More armed pilgrims arrive at Constantinople in the wake of the fall of Jerusalem. Alexios advises them to avoid the Turks of Anatolia but they ignore him. Meanwhile Alexios’ attempts to put pressure on Antioch are thwarted by Bohemond’s nephew Tancred. Finally we return to Constantinople to check in with the Komnenian regime and watch a man get burnt to death.
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I am coming in a little late to the podcast, but have been thoroughly enjoying it, so thank you for your work.
I would like to comment on episode 22, Justinian’s legacy, from a Jewish point of view. The discussion regarding Wisdom caught my attention, as it was presented as a Greek philosophical concept that was being woven in the Christianity of Justinian’s day. While I am sure that there is much truth to that proposition, it completely ignores the foundational influence of the deeply Jewish, and pre-Hellenized, place of Wisdom in the Torah, Writings and Prophets. The book of Proverbs, for example, refers to Wisdom in a way that certainly has some similarities to Greek thought, in that Wisdom is actually personified, as a woman.
Proverbs, of course predates the Gospel of John and the Roman Empire by many hundreds of years and emerged independent of any significant contact with Greek culture or Hellenization. The definition of what Wisdom is differs in many ways, but nonetheless, it was part of the Jewish Canon and tradition, which is the original foundation of Christianity.
While the Anti-Semitism, or in its most benign form, Non-Semitism, of the Greek and Roman cultures and the Roman Empire are on full display throughout history, and the same spirit and attitude pervaded the Church (Orthodox as well as other sects), much of the structure of the Church bears strong resemblance to the ancient Jewish faith and religious structures, liturgical and physical.
The Bible, the foundational document of Christianity, was written primarily by Jews, primarily for Jews (prior to the Pauline epistles), and expresses a 1st Century sect of Judaism that recognized and followed the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. That Bible contains not only the Gospels, but the Old Testament, of which Proverbs forms a part. Proverbs self describes as a collection of wisdom teachings of the Israelite people, which would then predate its teachings to a time even before the writing of that book.
All that to say that it is an oversimplification to only associate the harmonization of Greek Wisdom teachings with 6th Century Church doctrine without recognizing the significant place that Wisdom teachings, and Wisdom (or Logos) had within the pre-Hellenized Judaism from which John’s Gospel is birthed and from which the Byzantine Church, perhaps much to its own chagrin, owes its origins.
Love the podcast. Brilliant. Thank you again.
Great episode! Such a shame that contingents of crusaders numbering 10k each were defeated piecemeal by the Turks. Wouldnt’ be better if Alexios hoarded them into one strong body and gamble his entire army to destroy the Turks in Iconium or Ancyra and re-establish Roman presence in the plataeu?