Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The major sites now closed include the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and all Egyptian tourist sites. It has not been this bad in Jerusalem since the Black Plague in 1349.

Th Internet Archive has suspended waitlists in order to create the National Emergency Library and make more than 1.4 million books available.

Appian Media is beginning a new, free, 6-week at-home video Bible study class entitled Bible Study without Borders.

With Passover approaching, some rabbis have ruled that extreme circumstances make it permissible to use electronic devices to share a Seder by videoconference.

Wayne Stiles connects Bethany and the raising of Lazarus to the present crisis.

John Baines answers the question, “What is Egyptology?”

A new film documents the story of a Polish Egyptologist who believes he is close to discovering the tomb of Thutmose II.

David Moster explores Babylon in the Bible and Reggae Music (15-min video).

A Biblical History of Israel, 2nd edition, by Iain Provan, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III for sale on Kindle right now for $1.99.

GlossaHouse is offering many language resources at half off as well as a number of digital resources for free.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Tourist authorities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel are filming guides giving tours of the city and its museum so that those who can’t come to Israel, or otherwise leave their homes, can enjoy the virtual experience.

More than 100 scholars contributed tributes to “He Inscribed Upon a Stone”: Celebrating the Work of Jim Eisenbraun. The volume (free download here) records some of the history of Jim and Merna’s publishing house that has served so many of us so well for so long.

Christopher Rollston: The Forger Among Us: The Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls and the Recent History of Epigraphic Forgeries

The 2020 issue of ‘Atiqot is now online, including articles on a tomb in Jerusalem and the settlement history of Nazareth.

“A portrait sculpture that has been at a museum in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya since 1972 was recently found to belong to Greek poet Sappho.”

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project has a new website that displays the results of research “into the use and meaning of colour in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions.”

The Associates for Biblical Research has a new Instagram account.

Israel’s Good Name shares about his day volunteering in renewed excavations of the Montfort Castle in Galilee.

Ferrell shares then and now photos of the house of Peter at Capernaum.

Barry Beitzel is on The Land and the Book with Charlie Dyer, talking about the excellent Geographic Commentary series he is editing.

This 15-minute video is fascinating: “Bread Culture in Jordan.”

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

David Moster gives a 5-minute overview of “Quarantine in the Bible.”

Coronavirus: What We Can Learn from the Bible and the ANE: Reflections of an expert in ancient Near Eastern contagious diseases living through a modern one, by Dr.Yitzhaq Federt.

A new Facebook group: ANE Researcher Quarantine ‘Library’

For shopkeepers and tour operators in the Old City of Jerusalem, COVID-19 is worse than all the wars.

H-Net has created a couple of new resources for scholars affected by the coronavirus:

Wayne Stiles has appropriately re-posted “Where is God in all the chaos?”

Lois Tverberg, one of my favorite authors, has a PhD in biology and she explains why COVID-19 is serious and what followers of Jesus can do about it.

A plague of locusts the likes of which have been unseen for over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East.”

“Fearing the end of the world, an Israeli returned a 2,000-year-old catapult stone to the City of David National Park — 15 years after he’d absconded with it.”

John DeLancey will be sharing “Stories from Israel about God’s Sovereignty & Care” in a Zoom session on Sunday, March 22, at 11 am Eastern Time. Pre-registration is required.

Free ebook: The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

Coronavirus fears have led to a number of restrictions in Israel and the West Bank, including the closure of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the banning of all foreign tourists from hotels in the West Bank, and the quarantining of travelers arriving from certain European countries. Now Israel is talking about forbidding entrance to Americans.

The Step Pyramid, Egypt’s oldest, is open again to tourists after a long renovation. As of this writing, the homepage of ArtDaily has a number of photos from the interior (or here).

A new geochemistry analysis indicates that the “Nazareth Inscription” apparently came from the island of Kos, and not from Nazareth. The underlying study is here.

New technology is being used to determine the date and location of horse domestication in the ancient world.

The latest newsletter of the Oriental Institute is now online.

An exhibit on Tall Zirā‘a will run at the Museum of the Yarmouk University through the end of June.

King Omri is the latest subject of the archaeological biography series by Bryan Windle. In that, he links to a website for renewed excavations of Tirzah (Tell el-Farah North) that I was unaware of.

Ray Vander Laan is leading a free web-based video course beginning Monday on “The Path to the Cross.”

Carl Rasmussen visits the new museum at Troy and shares a photo of a human sacrifice depicted on a sarcophagus.

Phillip J. Long just began a “Missionary Journeys of Paul” trip through Turkey, and he is posting daily summaries (Day 1, Day 2).

The Greek City Times has a feature on Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon.

A call for papers for two sessions at SBL on the “Historical Geography of the Biblical World” ends on Wednesday.

New from Brill: The City Gate in Ancient Israel and Her Neighbors: The Form, Function, and Symbolism of the Civic Forum in the Southern Levant, by Daniel A. Frese.

William H. Shea died last month.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Explorator

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New Book on the Passion Week

A long-time colleague of mine has a new book just out this week on Jesus’s final days in Jerusalem. Will Varner has taught at The Master’s University for 24 years, and he has led more than 50 trips to Israel. His new book, Passionate about the Passion Week, offers another look at “familiar texts through a fresh lens.” That being his objective, he does not treat every event recorded in the Gospels during those days, but only those that deserve a second look. You can get an idea of his interest from some of the chapter titles:Passion-front-cover

  • The Beginning of the Via Dolorosa
  • Palm Monday?
  • How Did He Get Away with It? The Cleansing of the Temple
  • No “Garden of Gethsemane!” Is Nothing Sacred?
  • Different Viewpoints of the Resurrection

The book is enhanced by beautiful photos taken by a colleague of Varner’s who has taught at The Master’s University for decades. And it’s not me—the professor whose office is next to mine is an outstanding photographer who has many dozens of photos better than my best one. I have long been a fan of Brian Morley’s work, and I’m delighted to see some of it showcased in this book.

This book has just been released, and this is an ideal time to purchase a copy, with the events of the Passion Week coming soon. You can order the book in paperback or hardcover here. (And now on Amazon: paperback and hardcover)

The book has a number of enthusiastic endorsements, including these:

“Will Varner is an experienced and trusted guide both to the Bible and to the Holy Land. I can’t think of a better person to lead us through the Scriptures and geographical details of the final days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. This volume will both educate your mind and nourish your soul.”

Robert L. Plummer (PhD), Collin and Eveyln Aikman Professor of Biblical Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Tradition reigns during Holy Week, but with gentle prodding Will Varner pokes at what we think is true about Jesus’ final week on earth and guides us into better ways of understanding. By questioning accepted interpretations and reminding us what the biblical texts actually say, this book illuminates the most important week of human history. After you rethink your assumptions and consider new ideas, you will discover that the author’s passion for our Lord Jesus Christ has deepened your own.”

William L. Krewson (PhD), Professor, School of Divinity, Cairn University

“Your book is a masterpiece of fresh examination and insights. It is scholarly, uplifting, Christ-exalting, and God-honoring.”

Dr. Gary Cohen, Retired Seminary Professor and Army Chaplain

 

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Weekend Roundup

Happy Leap Day! See below for a photo taken on this day sixteen years ago.

Bryan Windle identifies and explains the “top three reports in biblical archaeology” for the month, including the royal estate of Horvat Tevet, the Moza temple, and the Lachish temple.

Ira Rabin believes that the ink used in writing the Dead Sea Scrolls will shed new light on these ancient manuscripts.

A historian has re-discovered a well-preserved 616-page codex of the “Writings” section of the Old Testament that dates to AD 1028. The more technical journal article is available here, and the 1905 article is available here.

Yinon Shivtiel has identified a number of the caves that Josephus fortified during the First Jewish Revolt.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features two articles making the case for competing sites for Bethsaida: et-Tell by Rami Arav and el-Araj by Steven Notley and Mordechai Aviam.

A 2,000-year-old silver dagger and its sheath has been restored to like new condition.

“Ancient Greeks had a great love and respect for their dogs, cherishing them as companions, protectors, and hunters, as evidenced by several dog tombstones discovered over the centuries.”

David Moster will be teaching a course in March on Ezra and Nehemiah for The Institute of Biblical Culture.

“Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins” is a new exhibition that opens at the Getty Villa on March 18 and runs to July 27.

New book: Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon, by Eric H. Cline

Scholars have digitized high-resolution photos taken by U-2 spy planes over the Middle East in the 1950s.

The Smithsonian has released 2.8 million images for free use, and Mark Hoffman briefly shares his experience in searching.

The icon collection for St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai is now available online.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #34 – “I will make your enemies your footstool”

Shmuel Brown shares a number of photos of the “lovely carpet of wildflowers in reds, yellows, purple and white along the shore of the Dead Sea.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Pat McCarthy, Keith Keyser, Ted Weis

Qumran area of Caves 1 and 2, tb022904796

A view of green grass below the Qumran cliffs where Cave 1 is located;
photographed on February 29, 2004

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Weekend Roundup

The stories this week are about as random as I can remember, making it challenging to figure out a logical sequence. We’ll start with Jerusalem, and we’ll end with a photo that was popular this week on our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram stream.

Journalists were given a tour of the newly reopened Roman square underneath the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem.

With the water level up nearly 6 feet in the last month, Israeli authorities may have to open the dam of the Sea of Galilee for the first time since 1992. (There’s a beautiful sunrise photo at the end of this article.)

Nof Ginnosar and the Sea of Galilee are the focus of the latest in the “Life Lessons from Israel” video series.

“Russian Archaeology in the Holy Land,” by Yana Tchekhanovets and Leonid Belyaev, is the lead article in the latest issue of ANE Today.

Biblical Byways is offering a low-budget study tour of Israel for Spanish speakers in September.

A replica of a 2,600-year-old Phoenician ship finished its five-month transatlantic voyage last week when it arrived in Miami.

Archaeologists have recovered 1,400 cuneiform tablets from the lost Sumerian city of Irisagrig, but they don’t know where that ancient city was located.

The traditional tomb of Ezekiel (in Iraq, not the one in Iran) is again becoming a place of pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia plans to create the world’s largest living museum in Al Ula by 2035.

For more than a decade now, “Athens-based photographer and animator Dimitris Tsalkanis has cultivated a sort of unusual hobby: recreating ancient Athens via 3D modeling software.”

An archaeologist in Spain is on trial for forging a third-century depiction of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Salman Abu Sitta will be lecturing in London on February 28 on the subject of the “1871 Survey of Western Palestine Revisited: The Visible and The Hidden.”

New book: Roman-Period and Byzantine Nazareth and Its Hinterland, by Ken Dark

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott talks about her recent book Food in Ancient Judah on the OnScript podcast.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of the atad tree, the worthless bramble mentioned in Jotham’s parable in Judges 9.

The archaeological biography on King Ahaz features an altar, a seal, and a toilet.

The Global Smyrna Meeting on the Seven Churches of Revelation offers lectures and sites visits given a whole host of popular teachers, including Mark Wilson, Ben Witherington, Mark Fairchild, Carl Rasmussen, and Dana Harris.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

Wadi Lubban view northwest of Shiloh, db6604081205

This beautiful valley is located in the tribal inheritance of Ephraim, not far from Shiloh. Photo taken in 1966 by David Bivin.

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Weekend Roundup

Israel has announced the creation of seven new nature reserves in the West Bank: Ariel Cave, Wadi Og, Wadi Malha, the Southern Jordan River, Bitronot Creek, Nahal Tirza, and Rotem-Maskiot.

The Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome is set to reopen this spring after being closed for 80 years.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, set to partially open in the coming months, expects more than 5 million visitors annually.

Passages, a Christian version of Birthright Israel, is on track to bring 10,000 students to Israel by the end of this year.

Carl Rasmussen shares his experience in using Global Entry for international travel.

A DNA analysis of the York Gospels was done using DNA extracted by using erasers.

Emily Master of The Friends of Israel Antiquities Authority is the featured guest on The Book and the Spade.

Available for pre-order: The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Exodus. There are early reviews here and here.

King David is the subject of Bryan Windle’s latest archaeological biography.

Shmuel Browns shares his favorite photos of the year and gives his readers a chance to vote on their favorite.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Mark Hoffman, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup

A stone measuring table and several dozen stone weights were discovered in a plaza along the first-century AD street from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. Archaeologists believe that the area it was found served as the Jerusalem’s central market. The Times of Israel article includes a video and many photos.

It’s not quite a copy of the Tel Dan Inscription, but a pottery restorer discovered a faint ink inscription of a single Hebrew word on a storejar excavated at Abel Beth Maacah (Haaretz premium).

“Egypt’s recent decision to transport ancient Pharaonic artifacts to a traffic circle in the congested heart of Cairo has fueled fresh controversy over the government’s handling of its archaeological heritage.”

Rainfall this week led to flooding in the Judean wilderness. The video at the bottom of this page shows waterfalls in Nahal Qumran. Aren Maeir shares videos and photos of a river running through the Elah Valley.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is offering dig scholarships for excavations this coming year.

The most recent maps posted on the Bible Mapper Blog are of Southern Greece, the Judean Wilderness, and Philistia.

The photographs of Nancy Lapp, taken during excavations around the Middle East from the 1950s to the 1990s are the subject of an interesting photo essay by Rachael McGlensey. More than 2,000 images from Jordan have been digitized in the Paul and Nancy Lapp Collection at ACOR.

Bob Rognlien’s new book is out: Recovering the Way. The book trailer will introduce you to it. Here’s my endorsement:

Recovering the Way is an enjoyable and fascinating read, combining historical insights from the time of Jesus with practical encouragement for our lives today. All that Bob has learned and experienced in three decades of leading pilgrims through the land of Israel provide the reader with a rich treasure of biblical instruction, wise application, and captivating stories. All of this benefits from dozens of beautiful illustrations which help the reader to see the world where Jesus ministered.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup

Few people will get excited about a “large stone found at Beth Shemesh,” but if you claim that the ark of the covenant sat there, that’s another matter. The archaeologist helpfully notes that the stone is located in the wrong place, and I’ll add that the temple dates to the wrong century and the stone looks to be much too small to qualify as a “large stone” in Israel.

An ancient seawall near Haifa allegedly was built to prevent flooding caused by climate change in the Neolithic period. The journal article on which these stories are based is here.

“A small 1st century factory that produced fermented fish sauce — arguably the most desirable foodstuff of the Roman era — was recently uncovered during excavations near the southern coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon.”

A Bronze Age painting of an Asian monkey on a Greek island suggests that trade and cultural contacts were more far-reaching than previously known.

“Two large tombs have been discovered and excavated at the site of the ancient city of Pylos in southern Greece, suggesting that Pylos played a surprisingly prominent role in early Mycenaean civilization.”

Archaeologists have found physical evidence of the mysterious pointy “head cones” found in Egyptian art.

“Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities witnessed a fortuitous weekend, discovering rare red granite Ramses II statue and seizing 135 relics in a Kidney dialysis centre.”

The homes of ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and “Israelis” are presented in this collection of 40 photographs.

Shawn Zelig Aster has written a short but interesting article explaining how Assyria treated ambassadors from Israel, Judah, and other nations in order to turn them into emissaries for Assyrian ideology.

Bryan Windle pulls together all of the evidence, and a number of photographed inscriptions, in his archaeological biography of Quirinius.

Carl Rasmussen shares a few photos from his visit to the new museum at Caesarea Maritima.

The final Stars Wars movie is the latest Hollywood production to be filmed in Jordan’s Wadi Rum.

Phillip J. Long is quite positive in his review of the new Lexham Geographic Commentary on Acts through Revelation.

Don McNeeley provides a summary of the presentations given at the 2019 meeting of the Near East Archaeological Society.

Pac McCarthy (seetheholyland.net) has written a hymn with a Holy Land theme. A video recording is now on YouTube.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Joseph Lauer, Mark Hoffman

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