Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Gift Ideas for 2018

Some valuable resources became available this year that I thought I might briefly summarize, either as a gift-buying guide or as additions to your own wish list.

Let me start with the Lexham Geographic Commentary to the imageGospels. Originally released for Logos Bible Software, it is now available in print. The volume is loaded with 48 essays written by people who have lived and breathed biblical geography and archaeology for many years, including Barry Beitzel (editor), Benjamin Foreman, Gordon Franz, J. Carl Laney, Chris McKinny, Elaine Phillips, A.D. Riddle, and Paul Wright. I wrote two of the essays—one on the disciples’ statement about the “magnificent stones and wonderful buildings” of the Temple and the other on the location of the swine dive in the Sea of Galilee. I think that this book should win an award for its unique contribution. It’s on sale now for $25, including free shipping, plus you get the ebook for free. Or Amazon has the print book alone for $27.

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible was released earlier this year after many years of research, writing, and production. This up-to-date resource is filled with excellent sidebars and commentary notes. You can see my earlier description here. It’s available now at Amazon for $42.Image result for esv archaeology study bible

Randall Price and Wayne House wrote the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology. I’ve heard that it’s gone through several printings already. I hope to offer a longer review here on the blog in the next few months. My expectation is that it will be very useful to both Bible teachers and students alike.

The National Geographic Atlas of the Bible was released in June. I haven’t purchased it yet, but the listing tells me that it is 112 pages long and includes 17 maps. One Amazon reviewer says that the text is written from a minimalist perspective.

The Biblical Archaeology Society store has a sale now, including free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Two new books of most interest to me are A Walk to Caesarea: A Historical-Archaeological Perspective, by Joseph Patrich ($34), and Megiddo-Armageddon: The Story of the Canaanite and Israelite City, by David Ussishkin ($60)

Filament is a new resource that I saw at a recent conference that combines a print Bible with digital content on your phone or tablet. The printed book has the Bible text only, and the accompanying app provides study notes, photos, and videos.

Doug Greenwold at Preserving Bible Times has just released a new book on John 4 entitled Jesus Engages a Samaritan Woman. Shipping is free through the end of the year.ruth-dvd-frontback-500

Finally, I’d encourage you to consider for yourself or others the newest resources created this year by us at BiblePlaces.com. We have a limited audience and every sale helps us to continue forward with the next project. This year we released Ruth and Psalm 23 in the Photo Companion series ($29 and $24, respectively, or $39 for both). We also created a beautiful photo book entitled Psalm 23: A Photo Commentary, available from Amazon for $20. The latest volume of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands is Persia, available for two more days at the introductory price of $25.

If you shop on Amazon, use the code GIFTBOOK18 to get $5 off a $20 book order through 12/21.

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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Peter Feinman summarizes some papers on the subject of the 10th century BC given at the recent ASOR conference.

Andrea Nicolotti looks for archaeological evidence for the scourging of Jesus.

“Italy’s highest court ruled that a 2000-year-old bronze statue, known as ‘Victorious Youth,’ should be returned to that country by the Getty Villa.”

A well-illustrated BBC feature explains how ISIS’s destruction of a mosque revealed an Assyrian palace.

I am very happy that Wipf and Stock has re-published David Dorsey’s The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel. For too long, you could only find used copies of this excellent resource for $200 and up.

Lois Tverberg’s excellent Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus is on sale with bigger discounts if you order 2-4 copies.

Everything at Eisenbrauns is 30% off with coupon EEOY18.

Bible Land Passages has now released 10 episodes that connect the biblical stories to the biblical world, using historical, geographical, and archaeological data. The episodes are available for free online as well as for purchase on DVD. The latest episode is entitled “Khirbet Qeiyafa: Witness to David’s Kingdom.” Episode 11, “The Power of Jesus in Galilee,” will be released next month.

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

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Saturday, December 08, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

In Caesarea, a remarkable Crusader-era cache of 24 gold coins and an earring was found in a small bronze pot, hidden between two stones in the side of a well.

The NY Times has a summary of the Pilate ring discovery. Robert Cargill prefers the theory that the ring belonged to one of Pilate’s papyrus-pushing administrators. Ferrell Jenkins shares a number of related photos.

Archaeologists working at Timna Park opened their excavation to volunteers from the public for three days during Hanukkah.

The second in a series of 12 objects from the Temple Mount Sifting Project is an arrowhead from the 10th century BC.

Jim Davila tries to unravel the latest with the Qumran caves with potential Dead Sea Scroll material (with a follow-up here).

Matthew Adams gives an update on the Jezreel Valley Regional Project on The Book and the Spade.

Israel is on pace to hit a new annual record of 4 million tourists this year.

Episode 1 in Wayne Stiles’s excellent “The Promised That Changed the World” is now available. You can sign up to get free access to all three episodes.

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

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Monday, December 03, 2018

Dr. Richard Rigsby--Faithful Husband, Father, Teacher, Friend

Dr. Richard Rigsby, longtime professor at Talbot School of Theology, went to be with the Lord this morning. Dr. Rigsby impacted many lives in his pastoring (at Bell Gardens Baptist Church since 1986) and in his teaching (at Talbot from 1974 until his retirement in 2012). His publications are numerous, including, most recently, several articles in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch.

Dr Rigsby in Priene theater seat, tb010401806

My initial meeting with Dr. Rigsby and his wife Donna was through the Talbot Bible Lands program which they began in 1990. Every year, excepting a few when international incidents intervened, Dr. Rigsby and Donna recruited and led a group of seminary students to the Middle East. And they were always large groups, full of highly motivated students who knew of the excellent reputation of the trips. Every week in the fall semester, Dr. Rigsby taught a class preparing students for their geographical, historical, and archaeological studies. And the day after Christmas, every year, they boarded a plane with 45+ students.

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In the early years, they toured Israel every year. My first experience with Dr. Rigsby was filling in as a guide for Talbot’s Western Wall Tunnel tour in 1993. In 1997, Dr. Rigsby led the first Turkey-Greece-Rome expedition, and henceforth they traveled to Israel in the even years and Turkey-Greece-Rome in the odd years. Many of their students went on both trips; though expensive, the students knew that these trips were well worth the investment in learning the Bible and its world. For a few years, the Rigsbys added a summer trip to the Greek islands, eager to give their students the opportunity to go just about everywhere Paul went.

Rome Mamertine Prison with Dr Rigsby and Gordon, tb011801806

Dr. Rigsby’s impact is vast, and I cannot begin to communicate its scope. I know that the Rigsbys hosted a Talbot Bible Lands reunion in their home every year, and every year former participants would travel sometimes great distances to be there. This was an annual testimony to the enduring impact of the program and the great love they had for the Rigsbys.

Dr. Rigsby had a significant influence on me. The most important was in his knowledge of the Word and his love for the Lord. One of his favorite passages was Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” He lived a wise, humble life by the power of the Spirit.

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He was not only a faithful pastor of his students’ hearts, but he was renowned for his sense of humor. Flipping through some old photo albums recently, I was hard-pressed to find one where he wasn’t acting up for the camera. Perhaps nothing was more hilarious than the stories he told of his younger years. And one of his popular traditions on the tours was to perform in an ancient theater the song, “I am my own grandpa.”

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A particular way that Dr. Rigsby’s influence is felt by many reading this reflection is his encouragement to me in developing the photo collections. In fact, I released the very first edition of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands to the Talbot Bible Lands group in January 2000. I will never forget how strongly he urged me to press on in this work (and how he encouraged his students to purchase the collection, so that I could press on). Several years later, Dr. Rigsby showed me a closet full of old slides taken by Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg, and that was the beginning of a new photo series, the Historic Views of the Holy Land.

Dr. Rigsby received the first copy of the first edition of the Pictorial Library, and this summer I drove over to his house to share the newest volume (#19) in the Pictorial Library. Unlike all the rest, these photos were of biblical sites that the well-traveled scholar had not visited. We plugged my computer into his bedroom TV so I could show him my new photos of Susa, Persepolis, the Behistun Inscription, and more. He was tickled by the experience of virtually visiting these significant sites, and his encouragement of me in my work was as strong as ever.

Talbot 2012 at En Gedi, tb010812270

Dr. Rigsby also has influenced me and others in the development of Bible lands programs. My first tour of Turkey, Greece, and Rome was with his Talbot Bible Lands trip in 2001. When my university decided to begin a similar study program, I unabashedly copied Dr. Rigsby’s brilliant itinerary in my proposal. That trip, largely unmodified from that original proposal, has been conducted by The Master’s University since 2007. All of our students are thus, unknowingly, in Dr. Rigsby’s debt. Other programs now led by his students are no doubt patterned after his.

But no one really could copy his plan. No tour leaders were more organized, no students were better prepared, and no trip was more filled with little “extras,” all along the way. Every day, two people in the group were honored with an artistically creative “paper plate award” that recognized a particular contribution or characteristic. Special services were planned for worship or celebration. Gifts were purchased in advance for the in-country instructors and guides, and no details were overlooked in planning or execution. And, as all of the Talbot Bible Lands students would tell you, no other program had Dr. Rigsby’s incomparable wife Donna.

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I was blessed to teach with Dr. Rigsby on all but one of his Israel tours since 2000. I never ceased to marvel at how full he made the trips. No group that I ever worked with stayed as long or saw as much. His mindset was that as long as the group was in the Middle East, they might as well visit one more site or travel to one more country. On our next-to-last tour together, in 2010, he decided we would make a side trip to Mount Sinai. The climb to the top, in my opinion, is the hardest of all that tourists regularly do in the Middle East; it is several times harder than the walk up the snake path at Masada. But as always, Dr. Rigsby was at the front. He was about 75 years old at the time, but like Moses, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.

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Dr. Rigsby and Donna have been like second parents to my wife and me, and like bonus grandparents to our kids. When we passed through California in 2009, they treated us all to a day at Disneyland. Since our move to California, they have warmly welcomed us to their home many times, making us meals and cheering on our children in their piano progress. They have been kind and generous at every turn, and all who know them would heartily agree.

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Our most recent visit in their home was on Thanksgiving morning. Donna was her usual joyful self, though her husband’s health had recently taken a decline. But I had a new book for Dr. Rigsby, the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, and he perked right up as I described some of the essays, a number of them written by his former students.

Dr. Rigsby’s time of service is now complete, but his influence will long continue through his family, his church, and his students, along with all of those that they now serve. The Lord has indeed greatly blessed his people through the faithful life of our dear teacher and friend.

Dr Richard Rigsby, img_7889

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Weekend Roundup

The discovery of a cuneiform fragment at Tel Mikhmoret recorded a slave sale and revealed physical evidence of the presence of Babylonians in biblical Samaria.”

Authorities have recovered from antiquities thieves a Neolithic stone ritual mask that comes from the Hebron hills.

Archaeologists have found evidence for trephination in a Late Bronze tomb at Megiddo (Haaretz premium).

“In one of the largest tombs ever found in Luxor, Egypt, archaeologists have discovered a sarcophagus holding the mummy of a woman named Pouyou who lived during the 18th dynasty.”

Egyptian officials announced that treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun will tour ten cities in the world prior to the 2020 opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. The exhibit is currently in Los Angeles and then heads to Paris. The other cities have not yet been announced.

“Inside the Cloak-and-Dagger Search for Sacred Texts” is in this month’s issue of National Geographic. As you would expect, the text is engaging and the photos beautiful.

“National Geographic has commissioned leading British indie production company, Caravan to produce The Bible from Space, a two-part documentary special which reveals the truth behind the biggest, most incredible stories from the Old Testament.” You can be sure that any TV production which promises to “reveal the truth” does not.

Carl Rasmussen is having second thoughts about the route of Paul’s ship from Chios to Miletus.

Luke Chandler is leading a tour of Israel in June, with the option to stay longer and join an archaeological excavation.

SourceFlix has released a 4-minute video about Tel Dibon, including footage of an early-morning fly-over. Ferrell Jenkins writes about the same site and provides some nice photographs.

A board game dating to the time of Abraham, the Royal Game of Ur, is making a comeback in Iraq.

The online Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” begins on Wednesday.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is offering your choice of a free class.

If you’re not a subscriber to the BiblePlaces Newsletter, you can sign up in a few seconds. We send about three issues a year, with one coming next week.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle

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