Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekend Roundup

“Excavations are being carried out to make an underground pedestrian passageway, leading from beneath the Church of All Nations at Gethsemane to a private area on the other side of the Jericho road.”

Scientists have discovered evidence of Byzantine agriculture in the Negev on the basis of bones of a gerbil.

Popular Archaeology considers whether there was an “iron throne” in the void of the Pyramid of Cheops.

“Egyptian and American archaeologists unveiled two new discoveries in Aswan, including a royal administrative complex in the ancient Egyptian city of Tel Edfu and a collection of artefacts in the Kom Ombo temple.”

Scott Stripling reports on Week One of processing objects from ABR’s excavation of Khirbet el-Maqatir.

The lecture schedule for the Albright Institute for January and February has been released.

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem has posted its spring lecture schedule.

The National Geographic Museum has opened a new exhibit now through August: Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience. Samuel Pfister at the Biblical Archaeology Society provides a solid review.

Episodes 6-10 of “Following the Messiah” were released yesterday. All are free.

John DeLancey of Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours has created a 17-minute video on “Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus.”

Crossway has announced its Bibles coming in 2018, including the ESV Archaeology Study Bible.

Leon Mauldin has been visiting the British Museum and shares photos of a golden diadem and the Black Obelisk.

Israel’s Good Name had a successful trip looking for wildlife in the Huleh Valley.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has posted a “Special Edition” of their Newsletter, featuring a list of archaeological discoveries, openings (and re-openings), major projects, temporary exhibitions, repatriated antiquities, changes to archaeological services (including photography fees and student discounts), publications, conferences, and more.

Archaeological work has revealed a fortress at Tell el-Maskhuta in the eastern Nile Delta.

Al-Ahram Weekly reviews the 30 top discoveries made in Egypt in 2017.

“Researchers in London have developed scanning techniques that show what is written on the papyrus that mummy cases are made from.”

The Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, edited by Kathryn A. Bard (Routledge, 1999) is now online for free download.

Archaeologists working at Perga in Turkey plan to restore two towers, water fountains, the theater, and the stadium by 2019.

Turkey will resume issuing visas to American tourists after stopping for several months.

Pompeii has opened three restored Roman houses to visitors.

Scholars are using a fine-detail CT scanner to attempt to read a codex of Acts that dates to the 5th or 6th centuries.

At ANE Today: “A Proper Answer: Reflections on Archaeology, Archaeologists and Biblical Historiography,” by Israel Finkelstein.

For purchase or free download: Highlights of the Collections of the Oriental Institute Museum, edited by Jean M. Evans, Jack Green, and Emily Teeter.

If you’re not a subscriber to ARTIFAX Magazine (in print), you can sign up here.

Lois Tverberg’s Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus is out.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser

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Saturday, January 06, 2018

Herodium’s Royal Winery Discovered

The link posted in this morning’s roundup to the Google-translated version of the Herodium’s royal winery had some significant errors, and Joseph Lauer has sent an improved translation so we can avoid “wine ghettos” and the like. The Hebrew press release, with photos, is here.

Israel Nature and Parks Authority

December 14, 2017

The first royal winery of its kind in Herod's palaces was discovered at Herodion

The large royal winery that is now being revealed in Herodion sheds light on, among other things, the reasons for the agricultural flourishing of vineyards and wine presses in Judea at the end of the Second Temple period.

Among the remains that were found are dozens of huge jugs, densely arranged in the storage space, which is located in the structure that surrounds the circular palace

During archaeological excavations conducted at the Herodion National Park, which is run by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Chief Officer of the Nature Reserves and Parks Unit of the Civil Administration, were revealed for the first time in the palaces of King Herod remains of a large royal winery. These remains are now exposed to the public for the first time as part of a Heritage Week in Israel, held annually during Hanukkah by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the  Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites, and intended to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving the heritage.

Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage said: "When I stand here today in Herodion, a five minute drive from my home in the village of Kfar Eldad and pass in my imagination all the important events in the history of our people that took place on this mountain or at its foot, I do not need to explain why it is easy to mark Heritage Week in the State of Israel. In every corner of our country, no matter where you live, you will know how to discover a heritage site near the home of each and every one of you. Thousands of years of our history are folded into every square kilometer in the Land of Israel and there is nothing like Chanukah to feel and demonstrate to our children the spirit of the saying ‘in those days in this season’.”

Shaul Goldstein, Director General of the Nature and Parks Authority said: "King Herod's palace in Herodion is a site that changes its face all the time, every day there is revealed there ancient and fascinating history. There is nothing like the Herodion site to open the Heritage Week of our country. In the coming year we will also continue in the Nature and Parks Authority, together with our natural partners, to invest a great deal of resources in the heritage sites and to expose the findings to the general public, while enhancing the experience of visiting the sites."

The winery was discovered during an excavation that was carried out in the past year in the warehouses and impressive cellars of the fortified palace that Herod built at the top of Herodion Mountain. The remains include tens of gigantic pits, densely arranged in the storage space, which is located in the structure of the circular palace. They were probably used as fermentation tanks, from which the wine was poured into jars and amphorae, which may have been stored in cellars with vaulted ceilings that were built at this point in the area, and which were exposed in recent excavations.

These excavations are being conducted by the Ehud Netzer Expedition [to Herodium] of the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University, headed by archaeologists Roi Porat, Yakov Kalman and Rachel Chachy. The excavations are being conducted as part of the development of the Herodion site, led by the Jerusalem and Heritage Authority, the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority, the Antiquities Authority and the Israel Institute of Archaeology.

Wineries of this type from the Roman period are known from archaeological finds from the Italian region and around the Empire. The use of ceramic fermentation tanks is common in wineries for many periods, and in fact to this day (for example, in Georgia, etc.). The wine industry was of great importance in the Roman period, and the production, importation and use of high quality wines by Herod was, of course, also an expression of economic and cultural status. It should be noted that during the course of the excavations at Herodion, as well as at Masada,  dozens of amphorae (large jars) were discovered bearing shipping inscriptions and seals, indicating large shipments of fine Italian wine to Herod the King. The great royal winery that is now being discovered in Herodion sheds light, among other things, on the reasons for the agricultural flourishing of vineyards and wine presses in Judea at the end of the Second Temple Period.

The winery, like the palace-fortress of the entire mountain, ceased to be used upon the death of Herod, during the conversion of Mount Herodion to the monumental tomb of the king. During the Great Revolt, about 70 years later, when Herodion was used as a bastion for the rebels, the warehouses in which the winery was located were used as a residential area, and even as a goat pen. The rich finds from this period include many coins from the rebellion, pottery and glass vessels and remains of food. During the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136 CE), the basements of the palace served as passages to the system of guerrilla tunnels that were quarried in the mountainside. To support the tunnels, the rebels used many wooden beams that were removed from Herod's palace, and these survived well in the recently discovered cellars.

Another surprising discovery in Herodion -- a fortification from the time of the Hasmonean revolt against the Greeks -- the Hellenistic period

In the meantime, during the course of the excavations were also revealed by surprise, under the level of King Herod's Palace’s courtyard, remains of buildings and a water reservoir that dated to the Hellenistic period -- mid-second century BCE. The remains were buried and sealed under the walls of the palace and under the layer of garden soil that was based in the courtyard at its establishment. It should be noted that to date no evidence has been found at the site of any activity prior to Herod.

The remains of the structures indicate a well-organized construction project that was built at the top of the mountain, including straight, wide walls that delineated large square rooms. Next to the buildings was exposed a large rock-hewn water reservoir, which was also dated to this period. The construction of these structures at the top of Mount Herodion, with its strategic characteristics, and not near the agricultural area in the valleys below it, indicate that these are remains of a fortification rather than an agricultural settlement.

It is possible that the holding of the site was connected to the events that took place in the region during the outbreak of the Hasmonean revolt. This is the case of the campaign that the Seleucid commander Bacchides conducted in 156 BCE against Yonatan and Shimon the Hasmoneans in the community of Beit-Betzi, located northwest of Herodion, as well as the line of fortifications that Bacchides built in Judea a few years earlier, and fortifications he built in this area. It may be, then, that the fortification at the top of Mount Herodion was built as part of these systems, whether by the Greeks or by the Hasmoneans. However, it should be noted that until now there has not been discovered at Herodion any ceramic assemblages characteristic of the Hasmonean period itself, and it is possible that in this period until the time of Herod the mountain remained empty.

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

“The Legio camp [at Megiddo] is the only full-scale imperial Roman legionary base found so far in the eastern empire” and to date they’ve unearthed a monumental gate, a dedicatory inscription, and the cremated remains of a Roman soldier.

The first royal winery of King Herod was discovered at the Herodium. The story does not seem to be in the English press yet, but you can read a Google-translated version of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority story here. UPDATE: I’ve posted Joseph Lauer’s improved translation here.

Some Israelis are accusing authorities of not protecting Herod’s palace at Jericho from destruction caused by the nearby building of homes.

A new exhibit at the Haifa Hostel tells the story of ancient Castra on the slopes of Mount Carmel.

A new exhibit at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa documents the transition of the city of Sussita (Hippos) from pagan to Christian.

The ASOR Blog has a well-illustrated piece on the Ottoman and Turkish history of Majdal Yābā (aka Migdal Aphek, Mirabel).

Leen Ritmeyer explains how Jerusalem’s garbage dump refutes the theory that the temple was built over the Gihon Spring.

New from Wayne Stiles: How to follow God by pondering amazing bird migrations in Israel.

Now published: The Elephant Mosaic Panel in the Synagogue at Huqoq, by Karen Britt and Ra’anan Boustan. Authorized photos are available at National Geographic. Dr. Britt will lecture on the subject on Feb. 21 at UNC Asheville.

At The Book and the Spade, John DeLancey talks with Gordon Govier about Excavation Plans for 2018.

Israel’s Good Name describes his experience in an archaeological survey of Tel Goded (Moresheth-Gath?) in part 1 and part 2.

With 3.6 million tourists in 2017, Israel hit a new record. This was a 25% increase over 2016. For some trends in tourism between 1990 and 2011, see this booklet.

Israel saw lots of rain yesterday, but probably not the “100 inches” claimed in this article’s subhead.

Lawrence Stager died at the age of 74 after a fall at his home. He directed the excavations at Ashkelon for 30 years.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser, Charles Savelle

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Friday, January 05, 2018

“Following the Messiah,” Episodes 6-10

The next five episodes of “Following the Messiah” are set to release next week, and there is some relevant information that I wanted to pass on.

First, Episodes 6-10 will all be free on Appian Media’s website as well as on YouTube, beginning January 12. They will also be posting several “Behind the Scenes” videos. Episode 6 focuses on Jesus’s miracles, Episode 7 is on his teaching, and Episodes 8, 9, and 10 address his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

They are also hosting three events, with invitations to the general public. The events are free, but reservations are required.

  • Indianapolis, IN, January 12
  • Athens, AL, January 19
  • Birmingham, AL, January 20

You can also see the first event streamed live on Facebook on January 12 at 6:45 Eastern Time. It’s recommended that you like Appian Media on Facebook in order to see the event.

This is a great project to enjoy, share with friends, and support.


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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

“Governor of the City” Seal Impression Discovered in Jerusalem

At the top of candidates for “best discoveries of 2018,” a seal impression reading “belonging to the governor of the city” was announced today by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The find was made by conservationists in the wall of an Israelite four-room house built on the slope of the Western Hill opposite the Western Wall. The seal impression features two figures and what may be the moon above them.

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Photo by Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

The “governor of the city” was not the king of Judah, but was the equivalent of the mayor of Jerusalem. This position may be mentioned in two passages in the Bible.

  • 2 Kings 23:8 “Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrines at the gates—at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor [sar], which is on the left of the city gate.”
  • 2 Chronicles 34:8 “In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler [sar] of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.”

The house in which the impression was made dates to the 7th century BC, which is the time referenced in these two passages. The archaeologist believes that this part of the city was inhabited by high-ranking city officials.

Scholars who studied the seal impression described in this way:

Above a double line are two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner. Their heads are depicted as large dots, lacking any details. The hands facing outward are dropped down, and the hands facing inward are raised. Each of the figures is wearing a striped, knee-length garment.

The story is reported by many sources, including The Times of Israel. The press release is posted on Facebook. Leen Ritmeyer has a brief post, including a diagram of how Jerusalem looked at this time. A 2-minute video is posted here.

Western Wall prayer plaza excavations, tb010312518

Excavation area where seal impression was discovered

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

More Top 10 Lists for Biblical Archaeology in 2017

In Christianity Today, Gordon Govier has identified “Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2017.” He and I discuss his article in the latest The Book and the Spade.

Haaretz has produced a list of stories they published each month.

Atlas Obscura identifies “the 50 Greatest Finds of 2017” from all parts of the globe.

Bible History Daily posts a list of the top 10 blog posts that received the most web traffic in 2017, but none are related to an archaeological discovery this year.

Live Science has created a slide show of the “big year” that 2017 was for biblical archaeologists.

Bryan Windle has compiled a list of top ten discoveries in biblical archaeology based on his weekly updates for the Associates for Biblical Research.

The International Business Times has published a list of the 11 most significant archaeological discoveries of the year.

What did we miss? If you see any other lists, add a comment below or send me an email and I will update this list.

We wish a happy new year to all our readers!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Hopes and Dreams of 2017

Many plans were announced over the year that we linked to in weekend roundups. You can decide for yourself what you would consider most important and what you think will never materialize. And you can check back in a few years and see what dreams have come true.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry has approved construction of a 4-mile-long cable car line connecting Upper Nazareth and the lower slopes of Mount Tabor.

Construction has begun on the “Sanhedrin Trail,” running from Beth Shearim to Tiberias. It will be a “smart” trail that “will communicate with the hikers using an innovative, augmented reality-based application.” The project also includes the building of a visitor’s center in Tiberias.

Solomon’s Pools will be renovated with a $750,000 grant from the US Consulate in Jerusalem with hopes of turning it into a major tourism site.

A $14 million elevator will be built at the Western Wall Plaza to allow the elderly and disabled to go to the Jewish Quarter.

Authorities are planning to stop the flow of sewage down the Kidron Valley.

“The ancient city of Ephesus . . . is set to once again have a harbor on the Aegean coast, according to an ambitious new project.”

Turkey is planning to restore and open the stadium of Perga.

The 7-year long excavation project of Carchemish has ended and the Karkamış Ancient City Archaeological Park is supposed to open on May 12, 2018.

Plans are underway for a restitution (reconstruction?) of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

More Top Stories of 2017

There were a number of interesting and significant stories this year that didn’t make it into the “top ten” list we posted yesterday.

Old Testament Period

Excavations in the City of David revealed evidence of Jerusalem’s fall in 586 BC.

The massive “Spring Tower” built over Jerusalem’s Gihon Spring may date to the 9th century BC, instead of to the Middle Bronze Age.

Ten jugs from the time of Eli and Samuel have been discovered in excavations at Shiloh.

Archaeologists working near biblical Aphek have discovered a large water reservoir dating to about the time of King Hezekiah.

The team working at Tel Burna has uncovered more evidence attesting to Canaanite ritual activity.

Scholars at Tel Aviv University have used multispectral imaging to reveal text on ancient “blank” potsherds from the First Temple period.

A study of LMLK seal impressions reveals that there was a massive spike in the earth’s magnetic field in the time of King Hezekiah.

Early excavation work at Kiriath Jearim revealed a 9-foot-wall.

Archaeologists excavated a dolmen on the Golan Heights with a 50-ton capstone and unique artistic decorations.

Archaeologists excavating in the Timna Valley near Eilat discovered fabric dyed red and blue.

New Testament/Second Temple Period

Archaeologists excavated an Edomite/Idumean temple in a live-fire zone near Lachish.

Archaeologists have reported the discovery of a large ritual bath(mikveh) at Macherus.

Archaeologists have discovered a cave on the cliffs above Qumran that held Dead Sea Scrolls until it was looted in the mid-1900s. Eleven caves have previously been identified containing ancient scrolls, but no new ones have been discovered since Cave 11 was found in 1956.

Fragments of a second “arch of Titus” were discovered in Rome.

Roman and Byzantine Periods

A mosaic from a Georgian church or monastery has been excavated in Ashdod-Yam, leading archaeologists to believe they may have finally discovered the Roman-Byzantine city of Ashdod-Yam.

A large 4th-century AD winepress was excavated in the Ramat Negev region.

Archaeologists discovered a well-preserved Roman-period road in the Shephelah of Judah.

A 6th-century mosaic discovered near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem has a Greek inscription mentioning Emperor Justinian.

Other Stories

The Museum of the Bible opened in Washington DC.

Hershel Shanks retired from Biblical Archaeology Review, a magazine he founded in 1975. 



Various plans were announced this year. Check in tomorrow for our “hopes and dreams of 2017” edition.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Top 10 Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology from 2017

What are the top discoveries of the year? Here is my list, based on a review of the stories and roundups posted on the BiblePlaces Blog throughout 2017.

1. Dozens of seal impressions naming officials of the First Temple Period were found in the City of David.

2. A capital from Solomon's Colonnade was discovered in Temple Mount Sifting Project.

3. A Timna copper mining camp was dated to time of David and Solomon through the analysis of donkey dung.

4. New excavations at el-Araj challenge the identification of et-Tell with Bethsaida.

5. A small Roman theater was found next to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

6. Evidence of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was discovered along the road from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount.

7. Merneptah’s destruction of Gezer was found, corresponding to its mention in the Merneptah Stele.

8. The Augustus Temple Altar foundation was unearthed at Caesarea.

9. Analysis of the traditional tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher supports a 4th-century date, as long believed.

10. Seven inscriptions were discovered in three Byzantine churches excavated in Galilee this summer.

All ten of these come from Israel, and five come from Jerusalem. Three are related to the Old Testament, and six are from the world of the New Testament.

You can revisit the top stories of previous years at the links below:

Tomorrow I’ll post a list of other significant stories and discoveries from the year.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 3

The first-ever issue of Biblical Archaeology Review without Hershel Shanks at the helm has been published. This annual excavation issue also includes articles on an ancient Jerusalem trash dump, Canaanite art at Hazor, and the Ketef Hinnom silver amulets.

Carl Rasmussen explains Paul’s walk from Troas to Assos with photos and a map.

A writer for The New York Times describes his visit to Alexandria.

A study shows that black ink from Egyptian papyri contains copper.

The Egyptian government is working on a bill to increase the penalty for smuggling antiquities to life imprisonment.

Police in Turkey have recovered over 26,000 artifacts from a smuggling ring in Istanbul.

The German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land (GPIA) has launched a new website for its project DOJAM – Documentation of Objects in Jordanian Archaeological Museums.   

The winter issue of the Oriental Institute’s News & Notes is online.

The ancients used meteoritic material in the forging of daggers, axes, and jewelry.

Rome will begin charging tourists to visit the Pantheon.

The New York Metropolitan Museum purchased a 14th-century illuminated Hebrew Bible before it was to be auctioned by Sotheby’s.

How did the 1917 Jerusalem surrender flag end up in Ohio?

William Dever, Carol Meyers, and Israel Finkelstein were among those receiving awards at the 2017 ASOR Annual Meeting.

LiveScience suggests some major finds in biblical archaeology in 2017.

Merry Christmas!

HT: Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Yehiel Zelinger discusses the excavations of Bliss and Dickie on Mount Zion and shares a great photo of his own excavations there. (I’d love to see a labeled version, if anyone knows of such or can create one…)

Archaeologists working in Turkey have uncovered evidence related to the collapse of the Assyrian empire.

The first phase of the renovation of St. Catherine’s Library is complete.

The BBC tells the story of the relocation of the modern inhabitants of ancient Gadara through its former security guard.

The third issue of the newsletter of Tel Aviv U’s Institute of Archaeology includes field reports from this year’s work at Ashdod-Yam, Kiriath Jearim, Beth Shemesh, and the City of David.

And now Hollywood gives us . . . Samson. (Whether you are interested in the trailer or not, click the link to see how archaeologist Aren Maeir keeps his volunteers in line.)

Ferrell Jenkins shares a beautiful aerial photo of Jerusalem from the west.

A writer for Haaretz (premium) asks, Why doesn’t Israel have a museum for Jesus?

LiveScience looks into the backstory of a bone that Oxford scientists believe comes from the real St. Nicholas.

The city of Nazareth has cancelled Christmas celebrations in protest of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Was the census that brought Jesus to Bethlehem a coincidence?

Among the specials for Accordance’s 12 Days of Christmas is the Biblical Archaeology Review (1975-2012).

We’ll have part three of the roundup tomorrow with another dozen stories.

HT: Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mark Hoffman, Charles Savelle, Explorator, Chris McKinny, Mike Harney

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Underwater excavations of Corinth’s harbor at the port of Lechaion have exposed five-ton stone blocks and a perfectly preserved wooden post. This article has lots of illustrations. A 2-minute video takes you there.

The New York Times reports on the numerous ancient finds from Rome's ongoing subway project.

Archaeologists have been excavating a large Byzantine church complex near Beth Shemesh.

Excavations have revealed that the population of Shiloh switched from Gentile to Jewish following the Maccabean Revolt.

New excavations have revealed a Hasmonean-era settlement at Susiya near Hebron.

Israel’s Culture Minister is initiating a $70 million plan to uncover, preserve, and develop historical sites in Jerusalem and vicinity.

The Israeli government has approved funding for a hiking trail through the West Bank and Golan Heights.

“The ancient city of Hazor in the Galilee seems to have muscled its way to fame and fortune partly by developing a unique business in farming sheep, instead of goats like everyone else in Canaan 3,700 years ago.”

Recent excavations at Jericho show a close relationship between the city and Egypt.

Archaeologists have traced the history of a menorah relief in various buildings in Tiberias.

A young girl discovered a Hasmonean-period oil lamp in a porcupines’ den near Beth Shean. Elsewhere antiquities thieves denied their activities by claiming that they were “just hunting porcupines.”

New book, with free ebook download: Finding Jerusalem: Archaeology between Science and Ideology, by Katharina Galor.

Cuneiform cookies are all the rage this Christmas. This video will teach you how to bake Ugaritic Tablet Biscuits.

HT: Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mark Hoffman, Charles Savelle, Explorator, Chris McKinny, Mike Harney

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Walking the Bible Lands: Registration Ends Today

Registration for Walking the Bible Lands ends today. If you haven’t checked out the new free Christmas videos about “The Promise that Changed the World,” you can do that here. By joining Walking the Bible Lands, you get great new content every month, plus several bonuses right now.

  • Sites & Insights
  • Dig This!
  • Audio Devotional
  • Audiobook: Going Places with God
  • Audiobook: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

Everything is explained right here.

Registration closes at midnight and the price will never be this low again. Check it out here.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Favorite Book of the Year: Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus

At a faculty roundtable last month, we went around and answered a series of questions for our students majoring in Biblical Studies. One question asked was, “What is the best book you’ve read this year?” My answer was Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus, by Lois Tverberg.

Officially the book doesn’t release until next month, but that’s too late for Christmas. And I’ve learned that the author has some copies available now. I want to encourage you to consider buying one or more, from her directly, before it’s available at Amazon and other bookstores.Image result for Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus

You get an idea for what the book is about from the subtitle: How a Jewish Perspective Can Transform Your Understanding. You can also get an idea from the table of contents and the free sample chapter. And the endorsements are stellar. Here’s what I wrote for the back of the book cover:

Just what exactly did Jesus share with his disciples on the road to Emmaus? This excellent book unfolds so many valuable truths in the Scriptures that are often ignored or misunderstood. Lois Tverberg is a trustworthy guide whose insightful discoveries provide a delightful appetizer to some of the most exciting passages in the Old Testament. I'm recommending it to everyone I know.

Let me break that down a bit.

This book addresses many of my favorite subjects, including individualism vs. community, intertextuality, and the concept of a righteous king.

This book highlights some of my favorite OT passages, bringing out the glory of Isaiah 53, Daniel 7, Zechariah 9, and 2 Samuel 7.

This book is full of truths that are precious to me from my study of Jesus’s Bible (aka the Old Testament). I don’t think these truths should be radical, but it took me too long to learn them and I find my students are usually ignorant of them.

This summer my family memorized Isaiah 11-12. If that strikes you as strange and you’re asking, why not something “practical” such as in the Book of James, then this book will definitely help you understand why I want my kids’ brains steeped in this glorious passage of Isaiah.

Frankly, most of us Christians have done it all wrong, starting at the back of the book (in the New Testament) and wondering why certain things don’t make sense and why the Old Testament is mysterious in so many places. We need to start at the beginning, and I highly recommend Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus as an easy way to get you excited to do that yourself, with your family, or in your church or Bible study.

You’ll be able to buy it in bookstores next month, but I would encourage you to consider buying it directly from Lois now because: (1) you can give them as presents; (2) you’ll be supporting the author directly, and she deserves the reward for her many years of labors on this!

I’ll close with what I wrote to Lois after I finished reading the preview copy: “My prayer is that this book will reach many—for the good of their souls and the glory of our Savior!”