Resources on the Temple and Temple Mount

I was asked recently if I had a recommendation for a good book on the Temple Mount. I love easy questions! Here’s the short answer:

And here’s a slightly longer answer if you’re not sure which book of Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer to start with:
The Quest: Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This is the reference book that describes the sacred compound through the centuries. I doubt it will ever be surpassed. (I see that at the moment, Amazon has it for sale at more than 50% off.)

Image result for leen ritmeyer quest

Jerusalem: The Temple Mount. This newer Carta Guide is a quick and easy read that you can use to walk yourself around the complex. (You might not be allowed to carry it on the mount itself, but you can do what I did and read it first and take notes of what to look for.) This guide is full of fascinating details you probably will never learn otherwise.

Image result for leen ritmeyer temple mount guide

In addition to these two, Carta Jerusalem has published a number of shorter, subject-specific books that cost about $15 each. All are full-color and filled with the beautiful reconstructions that the Ritmeyers are known for.

Understanding the Holy Temple of the Old Testament (2017)

Jerusalem in the Time of Nehemiah (2nd ed., 2015)

Jerusalem in the Year 30 AD (2nd ed., 2015)

Understanding the Holy Temple Jesus Knew (2017)

The Ritual of the Temple in the Time of Christ (2015)

Several of these books are available in Accordance. (I don’t see any available from Logos or Olive Tree at present.)

If you’re looking for beautiful images to use in personal study and teaching, check out the Image Library of Ritmeyer Archaeological Design for a large selection of unique images at very reasonable prices.


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Biblical Archaeology Society has announced its 2017 Publication Awards.

Chris McKinny and Itzhaq Shai explain how they have implemented PlanGrid as a digital field registration system at Tel Burna.

New evidence reveals how the Egyptians transported limestone and granite along the Nile River in order to build the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Ferrell Jenkins notes some of the latest books published by Carta.

Josette Elayi writes about “Sargon II, ‘King of the World’” at The Bible and Interpretation.

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit that has been touring the country goes to Denver in March.

Carl Rasmussen has written two posts this week on the island of Patmos: The Monastery of Saint John and A Fortress on Patmos.

“Staircases, richly decorated walls and important artifacts are among the findings of this past season’s excavations at the extensive and complex Minoan palace of Zominthos.”

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project has found 60 ancient ships, dating from 4 B.C. to the 8th A.D., with many of them well preserved because of the anoxic conditions at the bottom of the ocean.

The Bryn Mawr Classical Review reviews Graffiti from the Basilica in the Agora of Smyrna.

The Vatican will analyze bones allegedly from St Peter that were discovered in the Church of Santa Maria in Capella in Rome.

HT: Charles Savelle, Agade, Ted Weis


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The biblical Feast of Trumpets, usually observed now as the Jewish New Year, was celebrated on Thursday. Ferrell Jenkins shares some photos of the ram’s horn.

With the ending of year 5777, the Temple Mount Sifting Project identifies the “top 10 topics” over the past year.

Ferrell Jenkins explains how Dr. James Turner Barclay is honored in the Cathedral of St. George in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Good Name describes his experience on the Horvat Midras excavation.

The re-dating of the Gihon Spring fortifications is the topic on this week’s edition of The Book and the Spade.

The latest issue of Tel Aviv includes an article on the “Monumentality of Iron Age Jerusalem Prior to the 8th Century BCE.”

There have been a number of wolf attacks in the Judean wilderness in recent months. The article includes a video of a wolf chasing a young ibex.

“Dr. Scott Stripling and Dr. Craig Evans headline the upcoming Text and Trowel symposium on archaeology and the Bible at the University of Pikeville on Oct. 20-21, 2017.”

HT: Agade


2018 Institute of Biblical Context Conference

I wanted to give you a heads-up on next summer’s Institute of Biblical Context conference in Zeeland, Michigan, on June 11-13, 2018. The focus this year will be on “Shepherds, Sheep, and Shepherding.” That is such a rich and glorious topic in the Scriptures (far beyond Psalm 23!). The speakers will be pulling it apart every which way and you’ll leave knowing far more than you ever knew there was to know.

I had the privilege of being at the first annual conference this past June and it was fantastic. I’ve never been with so many speakers or participants who were so excited about biblical geography, archaeology, history, and everything that goes into biblical context. The speakers were all very well prepared, and the sessions were outstanding. I highly recommend it.

Registration is not yet open, but now is the time to put it on your calendar. (I expect registration will take place here beginning in a few months.)

The Institute of Biblical Context


Weekend Roundup

Israel’s Tourism Ministry has approved construction of 4-mile-long cable car line connecting Upper Nazareth and the lower slopes of Mount Tabor.

Tomb raiders have vandalized the Judean desert fortress of Hyrcania.

Reader’s Digest suggests 10 sites (mostly eateries) to visit in Israel that you (probably) have never heard of before.

Leave it to Wayne Stiles to figure out a way to make good use of my photos of Horeshat Tal (and make an important application).

“All the stone inscriptions from ancient Athens in UK collections are to be presented in English translations for the first time, thanks to a new project undertaken by Cardiff University.”

The aim of Israel’s Academy of the Hebrew Language’s Historical Dictionary Project is to document and define every Hebrew word ever used.

The Times of Israel reports on Lawrence Mykytiuk’s study that confirms the historical existence of 53 individuals mentioned in the Old Testament.

The New York Metropolitan Museum has acquired a rare gold gilded Egyptian coffin from the 1st century BC.
David Moster will be lecturing on “Etrog: How a Chinese Export Became a Jewish Fruit” at Columbia University on Tuesday, 9/19.

Steven Notley will be lecturing on “Unearthing Bethsaida-Julias: Has the City of the Apostles been Found?” at Nyack College on September 28.

Aren Maeir has posted the schedule for the 11th annual conference on “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Region,” to be held Oct 18-20.

Charles E. Jones’s “Working Bibliography of Autobiographies” continues to grow.

Bible Story Map has released a new resource: Bible Story Places, a series of 12 posters of sites including Jericho, Valley of Elah, Mt. Sinai, and the Sea of Galilee.

Individual books in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, are available for Kindle for $4.99 until tomorrow.
HT: Charles Savelle, Ted Weis, Agade

New Book: 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms

Charles Dyer’s new book brings together two of my passions: the book of Psalms and the land of Israel. 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional is an attractive, compact, hardcover book that walks the reader through 30 psalms by showing how a knowledge of the land clarifies and deepens one’s understanding of the Psalter.

In 30 days, you’ll read 30 psalms. Many of the psalms chosen are favorites for those who have spent time in Israel and Jerusalem, including 1, 22, 23, 46, 48, 84, 118, 122, 125, and 133. Each day’s meditation has one or more photos and concludes with an application.
Image result for 30 days in land psalms dyer
I’ve chosen two of his meditations to give you a sense for what you’ll read.

Psalm 84 is the psalm of “the grateful pilgrim.” Dyer explains that this pilgrim is moved not primarily by the beauty of the temple buildings, but by the God who lives there. The “highways” are those that lead to God’s house, and the “valley of Baca” is a reference to the transformation of the traveler’s sorrow to joy. The conclusion underscores the impact of the pilgrim’s journey: “One day in the Lord’s courts is better than a thousand outside.”

Psalm 122 focuses on “the peace of Jerusalem,” and Dyer shows how David’s focus is on God’s selection of the city where the Lord would dwell visibly among his people. David called on the people to pray for both peace and security in Jerusalem so that they could continue to gather before the Lord. Dyer concludes by providing two ways that we can pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

You can see more in Amazon’s “read inside” feature. Here is the endorsement I wrote for the book:

For the best tour of the Holy Land, you need the right guide. In this virtual tour through the biblical land of the Psalms, Charles Dyer is a trustworthy guide, providing sound Bible teaching backed by his immense knowledge of modern and ancient Israel. He provides a feast for the senses as he leads the reader from Mount Hermon through the arid wilderness and up to Jerusalem. This beautiful companion will open up the Psalms to readers in many fresh and delightful ways.

I particularly recommend this devotional to people who have been to Israel and want to go back, as well as to those who love the Psalms and want to understand them better.

Dyer has a related book that I have not read, but that you might want to take a look at: 30 Days in the Land with Jesus: A Holy Land Devotional. Either one would make a nice gift.


Weekend Roundup, Part 3

Archaeologists have learned a lot in the first season of a renewed expedition to Masada, but they’re not saying much yet.

The tomb of an 18th-Dynasty goldsmith has been discovered on Luxor’s West Bank.

“Excavations at an ancient mound in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri shed light on writing from around 2,000 B.C.

The Plutonium of Hierapolis is being restored so that it can be opened to tourists next year.

The ancient stadium of Laodicea is being restored.

Scholars are using new technology to read palimpsests at St. Catherine’s Monastery.

Israel’s Good Name describes two recent field trips to the Sorek Stalactite Caves and to Tel Burna.

After years of delay, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open two months from today.

HT: Explorator, Agade


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Haaretz reports on Steven Fine’s study that the reliefs of the Arch of Titus were originally painted in full color.

“The Arch of Titus – From Jerusalem to Rome and Back” is a new exhibition opening this week at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

Have scientists discovered the body of Pliny the Elder?

Scientists at a university in Rome have determined what causes ancient parchments to develop purple spots and deteriorate. The journal article is here.

Mark Hoffman has created a list of free online Bible resource sites and downloadable Bible apps and programs.

Carl Rasmussen explains that the apostle Paul visited the area of modern Albania, probably on the Via Egnatia.

The Biblical Archaeology Society has a new streaming video site, with a 75%-off introductory offer.

The deadlines are approaching for many funded fellowships at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem.

Letters from Baghdad will be screened at the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago on October 11.

The event is free, but registration is required.

Now free (pdf): The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Now free (pdf): The City of Ebla: A Complete Bibliography of Its Archaeological and Textual Remains. (Click the small pdf icon to download).

Early reviews of Lois Tverberg’s forthcoming book are very positive, including my own.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The discovery of a Neolithic model of a clay silo from Tel Tsaf is leading scholars to rethink the history of food storage.

Gabriel Barkay recently gave a tour of the Temple Mount to members of the US Congress.

John DeLancey is blogging about his Israel tour, and on Wednesday he took his group to el-Araj, a candidate for New Testament Bethsaida.

Students from Oakland University involved in the Lachish expedition this summer gained knowledge and experience.

Shmuel Browns shares some photos of sinkholes at the Dead Sea.

The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society has posted its schedule of fall lectures.

If you’re not familiar with Solomon’s failure in establishing his 12 administrative districts, take a look at Wayne Stiles’s post and map.

I’ve been waiting for Craig Keener’s four-volume commentary on Acts to be available in digital format, and Accordance has it first, and at a great introductory sale price.

Accordance also has a sale on the NICOT and NICNT bundle at about half of what I paid for it on Logos.

Phillip J. Long has written the first full-length review of the Photo Companion to the Bible.

Two of my favorite Bible teachers, both born in 1928, died this week: Stanley Toussaint (DTS) and Robert Thomas (TMS).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade


Dozens of Bullae Discovered in City of David

Several dozen seal impressions have been discovered in excavations in the City of David. These bullae date to the period after the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC and the archaeologists suggest that the names on them may belong to refugees who immigrated to Jerusalem at that time.

The IAA press release is here, and the story is reported in a number of news sources. The Times of Israel incorporates many photographs and one video into its story.

The dozens of clay imprints were used on letters and documents which were bound by string and sealed by wet clay pressed with the sender’s mark or name. The impressive trove was discovered at recent digs uncovering three Late Iron Age buildings frozen in time by the destruction caused by the 586 BCE Babylonian siege. The discovery was made by a team of Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists led by co-directors Dr. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf.
Among the dozens of bullae is a rare find of an intact sealing, bearing the name “Ahiav ben (son of) Menahem,” referring to two kings of Israel but found in the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, Jerusalem.
According to co-director Ortal Chalaf, these Israelite names and other findings point to the possibility that after the destruction of Israel, refugees fled the Kingdom of Israel for the Kingdom of Judah, and settled in Jerusalem. After settling, the use of their names on official correspondence shows that these Israelites gained important roles in the Judaean administration, said Uziel.
“These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration,” according to the two co-directors.

The full story is here.