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The Ache tribe of Paraguay believe that babies inherit the characteristics of all the men who have had sex with the mother during pregnancy.

In Latin, testis both means witness and testicle.

The “M” on M&M’s candies were stencilled by hand until WWII labour shortages forced the confectioner to automate the process.

The international telephone code for Antarctica is 672.

In 2012, nearly half of Americans were not aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity – that is to say, nearly half of Americans did not figure out that, in Christianity, the Old Testament is older than the New Testament.

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On January 7, 1558, the French nobleman Francis, Duke of Guise, captures Calais, the last English possession in mainland France.

Francis, Duke of Guise, by François Clouet

Duke of Guise

Because of a mistake in one of the five-year plans, during a brief period in the 1950s, Soviet Russia virtually ran out of lavatory paper; however, no official wanted to admit to this at the time, nor let it come out. So, to prevent the shortage from becoming public knowledge, the Soviet government made a secret trade agreement with Britain in which they bought vast amounts of compensatory lavatory paper. For months, British planes flew to Soviet Russia delivering the grey cargo. This was done at night to minimise the risk of discovery.

On January 11, 1569, The first official lottery is held in England, with 10 shilling lots sold at old St Paul’s Cathedral.

Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual. Jesus is mentioned more often in the Quran than Muhammad while Mary is mentioned in the Quran more than in the New Testament.

On 29 January, 1886, German engineer Karl Benz patents the first practical car powered by a petrol internal combustion engine.

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According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible, Malchus is the servant of the Jewish High Priest, Caiaphas, who participated in the arrest of Jesus. According to John, one of the disciples, the Apostle Peter, being armed with a sword, cut off the servant’s ear in an attempt to prevent his Master’s arrest.

The capture of Christ (detail)

St. Peter striking Malchus

The story is related in all four gospels, John 18:10–11; Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47; and Luke 22:51, but the servant and the disciple are named only in John. Also, Luke is the only gospel that says Jesus healed the ear.

The relevant passage in the Gospel of John, (18:10–11), reads:

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the scabbard: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

The story is sometimes used to illustrate Jesus’ rejection of violence and surrender to God’s will. Nevertheless, violence, as we know, has always been a common act in nature; unfortunately, it could also be argued that it has always been inseparable from Christianity or any of the Abrahamic religions for that matter.

Relationship with Jesus

There is no mention of Jesus having a relation with Mary Magdalene in the Bible. However, the New Testament apocrypha Gospel of Philip depicts Mary as Jesus’ Koinōnos, a Greek term indicating a close friend or companion.

Eastern Orthodox icon of Mary Magdalene as a M...

Orthodox image of Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is mentioned as one of three Marys who always walked with the Lord and as his companion (Philip 59:6-11). The work also says that the Lord loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often (Philip 63:34-36).

On top of that, Mary Magdalene appears with more frequency than other women in the canonical Gospels and is shown as being a close follower of Jesus. Mary’s presence at the Crucifixion and Jesus’ tomb, has been theorised as at least consistent with the role of grieving wife and widow.

However, it has also been theorised that certain passages indicate that Mary of Bethany was behaving as a Jewish wife, for example in waiting to be summoned when Jesus arrived at Lazarus’ tomb. This issue would be resolved if Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were one and the same character.

In general, proponents of a companionship with Jesus argue that it would have been unthinkable for an adult, unmarried Jew to travel about teaching as a rabbi. However, in Jesus’ time the Jewish religion was very diverse and the role of the rabbi was not yet well defined. It was not until after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70 that Rabbinic Judaism became dominant and the role of the rabbi made uniform in Jewish communities.

In conclusion, it remains very hard, if not impossible to prove that Jesus had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, even if she was the same person as Mary of Bethany. The most likely conclusion remains that Jesus did not have a more than friendly or spiritual relationship with anyone.

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Markan Priority and Q

Markan priority is the hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark was the first written of the three Synoptic Gospels, and that the two other synoptic evangelists, Matthew and Luke, used Mark’s Gospel as one of their sources.

Synoptic Problem - Markan Priority

Markan priority

The theory of Markan priority is today accepted by the majority of New Testament scholars who also hold that Matthew and Luke used a lost source of Jesus’s sayings called Q.

Their conclusion is largely based upon an analysis of the language and content relationship between the various books.

A minority of modern scholars accept Markan priority but reject Q. An even smaller number of scholars have proposed that there was a Hebrew version of the Gospel before it was transcribed into Greek which necessitates Lukan Priority.

The Augustinian hypothesis (which suggests that the Gospel of Matthew was written first; the Gospel of Mark was written using Matthew as a source; then the Gospel of Luke was written using both Mark and Matthew) is for Matthean priority.

The Augustinian hypothesis solution to the Syn...

The Augustinian Hypothesis where Matthew is given priority. Lukan priority would reverse Matthew and Luke

It can also be argued that a simultaneous priority of Matthew and Mark is necessary under the Mosaic requirement that:

“at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deuteronomy 19:5b)

The Q source is a hypothetical written source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke.

Q (short for the German Quelle meaning source) is defined as the common material found in Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark.

This ancient text supposedly contained the logia or quotations from Jesus.

The Two-source Hypothesis to the synoptic problem

The Two-source Hypothesis

The widely accepted and most common view of Q is that it was a written document, not an oral tradition, composed in Greek; almost all of its contents appear in Matthew, in Luke, or in both; and that Luke more often preserves the original order of the text than Matthew.

In the two-source hypothesis, Matthew and Luke both used Mark and Q as sources. Some scholars have postulated that Q is actually a plurality of sources, some written and some oral. Others have attempted to determine the stages in which Q was composed.

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