- Old Talkshoe Programs
Greek Culture is Hebrew
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, from line 755:
Io: What! Shall Zeus one day be hurled from his own dominion?
Prometheus: Thou wouldst rejoice, I trow, to see that happen.
Io: How should I not, since 'tis at the hand of Zeus I suffer ill?
Prometheus: Then thou mayest assure thyself that these things are so.
Io: By whom shall he be despoiled of the sceptre of his sovereignty?
Prometheus: By himself and his own empty-headed purposes.
Io: In what wise? Oh tell me, if there be no harm in telling.
Prometheus: He shall make a marriage that shall one day cause him ruth.
Io: With one divine of birth or with a mortal? If it may be told, speak out.
Prometheus: Why ask with whom? Of this I may not speak.
Io: Is it by his consort that he shall be dethroned?
Prometheus: Aye, since she shall bear a son mightier than his sire.
So here we see the Greek idea of that same Hebrew Messiah, minus one important point: the Greeks thought that Zeus would be replaced by his own son, while the Israelites believed that Yahweh would be His Own Son, who would then rule all nations. One difference is that the Greeks insisted upon a humanized God, a product of their pagan insistences. Now many might point to this, as well as to many other stories, and claim that the Bible had a pagan origin. The truth is that Isaiah wrote 150 years before Aeschylus, and that paganism had a mostly Biblical origin!
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, from line 324:
Therefore take me as thy teacher and kick not against the pricks...
and again in Agamemnon from line 1621:
Bonds and the pangs of hunger are the far best mediciners of wisdom for the instruction even of old age. Hast eyes and lackest understanding? Kick not against the pricks lest thou strike to thy heart.
Acts 26:14: “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, from line 447:
First of all, though they had eyes to see, they saw to no avail; they had ears, but understood not; but, like to shapes in dreams, throughout their length of days, without purpose they wrought all things in confusion.
Are these not like the words which we see in Isaiah 6:9? “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. ”
Aeschylus, The Persians, from line 176:
Here the poet puts these words into the mouth of Atossa, mother of Xerxes the Persian king as he goes off to invade Greece in war:
I Have ever been haunted by many a dream at night since my son, having fitted forth his armament, departed hence with intent to lay waste the land of the Ionians. But never yet have I beheld so distinct a vision as yesternight. I will describe it unto thee.
I dreamed that two women in fair vesture, one apparelled in Persian garb, the other in Dorian attire, appeared before mine eyes; both in stature far more striking than the women of our time, in beauty flawless, sisters of the selfsame race.
Note that Aeschylus, a veteran of the battle of Marathon, wrote only a few years after the wars with the Persians. He did not consider the Ionians to be related to the Persians, but here professes that the Dorians and Persians were “sister” races. A Spartan king, also a Dorian, writing some time later to the High Priest in Judaea, professed that the Dorians were derived from the stock of Abraham as well as the Judaeans. I can argue that the Dorians were Israelites who departed from the Levant circa 1100 BC. But here it is evident that they must have known it themselves, and they must have known that the Persians were related Shemites, as the Greek writers considered Dorians and Persians to be related, but not Dorians and Ionians or Ionians and Persians. Rather, Ionians were Japhethites.
Aeschylus, The Persians, from line 640:
Here Atossa the queen mother is lamenting the Persian loss of the Battle of Salamis, and while she stands at the tomb of her dead husband, Darius the father of Xerxes, his spirit is conjured and she has a conversation with him. Lines such as these appear in the story:
“O Earth, and ye rulers of them that dwell in the nether world, vouchsafe, I implore, that the glorious spirit, the god of the Persians, whom Susa bore, may quit his abode. Send to the upper world him whose like Persian earth ne'er yet entombed.... O Aidoneus, Aidoneus, thou who conveyest shades [the spirits of men] to the upper air, suffer our divine lord Darian [Darius] to come forth!”
This is reminiscent of 1 Samuel Chapter 28, where Saul has the spirit of Samuel conjured up from among the dead, and has a conversation with him.
Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, from line 196:
The poet puts these words into the mouth of Eteocles, King of Thebes:
“Now if there be one who shall refuse obedience to my authority – man or woman or whatsoever is betwixt – sentence of death shall be passed upon him, and he shall in no wise escape destruction by stoning at the people's hand.”
So we see that stoning was a method of capital punishment among the Thebans, according to the poet. Yet stoning is again mentioned as a punishment used among the Argives, at Agamemnon line 1616 where it has it that the people say to Aegisthus: “I tell thee in the hour of justice thou thyself – be sure of that – shalt not escape the people's curses and death by stoning at their hand.”
Aeschylus, Agamemnon, from line 1080:
The poet puts these words into the mouth of Cassandra: “Apollo, Apollo! God of the Ways, my destroyer!” Here the name “Apollo” is derived from a participle form of apollumi, to destroy. Apollo is also called “god of the ways”, as he was seen to be a protector on journeys, and indeed another meaning of apollumi as used by Greek writers was to be driven off, and this is the word translated “lost” of the Israelite sheep in the New Testament. The Hebrew Old Testament makes mention quite often of a destroyer, often referenced as an angel, and we see the word Apollyon used in this same sense at Revelation 9:11.
Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, from about line 36:
“...Heaven's will under pledge, declared that those beneath the earth complain in bitter anger and are wroth against their slayers...For what redemption is there for blood once fallen on the earth?”
Now let us read from Genesis 4:9&10: “9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
And then Revelation 6:9&10: “9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? ”
Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, from line 269:
Of a surety the mighty oracle of Loxias will not abandon me, charging me to brave this peril to the end, and, with loud utterance, proclaiming afflictions chilling my warm heart's blood, if I avenge not my father on the guilty; bidding me, infuriated by the loss of my possessions, slay them in requital even as they slew....And of other assaults of the Avenging Spirits he spake, destined to be brought to pass from a father's blood; for the darkling bolt of the infernal powers, who are stirred by slain victims of kindred race calling for vengeance...”
This is a parallel to that same Hebrew next-of-kin blood avenger that we see in Numbers Chapter 35 and elsewhere: when a man is slain his next-of-kin are obliged to see that his slayer is brought to justice. Orestes travailed over avenging his father, since it was his own mother and her lover who slew him.
Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, from line 424:
“Upon my breast I did beat an Arian dirge, even after the wont of a Cissian wailing-woman.”
Aria was a district of Persia. Cissia was an area of Susiana, the capital district of Persia.
Jeremiah 9:17-18: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come: 18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.” This is a direct reference to the Persian custom of professional wailing women, which Jeremiah attests that the Hebrews also shared. Josephus also mentions the custom at Wars 3.9.5.
Aeschylus, Eumenides, at lines 448-452:
“It is the law that he who is defiled by shedding blood shall be debarred all speech until the blood of a suckling victim shall have besprinkled him by the ministrations of one empowered to purify from murder. Long since, at other houses, have I been thus purified both by victims and flowing streams.”
Here we see that the Greeks believed that one may be cleansed of sin either by baptism (“flowing streams”) or by the blood of sacrifice . Compare Heb. 9:13: “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh...”
Yet the idea that men may be cleansed from sin by immersion in flowing streams at the hands of another, which we see in the Baptism of John, is not even completely presented in that manner in the Old Testament!
Euripides, Bacchae, from line 206:
Bacchae is a play about the feast of Bacchus, another name for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry. The poet puts these words into the mouth of the character Teiresias: “Will someone say that in preparing to dance with my head crowned with ivy I show no respect for my old age? No, for the god has not distinguished old from young where dancing is concerned: he wants to receive joint honor from everyone and to be magnified by all without exception.” So here we see that dancing is directly connected with the worship of a pagan god. And where is this in the Bible? I would assert that it is found at Exodus 32:4-8: “4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. 6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 7 ¶And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
Euripides, Iphigenia at Aulis, lines 70-75:
“The man who judged the goddesses (so runs the story men tell [the story of Alexandros', or Paris', judging Athena, Aphrodite and Hera]) came from Phrygia to Lacedaemon dressed in gaily colored clothing and gleaming with gold jewelry, the luxury of barbarians.” At Joshua 7:21 it can be seen that Israelites also despised these things: “When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”
Euripides, Iphigenia at Aulis, from line 1062:
“Loud was their cry: 'O daughter of Nereus, Chiron, the prophet who well knows the song of Phoebus says that you will bear a son who will be a light to Thessaly!”
Euripides, Bacchae, from lines 4-5:
The poet puts these words into the mouth of Dionysus: “I have exchanged my divine form for a mortal one and have come to the waters of Dirce and Ismenus.” The rivers are in the area of Thebes. Seeing this in Greek poetry, we can better understand Acts 14:11-12: “And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.”
Euripides, Helen, near lines 1087 and 1125:
The poet in both places describes women cutting their hair in grief or disgrace. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:6: “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”
The “shorn hair of mourning” is mentioned again in Alcestis, at line 511.
Euripides, Phoenician Women, from line 931:
“This boy must be slaughtered in the chamber where the earthborn snake, guardian of Dirce's waters, came to birth: he must give the earth a libation of blood because of the ancient grudge of Ares against Cadmus: Ares is now avenging the death of the earthborn snake. If you do this, you will have Ares as your ally. And if the ground receives offspring in place of offspring and mortal blood for blood, Earth will be propitious to you, Earth who once sent forth the gold-helmeted harvest of the Sown Men [Spartans]. One of this race must die, one begotten from the jaw of the snake. You are one of the last remaining members of the Sown Men here, of pure lineage on your mother's and father's side. [And so are your children. Haemon's coming marriage prevents him from being slaughtered, for he is not a man unwed. Even if he has not yet experienced the bed of love, still he has a wife.] This colt, sacrificial animal for the city, will rescue his fatherland by his death. Sorry is the homecoming he will give Adrastus and the Argives, casting black death upon their eyes, and glorious he will make Thebes. Of these two fates choose one: save your son or your city.”
How many Hebraisms are encapsulated here!
The idea of a cognizant “earthbound serpent”.
A race amongst the Dorians believed to have been sprung from the Serpent (hence the name “Sparta”, from a verb meaning to sow.
Ares the god of war and Cadmus the Phoenician founder of Thebes are at enmity. The serpent is associated with Ares through this story (see, for example, lines 657-659). Cadmus was also said to be the brother of Europa, and we see the Phoenician settlement of Europe as told in myth.
Propitiation by shedding of blood.
The death of one for the sake of a nation.
The father's sacrificing of a son on behalf of his nation.
The law that a man cannot go into battle who has recently married (one year in Deuteronomy).
Euripides, Ion, around line 440:
The poet puts in the mouth of the title character: “Since you have power, pursue goodness! Any mortal who is base is punished by the gods. So how is it right that you who prescribe laws for mortals should yourselves be guilty of lawlessness?” Among the Greeks, the gods were seen as lawgivers, just as the Hebrews received the law from God.
Euripides, Ion, line 1269:
“My guardian spirit did me a good turn before I came to Athens...”
Matthew 18:10: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
Euripides, Electra, line 654:
“Ten days ago, the time a women who has given birth keeps pure.”
Compare Leviticus 12:1-5: “1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.”
The Greeks just shortened it a little!
Euripides, Alcestis. Line 427:
Black garments worn in mourning.
Sackcloth was worn by mourning Hebrews, and that too was black, KJV Revelation 6:12: “ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood”.
The entire play is about death and resurrection. The heroine, Alcestis, chooses to die for her husband Admetus, whom The Fates decreed must die, unless another volunteer to take his place. Heracles then descends into Hades and defeats Death, bringing Alcestis back from the grave, and restored her to her husband.
The theme of several Greek Tragic poems, including Iphigenia Among the Taurians, Iphigenia at Aulis, and Hecuba. In the play Children of Heracles by Euripides, lines 579 and 591-592, a certain unnamed maiden about to be sacrificed laments her maidenhood. In one place she states “you see that I am sacrificing my chance of marriage” and in another “these deeds I have as treasures to replace children and the days of my maidenhood” and this compares to Judges 11:37, where Jephthah's daughter says of her impending sacrifice: “And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows”.
Euripides, Hippolytus, lines 962-963:
“...the bastard is always an enemy to the true-born”, compare to Hebrews 12:8: “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” and Galatians 4:29: “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. ”
Euripides, Hippolytus, 979-980:
In the case of a certain event, Hippolytus declares that “...the Skironian rocks near the sea shall deny that I am a scourge to evildoers!”
Compare Luke 19:39-40: “39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. ”
After spending a few years reading various classics, I wished I had made a list of cross-references containing Hebrew (Biblical) ideas that were expressed in Greek, because the Classical writers abound with them. Well, here is that list, compiled by Craufurd Tait Ramage and published in 1878! This work is, I believe, a monumental task of research and compilation for the time.
Many scoffers may say that this is coincidence, or perhaps the Greeks merely borrowed some ideas from the Hebrews. Yet the truth is that while one may borrow ideas from another people, the parallels between Greek and Hebrew culture represent an astounding number of core ideas far too similar, too frequent, and too early in Greek writing to have merely been borrowed. In truth, Greek culture is Hebrew, because most of the Greeks were Hebrews! Greco-Roman paganism, as are Keltic and Scythian-Germanic paganism, mere variations of the religions of Canaan which the Israelites were chastised for practicing and for which they were eventually expelled from the land and from the presence of God. They are the "other side" of the Old Testament story!