links to the land


Ancient Israelite daily life: Ancient Israelite House

“Photos of a replica of an ancient Israelite house from the Houses of Ancient Israel exhibit at the Semitic Museum at Harvard University.”

Jacob’s well, Joshua & Shechem: Shechem Still Shouts for Us to Choose God Today

“I’m convinced that’s why Joshua gathered the young Hebrew nation to Shechem, which lay between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. The geographical context of his words played a significant role. What he said that day still applies to us.”

King David & Khirbet Qeiyafa: Claim: Palace of David Discovered in the Foothills of Judah

“Professor Yosef Garfinkel has announced the discovery of two royal public buildings in his excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa. According to the press release, one is the palace of David and the other was the king’s storehouse. … To my conservative friends, I’d urge caution before making any bold claims based on Garfinkel’s work. Or any claims at all. Let’s wait and see how credible archaeologists evaluate his stratigraphy. If he’s correct, we’ve lost nothing by being patient.”

Kir-hareseth: The Topography of Kir-hareseth

“Kir-hareseth figures prominently in a story recorded in 2 Kings 3.”

Mount Arbel & the Sea of Galilee: The Sea of Galilee and Mount Arbel from the NW

“From this point we can see the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Today we know it as the Golan Heights. In Old Testament times it was known as Bashan (Joshua 21:27). Golan was one of the cities of Refuge located in the area. In New Testament times this was the area of the Decapolis (Mark 7:31), and probably the country of the Gadarenes (Matthew 8:28).”

Nazareth: The Quest for the Historical Nazareth

“… the historical existence of Nazareth at the time of Jesus has been a controversial topic. … religious scholars tend to talk up the size of Nazareth, while skeptics tend to question whether Nazareth even existed at the time.”

Slavery: What Was Life Like for Roman Slaves?

“Archaeology in Aphrodisias, Turkey, reveals the story of Zoilos the slave. … Life was horrible for most Roman slaves, and their names are long forgotten. But Zoilos is one who made it past his difficult circumstances.”

Temple Mount: Temple Mount Virtual Tour

[Since the site is written in Hebrew I can’t comment on the text, but the photography of a “virtual tour” is helpful]

Writing: Roman Writing Tablet from c. 80-120 AD

“Scratched onto a wax layer, the lettering on this early 2nd century wooden writing tablet has survived. It is a deed of sale for a young female slave called Fortunata, described as ‘healthy and not liable to run away’. She cost 600 silver denarii – 2 years’ pay for a legionary soldier.”

links to the land


Recently (May 14-25) I was privileged to fulfill a long-time dream: to make a trip to Israel! I intend to begin posting in regard to this trip next week.

However, starting today I will make weekly posts (on Wednesdays) of links to recent, noteworthy online articles concerning some of the sites the group of which I was a part visited, as well as related matters. These posts will will run under the title Links to the Land. Click the blue and enjoy!

Herod the Great/Herodium: * Herod the Great Exhibition in the Israel Museum; * Herod Exhibit Virtual Tour Online

* “Last March I was able to visit this exhibition and it took my breath away. We were fortunate to have special permission to film before the exhibition was opened to visitors as I was part of a team making a documentary for the National Geographic.”

* “The Israel Museum has created a virtual tour of the Herod the Great exhibit in which you can ‘walk’ through the nine galleries, viewing the reconstructions, listening to audio explanations, and watching several video pieces. The gallery is loosely arranged after the journey of Herod from the place of his death in Jericho to his burial at Herodium.”

Khirbet Qeiyafa: Premiere of a New Khirbet Qeiyafa Short Film is Right Here

“A new short film titled “Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Fortified City in the Kingdom of Judah” now debuts on this blog. It summarizes the major finds at Khirbet Qeiyafa and presents the excavators’ conclusions on how the site shapes our understanding of biblical Judah. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the modern name for a 3,000 year-old ancient city dating to the time of kings Saul and David. It is located where David slew Goliath along the Philistine-Judah border as described in 1 Samuel 17.”

Pharisees: No and Yes on the Pharisees

“There are several reasons why the Pharisees are misunderstood … Here are some important truths about the Pharisees …”

Qumran: Picture of the Week: Qumran Caves

“This seems to be a week where Hebrew scrolls are in the news more often than normal …”

Samaria/Sebastia: * Rich Holy Land Site Succumbs to Neglect; * Holy Land Archaeological Treasure Hurt by Politics

* “… today the hilltop capital of biblical kings, later ruled by Roman conquerors, Crusaders and Ottomans, is marred with weeds, graffiti and garbage. Caught between conflicting Israeli and Palestinian jurisdictions, the site has been largely neglected by both sides for the past two decades. Beyond the decay, unauthorized diggers and thieves have taken advantage of the lack of oversight to make off with priceless artifacts.”

* “Therein lies the problem: Most of the ruins lie in areas under full Israeli control, with some in areas under Palestinian civilian control but shared security responsibilities under the 1990s peace deals that divvied up the West Bank into zones of authority. The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank, captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967, as part of a future state. The situation deteriorated greatly with the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in late 2000. Although the fighting has ended, care for the site has since dropped away because of security fears. Visits by Israeli citizens need to be coordinated with the Israeli military.”

Shechem: Shechem

“Recently, Dutch and Palestinian archaeologists have been digging on a lot that has become an unofficial dump for garbage and old car parts of the city of Nablus, ancient Shechem. The  project is sponsored by the Palestinian Department of Antiquities, which is trying to recover the rich history of ancient Shechem.”

this went thru my mind


Archaeology: That’s not a sling stone… THIS is a sling stone

“Excavated a couple of days ago at Khirbet Qeiyafa …”

Church & Jesus: Churches Converted to Jesus by Terry Rush

“We in the Church of Christ have lost our way along with any other group who has elevated stance and status over Jesus.”

Culture: Unwrapping Our Imaginations From The American Dream

“American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s apartheid, or Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white and blue myth. You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnection between the kindness, compassion and caring of most American -people, and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good -people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them. This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good, but it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all.”

Employment, happiness & ministry: The Ten Happiest Jobs

“#1. Clergy:  The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all.”

Global warming: * The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic; * Global Warming, a New Study

“Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

“A Koch-funded reanalysis of 1.6 billion temperature reports finds that ‘essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.'”

iPad/iPhone apps: Aesop for Children by the Library Of Congress

“The Aesop for Children interactive book is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age. The book contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations. The Aesop for Children interactive book is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age. The book contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations.”

Knowledge: The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge by Maria Popova

“In an age obsessed with practicality, productivity, and efficiency, I frequently worry that we are leaving little room for abstract knowledge and for the kind of curiosity that invites just enough serendipity to allow for the discovery of ideas we didn’t know we were interested in until we are, ideas that we may later transform into new combinations with applications both practical and metaphysical.”

Lust: * Lust: A Topic We Just Don’t Talk About…and Are Dying Because of It by Matt Dabbs; * Hey Married People: Quit Checking Out People You’re Not Married To by Trey Morgan; * Can Porn be Used Responsibly? by Kurt Willems

* “The only thing I can really remember really being taught about lust in church  growing up (aside from the above story) was that it was the phrase, ‘It is okay to let a bird land on your head but don’t let it build a nest.’ In other words, seeing someone and thinking they are attractive is one thing but taking that a step further in your mind was a sin. The next logical question in the mind of a teenage boy is this, ‘at exactly what point does the bird’s nest building begin?'”

* “Whoever you’re married to, is what you should be ‘into.'”

* “… porn always removes God from the center replacing the Divine with lustful desires. Porn never glorifies God or embodies what St. Irenaeus proclaimed: ‘The glory of God is humanity fully alive.’ Porn distorts God’s image-bearers, thus misrepresenting our perception of God’s glory.”

Politics & morality: Parting the Red (and Blue) Sea by Cameron Nations

“The Church remains its strongest and purest when it holds a ‘from the margins” mindset.'”

Relationships: 21 Ways to Upgrade Your Relationships by Jim Martin, parts one, two, three & four.

“What are some practical ways to invest in the relationships that really matter?”

Small groups: Create a Caring Church by Brett Eastman

“If you want to create a church community that really cares for one another, the best way to do it is through small groups. When small groups become the vehicle for care-giving, the whole church gets involved in sharing one another’s burdens—a much more personal approach than relegating the task to a committee. The whole congregation should be making hospital visits, taking meals to people when they’re sick or something’s happened, doing childcare when someone’s in crisis and giving money when somebody’s lost a job. The best way to make this happen is to get everyone in groups where they love and care about each other.”

The Christian objective: Who Moved the Goalpost? by Dan Bouchelle

“… somehow, the goal of becoming fully formed in Christ got reduced to ‘going to heaven.'”

Violence: And Brief (and let’s hope final, but If I know me probably not) Comment on God’s Violence in the Old Testament by Peter Enns

“I am taking the time to talk about God’s violence in the Old Testament because it is a window onto a large and perennially central theological topic that can be expressed as follows: What is the Bible, anyway, and what are we supposed to do with it? To put it another way, What do we have a right to expect of the Bible as the Word of God? Or yet another way, Does the Bible give us unerring, brute factual information, or are we seeing something more complex and subtle there?”