughout the empire.
Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor; his reign was certainly a turning point for the Church. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith of their choosing.
Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena's Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine would retain the title of pontifex maximus until his death, a title emperors bore as heads of the pagan priesthood, as would his Christian successors on to Gratian (r. 375–83). According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone.Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter's Basilica.
Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone, however. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, a triumphal arch—the Arch of Constantine—was built to celebrate; the arch is decorated with images of Victoria and sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, or Hercules, but contains no Christian symbolism. In 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the "venerable day of the sun", referencing the esoteric eastern sun-worship which Aurelian had helped introduce, and his coinage still carried the symbols of the sun-cult until 324. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian symbols appear only as Constantine's personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, but never on the coin itself. Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem.
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day İznik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in A.D. 325. The Council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.
After his historic battle against Maxentius, Constantine reportedly delayed his baptism until after he had executed his defeated enemies, because he reportedly didn't think a Christian emperor should execute people.
According to one source, Constantine may have been as devoted to worship of Apollo the Sun god who is on his victory arch, Mithraism and Thrygan priesthood. Mithraism was "a religious cult that worshiped Mithras, especially popular among the Roman military and a strong rival to Christianity during the late Roman Empire." www.answers.com. The same source mentions that by calling himself "Flavius", Constantine was associating himself with the Flavian dynasty, which was a major persecutor of Christians. Others speculate that Constantine wanted to attract as many powerful allies as possible and combine the old Roman pagan religion with the new Christian religion as much as possible. Constantine may have been traditional, religious or just pragmatic.
Josephus (37 – c.100 AD/CE),also Yoseph Ben Mattithyahu in Biblical Hebrew (Joseph son of Matthias) and Titus Flavius Josephus was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded 1st century Jewish history, such as the First Jewish–Roman War which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels, this being an item of contention among historians.
Josephus was a law-observant Jew who believed in the compatibility of Judaism and Graeco-Roman thought, commonly referred to as Hellenistic Judaism. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75 AD/CE) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94 AD/CE).
Josephus writes of a Jewish sect, whose leader was James the Just, the brother of Jesus. Josephus' history includes sections on John the Baptist, the High Priest Annas, Pontius Pilate, and Jesus called the Messiah.
There is broad scholarly consensus that the two passages referring respectively to John the Baptist, and to James the brother of Jesus are genuine. A third passage, the famous Testimonium Flavianum found in the Antiquities of the Jews 18.63-64, in its current form summarises the ministry and death of Jesus; but the authenticity of this passage remains contested by many scholars, and has been the topic of ongoing debate since the 17th century. The most widely held current scholarly opinion is that the Testimonium Flavianum is partially authentic; but that those words and phrases that correspond with standard Christian formulae are additions from a Christian copyist. Source: Wikipedia
Ground Zero March 2002
Ishmael (Hebrew: יִשְׁמָעֵאל, Modern Yishma'el Tiberian Yišmāʻēl; Greek: Ισμαήλ Ismaēl; Latin: Ismael; Arabic: إسماعيل, ʼIsmāʻīl) is a biblical person first mentioned in the Book of Genesis and later referenced in the Qur'an. According to Genesis, Ishmael was Abraham's first born son, whom he had through his second wife, Hagar. Although born of Hagar, according to Mesopotamian law, Ishmael was credited as Sarah's son becoming a legal heir through marriage. (Genesis 16:2-3) Ishmael grew up as a slave class citizen in Abraham's settlement and became a free man at the age of 14. Both Ishmael and his mother lived in the Desert of Paran. In later years, he became an archer and married an Egyptian woman whom he had at least 13 children with. Ishmael lived to be 137 years old.
Contents [hide] 1 Etymology 2 Ishmael in Genesis 2.1 Birth of Ishmael 2.2 Inheritance rights 2.3 Descendants 3 Deuterocanonical references 4 World views 4.1 Jewish views 4.2 Islamic tradition 4.3 Christian view 4.4 Bahá'í faith 5 References 6 Bibliographic references 7 External links 8 See also
 EtymologyCognates of Hebrew Yishma'el existed in various ancient Semitic cultures. For example, it is known that the name was used in early Babylonian and in Minæan. It is translated literally as "God has hearkened", suggesting that "a child so named was regarded as the fulfillment of a divine promise."
 Ishmael in Genesis The dismissal of Hagar, by Pieter Pietersz LastmanThis is the account of Ishmael from Genesis Chapters 16, 17, 21, 25
 Birth of IshmaelIn Genesis 16, the birth of Ishmael was planned by the Patriarch Abraham’s first wife, who at that time was known as Sarai. She and her husband Abram (Abraham), sought a way to have children in order to fulfill Yahweh’s covenant that was established in Genesis 15. Since she was unable to have children herself, her idea was to offer her Egyptian handmaiden Hagar to Abram, so that they could have a child by her. Abram consented to a marital arrangement taking Hagar as his second wife when he was in his late eighty-fifth year of age. Customs of that time dictated that, although Hagar was the birth mother, any child conceived would belong to Sarai and Abram (Sarah and Abraham).
The naming, the blessing, and the cursing of Ishmael occurred at the well of Beer-lahai-roi that was located in the desert region between Abram’s settlement and Shur. It was here that Hagar encountered an angel of Yahweh after she had fled from Abram’s camp, due to a harsh confrontation with Sarai. The angel instructed Hagar to return to the settlement and be submissive to Sarai so that she could have her child there. The blessing that this child's father was promised was that Abram's descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth. Thus, the promise would be extended to this child who would be named Ishmael. Not only was Ishmael blessed, but he was also cursed along with his descendants when the angel said that "he shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." [Gen.16:12] When Ishmael was born, Abram was eighty-six years old. (Genesis 16:7-16)
 Inheritance rightsSee also: Account of Isaac in the Hebrew Bible
Ishmael was circumcised when he was thirteen years old becoming a part of Yahweh's covenant. This occurred because his father Abram, was inaugurated as Abraham at the age of ninety-nine and then initiated into the covenant by having himself and his entire household circumcised.(Genesis 17)
A year later, Ishmael's half-brother Isaac, was born by Abraham to his first wife Sarah. One day Sarah was angered by seeing Ishmael playing or "mocking" (the Hebrew word is ambiguous), and she asked Abraham to expel him and his mother, saying: "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac." Abraham initially refused to do as Sarah asked. He finally gave in to his wife's request when God told him that it was through Isaac that Abraham's offspring would "be reckoned", and that He would "make Ishmael into a nation", too, since he was a descendant of Abraham. (Genesis 21:11-13)
After much deliberation, Abraham released Ishmael and Hagar as slaves. At the age of fourteen, Ishmael became a free man along with his mother. Under Mesopotamian law, their freedom absolved them from laying claim to any inheritance that Abraham and Sarah had. Ishmael's father gave him and his mother a minimal supply of bread and water and sent them on their way to wander in the desert wilderness of Beer-sheba. The two soon ran out of water and Hagar, not wanting to witness the death of her son, set the boy some distance away from herself, and wept. "And God heard the voice of the lad" and sent his angel to tell Hagar, "Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation." And God "opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water," from which she drew to save Ishmael's life and her own. "And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer." (Genesis 21:14-21)
 DescendantsAfter roaming the wilderness for sometime, Ishmael and his mother settled in the Desert of Paran, where he became an expert in archery. Eventually, his mother found him a wife from the land of Egypt. They had twelve sons who became twelve tribal chiefs throughout the regions from Havilah to Shur (from Assyria to the border of Egypt). His children are listed as follows: ...
Islamic traditions consider Ishmael to be the ancestor of Arab people, excluding Arabs who are descendants of Ya'rub. Arabs who are from Ishmael-descendant tribes are occasionally referred to as "Arabized-Arabs" to highlight their ancestry. The Prophet Muhammad was of these Arabs. However, many modern Arabs also believe their tribes and houses to be of Isaac's blood line, in particular in Southern Palestine.
Jewish traditions are split between those who consider Ishmael the northern Arab ancestor and those, like Maimonides, who believe that the northern Arabs are descended from the sons of Keturah, whom Abraham married after Sarah's death.
 Jewish viewsSee also: Isaac in Jewish traditions Judaism has generally viewed Ishmael as wicked though repentant (Whereas Christianity omits any reference to repentance which is sourced in the Talmudic explanation of the Bible ). Judaism maintains that Isaac rather than Ishmael was the true heir of Abraham. The New Testament contains few references to Ishmael.
In some Rabbinic traditions Ishmael is said to have had two wives; one of them named Aisha. This name corresponds to the Muslim tradition for the name of Muhammad's wife. This is understood as a metaphoric representation of the Muslim world (first Arabs and then Turks) with Ishmael. The Talmud also mentions God's regret over Ishmael.
The name of an important Second Century CE sage - Ishmael ben Elisha, known as "Rabbi Ishmael" (רבי ישמעאל), one of the Tannaim - indicates that the Bibilical Ishmael enjoyed a positive image among Jews of the time.
Rabbinical commentators in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah also say that Ishmael's mother Hagar was the Pharaoh's daughter, thereby making Ishmael the grandson of the Pharaoh. This could be why Genesis 17:20 refers to Ishmael as the father of twelve mighty princes. According to Genesis 21:21, Hagar married Ishmael to an Egyptian woman, and if Rabbinical commentators are correct about Hagar being the daughter of the Pharaoh, his marriage to a woman selected by the Pharaoh's daughter could explain how and why his sons became princes.
However, according to other Jewish commentators, Ishmael's mother Hagar is identified with Keturah, the woman Abraham married after the death of Sarah, stating that Abraham sought her out after Sarah's death. It is suggested that Keturah was Hagar's personal name, and that "Hagar" was a descriptive label meaning "stranger". This interpretation is discussed in the Midrash and is supported by Rashi, Gur Aryeh, Keli Yakar, and Obadiah of Bertinoro. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki) argues that "Keturah" was a name given to Hagar because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (hence: ketores), and/or that she remained chaste from the time she was separated from Abraham—keturah [ קְטוּרָה Q'turah ] derives from the Aramaic word for restrained.
It is also said that Sarah was motivated by Ishmael's sexually frivolous ways because of the reference to his "making merry" (Gen. 21:9), a translation of the Hebrew word 'Mitzachek'. This was developed into a reference to idolatry, sexual immorality or even murder; some rabbinic sources claim that Sarah worried that Ishmael would negatively influence Isaac, or that he would demand Isaac's inheritance on the grounds of being the firstborn. Others take a more positive view, emphasizing Hagar's piety, noting that she was "the one who had sat by the well and besought him who is the life of the worlds, saying 'look upon my misery'".
 Islamic traditionSee also: Hagar in Islamic traditions
A depiction of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert by François-Joseph Navez.Ishmael (Arabic: إسماعيل Ismā'īl) is a prophet in Islam. The Qur'an considers him to be a son of Abraham. His name appears twelve times in the Qur'an mostly in lists with other prophets "as part of a litany of remembrances in which the pre-Islamic prophets are praised for their resolute steadfastness and obedience to God, often in the face of adversity."
The Quran does not have any genealogies; the Arabs preserved their histories and genealogies by memory alone.
In Islamic beliefs, Abraham had prayed to God for a son (Isma in Arabic means 'to listen' i.e. answer prayer, and ell is derived from the Northwest Semitic word el, meaning God). Muslims accept the story, present in the Hebrew Bible, that Sarah asked Abraham to marry her handmaiden Hagar because she herself was barren. Through Hagar was born Ishmael. Later after Sarah gave birth to Isaac (Ishaq) tension arose between the two women. God told Abraham to listen to Sarah, who said that both Hagar and Ishmael should be taken out of their household and into the desert.
In the desert, the young Ishmael cried with the thirst. His mother searched for water, which resulted in her running seven times between two hills, before God 'heard' them (Ishmael means "God will hear") and made spring water gush forth from the Zamzam well, so both mother and son could rejuvenate themselves. In remembrance of this event, Muslims run between the Al-Safa and Al-Marwah hills during Hajj.
Abraham and Ishmael are said to have built the foundations of the Kaaba ("They were raising the foundations of the House", Qur'an 2:127). Islamic traditions hold that the Kaaba was first built by the first man, Adam. Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Kaaba on the old foundations.
The Qur'an states that Abraham dreamed he was to sacrifice his son. The son is not named in the Qur'an (see Qur'an 37:99–113) and in early Islam, there was a controversy over the son's identity. However the belief that the son was Ishmael prevailed, and this view is continued to be endorsed by Muslim scholars. The argument of those Muslims who believed in the Ishmael theory was that "the promise to Sarah of Isaac followed by Jacob (Qur'an 11:71–74) excluded the possibility of a sacrifice of Isaac." The other party held that the son of sacrifice was Isaac since "God's perfecting his mercy on Abraham and Isaac (in Qur'an 12:6) referred to his making Abraham his friend and saving him from the burning bush and to his rescuing Isaac."
According to the contextual interpretation of some early Islamic theologians (whose view prevailed later), Ishmael was the actual son that Abraham was called on to sacrifice, as opposed to Isaac.
According to Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, professors of Religious Studies, the circumcision of Muslims has its roots in the tradition that Ishmael was circumcised.
Much of the Arab world, predominantly in the Arabian region, and even Mohamed himself, claim to be direct descendants of Abram and Hagar's son Ishmael according to the genealogies of Ibn Ishak written around 770-775 A.D.
 Christian viewSee also: Hagar in Christian tradition and Isaac in the New Testament In some Christian biblical interpretations, Ishmael is used to symbolize the older—now rejected—Judaic tradition; Isaac symbolizes the new tradition of Christianity.
According to the Genesis account, Ishmael and his mother were expelled at the instigation of Sarah, in order to make sure that Isaac would be Abraham's heir. In the book of Galatians (4:21–31), Paul uses the incident "to symbolize the relationship between Judaism, the older but now rejected tradition, and Christianity". In Galatians 4:28–31, Hagar is associated with the Sinai covenant, while Sarah is associated with the covenant of grace into which her son Isaac enters.
 Bahá'í faithThe Bahá'í writings state that it was Ishmael, and not Isaac, who was the son that Abraham almost sacrificed. However, the Bahá'í writings also state that the name is unimportant as either could be used: the importance is that both were symbols of sacrifice. According to Shoghi Effendi, there has also been another Ishmael, a prophet of Israel, commonly known as Samuel.
According to some Palestinians Jericho is 10,000 years old and a birthday party was held on 10.10.10 to mark the occasion. Human skeletal remains from approximately that long ago have been found around Jericho and most scientists agree it is one of mankind's earliest inhabited settlements. The Bible refers to Jericho as the city where Joshua and the Israelites' trumpets made the walls of Jericho come tumbling down.
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