Alexander the Great


#1

Does the Catholic church ever talk about Alexander the Great?
Is anything about him in the Bible?..i remeber that large idol in Daniel that has the gold and iron and wood and stuff and i think one of them was talking about a greek empire, is this the same thing?
I dont know where to look. there are lots places that talk about the man and his greatness, but i cant find any information concerning Bible history that is more that a few sentences. Did all this happen during the time the jews were in Bablyon or something?


#2

No, the persians released the jews and let them return to their lands.


#3

I’ll make this simple, with approximate dates, just to give a sense of the timeline.

Jerusalem was overun by the Babylonians first. Leading citizens were taken to Babylon and the first temple was destroyed. (c 586 BC)

The book of Daniel is supposed to be an account of this period, with Daniel in Babylon during the exile. Although the book refers to them as the Chaldeans. It was actually written much later (possibly during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucids).

The Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire and got the whole thing up to the border with Egypt (539 BC), expanding later into Egypt and across Anatolia right into the region where the Greeks lived. They seized control of the Greek coastline on the eastern side of the Aegean Sea. Twice the Persions attacked the Greek lands on the western side of the Aegean Sea, (490 and 480 BC) but they made no permanent success.

Philip, king of Macedon, conquered the disunified Greek city-states (c 345-340 BC): Athens, Thebes, Sparta, the whole thing that the Persians had been unable to conquer, he made plans to invade the Greek provinces of the Persian Empire but died. His successor was Alexander, his son.

(All of this time, the province of Israel and Judah was controlled by the Persians. Those Jews who wished were permitted to migrate back to Israel/Judah)

Alexander attacked the Persian Empire with stunning success, eventually leading his armies over Israel/Judah (c 330 BC) into Egypt and then eastward again to India.

The Alexandrian Greek-speaking Empire broke up upon the death of Alexander. The leading generals (diadochi) agreed amongst themselves to divide the conquests. This was the advent of Helenism on the oriental world.

General Ptolomy obtained Egypt and Israel/Judah, Cyprus, Crete and Rhodes. With General Seleucus getting much (but not all) of the rest. The Seleucid dynasty eventually seized control of the Israel/Judah region (198 BC) from the Ptolomies of Egypt and held it until the Hasmoneans wrenched out their independence. (c 164-143 BC) This was a long fight, full of open battles and political intrigues. The time of the books of Maccabees and the festival of lights the Jews call Channukah.

Afterward, the Romans under Pompey came to control the Hasmonean state (c 63 BC). And the rest is, as they say, history.

So Alexander doesn’t get much mention, there was a lot going on. :slight_smile: But in Daniel his empire is the fourth kingdom “strong as iron” Dan 2:40-41 [size=2]“it shall be a divided kingdom”[/size]

+T+


#4

nice sum up. but i think (unless i missed it) that you neglected one small bit - that maccabees mentions alexander by name. i thought that worthy of mention. otherwise - nice history lesson. :slight_smile:


#5

[quote=jeffreedy789]nice sum up. but i think (unless i missed it) that you neglected one small bit - that maccabees mentions alexander by name. i thought that worthy of mention. otherwise - nice history lesson. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

You are so right!

That’s the first thing it says!

Thanks


#6

Many conservative scholars would disagree with that late date of Daniel. In my oppinion it (the liberal late date) makes the book’s claims deceitful, and robs the prophecies contained within it of all merit and purpose.


#7

[quote=twf]Many conservative scholars would disagree with that late date of Daniel. In my oppinion it (the liberal late date) makes the book’s claims deceitful, and robs the prophecies contained within it of all merit and purpose.
[/quote]

Yes, I agree.


#8

'That’s the first thing it says!

Thanks’

no prob. :slight_smile: i always find it interesting when we see correlations between sacred and secular history - and this was one that stood out in my mind.


#9

[quote=jeffreedy789]'That’s the first thing it says!

Thanks’

no prob. :slight_smile: i always find it interesting when we see correlations between sacred and secular history - and this was one that stood out in my mind.
[/quote]

A lot of the Bible is “secular history.” in that it looks back to past events. There is a tendency among secular historians, howver, to the reverse of what used to be done, which is to measure what is recorded in the Bible by other sources rather than the other way around. The destruction caused by the Tsunami has got me to thinking again of the universal deluge described in Genesis. Such an event must have been even more memorable.


#10

i’m not sure what you mean by secular history, and i have no idea what looking at past events has to do with being secular.

what i meant was sacred history - meaning biblical and church history - versus secular history - meaning history written outside of the Bible and church.

just for clarification.


#11

[quote=jeffreedy789]i’m not sure what you mean by secular history, and i have no idea what looking at past events has to do with being secular.

what i meant was sacred history - meaning biblical and church history - versus secular history - meaning history written outside of the Bible and church.

just for clarification.
[/quote]

Until about 200 years ago, the Bible was treated as a history book. Liberal Bible scholars have devoted a lot of time trying to convince us that it is all “myth” and trying to get to the “real” meaning of it all. They believe nothing that is related in the Bible is historically true unless it is confirmed by some other source.


#12

The Bible doesn’t have to be 100% factually accurate in order to contain Truth. The Bible simply isn’t a history book or a science book in the modern sense, I accept that.

I enjoy reading Bible commentaries and Bible research. I am always interested in biblical archeology. It is always a great pleasure to see discoveries and research confirm biblical history, but I don’t live for that, it’s not really that important.

I realize that there will be sceptics and atheists who will attempt to use discrepancies (real or imagined) to try and discredit Holy Scripture, but not all Bible scholars are so motivated, even of the ones who appear to be “liberal”.

My Faith doesn’t rest on the concept that the Bible is completely accurate in every detail, the Truths it teaches stand way above and beyond the minutiae.

+T+


#13

[quote=Catholic Dude]Is anything about him in the Bible?..i remeber that large idol in Daniel that has the gold and iron and wood and stuff and i think one of them was talking about a greek empire, is this the same thing?
[/quote]

I don’t know if these are all the same Alexander. I think many of them refer to Alex the G, though. Pay close attention to the footnotes…

vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/1/GN.HTM


#14

Hesychios: To the extent that we understand Scripture as the author meant it to be understood, Holy Mother Church binds us to accept that the original inspired manuscripts had no errors. All alledged contradictions and errors have been answered by conservative scholars. (Some minor number and name errors can easily be attributed to scribal error as well).
See the Vatican II Council’s Apostolic Constitution on Divine Revelation for an affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture. (Besides many papal pronoucements in the past).


#15

[quote=twf]Hesychios: To the extent that we understand Scripture as the author meant it to be understood, Holy Mother Church binds us to accept that the original inspired manuscripts had no errors. All alledged contradictions and errors have been answered by conservative scholars. (Some minor number and name errors can easily be attributed to scribal error as well).
See the Vatican II Council’s Apostolic Constitution on Divine Revelation for an affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture. (Besides many papal pronoucements in the past).
[/quote]

The perception of the universe and understanding of history at the time of the biblical authors was imperfect, because God was working through real humans with real limitations.

Discrepencies in place names, dates etc. are the result of human limitations and do not affect the teaching on innerrancy. Isn’t that what you are trying to say? :wink:

The human errrors don’t bother me, the Truths contained in the Bible necessary for our salvation are sufficient.


#16

Hi all!

You might find this interesting:

**

**Alexander and the Jews_ **
by Rabbi Ken Spiro

The one pivotal scene that you won’t see in any movie sets the stage for the story of Chanukah.

With two star-studded motion pictures featuring Colin Farrel and Leonardo DiCaprio, Alexander the Great seems to be suddenly all the rage. In keeping with the spirit of Hollywood, the movies will probably focus on Alexander’s impressive military career, his colossal battles with the Persian Empire and his sordid personal life. What will be overlooked are the fascinating interactions Alexander had with the Jewish people and the complex relationship that developed between the Greeks and the Jews that set the stage for the story of Chanukah.

(…).

DETOUR TO ISRAEL
During his military campaign against Persia, Alexander took a detour to the south, conquering Tyre and then Egypt via what is today Israel. There is a fascinating story about Alexander’s first encounter with the Jews of Israel, who were subjects of the Persian Empire.

The narrative concerning Alexander’s first interaction with the Jews is recorded in both the Talmud (Yoma 69a) and in the Jewish historian Josephus’s Book of Antiquities (XI, 321-47). In both accounts the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, fearing that Alexander would destroy the city, went out to meet him before he arrived at the city. The narrative describes how Alexander, upon seeing the High Priest, dismounted and bowed to him. (Alexander rarely, if ever, bowed to anyone). In Josephus’s account, when asked by his general, Parmerio, to explain his actions, Alexander answered, “I did not bow before him, but before that God who has honored him with the high Priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very apparel.”

Alexander interpreted the vision of the High Priest as a good omen and thus spared Jerusalem, peacefully absorbing the Land of Israel into his growing empire. As tribute to his benign conquest, the Sages decreed that the Jewish firstborn of that time be named Alexander – which remains a Jewish name to this very day. And the date of their encounter, the 25th of Tevet, was declared a minor holiday.

(…).

Link:
aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Alexander_and_the_Jews_.asp

Be well!

ssv :wave:
**


#17

[quote=Hesychios]I’ll make this simple, with approximate dates, just to give a sense of the timeline.

Jerusalem was overun by the Babylonians first. Leading citizens were taken to Babylon and the first temple was destroyed. (c 586 BC)

The book of Daniel is supposed to be an account of this period, with Daniel in Babylon during the exile. Although the book refers to them as the Chaldeans. It was actually written much later (possibly during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucids).

The Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire and got the whole thing up to the border with Egypt (539 BC), expanding later into Egypt and across Anatolia right into the region where the Greeks lived. They seized control of the Greek coastline on the eastern side of the Aegean Sea. Twice the Persions attacked the Greek lands on the western side of the Aegean Sea, (490 and 480 BC) but they made no permanent success.

Philip, king of Macedon, conquered the disunified Greek city-states (c 345-340 BC): Athens, Thebes, Sparta, the whole thing that the Persians had been unable to conquer, he made plans to invade the Greek provinces of the Persian Empire but died. His successor was Alexander, his son.

(All of this time, the province of Israel and Judah was controlled by the Persians. Those Jews who wished were permitted to migrate back to Israel/Judah)

Alexander attacked the Persian Empire with stunning success, eventually leading his armies over Israel/Judah (c 330 BC) into Egypt and then eastward again to India.

The Alexandrian Greek-speaking Empire broke up upon the death of Alexander. The leading generals (diadochi) agreed amongst themselves to divide the conquests. This was the advent of Helenism on the oriental world.

General Ptolomy obtained Egypt and Israel/Judah, Cyprus, Crete and Rhodes. With General Seleucus getting much (but not all) of the rest. The Seleucid dynasty eventually seized control of the Israel/Judah region (198 BC) from the Ptolomies of Egypt and held it until the Hasmoneans wrenched out their independence. (c 164-143 BC) This was a long fight, full of open battles and political intrigues. The time of the books of Maccabees and the festival of lights the Jews call Channukah.

Afterward, the Romans under Pompey came to control the Hasmonean state (c 63 BC). And the rest is, as they say, history.

So Alexander doesn’t get much mention, there was a lot going on. :slight_smile: But in Daniel his empire is the fourth kingdom “strong as iron” Dan 2:40-41 [size=2]“it shall be a divided kingdom”[/size]

+T+
[/quote]

I thought this was an excellent summary of the period between the deportation to Babylon and the return.

Maggie


#18

[quote=jeffreedy789]nice sum up. but i think (unless i missed it) that you neglected one small bit - that maccabees mentions alexander by name. i thought that worthy of mention. otherwise - nice history lesson. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

:slight_smile: that is a very good point. This is the first reference to Alexander the Great. He did not have a lot of influence on the history of the Hebrew because he died at a very young age.

The best information on Alexander the Great comes from the Greek historians, and not the Scripture. My original source was JB Bury on Greek History, but my book disappeared during a move and I have not seen it for several years.

MaggieOH


#19

[quote=RobbyS]A
The destruction caused by the Tsunami has got me to thinking again of the universal deluge described in Genesis. Such an event must have been even more memorable.
[/quote]

The funny thing is, it has also had me thinking about what the writers were trying to say about the flood. I have been speculating (within my mind) that perhaps the “flood” was a tsunami as well as other weather conditions thrown in for good measure.

“the waters swelled, lifting the ark until it was raised above the earth. The waters rose and swelled greatly on the earth, and the ark sailed on the waters. The waters swelled more and more on the earth so that all the highest mountains under the whole of heaven were submerged. The water rose 15 cubits higher, submerging the mountains.” (Gen 7:17-20)

MaggieOH


#20

[quote=RobbyS]Until about 200 years ago, the Bible was treated as a history book. Liberal Bible scholars have devoted a lot of time trying to convince us that it is all “myth” and trying to get to the “real” meaning of it all. They believe nothing that is related in the Bible is historically true unless it is confirmed by some other source.
[/quote]

However, if you say that it is a history book then you also take away from what the Scripture is trying to give us as the Truth. Granted, some scholars go too far, but I think that we can acknowledge that the Genesis accounts are stories that have been told to the people to explain Creation etc. in very simple terms. It is very difficult to see how one can say for example that the Genesis account of the creation of the world is to be taken in its most literal sense, that is the world was made in 6 twenty-four hour periods. It is accurate to say that the intention of the author was to convey the story of Creation in this way so that we understand the order of Creation. However, it is inaccurate to claim that all this happened in the space of a literal week. At the end of each passage it says “Evening came and morning came: the third fourth, fifth etc) day.” (Gen 1:13)

The manner in which this is written suggests that the author is indicating the passing of time, but not time as we understand the literal 24 hours.

Personally, I do not accept all of the modern scholarship, but there are parts that provide room for thought. I totally reject the Jesus Seminar and all who subscribe to that type of scholarship. I do not accept the theory of Q and I reject any scholarship that claims the New Testament contains myth.

MaggieOH


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