Aren Maeir (Bar Ilan University) heads up the excavation team at Tell es-Safi (the site of ancient Gath). Not only is he one of the world’s leading experts on the ancient Philistines, he’s also a really nice guy, and a would-be pirate (just call him ARRRen).
Aren Maeir beside a Philistine altar excavated at Tell es-Safi (ancient Gath)
Aren recently presented a lecture at the College de France in Paris, in which he discussed the most recent archaeological evidence that has led us to update our understanding of Philistine origins, culture, and interactions with the Israelites. It’s fascinating stuff, and a must for those wanting to get up to speed with where research is currently at.
The lecture is in the clip below. Please also check out Aren’s blog on the excavations at Gath here: https://gath.wordpress.com/
Here’s a neat article by Lawrence Mykytiuk (Purdue University) on some of the earliest extrabiblical evidence for the existence of Jesus. It’s found on the Bible History Daily website.
Great news! The Vatican Library has digitised Codex Vaticanus (also known by the siglum ‘B’). Vaticanus is one of the most important biblical manuscripts. It is an uncial manuscript that dates to the mid-fourth century and contains almost the entire Christian canon in Greek, including most of the Apocrypha.
The high quality digitised images of the whole codex can be found at the following URL:
This is a great resource for study of biblical texts. The Vatican Library and the University of Heidelberg, which also contributed to the project, are to be congratulated for bringing this project to fruition and making the resource freely available.
A page from Codex Vaticanus showing the end of 2 Thessalonians and the beginning of Hebrew.
Over January I was privileged once more to teach at the summer school of George Whitefield College in Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve written a short blog piece for them titled Theological Education and the New People of God.
The new academic year is upon us. In my brief visit to GWC for the annual language Summer School, I’ve seen new students arrive, as well as old students and faculty return. One of the joys in this is seeing the diversity of people coming to the college. I’m reminded that when the gospel is preached, the Spirit draws people from all nations into Christ’s church to the glory of God the Father.
Click HERE to read the rest.
A new publication has brought to light a collection of ancient documents from Judeans living in Babylonia from 572–477 BC. According to the news report by Haaretz…
The collection consists mainly of administrative certificates – sales bonds, contracts and addresses, engraved in Akkadian Cuneiform script on clay tablets, some of which were fired in kilns.
Thanks to the Babylonian custom of inscribing each document with the date, according to the monarch’s years in power, the archaeologists could date the tablets to 572-477 B.C.E. The earliest tablet in the collection was written some 15 years after the First Temple’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean king of the neo-Babylonian era, who deported the Jews to Babylon. The latest was written some 60 years after the return of some of the exiles to Zion, which was enabled by Persia’s King Cyrus in 538 B.C.E.
Go HERE for the fuller story.
One of the clay tablets on display in the Bible Lands Museum exhibit. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi.
- Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer by Prof. Laurie Pearce (CDL Press)
- By the Rivers of Babylon, by Wayne Horowitz, Yehoshua Greenberg and Peter Zilberg, (Bible Lands Museum and the Israel Exploration Society).
The recent tragedy of the murders at Charlie Hebdo in Paris have drawn attention to the battle between the pen and the sword.
Satire uses caricature, comedy, and sometimes caustic wit. This might lead some to think it is merely a form of entertainment—weak, but amusing, and certainly not worthy of those engaged in sober pursuits. But satire is a powerful weapon that can expose faults, flaws, and vulnerabilities. Anyone who thinks satire lacks a blade does not have a handle on the piercing power it possesses. It is often the weapon of choice for those who prefer peaceful resistance to armed struggle.
Even the ancients knew this.