Sample BiblePlaces Newsletter
Vol 5, #3 - September 6, 2006

I am frequently asked if life is exciting in Israel.  It is, but usually not for the reasons one might think from watching CNN.  While the recent war with Lebanon greatly affected life in the northern part of the country, most of the country including Tel Aviv and the Jerusalem area (where I live) was undisturbed.  Political opinions abound as to the cause and results of the war, but I think most are agreed that difficult days are ahead for this region, given the increasing enmity between Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. 

This month's featured photographs are from the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.  A large part of this museum (including the Syria-Palestine wing) was closed for many years, but now everything is open to the public.  If you're surprised to find so much of relevance to the Bible in Turkey, remember two things: 1) Most of Paul's missionary journeys were in modern Turkey; 2) The Ottoman Empire controlled Palestine until World War I, and thus many important finds were taken from the Holy Land to the capital.  I highly recommend a visit, but plan at least one full day to see the large and impressive collection.  For some free photos of important artifacts, see below.

Todd Bolen
Assoc. Professor, The Master's College
Israel Bible Extension (IBEX), Judean Hills, Israel


News from Israel

from the BiblePlaces Blog...

More Talk on the Dead Sea Canal...

Tiberias theater to be excavated...

Excavations of a Judean palace near Jerusalem reveal a water system...

How to subscribe to a biblical archaeology e-newsletter...

A favorite reference work of mine, at a great price...

There's a sucker born every minute - beware the sucker theories on Noah's Ark, the Exodus and Qumran...

A traveling tour of biblical archaeology in the U.S....

A New Gezer...
Solomonic Gate Summer Excavations

A survey of summer excavations in Israel...

Photos of biblical sites wanted - from Iraq...

The Top 5 Archaeological Discoveries in the Last 5 Years...

And more...

A New (French) Resource

BiblePlaces now speaks French. It's taken about a year, but thanks to the heroic efforts of Mr. Philippe Viguier, BibléLieux is now ready to share the best photos and descriptions of biblical sites to readers in France, Algérie, Bénin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Cap vert, Centrafrique, Comores, Congo Brazzaville, Côte d'ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinée, Guinée-Bissau, Guinée-Equatoriale, Haiti, La Réunion, Les Seychelles, Madagascar, Maurice, Mali, Maroc, Mauritanie, Monaco, Niger, République démocratique du Congo, Rwanda, Sénégal, Suisse, Tchad, Togo, Tunisie and Québec.

If you're a French speaker, hop on over and explore the biblical world.

If you're an English speaker, you can do one of the following:

  1. Practice your French and see beautiful pictures at the same time.
  2. Tell all of your Canadian, African and French friends about it.
  3. Take a few minutes to learn something (in English) about a biblical site that you don't know much about, such as Chorazin, Michmash, or Gezer.


The Best, and More of It

This summer we have significantly improved the ordering features of  For instance,

1. All regular U.S. shipping is free, regardless of quantity ordered! (Beat that, Amazon!)  Prices for priority shipping are reasonable.

2. The prices on the Pictorial Library CDs have been reduced.

3. You can now order CDs from the Pictorial Library and the Historic Views collection together, in a single order.

4. For the first time ever, the Pictorial Library is now available on 2 DVDs (better than 10 CDs if you have a DVD drive on your computer).

5. The best helicopter footage of Israel is now available through  Produced by Preserving Bible Times, Inc., the 4 Above Israel DVDs have fantastic videos of the biblical sites from the air.  And we have the best price and service in the world (and free shipping).

6. The collections are now available in bundles, for the greatest savings ever.  The "Ultimate Teaching Kit" includes everything we've got (22 volumes) for 40% off.

You can check it out here.

If there's anything we're missing, let us know.  We think we've got it all covered and there's no reason to order anywhere else.  As always, everything has a satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked, no strings attached.


Featured BiblePlaces Photos: Istanbul Museum

The Istanbul Archaeology Museum contains a wealth of artifacts related to the Bible and biblical lands.  The significance of its collection for biblical studies is only behind the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the British Museum in London.  Founded in 1891, some wings of the museum show their age and other parts are newly renovated with a beautiful display of the artifacts. 

Each photo is linked to a higher-resolution version which may be used freely for personal and educational purposes.  Commercial use requires separate permission.  These photos, plus a bonus, are also available for download in a PowerPoint file (2.1 MB).  For more high-quality, high-resolution photographs and illustrations of biblical sites, purchase the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands or the Historic Views of the Holy Land series. 


Code of Hammurapi

Click picture for higher-resolution version.

Famous as an early law code with parallels to the Mosaic covenant, the Code of Hammurapi (also Hammurabi) was written in the first half of the 18th century B.C. by the king of Babylon.  This clay tablet was found in Nippur and dates to approximately 1790 B.C.  A complete text of the code was discovered on a stela in Iran and is now on display in the Louvre Museum, Paris.


Gezer Calendar

Click picture for higher-resolution version.

One of the oldest Hebrew inscriptions from Israel, the Gezer Calendar is a limestone tablet approximately 4 inches (10 cm) tall.  The inscription describes the agricultural cycle by months, and dates to the time of Solomon (mid-10th century B.C.).  Evidence of erasing suggests that this tablet was used for writing practice by students.


Cylinder Annal of Nebuchadnezzar

Click picture for higher-resolution version.

Most famous to Bible readers as the Babylonian king who destroyed Jerusalem and the first Temple, Nebuchadnezzar II described some of his temple construction projects on this cylinder.  Inscribed in the first half of the 6th century B.C., the cylinder mentions Nebuchadnezzar's building works at temples for the gods Marduk, Nabu, Shamash, and Ishtar at the cities of Babylon, Borsippa, Larsa, and Sippar.


Emperor Augustus

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This bust of Emperor Augustus was found at Pergamum, one of the cities that received a letter in the Book of Revelation.  Augustus (formerly known as Octavian) ruled the Roman empire from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. and was mentioned by Luke in the narrative of Jesus' birth.  Augustus is generally viewed as a brilliant but brutal ruler.


Altar to Nameless God

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On his visit to Athens, Paul commented on an altar he had seen dedicated "to an unknown god" (Acts 17:23).  The above-pictured altar was found at Palmyra and dates to a later time (2nd-3rd centuries A.D.), but it was dedicated to the "nameless god."  The polytheistic society of that time feared failing to worship one of the deities, thereby incurring his wrath.


A Warrior's Armor

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Paul describes the armor of a warrior in his letter to the Ephesians (chapter 6), and this gravestone from the 1st century B.C. gives us an idea of the battle gear of the New Testament times.  The tomb belonged to Ariston the Warrior and his wife Gykeia and the relief displays personal possessions of the couple.


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All contents (c) 2006 Todd Bolen.  Text and photographs may be used for personal and educational use.  Commercial use requires written permission.