Lucian of Samosata and Church FathersIs Lucian of Samosata an authority for the translation of the Greek word psallo in Paul's writings? No. I don't think so. Lucian ridiculed the gods and religions. He would have made fun of those who charged to lead you into the presence of God when he could take you to the moon for the price of his book. In addition to the failure to understand that Lucian used Pre-Biblical Attic Greek, the post Biblical Arndt and Gingrich lexicon allows the word to include instruments as a personal opinion. Lucian used the Greek psallein to show that, in the Pre-New Testament period, psallein could include mechanical instruments as well as the human voice.
Lucian of Samosata is used to prove that the word still included instruments during his times. We noted first that Lucian got his Greek education from the Classical writers who lived long before Paul demanded that the melody be "in the heart" whereas the Old Testament practice is to always define what the instrument is: "You cannot Zamar with a named instrument." Psalmos gives the human voice as one of the allowable "instruments" and this is the one Paul picked.
Secondly, Lucian implicates all of the musical women (men don't do it usually) with the courtesans. Lucian was also a courtesan who prostituted his theatrical speaking skills to the rich and powerful. These were the "harem of the king" or the "harem of the gods" or prostitutes of the temple state. Solomon's "concubines" can also be translated "as musical instruments." All of the church Fathers who address the issue agree that musical performance was "divine prostitution" leading the worshipers "into the knowing presence of the gods."
Lucian noted that "no sacrifices were offered in Delos without round dances and the playing of flutes and the lyre. (Lucian De saltations 16)The eloborate musical embellishment of ritual in the cult of Apollo at Delphi and Delos was the reason for the choice of this deity as the parton of singers and poets. The playing of flute, syrinx, and lyre is further attested for a special rite of sacrifice in use in greek worship since earliest times..
Lucian could be describing the attempt of Jezebel's prophetesses when he described the priests of Cybele or Galloi.
"The unfortunate people mutilate themselves and beat each other on the back. A great crowd standing nearby accompanies them with flute music, the clashing of cymbals or the ecstatic singing of holy songs.
- All this occurs, however, outside the temple.
- Those who are occupied with such actions do not go inside.
In these days the number of the Galloi is increasing. For when the others play the flute and celebrate their orgies the frenzy falls on many who have come only as spectators.
A young man seized by this madness rips the clothing from his body and dashes into the middle with a loud cry and, snatching one of the swords that stands ready for just such a purpose, he castrates himself." (Lucian, De Dea Syria 50)
And Paul said:
Anastatoo (g387) an-as-tat-o'-o; from a der. of 450 (in the sense of removal); prop. to drive out of home, i.e. (by impl.) to disturb (lit. or fig.): - trouble, turn upside down, make an uproar.
"As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! Galatians 5:12
Apokopto (g609) ap-ok-op'-to; from 575 and 2875; to amputate; reflex. (by irony) to mutilate (the privy parts): - cut off. Comp. 2699.
Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?" Ac.21:38
Paul was not condemning the restoration of Jewish rituals because they were in the Book of the Covenant and therefore evil. Rather, he was outlawing rituals which had been "added because of transgression" and when Israel demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. Of the Marzeah condemned by Amos, the The Battle of Baal and Yahm, notes:
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Aloud they [summon the assembly of the gods/ do cry to those near]. They invite
- the distant ones/ those far away, to the assembly of `El
- they summon/do cry: "`El remains seated [in his marzeah/banqueting hall//among his cult-guests (dM)] . . .
- The shame of the Eternal One/The shameful conduct of the usurper . . .
- O gods, (to) the house of your lord . . .
- [Who surely travels (S)/lest he go (D/G) quickly/the Runner will not walk (dM)] through the land, . . .
- who goes in the dust (of) destruction/a mess of mud on the ground . . .Comments: Smith believes lines 7-8 should be interpreted "Either literally, as `El walking through the underworld, or an allusion to `El being "dead drunk," or both metaphorical, and ironic, as the marzeah serves as the setting for feasts for the dead and for the living mourning the dead (p. 145). De Moor, on the other hand, believes they refer to Baal, since Hadad is called the Runner in tablet CTA 6:I.50 and at the city of Alalakh.
- He [drinks/gives them to drink] [curdled milk=yogurt/silt (dM)] overflowing . . ., He takes a cup in his hand/gives a cup into both their hands,
- A beaker in/into the two hands.
- . . . like pulp/mush/porridge/crumbs. Like hts/gravel is gathered . . .
And in observing the funeral festivities where the food and music was offered to the dead but enjoyed by the living.
"However, you will grand that nothing can be more ridiculous than to be well anointed and crowned with roses but perishing of hunger and thirst. Thus it is at a funeral meal when the gravestone of one recently deceased is anointed and crowned, while the funeral guests keep the wine and meal for themselves. (Lucian, De merced conductis 28, 687)
It was the same with regard to music at the meal of the dead. When at the end of the meal the funeral guests would resort to their own pleasures, to playing and dancing, it was because music was originally supposed to have offered comfort to the dead.
In Egypt it was "eat, drink and be merry" as the mourners are eating drinking, watching the dancers and listening to the song of the harpist, who addresses the dead man himself:
"Celebrate the beautiful day! Set forth ointments and fine oil for your nostrils and wreaths and lotus blossoms for the body of your dear sister, who is seated at your side.
Let ther be singing and music before you cast everything sad behind you and think only of joy." (Quasten, p. 154)
In the story of Wen Amon in the area of Tyre as the prince was trying to steal his cedar wood:
"He went and told it to the prince. The prince began to weep at the evil words which they spoke to him. He sent out his letter-scribe to me and brought me two jars of wine and a ram. He sent to me, Tento, an Egyptian singer (feminine), who was with him, saying:<>'Sing for him; let not his heart feel apprehension.' He sent to me, saying:
'Eat, drink, and let not they heart feel apprehension. Thou shalt hear all that I have to say unto thee in the morning." (Barton, George A., Archaeology and the Bible, p. 452)
The phrase "eat, drink, and be merry" was part of a religious ritual common throughout the region--
"The traditional founder of Tarsus was Sardanapalus, who was worshipped, along with Semiramis, with licentious rites which resembled those of the Feast of Tabernacles. Paul had probably witnessed this feastival, and had seen, at the neighboring town of Anchiale, the statue of Sardanapalus, represented as snapping his fingers, and with the inscription upon the pedestal,<>'Eat, drink, enjoy thyself. The rest is nothing." (Vincent, New Testament Word Studies, p. 278)
"If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." 1 Cor 15:32
In the book of Revelation the symbolism and the actual setting in heaven and on earth shows that musical instruments offered on the tombstones or carved on them was to supply harps to the departed who had no earthly responsibilities. Back on earth, the obligation of the living was to teach.
Quasten notes that the tambourine , like in Augustine,
"had already occupied an important position in the cult of the Egyptians, for its sound, which was deep and hollow, expelled the demons. The rhythmic musical character of the tambourine was highly suited to induce psychic stimulation."( p. 37)
Augustine (354-430) , Confessions 10, found himself seduced by artistic singing:
49. The delights of the ear had more powerfully inveigled and conquered me, but Thou didst unbind and liberate me. Now, in those airs which Thy words breathe soul into, when sung with a sweet and trained voice, do I somewhat repose; yet not so as to cling to them, but so as to free myself when I wish. But with the words which are their life do they, that they may gain admission into me, strive after a place of some honour in my heart; and I can hardly assign them a fitting one. Sometimes I appear to myself to give them more respect than, is fitting,
as I perceive that our minds are more devoutly and earnestly elevated into a flame of piety by the holy words themselves when they are thus sung,
than when they are not; and that all affections of our spirit, by their own diversity, have their appropriate measures in the voice and singing,
wherewith by I know not what secret relationship they are stimulated. But the gratification of my flesh, to which the mind ought never to be given over to be enervated, often beguiles me,
while the sense does not so attend on reason as to follow her patiently; but having gained admission merely for her sake,
it strives even to run on before her, and be her leader. Thus in these things do I sin unknowing, but afterwards do I know it....
Yet when it happens to me to be more moved by the singing than by what is sung, I confess myself to have sinned criminally, and then I would rather not have heard the singing. See now the condition I am in! Weep with me, and weep for me,
you who so control your inward feelings as that good results ensue. As for you who do not thus act, these things concern you not. But Thou, O Lord my God, give ear, behold and see, and have mercy upon me, and heal me, -Thou, in whose sight I am become a puzzle to myself; and "this is my infirmity."
Augustine, like all of the church Fathers, repudiated instrumental music in worship.
Jerome, Latin in full EUSEBIUS HIERONYMUS, pseudonym SOPHRONIUS
- b. c. 347, Stridon, Dalmatia
- d. 419/420, Bethlehem, Palestine
Jerome Letter CXXVIII. To Gaudentius advises about his daughter, Pacatula
Will she hear the deep things of the apostle when all her delight is in nursery tales? Will she heed the dark sayings of the prophets when her nurse can frighten her by a frowning face? Or will she comprehend the majesty of the gospel, when its splendour dazzles the keenest intellect? Shall I urge her to obey her parents when with her chubby hand she beats her smiling mother? For such reasons as these my dear Pacatula must read some other time the letter that I send her now.
Meanwhile let her learn the alphabet, spelling, grammar, and syntax. To induce her to repeat her lessons with her little shrill voice, hold out to her as rewards cakes and mead and sweetmeats. She will make haste to perform her task if she hopes afterwards to get some bright bunch of flowers, some glittering bauble, some enchanting doll. She must also learn to spin, shaping the yarn with her tender thumb; for, even if she constantly breaks the threads, a day will come when she will no longer break them.
Then when she has finished her lessons she ought to have some recreation. At such times she may hang round her mother's neck, or snatch kisses from her relations.
Reward her for singing psalms (psalmos) that she may love what she has to learn. Her task will then become a pleasure to her and no compulsion will be necessary.
Letter LIV. To Furia. Jerome advises a widow on preserving her widowhood. Living in Rome was dangerous and Jerome warns her. Her sister may have taken vows in Bethlehem. He writes
13. Avoid the company of young men.
Let long baited youths dandified and wanton never be seen under your roof.
Repel a singer as you would some bane.
Hurry from your house women who live by playing and singing,
the devil's choir whose songs are the fatal ones of sirens.
Do not arrogate to yourself a widow's license and appear in public preceded by a host of eunuchs. It is a most mischievous thing for those who are weak owing to their sex and youth to misuse their own discretion and to suppose that things are lawful because they are pleasant.
Oh! that you could see your sister (sent to Bethelem) and that it might be yours to hear the eloquence of her holy lips and to behold the mighty spirit which animates her diminutive frame. You might hear the whole contents of the old and new testaments come bubbling up out of her heart. Fasting is her sport, and prayer she makes her pastime. Like Miriam after the drowning Pharaoh she takes up her timbrel and sings to the virgin choir, "Let us sing to the Lord for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."
She teaches her companions to be music girls but music girls for Christ, to be luteplayers but luteplayers for the Saviour. In this occupation she passes both day and night and with oil ready to put in the lamps she waits the coming of the Bridegroom. Do you therefore imitate your kinswoman. Let Rome have in you what a grander city than Rome, I mean Bethlehem, has in her.
14. "You have wealth and can easily therefore supply food to those who want it. Let virtue consume what was provided for self-indulgence; one who means to despise matrimony need fear no degree of want. Have about you troops of virgins whom you may lead into the king's chamber. Support widows that you may mingle them as a kind of violets with the virgins' lilies and the martyrs' roses."
However, in Jerome's work against Pelagius he accused him of winning the favor of his amazons:
"Who does not know that women should sing the praises of the Lord -- in their own chambers, far removed from the meetings of men and the assemblies of the multitude? But you permit what is not permissible, namely, that they do what should be performed by them secretly and without any witnesses as though they were lawfully constituted teachers."
Paul makes a clear distinciton between the uncovered prophesying of the Corinthian outside of the assembly (1 Cor. 11:5) with his forbidding the same singing or speaking in tongues in the assembly (1 Cor. 14).
In Jerome's Letter LXXIX. To Salvina. #3
9. Take no well-curled steward to walk with you, no effeminate actor, no devilish singer of poisoned sweetness, no spruce and smooth-shorn youth. Let no theatrical compliments, no obsequious adulation be associated with you. Keep with you bands of widows and virgins; and let your consolers be of your own sex. The character of the mistress is judged by that of the maid. So long as you have with you a holy mother, so long as an aunt vowed to virginity is at your side, you ought not to neglect them and at your own risk to seek the company of strangers.
Let the divine scripture be always in your hands, and give yourself so frequently to prayer that such shafts of evil thoughts as ever assail the young may thereby find a shield to repel them.
In Jerome's Letter CVII. To Laeta.
4. Thus must a soul be educated which is to be a temple of God. It must learn to hear nothing and to say nothing but what belongs to the fear of God. It must have no understanding of unclean words, and no knowledge of the world's songs. Its tongue must be steeped while still tender in the sweetness of the psalms.
It is not only NOT authorized and the BURDEN is always on the DISCORDERS, but all of history knows that it is a MARK
Plato in Republic Book III did not envision (nor did the Bible so translate) that such piping and strumming have any "abiding value" but as the Septuagint translates Amos, music was just "fleeting pleasure." In no sense did Plato permit the parasites of Lucian to take the place of the god:
"If a man, then, it seems, [398a] who was capable by his cunning of assuming (pantomimic art)
every kind of shape and imitating all things should arrive in our city, bringing with himself
- the poems which he wished to exhibit,
- we should fall down and worship him as a holy and wondrous and delightful creature,
but (we) should say to him that there is no man of that kind among us in our city,
- nor is it lawful for such a man to arise among us,
- and we should send him away to another city,
- after pouring myrrh down over his head and crowning him with fillets of wool (taring and feathering him)
but we ourselves, for our souls' good, should continue to employ the more austere and less delightful poet and tale-teller,
- who would imitate the diction of the good man and would tell his tale
- in the patterns which we prescribed in the beginning,
- when we set out to educate our soldiers."
Plato also notes that when people begin to change the music it means that they are getting prepared to change the government. Plato understood that musical changes often go before the racical overthrow of the "old world order."
When the males stand up the singy-clappies had better retreat.
I have scoured LOTS of original documents (translated and linked to dictionaries) and I have NEVER seen an example of a handfull of people meeting outside of a "festival" and "singing and making melody in the heart one to anothe." Now, maybe someone sings Psalm 23 at the coffee shop when someone asks "what time is church?" Maybe someone can FIND us an example.
The Qahal or form of the synagogue assembled in the wildernes many first days and every sevent day to hold a Holy Convocation. That meant to read or rehearse the Word of God. History notes that prayers were common. They were not commanded to do any more but the ALARM was outlawed and that was "loud instruments and loud rejoicing" which created panic in pelple.
The Synagogue followed that Pattern and there were synagogues of Moses where the Scriptures were read and prayers made. Everyone knew that the synagogue was a WEEKLY ASSEMBLY to do what was commanded. The ekklesia was similar to the synagogue and met about 40 times in a year. Specificially the Lord's Supper was observed (not a meal) weekly and they organized like any "society" of that culture to look out for the needy, send messengers and other things.
The Lord's Day has mean precedents beginning with "in the beginning." It was also a way, like the Sabbath Rest, to quarantine the people FROM attending the musical, ritualistic SUN worship services.
Therefore, Jesus would have had to OUTLAW the synagogues (where early Christians met) to PREVENT the church (ekklesia) from assemblying (synagoguing) once a week. Modern forms of vocal music creates anxiety in many people and instrumental music would have INVALIDATED the teaching and remembering purpose of the church.
Many Classical writers make it clear that people don't get up to "indite" or attempt to teach with instruments unless they are first drunk on wine or "drunk on ignorance." Therefore, Paul might agree with Lucian:
Tar and Feather them: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18
methuô [methu] [only in pres. and imperf.; the fut. and aor. act. belong to methuskô]
I. to be drunken with wine, Od., etc.; m. hupo tou oinou which means Under your Wine
II. metaph. of things, boeiê methuousa aloiphêi an ox-hide soaked in oil, Il.
2. of persons, to be drunken or intoxicated with passion, pride, etc., Xen., Plat.
kat-auleô , charm by flute-playing, tinos metaph., se . . -êsô phobôi I will flute to you on a ghastly flute, methuôn kai katauloumenos drinking wine to the strains of the flute, Pl.R.561c; k. pros chelônidos psophon to be played to on the flute with lyre accompaniment,
2. c. gen. loci, make a place sound with flute-playing, Thphr.Fr.87:-- Pass., resound with flute-playing, nêsos katêuleito Plu.Ant.56 .
I. to play upon the flute to, tinos Plat.:--Pass., of persons, to have it played to one, id=Plat.:--Pass. to resound with flute-playing, Plut.
II. c. acc. pers. to overpower by flute-playing:--generally, to overpower, strike dumb, Eur.
Educate our soldiers: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
Teaching (Preaching) and Admonishing is THE meaning of SYNAGOGUE: Paul told Timothy to read, exhort and explain the BIBLE and did not NEED to tell him NOT to play instruments. No Jew had ever done "worship services" with singing and instrumental accompaniment and it was outlawed in the synagogue. Therefore, there was not NEED to command anyone but the children to sit down and shut up and "learn of me."
In the Lucian introduction and in most of the Classical writers and church Fathers it is clear that the men who got involved with these rituals were women or male prostitutes or catamites. Jesus asked the Jewish clergy if they believed that John might be "soft" or wearing the clothing of a king's servant or a catamite. In most of the ancient world, foreigners or barbarians and usually women were imported as musical performers. In the Classical writers playing instruments is not only the task for a barbarian but a slave.
"Wine-drinking and music are a normal part of the komos or revel scenes frequently depicted on red-figure vases. The theme may be derived ultimately from the Dionysiac revels of satyrs and maenads. The "barbaton" is the harp in the image from Perseus:
The "Barbarians" in Layard's Nineveh or Hislop's Two Babylons in Babylonia were the clergy musicians and singers who were not allowed to sing or speak in their own language. Rather, the sacred songs were written in a foreign language which no one -- not even the singers -- understood. They simply memorized the songs and when addressing the "dead" or demons recited the words without any intelligence while the crowd went mad listening to the songs and instruments. It is interesting, therefore, that we have a picture of barbarians while "lying on beds" if not quite ivory:Euripides, in his Bacchae, citing the Lydian usages at the same time with those of Phrygia, because of their similarity:
<>And again, happy he who, blest man, initiated in the mystic rites, is pure in his life, . . . who,
- But ye who left Mt. Tmolus, fortress of Lydia,
- revel-band of mine, euripides
- women whom I brought from the land of barbarians
- as my assistants and travelling companions,
- uplift the tambourines native to Phrygian cities,
- inventions of mine and mother Rhea.
<>preserving the righteous orgies of the great mother Cybele,
and brandishing the thyrsus on high (a SHAKEN REED: like an ox-goad with pine cones attached), and wreathed with ivy, doth worship Dionysus. Come, ye Bacchae, come, ye Bacchae, bringing down (back home) Bromius, (boisterous one) god the child of god, out of the Phrygian mountains into the broad highways of Greece.
O thou hiding-bower of the Curetes, and sacred haunts of Crete that gave birth to Zeus, where for me the triple-crested Corybantes in their caverns invented this hide-stretched circlet, and blent its Bacchic revelry with the high-pitched, sweet-sounding breath of Phrygian flutes, and in Rhea's hands placed its resounding noise, to accompany the shouts of the Bacchae, and from Mother Rhea frenzied Satyrs obtained it and joined it to the choral dances of the Trieterides, in whom Dionysus takes delight.
Euripides expresses the common view of the classical writers in associating the musicians with barbarians and therefore the "speaking in tongues" in Corinth would be the language of barbarians.
A barbarian playing the barbiton "like David" while lying on beds-- The barbitos is first mentioned in archaic lyric poetry (Alceus, Bacchylides, Simonides, Sappho), and is especially associated on vase paintings and in literature with the Ionian poet Anakreon (Anacreontea 2,15,23,42,43,60). On an Attic red-figure kalthoid (Munich 2416), Alcaeus and Sappho are depicted holding the instrument, further evidence that it was a popular instrument as acccompaniment for singers.
It was also popular as entertainment at drinking parties and during festivals such as the Dionysia and the Anthesteria. In vase paintings from the Classical Period the barbitos is played either in a seated or standing position, by both women and men. Unlike the chelys-Lyra, the barbitos was not used in music lessons because, according to Aristotle (Politics 1341a-b), it was designed purely for pleasure, not for education.
Thrasippus after having provided the chorus for Ecphantides... later on it came to be disapproved of as a result of actual experience,<>when men were more capable of judging what music conduced to virtue and what did not;
and similarly also many of the old instruments were disapproved of, like the pectis and the barbitos and the instruments designed to give pleasure to those who hear people playing them, the septangle, the triangle and the sambyc,
Aristotle noted that when people run out of productive work, pride often causes them to turn to music.
Moreover the flute is not a moralizing but rather an exciting influence, so that it ought to be used foroccasions of the kind at which attendance has the effect of purification rather than instruction And let us add that the flute happens to possess the additional property telling against its use in education that playing it prevents the employment of speech. Hence former ages rightly rejected its use by the young and the free, although at first they had employed it.
For as they came to have more leisure because of their wealth and grew more high-spirited and valorous, both at a still earlier date and because after the Persian Wars they were filled with pride as a result of their achievements
The barbitos made a loud booming noise which might be useful for pleasure but it had no value in education. He notes that:A wealthy citizen (choregus) who undertook the duty of equipping and training a chorus for a religious celebration (especially the production of a drama at Athens)
usually had an assistant of lower station to supply the instrumental music.
[1341b] and all the instruments that require manual skill.And indeed there is a reasonable foundation for the story that was told by the ancients about the flute. The tale goes that Athena found a flute and threw it away. Now it is not a bad point in the story that the goddess did this out of annoyance because of the ugly distortion of her features; but as a matter of fact it is more likely that it was
because education in flute-playing has no effect on the intelligence, whereas we attribute science and art to Athena.
And since we reject professional education in the instruments and in performance (and we count performance in competitions as professional, for the performer does not take part in it for his own improvement, but for his hearers' pleasure, and that a vulgar pleasure, owing to which we do not consider performing to be proper for free men, but somewhat menial.
The Music Of The Dead Connection. Compare the symbolic harps in Revelation.
Among the Dead: "In the first case the musical instrument in the dead person's hand -- usually a lyre or tambourine -- is meant to signify that the deceased no longer leads an earthly life but is already taken up with the affairs of the other world." (Note: Job 21; Isaish 5; Amos 5,6,8 and Ezekiel 33 all show that the instruments show a disregard for the Words of God)
However, of those still on Earth (That's us): "The fact remains that the persons depicted as approaching the deceased on Greek oinment jars are never playing their instruments... the person bearing the cithara is stretching out his hands toward the gravestone on which the dead man is sitting as if he wished to offer the latter the instrument."
Why? "In antiquity, singing and instrumental music, playing and dancing were considered to be the chief occupation and pastime of the blessed... The popular religions of the time, especially Orphism and the mystery cults, portrayed the life of the blessed as a continual banquet." (ibid. p. 156)
Lucian noted that in observing the funeral festivities where the food and music was offered to the dead but enjoyed by the living. The "gods" or demons were often departed ancestors who had to be appeased or entertained with food, drink, dancing and music.
Why do you crown the gravestone there and anoint it? Others also erect a funeral pile before the grave, dig a hole and burn these costly means and seem to pour out wine and a mixture of honey into the hole.
I do not know, ferryman, how this benefits the one who is in Hades. Nonetheless, they are convinced that the smoke and incense swirl about the sould that are below and that as many as possible of them eat of it and drink the mixture of honey from out of the hole.. Charon 22, 219 (See Homer's Hymn to Hermes)
This was practiced by the Jews who didn't mind returning to Egypt where they could worship the "Queen of Heaven" without opposition:
"However, you will grant that nothing can be more ridiculous than to be well anointed and crowned with roses but perishing of hunger and thirst. Thus it is at a funeral meal when the gravestone of one recently deceased is anointed and crowned, while the funeral guests keep the wine and meal for themselves. (Lucian, De merced conductis 28, 687)
Hosea has God warned against rising above any message from Him:
I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something alien. Hosea 8:12
They offer sacrifices given to me and they eat the meat, but the LORD is not pleased with them. Now he will remember their wickedness and punish their sins: They will return to Egypt. Hosea 8:13
Could that mean: "The offer the MUSIC to me but they ENJOY THE MUSIC THEMSELVES"? Does that mean that they regard the Word of God as something alien?
Lucian notes that while they heaped the food and entertainment on themselves, only the crumbs which fell to the dead was burned.
Quasten notes that "It was the same with regard to music at the meal of the dead. When at the end of the meal the funeral guests would resort to their own pleasures, to playing and dancing, it was because music was originally supposed to have offered comfort to the dead."
In the book of Revelation we see two groups: those who have died and those who are still living. The dead hold harps and sing but those still living and able are to teach the word of God. This was a message which would be understood by John's listeners. The figure reclining on a couch was dead: "The deceased were thought to recline, this clearly represents a meal of the dead."
The musical instrument in the dead person's hand -- usually a lyre or tambourine -- is meant to signify that the deceased no longer leads an earthly life but is already taken up with the affairs of the other world. Judging from her demeanor, the seated woman can be none other than the dead person. In her hand she holds a lyre, and she has just stopped playing so as to receive an offering from a relative or friend."
The fact remains that the persons depicted as approaching the deceased on Greek ointment jars are never playing their instruments.. In another jar the person bearing the cithara is stretching out his hands toward the gravestone on which the dead man is sitting as if he wished to offer the later the instrument. The cithara is thuse a votive offering for rthe deceased." (Quasten p. 155)
Lucian describes a journey to the Isle of the Blessed, speaks of hearing from afar the music which was being played at their banquet:
Now and then one could also hear very clearly different sounds -- not noisy, but such as would come from a banquet when a few people are playing the flute or the cithara." Lucian, True History II. 5. 108
Those who had enjoyed Orphism and the mystery cults could now wal free and perfected, head crowned, celebrating his feasts. Music portrays the life of the blessed -- but the dead.
"The custom of offering a lyre or tambourine to the dead by placing it on his grave was meant to express the conviction of his relatives that the deceased had attained a happy fate... the instruments made their life easier in Hades since they would be able to join the blessed in singing and playing." (Quasten p. 157)
In Egypt it was "eat, drink and be merry" as the mourners are eating drinking, watching the dancers and listening to the song of the harpist, who addresses the dead man himself:
"Celebrate the beautiful day! Set forth ointments and fine oil for your nostrils and wreaths and lotus blossoms for the body of your dear sister, who is seated at your side.
Let there be singing and music before you cast everything sad behind you and think only of joy." (Quasten, p. 154)
The Amos Connection
- Speaking of the Instrumental music in worship condemned by Amos and others we note that:
- ---- "The marzeah had an extremely long history extending at least from the 14th century B.C. through the Roman period. In the 14th century B.C., it was prominently associated with the ancient Canaanite city of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), on the coast of Syria... The marzeah was a pagan ritual that took the form of a social and religious association... Some scholars regard the funerary marzeah as a feast for--and with--deceased ancestors (or Rephaim, a proper name in the Bible for the inhabitants of Sheol)." (King, Biblical Archaeological Review, Aug, 1988, p. 35, 35)
- ---- "These five elements are: (1) reclining or relaxing, (2) eating a meat meal, (3) singing with harp or other musical accompaniment, (4) drinking wine and (5) anointing oneself with oil." (King, p. 37).
- ---- "With the wine-drinking (which is the literal meaning of the Hebrew for feasting), went music and dancing." (Heaton, E. W., Everyday Life in Old Testament times, Scribners, p. 93)
- ---- "Worship was form more than substance; consequently, conduct in the marketplace was totally unaffected by worship in the holy place. Amos spoke from the conviction that social justice is an integral part of the Mosaic covenant, which regulates relations not only between God and people, but also among people." (King, p. 44).
- ---- -"In pagan traditions, musical instruments are invented by gods or demi-gods, such as titans. In the Bible, credit is assigned to antediluvian patriarchs, for example, the descendants of Cain in Genesis 4:21. There is no other biblical tradition about the invention of musical instruments." (Freedman, David Noel, Bible Review, Summer 1985, p. 51). (Proof Here).
- ---- Those whose assigned task is to "take away the keys to knowledge" (Luke 11:52) should be aware that the literate of the world understand that the entire Bible treats instrumental music as a way to take away the Words of Christ. That is a self-evident fact.
In warning Corinth about instruments and tongues inability to communicate, he used the word barbarian:
Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 1 Corinthians 14:11
And in connection with his outlawing "non-sedantary" women he virtually outlawed all instruments and all speaking in tongues. In other letters he used the transgression of Eve to prohibit public roles. This was because, then and now, those who rise to the bait of performance explicitly condemn Paul or anyone who would stand in their way by using the example of Eve. Within paganism, Eve and then Sophia and Zoe were elevated to the roles of mediators or intercessors (to bring the worshipers into the presence of the gods) because she had yielded to Satan in the garden of Eden. As a result she was the unique repository of all knowledge as Lucifer's agent and must be the musical mediator between men and God while the men sit silent.
"Another manifestation of the importance to the Gnostics of the feminine principle is found in their interpretation of the story of the Garden of Eden and of the relationship between the male and female elements as manifest in Adam and Eve.
For the Gnostics, it is Eve who brings life and wisdom to Adam and infuses humanity with the principle of spirituality. For example, in the text entitled On the Origin of the World
After the day of rest, Sophia [literally, "wisdom"] sent Zoe [literally, "life"], her daughter, who is called Eve, as an instructor to raise up Adam. . . When Eve saw Adam cast down, she pitied him, and she said "Adam, live! Rise up upon the earth!" Immediately her word became deed. For when Adam rose up, immediately he opened his eyes. When he saw her, he said," "You will be called 'the mother of the living,' because you are the one who gave me life. See the full story.
Paul understood the universal "Lucifer - Sophia - Zoe" principle from the Greek world:
Corybantes (Phrygian castrate priests of Cybele) in their caverns
invented this hide-stretched circlet, (tambourine) and blent its Bacchic revelry
with the high-pitched, sweet-sounding breath of Phrygian flutes,
and in Rhea's hands placed its resounding noise, to accompany the shouts of the Bacchae, (ev-ah!) and from Mother Rhea frenzied Satyrs obtained it and joined it to the choral dances of the Trieterides, (Triennial Festivals) in whom Dionysus takes delight. Bacchae And in the Palamedes the Chorus says,
Thysa, daughter of Dionysus, who on Ida rejoices with his dear mother
in the Iacchic revels of tambourines.
This Eve, on account of her having been in the beginning deceived by the serpent, and become the author of sin,
the wicked demon, who also is called Satan,
who then spoke to her through the serpent, and who works even to this day in those men that are possessed by him invokes as Eve." (Theophilus, p. 105)
Whatever the "hermeneutic" Paul still demands that women not be performers in the worship and he invokes the name of EVE to justify it.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls The Thanksgiving Psalms we see the prophecy of how Judas and the Jewish clergy would try to triumph over Jesus with singing, piping or playing other instruments to force Him into the "choral" or the dance with the naked men.
Hymn 9, interprets Psalm 41 which was the prophecy that Judas would not triumph over Jesus where triumph meant "musical rejoicing" (Numbers 10:7). And we know that the Judas bag was "to carry the mouthpieces of wind instruments" and that it was made up of two words meaning "speaking in tongues" and "from the world."
- All who have eaten by bread
- have lifted their heel against me,
- and all those joined to my Council
- have mocked me with wicked lips...
They have overtaken me in a narrow pass without escape
And there is no rest for me in my trial.
- They sound my censure upon a harp
- and their murmuring and storming upon a zither." Ps.41:11
- However, in hymn 11, Jesus triumphs in the Spirit
- They enter my heart and reach into my bones to...
- and to meditate in sorrowful meditation.
- I will groan with the zither of lamentation
- in all grief-stricken mourning and bitter complaint
- until iniquity and wickedness are consumed
- and the disease-bringing scourge is no more.
- Then will I play on the zither of deliverance
- and the harp of joy,
- on the tabors of prayer and the pipe of praise
- without end
And Hymn 1 reads in part and shows that "praise" is telling those who do not know about Jesus revealed through His Words:
- It is Thou who hast created breath for the tongue
- and Thou knowest its words;
- Thou didst establish the fruit of the lips
- before ever they were.
- Thou dost set words to measure
- and the flow of breath from the lips to metre.
- Thou bringest forth aounds
- according to their mysteries,
- and the flow of breath from the lips
- according to its reckoning,
- that they may tell of Thy glory
- and recount Thy wonders
- in all Thy works of truth.
That sounds like Paul's demand to sing to tell the wonders of God rather than to triumph over the audience with singing with instruments. If these dead sea scrolla was written before the time of Christ they were prophetic. They certainly define the "triumph over" attempt by Judas as a musical attack. If the dead sea Scrolls date after the time of Christ they give the universal understanding by most Jews that outside of the sacrificial system instruments were not allowed.
Psallo Could Exclude Instruments Before Paul or Lucian
Long before Paul wrote, the word carried the meaning of singing. This is true because most often when the equivalent Hebrew word is used the instrument is named. If the instrument is not named then psallo is singing. The Palestinian view of religion was reflected in religious writings of the times. For instance, Everett Ferguson notes the Psalms of Solomon which we have fully posted by clicking here, A short quote teads
III. Psalms Of Solomon. Concerning the righteous.1 Why sleepest thou, O my soul, And blessest not the Lord?
2 Sing (psalle) a new song, Unto God who is worthy to be praised.
- Sing and be wakeful against His awaking,
- For good is a psalm (sung) to God from a glad heart.
3 The righteous remember the Lord at all times,
With thanksgiving and declaration of the righteousness of the Lord's judgements
Again, this is consistent with Paul's command:
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 5:20
Because Paul was a student of both Hebrew and Greek -- and inspired -- to be consistent with the Classical Greek world and the Old Testament, if he included the harp he would have written:
singing and making melody with a harp.
In the Psalmsof Solomon, Psalm 15 "Solomon" described the instrument:
XV. A Psalm. Of Solomon. With a Song.
- 1 When I was in distress I called upon the name of the Lord,
- I hoped for the help of the God of Jacob and was saved;
- 2 For the hope and refuge of the poor art Thou, O God.
- 3 For who, O God, is strong except to give thanks unto Thee in truth?
- 4 And wherein is a man powerful except in giving thanks to Thy name?
- 5 A new psalm with song in gladness of heart,
- The fruit of the lips with the
- well-tuned instrument of the tongue,
- The firstfruits of the lips from a pious and righteous heart
Or as Paul would say:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
The firstfruits was the legalistic sacrifice under the law; firstfruits of the lips is the sacrifice of spiritual worship. This reflects the view of Paul who "sings" --
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Hebrews 13:13
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Hebrews 13:14
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:16
Jesus commanded and Paul repeated that evangelists have a commission to "go forth" in contrast to the huge staff including musicians in Jerusalem where even Josephus notes that the Levitical singers who performed liturgical functions caused Israel to fall once and would do it again. Their performance, according to him, was against the Law and destructive to understanding God's Word.
Remember that the clergy of the "like the nations" temple state in Jerusalem used God's trumpets and then added instruments of David to make a great crashing sound during animal sacrifices. This forced everyone to fall on the ground and the "congregation" could not come boldly before the throne of Grace. To resurrect the Levitical singers and harp-accompanied music is to tell people that "we must lead you into the presence of God." Musical Worship Facilitators" are hired for this explicit purpose. This usurps the role of Jesus and repudiates His once-for-all sacrifice. If individuals of the "congregation" attempts to be bold the Levitical singers were "tyrants."
However, the Jewish "congregation" worshiped outside the gates in their home town which from the time of Moses had what was later called the synagogue. There, they prayed and sang the Biblical text as the fruit of the lips and not the fruit of the pipe which is, in Hebrew, synonymous with pollution and prostitution. Israel failed because the priests as teachers refused to "go out" and teach the nation.
Paul's command to meet Jesus outside the camp -- where He suffered and died -- is Paul's continuing command for the worship in spirit and in truth demanded by Jesus -- Not in Gerezim
Ferguson notes that in the Odes of Solomon, as well as in the Dead Sea Scrolls, musical instruments are figurative of the instruments of speech which God has given:
As the hand moves over the harp, and the strings speak, so speaks in my members the Spirit of the Lord, and I speak by His love. For it destroys what is foreign, and everything that is bitter." Ode 6:1-3
For thus it was from the beginning and will be to the end, that nothing should be His adversary, and nothing should stand up against Him." Ode 6:4
The Lord has multiplied the knowledge of Himself, and is zealous that these things should be known, which by His grace have been given to us. And the praise of His name He gave us:
our spirits praise His holy Spirit." Ode 6:5-6
- Teach me the Psalms of thy truth,
- that I may bring forth fruit in thee: And
- open to me the harp of thy Holy Spirit,
- that with all its notes I may praise thee, O Lord." Ode 14:7-8
Paul identified "word" in Colossians with "spirit" in Ephesians and Jesus said, "My words are Spirit and Life."
We can conclude that the word psallo had a meaning within the classical Greek. Even the psalmos Paul commanded can be accompanied by the voice or an instrument.
The language had another word within Koine or the Greek of the travelling world. However, it makes no difference -- it is just bickering over words. Paul's clear statement defines psalmos as that which is "spoken" and psalmos can be "accompanied by the voice" in addition to "singing in the heart." Paul also puts the or "plucking" in the heart and directed to God rather than to the worshiping audience. Paul would call the "many" swarming around the young churches as "peddlers of the Word" and Lucian would call them parasites. Erasmus would agree.
Paul is in agreement with the non-inspired writings about the time of Christ which uniformely attribute attempts to worship God with music as the gift of Satan to Jubal and his family all of whom had names indicating their connection to the Babylonian soothsayers who would sell you a God-given ugly wife while they, like Laban, threw you a musical party.
This agrees with the Old Testament where the equivalent of psallo always defined the mechanical instrument to use. The melody was in the music; one "made" the melody by plucking the strings in the identical pitch of the word. Paul defined the instrument and it is not "lifeless" or "carnal."
Lucian of Samosata was a performer just like the ones he poked fun at in his Parasite. His job was to ridicule all "gods" and not to worship them.
Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich Preface (pg xi) shows the differences between classical and koine Greek:
The earliest Christian literature ... is made up of a number of writings which were composed in the Greek language. It is not the Greek of more ancient times, least of all that of the Golden Age of Athens which is now taught in the institutions of higher learning and occupies the most prominent place in the dictionaries used in them. A comparison reveals, on the contrary, differences in phonology and morphology, in syntax and style, and, not the least of all, in the vocabulary as well.
Liddell and Scott, Preface (pg vi), goes further than Arndt and Gingrich by connecting Lucian to this early Greek:
It will be understood, however, that the age of a word does not wholly depend on that of its author. For, first, many Greek books have been lost; secondly,
a word of Attic stamp, first occurring in Lucian, Alciphron, or later imitators of Attic Greek, may be considered as virtually older than those found in the vernacular writers of the Alexandrian age. Further, the language changed differently in different places at the same time; as in the cases of Demosthenes and Aristotle, whom we have been compelled to place in different Epochs. And even at the same place, as at Athens,
there were naturally two parties, one clinging to old usages, the other fond of what was new. The Greek of Thucydides and Lysias may be compared in illustration of this remark.
In the first part of Lucian we showed conclusively that Lucian used the language which was at least four hundred years older than Paul's language. This ancient language was retained as the language of the aristocrats, kings and pagan worship, Therefore, Lucian is not an authority who forces Paul to change what he clearly wrote under inspiration. When he used the word psallein or psallo he also indited pagan religion.
We have also responded to a question about the Septuagint (LXX) version which is used to defend musical worship. We do not believe that pro-music people will like the Septuagint any better than the King James Version or the NIV.
- Sermon Review: No Dispensational Distinctions: David's Civil Rituals Authorizes Instruments?
- Sermon Review: Lucian of Samosata and From Attic Greek
- Sermon Review: Lucian of Samosata Explained by The Church Fathers
- Sermon Review: How About Psallo and Psalm 150?
- Sermon Review: Reasonableness of Christianity - John Locke
- Sermon Review: A Letter of Toleration - John Locke
If you are interested in Lucian his works are sold by Amazon.com
Kenneth Sublett Comments Welcome
Musical Index, lucian of samosata,
Counter added 11/05/04 2959 10.14.09 5000