2019 Conference for the Institute of Biblical Context

Signups are now open for this summer’s Institute of Biblical Context conference. I’ve been at this conference the last two years, and the response has been extremely positive. The Institute of Biblical ContextI don’t know anything else like this where all the sessions are devoted to unpacking the meaning of biblical passages using historical, geographical, literary, and archaeological insights. I plan to be there again this year and I recommend it to all of my readers.

You can read all of the details on the official website, but I’ll quickly note some highlights here. The theme this year is “The
Last Days of Jesus,” and they’ll be looking closely at events from the Passion Week. Scheduled talks include:

  • Triumphal Entry
  • Cleansing the Temple
  • Cursing the Fig Tree
  • What’s Up with Judas
  • Trials before Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Antipas
  • Barabbas
  • Flogging and Method of Crucifixion
  • Tearing of the Curtain

One thing that people like is that the presentations are shorter, which means that the speaker gets right to the main points, and they can pack more subjects in. Some favorite speakers from the past are returning, and there are several new additions as well. I always find that the speakers are extremely well-prepared, and their presentations are packed with great visuals.

The conference is held in Zeeland in western Michigan, which is beautiful and warm in June. You can download the conference brochure here, and the early bird price is available until April 10. I think the conference is a great investment, and an additional bonus is to meet up with like-minded people who love learning about the Bible and its world.


Weekend Roundup

Researchers have constructed kilns to determine how iron was smelted in ancient Israel. (Haaretz premium)

New research has identified where refugees fleeing Mount Vesuvius’s eruption later settled.

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art will return a recently purchased gold-gilded Egyptian coffin that turned out to be looted.

$55 million will be invested to renovate several sites in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, including the Burnt House, the Wohl Archaeological Museum, and the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue.

A new museum will join the complex of tourist attractions at Latrun, this one honoring Jews who fought in WWII.

The Madaba Plains Project is celebrating 50 years of archaeological work in central Jordan.

Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and other antiquities sites in Libya are being neglected and vandalized since the fall of Gaddafi.

“Israel is hundreds of years overdue for a massive earthquake,” writes Ruth Schuster (Haaretz premium).

Sebastian Fink explains the significance of salt in ancient Mesopotamia.

Wayne Stiles: “The Judean Wilderness illustrates the greener grass we envy.”

Ferrell’s photo of the week is of the Appian Way that Paul traveled as he approached Rome.

Mark Barnes explains why Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, with reference to the ministries of Elijah and Elisha.

Kings of Israel is a board game taking place in Israel (the Northern Kingdom) during the reign of its kings up until Israel’s destruction by Assyria. Players are on a team, with each person representing a line of prophets…” BibleX has a list of other Christian board games.

The Institute of Biblical Culture’s new course in March, “Daily Life in Ancient Israel,” will cover topics like agriculture, the calendar, tribalism, and lifecycles.

The topic of the Tyndale House Conference 2019 is “Exploring the Old Testament and Its World.”

HT: Agade, Ted Weis


Weekend Roundup

“A Ptolemaic workshop for boat construction and repair has been uncovered in the Sinai Peninsula.”

Six Old Kingdom mastaba tombs, two Old Kingdom shaft tombs and one rock-cut tomb with multiple burials that were previously unknown were discovered last month by the Qubbet El-Hawa Research Project (QHRP) in Aswan.”

Archaeologists working in Pompeii on Valentine’s Day found a fresco of Narcissus.

Construction work on the new subway in Rome has led to discoveries of military barracks and an ancient home.

An Israeli tour guide discovered a rare Bar Kochba coin while hiking near Lachish.

Haaretz premium: “A recent article by Dr. Milka Levy-Rubin . . . says the Dome of the Rock was built in order to restore Jerusalem’s place on the regional map of holy sites, not vis a vis Mecca, but rather as a rival to Constantinople, the Byzantine capital.”

The January 2019 issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is now online.

Federica Spagnoli provides a history of the pomegranate in the ancient Near East.

“The Schloss Karlsruhe Museum [in Karlsruhe, Germany] is hosting the largest exhibition ever held on Mycenaean Greece’s cultural history.”

James Hoffmeier: What was Atenism and why did it fail?

The Washington Post shares some of Kevin Bubriski’s photographs taken in Syria before the civil war broke out.

John DeLancey has announced an Israel tour that includes a sign-language interpreter. He also recently posted a 5-minute video on Life Lessons from the Elah Valley that includes some drone footage.

Shmuel Browns shares some photos he took at the Dead Sea at sunrise.

Ferrell’s favorite photos this week are of the Garden of Gethsemane and Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle


Weekend Roundup

An inscription written in the Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian languages has been discovered at Naqshe-Rustam, the royal necropolis of Persepolis.

Work on the sewer system in Kition, Cyprus, keeps revealing ancient remains from the Classical and Roman periods.

A decade of restoration work of King Tut’s tomb has been completed. The History Channel has many photos.

The vase that the British Museum realized was a mace is in fact a vase.

The BBC reports on several women whose interest in archaeology began with a childhood fascination with mummies.

Eisenbrauns is running a sale of 30-50% off of titles in the Duke Judaic Studies and Sepphoris Archaeological Report series.

Beit Shemesh and Kiriath Yearim are the subjects of discussion in this week’s The Book and the Spade.

Shmuel Browns shares several photos he took along the Alon Road in eastern Samaria.

If you have been to Israel before, answer a few quick questions to help Wayne Stiles as he puts together a video series to help travelers prepare for a Holy Land Tour.

It’s a slow week, so here’s a bonus quotation:

“My definition of archaeology, shared with students during almost forty years of teaching historical geography, is that archaeology is the science of digging a square hole and the art of spinning a yarn from it” (Anson Rainey, “Stones for Bread: Archaeology versus History.” Near Eastern Archaeology 64 (2001): 140.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A tomb containing 50 mummies from the Ptolemaic era has been discovered in Minya, south of Cairo.

The latest documentary produced by Bible Passages is “The Power of Jesus in Galilee.” The 22-minute video was filmed on location.

The world’s first film in the Babylonian language has been released.

The latest video from the British Museum explains an Assyrian relief that depicts a battle with Elam.

In an 8-minute video, Luke Chandler explains Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah using the reliefs in the British Museum.

Carl Rasmussen is leading a tour that follows in the footsteps of Paul from his shipwreck on Malta to his martyrdom in Rome.

Now is the time to sign up for a summer excavation in Israel, including at Gath.

Lamia Al-Gailani Werr, one of Iraq’s first female archaeologists, died recently.

HT: Agade, Steven Anderson, Ted Weis


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Researchers are trying to understand the significance of triangles incised on the inside rims of basalt bowls from the Chalcolithic period.

A student on a school trip found a coin in Nahal Shiloh with the words “Agrippa King” inscribed on it.

The Washington Post reports on the excavations and controversy related to the first-century road that runs from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered tombs from the Second Intermediate Period in the Nile Delta.

Writing in The Ancient History Bulletin, Katherine Hall proposes that Alexander the Great died from Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Nir Hasson explains the background of the Shivta exhibit at the Hecht Museum (Haaretz premium).

Meet the priest who has taken care of the Church of Jacob’s Well in Nablus for the last 60 years.

Israel’s Good Name writes about his field trip to Nahal Rash’ash in eastern Samaria.

There are 28 days in February and 28 chapters in Acts, so we’ve decided to do a month-long tour of the book. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle