THE MEDIEVAL ALCHEMY:BRAVE SCIENTISTS OR WIZARDS WHO CHALLENGED THE CHURCH?

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THE SECRET CODE OF WAR BETWEEN RELIGION AND SCIENCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES

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“The true alchemists do not change  lead into gold, they change the world into words.”

-William H. Gass

They have been special people, devoted to save the human beings, to save the world from the jaws of primitivism and the darkness of ignorance. They had their own rituals behind the unquestionable rules of the Church and those who played God on the Earth. They were alchemists, the defender of the common sense in the age when everything was against the common sense. The forgotten men and women of our civilization history that have changed the whole rhythm of the mankind’s progress, giving us hope that knowledge will be preserved and it will prevail.

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The European alchemist  underground in the Middle ages hasn’t been a  new one  because the experiments with the science have been made by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, 2000 BC. It was written that Egyptian alchemists tried to make gold from lead by by painting  lead by egg yolk. It doesn’t surprise that Greek word alchemy means The  Egyptian Art. However, Greek philosophers later in 600 BC have been more thinkers and theoretically interested to explain the unseen laws of the world than to really make something and create. The Romans have been also on the  philosophical level but the both have made the crucial fundamentals for the real empiric sciences that will have been used in the medieval times by the people who wanted more than just a theory.

The main problem for the development of the science was the fall of the Roman Empire and the coming of the famous Dark Ages. Finally the Church had found a way to destroy the teaching that could endanger it or to question its beliefs and unfortunately, the Roman brilliant package of discoveries have been delivered to the monks who decided what will keep and what will forever erase. On the other side of the world, the Islamic scholars have been followed the work of the Greeks and tried to keep going their basic theories and ideas. Some amazing Greek and Roman scientists  and their thoughts have come to us  because of the Muslim thinkers  who have kept those books and saved them from total collapse in the  medieval time. One of such discoveries that Arabs have preserved from losing is definitely the  Roman art of glassblowing. But, the full exchange between West and Near East has been started after the era of Crusades so the first drops of progressed interpretations had  fed the hungry European soul.

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Before the glorious praise of science and the Renaissance that began around 1350, there was a time of failed scientific attempts, cursed philosophies, damned thoughts and burnt free minds. The age of real and brave scientists hidden under the cloak of alchemists, who were dreaming about the world that is not in the shadow of God’s executors. They have been those who healed people when priests gave up on them, those who managed to make life easier even when the Church promised the hell on the Earth in the name of God. The opponents, questioners, changers, the blood of the mankind’s journey into the light.

It is the fact that the Middle times have been the worst time for the humanity but at the same time, the beauty of the flowers planted in the darkness has been indescribable. Like it was impossible to stop the army of the brave thinkers to fight against the dominance of the Bible when they have been sure they have something more accurate to offer to the people, to the whole world. The alchemy was their united answer on the witch hunting, their secret language of creating the knowledge and passing it further.

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The alchemists believed that everything is composed of the  four elements:earth, air, fire and water.If you make the right combination of those substantial elements, you can change the form of those things and rule over them.They were talking about some kind of  “transmutation”, that means that one substance can become another one. They hoped that through the right formula, they will be able to make gold from the lead, cure dangerous disease and prolong the short human life. It was enough for a Church to accuse them as devil-worshippers and enemies of the system based on the early cult that even Church people have never fully understood:“Alchemy in the Middle Ages was a mixture of science, philosophy and mysticism. Far from operating within the modern definition of a scientific discipline, medieval alchemists approached their craft with a holistic attitude; they believed that purity of mind, body and spirit was necessary to pursue the alchemical quest successfully.”

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What was the main interest of the medieval alchemists ? All of them wanted to understand the cosmology because they doubted some Earth’s  problems could be solved through the answers about the cosmos. The old idea about the “philosopher’s stone,” was a fuel for their research, hope that they will find that elixir of immortality and ancient letter of transmutation of things.  They tried to define the unknown diseases and their indicators, using the tools of alchemy so the numerous army of fascinating healers in the Middle Ages who successfully cured people has a lot to do with an intensive work of alchemy in the background.Paracelsus is just one of them, botaniker and occultists that advanced the medicine based on his alchemist experiments. There were many contributions of the forgotten medieval wizards. They produced hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, potash and sodium carbonate and learnt how to recognize the arsenic, antimony, and bismuth. It is worth of mentioning that they invented laboratory devices and procedures that are still used nowadays. The alchemy as itself opened the fertile base for genesis of chemistry, biophysics and astronomy.

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The Alchemy was a nightmare for the Catholic Church, that controlled all channels of the knowledge exchange, being afraid that somehow the sheep will decide to become lions. At the time when alchemy has been hidden as the biggest sin ever, the Bible warned flock to not follow the Devil’s steps or will be condemned and brutally punished. The Church insisted to keep the public enemy because that was an old receipt to ensure the absolute power. From mystical dark streets of the Venice, via some french basements and german forgotten tunnels,to the english royal elite,   the story about the magic of alchemy was transferred from one to another, from the teacher to his student, from the maestro to his apprentice.

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That was not an easy job, to work in the alchemy field and to keep it secret when everyone could be a Church’s spy and when you and your research could be burnt on the public square, followed by the sick sadism of the crowd that has never anything understood.They developed their own language, system of classification that divides magic into two categories: light and dark, good and evil:“Of course, their system of ‘natural magic’ was the good sort, working solely with the magic that existed in all natural things. The other, evil, sort was sorcery, whose practitioners were accused of gaining power from the devil to aid their own ends. The famous natural magician and alchemist Giambattista della Porta wrote:There are two sorts of magic: the one is infamous, and unhappy, because it has to do with foul spirits, and consists of enchantments and wicked curiosity, and this is called sorcery, an art which all learned and good men detest… the other magick is natural, which all excellent wise men embrace, and worship with great applause.”

While the alchemists enjoyed the popularity under the  Tudor reign in England, their colleagues in the continental Europe had fear for their own life. The Catholic Church has not wasted a time on convincing them to stop with alchemy, they would be condemned and punished. Many theologians have shown interest for alchemy and that was the reason for them to be expelled by the Church, if not worse.

Thomas Aquinas was the prominent Roman Catholic theologian, the Scholastic philosophy thinker,also known as  Angelic Doctor and alchemist.He was searching for the unity of faith and pure intellect and his wide range of articles and his operative philosophy, the mixture of universalism as the opposition to nominalism and conceptualism:“More successfully than any other theologian or philosopher, Aquinas organized the knowledge of his time in the service of his faith. In his effort to reconcile faith with intellect, he created a philosophical synthesis of the works and teachings of Aristotle and other classic sages; of Augustine and other church fathers; of Averroes, Avicenna, and other Islamic scholars; of Jewish thinkers such as Maimonides and Solomon ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol; and of his predecessors in the Scholastic tradition. This synthesis he brought into line with the Bible and Roman Catholic doctrine” It was written that he was a friend with Albertus Magnus, known as Albert of Cologne or Doctor Universalis, the man who was one of the most prolific writers and researchers of the medieval times. Doctor Magnus was also an alchemist, very notable one, in spite of the fact that he was a bishop.That would probably designed the road for Angelic Doctor to digg the mysteries  of the  golden alchemy. It is interesting to see how the Church had a bit of understanding for its own scholars in alchemy only f they used alchemy for promotion of Christian teachings. Some did that very intelligent like Doctor Magnus,who managed to study and experiment through the recognition of traditional Christian viewpoints.  In other words,he made a harmony between theology and pure science so everything he discovered and made, the Church adopted as its own success through the revelation:” He was canonized in 1931, and in 1941 he was declared the patron saint of all who cultivate the natural sciences by Pius XII.”

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Nevertheless, some alchemists were deceivers and they cheated people and caused problems in the society and in that case, the church authorities had right to act against that fraud.That was exactly happened  to Cajetani, an Italian alchemist, who defrauded so many people, he ended up by being hung.The problem was that under the accusations for heresy, always has been someone who doesn’t belong there and who was totally innocent and with the noble attributes. I would like to make clear that the Church hasn’t been negative towards alchemy that is not opposite to the Church’s teaching and for sure hasn’t burnt its own priests who were brilliant alchemists.. It was all about the final power. The religion didn’t want the science  to breathe in the freedom into the scared and sacred  community.

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The Middle age was the the dark age for humanity and free spirit but the big period for stating the rule of Church and its own teaching. What I found very inspirative is the fact that the medieval times caused the boom of science in spite of prohibitions and limitations. There were so many amazing thinkers and researchers that have changed forever the path of our world. Some of them sacrificed their own life for the knowledge and some have done remarkable things staying in the shadow of the God. Because of all of them then, we are here now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “THE MEDIEVAL ALCHEMY:BRAVE SCIENTISTS OR WIZARDS WHO CHALLENGED THE CHURCH?”

  1. Incredible article, how relevant that we still ignore science today unless it suits us. Many great thinkers had payed with their lives or freedom as the powerful church dictated and ruled over them and silenced their work.

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  2. Sarah’s article reminded me of the novel entitled Restoration (1989), by the English authoress Rose Tremain. It is an historical item interwoven with fact and fiction. Yet, the fact is associated with Prince Charles of England (1642-60) being exposed to many progressive thinkers in Continental Europe, during his exile throughout the English civil war and Republican period. He encountered physicians, architects, mathematicians and so on. When the Republic was dissolved in 1660 and he became King Charles II he wanted to gather about him the best minds possible in medicine, the arts, etc.; much like King Henry VIII did with the Humanists.

    Yet, there was another progenitor in this equation, The Great Plague of 1665-1666 in London: it was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England. The Great Plague killed an estimated 100,000 people, almost a quarter of London’s population in 18 months. The plague was caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected rat flea (probably, from The Levant – English mercantile trading there).

    The plague in London largely affected the poor; as the rich were able to leave the city by either retiring to their country estates or residing with kin in other parts of the country. After the plague, London was largely rebuilt and Parliament enacted the Rebuilding of London Act 1666: streets were widened, pavements were created and open sewers abolished. Not only was the capital rejuvenated, but it became a healthier environment in which to live. Physicians and the universities that graduated and qualified them were obliged to modify and improve the medical profession in England, also.

    King Charles ll did much to foster the rebuilding work. He was a patron of the arts and sciences and founded the Royal Observatory and supported The Royal Society; a scientific group whose early members included Sir Isaac Newton. In fact, out of the fire and pestilence flowed a renaissance in the arts and sciences, in England…

    Like 1666, the year 2017 is a time of darkness and light for humans: the challenges that compel us to co-operate with one another without condition bring out the best in people, always… This is the note upon which Sarah’s fine article ends.

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  3. A VILE GOD, A VILE BOOK AND A VILE PEOPLE

    THE GENOCIDAL GOD OF THE JEWS

    “I form the LIGHT, and create DARKNESS. I make PEACE, and create EVIL.
    I the LORD do all these things.” – Isaiah 45.7.

    All cultures have anthropomorphized their gods into humanoid (if sometimes grotesque) form. Were the Jews the exception? Hardly. We know precisely what the Hebrew god looked like. We are, after all, fashioned in his own likeness! “Yahweh”, in fact, is an abbreviation of the longer name, “Yahweh Sabaoth.” It means, “He who musters armies.” Thus Yahweh’s name identifies the god primarily as the military leader of the tribe. No wonder the God bequeathed to the world by the Jews turned out to be a monster.

    A GOD IN THE IMAGE OF THE JEW

    “The Lord is a man of war; Yahweh is his name.” – Exodus 15.3.

    “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”
    Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

    Without a doubt, the human race has been bludgeoned with books about this one tome, the Jewish Bible. The Jewish Bible is full of violence and ugly stories, with a few “feel-good” platitudes and parables interspersed. It’s hardly worth reading. Other than a handful of spiritual gems that can be found in virtually any religion, the Jewish Bible is irrelevant. A person with an innate sense of right and wrong needs none of its teachings, sparse as they are. Reading the Jewish Bible, in fact, can make one highly depraved. Many a serial rapist and killer has also been a Jewish Bible fanatic. They have taken seriously the punishments exacted throughout the Old Testament, such as stoning for “adulterous” women, “the Lord” punishing “his chosen” by making them eat each other, etc., ad nauseam.

    In Numbers 31:14-18, Moses becomes enraged that his minions hadn’t finished off the people of Midian after the Hebrews had destroyed and pillaged the Midianites’ cities and enslaved the survivors. Moses immediately orders his thugs to kill all the male children and married women but to reserve the virgin girls for themselves – to rape, of course.

    Hardly something we should be teaching our children. The Jewish Bible is the ultimate controlling device.

    NATURAL BORN KILLERS

    God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
    (Genesis 22.2)

    Boy terrified in ritual abuse in the mountains -Yahweh cult’s ‘Test of Fear’
    “God put Abraham to the test … Abraham built an altar … bound Isaac hand & foot … took the slaughtering knife to kill his son … But the angel of the Lord began calling … ‘Do not put out your hand against the boy …. for now I know that you fear the Lord …’ (Genesis 22.1,12)

    The story of Isaac is NOT a condemnation of child sacrifice. Isaac was spared not because human sacrifice was seen to be wrong but because Isaac was the “child of promise” and needed to survive. The yarn requires the normality of human sacrifice. Abraham was praised for his willingness to appease Yahweh by killing his own son. The sham murder of Isaac (the ‘Aquedah’) was the prototype for a ‘redemptive sacrificial death’ subsequently re-worked as the crucified Jesus.

    It should be noted that in the biblical text, Isaac (like Jesus) is repeatedly called “the only son” of Abraham (Genesis 22.2., 12., 16.) even though Abraham actually has another, older son, Ishmael.

    Moses orders Levite fanatics to murder 3000 golden-calf enthusiasts.
    (Exodus 32.27,29)

    BLESSED MURDERERS

    “‘Today,’ Moses said, ‘you have consecrated yourself to Yahweh, at the cost of your sons and brothers. And so he bestows a blessing on you today.'”

    When the Lord says kill everyone He means EVERYONE!
    Saul loses out:
    “You didn’t kill enough,” says the Lord. “You can’t be king!”

    “And Saul defeated the Amalekites … and devoted to destruction all the people … But Saul spared Agag and … all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
    And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” … Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully … And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.”
    – 1 Samuel 15

    The LORD delivers 10,000 Canaanites and Perizzites for slaughter in Bezek. As part of the fun 71 kings have their thumbs and big toes cut off.
    (Judges 1.2,7)

    “And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand … Then Judah went up, and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek.”
    – Judges 1.2-4.

    Elisha orders the assassination of Jezebel.
    (2 Kings 9,5,37)

    Joshua Slaughters 31 kings
    (Joshua 12.1,24)

    Elijah Murders 450 Priests of Baal.
    (1 Kings 18.40)

    Samson Slays 1000 Philistines (with an ass’s jawbone! )
    (Judges 15.16)

    King Amaziah of Judah (c. 801–783 BC) throws 10,000 captive Edomites from the top of a rock.
    (2 Chronicles 25.12)

    Usurper Jehu tricks all the priests of Baal into temple slaughter.
    (2 Kings 10.19.30)

    “Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them.”

    THE JEWISH GOD WAS DELIGHTED WITH THE MASSACRE

    “And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing right in mine eyes, hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the 4th generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”

    In Joshua’s (supposed) wars of conquest, God gets right in there. He throws down ‘great stones from heaven’ (Joshua 10.11) and scores a better body-count than his Israelites with mere swords. When the Lord gets up a real head of steam the slaughter reaches a truly epic scale. For merely looking into his Ark, Yahweh wipes out fifty thousand and seventy unfortunate men of Bethshemesh (1 Samuel 6.19). When King David slips up and orders a national census, an enraged God zaps seventy thousand.

    Quite apart from the celestial superman’s own killing, he animates his favourites into wiping out whole cities and nations. Jericho, Sodom, Gomorrah, Ai, Makkedah, Libnah etc., etc., are ‘smote and consumed’ – men, women, young, old, ox, sheep and ass!

    ‘You shall annihilate them – Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites – as Yahweh your God commanded you.’

    – Deuteronomy 20.11,18.

    In the largest single god-inspired massacre in the Bible, one million (1,000,000) Ethiopians are slaughtered! (2 Chronicles 14).

    MOSES AND SLAVERY

    Except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do. Yet slavery is rampant throughout the JEWISH Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. The JEWISH Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves.

    Many Jews and Christians will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants. Many translations of the JEWISH Bible use the word “servant”, “bondservant”, or “manservant” instead of “slave” to make the JEWISH Bible seem less immoral than it really is. While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn’t mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock.

    The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock.

    “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way”. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

    The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated.

    “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever”. (Exodus 21:2-6)

    Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants to become a permanent slave. What kind of family values are these?

    The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex slavery. How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a sex slave?

    “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment”. (Exodus 21:7-11)

    So these are the JEWISH Bible family values! A man can buy as many sex slaves as he wants as long as he feeds them, clothes them, and has sex with them!

    What does the JEWISH Bible say about beating slaves? It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property”. (Exodus 21:20-21)
    You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show.
    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ”. (Ephesians 6:5 )
    “Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them”. (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

    In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.
    The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48)

    The Jewish Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre

    In contemporary times, slavery is almost universally reviled; while human trafficking and similar practices are still far too common, people generally no longer argue that human beings should be owned like property. However, through most of human history, well into the nineteenth century, slavery was (notwithstanding the opinions of the enslaved) broadly accepted as an economic and social necessity.

    Slavery was an important facet of life in biblical times. Both the Old and the New Testaments have instructions regarding slaves which contemporary Jews and Christians generally disregard, and which Christian apologists frequently attempt to play down or deny.
    Some fringe Christian Biblical literalists, notably those who believe in Dominionism, argue that biblical instructions regarding slavery and its institutions are still relevant.

    SLAVERY IN THE JEWISH BIBLE
    The Bible identifies different categories of slaves including female Hebrew slaves, male Hebrew slaves, non-Hebrew and hereditary slaves. These were subject to different regulations.

    Female Hebrews could be sold by their fathers and enslaved for life (Exodus 21:7-11), but under some conditions.

    Male Hebrews could sell themselves into slavery for a six year period to eliminate their debts, after this period they might go free. However, if the male slave had been given a wife and had children with her, they would remain his master’s property. They could only stay with their family by becoming permanent slaves. (Exodus 21:2-5). Evangelical Christians, especially those who subscribe to Biblical inerrancy, will commonly emphasize this debt bondage and try to minimise the other forms of race-based chattel slavery when attempting to excuse the Bible for endorsing slavery.

    Non-Hebrews, on the other hand, could (according to Leviticus 25:44) be subjected to slavery in exactly the way that it is usually understood. The slaves could be bought, sold and inherited when their owner died. This, by any standard, is race- or ethnicity-based, and Leviticus 25:44-46 explicitly allows slaves to be bought from foreign nations or foreigners living in Israel. It does say that simply kidnapping Hebrews to enslave them is a crime punishable by death (Deuteronomy 24:7), but no such prohibition exists regarding foreigners. War captives could be made slaves, assuming they had refused to make peace (this applied to women and children-men were simply killed), along with the seizure of all their property.(Deuteronomy 20:10-15)
    Hereditary slaves were born into slavery and there is no apparent way by which they could obtain their freedom.
    So the Bible endorses various types of slavery, see below – though Biblical literalists only want to talk about one version and claim that it wasn’t really so bad.

    TYPES OF SLAVERY
    As previously stated the JEWISH Bible endorsed different types or grades of slavery.

    FEMALE HEBREW SLAVES
    Female Hebrew slaves were to be treated differently from males. Parents could sell their daughters into slavery. (Exodus 21:7-11)
    7If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 8If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. 9If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

    MALE HEBREW SLAVES
    Exodus 21:2-6:
    2If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. 3If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. 5But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ 6then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

    It is interesting to note that if a slave wishes to remain with his wife and family he must submit to his master for life.

    On the other hand Hebrew slaves – and only those Hebrew slaves who entered slavery “voluntarily” – got some severance package as described in Deuteronomy 15:12-15:
    12If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. 13When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. 15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.

    NON-HEBREW SLAVES
    If the Israelites wanted full slaves they were instructed in Leviticus 25:44-46:
    44As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. 45Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.

    HEREDITARY SLAVES
    The children of slaves were born into slavery. Exodus 21:4:
    If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.

    BEATING SLAVES
    Beating slaves was perfectly allowable under the following rules:
    Exodus 21:20-21:
    20If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. 21If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.

    Exodus 21:26-27:
    26If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

    ABDUCTION AND SLAVE TRADE
    Hebrews were not allowed to abduct fellow Hebrews and sell them.
    Exodus 21:16: 16
    He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.
    Given that the Hebrews were instructed in Leviticus 25 v 44 to obtain their slaves from the people around them, it is evident that this injunction to not abduct people referred to Hebrews and not non-Hebrews. Obtaining and selling non-Hebrews was evidently not a problem. Deuteronomy 24:7 specifies that only the abduction of Hebrews to enslave them is a crime.

    ESCAPED SLAVES
    An escaped slave could not be handed over to his master, and would gain full citizenship among Israelites:

    Deuteronomy 23:15-16:
    15You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

    However, as BibleTrack complementaries put it regarding Deut 23:15

    “Most students of the Old Testament agree that this regulation concerns a slave who has escaped from his master in some foreign land and sought refuge in Israel. We do know that, in addition to slaves captured in battle, debt slavery and voluntary slavery existed in Israel and was protected by law, so it seems unlikely that this law applies to those two categories of slaves. We simply aren’t given any detail beyond these two verses.

    SLAVERY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
    The New Testament makes no condemnation of slavery and does no more than admonish slaves to be obedient and their masters not to be unfair. Paul, or whoever wrote the epistles, at no time suggested there was anything wrong with slavery. One could speculate that this might have been because he wanted to avoid upsetting the many slave owners in the early Christian congregations or to keep on good political terms with the Roman government. Or, more probably, he simply thought slavery was an acceptable fact of life as did practically everyone else at the time.

    Ephesians 6:5-8:
    5Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

    Christian slaves were told to obey their masters “for the sake of the cause” and be especially obedient to Christian masters:

    1 Timothy 6:1-2:
    1All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. 2Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.
    There are instructions for Christian slave owners to treat their slaves well.
    Ephesians 6:9:
    9And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
    Colossians 4:1
    1Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

    One passage often cited by apologists as supposed evidence for New Testament condemnation of slavery is 1 Timothy 1:10. However, as the King James version accurately translates, this condemnation is of “men stealers” (Greek: andrapodistais), i.e. slave raiders who kidnapped and sold people as slaves, not slave traders or slave holders in general. So Paul only singled out slave raiders to be considered “lawless and rebellious,” and to be categorized with murderers, homosexuals, liars and oath breakers.

    The rather bland admonishment to slave masters by Paul is more than balanced by the demands for absolute obedience made of slaves. It is also rather telling that the masters are likened to God and Jesus, while the masters are simply told that they have a higher lord. So much for Jesus as the embodiment of the underdog – Paul could have pointed to Jesus’ imprisonment and death as a cautionary tale to slave masters that even humble(d) characters can be important.

    Before the apologist plays the “but Jesus didn’t condone slavery”-card, following all these Pauline examples, try reading Matthew 18:25, where Jesus uses slaves in a parable and has no qualms about recommending that not only a slave but also his wife and family be sold, while in other parables Jesus recommends that disobedient slaves should be beaten (Luke 12:47) or even killed (Matthew 24:51).

    MORAL RELATIVISM
    This is probably one of the clearest example of religious moral relativism.
    Most modern Christians prefer to avoid, or are unaware of, these sections of the JEWISH Bible. If forced to explain JEWISH Biblical justification for slavery, they may come up with something, but fortunately Christians as a group think it would be wrong to reintroduce slavery. Christian attempts to justify what is in the JEWISH Bible can lead to them sanctioning things that most moral humanists, and even most Christians, would say are wrong, as can be seen from the quote below.

    CHRISTIANS ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY SLAVERY:

    “They ‘shall be of the heathen’ is the key phrase here. God approved of slavery in this instance only because it was His hope that those who became slaves of the Israelites from foreign nations might “be saved.” Even though they would lose their earthly freedom, God hoped that they would gain eternal freedom by coming to know Him, which is far more important.”

    ATTEMPTS TO JUSTIFY THE JEWISH BIBLE’S SLAVERY PASSAGES

    Argument 1: “Slavery in the Bible was more enlightened than that of 17th-19th Century America and other Ancient Near East cultures.”

    Even granting this point for the sake of argument, this fails to answer the simple question: is owning another human ever moral, or not? The relative kindness of a slave owner does not enter into the basic moral question of owning other humans as property.

    Argument 2: “They could be let go after 6 years” or “It was a mechanism for protecting the those who could not pay their debts.” (A.k.a. “Debt bondage”)

    Only some Hebrew male slaves were to be freed in the 7th year (Exodus 21:2). Slaves from surrounding countries could be kept as property forever (Leviticus 25:44-46). A further exception pertains to women whose fathers sold them into slavery, and for whom there was no release after six years (Exodus 21:7).

    Argument 3: The Bible restricted slave owners’ actions (Exodus 21:20).

    Exodus 21:20 does mandate punishment for a master who kills a slave with a rod, but the very next verse says “But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property” (NRSV). The NIV, by contrast, translates this verse as “if the slave recovers after a day or two”, which changes its meaning. Either way, the emphasis is that the slave is first and foremost property, and therefore the greatest loss is to the owner, whose slave was “as good as money”.

    Argument 4: “Slavery was allowed by God because of the time period, but was not the ideal will of God.”

    There are many ways a creative, all-knowing, and all-powerful deity could make it clear that slavery is immoral while, for instance, giving the Israelite economy a grace period to let slavery “wind down”, should that be necessary. The passages concerning slavery from the Pentateuch (e.g. Exodus 21:2-7, Leviticus 25:44-46), by contrast, provide guidelines that allow for slavery to continue indefinitely. New Testament writers, too, who had an opportunity to overturn or clarify the Pentateuch’s instructions, did not do so.
    Also it seems improbable that a God who was capable of assassinating israelites by the thousand if they did not follow his instructions to the letter would baulk at telling them to give up slaves.

    Argument 5: “The term ‘slave’ is a poor translation. It should be ‘servant’.”

    This may be plausible in some contexts, but not for Leviticus 25:46, which specifically allows that slaves are property who may be inherited by the owner’s children and kept for life. This passage makes no sense unless they are discussing slavery—permanent ownership of one human by another—as we know it today.

    Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23) makes no sense if said “servant” is not a slave, since the master has the power to sell both the “servant”, his wife and his children (Matthew 18:25).

    It also makes little sense in the case of Matthew 24:51 in which these “servants” may be not only beaten by their master (as in Luke 12:47), but that the master “shall cut him asunder” in the words of the King James translation.

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