Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The biblical Feast of Trumpets, usually observed now as the Jewish New Year, was celebrated on Thursday. Ferrell Jenkins shares some photos of the ram’s horn.

With the ending of year 5777, the Temple Mount Sifting Project identifies the “top 10 topics” over the past year.

Ferrell Jenkins explains how Dr. James Turner Barclay is honored in the Cathedral of St. George in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Good Name describes his experience on the Horvat Midras excavation.

The re-dating of the Gihon Spring fortifications is the topic on this week’s edition of The Book and the Spade.

The latest issue of Tel Aviv includes an article on the “Monumentality of Iron Age Jerusalem Prior to the 8th Century BCE.”

There have been a number of wolf attacks in the Judean wilderness in recent months. The article includes a video of a wolf chasing a young ibex.

“Dr. Scott Stripling and Dr. Craig Evans headline the upcoming Text and Trowel symposium on archaeology and the Bible at the University of Pikeville on Oct. 20-21, 2017.”

HT: Agade

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2018 Institute of Biblical Context Conference

I wanted to give you a heads-up on next summer’s Institute of Biblical Context conference in Zeeland, Michigan, on June 11-13, 2018. The focus this year will be on “Shepherds, Sheep, and Shepherding.” That is such a rich and glorious topic in the Scriptures (far beyond Psalm 23!). The speakers will be pulling it apart every which way and you’ll leave knowing far more than you ever knew there was to know.

I had the privilege of being at the first annual conference this past June and it was fantastic. I’ve never been with so many speakers or participants who were so excited about biblical geography, archaeology, history, and everything that goes into biblical context. The speakers were all very well prepared, and the sessions were outstanding. I highly recommend it.

Registration is not yet open, but now is the time to put it on your calendar. (I expect registration will take place here beginning in a few months.)

The Institute of Biblical Context

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekend Roundup

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

Tomb raiders have vandalized the Judean desert fortress of Hyrcania.

Reader’s Digest suggests 10 sites (mostly eateries) to visit in Israel that you (probably) have never heard of before.

Leave it to Wayne Stiles to figure out a way to make good use of my photos of Horeshat Tal (and make an important application).

“All the stone inscriptions from ancient Athens in UK collections are to be presented in English translations for the first time, thanks to a new project undertaken by Cardiff University.”

The aim of Israel’s Academy of the Hebrew Language’s Historical Dictionary Project is to document and define every Hebrew word ever used.

The Times of Israel reports on Lawrence Mykytiuk’s study that confirms the historical existence of 53 individuals mentioned in the Old Testament.

The New York Metropolitan Museum has acquired a rare gold gilded Egyptian coffin from the 1st century BC.

David Moster will be lecturing on “Etrog: How a Chinese Export Became a Jewish Fruit” at Columbia University on Tuesday, 9/19.

Steven Notley will be lecturing on “Unearthing Bethsaida-Julias: Has the City of the Apostles been Found?” at Nyack College on September 28.

Aren Maeir has posted the schedule for the 11th annual conference on “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Region,” to be held Oct 18-20.

Charles E. Jones’s “Working Bibliography of Autobiographies” continues to grow.

Bible Story Map has released a new resource: Bible Story Places, a series of 12 posters of sites including Jericho, Valley of Elah, Mt. Sinai, and the Sea of Galilee.

Individual books in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, are available for Kindle for $4.99 until tomorrow.

HT: Charles Savelle, Ted Weis, Agade

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Book: 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms

Charles Dyer’s new book brings together two of my passions: the book of Psalms and the land of Israel. 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional is an attractive, compact, hardcover book that walks the reader through 30 psalms by showing how a knowledge of the land clarifies and deepens one’s understanding of the Psalter.

In 30 days, you’ll read 30 psalms. Many of the psalms chosen are favorites for those who have spent time in Israel and Jerusalem, including 1, 22, 23, 46, 48, 84, 118, 122, 125, and 133. Each day’s meditation has one or more photos and concludes with an application.

Image result for 30 days in land psalms dyerI’ve chosen two of his meditations to give you a sense for what you’ll read.

Psalm 84 is the psalm of “the grateful pilgrim.” Dyer explains that this pilgrim is moved not primarily by the beauty of the temple buildings, but by the God who lives there. The “highways” are those that lead to God’s house, and the “valley of Baca” is a reference to the transformation of the traveler’s sorrow to joy. The conclusion underscores the impact of the pilgrim’s journey: “One day in the Lord’s courts is better than a thousand outside.”

Psalm 122 focuses on “the peace of Jerusalem,” and Dyer shows how David’s focus is on God’s selection of the city where the Lord would dwell visibly among his people. David called on the people to pray for both peace and security in Jerusalem so that they could continue to gather before the Lord. Dyer concludes by providing two ways that we can pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

You can see more in Amazon’s “read inside” feature. Here is the endorsement I wrote for the book:

For the best tour of the Holy Land, you need the right guide. In this virtual tour through the biblical land of the Psalms, Charles Dyer is a trustworthy guide, providing sound Bible teaching backed by his immense knowledge of modern and ancient Israel. He provides a feast for the senses as he leads the reader from Mount Hermon through the arid wilderness and up to Jerusalem. This beautiful companion will open up the Psalms to readers in many fresh and delightful ways.

I particularly recommend this devotional to people who have been to Israel and want to go back, as well as to those who love the Psalms and want to understand them better.

Dyer has a related book that I have not read, but that you might want to take a look at: 30 Days in the Land with Jesus: A Holy Land Devotional. Either one would make a nice gift.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 3

Archaeologists have learned a lot in the first season of a renewed expedition to Masada, but they’re not saying much yet.

The tomb of an 18th-Dynasty goldsmith has been discovered on Luxor’s West Bank.

“Excavations at an ancient mound in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri shed light on writing from around 2,000 B.C.

The Plutonium of Hierapolis is being restored so that it can be opened to tourists next year.

The ancient stadium of Laodicea is being restored.

Scholars are using new technology to read palimpsests at St. Catherine’s Monastery.

Israel’s Good Name describes two recent field trips to the Sorek Stalactite Caves and to Tel Burna.

After years of delay, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open two months from today.

HT: Explorator, Agade

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Haaretz reports on Steven Fine’s study that the reliefs of the Arch of Titus were originally painted in full color.

“The Arch of Titus - From Jerusalem to Rome and Back” is a new exhibition opening this week at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

Have scientists discovered the body of Pliny the Elder?

Scientists at a university in Rome have determined what causes ancient parchments to develop purple spots and deteriorate. The journal article is here.

Mark Hoffman has created a list of free online Bible resource sites and downloadable Bible apps and programs.

Carl Rasmussen explains that the apostle Paul visited the area of modern Albania, probably on the Via Egnatia.

The Biblical Archaeology Society has a new streaming video site, with a 75%-off introductory offer.

The deadlines are approaching for many funded fellowships at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem.

Letters from Baghdad will be screened at the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago on October 11. The event is free, but registration is required.

Now free (pdf): The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Now free (pdf): The City of Ebla: A Complete Bibliography of Its Archaeological and Textual Remains. (Click the small pdf icon to download).

Early reviews of Lois Tverberg’s forthcoming book are very positive, including my own.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The discovery of a Neolithic model of a clay silo from Tel Tsaf is leading scholars to rethink the history of food storage.

Gabriel Barkay recently gave a tour of the Temple Mount to members of the US Congress.

John DeLancey is blogging about his Israel tour, and on Wednesday he took his group to el-Araj, a candidate for New Testament Bethsaida.

Students from Oakland University involved in the Lachish expedition this summer gained knowledge and experience.

Shmuel Browns shares some photos of sinkholes at the Dead Sea.

The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society has posted its schedule of fall lectures.

If you’re not familiar with Solomon’s failure in establishing his 12 administrative districts, take a look at Wayne Stiles’s post and map.

I’ve been waiting for Craig Keener’s four-volume commentary on Acts to be available in digital format, and Accordance has it first, and at a great introductory sale price.

Accordance also has a sale on the NICOT and NICNT bundle at about half of what I paid for it on Logos.

Phillip J. Long has written the first full-length review of the Photo Companion to the Bible.

Two of my favorite Bible teachers, both born in 1928, died this week: Stanley Toussaint (DTS) and Robert Thomas (TMS).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Monday, September 04, 2017

Dozens of Bullae Discovered in City of David

Several dozen seal impressions have been discovered in excavations in the City of David. These bullae date to the period after the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC and the archaeologists suggest that the names on them may belong to refugees who immigrated to Jerusalem at that time.

The IAA press release is here, and the story is reported in a number of news sources. The Times of Israel incorporates many photographs and one video into its story.

The dozens of clay imprints were used on letters and documents which were bound by string and sealed by wet clay pressed with the sender’s mark or name. The impressive trove was discovered at recent digs uncovering three Late Iron Age buildings frozen in time by the destruction caused by the 586 BCE Babylonian siege. The discovery was made by a team of Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists led by co-directors Dr. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf.

Among the dozens of bullae is a rare find of an intact sealing, bearing the name “Ahiav ben (son of) Menahem,” referring to two kings of Israel but found in the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, Jerusalem.

[…]

According to co-director Ortal Chalaf, these Israelite names and other findings point to the possibility that after the destruction of Israel, refugees fled the Kingdom of Israel for the Kingdom of Judah, and settled in Jerusalem. After settling, the use of their names on official correspondence shows that these Israelites gained important roles in the Judaean administration, said Uziel.

“These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration,” according to the two co-directors.

The full story is here.

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Luke & Acts (8): John the Baptist

(Posted by Michael J. Caba)

This series of posts examines the historical reliability of the New Testament books of Luke and Acts by comparing these books to other ancient textual sources and the archaeological record. Supplemental information of additional interest is often given as well.

John the Baptist is one of the eight people mentioned in Luke 3:1-2. In this passage John is actually referred to as "John son of Zechariah" after his father Zechariah who experienced a vision in the Temple that foretold of his son's birth. The full story of Zechariah's experience in the Temple is found in Luke 1:5-25, with the conclusion of John's birth narrative depicted in Luke 1:57-66.

John had an extensive ministry introducing Christ and his messianic kingdom to the nation of Israel (e.g., John 1:19-42), though he was eventually martyred for his faith as recounted in Mark 6:14-29. Further information on his martyrdom can be found at this prior post in this series: Luke & Acts: Historical Reliability - 4.

In addition to his portrayal in the New Testament, the 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus describes John, his ministry, and his death. Here is a portion of what he wrote:

"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; . . . " (Antiquities 18.5.2.

Josephus further indicates that John was imprisoned and eventually murdered at the hilltop fortress of Macherus. Below you can see the location of Herod's fortress. This map comes from the Satellite Bible Atlas, a resource that we highly recommend.


The next photo depicts Macherus looking from the east with the Dead Sea in the background. With steep sides surrounded by deep ravines, it presented a difficult target to attack. Still, the Jews who defended it during the first revolt against Rome (c. AD 70) eventually surrendered rather than face the full Roman military onslaught.


The photo below gives a close-up of the current remains of the fortress itself on the summit of the hill.


By way of final note, National Geographic has an article exploring the claim by some that actual bones from John the Baptist have been preserved in a church in Sophia, Bulgaria. Obviously this claim is pretty far-fetched, but the article is an interesting read in any case.

For other similar correlations between the biblical text and ancient sources, see Bible and Archaeology - Online Museum.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

An ancient cemetery has been discovered on the west bank of Luxor.

Jared Owen discusses the identity of a pharaoh’s head discovered in 1995 at Hazor.

A 2-minute video explains how Petra declined.

Underwater ruins of the lost Roman city of Neapolis, found off the coast of Tunisia, confirm its destruction by a 4th AD tsunami.

Haaretz: “Scientists have debunked the claim that prehistoric peoples living in central Turkey 8,500 years ago invented copper smelting, putting an end to one fierce controversy.”

A Turkish writer laments the situation in the land of the ancient Hittites with the lack of tourists, expulsion of German archaeologists, and deterioration of ancient sites.

The San Antonio Museum of Art examines in depth its statue of Antinous, a favorite of Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Carl Rasmussen has revised his interpretation of the “farmer’s sarcophagus.”

Most of the convictions of Raphael Golb for impersonating Dead Sea Scrolls scholars were upheld in appeals court.

The Jordan Times profiles the work of the Spanish Archaeological Mission in Jordan for the last 60 years.

Ferrell Jenkins notes the latest books published by Carta Jerusalem. All three look great!

HT: Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

As excavations get underway at Kiriath Jearim, Haaretz (premium) reports on a 9-foot-wall discovered there and Finkelstein’s belief that the site held a temple that competed with Jerusalem.

The “ancient coin” the 9-year-old girl found last week is in fact a modern souvenir.

The bones of people killed at Khirbet el-Maqatir during the First Jewish Revolt were recently reburied in Ofra. Leen Ritmeyer posts more information and images.

Leen Ritmeyer shares a photo of a Temple Mount model made of Legos.

Wayne Stiles explains the significance of the Gezer boundary stones.

John DeLancey explains Hezekiah’s Tunnel, with help from a couple of videos including one narrated by Ronnie Reich.

Bill Schlegel has created a 5-minute video about Bethsaida in which he uses aerial footage to explain the two candidates and identify which site is most likely Bethsaida.

Lois Tverberg shares her experience and photos from the el-Araj dig this summer.

G. M. Grena has created a video tutorial on how to identify a LMLK seal impression. (Is his computer running Windows 95?)

R. T. France identifies seven differences between Galilee and Judea in the time of Jesus.

Israel’s Good Name describes his experience as a square supervisor at the Gath excavations.

Accordance has a big sale that includes a couple of collections from Carta, including the Carta Super Combo and the Carta Select Combo.

HT: Mike Harney, Agade

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