02 August 2010

Jesus, Son of Nun and the Jesus Roll

Jesus (Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ Yehoshua; Greek: Ἰησοῦς, Arabic: يوشع بن نون‎ Yusha‘ ibn Nūn; English: Joshua), according to the Hebrew Bible, became the leader of the Israelite tribes after the death of Moses. His story is told chiefly in the books Exodus, Numbers and Joshua (Jesus of Nun). According to the Bible, Jesus' name was Hoshea the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, but that Moses renamed him Jesus, (Numbers 13:16) and that is the name by which he is commonly known. He was born in Egypt prior to the Exodus, and was probably the same age as Caleb, with whom he is occasionally associated.

He was one of the twelve spies of Israel sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. (Numbers 13:1-16) After the death of Moses, he led the Israelite tribes in the conquest of Canaan, and allocated the land to the tribes. The years in which these events took place is subject to academic dispute. According to conventional Bible chronology, Jesus lived between 1450–1370 BC, or sometime in the late Bronze Age. According to Joshua 24:29, Jesus died at the age of 110.

Jesus also holds a position of respect to Muslims; the Shi'ah believe he was an Imam. Despite not being canonized as such, he is considered by some to be the Patron Saint of Spies and intelligence professionals.

The English name Joshua is a rendering of the Hebrew: יהושע‎ "Yehoshua," meaning "Yahweh is salvation", from the Hebrew root ישע, "salvation," "to deliver/be liberated," or "to be victorious." It often lacks a Hebrew letter vav (ו) before the shin (ש), allowing a reading of the vocalization of the name as Hoshea (הוֹשֵׁעַ) - the name is described in the Torah as having been originally Hoshea before Moses added the divine name (Numbers 13:16).

"Jesus" is the English of the Greek transliteration of "Yehoshua". In the Septuagint, all instances of "Yehoshua" are rendered as "Ἰησοῦς" (Iēsoūs/Jesus), the closest Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew.

As Moses' apprentice, Jesus was a major figure in the events of the Exodus. He accompanied Moses part of the way when he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 32:17) He was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to explore and report on the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:16-17), and only he and Caleb gave an encouraging report, a reward for which would be that only these two of the spies would enter the promised land (Numbers 14:23-24).

He was commander at their first battle after exiting Egypt, against the Amalekites in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-16), in which they were victorious.

According to Joshua 1:1-9, Moses appointed Jesus to succeed him as leader of the Israelites. The first part of the book of Joshua covers the period when he led the conquest of Canaan.

At the Jordan River, the waters parted, as they had for Moses at the Red Sea. The first battle after the crossing of the Jordan was the Battle of Jericho. Jesus led the destruction of Jericho, then moved on to Ai, a small neighboring city to the west. However, they were defeated with thirty-six Israelite deaths. The defeat was attributed to Achan taking an "accursed thing" from Jericho; and was followed by Achan and his family and animals being stoned to death to restore God's favor. Jesus then went to defeat Ai.

The Israelites faced an alliance of Amorite kings from Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. At Gibeon Jesus asked God to cause the sun and moon to stand still, so that he could finish the battle in daylight. This event is most notable because "there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. (Joshua 10:14) From there on, Jesus was able to lead the Israelites to several victories, securing much of the land of Canaan.

In the second part of the book of Joshua (Ch 13 onwards), the extent of the land to be conquered is defined (Numbers 34:1-15) and the allocation of the land among the tribes of Israel. At that time, much of this land was still unconquered. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan (Numbers 34:14-15) while the other nine and a half tribes received land on the west of the Jordan.

When he was "old and well advanced in years" Jesus convened the elders and chiefs of the Israelites and exhorted them to have no fellowship with the native population because it could lead them to be unfaithful to God. At a general assembly of the clans at Shechem, he took leave of the people, admonishing them to be loyal to their God, who had been so mightily manifested in the midst of them. As a witness of their promise to serve God, Jesus set up a great stone under an oak by the sanctuary of God. Soon afterward he died, at the age of 110, and was buried at Timnath Serah, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

In rabbinic Jewish literature Jesus is regarded as a faithful, humble, deserving, wise man. Biblical verses illustrative of these qualities and of their reward are applied to him. "He that waits on his master shall be honored" (Pro. xxvii. 18) is construed as a reference to Jesus (Midrash Numbers Rabbah xii.), as is also the first part of the same verse, "Whoso keepes the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof" (Midrash Yalk., Josh. 2; Numbers Rabbah xii. 21). That "honor shall uphold the humble in spirit" (Pro. xxix. 23) is proved by Jesus' victory over Amalek (Midrash Numbers Rabbah xiii). Not the sons of Moses — as Moses himself had expected — but Jesus was appointed successor to the son of Amram (Midrash Numbers Rabbah xii). Moses was shown how Jesus reproved that Othniel (Yalḳ., Num. 776). Jesus' manliness recommended him for this high post. David referred to him in Psalms lxxxvii. 25, though without mentioning the name, lest dissensions should arise between his sons and those of his brothers (Yalḳ., quoting Sifre).

The annual commemoration of Jesus' yahrtzeit is marked on the 26th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. Thousands make the pilgrimage to Kifl Hares on the preceding night.

Yusha ibn Nun (Jesus) holds more importance for Shia Muslims than for Sunnis because he is held up as the Imam after Musa (Moses) after the death of Harun (Aaron). As such, he is frequently mentioned in works on theology. Islam recognizes Jesus as the young man who accompanied Moses when they traveled in search of a knowledgeable servant of God (who is considered by some scholars of Islam to be a prophet, others just a man of knowledge), called Al-Khidr. Jesus, accompanying Moses on a journey, lost the fish which they had kept in a basket during several days' travel. On that spot they both met Al-Khidr who reluctantly let Moses travel with him, during which time they came across many things. The Qur'an doesn't refer to Jesus by name(18:61).

In Turkey, it's believed that his tomb is in Istanbul, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. The sacred place known as Yuşa Tepesi (Jesus' Hill) is revered and visited by the locals.

The Jesus Roll is a Byzantine illuminated manuscript of highly unusual format, probably of the 10th century Macedonian Renaissance, believed to have been created by artists of the Imperial workshops in Constantinople, and now in the Vatican Library.

The Roll is in the form of a continuous horizontal scroll or rotulus, common in Chinese art, but all but unique in surviving examples of medieval Christian art. It is made of several joined pieces of sheep vellum, is 31 cm high and about 10 metres long, and may be incomplete, as it starts with Chapter II and ends with Chapter X. The Roll covers the early part of the Old Testament Book of Joshua (Jesus) using a reduced version of the Septuagint text; it includes Jesus' main military successes, ending with conquered kings paying him homage. At roughly this time, the Byzantine empire was enjoying military success in its campaigns in the Holy Land. It was originally painted in grisaille, by several artists, with partial coloring added later in a separate stage. The lettering is in majuscule and minuscule forms.

Like the Paris Psalter, with which it is usually discussed, it is heavily classicising in style, though the extent to which this represents a revival or copying from a much earlier model is the subject of much debate. Its origins have been much debated by art historians, and the roll is considered to be "one of the most important and difficult problems of Byzantine art." The roll itself is usually acknowledged to be of the 10th century AD, but the images are felt by most art historians to derive from one or more earlier works, perhaps going back as far as Late Antiquity. The subject produced a sharp disagreement between Kurt Weitzmann, who thought the form of the roll was a classicising invention of the Macedonian Renaissance, and Meyer Schapiro, who, whilst agreeing with Weitzmann on a 10th century date, held to the more traditional view that painted rotuli existed in Late Antiquity, and that the roll was essentially copied from such a work, perhaps through intermediaries.

The images are clearly closely related to later manuscripts of the Octateuch or first eight books of the Old Testament, but where and when the compositions for the cycle originated is controversial.

Steven Wander, professor at the University of Connecticut, claims the images are slanted at ten degrees, in a continuous frieze along the ten meters of the roll. He suggests this may be because the roll was a copy of the actual preparatory sketches or working drawings for a real column, possibly to scale, like the bronze Easter column (Latin 'colonna') for Bishop Bernward in Hildesheim.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...