Archive for October, 2013

Wikipedia has updated the list.

The following is a list of artifacts, objects created or modified by human culture, that are significant to the historicity of the Bible…

 

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Baptist Press:

The Virtual Bible Project gives a 3-D bird’s-eye view of Jerusalem as it stood during Jesus’ ministry.

Long before smartphones, before technology had literally reshaped modern society, Dan Warner had an idea for teaching the history and geography of biblical lands — a virtual tour of the Holy Land. The idea was innovative, and years ahead of its time.

Warner teaches biblical backgrounds on a daily basis in his positions as associate professor of Old Testament and archaeology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Orlando Hub and an adjunct faculty member at the Baptist College of Florida and Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Warner wants to help people see how geography influenced the biblical text, using interactive visuals rather than textbooks.

The Miami native and member of First Baptist Church in Orlando birthed the idea for a virtual Bible tour more than a decade ago during one of his frequent trips to Israel. He knew from his own experience that seeing the land leads to richer understanding of the Bible. But it is unrealistic, Warner believes, for most church members and lay ministers to visit the Holy Land, given the travel costs and time. Instead, his virtual tour project known as The Virtual Bible allows an affordable view of the land.

Warner launched The Virtual Bible Project in 1999 with James Strange, longtime professor of archaeology at the University of South Florida and excavator of ancient Sepphoris in Galilee. Warner and Strange presented their idea to a major Christian publisher shortly after they created the company. While the meeting went well, the publisher failed to see the potential and passed on the opportunity.

In spite of the setback, Warner refused to give up. He found a group of private investors and began working on the virtual reconstructions. To date, Warner and Strange have not taken a salary from their company. Instead, all of the profits have been invested in its development.

Warner and his team have completed four virtual reconstruction projects, including a detailed reconstruction of the events surrounding the passion week. A virtual tour of Bronze Age Megiddo was completed first, a natural choice because of the years Warner spent excavating the site. Next came reconstructions of Capernaum and Herod’s Jerusalem. A preview of Warner’s work is available on YouTube.

Each virtual reconstruction takes months to complete, but finances remain the biggest barrier to success for the Virtual Bible Project. Development is expensive, advertising is beyond the company’s small budget, and getting the finished product in front of potential consumers is a real challenge, Warner said. However, a distribution agreement with the publisher of Logos Bible Software will enable Warner to focus on additional reconstructions.

“Our goal is to create the whole ancient world,” Warner said. “We’ve just barely scratched the surface”…

Rest here.

 

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At Academia.edu:

One of the critical issues when pursuing historical Jesus research has been to distinguish the ‘voice print’ of one man (Jesus) from the larger crowd (Second Temple Judaism) at the time. Historians always find it easier to describe movements than individuals, places rather than events, technologies rather than artifacts. For that reason, searching for the historical Nazareth may be an easier task than the quest for the historical Jesus.

While this comes as a surprise to some people, the historical existence of  Nazareth at the time of Jesus has been a controversial topic…

A good archaeological based essay by Gregory C Jenks. It can be read in full here.

 

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Huffington Post:

Studios and filmmakers are rediscovering a classic text as source material for upcoming mainstream films: the Bible.

Nearly 10 years after the blockbuster success of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which earned $611.9 million worldwide, studios are looking to the Good Book for good material…

Alongside the string of upcoming Bible-related films, producers from the History channel’s “The Bible” miniseries just announced that the series’ film adaptation “Son of God” will be released in theaters nationwide in February with 20th Century Fox…

As Hollywood looks to epic tales of floods, burning bushes and parting seas, films with biblical themes will also continue to pop up. Nicolas Cage is slated to star in “Left Behind,” a movie based on the book series on the Second Coming of Christ. Sony’s adaption of the popular book “Heaven is for Real” is also scheduled for next year…

The whole piece is here.

 

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CBS:

Seen here is Jerusalem’s iconic Citadel (now the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem), a fortress with archaeological findings spanning nearly 3,000 years

In “Jerusalem: The Movie,” a new film in IMAX 3D, viewers go deep inside the Holy City. Keep clicking for a look at some of the sweeping images revealed in the movie, produced by National Geographic Entertainment.

This must be my favourite:

An aerial view of the Church of the Beatitudes by the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, the traditional site where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount as told in the New Testament.

The rest of the slide show with more awesome images here.

 

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The BBC:

Greek amphitheatre

The music of ancient Greece, unheard for thousands of years, is being brought back to life by Armand D’Angour, a musician and tutor in classics at Oxford University. He describes what his research is discovering.

“Suppose that 2,500 years from now all that survived of the Beatles songs were a few of the lyrics, and all that remained of Mozart and Verdi’s operas were the words and not the music.

Imagine if we could then reconstruct the music, rediscover the instruments that played them, and hear the words once again in their proper setting, how exciting that would be.

This is about to happen with the classic texts of ancient Greece.

It is often forgotten that the writings at the root of Western literature – the epics of Homer, the love-poems of Sappho, the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides – were all, originally, music.

Dating from around 750 to 400 BC, they were composed to be sung in whole or part to the accompaniment of the lyre, reed-pipes, and percussion instruments.

Finding the pitch

But isn’t the music lost beyond recovery? The answer is no. The rhythms – perhaps the most important aspect of music – are preserved in the words themselves, in the patterns of long and short syllables.

The Argo, re-constructed for TV documentary
Time travellers: Academics are reconstructing the lost sound of ancient Greece

The instruments are known from descriptions, paintings and archaeological remains, which allow us to establish the timbres and range of pitches they produced.

And now, new revelations about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient documents inscribed with a vocal notation devised around 450 BC, consisting of alphabetic letters and signs placed above the vowels of the Greek words.

The Greeks had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals – an octave is 2:1, a fifth 3:2, a fourth 4:3, and so on.

The notation gives an accurate indication of relative pitch: letter A at the top of the scale, for instance, represents a musical note a fifth higher than N halfway down the alphabet. Absolute pitch can be worked out from the vocal ranges required to sing the surviving tunes.

While the documents, found on stone in Greece and papyrus in Egypt, have long been known to classicists – some were published as early as 1581 – in recent decades they have been augmented by new finds. Dating from around 300 BC to 300 AD, these fragments offer us a clearer view than ever before of the music of ancient Greece.

The research project that I have embarked on, funded by the British Academy, has the aim of bringing this music back to life.

Folk music

But it is important to realise that ancient rhythmical and melodic norms were different from our own.

Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon: The music might have sounded unfamiliar to modern ears

We must set aside our Western preconceptions. A better parallel is non-Western folk traditions, such as those of India and the Middle East.

Instrumental practices that derive from ancient Greek traditions still survive in areas of Sardinia and Turkey, and give us an insight into the sounds and techniques that created the experience of music in ancient times.

So what did Greek music sound like?

Some of the surviving melodies are immediately attractive to a modern ear. One complete piece, inscribed on a marble column and dating from around 200 AD, is a haunting short song of four lines composed by Seikilos. The words of the song may be translated:

While you’re alive, shine:

never let your mood decline.

We’ve a brief span of life to spend:

Time necessitates an end.

The notation is unequivocal. It marks a regular rhythmic beat, and indicates a very important principle of ancient composition.

In ancient Greek the voice went up in pitch on certain syllables and fell on others (the accents of ancient Greek indicate pitch, not stress). The contours of the melody follow those pitches here, and fairly consistently in all the documents….

Rest here.

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Discovery News:

A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman mansion in Jerusalem, archaeologists report.

The mansion, which is being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givati Parking Lot, is located in what is known as the “City of David,” an area that holds at least 6,000 years of human occupation. The mansion itself covers at least 2,000 square meters (about half an acre) and contains two large open courtyards adjacent to each other. It was in use between the late third century and A.D. 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19.

The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case.

“I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys,” part of the curse reads in translation. Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that “he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…”

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from four religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic, a religion connected to early Christianity. Additionally, the text contains magic words such as “Iaoth” that have a Hebrew/Judaism origin.

A professional magician likely created the curse for Kyrilla, who may have literally used a hammer and nails to perform a magical rite that enhanced the effectiveness of the curse…

Rest here.

The Daily Mail has more info on the discovery.

 

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