Monday, August 14, 2006

TONGUES Thesis: Part 15


Plato (429-347B.C.) the Greek philosopher, wrote about an acquaintance with religious, ecstatic speech. In the "phaedrus" he wrote about certain families that were engaged in holy prayers, rites, and inspired utterances. The participants were possessed individuals and out of their minds (loss of control of mental facilities, but not insanity). The usage of these religious exercises even brought physical healing to the worshipper. Plato called it prophecy madness and identified madness as a divine gift. He said that the prophetess of Delphi and the priests at Dodona, when out of their senses, conferred great benefits upon certain individuals, but when in their senses, few or none.

In the "Ion", Plato stated that good poets compose their poems not by art, but because they are inspired and possessed. They are not in their right minds because God takes away their minds and uses them as his ministers. God speaks through diviners and holy prophets while they are in a state of unconsciousness. In the inspired utterance, God is the speaker, not the man. He also compared the poets to the Corybantian revellers who became ecstatic in both utterance and action and to the Bacchic maidens of the Dionysian Cult enthralled in sleep or he is demented by some distemper or possession. This person (diviner) cannot remember what he said. These utterances are accompanied by visions which he cannot judge either. Thus, interpreters or prophets are needed to expound the dark sayings of the diviner.

Comparable to our present day tongues occurrances, Plato observed the speaker had no control over his mental facilities, and did not understand what was said, and the message needed to be interpreted by another! Also, visions and healing accompanied the speaking while the person was under divine possession!

In his "Aeneid", Virgil (70-19B.C.) described the Sibylline priestess on the isle of Delos. She attained her ecstatic state and speech in a haunted cave where drafts and winds made weird sounds and music. When she became unified in spirit with the god Apollo, she began to speak with tongues, sometimes understood and some times incoherent.

The great church father, Chrysostom described the Pythoness as "this same Pythoness then is said, being a female, to sit at times upon the tripod of Apollo astride, and thus the evil spirit ascending from beneath and entering the lower part of her body, fills the woman with madness.
In the "Timaeus", Plato stated that when a man receives the inspired word, either his intelligence is and she with disheveled hair begins to play the bacchanal and foam at the mouth, and thus being in a frenzy to utter the words of her madness." Because of her ability to produce ecstatic utterances under divine inspiration and possession, she was frequently worshipped and consulted for advice and predictions. Ira Martin added, "Priests were apparently in attendance to catch her every utterance, and to interpret her cries and babblings whenever they ceased to be coherent.

In the Greco-Roman world, there were many mystery religions or cults, such as the Osiris cult which originated in Egypt, the Mithra cult which began in Persia, and the Eleusinian Dionysian, and Orphic Cults which started in Thrace, Macedonia and Greece. Although it cannot be proven, Martin believed that there were good reasons for assuming that such ecstatic speech was prevalent among them. First, the entire system of beliefs, initiatory rites, and religious practices was centered in the concept of spirit possession or identification. Second, the Christian terms for glossolalia (pneuma and lalein glossais) came from the Greek vernacular which existed long before the New Testament was written.

Third, in the account, "De Dea Syria", Lucian of Samosata (A.D. 120-198) described a clear case of glossolalia uttered by the itinerant devotees of the Syrian goddess, Juno, stationed at Bambyce or hieropolis in Syria. Gerhard Kittell added that a similar phenomena could be found in the divinatory manticism of the Delphic Phrygia, of the Bacides, and of the Sybils Describing the worship of the occult and magic, he worte "The unintelligible lists of magical names and letters in the magic pap. (voices, mystical), which are used in the invoking and conjuring of gods and spirits, may also be analagous to this obscure and meaningless speaking with tongues.With these mystical divine names etc., in which there are echoes of all the various oriental languages, we may certainly couple the view that they derive from supra­terrestrial tongues used by the gods and spirits in heaven, each class having its peculiar "phone" or "dialektos"

Current editions of the "Encyclopedia Britannica" contain helpful articles on tongues speaking among pagans in their worship rites. Reports have come from East Africa telling of persons possessed by demons who spoke fluently in Swahili or English, although under normal circumstances, they would not understand either language. Among the Thonga people of Africa, when a demon is exorcised, a song is usually sung in Zulu, even though the Thonga people do not, know Zulu. The one doing the exorcising is supposedly able to speak Zulu by a "miracle of tongues"
Today ecstatic speech is found among Muslims, Eskimos, and Tibetan monks. A parapsychology laboratory of the University of Virginia Medical School reports incidents of tongues speaking among those practicing the occult
Stolee reported that ecstatic speech is found in Mohammedanism. The dervishes of Persia constantly utter the name of Allah, accompanied by violent shaking of the body and trances which issue in foaming at the mouth. These violent motions lead to physical exhaustion and partial unconsciousness. During this period of ecstacy, they preach moral sermons.

The Eskimos of Greenland are reported to have engaged in glossolalia. There, religious services are led by the Anakok, the medicine man or priest. In these services,. there is a definite attempt to get in touch with the nether world. The services are characterized by drum beating, singing, dancing, and nudity of both men and women. Peter Freuchen in his book, "Artic Adventure" observed glossolalia in this way: "Suddenly one of the men, Krisick, went out of his head. Unable to contain himself to the regular rhythm of the service, he leapt to his feet crying like a raven and howling like a wolf. In ecstacy he and the girl, Ivaloo, began to yell in a tongue I could not understand. Certainly it was not the usual Eskimo language, and if there is such a thing as speaking in tongues, I heard it then,"V. Raymond Edman, chancellor of Wheaton College, gave these accounts of contemporary pagan glossolalia in Tibet and China: "One of our Wheaton graduates who


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