I just stumbled across an Amazon listing for Carl Rasmussen’s revised edition of the (now titled) Zondervan Atlas of the Bible.  I’ve long used and recommended Rasmussen’s first edition (NIV Atlas of the Bible, 1989) and have no doubt that the second will be even better.  It does seem that the publishers could have chosen a more appropriate cover photo for a Bible atlas than an image of the Nabatean tombs at Petra.  Amazon has it for pre-order for $26, with a scheduled release of March 2010.


The University of Haifa has announced some discoveries from its 2009 season of excavations at Hippos/Sussita, reported in a press release (Hebrew) and in an English article in Ha’aretz

Remains of an ancient cult to the goddess of love have come to light in the southern Golan Heights site of Susita.
At the site, on a 350 meter-high-plateau overlooking the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, archaeologists found a cache of three figurines of Aphrodite (whom the Romans called Venus), dating back about 1,500 years. The figurines, made of clay, are about 30 centimeters tall. They depict the nude goddess standing, with her right hand covering her private parts – a type of statue scholars call “modest Venus.”

I’m personally more interested in another find, described at the conclusion of the article:

Another special find at Susita is an odeon – a small, roofed theater-like structure with seats for about 600 people, uncovered for the first time in Israel, according to the excavators. They said such structures were fairly common in the Roman period and were used for the reading of poetry and musical presentations to a select audience, in contrast to theaters, which could seat around 4,000 people.

The claim that this is the first odeon discovered in Israel is not true; another has been excavated at Aphek/Antipatris (NEAEH 1: 71, with photo).

The press release includes several photos.

HT: Joe Lauer


The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Set: Old Testament is scheduled to be released in November. This five-volumeZondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Set set provides textual and pictorial commentary on every book of the Old Testament. Edited by John H. Walton, the set is 3,000 pages long and includes more than 2,000 photographs. I have not yet seen it advertised, so I thought I’d mention it here. Amazon currently has the best price at $157 (list: $250). The New Testament set came out in 2002.

UPDATE (8/26): The Koinonia blog (Zondervan) has been running a series of excerpts from this series since January.