Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Collection! — Ruth Photo Companion

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Yesterday, the BiblePlaces newsletter went out with a big announcement about our newest Photo Companion. If you did not receive the newsletter (or if you did not take a moment to read it yet), you can check it out here.

The Photo Companion to the Bible launched last year with the release of The Gospels. Now, we are pleased to announce the latest volume in the series, the book of Ruth.
Ruth is chock-full of cultural and geographic scenes which the BiblePlaces team has illustrated with 350 modern and historic photographs. The photographs are arranged chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse in PowerPoint files, accompanied by descriptions, notes, Bible citations, and labels.

Whether you are a student, a teacher, a pastor, or a lay person who studies the Bible, we believe you will truly appreciate this carefully selected assortment of photographs.

To mark the release of this new volume, Ruth is on sale this week for only $20. The price includes free shipping (in the U.S.) and immediate download. Visit this page for further details and to order.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part Two

Egypt has announced the discovery of a Greco-Roman temple near the Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert.

The world’s oldest bridge, a 4,000-year-old Sumerian structure, will be preserved through a partnership between Iraq and the British Museum. There’s a video here.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is exhibiting ten fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with 600 artifacts, until September 3.

CBS News reports on rival groups seeking to leverage technology to read 2,000-year-old charred Herculaneum scrolls.

Michael Rakowitz has recreated one of the lamassu from Nineveh that was destroyed by ISIS. It is now on display in Trafalgar Square.

“The Acropolis Museum in Athens is welcoming the summer season with an extraordinary free concert of music played on an ancient Greek water-organ.” You can see a reproduction in operation here.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has received a million dollar grant “to implement a sustainable, extensible digital library platform and set of curatorial processes to federate records relating to the cultural heritage of the Middle East.”

A box in storage at Swansea University in Wales was discovered to contain a relief of Hatshepsut.

Nachliel Selavan guides tours through the Metropolitan Museum of Art that focus on the Exodus story.

A post adapted from the new ESV Archaeology Study Bible identifies the “10 Most Significant Discoveries in the Field of Biblical Archaeology.”

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

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Saturday, April 07, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part One

David Gurevich considers the effects of re-dating Jerusalem’s Middle Bronze walls on our understanding of Jerusalem in the time of David and Solomon.

Why do the locals of Jerusalem dump their trash everywhere? Wayne Stiles suggests some reasons and makes an application to our lives.

Archaeologists have filed a petition against the Israel Antiquities Authority for its approval of the prayer platform below Robinson’s Arch.

Scientists are studying dust deposits in the Jordan Valley in order to understand changes in landscape and climate in antiquity.

If you’ve hiked the Israel Trail and the Jordan Trail, you might want to consider the Sinai Trail (especially if you are brave).

“Southwest Baptist University [in Bolivar, Missouri] is hosting the biblical archaeology exhibit ‘Khirbet el-Maqatir — A Journey through Biblical History’ through Dec. 8.”

If you want to dig at one of the most exciting excavations in Israel, you need to get your app in now!

John DeLancey shares a video of the quiet Capernaum shoreline and explains the significance of the location.

Tampa Bay Online runs an obituary for James F. Strange.

Congratulations to Seth Rodriquez on his appointment to the faculty of Colorado Christian University!

HT: Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade, A.D. Riddle

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Thursday, April 05, 2018

Early Bird Discount for IBC Conference

I just noticed that the early-bird discount ends next Wednesday for the Institute of Biblical Context conference in June. If you were thinking about attending, now is the time to secure your spot. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to meet some of you there, either for the first time or to catch up.

I previously explained why I think this is an outstanding conference, but I’ll note here the theme for each day:

  • Day 1: The Shepherding Context
  • Day 2: Shepherding Stories in the OT
  • Day 3: Shepherding Stories in the Gospels

I predict that many attendees will go away saying, “I’ll never think about sheep and shepherds the same way again!”


Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Luke & Acts (9): Book of Isaiah

(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.

The text in Luke 3:3-6 speaks of the ministry of John the Baptist and makes reference to "the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet." Interestingly enough, we now have an actual ancient copy of the book of Isaiah referred to by Luke, which, having been penned in ca. 125 BC, was written prior to the time Luke wrote his work. This ancient text, commonly called the Great Isaiah Scroll, is a well-preserved copy of the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Further, this same scroll is featured in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The entire scroll is shown in the following photo, which can be seen in more detail by clicking to enlarge.

Having been found in 1947, the Great Isaiah Scroll was one of the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls to be discovered, and—with the exception of some small damaged portions—it contains the entire text of the biblical book of Isaiah. Moreover, a handy digital version that scrolls electronically and has a translation app is now available to the public. This digital version is part of the larger Digital Dead Sea Scrolls collection.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain nearly all of the Old Testament books plus a number of other ancient works, were found in caves located in the hills around the ancient community of Qumran, which is designated by the red arrow on the following map cropped from the Satellite Bible Atlas.

The following photo shows a general view of the slopes west of Qumran where some of the caves are located.

The next photo shows the exterior of Cave 1 in which the Great Isaiah Scroll was found.

This final photo displays the interior of Cave 1 in which the first seven scrolls, including the Isaiah Scroll, were discovered.

Commonly thought to be written between 200 BC and AD 70 by a group of Essenes inhabiting the community of Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the Great Isaiah Scroll, represent a simply unrivaled collection of ancient biblical manuscripts. Further, though they do not deal with Jesus or the early Christians directly, they are a tangible remnant of the era during which Jesus lived.

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

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Coins from the Jewish Revolt (AD 66-70) were found on March 26 by Dr. Eilat Mazar during renewed excavations at the Ophel.

“Elaborate decorations including stucco from the time of Nero have been found in the remains of a villa and bath complex in the outskirts of Rome.”

The February 2018 edition of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reports the latest archaeological discoveries, meetings, projects, and more.

A new study suggests that King Tut was not a sickly boy but a warrior king.

The Getty Conservation Institute announced that its restoration of the tomb of King Tut in Egypt is near completion.

The Nicholson Museum in Australia was surprised to discover an Egyptian coffin in their possession for more than a 150 years actually contains a mummy.

The Times of Israel profiles a tattoo parlor in Jerusalem that has been inking Easter pilgrims for centuries.

A schedule for the Haifa Phoenician Series 2018 is now online.

David Laskin attempts to look at ancient Rome through the eyes of Josephus.

The Albright Institute has posted its program for April and May.

Joan Taylor asks what Jesus looked like.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of an unusual sunrise on the Sea of Galilee. Leon Mauldin provides a wrap-up of their trip in Israel and Jordan.

Israel’s Good Name visited Ein Bokek and Ami’az Plateau.

HT: Mike Harney, Ted Weis, Agade, Jared Clark, Joseph Lauer

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Help Fund Appian Media’s New Video Series

Appian Media is preparing to film their second Bible-based video series focusing on Israel’s United Monarchy. Searching for a King will focus on the lives of Saul, David, and Solomon, and like their previous Following the Messiah series it will be available for free online.

But to make that happen, they need our support. They are nearing their goal of $120,000, but they need the last $10,000 now to close the gap. If you think that high-quality, accurate videos filmed on-site in Israel are a valuable resource for people all over the world, I encourage you to consider chipping in. Every little bit helps, and everyone benefits.



Sunday, March 25, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest port in Iraq, a large harbor built by the Sumerians circa 2000 BC.

A US organization has kept the traditional tomb of Nahum in Iraq from collapsing.

Scholars have identified an ancient Greek medical text by Galen that was later covered by a 10th-century copy of the Psalms.

Fifteen years after 15,000 antiquities were looted from the Baghdad Museum, half of them have still not been located. Many have likely been sold on the antiquities market.

Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments is a topographical survey of rock reliefs, historical monuments and architecture that covers all historical periods from ancient to modern.”

Touring Jordan: Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of the Jabbok River and Leon Mauldin posts shots of Tell es-Saidiyeh (Zarethan?) and a sunset over the Dead Sea.  

Apollo Magazine reports on the famous mosaics of Medeba.

In celebration of the acquisition of CDL Press, Eisenbrauns is offering a 30% discount on all volumes in the Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology series. Use discount code CUSAS.

Clyde Billington is on The Book and the Spade this week discussing the Roman camp at Megiddo.

Aren Maeir was honored on his 60th birthday with a festschrift prepared for him by more than 100 contributors!

Professor Ephraim Stern, director of the Dor Project from 1980 to 2000, passed away Friday evening in Jerusalem.

James F. Strange has died.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, PaleoJudaica

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

An 86-year-old guide hiked the Nabatean Spice Route from Petra to Avdat over five days. On the last day they discovered a lost portion of the route.

The process of clearing mines from the area around the baptismal site on the Jordan River has begun.

A new study reveals that “pigeons played a central role some 1,500 years ago in transforming the Byzantine Negev into a flourishing garden.”

Philippe Bohstrom provides a good summary of where things stand with the seal impression of Isaiah.

Itzhaq Shai and Chris McKinny explain Canaanite religion at Tel Burna in the 13th century BC.

Israel’s Good Name recently spent the day at En Gedi, taking photos around the area and visiting the ancient synagogue.

An Israeli shepherdess is raising sheep so she can sell pricey shofars.

Passion Week begins tomorrow and Wayne Stiles is making available a free video series tracing Jesus’s final days from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

50% off retail price on the entire inventory of Wipf & Stock! They have some great books! Use code INV50 through April 3. Here are three of their books I love:

Or search their 300-page catalog here. (Sale includes books not listed in that catalog.) Or find Biblical Studies here.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, PaleoJudaica

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mikveh at Macherus

For photographs, sometimes timing is everything. A recent example of this comes from Alexander Schick’s visit to Macherus after the discovery of a large mikveh (ritual bath). He took this photo in November 2016.

Macherus mikveh Alexander Schick P 4971

But he returned to the site a few weeks ago, and this is how it looks now.

Macherus mikveh filled in, Alexander Schick, P1030239

For reasons we can only speculate about (safety?, preservation?, anti-Jewish sentiment?), the mikveh has been filled in. Macherus is still a fantastic site to visit, but you won’t be able to see the ritual bath that its Jewish inhabitants used in the 1st century.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Weekend Roundup

The Column of King Merneptah has been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Popular Archaeology investigates the discovery of three skeletons at Gezer last summer.

Researchers at Bowdoin College Museum of Art are working to reconstruct the color on ancient Assyrian reliefs.

The luxurious Roman silver Berthouville Treasure collection is now on display in Denmark.

James Mellaart, former excavator of Catalhoyuk, is accused of having forged murals and inscriptions that he claimed to have discovered.

Was the synagogue of Capernaum in Jesus’s day white or black? Leen Ritmeyer explains why it was black.

As Easter approaches, Carl Rasmussen shares related photos, including one of a “crown of thorns.”

Gary Rendsburg gives a tour of the world’s oldest Torah scrolls.

Wayne Stiles looks at Abraham’s visit with Melchizedek in Salem.

The latest from Walking the Text is “Returning to the Path.”

This week’s program on The Book and the Spade addresses the tomb of Jonah and archaeological destruction.

For years I’ve used a helpful OT chronological chart with my students. Now Kris Udd is making it available to the public (via Academia).

HT: Ted Weis, Agade

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Undisturbed Canaanite Tomb Discovered at Megiddo

National Geographic announces a major find from Megiddo dating to the 17th century BC. Undisturbed tombs are all too rare in professional excavations.

The extraordinary discovery of a magnificent and untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb, but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C.


The surprise find began as something of a mystery, when archaeologists began to notice cracks in the surface of an excavation area adjacent to the Bronze Age palaces which were discovered in the 1930s. Dirt appeared to be falling away into some unseen cavity or structure below, Adams recalls. Then, in 2016, they happened upon the culprit: a subterranean corridor leading to a burial chamber.

The chamber contained the undisturbed remains of three individuals—a child between the ages of eight and 10, a woman in her mid 30s and a man aged between 40-60—adorned with gold and silver jewelry including rings, brooches, bracelets, and pins. The male body was discovered wearing a gold necklace and had been crowned with a gold diadem, and all of the objects demonstrate a high level of skill and artistry.

Apart from the rich, undisturbed burials, the archaeologists were also intrigued by the tomb’s location adjacent to the late Middle Bronze Age royal palace of Megiddo.

“We are speaking of an elite family burial because of the monumentality of the structure, the rich finds and because of the fact that the burial is located in close proximity to the royal palace,” Finkelstein explains.

The grave goods point to the cosmopolitan nature of Megiddo at the time and the treasures it reaped from its location on the major trade routes of the eastern Mediterranean. Along with jewelry, the tomb contained ceramic vessels from Cyprus and stone jars that may have been imported from Egypt.

National Geographic has more details, including the report of a DNA study being done at Megiddo.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Rome's ongoing subway system project has uncovered several glimpses of the past, this time the ruins of a Roman military commander's 14-room luxury villa.

ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives has a report on the current status of the Ain Dara Temple.

Authorities caught tomb raiders in Galilee as they used a bulldozer to loot graves from the Roman period.

3D computational geometry is being used in a long-distance virtual reconstruction to piece together ancient cuneiform texts.

Christopher Rollston is on the OnScript Podcast speaking about the Isaiah seal impression.

The Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions “seeks to gather all known pre-Islamic Arabian epigraphic material into a comprehensive online database, with the aim to make available to specialists and to the broader public a wide array of documents often underestimated because of their difficulty of access.”

A proposed restructuring at University College London may have adverse effects on the Petrie Museum. You can learn how to help here.

Bible Gateway has published an interview with Lois Tverberg about her new book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus.

On sale for Kindle: Provan, Long, and Longman, A Biblical History of Israel ($3.99).

Accordance has a big sale going on now on atlases and related resources. The Satellite Bible Atlas is now available on Accordance, and it too is on sale (40% off) until March 12.

BAS is offering subscriptions to its video lecture service for 75% off for a limited time.

David Z. Moster’s latest video explains how to use the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

Wayne Stiles shares some new video footage shot over biblical Joppa.

The LMLK Blogspot links to a new video of aerial footage of Hebron.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Mark Hoffman

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A headless statue of Aphrodite and a large mosaic were discovered during subway construction in Thessaloniki.

“Researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies, the British Museum said.”

Iraqi authorities discovered 75 artifacts near the Shrine of the Prophet Abraham after a torrential rain.

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities Newsletter for January 2018 has been published.

Rome was covered by a rare snowfall this week. Photos here.

The Frist Center in Nashville is hosting over 200 objects from the Roman Empire, courtesy of the British Museum.

Four Persian kings are buried in the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam, including Darius I.

A rare 2nd-3rd century AD Roman ivory relief of Greek mythology is for sale.

A Hungarian pilot has flown his stunt plane through the Corinth Canal.

Wayne Stiles explains how your mind is like an archaeological dig.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Paul Mitchell, Mark Hoffman

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