Left-hand path and right-hand path
In Western esotericism the Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path are the dichotomy between two opposing approaches to magic. This terminology is used in various groups involved in the ceremonial magic. In some definitions, the Left-Hand Path is equated with malicious black magic and the Right-Hand Path with benevolent white magic. Other occultists have criticised this definition, believing that the Left–Right dichotomy refers to different kinds of working and does not connote good or bad magical actions. In more recent definitions, which base themselves on the terms' origins in Indian Tantra, the Right-Hand Path, or RHP, is seen as a definition for those magical groups that follow specific ethical codes and adopt social convention, while the Left-Hand Path adopts the opposite attitude, espousing the breaking of taboo and the abandoning of set morality; some contemporary occultists, such as Peter J. Carroll, have stressed that both paths can be followed by a magical practitioner, as they have the same goals.
The Right-Hand Path is thought to refer to magical or religious groups which adhere to a certain set of characteristics: They divide the concepts of mind and spirit into three separate, albeit interrelated, entities. They adhere to a specific moral code and a belief in some form of judgement, such as karma or the Threefold Law; the occultists Dion Fortune and William G. Gray consider non-magical Abrahamic religions to be RHP; the historian Dave Evans studied self-professed followers of the Left-Hand Path in the early 21st century, making several observations about their practices: They reject societal convention and the status quo, which some suggest is in a search for spiritual freedom. As a part of this, LHP followers embrace magical techniques that would traditionally be viewed as taboo, for instance using sex magic or embracing Satanic imagery; as Mogg Morgan wrote, the "breaking of taboos makes magic more potent and can lead to reintegration and liberation, the eating of meat in a vegetarian community can have the same liberating effect as anal intercourse in a sexually inhibited straight society."
They question religious or moral dogma, instead adhering to forms of personal anarchism. They embrace sexuality and incorporate it into magical ritual. Criticism of both terms has come from various occultists; the Magister of the Cultus Sabbati, Andrew D. Chumbley, stated that they were "theoretical constructs" that were "without definitive objectivity", that nonetheless, both forms could be employed by the magician, he used the analogy of a person having two hands, a right and a left, both of which served the same master. Similar sentiments were expressed by the Wiccan High Priest John Belham-Payne, who stated that "For me, magic is magic." Vāmācāra is a Sanskrit term meaning "left-handed attainment" and is synonymous with Left-Hand Path or Left-path. It is used to describe a particular mode of worship or spiritual practice, not only heterodox to standard Vedic injunction, but extreme in comparison to prevailing cultural norms; these practices are generally considered to be Tantric in orientation.
The converse term to Vāmācāra is Dakshinachara, used to refer not only to orthodox sects but to modes of spirituality that engage in spiritual practices that not only accord with Vedic injunction but are agreeable to prevailing cultural norms. That said, left-handed and right-handed modes of practice may be evident in both orthodox and heterodox schools of Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism and are a matter of taste, proclivity, initiation and dharmic lineage; the occidental use of the terms Left-Hand Path and Right Hand-Path originated with Madame Blavatsky, a 19th-century occultist who founded the Theosophical Society. She had travelled across parts of southern Asia and claimed to have met with many mystics and magical practitioners in India and Tibet, she developed the term Left-Hand Path as a translation of the term Vamachara, an Indian Tantric practice that emphasised the breaking of Hindu societal taboos by having sexual intercourse in ritual, drinking alcohol, eating meat and assembling in graveyards, as a part of the spiritual practice.
The term Vamachara meant "the left-hand way" in Sanskrit, it was from this that Blavatsky first coined the term. Returning to Europe, Blavatsky began using the term, it was easy for her to associate left with evil in many European countries, where it had an association with many negative things. In New York, Madame Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society with several other people in 1875, she set about writing several books, including Isis Unveiled in which she introduced the terms Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path stating that she herself followed the RHP, that followers of the LHP were practitioners of Black Magic who were a threat to society. The occult community soon picked up on her newly introduced duality, according to historian Dave Evans, "had not been known before" in the Western Esoteric Tradition. For instance, Dion Fortune, the founder of an esoteric magical group took the side of the RHP, making the claim that "black magicians", or followers of the LHP, were homosexuals and that Indian servants might use malicious magical rites devoted to the goddess Kali against their European masters.
Aleister Crowley further altered and popularized the term in certain occult circles, referring to a "Brother of the Left
Giordano Bruno was an Italian Dominican friar, mathematician, cosmological theorist, Hermetic occultist. He is known for his cosmological theories, which conceptually extended the then-novel Copernican model, he proposed that the stars were distant suns surrounded by their own planets, he raised the possibility that these planets might foster life of their own, a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism. He insisted that the universe is infinite and could have no "center". Starting in 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges of denial of several core Catholic doctrines, including eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, transubstantiation. Bruno's pantheism was a matter of grave concern, as was his teaching of the transmigration of the soul; the Inquisition found him guilty, he was burned at the stake in Rome's Campo de' Fiori in 1600. After his death, he gained considerable fame, being celebrated by 19th- and early 20th-century commentators who regarded him as a martyr for science, although historians agree that his heresy trial was not a response to his astronomical views but rather a response to his philosophy and religious views.
Bruno's case is still considered a landmark in the history of free thought and the emerging sciences. In addition to cosmology, Bruno wrote extensively on the art of memory, a loosely organized group of mnemonic techniques and principles. Historian Frances Yates argues that Bruno was influenced by Arab astrology, Renaissance Hermeticism, Genesis-like legends surrounding the Egyptian god Thoth. Other studies of Bruno have focused on his qualitative approach to mathematics and his application of the spatial concepts of geometry to language. Born Filippo Bruno in Nola in 1548, he was the son of Giovanni Bruno, a soldier, Fraulissa Savolino. In his youth he was sent to Naples to be educated, he was tutored at the Augustinian monastery there, attended public lectures at the Studium Generale. At the age of 17, he entered the Dominican Order at the monastery of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, taking the name Giordano, after Giordano Crispo, his metaphysics tutor, he continued his studies there, completing his novitiate, became an ordained priest in 1572 at age 24.
During his time in Naples he became known for his skill with the art of memory and on one occasion traveled to Rome to demonstrate his mnemonic system before Pope Pius V and Cardinal Rebiba. In his years Bruno claimed that the Pope accepted his dedication to him of the lost work On The Ark of Noah at this time. While Bruno was distinguished for outstanding ability, his taste for free thinking and forbidden books soon caused him difficulties. Given the controversy he caused in life it is surprising that he was able to remain within the monastic system for eleven years. In his testimony to Venetian inquisitors during his trial, many years he says that proceedings were twice taken against him for having cast away images of the saints, retaining only a crucifix, for having recommended controversial texts to a novice; such behavior could be overlooked, but Bruno's situation became much more serious when he was reported to have defended the Arian heresy, when a copy of the banned writings of Erasmus, annotated by him, was discovered hidden in the convent privy.
When he learned that an indictment was being prepared against him in Naples he fled, shedding his religious habit, at least for a time. Bruno first went to the Genoese port of Noli to Savona, Turin and to Venice, where he published his lost work On the Signs of the Times with the permission of the Dominican Remigio Nannini Fiorentino. From Venice he went to Padua, where he met fellow Dominicans who convinced him to wear his religious habit again. From Padua he went to Bergamo and across the Alps to Chambéry and Lyon, his movements after this time are obscure. In 1579 he arrived in Geneva; as D. W. Singer, a Bruno biographer, notes, "The question has sometimes been raised as to whether Bruno became a Protestant, but it is intrinsically most unlikely that he accepted membership in Calvin's communion" During his Venetian trial he told inquisitors that while in Geneva he told the Marchese de Vico of Naples, notable for helping Italian refugees in Geneva, "I did not intend to adopt the religion of the city.
I desired to stay there only that I might live at liberty and in security." Bruno had a pair of breeches made for himself, the Marchese and others made Bruno a gift of a sword, hat and other necessities for dressing himself. Things went well for Bruno for a time, as he entered his name in the Rector's Book of the University of Geneva in May 1579, but in keeping with his personality he could not long remain silent. In August he published an attack on the work of a distinguished professor, he and the printer were promptly arrested. Rather than apologizing, Bruno insisted on continuing to defend his publication, he was refused the right to take sacrament. Though this right was restored, he left Geneva, he went to France, arriving first in Lyon, thereafter settling for a time in Toulouse, where he took his doctorate in theology and was elected by students to lecture in philosophy. It seems he attempted at this time to return to Catholicism, but was denied absolution by the Jesuit priest he approached.
The Golden Legend is a collection of hagiographies by Blessed Jacobus de Varagine, read in late medieval Europe. More than a thousand manuscripts of the text have survived, it was compiled around the year 1260, although the text was added to over the centuries. Entitled Legenda sanctorum, it gained its popularity under the title by which it is best known, it overtook and eclipsed earlier compilations of abridged legendaria, the Abbreviatio in gestis et miraculis sanctorum attributed to the Dominican chronicler Jean de Mailly and the Epilogus in gestis sanctorum of the Dominican preacher Bartholomew of Trent. Over eight hundred manuscript copies of the work survive, when printing was invented in the 1450s, editions appeared not only in Latin, but in every major European language. Among incunabula, printed before 1501, Legenda aurea was printed in more editions than the Bible, it was one of the first books. Written in simple, readable Latin, the book was read in its day for its stories; the book is considered the closest to an encyclopaedia of medieval saint lore.
Its repetitious nature is explained if Jacobus da Varagine meant to write a compendium of saintly lore for sermons and preaching, not a work of popular entertainment. The book sought to compile traditional lore about all of the saints venerated at the time of its compilation. Jacobus da Varagine begins with an etymology for the saint's name. An example shows his method: Silvester is said of sile or sol, light, of terra the earth, as who saith the light of the earth, of the church. Or Silvester is said of silvas and of trahens, to say he was drawing wild men and hard unto the faith. Or as it is said in glossario, Silvester is to say green, to wit, green in contemplation of heavenly things, a toiler in labouring himself; that is to say he was cold and refrigate from all concupiscence of the flesh, full of boughs among the trees of heaven. As a Latin author, Jacobus da Varagine must have known that Silvester, a common Latin name meant "from the forest"; the correct derivation is alluded to in the text, but set out in parallel to fanciful ones that lexicographers would consider quite wide of the mark.
The "correct" explanations are used as the basis for an allegorical interpretation. Jacobus da Varagine's etymologies had different goals from modern etymologies, cannot be judged by the same standards. Jacobus' etymologies have parallels in Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, in which linguistically accurate derivations are set out beside allegorical and figurative explanations. Jacobus da Varagine moves on to the saint's life, compiled with reference to the readings from the Roman Catholic Church's liturgy commemorating that saint; the chapter "St Pelagius and the History of the Lombards" begins with the story of St Pelagius proceeds to touch upon events surrounding the origin and history of the Lombards in Europe leading up to the 7th century when the story of Muhammad begins. The story goes on to describe "Magumeth" as "a false prophet and sorcerer", detailing his early life and travels as a merchant through his marriage to the widow and goes on to suggest his "visions" came as a result of epileptic seizures and the interventions of a renegade Nestorian monk named Sergius.
The chapter conveys the medieval Christian understanding of the beliefs of Saracens and other Muslims. Many of the stories conclude with miracle tales and similar wonderlore from accounts of those who called upon that saint for aid or used the saint's relics; such a tale is told of Saint Agatha. Ran the paynims to the sepulchre of S. Agatha and took the cloth that lay upon her tomb, held it abroad against the fire, anon on the ninth day after, the day of her feast, ceased the fire as soon as it came to the cloth that they brought from her tomb, showing that our Lord kept the city from the said fire by the merits of S. Agatha. A substantial portion of Jacobus' text was drawn from two epitomes of collected lives of the saints, both arranged in the order of the liturgical year, written by members of his Dominican order: one is Jean de Mailly's lengthy Abbreviatio in gestis et miraculis sanctorum and the other is Bartholomew of Trent's Epilogum in gesta sanctorum; the many extended parallels to text found in Vincent de Beauvais' Speculum historiale, the main encyclopedia, used in the Middle Ages, are attributed by modern scholars to the two authors' common compilation of identical sources, rather than to Jacobus' reading Vincent's encyclopedia.
More than 130 more distant sources have been identified for the tales related of the saints in the Golden Legend, few of which have a nucleus in the New Test
Marsilio Ficino was an Italian scholar and Catholic priest, one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. He was an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism in touch with the major academics of his day and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin, his Florentine Academy, an attempt to revive Plato's Academy, influenced the direction and tenor of the Italian Renaissance and the development of European philosophy. Ficino was born at Figline Valdarno, his father Diotifeci d'Agnolo was a physician under the patronage of Cosimo de' Medici, who took the young man into his household and became the lifelong patron of Marsilio, made tutor to his grandson, Lorenzo de' Medici. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the Italian humanist philosopher and scholar was another of his students. During the sessions at Florence of the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1438–1445, during the failed attempts to heal the schism of the Orthodox and Catholic churches, Cosimo de' Medici and his intellectual circle had made acquaintance with the Neoplatonic philosopher George Gemistos Plethon, whose discourses upon Plato and the Alexandrian mystics so fascinated the learned society of Florence that they named him the second Plato.
In 1459 John Argyropoulos was lecturing on Greek language and literature at Florence, Ficino became his pupil. When Cosimo decided to refound Plato's Academy at Florence he chose Ficino as its head. In 1462, Cosimo supplied Ficino with Greek manuscripts of Plato's work, whereupon Ficino started translating the entire corpus to Latin. Ficino produced a translation of a collection of Hellenistic Greek documents found by Leonardo da Pistoia called Hermetica, the writings of many of the Neoplatonists, including Porphyry and Plotinus. Among his many students was Francesco Cattani da Diacceto, considered by Ficino to be his successor as the head of the Florentine Platonic Academy. Diacceto's student, Giovanni di Bardo Corsi, produced a short biography of Ficino in 1506. A physician and a vegetarian, Ficino became a priest in 1473. In 1474 Ficino completed his treatise on the immortality of the soul, Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animae. In the rush of enthusiasm for every rediscovery from Antiquity, he exhibited a great interest in the arts of astrology, which landed him in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1489 he was accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII and needed strong defense to preserve him from the condemnation of heresy. Writing in 1492 Ficino proclaimed: "This century, like a golden age, has restored to light the liberal arts, which were extinct: grammar, rhetoric, sculpture, music... this century appears to have perfected astrology." Ficino's letters, extending over the years 1474 -- 1494, have been published. He wrote De amore. De vita libri tres, or De triplici vita, published in 1489, provides a great deal of medical and astrological advice for maintaining health and vigor, as well as espousing the Neoplatonist view of the world's ensoulment and its integration with the human soul: There will be some men or other and blind, who see life plain in the lowest animals and the meanest plants, but do not see life in the heavens or the world... Now if those little men grant life to the smallest particles of the world, what folly! What envy! neither to know that the Whole, in which'we live and move and have our being,' is itself alive, nor to wish this to be so.
One metaphor for this integrated "aliveness" is Ficino's astrology. In the Book of Life, he details the interlinks between consequence, it talks about a list of things. Due to early influences from his father Diotifeci, a doctor to Cosimo de' Medici, Ficino published Latin and Italian treatises on medical subjects such as Consiglio contro la pestilenza and De vita libri tres, his medical works exerted considerable influence on Renaissance physicians such as Paracelsus, with whom he shared the perception on the unity of the micro- and macrocosmos, their interactions, through somatic and psychological manifestations, with the aim to investigate their signatures to cure diseases. Those works, which were popular at the time, dealt with astrological and alchemical concepts, thus Ficino came under the suspicion of heresy. Ficino introduced the concept of "platonic love" in the West, it first appeared in a letter to Alamanno Donati in 1476, but was fully developed all along his work his famous De amore.
He practiced this love metaphysic with Giovanni Cavalcanti, whom he made the principal character in his commentary on the Convivio, to whom he wrote ardent love letters in Latin that were published in his Epistulae in 1492. After his death his biographers had a difficult task trying to refute those who spoke of his homosexual tendencies, but his sincere and deep faith, membership of the clergy, put him beyond the reach of gossip, while praising love for the same sex, he condemned sodomy in the Convivium. His Latin translations of Plato's texts put into practice the theories of anti-homosexuality in his Convivium. Marsilio Ficino was able to place women on an equal level with men in the cosmological hierarc
An incantation is a magical formula intended to trigger a magical effect on a person or objects. The formula can be sung or chanted. An incantation can be performed during ceremonial rituals or prayers. Other words synonymous with incantation is charms or to bewitch. In the world of magic, the incantations are said to be performed by wizards and fairies. In medieval literature, fairy tales and modern fantasy fiction, enchantments are charms or spells; this has led to the terms "enchanter" and "enchantress" for those. The term was loaned into English around AD 1300; the corresponding native English term being "galdr" "song, spell". The weakened sense "delight" is modern, first attested in 1593. Any word can be an incantation as long as the words are spoken with inflection and emphasis on the words being said; the tone and rhyme of how you speak the words matter on the outcome of the magical effect. The tone and placement of words used in the formula matters in influencing the outcome of the magical effect.
The person, speaking magical words commands for the magic to be carried out. The incantation performed can bring up powerful emotions and remind one of a sense of awe in childhood. Surviving written records of historical magic spells were obliterated in many cultures by the success of the major monotheistic religions, Islam and Christianity, which label some magical activity as immoral or associated with evil; the Latin incantare, which means'to utter an incantation', or cast a magic spell, forms the basis of the word "enchant", with deep linguistic roots going back to the Proto-Indo-European kan- prefix. So it can be said that an enchanter or enchantress casts magic spells, or utters incantations, similar to what are called Mantra in Sanskrit; the words that are similar to incantations such as enchantment and spells are the effects of reciting an incantation. To be enchanted is to be under the influence of an enchantment thought to be caused by charms or spells. Magic words or words of power are words which have a specific, sometimes unintended, effect.
They are nonsense phrases used in fantasy fiction or by stage prestidigitators. Such words are presented as being part of a divine, adamic, or other secret or empowered language. Certain comic book heroes use magic words to activate their powers. Examples of traditional magic words include Hocus pocus, Open sesame and Sim Sala Bim. Craig Conley, a scholar of magic, writes that the magic words used by conjurers may originate from "pseudo-Latin phrases, nonsense syllables, or esoteric terms from religious antiquity," but that what they have in common is "language as an instrument of creation." In Babylonian, incantations can be used in rituals to burn images of one's own enemies. An example would be found in the series of Mesopotamian incantations of Maqlu. In the Orient, the charming of snakes have been used in incantations of the past and still used today. A person using an incantation would entice the snake out of its hiding place in order to get rid of them. In Jewish rites reciting a bible verse, a person has to follow strict Jewish rules.
The performer of an incantation has to prepare three days ahead of time with fasting and studying. The Jewish law requires that incantations only be recited during the new or full moon, before sunset, during the Sabbath; the Jewish commentary, the Talmud mentions. An incantation of a bible quotation attached to a charm or object is recited backward and frontwards. Incantations are seen in demonic activity where the devil uses words to bring misfortune or sickness to someone; some illnesses include mental anxiety. The aspect of the devil in incantations is feared by many; the demon's can create other horrible events of divorce, loss property or other terrible catastrophes in ones life. In traditional fairy tales sometimes magical formulas are attached to an object and when spoken can help transform the object into the imaginable from the unimaginable. In these stories incantations are attached to a magic wand used by wizards and fairy-god mothers. A known example is the spell that Cinderella's Fairy Godmother used to turn a pumpkin into a coach.
Incantations nonsense or whimsical rhymes are performed. The performance of magic always involves the use of language. Whether spoken out loud or unspoken, words are used to access or guide magical power. In The Magical Power of Words, S. J. Tambiah argues that the connection between language and magic is due to a belief in the inherent ability of words to influence the universe. Bronisław Malinowski, in Coral Gardens and their Magic, suggests that this belief is an extension of man's basic use of language to describe his surroundings, in which "the knowledge of the right words, appropriate phrases and the more developed forms of speech, gives man a power over and above his own limited field of personal action." Magical speech is therefore a ritual act and is of equal or greater importance to the performance of magic than non-verbal acts. Not all speech is considered magical. Only certain words and phrases or words spoken in a specific context are considered to have magical power. Magical language, according to C. K.
Ogden and I. A. Richards's categories of speech, is distinct from scientific language because it is emotive and it converts words into symbols for emotions. Magical language is therefore adept at constructing metaphors that establish
Early Christianity covers the period from its origins until the First Council of Nicaea. This period is divided into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period; the first Christians were Jewish Christians, either by conversion. Important practices were baptism, which made one a member of the Christian community, the communal meals, from which the Eucharist developed, the participation in Christ's death and resurrection; the inclusion of Gentile God-fearers lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. A variety of Christianities developed throughout the 2nd and 3rd century, alongside a developing proto-orthodoxy, which defined orthodoxy and heresy. Proto-orthodoxy developed in tandem with the growing number of Christians, which necessitated the devlopment of eccelsiastical structure. Early Christians used and revered the Hebrew Bible as religious text in the Greek or Aramaic translations, but developed their own Canon of the New Testament, which includes the canonical gospels, letters of the Apostles, Revelation, all written before 120.
Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. Christianity "emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine" in the syncretistic Hellenistic world of the first century CE, dominated by Roman law and Greek culture. During the early first century CE there were many competing Jewish sects in the Holy Land, those that became Rabbinic Judaism and Proto-orthodox Christianity were but two of these. There were Pharisees and Zealots, but other less influential sects, including the Essenes; the first century BCE and first century CE saw a growing number of charismatic religious leaders contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism.
A central concern in 1st century Judaism was the covenant with God, the status of the Jews as the chosen people. Many Jews believed; the Law was given by God to guide them in their worship of the Lord and in their interctions with each other, "the greatest gift God had given his people."The Jewish messiah concept has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future leader or king from the Davidic line, expected to be anointed with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age and world to come. The Messiah is referred to as "King Messiah" or malka meshiḥa in Aramaic. In the Synoptic Gospels Jewish eschatology stands central. After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus teaches extensively for a year, or maybe just a few months, about the Kingdom of God, in aphorisms and parables, using similes and figurs of speech. In the Gospel of John, Jesus himself is the main subject; the Kingdom is described as eschatological, becoming reality in the near future.
Jesus talks as expecting the coming of the "Son of Man" from heaven, an apocalyptic figure who would initiate "the coming judgment and the redemption of Israel." According to Davies, the Sermon on the Mount presents Jesus as the new Moses who brings a New Law, the Messianic Torah. His ministry was ended by his execution by crucifixion, his early followers believed that three days after his death, Jesus rose bodily from the dead and was exalted to Divine status. Paul's letters and the Gospels document a number of post-resurrection appearances, the resurrection of Jesus "signalled for earliest believers that the days of eschatological fulfilment were at hand." The resurrection was seen as the exaltation of Jesus to the status of divine Son and Lord. His followers expected Him to return in the near future. Since the 18th century, three scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and based on different research criteria, which were developed during each specific phase.
Scholars involved in the third quest for the historical Jesus have constructed a variety of portraits and profiles for Jesus, most prominently that of Jesus as a Jewish apocalyptic prophet or eschatological teacher. The first part of the period, named after the lifetimes of the Twelve Apostles as narrated in the Acts of the Apostles, is called the Apostolic Age; the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. After the death of Jesus, "Christianity emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine." The first Christians were all Jews, either by birth or conversion, who constituted a Second Temple Jewish sect with an apocalyptic eschatology. The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and Epistle to the Galatians record the existence of a Christian community centered on Jerusalem, that its leaders included Peter, the "brother of Jesus", John the Apostle; the Jerusalem Church "held a central place among all the churches,".
Christian missionary activity spread Christianity
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David, is a recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism. Its shape is that of the compound of two equilateral triangles. Unlike the menorah, the Lion of Judah, the shofar and the lulav, the Star of David was never a uniquely Jewish symbol; the symbol became representative of the worldwide Zionist community, the broader Jewish community, after it was chosen as the central symbol on a flag at the First Zionist Congress in 1897. The earliest Jewish usage of the symbol was inherited from medieval Arabic literature by Kabbalists for use in talismanic protective amulets where it was known as the Seal of Solomon among Muslims; the symbol was used in Christian churches as a decorative motif many centuries before its first known use in a Jewish synagogue. During the 19th century the symbol began to proliferate among the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe being used among the Jewish communities in the Pale of Settlement. A significant motivating factor, according to scholar Gershom Scholem, was the desire to represent Jewish religion and/or identity in the same manner the Christian cross identified that religion's believers.
Before the 19th century, official use in Jewish communities was known only in the region of today's Czech Republic and parts of Southern Germany, having begun in medieval Prague. The identification of the term "Star of David" or "Shield of David" with the hexagram shape dates to the 17th century; the term "Shield of David" is used in the Siddur as a title of the God of Israel. The hexagram does appear in Jewish contexts since antiquity as a decorative motif. For example, in Israel, there is a stone bearing a hexagram from the arch of a 3rd–4th century synagogue in the Galilee; the hexagram may have been employed as an architectural ornament on synagogues, as it is, for example, on the cathedrals of Brandenburg and Stendal, on the Marktkirche at Hanover. A hexagram in this form is found on the ancient synagogue at Capernaum. In the synagogues it was associated with the mezuzah; the use of the hexagram in a Jewish context as a meaningful symbol may occur as early as the 11th century, in the decoration of the carpet page of the famous Tanakh manuscript, the Leningrad Codex dated 1008.
The symbol illuminates a medieval Tanakh manuscript dated 1307 belonging to Rabbi Yosef bar Yehuda ben Marvas from Toledo, Spain. A Siddur dated 1512 from Prague displays a large hexagram on the cover with the phrase, "He will merit to bestow a bountiful gift on anyone who grasps the Shield of David." A hexagram has been noted on a Jewish tombstone in Taranto, Apulia in Southern Italy, which may date as early as the third century CE. The Jews of Apulia were noted for their scholarship in Kabbalah, connected to the use of the Star of David. Medieval Kabbalistic grimoires show hexagrams among the tables of segulot, but without identifying them as "Shield of David". In the Renaissance Period, in the 16th-century Land of Israel, the book Ets Khayim conveys the Kabbalah of Ha-Ari who arranges the traditional items on the seder plate for Passover into two triangles, where they explicitly correspond to Jewish mystical concepts; the six sfirot of the masculine Zer Anpin correspond to the six items on the seder plate, while the seventh sfira being the feminine Malkhut corresponds to the plate itself.
However, these seder-plate triangles are parallel, one above the other, do not form a hexagram. According to G. S. Oegema Isaac Luria provided the hexagram with a further mystical meaning. In his book Etz Chayim he teaches that the elements of the plate for the Seder evening have to be placed in the order of the hexagram: above the three sefirot "Crown", "Wisdom", "Insight", below the other seven. M. Costa wrote that M. Gudemann and other researchers in the 1920s claimed that Isaac Luria was influential in turning the Star of David into a national Jewish emblem by teaching that the elements of the plate for the Seder evening have to be placed in the order of the hexagram. Gershom Scholem disagrees with this view, arguing that Isaac Luria talked about parallel triangles one beneath the other and not about the hexagram; the Star of David at least since the 20th century remains associated with the number seven and thus with the Menorah, popular accounts associate it with the six directions of space plus the center, or the Six Sefirot of the Male united with the Seventh Sefirot of the Female.
Some say that one triangle represents the ruling tribe of Judah and the other the former ruling tribe of Benjamin. It is seen as a dalet and yud, the two letters assigned to Judah. There are 12 Vav, or "men," representing patriarchs of Israel. In 1354, King of Bohemia Charles IV prescribed for the Jews of Prague a red flag with both David's shield and Solomon's seal, while the red flag with which the Jews met King Matthias of Hungary in the 15th century showed two pentagrams with two golden stars. In 1460, the Jews of Ofen received King Matthias Corvinus with a red flag on which were two Shields of David and two stars. In the first Hebrew prayer book, printed in Prague in 1512, a large hexagram appears on the cover. In the colophon is written: "Each man beneath his flag according to the house of their fathe