Recommended Articles and Guide

My friend Tom Powers is something of an independent scholar and I was happy to note recently that he has made several of his studies available online.  His ground-breaking article on the ossuary of Simon of Cyrene (who carried Jesus’ cross) was published by the Biblical Archaeology Society, which is quite a notable feat for one not formally trained as an archaeologist.  A version of that article, and a recent follow-up, is available at Tom’s site.  Among others, Tom has posted:

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Some Perspectives from History, Geography, Architecture, Archaeology and the Holy Scriptures – this is an extensive article on the history of the church.  If you have only one hour and want to get the story of the church, this is highly recommended.

The Ancient Aqueduct System of Jerusalem – Tom and I spent a full day recently tracing various aqueducts south of Solomon’s Pools.  They are more fascinating (and better preserved!) than you imagine.  Tom’s study synthesizes some of the more difficult and expensive works on the subject.

Horatio & Anna Spafford and Jerusalem’s American Colony – I read this several years ago and asked Tom if I could put it online so that others could read it.  I am happy to see that it now is available for all.

I should note that Tom is a trained tour guide living in Israel, and his knowledge is voluminous.  I could relate some anecdotes to illustrate that, but I’ll suffice with saying that I’m happy to recommend both his articles and his guiding.


5 thoughts on “Recommended Articles and Guide

  1. My boy Blackstone stayed with the Spaffords in 1891 right after Horatio died. He met Warren and other notables during that time.

    BTW, I don’t know if it is of interest at all, but Blackstone also had a personal tour by Dr. Robert Koldeway of his excavations in Iraq.

  2. Todd — I love your blog! I’ve said that in several previous posts, and I’ll keep saying it 🙂

    On your recommendation I just read Tom Powers’ article on the Holy Sepulchre. I have mixed feelings about it — they are mixed because I find myself needing to give up a cherished little belief — that the Garden Tomb was the correct place. I’m sad to say that, for the years I’ve been living here, I’ve always been glad to disdain that creepy, dark, medieval edifice, with its swooning babushkas and crabby Ethiopian/Armenian/whatever tomb-keepers, and look to this beautiful garden as the right place. But I don’t think this is a tenable position after reading Tom’s excellent article. However …. it does also bring in a sense of excitement that this really might have been The Place!

    Can you devote a short day’s blogging to the Garden Tomb vs. Holy Sepulchre things some time? It might be useful — I bet most of your readers are evangelicals, and we evangelicals are very predisposed toward the Garden…

  3. I thing the reason Protestants have attracted themselves to the Garden Tomb is for two reasons:

    1. It is a beautiful setting in which you can actually see a tomb. I think this is how we imagine Jesus’ tomb to look like.

    2. Since the Romans and Easterns control the CHS so completely, we feel a bit shut out that location.

    That said, the Garden Tomb has little to support it. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor suggests that it is from the 9-7th C BC. Others suggest Byzantine (it did seem to be used some in that period). It looks like the doorframe had hinges for door and was not closed by a rolling stone. If you visit other 1C AD tombs, you see that this tomb looks nothing like them.

    The burial couches seem to have been cut down in the Byzantine period, which leaves us guessing what the tomb looked like before that. But, the only thing that connects this tomb to Jesus is the fact that Charles Gordon had a dream, telling him this was the place. Otherwise, it’s just one of a thousand tombs in the Jerusalem area.

    That is not to say the CHS is a slam dunk either. Remember, probably not too long after Jesus’ death, this area may have been filled in and become a part of the city. Later, after the dual destructions of the city in 70AD and 135AD, the area was again built over and covered with a pagan temple. 200 years later, Queen Helena was told where the site of the crucifixion was, tore down the temple, excavated the site and picked one particular tomb from a hillside that seems to have had many, and called it Jesus’ tomb.

    It’s just that the CHS has more of the accepted archaeological elements going for it than any other.

    I think if you spend a little time in it, early in the morning and without the push and shove of a tour group, the place grows on you. Sit back in the Syrian Chapel and look at the two 1st century burial niches and you begin to get at least a small feel for this place as a graveyard.

  4. Hey, I remember tracing the aqueducts to Solomon’s pools. Even though it was seemingly less scenic or even exciting than other trips it is one of my favorite memories from Israel.

  5. I just would like to commend your wonderful site, very educational and graphic. It is my first time to come in, led from an article from http://ucg.org, of which I am a member.

    I wish I can afford your complete CDs…but I can’t afford even one. (I’m from the 3rd world Philippines.) I’ve seen the tour and it was soooo lovely…

    I’ll be back to gnaw on your other pages… 🙂

    More power!

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