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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Jewish Idolatry rears its ugly head

One common thread in idolatry is the deification of people after they are dead. Caesar liked the idea of deification so much that he went ahead and proclaimed himself god while he was still alive, and commanded all his subjects to pray to him. That's the extreme case, but more common are cases like Martin of Tours and Geat the Saxon. Adored (or feared) in life, they were prayed to (or worshiped) in death.

Others lived rather quiet, unassuming lives, but for various reasons were granted the attributes of deity long after their deaths, especially if their tombs were preserved to be later turned into shrines. Such is the case of Rachel the Matriarch. Many of her descendants will be traveling to her shrine this week to pray to her.

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