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“A team of archaeologists in north-west the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has uncovered the earliest evidence of dog domestication by the region’s ancient inhabitants.”

“Italian art police recovered a 1st century Roman statue that had been looted from an archaeological site nearly a decade ago after off-duty officers spotted it in an antique shop in Belgium.”

Rebekah Welton looks at excessive and deviant consumption in the Bible, particularly with reference to the rebellious son in Deuteronomy 21.

Now online: “Learning historical geography and archaeology in Israel with Chris McKinny, Part 4.”

Webinar on April 18: “Will the Real Bar Kochba Please Stand Up,” with Isaiah Gafni.

Webinar on April 21: “The Queens of Ancient Nimrud,” with Amy Gansell and Helen Malko.

Webinar on April 29: “Pandemics in Antiquity and Beyond,” with Kyle Harper, Calloway Brewster Scott, and Hunter Gardener.

Virtual workshop on May 4: “Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World,” hosted by the Albright Institute.

NYU Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies is sponsoring a 4-day virtual conference, “The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Second Public Conference” on June 6-9.

New book: Jerusalem II: Jerusalem in Roman-Byzantine Times, edited by Katharina Heyden and Maria Lissek, published by Mohr Siebeck, €154.

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser, Alexander Schick, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle

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“Archaeologists digging in the ancient Canaanite settlement of Lachish have unearthed a 3,500 year old pottery shard inscribed with what they believe is the oldest text found in Israel that was written using an alphabetic script” (Haaretz; Times of Israel; Daily Mail; underlying journal article)

Israel’s Good Name shares his latest adventure traipsing around the fields and reservoir of Zorah (Tzora) near Beth Shemesh in search of birds and more.

Haaretz premium: “The Eshkol Forest provides a bird’s-eye view of the Jordan Valley” and Sea of Galilee.

The Israel Antiquities Authority archive is preserving and digitizing materials from the British Mandate era. The site includes lots of documents and photos, mostly in English.

Zoom lecture on April 26: “New Discoveries from the Judaean Desert Caves,” by Eitan Klein, co-director of the Judaean Desert Cave Archaeological Project.

A new episode produced by the City of David YouTube channel features the silver amulets discovered at Ketef Hinnom (2 min).

Writing for Christianity Today, Kelsa Graybill describes five ways biblical geography shapes our view of God’s mission. Kelsa also has a new podcast with recent episodes on the Sorek Valley, the Hill Country of Judah, and Between Gerizim and Ebal.

We have just released 2 Samuel in the Photo Companion to the Bible series. This resource is recommended by Luke Chandler, Carl Rasmussen, Charles Savelle, and others. There is a $50 discount for a few more days.

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser, Alexander Schick, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle

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A “lost city” from the time of Amenhotep III has been discovered near Luxor. “After seven months of excavations, several neighborhoods have been uncovered, including a bakery complete with ovens and storage pottery, as well as administrative and residential districts.” The excavating team is hailing it as the “second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun.”

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo opened on April 3, and Luxor Times has posted a 30-minute walking tour.

NPR has posted a number of photos of the spectacle dubbed “The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade.”

Hikers in the northwestern Negev discovered a rare Egyptian scarab amulet dating to the 9th–8th centuries BC.

500 caves have been excavated in the Judean wilderness in recent years, and it is estimated that it will take 2-3 years to finish what remains.

William A. Ross looks at what the recent Dead Sea Scrolls discovery means for Septuagint studies.

A bronze tablet from Yemen dating to the 1st century BC mentions a temple dedicated to a previously unknown god.

Visitors can now take a virtual tour of Baalbek that shows the site as it looks today as well as at its height in the Roman period.

Carl Rasmussen shares several photos of a well-preserved but seldom-visited portion of the Diolkos near Corinth.

April 13, 8:30 pm (Eastern): Steve Austin will be giving a special session on “Climate Change, Dead Sea Mud & Bible Chronology.” Registration is required, and the session will not be recorded.

April 14, 8:00 pm (Eastern): Lawrence Schiffman will be speaking about the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls.

April 14, 8:00 pm (Eastern): Beth Alpert Nakhai will be speaking on “The Real Lives of Women in Biblical Times.” Registration costs $7.

Thomas E. Levy provides a summary of William G. Dever’s life as recounted in his recently published autobiography.

Brunilde Ridgway’s review of John Boardman’s A Classical Archaeologist’s Life: The Story So Far: An Autobiography provides a good summary of an extraordinarily productive life.

“During the next three years, RINBE will create a complete and authoritative modern presentation of the entire corpus of the royal inscriptions of the six kings of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in print and in a fully annotated (linguistically tagged), open-access digital format.” Some is already available, including a pdf of The Royal Inscriptions of Amēl-Marduk (561–560 BC), Neriglissar (559–556 BC), and Nabonidus (555–539 BC), Kings of Babylon (Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Empire 2), by Frauke Weiershäuser and Jamie Novotny (and for sale here).

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

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I should note at the outset that the title of this post is incorrect, for there is no book with such a name. But therein lies an important reason for writing this post in the first place: English readers are not apt to discover a book entitled Uncovering Sefer Yirmiyahu when searching for commentaries and writings on Jeremiah.

The author is Rabbi Yehuda Landy, a former neighbor of mine in the Judean hill country, though we did not meet then and have not since. But I stumbled across his excellent book on Purim and the Persian Empire (recommended if you’re studying Esther), and somehow we got connected by email, and he alerted me to his new book on Jeremiah. That was good, because I wouldn’t have found it by searching Amazon for Jeremiah.

Uncovering Sefer Yirmiyahu: An Archaeological, Geographical, Historical  Perspective: Rabbi Yehuda Landy: 9781680254075: Amazon.com: Books

According to the book jacket, the series is intended for the “Jewish reading public,” and that explains why the title is (partly) in Hebrew. But the subtitle reveals why this book is of interest to this audience: “An Archaeological, Geographical, Historical Perspective.” Readers, pastors, and teachers who want to go beyond a standard text commentary will learn much from this book about the sites, material culture, and historical background of this prophetic text.

The basic facts of the book are these: hardcover, 390 full-color pages, lavishly illustrated with photos and maps, published by Halpern Center Press in Jerusalem, $35 on Amazon. The Hebrew edition was published in 2015; the English edition is somewhat revised and was published in 2019. The author is a rabbi, Israeli tour guide, and a PhD candidate at Bar Ilan University, in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology.

The 75 chapters are divided into two sections. The first section provides a historical review with chapter titles such as:

  • Jerusalem in the Days of Jeremiah
  • The Spiritual State of the Jewish People at the Time of Josiah
  • Archaeological Evidence of Pharaoh Necho’s Campaign
  • Nebuchadnezzar Arrives at Jerusalem to Suppress the Rebellion of Jehoiakim
  • The Exile of Jehoiachin
  • The Judean Exiles in Babylonia
  • (Note: I’ve anglicized the names here. See below.)

The second half goes through Jeremiah chapter by chapter, providing an “explanation of concepts” for nearly each chapter.

I have not read the entire book, but I’ve made note of some valuable insights I’ve gleaned as I have read, including:

  • Jeremiah may have been the brother of Azariah the high priest whose seal impression was found in the city of David.
  • Anathoth was the closest priestly city to Jerusalem. This reality may signify the prominence of Jeremiah’s priestly family.
  • One rabbinic tradition says that Josiah hid the ark of the covenant under the Chamber of the Wood. Another tradition says that it was carried off to Babylon.
  • One rabbinic source suggests that Josiah’s error in confronting Pharaoh Necho (who killed him) was that he did not consult Jeremiah for the Lord’s counsel. Another rabbi argues that he did not obey Jeremiah’s command to turn back.
  • Jeremiah may have traveled through a secret passage recently discovered in excavations at the City of David in order to meet King Zedekiah.

Readers who haven’t studied Hebrew will have to learn a little bit of new vocabulary, for though the book is written in English, many names and terms are in transliterated Hebrew, including Beis HaMikdash (temple), HaNavi (prophet), and Nevuchadnetzar (Nebuchadnezzar).

I recommend this book to anyone studying Jeremiah for four primary reasons: (1) this resource is carefully researched and provides a lot of useful historical background; (2) the work is up to date with regard to archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem; (3) the numerous photos and maps are an aid to understanding (and are usually lacking in commentaries); (4) the perspective of a Jewish rabbi and tour guide will provide a fresh approach for many Christian readers.

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Yesterday, 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies were paraded through Cairo on their way to the new museum.

D. Clint Burnett discusses various references to inscriptions in the New Testament as well as the value of inscriptions in interpreting the New Testament and early Christianity.

Modern development and looting is taking its toll on the ancient Greek city of Cyrene in Libya.

The Times Insider column looks back into references to Moshe Shapira in The New York Times in the late 1800s.

Webinar on April 14: “Why Pottery Matters: Judean Storage Jars and the Qumran Sect,” by Jodi Magness (Zoom link)

Webinar on April 15: “A Toast to Ancient Greek Wine Drinking,” with Kathleen Lynch

Webinar on April 18 sponsored by the Friends of ASOR: “Archaeogaming: Why Video Games Deserve Their Own Archaeology.”

Webinar on April 22: John Curtis and his fellow curators give an overview of the soon-to-open Epic Iran exhibit in London.

Mark Wilson’s presentation on Hierapolis for the Tutku Guide Seminar is now online. He is followed on the same video by Mark Fairchild’s presentation on Paul’s little-known ministry in Cilicia.

“The online edition of the Amarna Letters aims to make transliterations, translations, and glossaries of the letters and administrative texts available to both scholars and the wider public.” The letters to and from the Levant, excluding Phoenicia, are now available.

Free download until April 13: Migration Myths and the End of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean, by A. Bernard Knapp, published by Cambridge University Press.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken

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Archaeologists have discovered dramatic evidence of the conflagration that destroyed Azekah circa 1130 BC, leading them to dub the site as a “small Pompeii.”

According to news reports, a rare Tyrian shekel was discovered during a renovation project at the Tower of David Museum. This is true, except that the coin is not a shekel and not rare. It is a silver tetradrachm of Demetrios II Nikator from Tyre with a date of SE 184 = 129/8 BC.

While undergoing conservation work, a large structural crack was discovered in Herod’s tower in the Citadel of David.

Justin Kelley’s BAR article on “The Holy Sepulchre in History, Archaeology, and Tradition” is summarized in Bible History Daily, where a detailed plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is also provided.

Scholars are using high-tech imaging to understand thousands of hand-engraved crosses on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

A new “Emmaus Trail” allows walkers to travel the 11 miles (18 km) from Abu Ghosh to Nicopolis/Latrun. Leen Ritmeyer takes the occasion to propose that Emmaus should be identified with Bethel in the Old Testament.

David Moster has posted a new video that explains how to “make sense of the new Dead Sea Scrolls,” including a discussion of how important these discoveries are to biblical studies.

Randall Price is on The Book and the Spade discussing the new Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries.

The latest teaching video from John DeLancey is “The Life of Jesus – His Redemptive Purpose.”

New book: Jesus of Nazareth: Archaeologists Retracing the Footsteps of Christ, by Michael Hesemann. The author’s background and motivations are reported here.

Bryan Windle lists the top 10 discoveries related to Jesus.

Robert E. Cooley died on Thursday. During his career, he excavated Tel Dothan and helped to found the Near East Archaeological Society.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken

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