Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Bryan Windle identifies the Top Three Reports in Biblical Archaeology in March 2020.

Christopher Rollston is a guest on the LandMinds video podcast discussing forgeries of antiquities.

Jeffrey Kloha is on The Book and the Spade discussing the “Fake Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of the Bible.”

Writing for Haaretz, Ariel David asks whether the assessment that the 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments are forgeries calls into question the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments previously discovered.

Lawrence H. Schiffman will be giving an online lecture entitled “Old Leather, New Ink: Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls” on April 1 at 9 pm (Eastern).

Steve Green will return 5,000 ancient papyrus fragments and 6,500 ancient clay objects to Iraq and Egypt.

A new study suggests that radiocarbon dates for the ANE need to be adjusted, with implications for the dates of the death of Tutankhamen and the eruption on Santorini.

Max Price writes about the history of pigs in the ancient Near East.

The British Museum’s Circulating Artefacts (CircArt) project is a ground-breaking collaborative initiative against the widespread global trade in illicit antiquities, with a current focus on ancient objects from Egypt and Sudan.”

Shiloh is the subject of the latest in John DeLancey’s “Life Lessons” series.

Carl Rasmussen shares some Easter-related photos, including Jesus’s crown of thorns and an unusual photo of a Jerusalem cross.

Mark Hoffman found a Google map of ancient theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, and odeons in Turkey. (There are more than you might expect.)

Ferrell Jenkins posts a couple of photos of Capernaum from the air.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The major sites now closed include the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and all Egyptian tourist sites. It has not been this bad in Jerusalem since the Black Plague in 1349.

Th Internet Archive has suspended waitlists in order to create the National Emergency Library and make more than 1.4 million books available.

Appian Media is beginning a new, free, 6-week at-home video Bible study class entitled Bible Study without Borders.

With Passover approaching, some rabbis have ruled that extreme circumstances make it permissible to use electronic devices to share a Seder by videoconference.

Wayne Stiles connects Bethany and the raising of Lazarus to the present crisis.

John Baines answers the question, “What is Egyptology?”

A new film documents the story of a Polish Egyptologist who believes he is close to discovering the tomb of Thutmose II.

David Moster explores Babylon in the Bible and Reggae Music (15-min video).

A Biblical History of Israel, 2nd edition, by Iain Provan, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III for sale on Kindle right now for $1.99.

GlossaHouse is offering many language resources at half off as well as a number of digital resources for free.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Tourist authorities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel are filming guides giving tours of the city and its museum so that those who can’t come to Israel, or otherwise leave their homes, can enjoy the virtual experience.

More than 100 scholars contributed tributes to “He Inscribed Upon a Stone”: Celebrating the Work of Jim Eisenbraun. The volume (free download here) records some of the history of Jim and Merna’s publishing house that has served so many of us so well for so long.

Christopher Rollston: The Forger Among Us: The Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls and the Recent History of Epigraphic Forgeries

The 2020 issue of ‘Atiqot is now online, including articles on a tomb in Jerusalem and the settlement history of Nazareth.

“A portrait sculpture that has been at a museum in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya since 1972 was recently found to belong to Greek poet Sappho.”

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project has a new website that displays the results of research “into the use and meaning of colour in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions.”

The Associates for Biblical Research has a new Instagram account.

Israel’s Good Name shares about his day volunteering in renewed excavations of the Montfort Castle in Galilee.

Ferrell shares then and now photos of the house of Peter at Capernaum.

Barry Beitzel is on The Land and the Book with Charlie Dyer, talking about the excellent Geographic Commentary series he is editing.

This 15-minute video is fascinating: “Bread Culture in Jordan.”

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

David Moster gives a 5-minute overview of “Quarantine in the Bible.”

Coronavirus: What We Can Learn from the Bible and the ANE: Reflections of an expert in ancient Near Eastern contagious diseases living through a modern one, by Dr.Yitzhaq Federt.

A new Facebook group: ANE Researcher Quarantine ‘Library’

For shopkeepers and tour operators in the Old City of Jerusalem, COVID-19 is worse than all the wars.

H-Net has created a couple of new resources for scholars affected by the coronavirus:

Wayne Stiles has appropriately re-posted “Where is God in all the chaos?”

Lois Tverberg, one of my favorite authors, has a PhD in biology and she explains why COVID-19 is serious and what followers of Jesus can do about it.

A plague of locusts the likes of which have been unseen for over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East.”

“Fearing the end of the world, an Israeli returned a 2,000-year-old catapult stone to the City of David National Park — 15 years after he’d absconded with it.”

John DeLancey will be sharing “Stories from Israel about God’s Sovereignty & Care” in a Zoom session on Sunday, March 22, at 11 am Eastern Time. Pre-registration is required.

Free ebook: The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

In case you were wondering, the Western Wall is closed too. (Perhaps not technically, but the rabbis are issuing edicts on behalf of the Health Ministry.)

Greece has closed all of its museum and archaeological sites until March 30 because of a shortage of guards.

A study commissioned by the Museum of the Bible argues that all 16 of the “Dead Sea Scroll” fragments that they own are forgeries. National Geographic’s extensive report includes a statement by Emanuel Tov that questions that conclusion.

A student identified that a display of medieval artifacts included a sword from the Early Bronze Age.

“It Happened Here” – Life Lessons from Israel: Beersheba – this 6-minute video is #21 in the series by Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours.

The Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Their website includes a number of links to related presentations (in French).

“The Institute of Archaeology of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is very pleased to announce the establishment of The Roger and Susan Hertog Center for the Archaeological Study of Jerusalem and Judah.” Some generous scholarships for M.A., Ph.D., and post-doc programs require application by May 1.

A couple of our blog readers saw the recent post about “Israel by Foot,” and then combined a hiking trip in Galilee with a tour of Israel we recommended with John and Doro Black. They share their experiences and various travel tips on their website dubbed “The Hitched Hikers.”

Carl Rasmussen shares photos and directions to a well-preserved portion of the Herodian aqueduct three miles north of Caesarea.

Emperor Hadrian was quite the traveler, a fact illustrated in this presentation of coins from all over the Roman Empire.

Eric Cline is on The Book and the Spade this week talking about his new book, Digging Up Armageddon.

Ferrell Jenkins was allowed to take one, and only one, photo in the tomb of Rekhmire in the Valley of the Nobles in Egypt.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup

Coronavirus fears have led to a number of restrictions in Israel and the West Bank, including the closure of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the banning of all foreign tourists from hotels in the West Bank, and the quarantining of travelers arriving from certain European countries. Now Israel is talking about forbidding entrance to Americans.

The Step Pyramid, Egypt’s oldest, is open again to tourists after a long renovation. As of this writing, the homepage of ArtDaily has a number of photos from the interior (or here).

A new geochemistry analysis indicates that the “Nazareth Inscription” apparently came from the island of Kos, and not from Nazareth. The underlying study is here.

New technology is being used to determine the date and location of horse domestication in the ancient world.

The latest newsletter of the Oriental Institute is now online.

An exhibit on Tall Zirā‘a will run at the Museum of the Yarmouk University through the end of June.

King Omri is the latest subject of the archaeological biography series by Bryan Windle. In that, he links to a website for renewed excavations of Tirzah (Tell el-Farah North) that I was unaware of.

Ray Vander Laan is leading a free web-based video course beginning Monday on “The Path to the Cross.”

Carl Rasmussen visits the new museum at Troy and shares a photo of a human sacrifice depicted on a sarcophagus.

Phillip J. Long just began a “Missionary Journeys of Paul” trip through Turkey, and he is posting daily summaries (Day 1, Day 2).

The Greek City Times has a feature on Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon.

A call for papers for two sessions at SBL on the “Historical Geography of the Biblical World” ends on Wednesday.

New from Brill: The City Gate in Ancient Israel and Her Neighbors: The Form, Function, and Symbolism of the Civic Forum in the Southern Levant, by Daniel A. Frese.

William H. Shea died last month.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Explorator

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New Book on the Passion Week

A long-time colleague of mine has a new book just out this week on Jesus’s final days in Jerusalem. Will Varner has taught at The Master’s University for 24 years, and he has led more than 50 trips to Israel. His new book, Passionate about the Passion Week, offers another look at “familiar texts through a fresh lens.” That being his objective, he does not treat every event recorded in the Gospels during those days, but only those that deserve a second look. You can get an idea of his interest from some of the chapter titles:Passion-front-cover

  • The Beginning of the Via Dolorosa
  • Palm Monday?
  • How Did He Get Away with It? The Cleansing of the Temple
  • No “Garden of Gethsemane!” Is Nothing Sacred?
  • Different Viewpoints of the Resurrection

The book is enhanced by beautiful photos taken by a colleague of Varner’s who has taught at The Master’s University for decades. And it’s not me—the professor whose office is next to mine is an outstanding photographer who has many dozens of photos better than my best one. I have long been a fan of Brian Morley’s work, and I’m delighted to see some of it showcased in this book.

This book has just been released, and this is an ideal time to purchase a copy, with the events of the Passion Week coming soon. You can order the book in paperback or hardcover here. (And now on Amazon: paperback and hardcover)

The book has a number of enthusiastic endorsements, including these:

“Will Varner is an experienced and trusted guide both to the Bible and to the Holy Land. I can’t think of a better person to lead us through the Scriptures and geographical details of the final days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. This volume will both educate your mind and nourish your soul.”

Robert L. Plummer (PhD), Collin and Eveyln Aikman Professor of Biblical Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Tradition reigns during Holy Week, but with gentle prodding Will Varner pokes at what we think is true about Jesus’ final week on earth and guides us into better ways of understanding. By questioning accepted interpretations and reminding us what the biblical texts actually say, this book illuminates the most important week of human history. After you rethink your assumptions and consider new ideas, you will discover that the author’s passion for our Lord Jesus Christ has deepened your own.”

William L. Krewson (PhD), Professor, School of Divinity, Cairn University

“Your book is a masterpiece of fresh examination and insights. It is scholarly, uplifting, Christ-exalting, and God-honoring.”

Dr. Gary Cohen, Retired Seminary Professor and Army Chaplain

 

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Weekend Roundup

Happy Leap Day! See below for a photo taken on this day sixteen years ago.

Bryan Windle identifies and explains the “top three reports in biblical archaeology” for the month, including the royal estate of Horvat Tevet, the Moza temple, and the Lachish temple.

Ira Rabin believes that the ink used in writing the Dead Sea Scrolls will shed new light on these ancient manuscripts.

A historian has re-discovered a well-preserved 616-page codex of the “Writings” section of the Old Testament that dates to AD 1028. The more technical journal article is available here, and the 1905 article is available here.

Yinon Shivtiel has identified a number of the caves that Josephus fortified during the First Jewish Revolt.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features two articles making the case for competing sites for Bethsaida: et-Tell by Rami Arav and el-Araj by Steven Notley and Mordechai Aviam.

A 2,000-year-old silver dagger and its sheath has been restored to like new condition.

“Ancient Greeks had a great love and respect for their dogs, cherishing them as companions, protectors, and hunters, as evidenced by several dog tombstones discovered over the centuries.”

David Moster will be teaching a course in March on Ezra and Nehemiah for The Institute of Biblical Culture.

“Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins” is a new exhibition that opens at the Getty Villa on March 18 and runs to July 27.

New book: Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon, by Eric H. Cline

Scholars have digitized high-resolution photos taken by U-2 spy planes over the Middle East in the 1950s.

The Smithsonian has released 2.8 million images for free use, and Mark Hoffman briefly shares his experience in searching.

The icon collection for St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai is now available online.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #34 – “I will make your enemies your footstool”

Shmuel Brown shares a number of photos of the “lovely carpet of wildflowers in reds, yellows, purple and white along the shore of the Dead Sea.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Pat McCarthy, Keith Keyser, Ted Weis

Qumran area of Caves 1 and 2, tb022904796

A view of green grass below the Qumran cliffs where Cave 1 is located;
photographed on February 29, 2004

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Weekend Roundup

Israel is moving forward on plans to extend the high-speed train line to a station near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Restoration work has begun on the floor of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Two ritual baths south of Jerusalem are overflowing with water following the winter rains.

$1.3 million has been given to support marine archaeological research off Israel’s coast.

Volunteer applications are being accepted for excavations at Tell Keisan this coming September.

A BBC documentary describes the discovery of a hoard of silver decadrachm coins in Gaza, and what happened to them next.

Egypt has sentenced the brother of an ex-minister to 30 years in jail for smuggling antiquities.

Iran’s Basij Resistance Force is apparently threatening to destroy the historic tomb site of Esther and Mordecai, located in Hamedan.

Wayne Stiles was at Colossae last week and he reflects on the significance of the site and Paul’s letter to the church.

An archaeology park featuring a Roman theater is being developed in Ankara.

Debate continues over whether a skull unearthed 120 years ago near Pompeii belonged to Pliny the Elder.

Italian archaeologists have found underneath the Roman Forum an ancient shrine and sarcophagus that was likely dedicated to Romulus.

A conference on “Sheshonq (Shishak) in Palestine” will be held in Vienna on March 6-7.

Ferrell Jenkins answers questions about the six water jugs at the wedding of Cana.

Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee during Jesus’s ministry, is the subject of the latest archaeological biography by Bryan Windle.

To listen to the latest episodes on The Book and the Spade, see this page.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Explorator

Gezer Solomonic gate from northeast, mjb1902200736

This week on our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram streams we featured sites related to Israel’s kings, including this one of the gate at Gezer that was built by King Solomon’s administration.

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Canaanite Temple Discovered at Lachish

Archaeologists from Hebrew University excavating at Lachish have uncovered a temple from the Canaanite period. The full study is published in Levant, and the university has issued a press release, portions of which are excerpted here.

In a study published last month in Levant, [Yosef] Garfinkel and his co-authors revealed, for the first time ever, extensive ruins of a Canaanite temple dating to the 12th century BCE that they uncovered in National Park Tel Lachish, a large Bronze Age-era settlement near the present-day Israeli city of Kiryat Gat…

The layout of the temple is similar to other Canaanite temples in northern Israel, among them Nablus, Megiddo and Hazor.  The front of the compound is marked by two columns and two towers leading to a large hall.  The inner sanctum has four supporting columns and several unhewn “standing stones” that may have served as representations of temple gods.  The Lachish temple is more square in shape and has several side rooms, typical of later temples including Solomon’s Temple.

In addition to these archaeological ruins, the team unearthed a trove of artifacts including, bronze cauldrons, Hathor-inspired jewellery, daggers and axe-heads adorned with bird images, scarabs, and a gold-plated bottle inscribed with the name Ramses II, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs.  Near the temple’s holy of holies, the team found two bronze figurines.  Unlike the winged cherubs in Solomon’s Temple, the Lachish figurines were armed “smiting gods”.

Of particular interest was a pottery sherd engraved with ancient Canaanite script.  There, the letter “samek” appears, marked by an elongated vertical line crossed by three perpendicular shorter lines.  This makes it the oldest known example of the letter and a unique specimen for the study of ancient alphabets.

The story is currently being reported by Jewish Press and Arutz-7, with more surely to follow.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Temple at Tel Lachish_Courtesy of the Fourth Expedition to LachishJPG

Temple at Tel Lachish, courtesy of the Fourth Expedition to Lachish

Plan of the North-East Temple_Credit J. Rosenberg.

Plan of the North-East Temple, by J. Rosenberg

Letter samek, 2nd row on right, inscribed on storage jar_Credit T. Rogovski

Letter samek, 2nd row on right, inscribed on storage jar; photo by T. Rogovski

Pottery uncovered in Temple_Credit C. Amit_IAA

Pottery uncovered in temple, photo by C. Amit, IAA

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