🔼The name Seleucia: Summary
- Somewhat Whitened, Whitish
- From λευκος (leukos), white.
🔼The name Seleucia in the Bible
The name Seleucia occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Acts 13:4, where the city is mentioned as the first stop of Saul, Barnabas and John Mark, on their way south from Syrian Antioch to Cyprus: first Salamis and then Paphos, where Saul adopted the name Paul (of their host Sergius Paulos), before going back north again to Perga and Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14).
Seleucia was a city in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of modern Turkey (roughly in the middle of Turkey's southern border). There were many cities named Seleucia but its more formidable and original namesake was Seleucia on the magnificent river Tigris, which was the capital of the Seleucid Empire. The Seleucid Empire, named after general Seleucus Nicator, was one of four successor empires after the one of Alexander the Great was divided among the Diadochi; the other three were Ptolemy (Egypt), Antigonus (Asia-Minor), and Cassander (Macedonia and Greece).
Alexander's empire had gobbled up the entire known world, including Persia, where displaced Jewish exiles had worked their way up into the empire's very government (as told in the books of Esther, Daniel and Ezra), and where great Jewish wisdom schools had remained when a small minority had undertaken the celebrated return to Canaan. These wisdom schools would produce the great Talmud, and in the process invent the postal service (our word "angel" comes from the Persian word for mailman: see αγγελος, aggelos). Several centuries earlier, the Hebrew alphabet (see our article on YHWH) had swept the world and allowed everybody to become literate (a prerogative formerly only of the priests: Exodus 19:6). And as the world began to time itself around the Jewish Sabbath and began to embrace scientific learning and mastery of nature's laws (rather than entreating spirits and hoping for the best), the entire world indeed was becoming Jewish, as foretold by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 8:23).
The familiar "magi" (mentioned by Matthew), who would come from the east (that's Persia) to search for the king of the Jews, were members of that formidable Jewish Persian wisdom tradition, and the same people as the "shepherds" (mentioned by Luke) who were keeping watch over their flocks by night, i.e. the darkness of the Persian empire.
Matthew calls them magi and Luke calls them shepherds, and note that Luke means light and shares its root with the name Seleucid. The name of the Pharisaic sect, rather likewise, appears to share its root with the name Persia. The Pharisaic sect may have originated in Persia (perhaps indeed geographically, or perhaps only ideologically), which explains why so many so eagerly crossed over to join The Way (Paul, Nicodemus, Simon the Host, Gamaliel, Simon of Cyrene and Josephus the historian had all been Pharisees).
It needs to be emphasized that not only Persia but also Greece was pervaded by Jews, who were enriching their home societies from the inside. But where in Persia, according to their own accounts, the Jews dominated the empire's government and wisdom classes (i.e. those companies that developed systems of intelligence and information technology, and the sciences of administration, logistics and agriculture and such), in Greece they held minority views and were book-hoarding librarians at best.
Persia and Greece had been at each other's throats for as long as either existed. "King of Kings" Darius and his son Xerxes brought the western borders of their Achaemenid Empire onto the doorstep of Greece, and the Greco-Persian Wars dominated the area throughout the fifth century. The tides turned in favor of Greece with their victory at Marathon (490 BC) and Salamis (480 BC), after which peace treaties were signed and the Persians simply "went home". A century later, Alexander of Macedon drove his armies east, defeated the Persian armies and became the new Persian landlord.
🔼Dens of robbers
Despite the promises of warlords and the ideologies of tyrants, the Bible preaches that one day the entire world will be united in a perfectly decentralized Republic that is made possible by humanity's common knowledge and shared technology — God meets man in the tabernacle, which was technological: see Exodus 31:1-11; Jesus reflects the Creator (Hebrews 1:3) and embodies the Word (John 1:14), which is scientific (Colossians 1:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 Kings 4:33) — and national governments and wars between them are scams designed to make a select few a whole lot of money. The possibility for such scams fades as the Final Republic (a.k.a. the Kingdom of God) rises, which is why the first point on the agenda of such scammers is to oppress the natural spread of scientific knowledge and wisdom technology (i.e. literacy and communication). In our own time, this explains why the Internet lacks the hierarchy of natural authority (the establishment of which would take a mere few lines of code) and is structured entirely around data harvesters and ad sellers.
Alexander and his generals were highly educated young men, but if they had been tutored by sensible Jews, they would have become scientists and dedicated their lives to the furtherance of the Final Global Republic. Instead, they were tutored by Aristotle (himself a student of Plato), and so they became common warriors and money grabbers. Aristotle's views also formed modern Western philosophy, which explains why modern Western religions glorify ignorance rather than pursue wisdom and demand creeds rather than freedom, why nation states still exists, and why they prefer war over the peace that is so obviously available to all of mankind.
The key here is monotheism, which is a world-view (and not the "belief" in one god; the -theism part comes from ιστημι, histemi, to set). Monotheism is the opposite of polytheism, which is the world-view that holds that the world comprises several independent pockets or realms, where different rules bring about different realities. Monotheism, on the other hand, is the view that there is only one world, and although experiences vary, there is only one reality to experience: the reality in which one unified set of unified rules (called the Logos or Word of God) always uphold the oneness of creation: the oneness from which creation once arose, that today governs all its interactions and dynamics, and toward which it will always evolve.
And just like the set of genetic rules that constitutes a single human, so the unified set of rules that constitutes the universe, constitutes a living and intelligent being: a single, living, conscious and intelligent mind that pervades every corner of the grand cosmos and loves to talk about that to whoever lends an ear (John 14:26).
🔼Towers and choirs
Aristotle believed in a clear separation between the Creator (a First Mover) and creation (that what got moved, long ago, and still rolls on from that one primal shove), and figured that from a set of assumed axioms a rational thinker could construct a formal description of the whole of reality. In other words: to Aristotle, science is a tower of knowledge whose fundament is fantasy and whose body consists of baked bricks that are stacked, row by row, one on top of the other. The builders of such an Aristotelian tower never quite know how much of the tower is finished, and how much further the final summit still is. That means that their tower always consists of a known end (that's the one that touches the earth) and an unknown end of unknown dimensions (the bit that will someday, hopefully, hit heaven). And that is a dualistic world-view. And since Kurt Gödel, we know that such a tower must always remain incomplete, which means that such a tower can never describe the whole of everything. Such a tower must always remain polytheistic and will never attain monotheism.
Monotheists, namely, believe in the divinity of One (Deuteronomy 6:4), and that the Oneness of the Creator translates into the Oneness of creation (and since there is only one Oneness, it's the same Oneness), and that the Spirit of the Creator hovers over the Oneness of creation and hatches it like a chicken does an egg, never compromising the one and only Oneness. To monotheists, the Oneness of the Creator was never compromised, and there is no other Oneness than the Oneness that is God (Isaiah 45:7, John 17:20-26). This is why God is not some distant Prime Mover but rather Immanuel: the God who is with us, whose Word became flesh, whose Kingdom is among us (Luke 17:21), and whose City descends from heaven (Revelation 21:2) and thus touches earth and on its way down, crushes that silly polytheistic tower (Genesis 11:7-8).
The Tower of Aristotle is based on shifting sand, goes from the ground up but will never be complete. The City of God starts out as a singularity, comes from heaven down but never stops being whole and complete. The bricks of the tower are baked into absolute definitions. The elements of the City of God are defined by their relative function. The Tower is a dead thing, which is held together by nothing (and must always fall apart). The City is a living thing, whose elements are held together by a singular soul.
In monotheism, the entire universe works on rules that cannot be broken, which is why they are rules and not suggestions. On the cross, Jesus paid a bill that had to be paid, which makes no sense in a polytheistic universe, where an omnipotent deity can snap his divine fingers and create his own private bubble of reality and be done with it. Jesus was part of ours (Philippians 2:7), and in our reality, natural law can be counted on because it cannot not be broken. Or in other words: Jesus would rather die than leave us an ambiguous universe that can't be mastered. That means that the miraculous things that Jesus did are only miraculous to people who don't know how he did them. But to people that do, they are a matter of routine. Jesus performed his miracles "to show the way" (as the song goes), to demonstrate what is possible in a universe whose laws don't break but can be studied, unraveled, learned and repeated at will. People who understand these things can also heal the blind and restore the lame. Many do even greater things than that (John 14:12).
To monotheists, the monad (the idealized reality of One) is everything, contains everything and governs everything. That means that the dyad (the idealized reality of Two) can only exists by merit of its two components being one. If the two components aren't one, then the two isn't two (but a very small cloud of dust at best). And the same goes for all other numbers: the reality of any number is only real when its components comprise a dynamic one. If they don't, then these components fade away in the dustbowl that is the cosmic background, and the number is illusory at best: a phantasm, a shadow, a polytheistic experience that is incomparably inferior to the divine reality of One. The magic of the Monad is that Oneness is a fractal, and the bigger One contains the smaller Ones without any of the smaller Ones being something other than the big One (John 14:2, Genesis 1:26).
Polytheism is about building a tower, brick by brick, whereas monotheism is about synchronizing one's own thought patterns with those of the Holy Spirit, and by doing so with everybody else. There never are enough bricks to allow polytheism even the tiniest peek into the nature and reality of God's magnificent heaven, but anybody who feels the first tickle of synchronicity with the Holy Spirit, begins to sense the totality of the deepest nature of the Whole of Everything (Matthew 6:33). Even that tiniest of tickles helps to find the place of any phenomenon, big or small, from the fleetest of inklings to entire empires.
To a monotheist, something that doesn't seem to fit in (but which was put here by God and thus obviously somehow does) demonstrates the observer's lack of knowledge of Oneness. Figuring out how that thing may fit into the greater Oneness is the monotheist's greatest joy. This is why the monotheist loves his enemy: not to be beaten up by him (which continues to be avoided), but to understand how he came to be his enemy and bridge that gap with a missing bit of knowledge of God.
The polytheist and the monotheist both acknowledge light and darkness, but to the monotheist, darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of it. Light is substantial and fills the darkness but never conquers the darkness or drives it away. That is why the monotheist confidently enters the darkness, fully expecting nothing there, like a blank slate to be written full. Polytheists imagine darkness to be substantial, which is why they seek combat. Monotheist fill any land like rain does when it falls from heaven and makes any land fertile, and washes it and rinses it and then collects in rivers. Polytheists, on the other hand, come with the rock-solid ground of their orthodoxies and descend upon other lands like meteorites.
The Greco-Persian Wars were wars of mountain versus mountain (polytheism versus polytheism, like a house divided against itself). The monotheistic waters meanwhile fell on both, and ignored borders and banners and lords, and nourished the fields without favor and collected in rivers that thundered to wherever they were drawn and ate away at the bases of the mountains that towered over them. When the Greeks finally beat the Persians, they tried to make the Persian rivers their home but never truly got the hang of them. In fact, the Greeks couldn't stand monotheism's creedless search for useful wisdom, its stanceless curiosity and provocatively empty Temple. And they certainly couldn't stand them giving all their hard-wrought skills and knowledge away for free, teaching them even to whatever penniless fool wandered into their hearing.
While in Judea, friction began to mount between Mosaic purists and Hellenizing globalists (and those who drew toward Ptolemaic Egypt), the Seleucid Empire declared war on monotheism and began to persecute the Jews in all their flavors and invaded Judea and desecrated the Temple. In the 240s BC, the Seleucids began to lose most of their empire to the Parthians. That caused the turmoil that allowed the ultimately successful Maccabean Revolt (167 BC), some decades after which Judea became an autonomous kingdom for the first time since the Babylonian conquest in 597 BC, and until it would fall again in 63 BC to the Roman general Pompey. That same year, the Seleucid Empire fell too, also to Pompey.
🔼Etymology of the name Seleucia
The name Seleucia (like that of the Seleucid Empire at large) comes from the name of the general who first succeeded Alexander in Persia: Seleucus Nicator, son of Antiochus (hence the many cities named Antioch) and Laodice (named after a daughter of Priam of Troy, hence also the city named Laodicea). The name Nicator relates to the noun νικη (nike), victory (hence also names like Nicolas and Bernice).
The name Seleucus (Σελευκος, Seleukos) is probably a dialectal form of the name Zaleucus (of a remarkable 7th century BC law-giver), from the common Attic adjective διαλευκος (dialeukos), meaning whitened (the verb διαλευκαινω, dialeukaino means to whiten, to intersperse with white smears). This adjective occurs quite tellingly in some versions of the Septuagint's Genesis 30:32, where Jacob separates black sheep from sheep with white spots. Equally telling is Jesus' assessment of the Pharisees as "white-washed tombs" (Matthew 23:27; after Ezekiel 13:10-16), with which he calls them Seleucid Persians (who don't get the nature of Scriptures or the power of God) rather than Jewish Persians (who do).
Ultimately, our name Seleucus derives from the same word that gave us the names Lucifer (light-bringer) and Luke (white, light), namely the adjective λευκος (leukos), meaning white:
The adjective λευκος (leukos) primarily means white, and secondarily shiny or glittery. Noun λυχνος (luchnos) means a light (a lamp). The Latin verb luceo primarily means to shine and secondarily to be white. Noun lux means light or day(-time), and noun lumen means light or brightness.
The name Seleucia means Place Of Whitening, and while white is the sum of all colors and signifies the harmonic oneness of all elements (and not brute-force inclusion, as some modern commentators appear to hold), the proverbial act of whitening rather emphasizes the cosmetic ideal of it, the hiding of sin beneath a thin layer of unsubstantial piety or bravado and orthodox doctrine (or worse: vast systems of logic that expand only into intellectual heat death).
Both Ezekiel and John the Revelator were given a heavenly rod with which the measure the City of God. The purpose of this was obviously not discovery, but rather training. Both these prophets were let loose on a stylized reproduction of the patterns of heaven (Exodus 25:40), which they had to utterly contemplate so as to become intimately familiar with its proportions and ratios. In other words: they had to practice the ultimate exercise, namely the practice of algorithmic thought (first learn what a rule is and how rules work; then learn the rules and master the system): to put in their proverbial 10,000 hours, so as to become proficient in the laws of nature, so that they could build buildings that the forces of nature would not tear down.
Pagan and polytheistic builders had always conducted elaborate ceremonies to appease whatever deity they held in control of wind and rain and fire and bricks and such, so that in their favor these gods would not topple the temples the builders were building to their gods' honor. Monotheists, on the contrary, study the laws of nature as expressed in mathematics (arithmetic and number theory, mechanical engineering, geometry, algebra and music), so as to be able to confidently build buildings that do not collapse. The purpose of any such studies is to build lasting structures.
The purpose of science as a whole is to unify the mind of man: to form consensus, to have everybody agree on the description of what's out there and on what to do with it. Truth, therefore, is not merely that which is correct (we could fill the entire universe merely with correct digits of pi) but rather that which is correct and useful (in this case: roughly the first 10 digits of pi). Truth is always applied (i.e. useful), which means that truth is much rather alike a song sung by a spontaneous choir that spontaneously amends itself by perfecting its resonance with its shared desire (Haggai 2:7). Paul wrote that "by grace" we are saved, and although certain people like to preach that grace is what a tyrant dispenses in small quantities to his grateful slave population, the word is χαρις (charis), which expresses a collective joy (hence our words charisma and choir).
The Truth that sets free is pursued and obtained by choir-singing, from the first shy humming that sounded over the human savannahs long before this humming would crystalize into the first "hello...?", to the most exuberant and heterophonic Hallelujah! of modernity.