links to the land


Ancient peoples: The Lost Faces of the Bible

“Simcha Jacobovici, popularly known as ‘The Naked Archaeologist,’ is working on a documentary, Lost Faces of the Bible, in which a group of forensic and facial reconstruction specialists will study four skulls and make an attempt at creating a face to match the skulls. … The people who will be working with Jacobovici are experts in their fields. …  Facial reconstruction is a common practice in archaeology as well in police work. To add a little Hollywood flair to the show, David Berman, an actor who plays a forensic investigator in CSI: Crimes Scene Investigation, will host the four programs. The four-part series will be shown on the National Geographic channel.”

Antiquities & archaeology of Israel: Israel Antiquities Authority

“The Israel Antiquities Authority is in charge of the country’s antiquities and antiquity sites, their excavation, preservation, conservation, study and publication thereof, as well as the country’s antiquity treasures. … The Israel Antiquities Authority will serve as the leading professional body for the study of the archaeology of Eretz-Israel. It will preserve, conserve and study the archaeological heritage of the country at the highest scientific level, and will maintain a balance between development needs and antiquities preservation. … The Israel Antiquities Authority will aim to increase public awareness and interest in the country’s archaeological heritage.”

Dalmanutha: The Traditional Site of Dalmanutha

“I doubt that this identification is correct but thought it was significant enough to pass along.”

Flowers of Israel: Flowers of Israel – Caper

“Whether growing in the cracks of the Western Wall or in the Judean desert, in places like Ein Gedi, people are surprised when I point out this bush and they learn that it is a caper bush (Capparis spinosa) and that the flower buds are the capers that they’ve eaten pickled in salads or with salmon.”

Mosaics & synagogues: New Mosaics Discovered in Synagogue Excavations in Galilee

“Excavations in the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee, have brought to light stunning mosaics that decorated the floor. … Last summer, a mosaic showing Samson and the foxes (as related in the Bible’s Judges 15:4) was discovered in the synagogue’s east aisle. This summer, another mosaic was found that shows Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3). Adjacent to Samson are riders with horses, apparently representing Philistines. … Biblical scenes are not uncommon in Late Roman synagogue mosaics, but only one other ancient synagogue in Israel (at Khirbet Wadi Hamam) is decorated with a scene showing Samson.”

Roads & travel in ancient times: Greetings from the Roman Empire! A Section of an 1,800 Year Old Road was Exposed in Jerusalem

“An ancient road leading from Yafo to Jerusalem, which dates to the Roman period (second–fourth centuries CE), was exposed this past fortnight in the Beit Hanina neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. … The wide road (c. 8 m) was bounded on both sides by curbstones. The road itself was built of large flat stones fitted to each other so as to create a comfortable surface for walking.”

Temple Mount excavations: Ancient Timber on Temple Mount?

“In recent years there have been several articles and news items that argue that some of the timbers that were discarded after the remodeling of the el-Aqsa Mosque on the Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem are quite ancient—possibly even from the Temple that Herod built (the Second Temple) around 15 B.C.”

this went thru my mind


Angry Christians: D. A. Carson on Angry Christians and the Devil’s Tactics by David Rogers

“… at the end of the day, if you can’t do it with compassion, and gently, and leave the doors open for evangelism, boy, you destroy everything.”

Archaeology: Jewish Worship, Pagan Symbols: Zodiac Mosaics in Ancient Synagogues by Walter Zanger

“It isn’t the synagogues themselves that are the problem; it is the decorations in them. What in heaven’s name were they doing? How could they be making pictures, especially in the synagogue? Didn’t they know the second commandment?”

Bible interpretation: Long, Long Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away…. (What I’m Saying is the Bible is Really, Really Old) by Peter Enns

“It seems many of us, myself included, can get a bit careless, even cavalier, about the Bible, thinking that we ‘get it’ because we happen to read it regularly in our native tongue. Perhaps we should regain a sense of respect for the distance this book has traveled to land on our coffee tables and work desks.”

Megachurches: Megachurch ‘High’ May Explain Their Success

“A University of Washington study posits that worship services at megachurches can trigger feelings of transcendence and changes in brain chemistry — a spiritual ‘high’ that keeps congregants coming back for more. … Researchers observed services and conducted 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys at 12 megachurches for the University of Washington study.”

Mormonism: Polygamy, Brigham Young and His 55 Wives

“Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a tremendous number of wives. … The sheer variety of Brigham Young’s marriages makes it difficult to make sense of them. He married — was sealed to, in Mormon parlance — young … and old … single women and widows … his first two mothers-in-law … [and] women who were already married, some to Mormon men in good standing.”

Politics: Why Christians Should be Leery About Politics by Scott Elliott [required reading]

“Here are a few reasons why we should remain skeptical of politics in general: politics promotes unethical behavior … politics embraces the language of gloom and doom … it is a choice between the lesser of two evils … politics is divisive … [and] politics offers a false sense of salvation.”

Poverty, respect, slander & speech: Slandering the Poor: An Exercise in Self-Righteousness by Craig M. Watts [required reading]

“… the fact of the matter is that most of the adult poor and near poor do work. It is not because of a lack of effort that they are poor but because of a lack of decent income. And that lack of income is coupled with a lack of opportunity. …

“But none of this has stopped the negative attitudes and widespread slander of the poor. A study commissioned by the Salvation Army found that 49% of American believes that a strong work ethic is all that is required for someone to escape poverty and about three in 10 said poor people usually have lower moral values. Given these views it is not surprising that this same study found that 27% of Americans believe poor people are poor, not because of economic circumstances, but because they are lazy.”

Same-sex marriage: When and Unclean Touch by Mark Buchanan

“Recently, a young couple started coming to our church. They’re very likable. They married a few years ago on the other side of the country, then migrated west to our town, and visited several churches until they ended up in ours. Both take their faith seriously. Both are seeking a place where they can worship, serve, grow. They want a loving and Christ-centered environment in which to raise their daughters in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ Both are women. Linda and Rita are lesbians. … We didn’t know what to do with them.”

Time management: The Eisenhower Matrix

“Notice how The Eisenhower Matrix places the most positive emphasis on Quadrant I. That differs from the chart above that the late Stephen Covey promoted in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, where he numbered the boxes differently and said Quadrant II is where you want to spend most of your time for effective time management.”