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Symmachus ben Joseph

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the author of one of the Greek versions of the Old Testament, see: Symmachus (translator).

Symmachus ben Joseph (Hebrew: סוּמָכוֹס בן יוסף[1][2]) (sometimes Romanized Sumchus[3]) was a Jewish Tanna sage of the fifth generation.

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What do you do with a liar? Don't trust him any further than you can check him. Here's a lie. "We have the Septuagint." No, we don't. I will actually go over this in another vlog. But for now, just know that what they call the "Septuagint" is supposed to be a Greek Old Testament mixed with Apocrypha, that was supposedly created by 72 translators in Alexandria, Egypt, starting in 285 BC. Then the story goes that Jesus and the apostles quoted from that Septuagint Old Testament, and not the Hebrew. Here's the problem. We don't have any copies, anywhere, of more than just a few Greek Old Testament words. You couldn't make a "Septuagint" out of them. See this book right here? This is my copy, that I got at Fuller Seminary, of The Septuagint with Apocrypha. It's from 1851. It isn't the Bible they say Jesus used. This is Codex Vaticanus blended with Codex Alexandrinus. No one dates either of those at less than 350-450 years after Jesus. My professors said "Your Septuagint isn't the best one. You need the critical text." Alright. See this book? I just got it. It's the critical text, the Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuaginta from 2006. It's been slightly updated from the 1935 edition. Jesus didn't use this book, either. It's actually a blending of the Codices Alexandrinus and Vaticanus, along with the Sinaiticus. Again, those are all from at least 3 centuries after Jesus, not before. It's also partly based upon readings from something called the Hexapla. And that takes us to a liar named Origen. One guy may actually be the origin of the messed-up, so-called "Septuagint" in the form we find it today, as we see it in the Alexandrinus, the Vaticanus, and the Sinaiticus. And that origin --is the liar Origen. Be very careful when you study Origen. Don't believe anything you can't prove. Origen is the father of modern, doubting Bibles. He lived almost 70 years, from about 184 to 254 AD. Most of his life was in Alexandria, Egypt, and the last 24 years were in Caesarea Maritima, 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem. That's where he put together the Hexapla. More on that later. According to Constantine's lapdog Eusebius, in 203 AD, as a young man of 18-19, Origen restarted the Catechetical School of Alexandria. It was a school of exegesis and theology, kind of like a seminary. Origen became extremely popular. I have said that I suspected the only way Origen could write the books they said he did, is if he had stenographers with him practically 24/7, like the Mormons Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young did. Well, I found out he did! A wealthy convert named Ambrose gave Origen at least 7 stenographers, 7 longhand scribes to prepare the books, and ladies to make copies of those books. So he could just talk away and they'd write it down and publish it. That's how he "wrote" over 2,000 books. So Origen was popular. But Origen was elitist, as well. Origen believed that there were some things (or many things) that only higher-level scholars, or initiates into his private religion, should know. We know this from his own writings, and from people who claimed to follow his teachings. Madame Blavatsky, who founded the occultic religion Theosophy, in her book Isis Unveiled, said this: "Origen, who had belonged to the Alexandrian school of Platonists, declares that Moses, besides the teachings of the covenant, communicated some very important secrets 'from the hidden depths of the law' to the seventy elders. These he enjoined them to impart only to persons whom they found worthy." She also wrote that Origen and Clement of Alexandria before him, "...were well versed in Pagan symbology, having begun their careers as philosophers..." I found out that when Origen saw a student who showed promise, he'd also teach him geometry and philosophy. Walter Walsh, in The Secret History of the Oxford Movement (about 1897), revealed that "in the Church of Alexandria the Catechumens" (the students) "were not taught all the doctrines of the Christian Faith. Many of these were treated by their teachers as secret doctrines to be held in reserve." This "Doctrine of Reserve" from Clement of Alexandria before him and Origen, taught that it was okay to lie to their students, if they weren't "worthy" or ready for the deeper secrets of God. So people that Origen felt weren't worthy could be left in the dark, or allowed to believe lies, because only the scholars or spiritually advanced could learn the esoteric, secret doctrines. That is the same "Doctrine of Reserve" that was used in England. Hundreds of secretly-ordained Catholic priests pretended to be Protestants in the 1800s. Right here, page 161. "November 22nd, 1894 (this is from the Catholics), says: "We have heard just lately that there are now eight hundred clergymen of the Church of England who have been validly ordained by Dr. Lee and his co-Bishops of the Order of Corporate Reunion...." In other words, they were secretly re-ordained Catholics, while still looking like Protestants. And this has been a big doctrine of the Jesuit Order, from its founding in the 1540s to the present day. But wait. Didn't Origen also give us that text-scholarly Hexapla, the 6-columned Old Testament, in Hebrew, 3 different Greek versions, and the Septuagint? One of my friends said to me, "He sounds like a person who would preserve the text, not change it." You're right. He does sound like that. But Origen's Doctrine of Reserve means that he could admit what he truly believed, or truly researched, to a few elite people, and lie to the rest, because he thought they were "unworthy." Watch how this plays out. Origen made a big book, as I said before, with six complete Old Testaments. It was so huge, thousands of pages, that only one was ever made, and it took him over 20 years to make it. Here's what it sort-of looked like: To fit all 6 columns, only one or two words could be on each line. Column 1 was Hebrew, written with Hebrew letters. Column 2 was the same Hebrew, written with Greek letters. Column 3 was a translation of the Hebrew into Greek by Aquila, a convert to Judaism. Jewish scholars say it was literal -- but so literal it didn't always make sense in Greek. That was done about 120-130 AD. Column 4 was a totally different Greek translation of the Hebrew by Symmachus. He did it about 170-200 AD. Column 6 was a very "free" translation by Theodotion. Jewish scholars say he didn't really know Hebrew, and probably went from Greek to Greek. He wrote about the same time as Symmachus. And that brings us to Column 5 -- that was done by Origen -- and all the texts I can find say it was marked with an "O'" -- for Origen. It was not marked with "LXX," for the Septuagint. Origen spent a couple decades working on this huge set of books. He marked what was the commonly used Greek text in Alexandria with two signs, called the asterisk, or metobelus, and obelisk, or obelus. He used the asterisk to add into his 5th column where the Hebrew had words, but they weren't in the Greek. When that happened, he usually copied the Hebrew translation from Theodotion. He used the obelisk to mark in his 5th column where the Greek had words, but they weren't in the Hebrew. During this big project he wrote commentaries on books of the Bible. He also wrote lessons, or homilies. In them he clearly said that if it is not in the Hebrew, the Alexandrian Greek is wrong. But Origen was not afraid to lie when it was convenient. So far, Origen's textual theory looks pretty good. His 5th column added in words that were missing from the Greek, and he marked as "spurious" or fake the words that were in the Alexandrian Greek but not in the Hebrew. But back in Alexandria, some people accused Origen of "fawning on the Jews," and putting down the Alexandrian Bible. That got him in trouble, because the proto-Catholic churches there thought he was abandoning the Old Testament mixed with Apocrypha that they used. The Hebrew didn't have the Apocrypha, and if they went by the Hebrew, they'd have to abandon the Apocrypha and all sorts of other errors in their Alexandrian Bible. They accused Origen of being a traitor to their religion. They were basically right -- but Origen couldn't tell them the truth, or he could be excommunicated from their church. He got the perfect opportunity to state his lie publicly in the late 230s. A convert, a traveler named Julius Africanus, wrote to Origen. He was born in or near Jerusalem, and spoke and read Hebrew, Latin and Greek. He figured out that the Alexandrian Old Testament had stuff in it that wasn't in the Hebrew. So he wrote to Origen about it. Here's the funny thing. Africanus basically said everything that Origen already knew. But Origen wanted this letter to be made public, to get the people off his back. So Origen basically reversed everything he said in the past, and lied his head off! Origen said the ancient Jewish elders actually hid the truth and didn't let lots of stories get into the Hebrew Bible. Origen said the Greek is the true Bible, because God gave it to them, even if it has lots of words and stories and sections that aren't in the Hebrew! Really? This is the same Origen who said that God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, and "the scripture," intentionally put lies into the Bible, so only the "more skillful and inquisitive" could pick out the lies from the truth! You just can't trust this guy. He doesn't talk out of two sides of his mouth. He talks out of three, at least! The bottom line is this. Origen's 5th column of the Hexapla, with or without the asterisks and obelisks, got copied and spread around as the "true" Greek Old Testament and Apocrypha. I told you that Origen was popular. He was also trusted by the people. Origen was the origin. It's no different from a popular preacher endorsing the occultic Lamsa Bible or the Message Bible. People follow their leader like happy little sheeple. Let me sum up. People kept copying Origen's 5th column, because they trusted Origen. But none of the Alexandrians had a consistent way to copy scripture, or to know what was scripture. They had no set patterns. That is how the Alexandrian text got to where it is today. You cannot get three supposedly scholarly Alexandrian-type Bibles, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, to match. This is nothing like the Hebrew. Take a look at this. This is a photographic facsimile of a Hebrew Codex, dated about 1008 AD. It was kept in a synagogue in Leningrad. It is one of the earliest copies of the Masoretic Text still in existence. Look at this. Isn't it beautiful? All these markings that you'll see around the text of the scripture, here, and here, right here, are meant to "lock in" the scripture with all sorts of notes. The scripture was carefully written. They counted lines, letters, spaces. Everything had to match up with the previous copy. That is why when you look at the few Dead Sea scrolls that were copied fairly well, even though we have NO idea where they came from (their provenance) or who copied them (their chain of custody), they are almost letter-for-letter identical. This has a known provenance. We know where it came from. In 1008 AD, Samuel ben Jacob went to Cairo, Egypt, and copied the codex, from manuscripts written by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher. This wasn't done by multiple people. Samuel ben Jacob actually wrote the consonants, and the vowels and the Masoretic notes. That was unusual. The back of the codex Has markings and notes of every smudge, scrape, mark, and bend in the text. It's amazing. You know why there's such a great difference between the Alexandrian Old Testament and the Hebrew? Because these guys believed they were handling God's words. They wouldn't even write the name of God until they had washed and prayed. You won't find a Masoretic copy with a few chapters of 1 Chronicles, then in the same line jumping to the middle of Nehemiah, like in Sinaiticus! No, they feared God. I don't think Origen feared God. I don't think the makers of Sinaiticus feared God. But the people who copied God's preserved words feared God. That's why I trust my King James Bible. And not only does it have a known history of coming from manuscripts by God-fearing people. It has also been over 400 years tried and tested, and proved through the fire. The faith of millions has been enhanced by it, and by trusting it, they have served God faithfully and will receive their rewards in heaven. There is a fundamental difference between King James Bible believing Christians and those who trust the modern versions. The King James people base their faith in the words of the King James Bible. Modern version people base their doubts on their Bibles. People like them intimidate you to doubt like they do. They want you to doubt the King James Bible and believe the doubters. People like me are giving you reasons to believe the King James Bible and doubt the doubters. After all I present to you, it really is up to you to make your choice. Faith or doubt. The choice is yours. God bless you, and have a wonderful day.



Rabbi Meir is considered his main teacher.[4] After R. Meir died, and despite R. Judah ben Ilai's reluctance to teach R. Meir's students (who were considered "vexatious" students), Symmachus joined R. Judah ben Ilai's class and debated halakhic matters with him.[4]

Symmachus' brilliance was described as follows:

R. Abbahu stated in the name of R. Johanan: R. Meir had a disciple of the name of Symmachus who said, on every rule concerning a ritual uncleanness, there are forty-eight reasons in support of its uncleanness, and on every rule concerning a ritual cleanness, forty-eight reasons in support of its cleanness.[5]


He is quoted five times in the Mishna: three times his teachings appear, and twice he quotes an opinion of Rabbi Meir.

He is best known for the following disagreement about judgment in a case of monetary dispute:

These are the words of Symmachus who said that "money which is in dispute - is to be split [equally between the parties]" (ממון המוטל בספק חולקין). The Sages, however, disagreed with him: "It is a fundamental principle in law: One who wishes to extract money from another person, the burden of proof falls on him [the claimant]" (המוציא מחברו עליו הראיה).[6]

Later opinions differ on which situations Symmachus intended for his rule to apply.[3]

Relation to other individuals named Symmachus

Some have tried to identify him with Symmachus the translator, but this view has been generally rejected.[7] In Epiphanius' treatise On Weights and Measures, a certain Symmachus is said to have converted to Judaism from the Samaritan religion at the time of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who is also called Verus.[8] Rabbi Meir would have been his contemporary.


  1. ^ Yerushalmi Berachot 12b; Rif Berachot 7a
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Da'at, article: סומכוס
  3. ^ a b The Position of Sumchus: Mammon Ha-Mutal Be-Safek Cholkim
  4. ^ a b Talmud, Kiddushin 33a
  5. ^ Talmud, Erubin 13b
  6. ^ Talmud, Bava Kamma 46a
  7. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia, SYMMACHUS, By: Crawford Howell Toy & Felix Perles
  8. ^ Epiphanius' Treatise on Weights and Measures - The Syriac Version (ed. James Elmer Dean), University of Chicago Press 1935, p. 32
This page was last edited on 12 February 2020, at 04:03
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