The big story of the week was that a stone in the Western Wall came crashing down near the prayer area by Robinson’s Arch. There’s a video here. The whole wall is a “danger zone” and no one should be allowed near, says Zachi Dvira. The public needs to do some serious “soul searching,” insists one rabbi. No need to worry, says a geologist.
A crane has now removed this fallen stone. Joseph Lauer remarks, “In watching the videos showing the stone’s removal by the special crane, imagine what it took 2,000 years ago to place that stone and all of the other ones in the Wall.
Before the stone fell, archaeologist Dan Bahat petitioned Israel’s supreme court to halt construction of the egalitarian prayer area here.
The archaeologist directing the dig at el-Araj believes that the case for identifying it as Bethsaida is strengthened by the discovery of a reliquary, which may not be a reliquary, but which may just as well be the reliquary of Peter, Philip, and Andrew, at the Church of the Apostles. The stone box was discovered in the debris of a 19th-century house at the site (Haaretz premium).
Marc Turnage is interviewed by OnScript about his participation in the excavations of el-Araj (Bethsaida?).
Researchers are bringing the ancient city of Beit Lehi in the Shephelah to life by launching a digital guide to this restricted-access archaeological site. (Did the archaeologist really say that this site is a “gold mine”?!)
Walking the Text (with Brad Gray) began a new series on Zacchaeus, focusing this week on the background of the story and including many photos of the geographical context.
The Institute of Biblical Culture is now offering free study groups in several areas, including
Inscriptions from Ancient Israel, Dead Sea Scrolls, The Book of Jonah, and more. All study groups are live and online.
HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick, Lois Tverberg