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The Jerusalem Seminary has announced their Inauguration of the School of the Bible on Wednesday (8 pm in Jerusalem, and livestream) featuring Gerald McDermott, Jeffrey Seif, and Baruch Brian Kvasnica.

They have also announced a great slate of classes for the fall semester. The school is located in the center of Jerusalem, but all of the courses this semester are being held online.

I previously recommended JS when it launched a pilot semester, and their Matthew and Hebrew courses received rave reviews (see the bottom of each page). I know a number of the professors related to Jerusalem Seminary, and they are seasoned scholars who have lived for many years (or all their lives) in Israel.

You can jump over to the course catalog for all the details, but I’ve copied a summary below. I will note two items in particular: (1) there is an audit option at a reduced price; and (2) if you’ve ever wanted to learn some Hebrew, this beginner’s course will be exceptional.

Biblical Hebrew as a Living Language (Level 1) – Learn Biblical Hebrew as a living language from Israelis (Hebrew for the Nations certified instructors) using an interactive spoken Biblical Hebrew methodology! 4 Credits (60 hours) 600 dollars ($450 audit).

Early Christian Worship in its Jewish ContextFrom Temple worship to ancient Christian liturgies, dig into the Jewish roots of Christian music and prayer. Taught by Brittany McCay, MA, uniquely qualified to weave together Jewish roots, early Christianity, music and worship. 3 credits, 450 dollars ($350 audit).

Israel Matters: A Theology of People and LandA history of theology concerning Israel and her Biblical significance taught by one of the world’s leading theologians, Dr. Gerald McDermott. 3 credits, 450 dollars ($350 audit).

The Gospel of Matthew in its First Century ContextLearn about Jesus and His Jewish world through Matthew’s eyes from Matthean expert, Dr. Noel Rabinowitz. 3 credits, 450 dollars ($350 audit).

Unfolding Proverbs: Translation and ContextFor advanced Biblical Hebrew students: Wycliffe expert on Biblical Hebrew poetry, Murray Salisbury, MA, unpacks the rich wisdom of Proverbs. 3 credits, 600 dollars ($450 audit).

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An ancient stone weight dug up in Jerusalem has been found to be far heavier than the amount written on its surface, leading archaeologists to assume it was used to cheat in trading.” The discovery was presented at a conference in Jerusalem on Thursday (video in Hebrew here).

A report has recently been published on the overt and covert involvement of Israelis in archaeological research in the West Bank between 1948 and 1967.

Work has begun to renovate the bridge leading from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount.

A new app allows visitors to explore the archaeological remains of the Church of the Glorious Martyr recently excavated near Beth Shemesh. The latest issue of BAR has more information about the church, and Owen Jarus provides a summary.

Archaeologists working in Saqqara used ancient Egyptian technology to raise a sarcophagus to the surface (3-min video).

Archaeologists announced the discovery of a settlement in Alexandria dating back to the 2nd century BC, including a sculpture of Alexander the Great.

“One of the most important religious centers of the ancient world, the city of Akhmim in southern Egypt is presented in the exhibit Akhmim: Egypt’s Forgotten City, currently on display in the James Simon Gallery of the Berlin State Museums.”

The “wine of Lebanon” mentioned by the prophet Hosea was famous in antiquity. An article in The Ancient Near East Today describes some new archaeological evidence for the production of Phoenician wine.

The skull of a woman who underwent the world’s first brain surgery will be reconstructed using a beeswax technique.

Norwegian authorities “confiscated approximately 100 antiquities from the extensive collection of Martin Schøyen which Iraqi authorities believe were illicitly removed from their country.”

On Sept. 19, Yosef Garfinkel will be speaking in the next Friends of ASOR webinar on the topic of “David, Solomon, and Rehoboam’s Kingdom—The Archaeological Evidence.”

On Dec 1, Andrea Berlin will be speaking in the BAS Scholars Series on “The Rise of the Maccabees:What Archaeology Reveals About Antiquity’s Last Independent Jewish Kingdom.”

This week’s program on The Book and the Spade: Ashkelon basilica, Sussita theater, missing walls, with Clyde Billington.

Lois Tverberg takes a Hebraic look at the gospel and its surprising bearers.

“For the Jewish New Year, Joan Nathan composes a dish that pays tribute to foods that the biblical Canaanites might have eaten.”

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick

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The Iron Age gate at Megiddo often associated with Solomon has been reconstructed. This is particularly helpful because the Chicago expedition in the 1930s had completely removed one side of the gatehouse, making it difficult for visitors to visualize.

The following photos are provided courtesy of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project. A recent article on this gate and its predecessors and successors was published in 2019 by the Tel Aviv journal: “The Iron Age Gates of Megiddo: New Evidence and Updated Interpretations,” by Israel Finkelstein, Matthew J. Adams, Erin Hall, and Eythan Levy.

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The sign in front of the gate reads as follows:

Reconstruction of the Israelite Gate.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Israel Antiquities Authority have begun reconstruction of the gate from the time of the kings of Israel.

During the 1930s the western part of the gate was removed by the University of Chicago expedition in order to excavate beneath it.

We are currently reconstructing the gate and restoring it to its previous condition. After reconstruction is complete visitors will pass through the ancient gate on their way to tour the site.

The work is expected to take eight months.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience and ask that you walk carefully on the authorized path.

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Ruth Schuster has a photo essay of finds from the summer’s excavations of the temple at Motza (Moza) near Jerusalem.

A new study suggests that the site of Qumran was not a permanent settlement but a place where the Essenes came on pilgrimage once a year (Haaretz premium).

Brent Nongbri has a note about some little-known Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in the Vatican Museums.

Aren Maeir has posted his short summary of the Philistines, written for the Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Samuel.

Ukrainian travel photographer Alexander Ladanivskyy has captured some unique photos of the Great Pyramid of Giza using a drone.

Madeleine Muzdakis writes about the remarkably well-preserved statue of Ka’aper, with its beautiful rock-crystal and copper eyes.

Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs, an exhibition of Ancient Egyptian artifacts opens at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on November 20.”

Appian Media has released a teaser trailer for Trial & Triumph, a feature-length documentary on the seven churches of Revelation.

Phys.org has an article about the underwater archaeological park at Baiae, near Naples, Italy, where villas of the Roman emperors are now submerged under 15 feet of water.

A New York City antiquities dealer has been charged with selling antiquities that he mass-produced.

Philip Zhakevich looks at the ancient evidence for writing and scribes in ancient Israel. For more, see Zhakevich’s recent Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel: A Study of Biblical Hebrew Terms for Writing Materials and Implements. (60% off at Amazon now; my guess is that that price is very temporary.)

The fall issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on a Canaanite temple at Lachish and a Byzantine church near Beth Shemesh. An article on the importance of public scholarship is based on a recorded Zoom conversation with Eric Cline, Melissa Cradic, and Jodi Magness, available online here.

You can catch up on the top three reports in biblical archaeology for the month of August with Bryan Windle’s overview.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator, Ted Weis

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Normally, I say, “That was a great conference! Too bad you missed it!” But this time is different. In June, I attended the Infusion Bible Conference in Tennessee (formerly the Institute of Biblical Context, held in Michigan), with this year’s focus on “Paul and His Roman World,” and it was phenomenal. It’s only a three-day conference, but they have packed so much into this time that you walk away feeling that you’ve just had a semester-long course.image

The presentations are intentionally shorter, so a speaker will focus on a specific topic for 15 minutes, and then they’re off to the next subject. If you’re familiar with TED talks, the style is similar to that—tight, punchy, and well-prepared. But the topics are unlike any you’ll find at TED or on YouTube or even in most churches. (There’s a good reason for that: churches rightly prioritize teaching biblical passages, and this conference provides the cultural backgrounds for those biblical texts.)

I’m not posting about this just to tell you what a tremendous opportunity you missed, but to alert you to a second chance. The conference on “Paul and His Roman World” will be held again in the Denver area on November 8-10. They’ve never done a “repeat conference,” but I think the organizers were motivated by (1) how excellent this conference was; (2) the impact of Covid on people’s planning for summer travels; and (3) an enthusiastic invitation from a church in Colorado.

There are about 40 talks, including these:

  • A Clash of Kingdoms
  • What’s in a Name?
  • People Snapshots: Poor, Wealthy, Women, Slaves, etc.
  • The Roman and Christian Household Code
  • Roman View on Sexuality
  • Roman Religion and Emperor Worship
  • Roman Baths
  • “My Domus is Your Domus!”
  • Land and Sea Travel
  • Theater
  • Death, Hope, and Eternal Life
  • The Sanctity of Suffering

The three speakers are all outstanding: Brad Gray, Randy Smith, and Brad Nelson.

As I mentioned, everything is extremely well-prepared, and a tremendous benefit is that every conference attendee gets a conference notebook of 150 pages loaded with the speakers’ notes that frees you from extensive notetaking.

I recommend the IBC as the best conference I know of for understanding the cultural, historical, archaeological backgrounds of the Bible. Early bird registration is open now until September 30, and there is a virtual option as well.

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The latest skeleton discovered at Pompeii sheds remarkable light on an individual named Marcus Venerius Secundio.

“A team of Polish researchers has discovered evidence of a well-planned Christian settlement dating to the sixth century in the ancient Egyptian port city of Marea.”

“Archeologists in northwestern Turkey discovered a relief on Monday depicting a war between the Greeks and Persians from the fifth century B.C.” (No photo)

A gouge in the eyes of a coin of Julian the Apostate may have been an intentional “act of erasure.”

Here are much better photos to go with the previously mentioned story abut Egyptians struggling to keep alive their craft of making papyrus.

The theater at Ephesus is reopening to visitors after being closed for the last three years.

Malta is planning to bury ancient cart ruts in order to build a new roundabout.

Jesse Millek asks, “Why did scholars choose 1200 BCE . . . as the year when civilization collapsed in the Eastern Mediterranean?”

The Getty Research Institute interviews Waleed Khaled al-As’ad, director emeritus of antiquities and museums at Palmyra and son of the site’s longtime director, Khaled al-As’ad. They also have a story about the history of Palmyra.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Andy Cook, Ted Weis, Explorator

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