Syria - Daily life and social customs | Britannica

Kaiserreich Beta 0.13 - ‘A King and his Captain’

Continuing our pattern of smaller, more focused updates we are delighted to bring you the Romanian rework! Of course we haven’t been idle in other places; many other nations, notably Serbia, have received changes as well. In addition, we are very pleased to give you one of our greatest performance improvements to date as a result of our new division limit and our totally rewritten annexation decisions; details for both can be found below. We hope you enjoy this update!
- The KR4 team
New Systems
Division Limit:
A new mechanic has been added to all nations; the division limit. It represents the total number of divisions that a country can safely support. The AI will simply not build past this limit. Players can build past this limit, but they will be notified when they’re over it (via a flashing alert on their Recruit & Deploy tab) and will receive a malus that increases the more they go over that limit.
Other Notable Additions
Reworked/Expanded Focus Trees
New Events
New Decisions
New Custom Country Paths
New Game Rules
New portraits for:
Music Mod
Notable Fixes
Other Fixes
We hope you enjoy playing Kaiserreich as much as we did making it!
- The KR4 Team: Alpinia, Arvidus, Augenis, Blackfalcon501, DSFDarker, Carmain, Dr. Njitram, Drozdovite, Edouard Saladier, Éloïse, Eragaxshim, Fbruchmueller, Flamefang, Fort, Gideones, JazzyHugh, Jeankedezeehond, Jonjon428, Jonny BL, Krco, Liegnitz, Maltesefalcon, Matoro, NukeGaming, OperationsManagementDecisions, PPsyrius, Pietrus, Rei VL, Rylock, SPQR, Starguard, Telcontar101, The Alpha Dog, Thomahawk2k, Vidyaország, WordZero, Yard1, Zankoas and Zimbabwe Salt Co.
submitted by Flamefang92 to Kaiserreich [link] [comments]

#15 | Sniper3D SitRep | 21st of July

It’s Tuesday and, unfortunately (or fortunately?), I can’t think of anything witty to say for the opening of this SitRep. I was assured this was a cold country, and it turned out to be a lie, so the joke centre of my brain is not running at full capacity this week. My name is Konrad, and this is a brand new edition of our weekly updates.

🗡 Tactical Updates 🗡

As part of our initiative to create a fun and fair environment, we’ve been investigating a variety of different methods used by cheaters throughout the last few months. Today, we are happy to share our progress on two major forms of cheating that aren’t possible anymore as of this week.
To kick things off, you should no longer see suspiciously new accounts (that haven’t yet completed the Arena Challenge) wielding the legendary MSR Rifle. We’ve closed the lid on this particular hack, and put a stop to players acquiring the MSR without going through the intended trials and tribulations. Alongside stopping the illegitimate acquisition of the MSR, we’ve also identified a potential avenue cheaters were using to get items and/or upgrades for free. This route has now been closed, meaning that all players should now be on an equal playing field when it comes to in-game progression. All players that have previously abused this route have also been permanently restricted from online play.
As well as the above, we also have a new automatic ban system, that will immediately restrict access to the game to anyone attempting to manipulate the game to get free items (such as weapons and currrency). This has been rolled out in a way that we’re extremely confident in its accuracy, although we’ll be keeping an eye throughout the following weeks.
This is another completed step in what we intend to be a series of improvements and upgrades to the anti-cheat system that will address the cheating and hacking reports that we’ve been receiving and monitoring from our community. For all of our fair, legitimate and competitive Arena Snipers, we are continuing to pave the way to a cleaner Arena, so we thank you for your continued patience.
For some time, we have been seeing an issue where the sixth mod slot - that is, the one unlockable via a PREMIUM subscription. In some cases, it caused mods equipped to it to disappear if you restarted the app.
This seemed to be related to the way the game would verify if a player had a subscription or not on startup, and so the slot would be locked by default until confirmation was received that the subscription existed. Of course, this meant that the mod currently equipped to that particular slot would be unusable, and ultimately disappear once the subscription was validated and the slot was unlocked.
As a temporary fix, and in preparation for more major work on the subscriptions, we’ve gone ahead and made that slot free for everybody. I hope you can all enjoy a little more freedom to experiment with your World Ops mod combinations.

⚔ Flashpoints ⚔

Resolved Issues

Current Issues

Player Support Delays

We're still in the process of improving and expanding our player support operations. While I would still like to advise that delays will be present, this should be changing in the future and we'll be able to respond to your tickets much more efficiently. In the meantime, please remember that submitting multiple tickets may slow down our response time. I'd also like to mention that threats or abuse may only result in your ticket no longer receiving a response.
We would also like to share that we've made some significant progress on remaining tickets recently. We're still not where we want to be, although we expect operations to be closer to our regular response times within the next few weeks. I would finally like to recommend that, before submitting a ticket, you check our previous SitReps, as well as articles located in our FAQ.

📣 Squad Shoutout! 📣

That's right - a new SitRep means a new Squad Shoutout! This week we're featuring Forze Speciali, and we're going to hear a little bit about them from ☆Fs☆ Hitman.
"We are a new Italian team that plays without tricks and all together we fight every war to the end!"
So, they're new, they're Italian and they're determined! But what makes Forze Speciali stand out?
"We are a united team that believes in clean play. We have a chat where members exchange tips and believe in respect between members and for the opponent."
And there you have it - a clean, united Squad with an interest in respectful play and in sharing tips between skill levels. If you're new, and looking for a friendly place to get your feet under you, why not try Forze Speciali? Of course, if you see ☆Fs☆ Hitman in the Arena, do send my regards!
That's that for this week, and as always, if you'd like to submit your own Squad, simply click here! I'm aiming to showcase a fair spread of new and old, small and large Squads - so make sure your Captain has sent in a submission!

📖 Sniper's Story 📖

Orsis T-5000

The Orsis T-5000 is a Russian-made bolt-action sniper rifle, designed in 2011 as Orsis’ first ever production, and built in their Moscow factory. This rifle stands out as an example of dedicated manufacture, as no part of it is third-party. This means that, rather than using a German-made bolt or a British trigger guard, every single piece of this rifle is manufactured directly by Orsis.
The weapon has seen action in both the Syrian Civil War, and the Iraqi Civil War of 2014-17, and is currently in use in Belarus, Russia, China and Vietnam, as well as by Egyptian and Iraqi special forces, and variations are currently in limited use - such as the modernised T-5000M and the made-for-precision Tachnost.
This weapon is fairly rare in terms of media, with only one movie and a handful of games featuring it. That said, it seems so prominent in Escape From Tarkov that I genuinely had a little trouble with my research. I’ve always been a little curious to try that game - if you know it, tell me in the comments if I should give it a shot!

That about wraps up this week's news and updates. I'll get back to your tickets, and I look forward to seeing your feedback. Stay safe, and I'll see you next week.
submitted by Sniper_3D to Sniper3D [link] [comments]


Georgia is a stunning country and one of the most desirable travel destinations in 2020. Easy visa regulation is one of the many reasons for the popularity of Georgia.
The country is especially popular among GCC residents due to the short flight and very reasonable prices.


The official sources state that all UAE residents can travel to the country of Georgia without a previously obtained visa for a period of 90 days. They will be granted an entry stamp at the airport upon their arrival. It is a relief for many UAE residents as the interest in visiting and especially in getting married in Georgia is growing among them.
However it is highly advised by the Georgian government to meet the following requirements:
– return ticket
– insurance
– the UAE resident permit should be at least 6 months old and should be valid for at least six months since the travel date.


Like in most of the good stories there is “but” coming after the good part. In 2018 a high number of tourists of certain nationalities were not allowed to enter Georgia despite having valid UAE resident visas. The travelers were simply deported back to the UAE with the nearest flight without proper explanation. Most of them were holders of Pakistani, Indian, Syrian, and Bangladeshi passports. Along with return tickets, hotel booking, and insurances. Such wicked discrimination has been interrogated by the UAE officials however the Georgian government has never released an official statement about the case, claiming its right to have the visa approval/issuances at the discretion of immigration offices even if it is provided on arrival.


The UAE government, unfortunately, does not play any role in the cases when the country’s residents are being refused entry and it cannot be held responsible for it.
The best solution offered is to register in the service called ‘Tawagudi’ on the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s website to be up to date with all travel instructions and advice. In case of emergency, travelers are advised to call +995595666466 or contact the ministry’s call center on 8004444.
Despite the difficulties, Georgia is still a beautiful destination worth visiting. It’s a country you easily fall in love with. If you are planning your trip there some time soon, please make sure to follow all the mentioned advice and contact our team for more information. We are happy to share our case studies and support our customers in any situation.
And how hard is it to get a visa to your country? Tell us where are you from in the comments!
submitted by easyweddinggeorgia to u/easyweddinggeorgia [link] [comments]

A Recap of the US-Iran Hostilities since Trump came into office.

I'm currently operating under the assumption that president Trump has willfully and with great disregard placed the United States on a path to armed conflict in Iran. I have compiled a timeline of events that shows event from spring 2018 up to now.
May 18th 2018, Trump pulls US out of Iran Nuclear deal, the only agreament keeping the Iranian government from enriching uranium.
May 21st 2018, Trump demanded Iran make sweeping changes - from dropping its nuclear programme to pulling out of the Syrian war - or face severe economic sanctions. The Trump administration's 12 demands listed below were outlined by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, were rejected by Tehran. * Declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear programme and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.
August 7th 2018, reimposed the first round of sanctions on Iran, originally lifted as part of the nuclear deal.
They prohibited trade with a number of business sectors Which included * 20 Billion contract for Boeing planes * 19 Billion contract for Airbus * 850 Million contract for export of Pistacheos
November 5th 2018, the US announced a 2nd round of sanctions. They Specfically targeted oil and banking sectors of the Iranian Economy. * Banking sanctions removed more than one million barrels of Iranian oil from the market and that Tehran lost more than $2.5bn in oil revenues.
April 8th 2019, Trump announced he was designating a powerful arm of the Iranian military, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign "terrorist" organisation.
It was the first time Washington formally labelled another country's military a "terrorist group".
May 5th 2019, Trump's then-National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the US was sending an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East "in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings".
May 8 2019, Iran said it was preparing to increase enriched uranium and heavy water production as part of its decision to stop certain commitments made under the nuclear deal. A year after Washington withdrew from the deal and later reimposed sanctions on Tehran, Trump announced new measures against Iran's steel and mining sectors.
May 12th 2019, the United Arab Emirates said four commercial ships off the coast of Fujairah, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs, "were subjected to sabotage operations". Officials identified the damaged ships as the Saudi oil tankers Al-Marzoqah and Amjad, the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory, and a UAE bunkering barge, the A Michel. Fujairah is the only Emirati terminal located on the Arabian Sea, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz through which most Gulf oil exports pass. Iran, which has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait in case of a military confrontation with the US, called the incidents "alarming and regrettable".
May 14th 2019, Yemen's Houthi rebels, who were locked in a long-running war with a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition, launched drone attacks on Saudi Arabia striking a major oil pipeline and taking it out of service. Two days later, Riyadh, a key US ally, blamed Iran for the attack. The US and Saudi Arabia accused Iran of arming the Houthis, but Tehran denied the claim.
May 19th 2019, a rocket landed near the US embassy in Baghdad. No one was harmed. It was not clear who is behind the attack, but Trump tweeted at the time: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"
June 13th 2019, Japan Prime Minister Abe (negotiating on behalf of the US) still in Iran, a Japanese tanker and a Norwegian one came under "attack" in the Gulf of Oman, according to the Norwegian maritime authority and the Japanese shipowner. The US Fifth Fleet said it received two separate distress calls from the tankers in a "reported attack". Iran spoke initially of "accidents" and said it rescued 44 crew members. Zarif called tanker "attacks" during Abe's visit "suspicious".
June 17th 2019, the Pentagon authorised the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East. On the same date, Iran said it was 10 days away from surpassing the limits set by the nuclear deal on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. Iran said it could reverse the move if the deal's European signatories step in and make an effort to circumvent US sanctions.
June 20th 2019, Iranian forces shot down a US military drone, Both countries confirmed the incident but offer diverging accounts about the location of the aircraft. The US said it was flying above international waters, while Iran said the drone was flying in Iranian airspace.
June 21st 2019, Trump said he called off a military strike on Iran the night before, which was intended as retaliation against Tehran for the downing of the unmanned US drone. Trump said he did so 10 minutes before the planned attack because of potential casualties, saying it was "not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone". Trump said a US strike could have killed 150 people, and signalled he was open to talks with Tehran.
June 22nd 2019, Iran said it was ready to respond firmly to any US threat against it. "We will not allow any violation against Iran's borders. Iran will firmly confront any aggression or threat by America," said Abbas Mousavi, foreign ministry spokesman. On the same day, Iran ordered the execution of a "defence ministry contractor" convicted of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency, while the US vowed to impose fresh sanctions, adding that military action was still "on the table".
June 25th 2019, Trump signed an order targeting Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, and associates with additional financial sanctions "Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," the US president said.
June 29th 2019, the US Air Forces Central Command said in a statement that F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were being deployed in the region "to defend American forces and interests".
July 1st 2019, Iran exceeded the limit on the amount of enriched uranium in its stockpile set out in the nuclear deal.The United Nations's atomic watchdog confirmed that its inspectors had verified the 300kg cap had been breached.
July 4th 2019, British Royal Marines, police and customs agents in Gibraltar seized a supertanker accused of carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.The Grace 1 vessel was boarded on Thursday when it slowed down in a designated area used by shipping agencies to ferry goods to ships in the UK territory along Spain's southern coast.
July 8th 2019, Iran passed the uranium enrichment cap set in the nuclear deal, the second time in a week that it made good on a promise to reduce compliance with the accord. Iran set to exceed uranium enrichment limit in 2015 nuclear deal (3:31)
July 19th 2019, the IRGC said its forces seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The Stena Impero tanker "was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules", the force said in its official website at the time.
July 25th 2019, the UK announced the country's warships would escort all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, a change in policy that took place amid rising tensions in the Gulf.
August 1st 2019, the US imposed sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Khamenei.
"Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran's Supreme Leader, and is the regime's primary spokesperson around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement at the time.
August 15th 2019, Gibraltar's Supreme Court ruled that the Seized Iranian Tankeer Grace 1 was free to sail, just hours after the US made a last-minute attempt to keep the vessel under detention.
August 23rd 2019, Iran unveils new missile defence system Rouhani inducted a locally built air-defence system into the country's missile defence network at an unveiling ceremony in Tehran.Iran began production after the purchase of Russia's S-300 system was suspended in 2010 due to international sanctions that have barred it from importing many weapons.
August 26th 2019, Zarif meets Macron Iran's top diplomat held talks with France's President Emmanuel Macron at the sidelines of a G7 summit following a surprise invite to the gathering in Biarritz. "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues," Zarif said. "Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying."
August 30th 2019, the UN said Iran was still exceeding limitations set by its nuclear deal with world powers, increasing its stock of enriched uranium and refining it to a greater purity than allowed in the agreement.
The quarterly report from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Iran was progressively backing out of the pact in retaliation for the US's withdrawal from the accord and the subsequent renewal of sanctions that had hit Iranian oil sales.
September 3rd 2019, the US imposed sanctions on Iran's civilian space agency and two research organisations, saying they were being used to advance Tehran's ballistic missile programme.
September 4th 2019, the US turned up the economic pressure on Iran, blacklisting an oil shipping network that Washington alleges is directed by the IRGC.
September 5th 2019, The State Department sent emails to captain Akhilesh Kumar in which they offered "good news" of millions in US cash for the captain to live comfortably if he steered the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, to a country where it could be seized.
September 7th 2019, Iran started injecting gas into advanced centrifuges to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium and warned that time was running out for the nuclear deal's other signatories to save the landmark pact.
September 10th 2019 announced via Twitter that he had fired Bolton, his national security adviser, saying he had "strongly disagreed" with many of his hawkish positions. Bolton's sacking was reportedly linked to a fundamental disagreement over the possible easing of US sanctions on Iran. Taking aim at Bolton, Iran said the US should distance itself from "warmongers".
September 14th 2019, Yemen's Houthi rebels (who may or may not be backed by Iran) claimed responsibility for drone attacks on two major Saudi Aramco oil facilities: Abqaiq - the world's largest oil processing plant
September 24th 2019 Trump lashed out at Iran and called on countries around the world to tighten the economic noose around it."One of the greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations today is the repressive regime in Iran," he said.
November 4th 2019 imposed new sanctions on the inner circle of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, including one of his sons. The US Treasury said that the nine people sanctioned included Khamenei's chief of staff, the head of the judiciary and senior military figures. It said it also blacklisted Iran's Armed Forces General Staff.
November 6th 2019, began the process of injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at the underground Fordow facility.Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, told state television that the agency has delivered 2,000kg (4,400 pounds) of uranium or UF6 to the Fordow plant, under the supervision of UN inspectors.
November 7th 2019, A US-led naval coalition officially launched operations in Bahrain to protect shipping in the troubled waters of the Gulf, following a string of attacks that Washington and its allies blamed on Iran.
November 7th 2019 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of preparing "a rapid nuclear breakout".
November 8th 2019, Iran's state news agency IRNA says air defence forces shot down an "unknown" drone. The United States Central Command released a statement later that Friday saying that the downed drone was not one of theirs, and that all military drones were accounted for.
November 15th 2019, Unrest in Iran erupted after the government abruptly raised fuel prices by as much as 300 percent. The unrest spread to more than 100 Iranian cities and towns and turned political as young and working-class protesters demanded that religious leaders step down.The death toll of the unrest varied. The opposition said at least 631 people were killed, while Amnesty International put the figure at more than 300. Both numbers were dismissed by Iranian authorities.
November 22nd 2019, US imposed sanctions on Iran's communications minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi for his role in "widespread censorship" during civil unrest.
November 25th 2019 General Hossein Salami accused the US, the United Kingdom, Iraq and Saudi Arabia of stoking unrest in the country. "We have shown restraint ... we have shown patience towards the hostile moves of America, the Zionist regime [Israel] and Saudi Arabia against the Islamic Republic of Iran ... but we will destroy them if they cross our red lines," Salami said.
November 27th 2019 Iranian security agents arrested at least eight people linked to the CIA during deadly unrest over petrol price increases. "These elements had received CIA-funded training in various countries under the cover of becoming citizen-journalists," IRNA quoted the intelligence ministry as saying. "Six were arrested while attending the riots and carrying out [CIA] orders and two while trying to ... send information abroad."
December 4th 2019 The Pentagon denied a report that the US was weighing sending up to 14,000 more troops to the Middle East to confront a perceived threat from Iran.
The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that the possible deployment would include "dozens" more ships and double the number of troops added to the US forces in the region.
December 4th 2019 US Navy warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea. In a statement, the Pentagon said a US warship found "advanced missile components" on a stateless vessel and an initial investigation indicated the parts were of Iranian origin.
December 7 Iran and US exchanged prisoners. Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-born US citizen held in Iran since 2016, was exchanged for Massoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist detained in the US.
December 8th 2019, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani announced a $39bn "budget of resistance" to counter US sanctions.
Rouhani said the aim was to reduce "hardships" to help Iran's people overcome economic difficulties.
December 11th 2019, the US Treasury imposed new sanctions on Iran's biggest airline and its shipping industry, accusing them of transporting lethal aid to Yemen.
December 19th 2019, the US announced that it would restrict visas for Iranian officials for their alleged roles in suppressing peaceful protests and imposed sanctions on two Iranian judges.
December 27th 2019, a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk killed a US contractor and wounded several US service members and Iraqi personnel.
December 29th 2019 - the US military carried out "defensive strikes" on sites in Iraq and Syria belonging to Kataib Hezbollah that Washington said were in retaliation for the killing of the US contractor. Iraqi security and militia sources said at least 25 fighters were killed and 55 others wounded following the air attacks in Iraq on Sunday.
December 31st 2019, enraged members and supporters of pro-Iranian paramilitary groups in Iraq broke into the heavily fortified US embassy compound in Baghdad, smashing a main door and setting parts of its perimeter on fire.Trump blamed Iran for killing the US contractor and the ensuing tensions around the embassy. "Iran is orchestrating an attack on the US Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible," he wrote on Twitter.
January 2nd 2020, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said there were "some indications" that Iran or groups it supports "may be planning additional attacks" on US interests in the Middle East.
January 3rd 2020, the US struck and killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, or PMF.
Below is a Quote from the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi
“I received a phone call from President Trump when the embassy protests ended thanking the government efforts and asked Iraq to play the mediator's role between US and Iran” Iraqi PM said.
“But at the same time American helicopters and drones were flying without the approval of Iraq, and we refused the request of bringing more soldiers to US embassy and bases”
“I was supposed to meet Soleimani at the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi to Iran” Iraqi PM said.
Soleimani may have caused harm to American service members on his hands, and opposing commanders are considered fair game in war. But in killing a country’s senior general is the sort of thing you only do when you are in a state of war or outright hostilities. or if your trying to provoke a country into a exchange of hostilities.

Credit to

Al Jazeera
The Guardian







submitted by Spencerforhire83 to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

The Gospel of John: The Reminiscences of the Beloved Disciple Ch. I-V

List of Possible Instance of Eye-witness Material in the Gospel of John

This list is not exhaustive.
John 1:19-51
The Fourth Gospel has drawn upon historical memories in its characterization of John. Rather than interpret John as Elijah, this Gospel has used what is probably a pre-Synoptic designation of John as “the voice crying in the wilderness,” which probably goes back to John’s own testimony. In its interpretation of the relationship between John and Jesus, the Fourth Gospel utilizes another remembered saying from the Jesus tradition, this time a saying of Jesus using the metaphor of the bridegroom. These sayings have provided the Fourth Evangelist with two images from the tradition that he develops in an extended metaphor of Jesus as the bridegroom and John as the witnessing “voice” of the bridegroom’s friend. Using this nuptial imagery, rather than that of the Synoptic forerunner, the Fourth Evangelist is able to incorporate into his narrative further historical reminiscences that the Synoptic Gospels must omit if they are to maintain the Elijah/Christ model. The Fourth Gospel, therefore, is able to show that John and Jesus were both involved in baptizing ministries at the same time, that this was a cause of some tension between their disciples, and that some disciples of John left him to become followers of Jesus. Far from being “unhistorical,” the Johannine narrative has drawn on historical reminiscences from the Jesus tradition, bringing together history and symbol in a narrative that not only tells a story about what happened but also offers insight into the meaning of what happened. Jesus, the divine Word incarnate, enacts the prophetic words of the Old Testament describing God’s betrothal to and love of Israel. Within the sequence under consideration in this essay (John 1:1–3:36), the nuptial symbolism is explicit only in the wedding at Cana and in John’s concluding words, but its presence is felt from the moment John is introduced as the man sent by God as witness (1:6–7), and I suggest that a first-century audience/reader, familiar with Jewish marital customs, would have picked up the allusion. The marital imagery makes apparent the underlying narrative logic of the events across these chapters beginning and ending with John. Ricoeur speaks of the need to link together the action kernels that constitute a narrative’s structural continuity;34 symbols, in a particular way, hold the actions of a narrative together by providing a deeper network of associations than simple chronology. Reading a narrative, alert to its historical and symbolic potential, enriches the reading experience by offering a second dimension. The artistry of this Fourth Evangelist offers such a stereoscopic vision, well symbolized in his traditional image: the eagle.
Coloe in Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, Tom Thatcher, John, Jesus and History, Vol 2: Aspects of Historicity in the Fourth Gospel (Early Christianity and Its Literature), 2009, p. 61

John the Baptist was a popular preacher and was concerned with religious rather than political or military matters. Yet Josephus reports that because John was able to exert such great influence over the people, Herod (Antipas) feared that this popularity could be turned to revolt and had John arrested and sent in chains to Machaerus, the Herodian fortress across the Dead Sea. It was there that John was later beheaded.What is significant here is that, although John was conducting a ministry that was entirely religious, any movement that became popular and attracted large numbers of followers was suspect. The movement did not have to give the appearance of being political/military. Any popular movement with a charismatic leader was in danger of being quashed by Herod Antipas.The baptismal site, described as “beyond the Jordan,” has been located with some probability at a site now known as Wadi Al Kharrar, Jordan. There is no archaeological evidence going back to the first century that can confirm the proposal but the present site is plausible.To summarize: The view of John the Baptist is consistent with the view in Josephus. That is, he was a person who was a popular figure and was put to death because of it. Bethany beyond the Jordan is unique to the earliest material in the Gospel of John and is identified with some certainty.
(James Chartlesworth with Jolyon G.R Pruszinski, Jesus Research: The Gospel of John (2019), "The First Edition of John’s Gospel in Light of Archaeology and Contemporary Literature?" by Urban C. von Wahlde)

It was the Baptist’s mission to point people to Jesus. In the previous section we have seen him bearing his witness. Now we find him sending some of his followers after the Lord. There are accounts of a “call” in the Synoptists (e.g., Mark 1:16–20), but they differ greatly from this. Despite Barrett’s hesitation we should not fear to accept both as authentic. The Fourth Gospel tells of a call to be disciples; the Synoptists of a call to be apostles. “John’s theme is not the calling of the apostles into office; it is their congenial association with Christ.” Strictly speaking, there is no “call” in this Gospel (except in the case of Philip, v. 43). Neither does Jesus call, nor John send. The disciples of John recognize the Messiah and spontaneously attach themselves to him. A minor confirmation is that John tells us that Simon was given the name “Peter” when Jesus first met him (v. 42), whereas in the Synoptists, who do not recount this meeting, there is no indication of when the name was bestowed. Psychologically it may well be that some such contact as is here recorded is almost the necessary prelude to the far-reaching call narrated by the Synoptists, with its requirement that the called abandon everything for Jesus. See further Godet’s note on verse 43.
(Morris, Leon, The Gospel according to John, NICNT)

Mark 1:16–20 launches the public ministry of Jesus with his calling of the fishermen by the Sea of Galilee. To Simon and his brother Andrew, casting their nets, Jesus declares, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Finding, then, the sons of Zebedee, James and John, mending their nets, Jesus invites them to do the same, which they do directly. They leave their father and the servants in the boat and follow Jesus; from there Jesus launches into his public ministry in Capernaum and beyond. As usual, Matthew follows Mark quite closely (Matt. 4:18–22), although Luke expands the passage, conflating it with Mark 4:1–2 (teaching people from a boat) and what seems an echo of the great catch of fish in John 21:1–14 (Luke 5:1–11). What the appendix of the Fourth Gospel presents as a ‘re-calling’ of Peter, Luke integrates into the original calling, spiritualizing the putting of the nets down into the ‘deep water’ (instead of on the right side of the boat) and presenting Peter’s dialogue with Jesus as repentance from sin rather than as a challenge to nurturing pastoral service (John 21:15–17; Luke 5:8). What Luke and Matthew both illustrate is the mathetic value of Jesus’ call to discipleship, as his exhortation to ‘follow me’ is expanded upon beyond its four presentations in Mark (Mark 1:17; 2:14; 8:34; 10:21; cf. Matt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21; Luke 5:27; 9:23, 59; 14:27; 18:22). The motif also appears in John (1:43; 10:27; 12:26; 21:19, 22), and independently so.
A second cluster of calling narratives in Mark involves the calling of individuals beyond the first four. In Mark 2:13–17 Jesus calls Levi son of Alphaeus (although the son of Alphaeus in Mark 3:18; Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13 is listed as ‘James’), apparently a tax collector in Capernaum. Upon dining with tax gatherers and sinners – calling not the righteous but the sinners – Jesus raises the ire of scribes and Pharisees. Matthew and Luke follow Mark quite closely here (Matt. 9:9–13; Luke 5:27–32), although Matthew changes the name to ‘Matthew’ and adds for a second time a reference to Hos. 6:6 (‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’, see also Matt. 12:7), and Luke refers to the dining as a ‘great feast’ in the house of Levi. Jesus also calls the rich man to follow him, but alas, his possessions pose an obstacle to authentic discipleship (Mark 10:17–22; Matt. 19:16–22; Luke 18:18–23). The passage is followed by the other two Synoptic writers, although Matthew calls him ‘young’ and Luke refers to him as a ‘ruler’. The Q tradition also features a calling to follow the Son of Man, and this unit functions to expose the lame excuses of those resisting the costs of discipleship (Matt. 8:18–22; Luke 9:57–62). In general terms, Jesus invites all would-be followers to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow him, and this passage is also followed by Matthew and Luke (Mark 8:34–9:1; Matt. 16:24–8; Luke 9:23–7). Interestingly, John 12:25 renders similar language regarding the losing of life among those wishing to save it, and vice versa, and in the material surrounding Peter’s confession in John 6 the ‘way of the cross’ is also exhorted, albeit in different terms.
A third feature of the Synoptic calling motif is the programmatic calling of the twelve in Mark 3:13–19, followed fairly closely by Matt. 10:1–4 and Luke 6:12–16. Having gone up a mountain (Luke adds, ‘to pray’) Mark’s Jesus calls his disciples to be with him, followed by sending them out to preach and cast out demons. Here the names of the twelve are listed, although Mark’s reference to James and John as ‘sons of thunder’ (boanrges, Mark 3:17) is omitted in Matthew and Luke. While Mark uses the programmatic calling of the twelve as an occasion for exposing the unbelieving rejection of Jesus by the religious authorities, Matthew employs it as a platform for sending out the twelve in apostolic ministry (Matt. 10:5–16), harmonizing this passage with Jesus’ sending out the twelve in Mark 6:7. Matthew adds ‘first’ before the name of Peter (Matt. 10:2), whose primacy is noted elsewhere in Matthean perspective (Matt. 16:17–19; 18:21–35), and Luke refers to Simon the Canaanean as ‘the zealot’ (Luke 6:15). Luke includes a briefer reference to the ministry of the twelve (connecting the material expanded by Matthew with a unit likely from Q, presenting it elsewhere as the sending out of the seventy, Luke 10:1–12), but then uses the event as an introduction to Jesus’ sermon on the plain (Luke 6:17–49). In all these passages the calling of the twelve is featured programmatically as a platform for Jesus’ expanded ministry – likely rooted in preaching about Jesus, gathered into a narrative by Mark. The mention of ‘the twelve’ in John, however, follows Peter’s confession, whereupon Jesus declares, ‘I did not call you, the twelve [i.e. to escape suffering and martyrdom], and yet one of you is a devil’ (John 6:70).22
By contrast, the calling narrative in John 1:35–51 is less programmatic and more incidental. Rather than Jesus being presented as taking the initiative (as in John 6:6), it is John the Baptist who plays the role of initiatory agent, pointing his own disciples to Jesus. An unnamed disciple and Andrew therefore follow Jesus and stay with him, as it is near the end of the day. Andrew then brings his brother Simon to Jesus, whom Jesus nicknames Kphas, the Aramaic word for ‘rock’ (translated Petros). Jesus then decides to go to Capernaum, and upon finding Philip from Bethsaida (described as the city of Andrew and Peter) invites him to ‘follow me’. Philip then finds Nathanael (later noted as ‘of Cana’, John 21:2), who is described by Jesus as one in whom there is nothing false. Interestingly, in only one case does Jesus call one of these five individuals to be his follower; others simply come to Jesus or are brought by others to him. A good deal of this presentation seems unplanned and spontaneous, and yet the results are highly theological, as Christological affirmations are extensive. John declares Jesus to be ‘the Lamb of God’ (vv. 29, 36), his first followers call Jesus Rabbi (translated ‘teacher’, v. 38), Andrew declares they had found the Messias (translated ‘Christ’, v. 41), Philip declares Jesus to be ‘the one of whom Moses and the prophets wrote – Jesus, Son of Joseph from Nazareth’ (v. 45), Nathanael refers to Jesus as ‘the Son of God’ and ‘the King of Israel’ (v. 49), and Jesus refers to himself as ‘the Son of Man’ (v. 51).
Using Brown’s distinction between preaching tradition and traditional memory, several things become apparent. First, given the multiplicity of accounts, it is not implausible that Jesus may have exhorted people to follow him at various times – at the beginning but also elsewhere during his ministry – inviting discipleship and yet warning of its costs and implications. And, he may have indeed called individuals as well as groups, perhaps more than once. Thus, it could be that the callings of individuals and groups reflect traditional memory, preserved somewhat authentically in the various gospel accounts. A second point, though, is that elements of preaching and discipleship instruction are notable in bi-optic presentations of the calling narratives. Noting that Peter, for instance, is exhorted to follow Jesus more than once by the Lord, it is not unlikely that this became a part of his own preaching ministry, or preaching about him by others, accounting for some of the gospel emphases, especially those underlying Mark. Such a theme as the cost of discipleship was preached in all likelihood as a way of linking Jesus’ instructions with the challenging situations of believers in later generations, so even if it reflected later preaching, it cannot be divorced from historical tradition. Thirdly, the calling narratives in the Synoptics and in John served programmatic functions, although in different ways. While the naming of the twelve in Mark may have served a historical function, clarifying who the twelve apostles were, it also echoes the Jewish hope for the restoration of the twelve tribes of Israel scattered in the diaspora. Such also became a basis for apostolic leadership in the second and third generations of the Christian movement, which provided a basis for the emergence of institutional over familial forms of leadership. The programmatic function of the Johannine calling narrative appears more Christological and confessional, emphasizing a variety of convictions regarding Jesus as the Messiah/Christ. The other features of John 1, however, appear to be rooted in familiarity with places and persons rather than homiletical interests, so John 1:19–51 appears to have a fair bit of historical memory behind it as well as theological importance.
(Tom Thatcher, Catrin Willias: Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John: Sixty Years of Tradition and Interpretation, 2010, p. 187-190)

vs. 39 Accordingly, the two inquirers παρʼ αὐτῷ ἔμειναν τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείην, “abode with Jesus that day,” sc. that eventful day which the narrator recalls (see on 11:49 for a like use of ἐκεῖνος). Perhaps it was the Sabbath day (see on 2:1). The addition “it was about the tenth hour” is, no doubt, a personal reminiscence. That is, it was ten hours after sunrise, or about 4 p.m., when the two disciples reached the place where Jesus was lodging.
(Bernard J.H, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Volumes 1 & 2 (ICC))
John 2:1-12
Moffatt favours yet a third Philonic explanation of the number 6, suggesting that the six ὑδρίαι correspond to Philo’s principle that six is the “most productive” (γονιμωτάτη) of numbers (decal. 30).These are desperate expedients of exegesis, and if Jn. really had any such notions in his mind when he said there were six waterpots prepared for the use of the wedding guests, he wrote more obscurely than is his wont. The truth is that mention of this unusually large number of ὑδρίαι is more reasonably to be referred to the observation of an eye-witness, who happened to remember the circumstance, than to elaborate symbolism of the narrative
(Bernard J.H, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Volumes 1 & 2, (ICC), p. 83)

Although John’s point is clear enough, his mention of waterpots for purification requires explanation on a historical level. Since drawn water was not normally used, and Cana, at its probable site, received much more rainwater than Masada or other such sites, it is difficult to understand how John could have conceived of purificatory water found in pots or drawn from a well. (Many scholars have made much of the term “draw” in 2:8, but unless John employs that term symbolically the source in 2:8 is not likely a well; context takes precedence over usual word usage. The source of water for 2:8 is the pots of 2:7.)
(Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volumes 1 & 2, Baker Academic)

verse 2: The mention of Cana probably functions as historical reminiscence—perhaps Nathanael’s (who may also represent the connection with the groom’s family, since he was from there, 21:2)—and as a literary cue prefiguring the sign of 4:46–54 (presumably from the same source). In its latter function “Cana of Galilee” (2:1; 4:46) addresses the contrast implied between Galilee’s positive reception of Jesus (2:2; 4:47, 54; cf. 2:12; 4:43–45) and his rejection in Judea (cf. 2:13–25; 5:16).
(Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volumes 1 & 2, Baker Academic)

-Lee, Thought, 17; Roth, “Vessels.” Gamble, “Philosophy,” 51–52, regards the amount of jars as a historical reminiscence

(c) Certain details, such as numbers, are given, which could only be derived from an eye-witness. For example, at Cana there were six water-pots (2:6); the disciples had rowed twenty-five or thirty furlongs when Jesus came to them on the lake (6:19); Jesus’ tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout (19:23).
(Barrett C.K. Gospel according to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text, p. 122)

The Synoptics do not mention the importance of stone vessels, yet John states that in Cana there were ‘six stone jars standing there for the Jewish rights of purification’ (2.6). This is a major datum that is grounded in Jesus’ time and place. Stone vessels have been found at the two sites vying for this ‘Cana’: Khirbet Kana and Kefer Kana. Stone vessels are designed for preserving the contents from ritual pollution, and they are found not only in the Upper City of Jerusalem but also in many sites of Lower Galilee especially the villages known to the historical Jesus. Almost all the stone vessels date from the time of Herod the Great to 70 ce , although some sites for manufacturing stone vessels continued in Lower Galilee, notably just outside Nazareth. In this one particular example, John is more reliable than the Synoptics and the tradition makes appropriate sense in pre-70 Jewish settings when the Temple authorities were mandating ritual purity for all Jews in Palestine. Moreover, when John reports that the miracle in Cana was ‘the first of his signs’ (2.11), the comment fits well with the Jewish emphasis on signs found in Josephus, Pseudo-Philo (LAB), and in other early Jewish texts. Second, John alone has knowledge of Jerusalem’s architecture.
(James H. Charlesworth: The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift? Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 8 (2010) 3–46 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI 10.1163/174551909X12607965419559

John 3:22-30
If we are pressed to reconstruct even further the relations between 1:19–34 and 3:22–30, we may suggest that the scene in 3:22–30 originally followed shortly after that of 1:19–34. John the Baptist is no longer at Bethany across the Jordan but at Aenon near Salim. Jesus, who was baptized by John the Baptist, is now in the Jordan valley conducting his own ministry of baptism and followed by the disciples (3:22) whom John the Baptist had sent to him. In 3:22–30 we have John the Baptist’s testimony at Aenon to another group of his disciples. This all takes place before Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, where he will abandon the baptizing ministry and begin to concentrate on teaching. It is precisely that change in the way Jesus was conducting himself (a change that took place after John the Baptist was imprisoned) which led John the Baptist to send from prison to inquire if, after all, Jesus was really the one to come (Luke 7:20). Thus, we believe that 3:22–30, if understood properly, gives us very reliable information about the early days of Jesus, material not preserved in the Synoptics but which Dodd, Tradition, pp. 279–87, correctly classifies as very ancient. There is no plausible theological reason why anyone would have invented the tradition that Jesus and his disciples once baptized. The practice of Christian Baptism certainly did not need such support; and, as a matter of fact, the information that Jesus once imitated John the Baptist in baptizing would be a dangerous weapon in the hands of the sectarians of John the Baptist (whence probably the modification in 4:2).
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 154)
John 4:1-42
Its intrinsic claim to plausibility has merit. The mise en scène is one of the most detailed in John, and the evangelist betrays a knowledge of local color and Samaritan beliefs that is impressive. We may mention: the well at the foot of Gerizim; the question of legal purity in vs. 9; the spirited defense of the patriarchal well in vs. 12; the Samaritan belief in Gerizim and the Prophet-like-Moses. And if we analyze the repartee at the well, we find quite true-to-life the characterization of the woman as mincing and coy, with a certain light grace (Lagrange, p. 101). Though characters like Nicodemus, this woman, the paralytic of ch. 5, and the blind man of ch. 10 are—to a certain extent—foils used by the evangelist to permit Jesus to unfold his revelation, still each has his or her own personal characteristics and fitting lines of dialogue. Either we are dealing with a master of fiction, or else the stories have a basis in fact.The solemn discourse of Jesus seems to be the main obstacle to historical plausibility. Granting that this discourse has been shaped by the Johannine technique of misunderstanding, plays on words, etc., we may still wonder if a Samaritan woman would have been expected to understand even the most basic ideas of the discourse. The answer to this question is impeded by our limited knowledge of Samaritan thought in the 1st century a.d. In Judaism, two of the expressions used by Jesus, “the gift of God,” and “living water,” were used to describe the Torah. If Samaritan usage was the same, the woman could have understood that Jesus was presenting himself and his doctrine as the replacement of the Torah in which the Samaritans believed. As we pointed out in the Notes on vss. 19 and 25 the woman seems to understand Jesus’ claims against the background of the Samaritan expectation of the Taheb. Therefore, it is not at all impossible that even in the conversation we have echoes of a historical tradition of an incident in Jesus’ ministry. We shall see that the dialogue with the disciples has Synoptic parallels.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 175-176)

5 Sychar is perhaps to be identified with the village called Askar, near Shechem. There is a reference to Jacob’s buying of a piece of ground in this vicinity (Gen. 33:19). He also gave some land to Joseph (Gen. 48:22), and he was buried there (Josh. 24:32). There is no Old Testament reference to his having dug a well there, but there is nothing improbable about it.Biblical Shechem is the modern Balata, near Nablus. Some scholars hold that Sychar was really Shechem, Sychar being a mocking corruption, meaning either “drunken-town” (שֵׁכָר) or “lying-town” (שֶׁקֶר). Against this are the facts that (a) we know of nothing to justify either title, and (b) from early times Sychar has been distinguished from Shechem. W. F. Albright argues that the town was Shechem and that the corruption into Sychar was accidental (so also Brown). He regards the evidence of the Old Syriac as significant and accounts for the differentiation between the two places by the fact that Shechem was destroyed c. a.d. 67 and rebuilt a few miles away under the name Neapolis (corrupted to the modern Nablus). See The Archaeology of Palestine (Harmondsworth, 1949), pp. 247–48; BNT, p. 160. R. D. Potter favors Askar. Of the topographical references in this chapter he says, “No passage could show better that our author knew this bit of Samaria well” (SE, I, p. 331).
(Morris, Leon, The Gospel according to John, NICNT)

We learn for the first time of the Pharisees’ hearing of Jesus’ making and baptizing more disciples than John. These Pharisees will prove to be Jesus’ enemies soon enough (7:32). So far they have appeared as authorities responsible for the rather hostile questioning of John (1:19), and one of them, Nicodemus, has shown himself unable to comprehend Jesus (3:1-21). Enough has been said about Pharisees that the careful reader will understand why Jesus leaves Judea for Galilee (v. 3), when he gets this word. The Pharisees are based in Jerusalem (1:19, 24) and Jesus wants to avoid them.That Jesus was baptizing has been indicated in 3:23 and the word of John’s disciples to their teacher (v. 26) has already informed us that at least a majority of those who have come out to be baptized are going to Jesus. Now, however, we are suddenly informed that not Jesus, but his disciples, were baptizing (v. 2). This rather awkward interjection looks like an effort to square John’s account with the Synoptics (cf. 3:24). Yet even there we do not read that Jesus’ disciples baptized. The distinctively Johannine notion that Jesus (or his disciples) baptized more than John proves Jesus is the superior of John. On the other hand, it puts him in the same category as John. One suspects this is an ancient tradition, if not a historical fact, that the Synoptics have suppressed or ignored.John has the geography straight (vv. 3-4), as he has Jesus arrive at the Samaritan city (or village) of Sychar (v. 5). Many commentators have identified Sychar as modern Askar, although two ancient Syrian manuscripts read “Shechem,” a nearby ancient city, which had been destroyed over a century and a half before by the Hasmonean John Hyrcanus. Both were in Samaria near Jacob’s well, Shechem even closer to it than Askar. The plot of ground Jacob gave his son Joseph seems to be mentioned in Gen 48:22 (cf. 33:18-20), but there is no mention of Jacob’s well specifically in the Old Testament. A Jacob’s well still exists near Askar today (see Schnackenburg 1968, 424, for a description). The scene is set with Jesus at the well, tired from his journey, at midday (v. 6). (The text actually says “the sixth hour,” which by ancient Jewish reckoning would be noon.) Although John does not say it, the reader of Scripture would know that Jacob was named Israel by God (Gen 35:10), so Jacob’s well is Israel’s well, and “Israel” is still a good name in John, even if “Jew” is not.
(D. Moody Smith, John, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries, p. 109-110)

  1. Jacob’s well. A well about 100 feet deep is first mentioned in this area in Christian pilgrim sources of the 4th century; Jacob’s well is not mentioned in the OT. The site presently identified as Jacob’s well at the foot of Mount Gerizim can be accepted with confidence. The descriptions of ch. 4 show a good knowledge of the local Palestinian scene
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 169)

4:18: But the simplest interpretation is the best. The narrative is a genuine reminiscence of an incident that actually happened, recorded many years after the event, and probably—so far as the words of the conversation are concerned—with much freedom. That Jesus expressed Himself so tersely and even enigmatically, to an ignorant woman, as the deep saying of v. 14 would suggest, without explaining what He said more fully, is improbable. On the other hand, the vividness and simplicity of the story have the note of actuality. The narrative brings out clearly the main features of the interview between Jesus and the woman, and it is easy to follow the general lines of their conversation.
(Bernard J.H, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Volumes 1 & 2 (ICC))

27 Jesus’ disciples have gone unmentioned since v. 8, when we learned that they “had gone into the town to buy provisions.” Now they are back, interrupting Jesus’ conversation with the woman before she can respond to his abrupt claim that he is “the Messiah” she knows is coming. They are “surprised,” not that he is speaking with a Samaritan (they, after all, had just come from shopping in a Samaritan town), but that he is speaking with a woman. Their reference to “speaking” echoes Jesus’ own “I who am speaking to you” (v. 26, italics added), accenting the irony that the One “speaking with a woman” is none other than “the Messiah, who is called Christ”! The Gospel writer seems to know that they were surprised even though they said nothing, and takes the liberty of supplying two questions which they might have asked but did not: “What are you looking for?” and “What are you speaking with her about?” The implication is that they wanted to ask these questions but did not dare (compare 16:5, 19; 21:12). The Gospel writer could not have known such a thing without being an eyewitness, and even then the disciples would have had to have voiced the questions, at least to one another (as they will in v. 33).
(Michaels J. Ramsey, The Gospel of John, NICNT)
John 5:1-18
Is John’s account of the healing plausible as primitive tradition about Jesus? The setting in vss. 1–3 is a bit more elaborate than usual for stories of healing; yet the Synoptics, as in Mark 2:1–2, do not hesitate to give more elaborate introductions when it is necessary for the development of the narrative. Actually, the Johannine introduction is of importance for the plot, as we see in the reference to the pool in vs. 7. The factual details found in the introduction, as we have pointed out in the Notes, are very accurate. They betray a knowledge of Jerusalem that militates against a late or non-Palestinian origin of the story.The account of the healing in vss. 5–9 resembles the ordinary Synoptic healing narrative (for detail see Dodd, Tradition, p. 175—our Notes on vss. 5, 6, 9); and there are also Synoptic parallels in vss. 13 and 14. We shall discuss below the problem posed by 9b–13; but in general there is nothing to persuade us that the basic narrative underlying vss. 1–15 is a creation of the evangelist. The story of the healing seems to stem from primitive tradition about Jesus.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 209)

  1. temple precincts. The pool lay just north-northeast of the temple area—another indication of the evangelist’s knowledge of Jerusalem in the days before the Roman destruction.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 208)

The language of Jn. 5:8, 9 closely resembles that of Mk. 2:11, 12, although the stories are quite distinct. Jn. may have availed himself of the words of the earlier evangelist to describe a somewhat similar scene at which he was not present, and of which he could not give the exact report of an eye-witness.
(Bernard J.H, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Volumes 1 & 2, (ICC) p. 634)

John cites the pool by its “Hebrew” name, but, while our current manuscripts have variants of the name (e.g., “Bethzatha”), “Bethesda” seems to be the most likely reading, especially in view of Qumran’s Copper Scroll. The pool is near the “sheep gate” (5:2), which, like the rest of old Jerusalem, was near the temple (Neh 3:31–32; 12:39–40; cf. John 2:14–15). A lame man might be excluded from some sacred precincts (Lev 21:18; cf. 2 Sam 5:8), but certainly not from the vicinity of the Temple Mount. Locating the pool by the “sheep gate” is probably a historical remembrance, but it might also serve to further connect the narrative with ch. 9, where the healed man is one of the sheep, and those who seek to lead him elsewhere are those who ignore the true “sheep gate” (John 10:1–4, 7–8).
(Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volumes 1 & 2, Baker Academic) and similarly (Selkin, “Exegesis,” p. 188–89.).

vs. 14-15
Thus, whether or not vss. 14–15 were always part of the multiplication scene, we believe that in these verses John has given us an item of correct historical information. The ministry of miracles in Galilee culminating in the multiplication (which in John, as in Mark, is the last miracle of the Galilee ministry) aroused a popular fervor that created a danger of an uprising which would give authorities, lay and religious, a chance to arrest Jesus legally. The age of this Johannine information may be judged by the contrary tendency to remove from the Gospels anything that might give substance to the Jewish charge that Jesus was a dangerous political figure. If John was written toward the end of the century when Roman persecution of Christians under Domitian was all too real, then the invention of the information in vss. 14–15 seems out of the question
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)
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The Gospel of John: The Reminiscences of the Beloved Disciple Ch. VI-XI

John 6:1-15
It is to be observed that in the narratives of the Feeding of the Four Thousand (Mk. 8:4, Mt. 15:33), although not in the parallel narratives of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the disciples put this question (πόθεν) to Jesus. The question is the same as that which Moses puts to Yahweh (Num. 11:13), πόθεν μοι κρέα δοῦναι παντὶ τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ; and the misgivings of Moses, when he reflects that he had 600,000 footmen to feed, are expressed in terms not unlike those which Philip uses here, πᾶν τὸ ὄψος τῆς θαλάσσης συναχθήσεται αὐτοῖς καὶ ἀρκέσει αὐτοῖς; (Num. 11:22).Another O.T. parallel may be found in 2 Kings 4:42f., where Elisha’s servant exclaims at the impossibility of feeding a hundred men with twenty barley loaves and ears of corn “in his sack” (εἴκοσι ἄρτους κριθίνους καὶ παλάθας, i.e. cakes). The narrative relates that Elisha said, Δὸς τῷ λαῷ καὶ ἐσθιέτωσαν, declaring that Yahweh had told him there would be enough and to spare. And so it was: ἔφαγον καὶ κατέλιπον. This is a story which bears a likeness to the Feedings of the Multitudes in the Gospels, in detail much more striking than the story of the miraculous increase of meal and oil by Elijah’s intervention (1 Kings 17:16). See Introd., p. clxxxi.However, in Jn.’s narrative the question (πόθεν) is a question put by Jesus Himself to Philip. Philip was of Bethsaida (1:44), and presumably he knew the neighbourhood; he was thus the natural person of whom to ask where bread could be bought. This is one of those reminiscences which suggest the testimony of an eye-witness. The Synoptics, in their accounts of the wonderful Feedings of the Multitudes, do not name individual disciples; but Jn. names both Philip and Andrew, and their figures emerge from his
(Bernard J.H, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Volumes 1 & 2 (ICC))

The identification of Philip and Andrew in #7, 8. Scholars repeat monotonously that the introduction of personal names into a narrative is often the sign of a later imitator trying to give his work an air of authenticity. If this is applied to John, one must admit, however, that the evangelist has chosen strangely, for Philip and Andrew are among the more obscure members of the Twelve. The fact that both of these disciples were honored in Asia Minor, the traditional locus of John’s Gospel (see Note on 1:43), is worth considering.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 246)

The nearness of the Passover (6:4) explains the flourishing of grass (6:10), which was not always available in much of the “wilderness” (e.g., 1 En. 89:28). The grass already present in the gospel tradition (Matt 14:19)—especially the “green” grass (Mark 6:39)—suggests that the nearness of the Passover is a genuine historical reminiscence.
(C.H Dodd, Historical Tradition, p. 211)
John 6:16-21
In evaluating these individual details, we find the situation somewhat unusual. John’s account patently has a claim to be considered as the more primitive form of the story. John’s brevity and lack of emphasis on the miraculous are almost impossible to explain in terms of a deliberate alteration of the Marcan narrative. Rather, it would seem that into the Marcan form of the story there have been introduced elements from other stories, for example, the calming of the storm (Mark 4:35–41). This process of amalgamation seems still more developed in the Matthean form of the story where there is a profession of faith like the one elsewhere attributed to Peter (Matt 16:16), and where there is an incident of Peter’s getting out of the boat to come across the water to Jesus. We may compare the latter to the post-resurrectional story of Peter in John 21:7; for, as Dodd has pointed out, there are elements appropriate to the literary form of the post-resurrectional narrative in the story of the walking on the water—“The Appearances of the Risen Christ,” Studies in the Gospel, ed. D. E. Nineham (Lightfoot vol.; Oxford: Blackwell, 1957), pp. 23–24. Thus, John’s account of the walking on the water seems to represent a relatively undeveloped form of the story.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII. Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, p. 254)

Verse 19. three or four miles. Literally “25 or 30 stadia”; a stadium was about 607 feet, roughly a furlong. Josephus, War III.x.7;#506, gives the measurements of the “Lake of Gennesar” as 40 stadia wide by 140 long; actually, at its greatest extent it is 61 stadia (7 miles) wide and 109 stadia (12 miles) long. Mark 6:47 mentions the boat’s being “in the midst of the sea.” Were this to be taken literally, it would mean that the boat was 20–30 stadia offshore, a distance that would agree with John’s information. But Mark’s designation simply means “at sea,” for in Mark 6:47 it is also said that Jesus can see them from the land.
sighted. Is the historical present a reflection of eyewitness tradition?
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, AYBC, p. 251-252)

(c) Certain details, such as numbers, are given, which could only be derived from an eye-witness. For example, at Cana there were six water-pots (2:6); the disciples had rowed twenty-five or thirty furlongs when Jesus came to them on the lake (6:19); Jesus’ tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout (19:23).
(Barrett C.K. Gospel according to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text, p. 122)
John 7:14-24
The reference to Moses and the Law in vs. 19 is another reason why scholars suggest that this part of the discourse was once connected to the end of ch. 5, where Moses is mentioned. However, it is quite possible that the contrast between Jesus’ education and the standard training of the Jewish teachers could have led logically to a reference to Moses, for the Law of Moses was the basis of formal education. What is the reason for Jesus’ charge that “the Jews” are not keeping the Law? Perhaps this is a general denunciation in the style of Jer 5:5, 9:4–6, etc. Some have thought that Jesus is accusing the Jews of breaking the spirit of the Sabbath by not wanting to see a man healed on the Sabbath (see vs. 23). More likely the final line of vs. 19 is the key to the answer. In desiring to kill Jesus (5:18, 7:1) they are violating one of the Commandments. Is John giving us a historical reminiscence in thus picturing a prolonged hostility to Jesus at Jerusalem, even to the point of assassination? The Synoptics, of course, give us no information about the Jerusalem ministry except in the last days, and they concentrate their description of the plot to kill Jesus in that final period. However, Luke 4:29 reports an attempt on Jesus’ life in Galilee, a region where we might expect religious feeling to be less acute than in Jerusalem. And we have seen that after the death of John the Baptist, Jesus felt it safer to withdraw from Galilee and the territory ruled by Herod (also Luke 13:31). Arguing from the Synoptic picture of hostility during the Galilean ministry, we may well suspect that John is giving us reliable tradition in not confining the plot at Jerusalem to kill Jesus to the last days of the ministry
((Raymond Brown, John I-XII, AYBC)
John 7:37-39
7:37. If it is correct (see the commentary) to see in the words attributed to Jesus an allusion to the water-drawing ritual celebrated at Tabernacles we have perhaps reason to think that John (or his source) was acquainted with Jerusalem and its customs before the Jewish War. This piece of evidence however may not be pressed too far since it is possible that knowledge only of the connection between Tabernacles and prayers for rain might account for what we find in the gospel.
There may also be a special allusion to the ritual of the feast of Tabernacles. On the seven days of the feast a golden flagon was filled with water from the pool of Siloam and used for libations in the Temple (Sukkah 4.9). This rite is not mentioned in the Old Testament (but see below on Zech. 14:8) or in Josephus, but there is no reason to doubt that it was carried out before the destruction of the Temple (cf. Sukkah 4.9 end, with Josephus Ant. xiii, 372; these passages suggest that the rite was as early as Alexander Jannaeus). It probably originated in a rain-making charm, but the crudity of the practice had been refined away, leaving the custom of beginning prayers for rain at Tabernacles (Taanith 1.1; according to R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus (fl. a.d. 80–120) from the first day of the feast, according to R. Joshua b. Hananiah (fl. a.d. 80–120) from the last (eighth) day). This reference to rain is expressed in terms of the second of the Eighteen Benedictions (‘the Power of Rain’), which also speaks of God as one who gives life to the dead, mighty to save (Singer, 44: מחיה מתים אתה רב להושיע). It seems probable that this feature of the festival suggested the form of the saying here ascribed to Jesus, especially in view of the similar facts to be adduced at 8:12.
(Barrat C.K. Gospel according to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text, p. 122, 327)

John 7 is set in the context of the Feast of Tabernacles. The high point of the narrative is John 7:37–39, where Jesus stands on the last day of the feast and shouts: “ ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Which Scripture is mentioned here is debated, but many understand an allusion to Zech 14:8 because of the reference to “living water(s)” flowing from Jerusalem. Zechariah 14 is closely connected to the Feast of Tabernacles, mentioning it three times (Zech 14:16, 18, 19).8 These passages imagine a time when “all of the nations” will come to Jerusalem to keep Tabernacles and the punishment that will come upon the nations—especially Egypt—if they fail to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Jeffrey L. Rubenstein (1995) has written a study on Sukkot that is related to this suggestion. His book is a detailed attempt to analyze and trace the development of the practice of the Feast of Sukkot throughout the Second Temple and early rabbinic periods.9 In his analysis of the Second Temple material, he references John 7 and connects it to Zech 14.10 In his later tracing of the development of Tabernacles, Rubenstein discusses the water libation ceremony and the accompanying prayers for winter rains. These become a part of the festival practice at some point. While Rubenstein notes that “no non-rabbinic source explicitly mentions the libation,” many commentators on the Gospel of John use the libation ceremony as a context for, and an explanation of, Jesus’ statement. It is in a situation such as this that we can evaluate the trajectory of thought indicated in John’s Gospel. For example, Rubenstein understands that “Zechariah 14 and John 7 indicate a connection between Sukkot and rain, but neither illuminates the specific rituals” (1995, 121). Jesus’ statement in John 7 may thus illustrate a point between the development of thought in Zech 14 and the later rabbinic sources. This statement in John 7 points toward a developing practice of the libation ceremony. Archaeological evidence has also been adduced to suggest that the libation ceremony is a pre-70 c.e. practice. Anita Engle, for example, has written on the discovery of glass bottles (or amphorisks) with tabernacle symbols on them, which may have been sold as souvenirs to travelers who had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.11 This is another example of the possibilities for cross-fertilization of disciplines with relation to this question. To give another brief example, many commentators connect Jesus’ statement, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12),12 with the lighting of lamps at night during the Feast of Tabernacles, as this practice is mentioned in the Tannaim (m. Sukkah 5:2–4). It may also be a parallel to Zech 14:7, which speaks of a day when it will be light even in the evening (Brown 1966–70, 1:343). The Gospel of John’s statement placed on the lips of Jesus shows again this kind of intermediary position and the suggestions of later development that is seen explicitly in the later Tannaitic literature. Granted, this type of approach will be less than satisfying for those who are looking for absolutely solid historical grounding for the actions and statements of Jesus. This approach, for example, does not differentiate between an event of Jesus’ life and an event narrated in relationship to Jesus by his early followers. Given a general sense of the trajectory of thought and practice in relation to the feasts, this approach provides a plausible historical setting for this account. Even if not satisfying, it does take seriously the limitations of the evidence available to us, and it is perhaps a step toward a more robust reconstruction of the development of the Feast of Tabernacles. Additionally, this approach sets the evidence within its proper historical order rather than trying to read potentially earlier texts in light of possible later “evidence.”
John 7:53-8:11: The Adulteress

However, a good case can be argued that the story had its origins in the East and is truly ancient (see Schilling, art. cit.). Eusebius (Hist. iii 39:17; GCS 91:292) says, “Papias relates another story of a woman who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.” If this is the same story as that of the adulteress, the reference would point to early Palestinian origins; but we cannot be certain that our story is the one meant. The 3rd-century Didascalia Apostolorum (ii 24:6; Funk ed., I, 93) gives a clear reference to the story of the adulteress and uses it as a presumably well-known example of our Lord’s gentleness; this work is of Syrian origin, and the reference means that the story was known (but not necessarily as Scripture) in 2nd-century Syria. From the standpoint of internal criticism, the story is quite plausible and quite like some of the other gospel stories of attempts to trap Jesus (Luke 20:20, 27). There is nothing in the story itself or its language that would forbid us to think of it as an early story concerning Jesus. Becker argues strongly for this thesis.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, AYBC, p. 335)

The textual evidence makes it impossible to hold that this section is an authentic part of the Gospel. It is not attested in the oldest manuscripts, and when it does make its appearance it is sometimes found in other positions, either after verse 36, or after verse 44, or at the end of this Gospel, or after Luke 21:38...But if we cannot feel that this is part of John’s Gospel, we can feel that the story is true to the character of Jesus. Throughout the history of the church it has been held that, whoever wrote it, this little story is authentic. It rings true. It speaks to our condition. And it can scarcely have been composed in the early church with its sternness about sexual sin. It is thus worth our while to study it, though not as an authentic part of John’s writing. The story is undoubtedly very ancient. Many authorities agree that it is referred to by Papias. It is mentioned also in the Apostolic Constitutions (2.24).
(Morris, Leon, The Gospel according to John, NICNT, p. 778)

Just here the story has the ring of authentic Jesus tradition, reminiscent of many stories in Luke where Jesus welcomes a known sinner without condemnation. 154 Perhaps most similar are the story of the woman weeping at Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36–50), accounts of Jesus’ table fellowship with sinners (5:30; 7:34; 15:1–2), parables that feature a generous portrayal of sinners (15:11–32; 18:9–14), and narratives where Jesus calls, welcomes, and forgives sinners (5:20–23, 30–32; 7:48). Even if not an original part of John’s Gospel, the story of Jesus and the adulterous woman may well be an actual reminiscence of Jesus’ actions. Its witness coheres theologically and historically with the canonical portrait of Jesus, as well as with certain Johannine emphases and themes.
(Marianne Meye Thompson, John, The New Testament Library, 2015, p. 178-179)

8:6 Jesus’ response is surprising. Nothing in any of the stories in Matthew, Mark, or Luke quite prepares us for it. He “stooped down and wrote with his finger on the ground.” Much has been written about what words Jesus may or may not have written, but it is all speculative. Essentially his response is a non-answer, equivalent to silence, as is clear from the comment to follow that “they kept on questioning him” (v. 7). His body language is, if anything, even more striking than the reference to writing on the ground. The account is punctuated by notices that he “stooped down” and wrote (v. 6), “straightened up” and spoke to the gathered crowd (v. 7), again “stooped down” and wrote (v. 8), and finally “straightened up” and spoke again, this time to the woman (v. 10). While it cannot be proven that the story rests on the testimony of an eyewitness (Who would it be? The woman?), details of this kind, even if they had no apparent meaning, would not have been easily forgotten by anyone on the scene. If not attributable to an eyewitness, they point to a storyteller eminently skilled at creating a dramatic effect.
(Michaels J. Ramsey, The Gospel of John, NICNT)

-Gary Burge comments, “While this story has a problematic textual history, it bears all the marks of being an authentic story of Jesus” (Interpreting the Gospel of John [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992], 181 n.6).
-Francis Moloney claims that even though the PA “plays no role in the Johannine account of Jesus’ presence in Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles, the passage is an ancient and precious witness to Jesus of Nazareth” (The Gospel of John [SP 4; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998],
-Ridderbos suggests that the pericope “evinces the character of an authentic tradition, not that of a fictitious story” (The Gospel according to John: A Theological Exegesis [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Dutch original, 1987, 1997], 286).
-Ulrich Becker labels the story “a striking account of an event from the ministry of Jesus,” even listing several reasons why he concludes this is an authentic story about Jesus (Jesus und die Ehebrecherin: Untersuchungen zur Text- und Üeberlieferungsgeschichte von John 7:53–8:11 [BNZW, 28; Berlin: Alfred Topelmann, 1963], 174ff.).
-Barnabas Lindars claims there is “no reason to doubt its authenticity” (The Gospel of John: Based on the Revised Standard Version [NCB; London: Oliphants, 1972; repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981], 306).
all in (David Alan Black, Jacob N. Cerone, The Pericope of the Adulteress in Contemporary Research (The Library of New Testament Studies Book 551 (2014)
John 9:1-41
Worthy of notice is the expression “what is amazing,” or “the amazing thing.” While this noun occurs nowhere else in John’s Gospel, Jesus has used the verb “to be amazed” at least three times in the negative sense of being offended or scandalized, particularly in relation to the healing of the sick man at Bethesda (see 5:20, 28; 7:21). But to the man born blind, “what is amazing” is not so much the miracle itself as the delicious irony of the religious authorities’ reaction to it, in particular their ignorance of who Jesus is and where he is from. The man’s “amazement,” unlike theirs, is closer to amusement than offense, as when one savors a good joke and says, “Oh, that’s marvelous!” While he speaks for the Gospel writer, he also speaks in his own style and out of his own personality. Either this unnamed “man born blind” is the creation of a skilled literary artist, or else the Gospel narrative preserves here the memory of a real historical person with very definite character traits. In view of the rather uneven characterizations in the Gospel as a whole, the latter is the more likely alternative.
(Michaels J. Ramsey, The Gospel of John, NICNT)

In evaluating the similarity of John’s account to those of the Synoptics, we should note that the apocryphal Acts of Pilate vi 2 says that a blind man, who is obviously Bartimaeus of (a) above, was born blind, and thus seemingly blends the Synoptic account with John’s. Justin Apol. i 22:6 (PG 6:364) may also be blending the two traditions when he says that Jesus “cured the lame, the paralytics, and those blind from birth [plausibly reading pērous for ponērous].” Actually, the similarities between the various Synoptic accounts and John’s account are rather few (notice italics above). John is certainly not dependent on any single Synoptic account, nor is there any convincing evidence that John is dependent on any combination of details from the various Synoptic scenes. The most striking and important features in John are not found in the Synoptic scenes, for example: blind from birth; use of mud; healing through the water of Siloam; interrogation about the miracle; questioning of parents. Of course, these strikingly different details are often the very points that serve the Johannine theological interests, and therefore one is hard put to prove scientifically that they were not invented for the sake of pedagogy. Some points that might be mentioned in favor of the primitive and authentic character of the Johannine story are the use of spittle, the brevity with which the miracle is narrated, the local information about the pool of Siloam, the acquaintance with the fine points of the Sabbath rules. In general, then, it seems that probability favors the theory that behind ch. 9 lies a primitive story of healing preserved only in the Johannine tradition (so also Dodd, Tradition, pp. 181–88). The evangelist with his sense of drama has seen in this story an almost ideal example of a sign that might be used to instruct his readers and strengthen them in their belief that Jesus is the Messiah (20:31), and has elaborated the tale with that goal in mind.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, AYBC, p. 378)

Reporting on the latest archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem, Urban C. von Wahlde sheds light on the historical realities associated with the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. Where the explanatory statement, “which means ‘sent’ ” (John 9:7), has been patently dismissed as having no historical relevance because of its clearly symbolic and theological character, the archaeological discoveries since 2004 and von Wahlde’s analysis of them pose a serious challenge to such moves. While the northern Pool of Siloam has been known for more than a century, the identification of the larger southern pool as a miqveh—a pool used for ritual purification—bears considerable implications for understanding the larger set of events reported in John 9. Rather than seeing the primary level of meaning as a reflection of the debates between later Johannine Christians and the local synagogue in Asia Minor or some other Diaspora setting, the originative history of the events takes on new significance. Jesus’ sending of the man to wash in the Pool of Siloam and to show himself to the priests would have restored him socially and religiously, and such a detail would not have made sense outside of Palestine or after the fall of Jerusalem. In addition to von Wahlde’s major contribution to Johannine archaeological and topographical studies (2006), this study makes major inroads not only into Johannine historicity but also into socioreligious understandings of Jesus’ historic ministry.
(Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, Tom Thatcher: John, Jesus and History, Volume 2*: Aspects of Historicity in the Fourth Gospel* (Early Christianity and Its Literature), 2009, p. 112-113)
John 10:22-42
“It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the Temple, in Solomon’s porch.”That is, He was giving His teaching under shelter, because of the severity of the season, in the eastern cloister of the Temple precincts (for τὸ ἱερόν, the Temple enclosure, see on 2:14). This vivid touch suggests that the writer is thoroughly familiar with the place and the conditions under which instruction was given there. At the time when the Fourth Gospel was written, the Temple had been for some years in ruins; but the note of time and circumstance is easily explicable, if we have here the reminiscence of an eye-witness of the scene.
(Bernard J.H, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to John, Volumes 1 & 2, (ICC) p. 343) in all the Johannine scenes, we must not jump too quickly to a negative evaluation of the tradition here. It is hard to imagine why the setting at the feast of Dedication would or could have been invented. It was a relatively unimportant feast and not a pilgrimage feast. Although we may find a connection between the theme of the dedication of the Temple or an altar and the consecration of Jesus (vs. 36), the connection is not so obvious that the saying would have been responsible for the creation of the setting. Miss Guilding would suggest that the fact that shepherd readings were common at Dedication time in the synagogues prompted the chronological inventiveness of the evangelist. Yet, as we have insisted, the argument can be reversed: if Jesus really spoke in Jerusalem during the feast of Dedication, what topic would have been more natural than the readings the people had recently heard in the synagogues, or would soon hear? And there is one detail of local color that is very accurate. At this winter season, when the cold winds sweep in from the east across the great desert, we find Jesus in the east portico of the Temple, the only one of the porticoes whose closed side would protect it from the east wind (see Note on vs. 23).As for the content of Jesus’ discourse, this too shows traditional elements which cannot be easily discounted. As we shall see, the two questions implied in vss. 24 and 33 about Jesus’ being Messiah and God (or Son of God) are exactly the questions that the Synoptic Gospels set in the framework of the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin. Jesus’ answers and the charge of blasphemy are also found in the Synoptic trial scene. We have suggested before that in scattering these charges throughout a longer final ministry in Jerusalem, John may be giving the truer picture; for the Synoptic trial scene has the air of being a summary and a synthesis of oft-repeated charges.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, AYBC, p. 406)

Turning to the Feast of Dedication mentioned in John 10:22, the connections between Jesus’ teaching and this feast have not been nearly as clear. Little has been written on this, especially when compared to the amount that has been written on the Passover and Tabernacles contexts. The connections between those feasts and the actions and teachings of Jesus cause one to wonder what potential points of contact there might be in this context of Dedication. James VanderKam (1990, 212) proposes a potential connection here. He argues that language parallels suggest that the Jewish accounts of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Dan 7, 8, and 11 are to be brought to mind. He concludes, “It seems no accident that John dated Jesus’ assertion of his divinity to the festival of Hanukkah when the blasphemies of Antiochus IV, the self-proclaimed god manifest, were remembered” (1990, 213). So, according to VanderKam, Jesus is portrayed as legitimately claiming for himself what Antiochus IV had illegitimately claimed. VanderKam’s argument is intriguing. He may be right in focusing attention upon the period of the Maccabean revolt, but the focus should rather be placed upon the Maccabean rulers themselves.The good shepherd discourse of John 10:1–21 can thus be understood in connection with the Feast of Dedication. If this discourse is connected with Dedication, then Jesus’ claim to be a “good shepherd” (10:11) is in contrast to “all who came before” (10:8). This may be another example of Jesus’ being presented as a ruler for the people, but a different kind of ruler than was commonly understood (18:33–37). The Maccabees, who are remembered by the people at Dedication, ruled because of the political power and military force they could muster, while Jesus becomes the true shepherd of the people by laying down his life. The image of those who came before as thieves and robbers may emphasize a rule brought about and characterized by violence, to be contrasted with the authentic leading of his people—like a shepherd caring for his flock. This is similar to VanderKam’s suggestion, in that it has Jesus arguing for legitimacy over against illegitimacy; in this case, however, it would seem to pose a contrast to the group remembered positively at the Feast of Dedication.15
Dedication is somewhat different from the Feasts of Tabernacles and Passover because it owes its origins to the events recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees, rather than more established feasts stipulated in the Hebrew Bible. As mentioned above, VanderKam notes verbal parallels to the Maccabean accounts. It is also interesting and suggestive that the Maccabean account connects Dedication closely with Tabernacles (2 Macc 1:18), which is paralleled in the Gospel of John with the close connection between the Tabernacles and Dedication contexts.16 This suggests the possibility that the account in John 10 is drawing upon the language of the Second Temple literature, though it should be noticed that the word Dedication (ἐγκαίνια) can also be found in the context of Ezra’s dedication of the temple (Ezra 6:16–17 lxx). Brown (1966–70, 1:402) suggests parallels to the tabernacle (Num 7:10–11) and temple (1 Kgs 8:63) dedications as well.For two reasons, the Feast of Dedication had a much smaller role in post-70 c.e. Jewish practice. First, because Dedication is so centered on temple practice and in fact is centered on the existence of the temple itself, it played a much smaller role after the temple’s destruction. Second, the connection with rebellion against the oppressive power became much less popular after 70 c.e. (Schauss 1975, 228–29). Even in Josephus’s writings, the practice of this festival seems somewhat unclear (Ant. 21.323). The casual mention of Dedication and the thematic connections here suggest a setting before 70 c.e. and therefore potentially set within Jesus’ own lifetime.
Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, Tom Thatcher, John, Jesus and History, Vol 2: Aspects of Historicity in the Fourth Gospel (Early Christianity and Its Literature), 2009, p. 123-125

Winter (10:23), even as early as the feast of dedication, could become cold in Jerusalem, so Jesus had good reason to be walking in a colonnaded area. Although this fact would be obvious to readers who had been to Jerusalem in winter before its destruction over two decades before, winter was not a favored time for travel, especially from long distances (like the Diaspora); pilgrims even from Galilee came more frequently to the major festivals of Tabernacles, Passover, and Pentecost. Such factors increase the likelihood that this statement is an accurate historical reminiscence
(Barnett, Reliable, p. 63 in Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volumes 1 & 2, Baker Academic, p. 823)
John 11:1-44
From the contents of the Johannine account, then, there is no conclusive reason for assuming that the skeleton of the story does not stem from early tradition about Jesus. What causes doubt is the importance that John gives to the raising of Lazarus as the cause for Jesus’ death. We suggest that here we have another instance of the pedagogical genius of the Fourth Gospel. The Synoptic Gospels present Jesus’ condemnation as a reaction to his whole career and to the many things that he had said and done. In the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, we are told in Luke 19:37 that, much to the discontent of the Pharisees, the people were praising Jesus because “of all the mighty miracles they had seen.” The Fourth Gospel is not satisfied with such a generalization. It is neither sufficiently dramatic nor clear-cut to say that all Jesus’ miracles led to enthusiasm on the part of some and hate on the part of others. And so the writer has chosen to take one miracle and to make this the primary representative of all the mighty miracles of which Luke speaks. With a superb sense of development he has chosen a miracle in which Jesus raises a dead man. All Jesus’ miracles are signs of what he is and what he has come to give man, but in none of them does the sign more closely approach the reality than in the gift of life. The physical life that Jesus gives to Lazarus is still not in the realm of the life from above, but it is so close to that realm that it may be said to conclude the ministry of signs and inaugurate the ministry of glory. Thus, the raising of Lazarus provides an ideal transition, the last sign in the Book of Signs leading into the Book of Glory. Moreover, the suggestion that the supreme miracle of giving life to man leads to the death of Jesus offers a dramatic paradox worthy of summing up Jesus’ career. And finally, if a pattern of sevens had any influence on the editing of the Gospel (p. cxlii), the addition of the Lazarus miracle gave the seventh sign to the Book of Signs...
We suggest then that, while the basic story behind the Lazarus account may stem from early tradition, its causal relationship to the death of Jesus is more a question of Johannine pedagogical and theological purpose than of historical reminiscence; and this explains why no such causal connection is found in the Synoptic tradition. A miracle story that was once transmitted without fixed context or chronological sequence has been used in one of the later stages in Johannine editing as an ending to the public ministry of Jesus. As we mentioned in the Introduction (p. xxxvii), this addition may have occurred in the evangelist’s second edition of his Gospel or, more probably, in the final redaction.
(Raymond Brown, John I-XII, AYBC)

Consider in this light John 11 and the raising of Lazarus. John Meier’s investigation of the story comes to three main conclusions. First, John did not invent it: there was a pre-Johannine tradition. Second, that tradition “goes back ultimately to some event involving Lazarus, a disciple of Jesus.” Third, although we no longer can tell what actually happened, “this event was believed by Jesus’ disciples even during his lifetime to be a miracle of raising the dead.”
(John Meier, Mentor, Message, and Miracles, p. 798-832 in James Chartlesworth with Jolyon G.R Pruszinski, Jesus Research: The Gospel of John, 2019, "Reflections on Matthew, John, and Jesus by Dale C. Allison Jr.” p. 63)

The placing of Lazarus, a leper, in Bethany (Jn 11.1-17) is in line with the proscriptions in the Temple Scroll that a place for lepers is to be located east of the Holy City (11Q19). The description of Lazarus’ tomb and the stench of the corpse (11.38-44) fits precisely the tombs around Jerusalem—many of which are caves (Jn 11.38)—and the need for many glass vessels for perfume (unguentaria) to be placed near the corpse.
(James H. Charlesworth: The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift? Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 8 (2010) 3–46 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI 10.1163/174551909X12607965419559
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Top 10 Conspiracy Theories that Turned FACT in 2017

Top 10 Conspiracy Theories that Turned FACT in 2017
by Matt Agorist December 20, 2017
from TheFreeThoughtProject Website
2017 was a year
that vindicated those who the media
has constantly referred to conspiracy theorists,
exposing the establishment in the process.

In 2013, Professor Lance Dehaven-Smith - in a peer-reviewed book published by the University of Texas Press - showed that the term "conspiracy theory" was developed by the CIA as a means of undercutting critics of the Warren Commission's report that President Kennedy was killed by Oswald.
The use of this term was heavily promoted in the media by the CIA. And - up until recently - it has served its purpose.
Now, however, in 2017, those who were once called "conspiracy theorists" are being vindicated as they watched instance after instance get exposed all year long.
To be clear, we are not talking about outlandish, unprovable, and off the wall theories that completely lack evidence.
We are talking about well-researched cases that were deliberately dismissed and ridiculed by the mainstream as a means of oppressing the information and protecting the establishment.
Ironically enough, 2017 is the year the conspiracy theorists were proven right as the mainstream media and government began pushing wild conspiracy theories without evidence to back them up.
To show just how vindicated the well-informed are, below is a list of the top 10 conspiracy theories that were proven as real in 2017.
1 - Hollywood and the political elite have been exposed for their rampant and horrifying sex abuse against men, women, and children alike Just last year, as good people tried to point out that although Pizzagate may not have taken place in some restaurant in D.C., the idea of sex abuse among the elite was no laughing matter.
However, anyone who mentioned sex abuse among the elite was scoffed at and ridiculed by those in the mainstream. This ridicule was in spite of the fact that the former speaker of the house admitted to raping multiple little boys and was sentenced to prison last year.
This ridicule was also in spite of the fact that whistleblowers have been shouting from the mountain tops about the rampant abuse - for decades - only to have their cries fall on deaf ears. This year, however, it was different.
With Harvey Weinstein as the catalyst, former victims came forward and began publicly naming their abusers and even getting the police involved. The American people also learned that their ostensible representation in D.C. was spending millions to silence the victims of their apparent uncontrollable sex abuse. No longer will companies like Disney be able to hire convicted pedophiles as the world looks the other way - nor will sicko politicians be allowed the immunity to rape and pillage as they see fit.
2017 will be known as the year the victims fought back. 2 - Weather modification just jumped from "chemtrail" conspiracy theory into mainstream reality, as Congress began holding hearings on geoengineering Geoengineering is finally going mainstream.
The U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Energy Hearing, in November, held the first House hearing about the science that until now has generally been considered a "conspiracy theory" and relegated to the fringe's of society by the Praetorian Guard mainstream media - controlled by the ruling power-elite oligarchy.
The controversial subject of climate engineering or weather modification - which was popularized, and oversimplified with the term "chem-trails" - is stepping from the shadows and into the light of public scrutiny for the first time.
The congressional hearing, titled "Geoengineering - Innovation, Research, and Technology," was attended by members of the House committees as well as representatives of think tanks, academics, and researcher scientists to discuss the future of geoengineering research.
During the first hearing, the potential need to set up a regulatory structure within which experiments would be allowed, at a set scale, was discussed.
Now, those who deny the fact that government is involved in geoengineering will be the conspiracy theorists.
3 - 20,000 documents were released in August proving the EPA conspired with chemical companies to unleash deadly toxic substances on the public
Highly toxic chemical compounds made by Dow, Monsanto, DuPont and other companies were being developed and marketed in ever greater quantities, and federal agencies were rubber-stamping their approval based on fraudulent safety testing.
The Poison Papers reveal that, instead of acting to protect the public and reassess the chemicals, EPA held a secret meeting with chemical companies to assure them that their products would continue being sold.
The secret meeting between EPA and chemical companies is the most poignant example of a long history of collusion at the expense of human and environmental health.
4 - US media giant Sally Quinn admitted she practiced the occult to murder people - and she was praised for it
Although her husband Ben Bradlee died in 2014 - who was good friends with former President John F. Kennedy, and executive editor of the Washington Post from 1968 to 1991 - Sally Quinn has since taken the time to give insight into the glamorous life lived by the media's royal couple.
Some of the practices she describes are ones that would normally be written off as crazy conspiracy theories by outlets such as their beloved Washington Post.
However, WaPost actually praised it.
In her latest publication titled, "Finding Magic - A Spiritual Memoir," Quinn reveals that she believes she has killed at least three people in her lifetime.
She claims that while she did not harm anyone physically, she believes strongly in the occult, and has used hexes on people who got on her bad side.
5. Mainstream media finally admitted the United States has been aiding terrorists in Syria
In November, the BBC released a bombshell report confirming that the US and Syrian Defense Forces knowingly aided thousands of ISIS fighters.
According to the bombshell BBC report: The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of Islamic State fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.
A convoy included some of IS's most notorious members and - despite reassurances - dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey. Then in December, an investigation concluded that 97 percent of the weapons used by the Islamic State were supplied illegally by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
The weapons and ammunition were originally purchased by the United States and Saudi Arabia and then distributed to rebel groups.
While the U.S. claimed to be fighting ISIS, the fact is that ISIS was one of the Syrian rebel groups opposing Assad, and as the report noted, nearly all of their weapons came from those purchased by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
6. The Federal Reserve bank was exposed in June to be a working arm of US Intelligence
Confidential accounts within the Federal Reserve have been used by the U.S. Treasury and other departments, "several times a year to analyze the asset holdings of the central banks of Russia, China, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Libya and others," according to a report from Reuters that cites more than a dozen current and former senior U.S. officials.
"The U.S. central bank keeps a tight lid on information contained in these accounts.
But according to the officials interviewed by Reuters, U.S. authorities regularly use a ‘need to know' confidentiality exception in the Fed's service contracts with foreign central banks."
7. Declassified document proved the conspiracy that the CIA planned and carried out the 1953 Iranian Coup
The newly declassified documents, titled "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951-1954," provide a notable difference from the State Department's 1989 version of the coup, which left out any involvement from American and British intelligence.
A memorandum from Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles to President Eisenhower, dated March 1, 1953, serves as a reminder that internally, "the elimination of Mossadeq by assassination or otherwise," was used as a method in repairing ties with Iran, restoring oil negotiations, and stopping a "Communist takeover."
8. Billionaire elitists openly admit to Ingesting the blood of young children
Once the talk of conspiracy theorists - the rich ingesting the blood of the young to foster longevity - is now a reality and an actual business in the United States.
Not only is it a business but billionaires are actually admitting their interest in it.
As Vanity Fair reports, Ambrosia, which buys its blood from blood banks, now has about 100 paying customers. Some are Silicon Valley technologists - like Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and adviser to Donald Trump.
9. CIA drug trafficking conspiracy was blown wide open in an explosive History Channel series
A&E Networks addressed the government's role in the drug war in a four-part documentary series on the History Channel, titled, "America's War on Drugs."
"America's War on Drugs" is an immersive trip through the last five decades, uncovering how the CIA, obsessed with keeping America safe in the fight against communism, allied itself with the mafia and foreign drug traffickers.
In exchange for support against foreign enemies, the groups were allowed to grow their drug trade in the United States.
10. Mainstream science showed Vitamin C's ability to fight cancer
According to researchers from the University of Iowa, ascorbate, derived from Vitamin C, was successfully observed increasing hydrogen peroxide levels in cancer cells, which in turn had a toxic result with cancer cells, killing the cancer cells in lab rats yet not damaging normal cells in the process.
The researchers concluded that Vitamin C might, indeed, be lethal to some cancers.
According to the scientists, "These results indicate that an in vivo measurement of catalase activity in tumors may predict which cancers will respond to pharmacological ascorbate therapy." Once the exact cancers are identified, which are killed by vitamin C, the researchers concluded, "this information can also be used in finding combination therapies that may increase the efficacy of treatment for those tumors with higher catalase activities." In other words, extremely high doses of the Vitamin C derivative may potentially be added to conventional cancer therapies to help kill more cancer cells.
In 2017, the world has learned that truth is indeed stranger than fiction as the light continues to shine into the darkness.
With all the proven conspiracies in 2017, we can't help but remain optimistic for 2018 to become the year the world begins to wake up.

All truth passes

through three stages.

First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

-Arthur Schopenhauer

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The Druze, modern day gnostics


The Druze are an Arabic-speaking esoteric ethno-religious group originating in Western Asia who self-identify as Al-Muwaḥḥidūn (lit., "The People of Monotheism"). Jethro of Midian is considered an ancestor of Druze, who revere him as their spiritual founder and chief prophet. It is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad and the sixth Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, and Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Zeno of Citium. The Epistles of Wisdom is the foundational text of the Druze faith. The Druze faith incorporates elements of Isma'ilism, a branch of Shia Islam, Gnosticism, Hinduism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, and other philosophies and beliefs, creating a distinct and secretive theology, based on an esoteric interpretation of scripture, which emphasises the role of the mind and truthfulness. Druze believe in theophany and reincarnation, or the transmigration of the soul. Druze believe that at the end of the cycle of rebirth, which is achieved through successive reincarnations, the soul is united with the Cosmic Mind (al-ʿAql al-kullī). Although dwarfed by other, larger communities, the Druze community played an important role in shaping the history of the Levant, where it continues to play a large political role. As a religious minority in every country in which they are found, they have frequently experienced persecution, except in Lebanon and Israel, where Druze judges, parliamentarians, diplomats, and doctors occupy the highest echelons of society. Even though the faith originally developed out of Ismaili Islam, Druze are not generally considered Muslims, although Al Azhar of Egypt recognizes them as one of the Islamic sects, akin to Shia. Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir, whose father al-Hakim is a key figure in the Druze faith, was particularly harsh to Druze, causing the death of many in Antioch, Aleppo, and northern Syria. Persecution flared up during the rule of the Mamluks and Ottomans. Most recently, Druze were targeted by the ISIL and Al-Qaeda whose goal was to remove from Syria and neighboring countries what they saw as non-Islamic influences. In Druze cosmology, the universal manifestation of the divine Word forms a septenary series that repeats itself over cycles of veiling and unveiling of the divine Truth. Druze metaphysics envisages the All-encompassing Intellect as the principle of manifestation before the projection of the physical universe in the form of space, time, number, and matter, and its differentiated corporeal contents. The Druze live primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, with expatriate populations in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and West Africa and number anywhere from 1,000,000 to 2,500,000.


The Druze conception of the deity is declared by them to be one of strict and uncompromising unity. The main Druze doctrine states that God is both transcendent and immanent, in which he is above all attributes, but at the same time, he is present. In their desire to maintain a rigid confession of unity, they stripped from God all attributes (tanzīh). In God, there are no attributes distinct from his essence. He is wise, mighty, and just, not by wisdom, might, and justice, but by his own essence. God is "the whole of existence", rather than "above existence" or on his throne, which would make him "limited". There is neither "how", "when", nor "where" about him; he is incomprehensible. In this dogma, they are similar to the semi-philosophical, semi-religious body which flourished under Al-Ma'mun and was known by the name of Mu'tazila and the fraternal order of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan al-Ṣafa). Unlike the Mu'tazila, however, and similar to some branches of Sufism, the Druze believe in the concept of Tajalli (meaning "theophany"). Tajalli is often misunderstood by scholars and writers and is usually confused with the concept of incarnation.
[Incarnation] is the core spiritual beliefs in the Druze and some other intellectual and spiritual traditions ... In a mystical sense, it refers to the light of God experienced by certain mystics who have reached a high level of purity in their spiritual journey. Thus, God is perceived as the Lahut [the divine] who manifests His Light in the Station (Maqaam) of the Nasut [material realm] without the Nasut becoming Lahut. This is like one's image in the mirror: One is in the mirror, but does not become the mirror. The Druze manuscripts are emphatic and warn against the belief that the Nasut is God ... Neglecting this warning, individual seekers, scholars, and other spectators have considered al-Hakim and other figures divine. ... In the Druze scriptural view, Tajalli takes a central stage. One author comments that Tajalli occurs when the seeker's humanity is annihilated so that divine attributes and light are experienced by the person.
Reincarnation is a paramount principle in the Druze faith. Reincarnations occur instantly at one's death because there is an eternal duality of the body and the soul and it is impossible for the soul to exist without the body. A human soul will transfer only to a human body, in contrast to the Hindu and Buddhist belief systems, according to which souls can transfer to any living creature. Furthermore, a male Druze can be reincarnated only as another male Druze and a female Druze only as another female Druze. A Druze cannot be reincarnated in the body of a non-Druze. Additionally, souls cannot be divided and the number of souls existing in the universe is finite. The cycle of rebirth is continuous and the only way to escape is through successive reincarnations. When this occurs, the soul is united with the Cosmic Mind and achieves the ultimate happiness. Therefore, reincarnations occur instantly at one's death. While in the Hindu and Buddhist belief system a soul can be transmitted to any living creature, in the Druze belief system this is not possible and a human soul will only transfer to a human body. Furthermore, souls cannot be divided into different or separate parts and the number of souls existing is finite. Few Druzes are able to recall their past but, if they are able to they are called a Nateq. Typically souls who have died violent deaths in their previous incarnation will be able to recall memories. Since death is seen as a quick transient state, mourning is discouraged. Unlike other Abrahamic faiths, heaven and hell are spiritual. Heaven is the ultimate happiness received when soul escapes the cycle of rebirths and reunites with the Creator, while hell is conceptualized as the bitterness of being unable to reunite with the Creator and escape from the cycle of rebirth.
Pact of Time Custodian:
The Pact of Time Custodian (Mithaq Walley El-Zaman) is considered the entrance to the Druze religion, and they believe that all Druze in their past lives have signed this Charter, and Druze believe that this Charter embodies with human souls after death.
I rely on our Moula Al-Hakim the lonely God, the individual, the eternal, who is out of couples and numbers, (someone) the son of (someone) has approved recognition enjoined on himself and on his soul, in a healthy of his mind and his body, permissibility aversive is obedient and not forced, to repudiate from all creeds, articles and all religions and beliefs on the differences varieties, and he does not know something except obedience of almighty Moulana Al-Hakim, and obedience is worship and that it does not engage in worship anyone ever attended or wait, and that he had handed his soul and his body and his money and all he owns to almighty Maulana Al-Hakim.
The Druze also use a similar formula, called al-'ahd, when one is initiated into the ʻUqqāl.
The prayer-houses of the Druze are called khalwa or khalwat. The primary sanctuary of the Druze is at Khalwat al-Bayada.
The Druze believe that many teachings given by prophets, religious leaders and holy books have esoteric meanings preserved for those of intellect, in which some teachings are symbolic and allegorical in nature, and divide the understanding of holy books and teachings into three layers.
These layers, according to the Druze, are as follows:
Seven Druze precepts:
The Druze follow seven moral precepts or duties that are considered the core of the faith.
The Seven Druze precepts are:
  1. Veracity in speech and the truthfulness of the tongue.
  2. Protection and mutual aid to the brethren in faith.
  3. Renunciation of all forms of former worship (specifically, invalid creeds) and false belief.
  4. Repudiation of the devil (Iblis), and all forces of evil (translated from Arabic Toghyan, meaning "despotism").
  5. Confession of God's unity.
  6. Acquiescence in God's acts no matter what they be.
  7. Absolute submission and resignation to God's divine will in both secret and public.
Complicating their identity is the custom of taqiyya—concealing or disguising their beliefs when necessary—that they adopted from Ismailism and the esoteric nature of the faith, in which many teachings are kept secretive. This is done in order to keep the religion from those who are not yet prepared to accept the teachings and therefore could misunderstand it, as well as to protect the community when it is in danger. Druzes tend to follow the dominant religion of the country where they reside. Some claim to be Muslim or Christian in order to avoid persecution; some do not. Druze in different states can have radically different lifestyles. The Druze don’t want any non-initiated Druze to read their holy books. They feel the scripture must be protected from “unfit” persons. If not, they’ll learn the truth of God and life and, if they fail to adhere to those responsibilities, it’s worse than if they’d remained unenlightened. A Druze will sacrifice his life to ensure this knowledge doesn’t fall into impure hands.
Other beliefs:
The Druze allow divorce, although it is discouraged; circumcision is not necessary; they cannot be reborn as non-Druze; those who purify and perfect their soul ascend to the stars upon death; when al-Hakim returns, all faithful Druze will join him in his march from China and on to conquer the world; apostasy is forbidden, usually have religious services on Thursday evenings, and follow Sunni Hanafi law on issues which their own faith has no particular ruling.

The Epistles of Wisdom:

The Epistles of Wisdom or Rasa'il al-Hikmah is a corpus of sacred texts and pastoral letters by teachers of the Druze Faith
The Druze canon:
The full Druze canon or Druze scripture includes the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Quran and philosophical works by Plato and those influenced by Socrates among works from other religions and philosophers. The Druze claim that an understanding of these is necessary, but that their al-ʻUqqāl (عقال), ("the Knowledgeable Initiates") have access to writings of their own that supersede these. The Epistles of Wisdom are also referred to as the Kitab al-Hikma (Book of Wisdom) and Al-Hikma al-Sharifa. Other ancient Druze writings include the Rasa'il al-Hind (Epistles of India) and the previously lost (or hidden) manuscripts such as al-Munfarid bi-Dhatihi and al-Sharia al-Ruhaniyya as well as others including didactic and polemic treatises.
The Epistles of Wisdom were written in the Arabic language and contain one hundred and eleven epistles in total. They are organised into six books first compiled by one of the greatest Druze sages 'Abd-Allah Al-Tanukhi in 1479 AD. According to oral traditions there were originally twenty-four books. Eighteen are reasonably assumed to have been lost, hidden or destroyed. Epistle number six is dated earliest and was written in July 1017 AD by Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad and he is specifically mentioned as the author of thirty more epistles in the first two books. Epistles 109 and 110 are dated latest, written by Al-Muqtana Baha'uddin in 1042 AD. Epistles 36 to 40 are attributed to Isma'il al-Tamimi ibn Muhammad. The first epistle opens with the goodbye message from Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the original teacher of the Druze. He details his efforts to assist his people's welfare and peace and urges them to remain upright.
The Druze religious establishment's interpretation of taqiyya (تقیة) and the esoteric nature of the faith led to the restriction of access, inquiry and investigation from even their own uninitiated Druze known as al-Juhhāl (جهال) ("the Ignorant") or jismaniyeen ("the Material Ones"). Such restrictions aimed to prevent possible damage to the individual and community if the writings were interpreted incorrectly, since the study of the Epistles of Wisdom is better accompanied by commentary texts and guidance from the higher ranking Druze Uqqal ("Knowledgeable Ones"). Druze manuscripts are generally written in a language, grammar and diction that, to the uninitiated is hard to understand and includes ambiguous words and highly obscure and cryptic phrases, in-addition to the extensive usage of symbology and numerology in much of the writings. A Syrian physician gave one of the first Druze manuscripts to Louis XIV in 1700, which is now kept in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Local disturbances such as the invasion of Ibrahim Pasha between 1831 and 1838, along with the 1860 Lebanon conflict caused some of these texts to fall into the hands of academics. Other original manuscripts are held in the Robert Garrett collection at Princeton University. Sami Makarem has published sections of the works in English with commentary from a Druze compendium held in the Shaykh Nasib Makarem collection in Aytat, Lebanon. The first French translation was published in 1838 by linguist and orientalist Antoine Isaac, Baron Silvestre de Sacy in Expose de la religion des Druzes. Another edition of the Rasa'il al-hikma was published by pseudonymous writers in Lebanon in 1986 as part of the highly controversial "The Hard Truth" series which included several anti-Druze, anti-Alawite and anti-Islamic books and was banned by the authorities for containing misleading information and hate speech, also an unpublished dissertation by David Bryer was prepared on the first two volumes. A French translation and critical examination of these first two volumes (epistles one to forty) from the Epistles of Wisdom was published in 2007 by Daniel de Smet who has provided a doctrinal introduction, notes, a description and inventory of the manuscripts and studies of their contents and characteristics.
The epistles contain philosophical discourses about Neoplatonic and Gnostic subjects, Ptolemaic cosmology, Arabic paraphrases of the philosophies of Farabi, Plotinus and Proclus, writings on the Universal Soul along with several polemic epistles concerning other faiths and philosophies that were present during that time and towards individuals who were considered renegades or those who tried to distort and tarnish the reputation of the faith and its teachings such as the "Answering the Nusayri" epistle and the fifth volume of the Epistles. Most of the Epistles are written in a post-classical language, often showing similarities to Arab Christian authors. The texts provide formidable insight into the incorporation of the Universal Intellect and Soul of the world in 11th century Egypt, when the deity showed itself to men through Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim and his doctrines. These display a notable form of Arabic Neoplatonism blended with Ismailism and adopted Christian elements of great interest for the philosophy and history of religions. It is believed by the Druze from interpretation of the epistles that Al-Hakim did not die, but merely withdrew into occultation and will return one day and reveal the Druze wisdom to the world in order to inaugurate a golden age.
On the concept of God, Hamza ibn Ali wrote
If human minds would be given the knowledge of God without any familiarization and gradation, those human minds would swoon and fall down.”“...the originator of the perfect Aql. He virtually bound within it all the created beings, so that nothing might be outside of it.
On the concept of reincarnation and the universal soul, Baha'uddin wrote
O you who are distracted, how can he who is devoid of his corporeal means obtain knowledge?O you who are heedless, how can he who abandoned his sensual faculty reach ignorance?And O you who are perplexed, how can the souls exist by themselves?And how can they settle in their origin, and yet have a life and procure their pleasures?
On the concept of atheism, Baha'uddin argued
Believing in the non-existence negates existence as such. It is a way that leads to unbelief, atheism, and denial.
Regarding the secrecy of the epistles of wisdom, Hamza ibn Ali wrote
Protect divine knowledge from those who do not deserve it and do not withhold it from those who are deserving.He who withholds divine knowledge from those who are worthy of it, will indeed desecrate what he has been entrusted with and will commit sacrilege against his religion;and the conviction of him who divulges it to those who are not deserving will be diverted from following the truth.Scripture must therefore be protected from those who do not deserve it.
However he did remark
Protect yourselves from ignorance with the help of the knowledge of the unity of our Lord...
With regards the unity of God and how to remain in a state of peace of mind and contentment (Rida (Arabic: رضا)) and find knowledge of true love, Hamza ibn Ali left us a message
I enjoin you to safeguard your fellow men. In safeguarding them your faith reaches perfection.
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How we date in Aleppo Lilas, a Syrian girl, talks about adapting to her new life in Norway Syrian women: How to date Syria girls? Syrian Culture YLP Russian Dating Culture & Rules

Syrian society is largely conservative and dating in Syria has a different concept from other countries in the west. In Syria, dating a girl means meeting her from time to time in a cafe, public park or any other public place. It is a meeting to g... Seven percent of marriages end in divorce, according to Syrian statistics from 1984. The rate varied from a high of 16 percent in urban Damascus to a low of 2 percent in rural Al Hasakah. If a woman marries within her own lineage, she has the security of living among her people, and the demands upon her loyalty are simple and direct. Syria - Syria - Daily life and social customs: The family is the heart of Syrian social life. Frequent visits and exchanges of invitations for meals among family members are integral to daily living. Although formally arranged marriages are becoming less frequent, parents ordinarily wield decisive authority in approving or rejecting a match. Syrian women share much in common with other Middle Eastern women. Anywhere Islam has touched, elements of Bedouin culture are still found in the clannish behavior of the Arab and Persian world. Despite the fact that Syria, like many other nearby countries, has modern cities and lifestyles, certain Bedouin practices continue. The Syrian dialect is very similar to Jordanian and Egyptian and varies little from Modern Standard Arabic, the standardized form used in communications throughout the Arab world. Kurdish, Armenian, and Circassian also are spoken. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food is an important part of many celebrations.

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How we date in Aleppo

Reggie Yates meets Fatima, a 19 year old girl who has lived in the largest refugee camp in Iraq for the last 6 years. Despite her home in Damascus being destroyed by ISIS, she has high ambitions ... Palestinian vs Syrian Culture (الثقافة الفلسطينية والسورية) - Duration: 16:47. Subhi Taha 193,925 views. 16:47. Arab Sayings in English - Episode 1 - Duration: 2:59. Rami Rihawi, a Syrian currently living in Berlin, describes how he and his friends at Aleppo University would flirt with girls at the architecture building--the center of the dating scene--despite ... When you are dating an arab but don't quite understand the customs. Loading... Autoplay When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next. Dating Beyond Borders is a Youtube channel that focuses on highlighting the cultural differences that come into play while dating people from other countries. Videos out every Thursday - hit the ...