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Biography: Jared Maurice Arter


Jared Maurice Arter (1850-1928) was born into slavery on January 27, 1850, and spent the first 13 years of his life in its bonds. Arter knew "almost nothing of his direct ancestry" (p. 12) beyond the identities of his mother, Hannah Frances Stephenson Arter, and his father, Jeremiah Arter. After receiving their freedom with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, Arter's family moved to Washington, D.C. Arter "showed interest in learning" (p. 14) at an early age and pursued education. He was "bound out" to a business man in New York until the age of 21 in return for education and training (p. 12). After taking a break of two years from his education in order to earn money to buy a house with his brother, William, Arter resumed his education, eventually earning his Bachelor's degree at Pennsylvania State College. After his conversion to the Baptist faith in 1873, Arter also sought to advance the educational pursuits of others. He served as instructor at Virginia Theological Seminary and College and the Superintendent to West Virginia Industrial School, Seminary and College, at Hill Top, West Virginia. Arter was also initiated as a Freemason and a member of the Knights of Pythias. Arter married Emily Carter in 1890, and after her death, he married Maggie Wall in 1910. His first marriage produced 5 children, 4 of whom died before reaching the age of 20. Jared Maurice Arter passed away in 1928, at the age of 78.

Arter's Echoes from a Pioneer Life (1922) has little to say about his early years spent in slavery. Arter himself simply notes that he was born in a small "one-room log cabin" in Jefferson County, West Virginia (p. 9). At the age of 9, he witnessed John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, in which John Brown and a group of abolitionists seized control of the United States Armory and Arsenal located nearby. Arter's master at the time, William Schaeffer, worked at the Arsenal. As Arter reflects on Brown's raid and the Civil War, he recalls that it was a time of "some nerve-wrecking scenes" in which "one could scarcely venture to go to the spring, wood-pile or garden without being shot at" (p. 11).

From an early age Arter showed interest in learning. His first teacher was his father, who, despite being a slave his entire life, had learned to "read and write a little" (p. 12). However, upon moving to Washington, D.C., Arter was offered the opportunity to receive an education and training from Mr. Ayers, a businessman in New York, in return for work. Arter was heartily welcomed into the Ayer family in New York and even received some training from their ten-year-old daughter, Minnie, before starting at the village grade school. His three and a half years spent in the service of the Ayer family proved to be a pivotal period of development as he was introduced to formal education and received a "fairly good start in the primary branches of English, and a good foundation laid in regular habits of work" (p. 19). Upon completion of his time with the Ayers in 1867, Arter undertook various jobs with his brother, William. Eventually, they were able to save enough to purchase a home for their mother in Bolivar, West Virginia.

On October 1st, 1873, Jared and William Arter enrolled at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It was at Storer College that Arter first heard the "powerful preaching of Rev. A.H. Morrell" and was led to "fully accept Christ" (p. 26). From the time of his conversion until the day he died, Arter considered himself a "soldier of the cross" (p. 26). In the fall of 1879, Arter transferred to Pennsylvania State College, and "as far as he knows, he was the first Negro student to ever enter that institution" (p. 26). He then entered Hillsdale College, in Hillsdale, Michigan, where he graduated with a Ph.D. In 1887, he was ordained to the ministry, called as pastor of the First Baptist Church, and hired as a teacher at Storer College. He remained at that position for four years, "sometimes teaching four, sometimes five subjects at the college, and pastoring in the church" (p. 27).

Arter taught and preached in various positions until 1899, when he accepted a call to open a Bible school in Cairo, Illinois. He worked closely with the institution in many capacities including teaching, giving sermons, lecturing, and working in the field. In 1908, Arter accepted a position as "principal of the graded and high school and president of the Seminary" of the West Virginia Industrial School, Seminary and College at Hill Top, West Virginia (1908). Unfortunately, a mere two weeks after officially beginning at the school, an accidental fire completely incinerated the school. However, Arter did not allow this event to deter him. He quickly procured funds from local businesses to rebuild the school. Arter was successful, and the school was soon back under way. In fact, when he left the school in 1914, the total value of the land and property of the school, "clear of debt valued $20,000" compared to the value of $5,000 when he first arrived (p. 63).

After leaving the school, Arter once more returned to Harpers Ferry and Storer College. Upon his return, Arter helped the members of the Baptist church there to become more "spiritually revived and strengthened" (p. 67). During the years 1920-21, relations between the school and the church grew disharmonious. Arter came to the conclusion that "in the interest of peace . . . a separation between church and pastor should take place" (p. 68), and as the reputation and status of the church was "greater than ever before," (p. 68) Arter decided to resign and accept an offer to take charge of the ministerial department of Simmons University in Louisville, Kentucky.


The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity Tags: Harvard University course Prof. Shaye Cohen

The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity – Shaye Cohen, Harvard University

Course Description

In 70CE the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple Judaism, whose worship consisted of animal sacrifice permitted by biblical command only at the Temple, would have to reinvent itself as Rabbinic Judaism.  Contemporaneously, the authors of the New Testament Gospels were writing about the Jewish apocalyptic prophet whom they believed was the awaited messiah.  For both the rabbis and the gospel writers, for both ancient Jews and ancient Christians, the central authoritative text was the Torah and the other books we now call the Hebrew Scriptures.  This course surveys how the interpretation (and reinterpretation) of these books spawned two rival cultural systems, Judaism and Christianity.  The issues addressed are: 1) What are the truth claims of Judaism and Christianity?  2) In the first centuries of our era, how did Jewish biblical interpretation differ from Christian?  3) What differences resulted in “the parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity?  4) How does each culture deal with the biblical passages concerning: circumcision, the food laws, the Sabbath, Passover, the manifestations of the deity (e.g., Logos), the messiah, atonement/redemption, and the concept of Israel as the chosen of God?
Make sure to leave me your email so that I can update you when I add new material to the site (you can do that in the right upper corner) and, email a link to this blog to your friends and family that may also be interested in the Jewish background of all things connected to the Jewish and Christian histories.


Mattew 2 Study


We will begin this study with Matthew 2:23. A lot is said of the upbringing of Jesus. Much is not shown in the bible and much speculation is surmised of things that happened between His ages of 12 and 30 (as most count time). Some speculate that Jesus even went to America almost 2,000 years ago during that 18 year period. I will let you decide how futile such a scenario would be.

“[Jesus] came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

We do not need to spend much time on this verse. Jesus not only came from Egypt to the area of Nazareth but “he lived” there. I do not know what you might mean by “he lived” where you are, but in Texas, He resided there. Obviously, there is not much recorded in the bible except such as has been recorded in this verse.

Then John the baptizer came on the scene. Where he was baptizing was a “wild” place. That does not necessarily mean a place where there were lots of trees. It also does not mean that such a practice by John was either by rantize, keize or baptize (the English words are pour, sprinkle and immerse).  In other words, it was not a choice of any of the three Greek words, it only meant by immersion, but this is not meant to be an exegesis of immersion. John was about the age of Jesus. Do not even consider that He went to America for 18 of those years.

For some unexplained reason, Jesus at some point made His way from Galilee to Judea. Maybe He was invited to come down and see His cousin. Maybe He left Galilee for only one reason, to be immersed by John. Maybe He had been there many times over the twenty year period – who knows – but it was the time that …

“Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him” [3:13].

 Since we do not know, let us just assume that it had been 20 years, we can guess as well as anyone.

As Jesus was on His way from Galilee to Judea where John was preaching, John began his introduction to the destruction of Jerusalem that was headed by the Roman army and 9 more associated nations that would happen in 70 AD.

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come’” [3:7]?

“The coming wrath” was about forty years away but it was a major topic with John. They were the ones that had to be “warned.” They were the ones that were a “brood” of poisonous snakes. They had to “flee” sometime very soon, in their lifetime. And as John asked the question, “who” was it that warned them? Can you answer that question? It was soon to come and John forewarned them of it even before Jesus did. It was a major topic with the baptist. So John was preaching that the “kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Just in case that you missed that clause, John preached that the kingdom of heaven “has come near.” Do not let anyone try to tell you that God did not have that time planned for the first century. It was not 2,000 years later! John even spoke of it being close by even before Jesus began preaching. Later on, I will deal with that subject.  

the Birth

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem[Matthew 2:1].

If you notice the wording carefully, note that the verse above uses the word “after.” We do not know the exact time (after) that is involved but we can gather that it was probably about two years. We know one thing for sure and that is that Jesus was no longer a baby. Consider the baby passage in Luke 2 and note that to the shepherds the word “today” occurred and it was a baby.

“… for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” [Luke 2:11].

This was the same day of Jesus’ birth.

“So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger” [Luke 2:16].

Jesus was no longer in Bethlehem and he is called a “child.”

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh[2:11-12].

He was also in a house, not in a manger months before. We need to learn to see “words” because they present different meanings. So, Jesus was about two years old at the time of the Magi’s visit. God caused the Magi to return to their country by a different route and disobeying the king’s orders. That caused the king to kill all of the male children who were at least two years old (or younger).

The “old testament” quotation (go to the O.T.) about that event almost escapes our notice. God did not cause those children to die, but they did so anyway at the hands of a wicked king. What was the cause? He did not understand what most today still do not understand. Jesus’ kingdom was a spiritual kingdom. So there was no reason why the king became so upset.

“And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him’" [Matthew 2:8].

The point of this verse is that we need to research what the word “search” means. The king did not know. The Magi did not know. They had to “search” out where Jesus, the young child, was located. The star reappeared and they followed the star and found Jesus. And they left by going on a different route because of the lie of the king. We know that the place where the Magi was located was not in the manger. Why did the king kill all of these children if he knew where Jesus was? He did not know and had to “search” for Jesus as did the Magi. How old is the child, one month old, or two years old? In the picture that you normally use, Mary is holding him on his way to Egypt. Joseph did what God told him to do, and he did it “while it was yet dark.” Then the king murdered all of the little male children.

“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi” [2:16-17].

What a time of weeping! This was not just one child. Can you even imagine how many innocent children were murdered? Come on now – try. And all of the mothers crying! All over the land, not just in Bethlehem. And we hardly look at the verses. The children were evidently Joseph’s and Rachel’s descendants. 


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