Thursday, April 27, 2006
Sunday, April 23, 2006
The State of "Palestinian Archaeology"
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Down the Jordan River
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Today is Palm Sunday AND Easter
As if that is that's not enough excitement for one city in one day, the Jewish people are now celebrating Passover and this morning was the "Priestly Blessing." At least you know the police in Jerusalem aren't bored.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Israel Museum update
You might want to skip the museum itself, if you're interested in finds related to the New Testament. That section is greatly lacking with many of the finds now in Cleveland (pdf file) for a special exhibit. Among the missing are the Temple Scroll, the ossuary of Caiaphas, the trumpeting stone, the Temple inscription forbidding entry to Gentiles and the Pilate inscription. Too bad they can't put the James Ossuary (forgery or not) on display in one of the empty cases.
Plans are afoot to dramatically change the museum's layout. $50 million will move the main entrance to the display wings and create an enclosed route of passage to it. I admit that I've always been baffled by the two "entrances" to the museum, at either end of the campus (both with security guards to check your bags).
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Flash Floods in the Judean Wilderness (with Photos)
This first one shows a wider view. There are multiple "rivers" of water flowing down into the Wadi Qilt. The wadi itself has become a river. This photo was taken from a viewpoint overlooking St. George's Monastery (which is just off to the left).
The second is a close-up of one of the "waterfalls." Most of the year this area is brown and dead. You wouldn't guess that it had seen a drop of water in centuries. Now you know better.
The last shows the Wadi Qilt in Jericho as it runs under a modern bridge. Normally as we cross this dry riverbed on the bus I comment to the students that when it rains this could be a raging torrent. They shrug and ask the driver to please turn up the A/C.
My thanks to Ferrell Jenkins for letting me share these photos here. If you've got a minute, take a look at Ferrell's website, www.biblicalstudies.info. He has put together many excellent and helpful resources during his years of teaching.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
1st Century Road Revealed in Jerusalem
2006 Season at Cave of John the Baptist
In his 2004 book, Gibson argues that "evidence showed that the cave at Suba was already more than 700 years old at the time of John the Baptist. It was a place, I believe, that must have possessed a hoary Israelite tradition of ritualistic bathing going back into the mists of time." As more evidence has been uncovered Gibson has broadened his theorizing and currently is uncertain of the original function of the facility. There are no precise parallels to this kind of complex from the Iron Age.We're all for any thinking that considers non-ritual purposes for the site.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Israel Population Redistribution Underway
In the first phase, all Israeli citizens will be identified by tribal affiliations. Much of this work has already been collected by the Yad VaShem Archives. New teudat zehut (national identity) cards will be issued, color-coded according to tribe (one "senior administration official" says that Judah's color will be blue).
In the second phase, the inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon will be asked to relocate to Uganda. If they do not, the Israelis are prepared to march around Damascus and Beirut for 7 days.
The resettlement will occur in the third phase and will follow the guidelines laid out by a former national spokesman, known to the public only by the name Ezekiel. His decree is widely regarded as fair because each tribe gets "one portion." This will reduce tension resulting from Israelis who are used to privileged status. The established boundaries will locate Dan in the northernmost district, with the descendants of Asher just to the south. The territories will continue in east-west bands to the south where members of Judah will receive the land just to the north of Jerusalem and Benjamites will be located to the south of the Holy City. Gad will receive the southernmost region, including the springs of Meribah Kadesh.
There are a variety of positive benefits to this plan:
1. Families will be united. Grandparents will no longer be separated from their grandchildren.
2. Those expelled from Gush Katif will no longer be homeless.
3. The population of Tel Aviv will be reduced to a few thousand.
4. There will be no more conflict at the border with Lebanon.
5. In response to the plan, Israel's new national leader has agreed to make the Dead Sea fresh.
Responses have generally been positive, though Shimon Peres has voiced concern that the grave of Yasser Arafat not be disturbed. Omri Sharon says that once he gets out of prison, he will enthusiastically endorse the plan. Benjamin Netanyahu thinks there should be a referendum on it. Ehud Olmert is taking credit for the idea.
On the world scene, Jordan's King Abdullah is ecstatic that his territory will be untouched and that his northern neighbor will move to Africa. Syria's President Assad says he will announce his decision after reading Joshua 6. Former President Bill Clinton says that he has no idea where such a plan came from.
According to the law, all phases of this plan must be implemented not later than one year from today, April 1.