12-09-2019, 08:57 AM
#1
  • Barrylu
  • Senior Member
  • Portland OR
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This Essay is copywritten. Do not reproduce without the Authors permission.


Chanukah and Christmas a Connection?

Listen, my children and I shall tell you the real story of Chanukah. There are several myths concerning this festival. First Chanukah is a festival, not a holiday. Therefore Chanukah rates far lower on the list of Jewish days of observance. Secondly, although there is no connection between Chanukah and Christmas. The two festivals do share a commonality. That is both events really did not occur around the winter solstice. Jesus of Nazareth was probably born in August. The event celebrating Chanukah occurred around Purim which is celebrated in March.

The Catholic Church and the Rabbis changed the dates of both events for essentially the same reasons. Most holidays and religious events occur during the winter months purposely. The ancient societies were agrarian-based. During planting, growing and harvesting season the ruling classes and priesthood did not want any delays during the growing season. Time was better spent by the populace in the fields. Religious holidays were moved as much as possible to the winter months. The winter months were relatively idle months for the farmers. Moving most of the holidays to the winter months insured the populace relying on the clergy and staying faithful.

Harvest holidays obviously could not be moved. Therefore, Sukkot was celebrated out in the fields in temporary structures. This type of observance did not interfere with the primary necessity of harvesting the crops.

Briefly, the story of Chanukah goes something like this. The Greeks had captured a temple. The Zealots led by Judah Maccabee battled the Greeks, killed most of them and recaptured the temple. The Zealots cleansed the temple and rededicated the temple. The Greeks attacked again and the Zealots were forced to fight from within the temple. Unfortunately, there was only enough oil to keep the lamp above the Torah lit for one day. The battle to keep the temple raged for eight days until the Zealots finally banished the remainder of the Greek invaders. Somehow, miraculously, the one day's supply of oil lasted and burned brightly for the entire eight days. The festival celebrates the miracle of the oil rather than the outcome of the battle. The only report of the battle was written by the historian Flavius Josephus. Josephus described the event as an eight-day battle. The Zealots won the battle, cleansed and rededicated the Temple in time to celebrate a holiday. The holiday is believed to be Purim which occurs in March. Josephus makes no mention of a miracle or lamp oil.

The tale of the miracle makes its first appearance in the Talmud. The Talmud was written some 500 years after the event occurred. At the time the Talmud was written the populace was still celebrating the victory of the Zealots over the Greeks. This celebration, however, created problems for the Rabbis. First of all, celebrating an event where people were killed, even if they were the enemy, did not sit well with the Rabbis. Secondly, at this time the Romans were occupying Jerusalem. The celebration of an event where the Jews defeated an occupying army would not be politically astute during the time the Romans had control of the country. Finally, at that time, there was a pagan ritual that was still celebrated at the Winter Solstice. The custom was as the days became shorter large barn fires were lit every night for a week to please the Gods and cause them to start lengthening the daylight hours again. Now the miracle of the oil shows it's first appearance. The festival is moved to December. The festival commemorates a miracle rather than a battle. The Romans are not made to feel threatened and the barn fires are replaced with candles for eight days.

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 12-09-2019, 11:54 AM
#2
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(12-09-2019, 08:57 AM)Barrylu Wrote: This Essay is copywritten. Do not reproduce without the Authors permission.


                                                            Chanukah and Christmas a Connection?

Listen, my children and I shall tell you the real story of Chanukah. There are several myths concerning this festival. First Chanukah is a festival, not a holiday. Therefore Chanukah rates far lower on the list of Jewish days of observance. Secondly, although there is no connection between Chanukah and Christmas. The two festivals do share a commonality. That is both events really did not occur around the winter solstice. Jesus of Nazareth was probably born in August. The event celebrating Chanukah occurred around Purim which is celebrated in March.

The Catholic Church and the Rabbis changed the dates of both events for essentially the same reasons. Most holidays and religious events occur during the winter months purposely. The ancient societies were agrarian-based. During planting, growing and harvesting season the ruling classes and priesthood did not want any delays during the growing season. Time was better spent by the populace in the fields. Religious holidays were moved as much as possible to the winter months. The winter months were relatively idle months for the farmers. Moving most of the holidays to the winter months insured the populace relying on the clergy and staying faithful.

Harvest holidays obviously could not be moved. Therefore, Sukkot was celebrated out in the fields in temporary structures. This type of observance did not interfere with the primary necessity of harvesting the crops.

Briefly, the story of Chanukah goes something like this. The Greeks had captured a temple. The Zealots led by Judah Maccabee battled the Greeks, killed most of them and recaptured the temple. The Zealots cleansed the temple and rededicated the temple. The Greeks attacked again and the Zealots were forced to fight from within the temple. Unfortunately, there was only enough oil to keep the lamp above the Torah lit for one day. The battle to keep the temple raged for eight days until the Zealots finally banished the remainder of the Greek invaders. Somehow, miraculously, the one day's supply of oil lasted and burned brightly for the entire eight days. The festival celebrates the miracle of the oil rather than the outcome of the battle. The only report of the battle was written by the historian Flavius Josephus. Josephus described the event as an eight-day battle. The Zealots won the battle, cleansed and rededicated the Temple in time to celebrate a holiday. The holiday is believed to be Purim which occurs in March. Josephus makes no mention of a miracle or lamp oil.

   The tale of the miracle makes its first appearance in the Talmud. The Talmud was written some 500 years after the event occurred. At the time the Talmud was written the populace was still celebrating the victory of the Zealots over the Greeks. This celebration, however, created problems for the Rabbis. First of all, celebrating an event where people were killed, even if they were the enemy, did not sit well with the Rabbis. Secondly, at this time the Romans were occupying Jerusalem. The celebration of an event where the Jews defeated an occupying army would not be politically astute during the time the Romans had control of the country. Finally, at that time, there was a pagan ritual that was still celebrated at the Winter Solstice. The custom was as the days became shorter large barn fires were lit every night for a week to please the Gods and cause them to start lengthening the daylight hours again. Now the miracle of the oil shows it's first appearance. The festival is moved to December. The festival commemorates a miracle rather than a battle. The Romans are not made to feel threatened and the barn fires are replaced with candles for eight days.

Interesting stuff. So it seems the Talmud took on a political tone by calming the Romans.  I wasn't aware of this stuff.

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 12-09-2019, 08:42 PM
#3
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Interesting read about the shifting of holiday observances. Thanks, Barry for your interpretation on the rest. I always enjoy reading your essays Smile

I know it’s pushing the season a bit but, Happy Holidays Nook!

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 12-09-2019, 09:27 PM
#4
  • SCOV
  • Senior Member
  • Minnesota
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Educational - thanks

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 12-10-2019, 04:18 AM
#5
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(12-09-2019, 08:57 AM)Barrylu Wrote: This Essay is copywritten. Do not reproduce without the Authors permission.

Jesus of Nazareth was probably born in August.

Two nits I pick:  

(1)  Although, as you note, Jesus probably was not born around the time of the winter solstice, there is less than a consensus as to the season when he was born; but there is a substantial cohort of scholars who suggest that the birth took place in Spring.  The basis for that conclusion is found in the Gospel of Luke, which was written in the later decades (probably the seventh decade) of the first century, but, as a Synoptic Gospel, had as a principal source the earlier proto-Gospel of Matthew, which was also the main source of the Gospel of Mark.  Specifically, the text relied upon is Luke 2:8.

Luke Wrote:Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch through the night over their flock.
The Revised English Bible. Copyright 1996, Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.

Generally, in the Levant in the first century, shepherds did not maintain night watches over their flocks, except during (1) lion scares, or (2) lambing season.  Sheep (ewes), unlike humans, give birth only in Spring,  Lions can show up at any time, of course.  Therefore, on the basis of the common annual event (lambing season), the prevailing view among scholars is that Jesus was born in Spring.

(2) My day job for several decades was as an intellectual property lawyer.  As a professional observer of third parties' speech patterns, I have concluded that a very substantial proportion of misconceptions and consequent misinterpretations of copyright law and of trademark law are the direct result of using "copyright" or "trademark" as verb forms.  Substantially fewer people fall into conceptual traps when they construct sentences to use "copyright" or "trademark" in their original form as nouns.  

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 12-10-2019, 10:50 AM
#6
  • Barrylu
  • Senior Member
  • Portland OR
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(12-10-2019, 04:18 AM)Mel S Meles Wrote: [quote='Barrylu' pid='938721' dateline='1575910622']
This Essay is copywritten. Do not reproduce without the Authors permission.

Jesus of Nazareth was probably born in August.

Two nits I pick:  

(1)  Although, as you note, Jesus probably was not born around the time of the winter solstice, there is less than a consensus as to the season when he was born; but there is a substantial cohort of scholars who suggest that the birth took place in Spring.  The basis for that conclusion is found in the Gospel of Luke, which was written in the later decades (probably the seventh decade) of the first century, but, as a Synoptic Gospel, had as a principal source the earlier proto-Gospel of Matthew, which was also the main source of the Gospel of Mark.  Specifically, the text relied upon is Luke 2:8.

Luke Wrote:Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch through the night over their flock.
The Revised English Bible. Copyright 1996, Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.

Generally, in the Levant in the first century, shepherds did not maintain night watches over their flocks, except during (1) lion scares, or (2) lambing season.  Sheep (ewes), unlike humans, give birth only in Spring,  Lions can show up at any time, of course.  Therefore, on the basis of the common annual event (lambing season), the prevailing view among scholars is that Jesus was born in Spring.

(2) My day job for several decades was as an intellectual property lawyer.  As a professional observer of third parties' speech patterns, I have concluded that a very substantial proportion of misconceptions and consequent misinterpretations of copyright law and of trademark law are the direct result of using "copyright" or "trademark" as verb forms.  Substantially fewer people fall into conceptual traps when they construct sentences to use "copyright" or "trademark" in their original form as nouns.  

Thank you for your reply. I do not pretend to be a lawyer or theologian. I am, however, an academic. Point 1 is simply when the Julian calendar was created the church fathers moved the birth of Jesus to the winter Solstice for the same reason that Chanukah was moved from March to December. Thank you for correcting my misinterpretation of Copywrite law.

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 12-13-2019, 07:09 AM
#7
  • RyznRio
  • Active Member
  • Connecticut
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what I remember from my 12 years of Catholic school education is that Chanukah and Christmas were put together as the early Christians were Jews who followed a Jewish teacher named Jesus. Since all the other Jews who did not follow the teachings of Jesus were having a festival; the early Christian church had to have something for the new converts to celebrate or their new converts might slip back to Judaism which was the established religion that they were born into. what better to celebrate than the birthday of Jesus. 

Notice how Passover and Easter also come together.

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