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“New archaeological findings in the city of Yavne may shed light on the city 2,000 years ago, when it was the center of Jewish life in the region and home to the Sanhedrin.”

A lead sling stone bearing the name of a Seleucid leader who fought against the Hasmoneans was recently found in the southern Hebron Hills.”

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient glass kilns from the Roman period in the Jezreel Valley.

A Hasmonean-era oil lamp was discovered in the City of David shortly before Hanukkah began.

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer talk with Andrea Berlin about her excavations of Tel Anafa and Tel Qedesh and how that illuminates the history of the Galilee in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Gordon Govier writes about ancient seal impressions discovered through the use of wet-sifting for Christianity Today (subscription).

Israel’s Good Name reports on his visit to the Crusader ruins of Beit Itab in the Judean hills. He has also begun a new blog: Israel’s Good Bird.

Shechem is the latest site to be considered in Kyle Keimer’s “Why” series.

Jerusalem University College has announced its slate of spring online courses, including:

  • Ancient Egypt and the Biblical World, taught by Paul Wright
  • Archaeology of the Judean Shephelah, taught by Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer
  • Lessons from the Land: Applications for Teaching and Ministry, taught by John Monson
  • Physical Settings of the Bible, taught by Chandler Collins
  • The World of Jesus and His Disciples, taught by Rebecca Pettit

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

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“An ancient seal thought to belong to a Hittite prince and an ancient cuneiform tablet, both dating back over three millennia, were discovered in Turkey’s southern Hatay province.”

An iron face mask that would have been worn by an accomplished member of the Roman cavalry some 1,800 years ago has been unearthed in northern central Turkey.”

A study in the Temple of Hatshepsut reveals the production process for the reliefs, including the role of apprentices.

“Archaeologists conducting works at the Temple of Hatshepsut have made new discoveries in a subterranean tomb.”

Egypt has celebrated the reopening of the Avenue of the Sphinxes.

The Grand Egyptian Museum continues to receive artifacts, including 52 monumental pieces and 16 from King Tut’s treasures.

AramcoWorld has a series on spice migrations, including articles on ginger, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, and cinnamon.

Russia has begun the long process of restoring the ancient Arch of Triumph in Palmyra after it was destroyed by evil people.

A fortress from the empire of the Medes has been discovered in northeastern Iran.

Two spectacular gold Persian reliefs, once owned by the Shah of Iran, will be auctioned by Christies on December 8.

Greek City Times has a review of the 18 World Heritage Sites in Greece.

A 2,000-year-old mosaic that once belonged to Caligula and disappeared during World War II was recovered in New York City after it served as a coffee table for 50 years.

Italy has launched a cultural streaming platform.

The New Yorker has a feature story on the latest discoveries at Pompeii.

It’s apparently not OK for American tourists to break into the Colosseum at night to drink beer.

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

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“A rare 2,000-year-old silver shekel coin, thought to have been minted on the Temple Mount plaza from the plentiful silver reserves held there at the time, has been uncovered in Jerusalem” by an 11-year-old girl participating in a sifting operation.

A Roman game carved into the city square near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate is known as Alquerque, a kind of proto-checkers (Haaretz premium).

Archaeologists have identified six prominent characteristics of royal architecture in the Levant during the time of Israel’s kings. The underlying journal article is here.

Andrew Lawler tells the story of when rabbis entered an area under the Temple Mount through Warren’s Gate with hopes of finding the Ark of the Covenant.

Archaeologist Barak Monnickendam-Givon is interviewed on The Jerusalem Post’s Zoomcast series about archaeological evidence related to Hanukkah and the Maccabees.

Israel21c has an article on 6 archaeological discoveries related to the Maccabees.

Bryan Windle’s top three reports in biblical archaeology is out for the month of November.

For the Thanksgiving episode of The Book and the Spade, Gordon Govier shares the story of his own “life in ruins” (direct link).

Zoom lecture on Nov 30: “The Mysteries of the Ark of the Covenant,” by Thomas Christian Römer

Zoom lecture on Dec 16: “Agrippa II: – The Last of the Herods,” by David Jacobson

It looks like another Christmas in Bethlehem without tourists.

Amazon has a buy-2-get-1-free special on the ESV Archaeology Study Bible and other books.

Preserving Bible Times is shifting their resources over to a digital-only format, and now until the end of the year, they are offering their print books and CDs and DVDs at reduced prices.

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

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Archaeologists in Egypt have found proof that they are excavating a rare ancient sun temple, the third ever found and the first to be uncovered in 50 years.”

After a ten-year closure, Egypt has begun plans to restore the Aswan Museum on Elephantine Island.

Saudi Arabia has opened the Nabatean site of Hegra to foreign tourists for the first time ever. This detailed article about Petra’s little sister includes many beautiful photos.

Four known Mycenaean corbel arch bridges in the vicinity of Mycenae and Arkadiko villages in Greece are considered to be some of the world’s oldest bridges. Two of them are still in operation and have been so for at least 3,000 years.”

Lina Zeldovich has written the best article I’ve ever read on bathroom practices of ancient Romans.

Now online: “Propaganda, Power, and Perversion of Biblical Truths: Coins Illustrating the Book of Revelation,” by Gordon Franz

It is interesting to see the Tehran Times run a story about Susa without ignoring its role biblical history. (The Bible is effectively outlawed in Iran, and all websites related to the Bible, including this one, cannot be accessed.)

The Biblical Archaeology Society has announced its 2021 Publication Awards Winners.

“Holly Beers and David deSilva discuss life in the first century with Biblical World host Lynn Cohick. Holly and David both wrote novels that explore life on the ground in Ephesus, giving readers a unique opportunity to experience Paul’s world in a very personal way.”

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Andy Cook

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Archaeologists have excavated a fortress in the Shephelah of Judah that was destroyed by John Hyrcanus circa 112 BC.

The winter issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is out, and the cover story argues that the “Tomb of the Kings” was built not for Helene of Adiabene but for Herod Agrippa I whose death is recorded in Acts 12.

David Hendin talks about his life in numismatics and why he has written now six editions of his Guide to Biblical Coins.

Matti Friedman writes a feature piece for Smithsonian Magazine on the impact of excavations at Timna on scholarly reconstructions of the kingdom of Solomon.

A call for papers has been issued for The First International Academic Conference on New Studies in Temple Mount Research.

Zoom lecture on Dec 1 ($10): The Rise of the Maccabees: What Archaeology Reveals About Antiquity’s Last Independent Jewish Kingdom, by Andrea Berlin

New video: “The Archaeology of Ancient Israel: Past, Present, and Future, Part 1,” with Kyle Keimer.

“The newly launched ArchaeoTrail App allows you to create a smartphone trail for the visitors of any archaeological site around the world free of charge – including your own site.”

Matthew Adams, director of the Albright Institute in Jerusalem, is interviewed about his work at Megiddo and how archaeology has changed over the last 20 years.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Andy Cook

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Last year I alerted you to my colleague William Varner’s book on the Passion Week, and he has now completed a trilogy on the life of Christ. The second book he wrote is called Anticipating the Advent, a timely book as we begin the season where we are looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s birth.

The third book was just released last week, and it covers everything between the Advent and the Passion Week. Entitled Messiah’s Ministry: Crises of the Christ, this book offers Varner’s reflections on a lifetime of studying and teaching the life of Christ at The Master’s University. Some chapter titles will give you an idea of the uniqueness of this book’s approach:

  • Messiah and the Men of Qumran
  • Messiah in the Water
  • Messiah and Women
  • Messiah and the Goyim
  • Messiah and the Mystery Man

Those who know Dr. Varner will not be surprised by the happy juxtaposition of academic and devotional throughout the book, illustrated by each chapter’s closing with a recommended resource and a prayer.

This book will always have a special place on my shelf because of the inscription on the dedication page. Will and I have been colleagues for 25 years now, originally separated by an ocean but now by just a hallway, and I am grateful for his personal encouragement, steadfast faith, and joy in the Lord. But all readers will benefit from his careful research and keen insights into the life of Christ in this book and all three in the trilogy.

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats. The book’s foreword is written by Robert H. Gundry, and endorsements include these:

“The issues addressed by Dr. William Varner in Messiah’s Ministry relate to the credibility of Jesus’ stunning claims concerning Himself. Throughout His ministry, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah/Christ and to be God come in the flesh (Matt 16:16; John 11:27; Matt 26:63; John 20:30–31). When Paul told them about the remarkable claims and accomplishments of the Nazarene, the Bereans “searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11) and thus believed. You will be blessed to walk with Dr. Varner through some of those Old Testament Messianic anticipations which God used to impact the truth-seeking Bereans so long ago.”

Douglas Bookman, Shepherds Theological Seminary

“The best way to describe this excellent work by Dr. Varner is to point out . . . two things which are quite unique to this work. First, he covers what many other similar books cover about the Messiah being a Prophet, Priest, and King. Some of the insights in these three categories, however, are still unique to him and are worthy of consideration and study. Second, here are some new emphases that most books on the Life of Messiah simply do not cover: backgrounds from the Hebrew Scriptures and a frame of reference from rabbinic theology prevalent in first century Israel which is what the Messiah had to interact with whether it came from the Pharisees or from the Sadducees or from the Herodians. This material provides additional perspective in understanding Messiah’s person and work and points out the uniqueness of Dr. Varner’s work. This work is highly recommended, and I encourage all to read this volume as well as the other two volumes in the trilogy.”

Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Director of Ariel Ministries

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