Holy Sepulcher Virtual Tour – Free for a Few Days

I suppose I should send out a BiblePlaces Newsletter for this one, but time is short with a group arriving tomorrow and I don’t know that I will. But putting it on the blog is easy…

A month ago a friend alerted me to a new “virtual tour” of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was selling for $20 and I downloaded the demo and was impressed. But I didn’t want to spend the $20 at the moment. A few weeks later I heard that the price was down to $10 and so I went and bought it. Now I just happened to check the site again to see if the special was still on and I see the price is down to ZERO. Until Jan 2. 

You can’t beat that price. And it comes with an 89-page essay about the church written by an expert on it, Tom Powers (whom I also am happy to count a friend).

I know that if you’re a Protestant, the church probably doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies. But it probably is built on the actual place of the crucifixion and burial, and it certainly is an interesting and historic building.

It’s free here. Until Jan 2 Jan 8.


Pool of Siloam: Dec 05 update

Paleojudaica points to a new article in Haaretz on the Pool of Siloam. It’s basically an update of things since the last big reporting in August. There are a few new things of note, which I may or may not have mentioned here before. This includes:

  • The discovery of the 1st century street near the pool. For those of you who know, they found this street in the excavations underneath the road/path that runs between the old pool and the garden which covers the new pool. The archaeologist told me that he would like to reveal the entire length of the road from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. I told him he was crazy. Unless he is thinking of digging a tunnel underneath all of those houses. Then he’s still crazy :-).
  • The recovery of “cylinder seals.” This is clarified in a post to the ANE list that the Hebrew original has “seals and bullae.” (Bullae are seal impressions.) The archaeologist told me that these date to the 9th century and do not contain personal names (as do most of the bullae found in Area G, dating to the early 6th century B.C.). The importance of these seals, if they date to anything before the mid-8th century, is that they will give evidence of an administrative center in Jerusalem at that time. Many scholars reject the biblical evidence for that, and there’s not much else evidence for it outside the Bible. The article doesn’t say, but I can tell you that these seals were found around buildings which were constructed inside the Middle Bronze pool, which is just to the north of the Gihon Spring and protected by the Pool Tower. That’s the area shown in this photo.

Boy, here’s a line that I can’t believe. At least it wasn’t true a few weeks ago. “Garbage is being collected on a regular basis.” Or maybe they’re collecting the garbage, but they just can’t get the residents to understand that they have to put it in those large containers.

UPDATE: The Hebrew version of the article has a photo montage which shows some of the seals.


My New Website

Three years ago I started a new project. One year ago I started a new website for this same project. Today it is “done.”

Entitled Life in the Holy Land . com , this website is the historic counterpart to BiblePlaces.com. Whereas BiblePlaces.com give you the here and now, LifeintheHolyLand.com gives you the there and then.

Take a look. There’s a lot there, and I hope that it will provide both for fun browsing and for help in research.

There is more to come, but we’re launching it with five major regional categories (Galilee, Jerusalem, Judah, Lebanon, Egypt) and three cultural categories (Bible Illustrated, Peoples of the Holy Land, Way of Life). Altogether there are about 100 pages and 400 illustrations. I think it is unique in the internet. There are sites with tons of thumbnail pictures and no explanations, and other sites with entire books but no pictures, but this combines the best of both.

Many thanks to Seth Rodriquez for countless hours of work in putting this together. It took the two of us all of 2005 (with breaks for work, school, and the like :-)). David Niblack created the design.

So you, the fine readers of this blog, know first. I’m thinking about a way to promote the site, by giving a way a free CD to anyone who puts a link on their website (or gets one on someone else’s site). That would include blogs. If you’re interested, send me 1) the website; 2) your CD of choice; any one you like from any of my work; if you think you already have them all, ask for something special and I’ll see what I can do; 3) your address. My email address is tbolen23 at bibleplaces.com.