Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Excavation at Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

The Jordan Valley Excavation Project will be starting a new excavation at Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa, a fortified city on a hilltop overlooking the Jericho Valley, just north of Jericho. Registration is now open for the inaugural 2019 season which will run from May 26 to June 23. The project is co-directed by David Ben-Shlomo and Ralph K. Hawkins. For information, visit the project’s website at www.jvep.org.


Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa was surveyed by Adam Zertal, who identified a casemate wall and towers (see photo blow). Zertal concluded, “The main settlement in the site was founded at the beginning of the Iron Age IIB and it was possibly abandoned during Sennacherib’s campaign to Judah in 701 BCE.” But until now the site has not been excavated. The Jordan Valley Excavation Project is interested in determining if there are earlier settlements beneath the Iron IIB remains. One reason for thinking there might is the Jordan Valley Excavation Project discovered Late Bronze II/Iron I at the site of Khirbet el-Mastarah, right next door to Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa. Zertal identified ‘Auja el-Foqa as Ataroth in Joshua 16:5, and Shmuel Ahituv suggested it is the town of Na’arta mentioned in an inscription from Jerusalem. The project’s website provides more details.

Tower at Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa (www.jvep.com). 

This map shows both Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa and Khirbet el-Mastarah, and their relation to the Jordan Valley and Jericho.




Saturday, October 20, 2018

Weekend Roundup

An ancient artifact discovered in Rome was apparently an instrument, but scholars are uncertain if it was a lute or a lyre.

An analysis of fish teeth discovered around Israel sheds light on the extensive fish trade in the ancient Mediterranean world.

A new discovery raises the possibility that Pliny the Younger got the date wrong for the destruction of Pompeii.

The restored synagogue at Umm el-Qanatir (Ein Keshatot) has been dedicated.

Aren Maeir led a one-day excavation at Gath to remove a balk filled with pottery, and he shares many photos.

Archaeological evidence from Gath supports the historicity of the Bible’s description of Goliath (Haaretz premium).

Authorities captured two antiquities thieves who were plundering the Galilean site of Horvat Devorah.

Pressure has increased on the city of Jerusalem to cancel the plans to build a cable car to the Western Wall and City of David.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has begun a new series: The History of the Temple Mount in 12 Objects.

A new study surveys ancient sites about to be destroyed as the reservoir fills behind the Ilisu Dam in Turkey.

BibleWalks has posted several hundred drone videos of ancient sites throughout Israel.

The November courses at The Institute of Biblical Culture include The Book of Psalms I and Ancient Near Eastern Texts II.

The Crossway ESV Bible Atlas is available at a pre-pub discount for Logos Bible Software.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on Hasmonean kings and children in the ancient Near East.

Susan Masten, Curator of Antiquities at the Museum of the Bible, is the guest this week on The Book and the Spade.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, A.D. Riddle, Paleojudaica

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Book on Jesus' Final Days in Jerusalem

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

A few years ago, we mentioned a number of new titles addressing the topic of crucifixion (you can read that here). One of them was by one of my teachers, Eckhard Schnabel, who is now on faculty at Gordon Conwell. I think I had a total of four classes with Schnabel, and I was always amazed at the breadth and depth of his learning. So I was happy to learn that Eerdmans has recently released a new volume by Schnabel entitled Jesus in Jerusalem: The Last Days (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018).


I once heard a rumor about Schnabel (I am not sure if it is true) that he complained that there are not enough big books in the world, but that he is doing his part to correct the deficiency. For those who likewise think there is shortage of big books, then this 704-page tome will be a welcome contribution.

From the publisher:
This is the first book to describe and analyze, sequentially and in detail, all the persons, places, times, and events mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s last week in Jerusalem. 
Part reference guide, part theological exploration, Eckhard Schnabel’s Jesus in Jerusalem uses the biblical text and recent archaeological evidence to find meaning in Jesus’s final days on earth. Schnabel profiles the seventy-two people and groups and the seventeen geographic locations named in the four passion narratives. Placing the events of Jesus’s last days in chronological order, he unpacks their theological significance, finding that Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection can be understood historically as well as from a faith perspective.

The contents of the book are organized into five sections: People, Places, Timelines, Events, and Significance. Below is the full table of contents. (Note from the contents that Schnabel appears to locate the events of Jesus' last week in the year AD 30, whereas others argue for the date AD 33.)

People
1. Jesus
2. The Twelve
3. The Eleven
4. Two Unnamed Disciples
5. Simon Peter
6. Andrew
7. James son of Zebedee
8. John son of  Zebedee
9. Thomas
10. Philip
11. Judas son of James
12. Judas Iscariot
13. Nathanael
14. Lazarus
15. Simon the Leper
16. Cleopas
17. Nicodemus
18. Joseph of Arimathea
19. Unnamed Disciple from Emma's
20. Two Anonymous Disciples
21. Owner of a Colt in Bethphage
22. Man with Water Jar in Jerusalem
23. Owner of House in Jerusalem
24. Young Man in Gethsemane
25. Women Disciples
26. Martha from Bethany
27. Mary from Bethany
28. Mary the Mother of Jesus
29. Mary the Wife of Clopas
30. Mary from Magdala
31. Mary the Mother of James and Joseph
32. Mother of James and John
33. Salome
34. Joanna
35. Acquaintances of Jesus
36. Pilgrims
37. Crowds
38. Tax Collectors
39. Prostitutes
40. Vendors, Customers and Moneychangers on the Temple Mount
41. Blind and Lame
42. Children
43. Gentiles/Greeks
44. Rich People
45. Widow
46. Members of the Sanhedrin
47. Chief Priests
48. Sadducees
49. Experts of the Law
50. Lay Aristocrats
51. Pharisees
52. Annas, Former High Priest
53. Caiaphas, High Priest
54. Malchus, Slave of Caiaphas
55. Malchus’s Relative
56. Two Female Slaves of Caiaphas
57. Retainers
58. Officers of the Jewish Executive
59. Jewish Security Forces and Their Captain
60. Witnesses
61. Herodians
62. Herod Antipas
63. Soldiers of Herod Antipas
64. Pontius Pilate
65. Pontius Pilate’s Wife
66. Soldiers of Auxiliary Troops
67. Centurion
68. Barabbas
69. Simon of Cyrene
70. Women of Jerusalem
71. Two Criminals
72. Man with Sponge at Golgotha

Places
1. Jerusalem
2. Temple Mount
3. Mount of Olives
4. Bethany
5. Bethphage
6. Gethsemane
7. Akeldama
8. House of Jesus’ Last Supper
9. Residence of Annas
10. Residence of Caiaphas
11. The Sanhedrin Building
12. Praetorium
13. The Lithostrotos
14. Residence of Herod Antipas
15. Golgotha
16. Jesus’ Tomb
17. Emmaus

Timelines
1. The Year AD 30
2. Saturday-Sunday, Nisan 9 (April 2-3)
3. Sunday-Monday, Nisan 10 (April 3-4)
4. Monday-Tuesday, Nisan 11 (April 4-5)
5. Tuesday-Wednesday, Nisan 12 (April 5-6)
6. Wednesday-Thursday, Nisan 13 (April 6-7)
7. Thursday-Friday, Nisan 14 (April 7-8)
8. Friday-Saturday, Nisan 15 (April 8-9)
9. Saturday-Sunday, Nisan 23 (April 16-17)

Events
1. The Anointing in Bethany
2. Jesus’ Approach to Jerusalem
3. Jesus' Prophetic Action on the Temple Mount
4. The Jewish Authorities’ Scheme to Eliminate Jesus
5. The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree
6. Controversies and Jesus’ Public Teaching on the Temple Mount
7. The Greeks Seek Jesus and the Unbelief of the People
8. The Jewish Authorities' Planning of Jesus’ Arrest
9. The Betrayal by Judas Iscariot
10. Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, of the End, and of His Return
11. Preparations for Passover
12. The Last Supper in Jerusalem
13. Arrest in Gethsemane
14. Preliminary Interrogation before Annas and Peter’s First Denial
15. The Trial before the Sanhedrin with Caiaphas Presiding and Peter’s Denials
16. Transfer of Jesus’ Case to Pontius Pilate
17. The Trial before the Roman Prefect with Pontius Pilate Presiding
18. The Walk to Golgotha
19. Jesus' Crucifixion
20. Jesus' Burial
21. The Death of Judas Iscariot
22. The Guards at the Tomb
23. The Empty Tomb and Jesus’ Appearance to the Women
24. Jesus' Appearance to the Disciples

Significance
1. Jesus Is the Messiah, the King of the Jews
2. Jesus and the Temple
3. Jesus’ Death
4. Jesus' Resurrection
5. Jesus' Mission and the Mission of His Followers


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a mass slaying carried out during the reign of Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus. The article briefly mentions other updates provided at a conference this week in Jerusalem. (The conference schedule is online here.)

Breaking Israel News has created a 3-minute video about the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in Israel, located on the Mount of Olives.

The inauguration ceremony for Tel Hebron is scheduled for Tuesday.

“The Story of Ancient Glass in Israel” is a 12-minute video created by the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

There is controversy over a new bill in Israel that would allow guides without licenses to serve pilgrims and some foreign groups.

Walking the Text has just announced a Turkey Study Trip for next August.

James McGrath visited the Museum of the Bible and shares a photo essay.

Timothy P. Harrison will be lecturing at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on Monday, Oct 29 at 7 pm in Hinckson Hall. His topic is “A Kingdom of Idols: Tayinat (ancient Kunulua) and the Land of Palastin.”

Now online: Yosef Garfinkel’s recent lecture on “Searching for the Historical King David: Excavating Kh. Qeyiafa and Kh. al-Ra'i.”

HT: Joseph Lauer, A.D. Riddle, Jared Clark

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

New Discovery: Jerusalem Inscription from 100 BC

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have discovered a stone column with an inscription mentioning Jerusalem that dates to 100 BC. The inscription is now on display at the Israel Museum, and scholars are debating whether it should be labeled as written in Hebrew or Aramaic. From The Times of Israel:

The earliest stone inscription bearing the full spelling of the modern Hebrew word for Jerusalem was unveiled on Tuesday at the Israel Museum, in the capital.

While any inscription dating from the Second Temple period is of note, the 2,000-year-old three-line inscription on a waist-high column — reading “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem” — is exceptional, as it is the first known stone carving of the word “Yerushalayim,” which is how the Israeli capital’s name is pronounced in Hebrew today.

The stone column was discovered earlier this year at a salvage excavation of a massive Hasmonean Period Jewish artisans’ village near the Jerusalem International Convention Center [Binyanei HaUma], at what is now the entrance to the modern city, by an Israel Antiquities Authority team headed by archaeologist Danit Levi.

The discovery is reported on the official press release, IAA’s Facebook page, and The Jerusalem Post. The Arutz-7 story includes a 2-minute video from the press conference.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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Saturday, October 06, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists are uncovering more of the Minoan palace of Zominthos in Crete.

Political instability is threatening many historical sites in Libya, including remains of the Roman Empire in the city of Sabrath.

Archaeologists have discovered a tomb from the 5th Dynasty in Abusir, Egypt.

John Swogger explains his work as an archaeological illustrator in using informational comics to explain various aspects of archaeology.

The proliferation of sinkholes along the Dead Sea shore has resulted in new life next to the briny waters.

Some priests in Jerusalem have reenacted the Sukkot water-libation ceremony in the City of David.

The Ancient Coins of Israel is an informative 10-minute video produced by the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The annual Batchelder Conference at the University of Nebraska Omaha will be held on November 9-10. The Friday plenary address will be by Jodi Magness on her excavations at Huqoq. (No info online at the time of this posting.)

The Albright Institute has announced its lecture and workshop schedule for October and November.

Carl Rasmussen has written a couple of posts related to city gates, including its defense and illicit worship.

Ferrell Jenkins has created an index of his articles related to church history.

Here’s a photo to add to your lecture slides: the 1974 passport for Ramses II.

HT: Judi King, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Agade, Jared Clark

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Weekend Roundup

James Tabor provides a short report on this summer’s excavations on Mount Zion. A press release is forthcoming on their discovery of the continuation of the Cardo, and a long-term goal is to create an archaeological park showcasing the first-century priestly mansion.

Haaretz reports on the tomb in northern Jordan decorated with spectacular frescoes. This is apparently a re-write of a CNRS News article.

With the beginning of a new Jewish year, The Jerusalem Post writes about discoveries of the past year.

Sergio and Rhoda have create a nice 12-minute video on the recent excavations of el-Araj (Bethsaida?).

Carl Rasmussen visits the likely pool in Jericho where King Herod had his high priest murdered.

The latest at the ASOR Blog: “Life of a Salesman: Trade and Contraband in Ancient Assyria,” by Mathilde Touillon-Ricci.

AJU’s Whizin Center and the Simmons Family Charitable Foundation’s 28th Annual Program in Biblical Archaeology includes a lecture by Michael G. Hasel on “The Age of David and Solomon: New Archaeological Discoveries for the Early Kingdom of Judah” on February 4.

Steven Notley will lecturing at Nyack College on Oct 18, 6:30 pm, on “Finding Bethsaida: Year 3 of the El Araj Excavation Project.”

The Smithsonian Magazine surveys the reviews of the “Out of the Blue” exhibit now at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.

SBL is making available as a free pdf, Invention of the First-Century Synagogue, by Lidia D. Matassa, with chapters on Jericho, Masada, Herodium, Gamla, and Delos.

On sale for Kindle: Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible ($3)

HT: G. M. Grena, Charles Savelle, Agade, Lois Tverberg, Paleojudaica

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

NPAPH Request: Documentation of Mari, Dura Europos, and Apamea

NPAPH has asked me to pass along the following worthy request to our readers. Please contact them at the address below if you can provide them with any help.

The Non-Professional Archaeological Photographs project (NPAPH; www.npaph.com) has the aim to preserve non-professional documentation of past archaeological campaigns to the future and make it accessible to the public via digital archives.

NPAPH Project

The term ‘non-professional’ refers to records made by visitors or participants of excavations who were not part of the trained staff, but who assisted as part of their continuing education or out of interest, for instance students, volunteers, reporters or sponsors. Secondly, this category of documentation includes also the private photos, slides, films, letters, diaries, etc., made at the excavation by the archaeological staff. So non-professional records are usually not stored in official archives.

At the moment we are tracing documentation of the excavations of the following Syrian sites:

  • Mari/ Tell Hariri (1933-1939, 1951-1956, and 1960–1974)
  • Dura Europos (1928–1937)
  • Apamea (1930-1938, 1947-1953, and 1965)

If you know anyone who joined one of these archaeological expeditions or if you have worked on one of them yourself, please contact info@npaph.com. We are also interested in any other record prior the 1980s related to these sites.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

New Series on Psalm 23 at Walking the Text

This afternoon I taught Psalm 23 in my Psalms class and when I returned to my office, I saw that Brad Gray (Walking the Text) has started a new video series today on Psalm 23, using illustrations, contextual resources, and a drone video.

The first episode focuses on the verse one and is entitled “My Savvy Shepherd.” Brad does a terrific job of shedding light on this familiar passage using the six contextual lenses that he is known for.

Some of the photos that he is using in this series come from our new Psalm 23 volume in our Photo Companion to the Bible series. Brad also lists some other valuable resources for the study of this Psalm. You can subscribe to the weekly video series with iTunes and Google Play.

Walking the Text

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A sandstone statue of a sphinx was discovered in excavations at the Kom Ombo temple.

A large and outstanding Assyrian relief from the reign of Ashurnasirpal II is being auctioned in October by Christie's on behalf of Virginia Theological Seminary.

Egypt is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the project to save 20 gigantic monuments in the Abu Simbel complex from flooding by moving them to higher ground.

Is it safe to travel to Egypt now? Temma Ecker explains why now is the perfect time to experience Egypt.

The 21st Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest is being held in Denver on November 16 to 18.

Rémy Boucharlat will be lecturing on Pasargadae at the Asia House in London on October 3.

Eisenbrauns is having a 40%-off sale on many ANE works.

AASOR is looking for an editor. NEA is looking for an editor. BASOR is looking for a copyeditor.

Ehsan Yarshater, editor of the Encyclopedia Iranica, died earlier this month.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

After finding a bare shrine at Abel Beth Maacah, archaeologists are suggesting that the “wise woman” of 2 Samuel 20 was a “local version of the divine oracles known from other cultures around the Mediterrranean.” (Haaretz premium)

Jonathan Klawans explains why the Tower of David Museum is the best place to begin a tour of Jerusalem.

Carl Rasmussen takes readers on a tour of less-visited sites in Roman-era Jericho, including the stadium and a balsam plantation.

Israel’s Good Name found some wildlife in his nighttime excursion through the Holon Dunes.

Shmuel Browns shares some of the latest discoveries in excavations at Masada and Herodium.

John M. Vonder Bruegge writes about “Josephus’ Galilee and Spatial Theory” at The Bible and Interpretation.

Wayne Stiles describes the history of sacrifice in Jerusalem.

The Israel Antiquities Authority Library Catalog is now online.

Dan Koski looks at the legacy of the stonemasons of Beit Jala.

Leon Mauldin explains the importance of the Theodotos Inscription.

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

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Archaeologists believe they have found ruins of the church building where the First Council of Nicaea was held.

“Turkish archeologists have found an eye cream jar in a 2,200-year-old tomb during their excavation works in an antique city of Aizanoi in country's west.”

A cache of gold coins dating to the 5th century has been found in an old theater in northern Italy.

A full-scale replica of a Roman triumphal arch from Palmyra will be on display in Washington DC later this month.

Museums are full of fake cuneiform tablets, and Sara Brumfield suggests a few ways to identify them.

An ancient Torah scroll in Brazil’s National Museum was spared from the fire because it was being restored off-site.

The August 2018 issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities includes information about recent discoveries, meetings, exhibitions, and fee increases.

John DeLancey is posting daily summaries of his tour of Greece.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Steven Anderson, Gordon Franz

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Stanford University researchers believe they've found evidence of the world's oldest brewery in the Raqefet Cave, near Haifa.

Miriam Feinberg Vamosh writes about an ancient convent discovered at a possible site of Hannah’s tomb (Haaretz premium).

Haaretz (premium) has an article on the history of the pomegranate.

Aren Maeir will be teaching a MOOC entitled “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” and a trailer is now out.

There is a conference today on Ctesiphon, and Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo from his visit to this city in Iraq.

Luke Chandler explains why there is an island in the Sea of Galilee now.

Leon Mauldin has written an illustrated post about the revolt of Libnah and Edom.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is offering new courses in October, including the Samaritan Pentateuch and Ancient Near Eastern Texts.

New from Oxford University Press: The Oxford Illustrated History of the Holy Land, edited by H. G. M. Williamson and Robert G. Hoyland.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Steven Anderson, Gordon Franz

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Egypt has announced the discovery of an ancient village in the Nile Delta.

A 3-D topographical survey of the Lisht necropolis area in Egypt has been completed.

Archaeologists made some important discoveries in the port of the Greek island of Kythnos.

The fire at Brazil’s National Museum destroyed millions of items, including the entire collection of 700 Egyptian artifacts.

Biblical Archaeology Society has limited space remaining for its Bible History of the Nile tour in February.

Unlike many of the reviews of the Museum of the Bible in D.C., this one by Alex Joffe is intelligent and balanced.

Seetheholyland.net has compiled a list of more than 120 tour operators who offer pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

Accordance is running a High Holy Days Sale that includes discounts on significant works from Carta, including The Quest, Echoes from the Past, and The Raging Torrent.

Appian Media has just released a sneak peek for their upcoming series, “Searching for a King.”

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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