14 December 2011

God hath done these things: The Apocrypha to the Rescue!

I've struggled a bit lately with the Book of Esther.

It is filled with preemptive war and genocidal ethnic cleansing, that the author clearly supported and glorified. But since the book makes no mention of God, directly or indirectly, it's difficult to blame God for the killings -- or claim that he inspired them, or even approved of them, for that matter. (Except in the sense that since God inspired the author of the Book of Esther, he approved of whatever the author approved.)

Which is why the apocrypha comes in so handy.

Here are the first words of the additions to the Book of Esther, as taken from the Catholic Douay-Reims version.

Then Mardochai said: God hath done these things.

The folks at DRBO.org add this helpful note to Esther 10:4.

[4] Then Mardochai: Here St. Jerome advertiseth the reader, that what follows is not in the Hebrew, but is found in the septuagint Greek edition, which the seventy-two interpreters translated out of the Hebrew, or added by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

So we know that Esther 10:4 was added through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and that therefore, God was responsible for the killings in the Book of Esther.
(See also 10:10, 12; 11:12; 13:8, 18, 14:1-2, 15:3, 5; 16:10-18, and 21)

Thank God for the Apocrypha!

For some time now, I have wanted to add the Apocrypha (or what Catholics call the Deutero-canonical books) to the SAB. I've finally started with the book of Esther.

As I go along, I'll add the apocryphal killings to the list of killings in the Catholic Bible. That way, I'll have two lists: one for the Protestants and one for the Catholics.

08 December 2011

Happy Bo Day!

Sorry for not posting lately, but I have a good excuse. I've spent the last couple weeks in Hawaii.

And here's what I have to show for it.

A Bo (or Bodhi) tree, the tree that the Buddha sat under when he achieved enlightenment.

Well, OK, it wasn't this tree that Buddha supposedly sat under on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month (December 8th this year, I guess) in 596 BCE while being tempted by Mara (the Buddhist version of Satan) and his daughters, before driving them all away with an earthquake. But it was a tree of this species: Ficus religiosa.
(The tree in my picture was taken at the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu.)

After getting enlightened, the Buddha stood in front of the sacred tree and stared, without blinking, for an entire week.

Me, I just took a picture.