Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Beyond BeliefThe BBC:

A new series of Beyond Belief begins with a discussion on the impact of archaeological discoveries on religious belief.

Listen here (right click & “save target as / link as”).

Duration: 28 mins.

Features renowned Bible scholar Francesca Stravrakopoulou.



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If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.


A possible decryption of the oldest inscription ever found at an archaeological site in Jerusalem has interesting implications. If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.

The inscription was found in the Ophel area, south of the Temple Mount, at an archaeological dig run by Dr. Eilat Mazar, from the Archaeological Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The inscription, uncovered six months ago, is etched into a remnant of what was a large clay pitcher, and is eight letters long. It is dated to the second half of the 10th century BCE, the days of King Solomon.

Most scholars who have examined the inscription determined that it was written in an ancient near eastern language, and not in Hebrew.

An article recently published by Professor Gershon Galil from the department of Jewish History at Haifa University, however, suggests a new analysis of the inscription.

Galil suggests that it is written in ancient Hebrew. “The writing itself is unimportant, in Europe, there are currently many languages that use Latin letters,” explains Galil. The word that Galil deciphered, which suggests that the inscription is written in ancient Hebrew is “yayin,” which means wine.

“Here we see the word ‘yayin.’ When you check how all the languages from that period and region wrote ‘wine,’ you see they wrote it with one ‘yud,’ – the same in Samarian northern Hebrew. The Phoenicians wrote it the same way as well. Aside from the southern Hebrew of that time, even the scrolls found in Qumran preserve the same spelling of the word,” explains Galil.

According to Galil, the inscription should be read “in the year [… ]M, wine, part, m[…]”

Galil posits that the inscription can be divided into three parts that describe the wine stored in the pitcher. The first letter is a final “mem”, perhaps the end of the word for twenty or thirty – as in the twentieth or thirtieth year of the kingdom of Solomon. “Wine part” is the kind of wine, and the “mem” represents the place from which it was brought to Jerusalem.

“Wine part” is a term that is known from the Ugarit language from northern Syria, which is the lowest of three categories used to define wine: “good wine,” “no good,” and “partial.”

“This wine wasn’t served to Solomon’s emissaries, or in the temple, but apparently was for the slave construction workers who worked in the area,” says Galil.

From other, later sources, archaeologists know that the low quality wine was given to soldiers or forced laborers. The fact that the wine was of low quality is also logical considering that it was stored in a large vessel that did not keep it very fresh.

This new theory regarding the inscription will no doubt cause a big stir among the archaeological community, regarding the periods of Kings David and Solomon. Many archaeologists claim that during biblical times, Jerusalem was not a large or important city, despite the way it was described in Biblical literature.

Professor Galil and other supporters of the Biblical accounts see the Bible as a historical document, and this particular interpretation of the inscription supports the existence of a complex administrative system, as well as a hierarchical society with regulated shipping from far off places. These claims support the Biblical version of the story, which describes Jerusalem as a large, important city, that ruled over significant kingdoms.

The inscription, according to researchers who support the Biblical version of the history, supports the theory that Jerusalem expanded during King Solomon’s time, from the City of David to the Temple Mount.


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Christianity Today lists them:

1. The Egyptian Scarab of Khirbet el-Maqatir
2. Jezreel Winepress
3. The Wine Cellar of Tel Kabri
4. Royal Public Buildings at Khirbet Qeiyafa
5. The Sphinx of Hazor
6. Gold Hoard Found Near the Temple Mount
7. Roman Legion Base in Galilee
8. Mt. Zion Priestly Mansion
9. An Extra Destruction Level at Gezer
10. Stone pyramid under the Sea of Galilee

More here.

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For those who missed the first episode of the History Channel’s new show, Bible Secrets Revealed, it is online and can be viewed here.

New episodes air on Wednesdays nights.

HT:  Dr Robert Cargill


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This is a fantastic offer!

Crossway is giving the ESV Study Bible Web App away for free until the end of November in celebration of their 75th anniversary.

For 75 years, Crossway has been committed to publishing gospel-centered resources that honor God, strengthen his church, and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. This was the fundamental mission Clyde and Muriel Dennis had 75 years ago—and, with God’s help, it’s what we hope to be doing for the next 75 years.

To celebrate this anniversary and to thank you for your continued support, we’re pleased to offer free digital access to the award-winning ESV Study Bible through the month of November. The ESV Study Bible Web App includes the study notes, maps, charts, illustrations, and theological articles found in the print edition—all integrated into’s easy-to-use interface.

Click here to complete the checkout process and start using the ESV Study Bible Web App.


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Perth Now reports:

The brutal crucifixion of Jesus was completely legal under the judicial system of the time, a scholar claims.

Jose Maria Ribas Alba, Professor in Roman Law at Seville University in Spain, spent 25 years examining the details of Jesus’ trial and comparing it to other legal proceedings of the time, the Local reports.

Rather than being a farce or purely for show, Jesus’ trial was perfectly legal based on “what we know about the legal criteria of the time,” Mr Ribas Alba said. “Criminal proceedings against him were legal.”

There were actually two trials against Jesus, Mr Ribas Albas writes. The first one, the “Sanhedrin trial” for blasphemy, was held before a Jewish council. Jesus was then given over to the Roman authorities to face a second trial for lese majeste, or insulting the head of state.

However, during Roman times, the trials were considered to be interconnected as the crimes were both seen as social and religious crimes.

“Religious and political thinking then mixed in a way that is very difficult for people to understand nowadays,” said Mr Ribas Alba, who believes the trial of Jesus was “one of the most important historical events in history”.

The study also examined key individuals involved in the trial, including Roman judge Pontius Pilate.

A penintent is nailed to the cross during the reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday earlier this year. Picture: AFP

In the Bible’s New Testament, Pontius Pilate does not find Jesus guilty, but reluctantly sentences him to crucifixion at the urging of the crowd. Pontius Pilate is believed to have symbolically washed his hands clean of the decision, saying he was not responsible, before sending Jesus to his death.

The legal study also looked at Jewish high priest Caiaphas, who was said to be involved in the Jewish council’s Sanhedrin trial and to have plotted to kill Jesus.


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The History Channel has set up a website dedicated to the 6-part series that premiers tomorrow.

It’s the world’s all-time best-selling book and has been read and studied by billions over the past 2,000 years. Yet, after all this time, there are still so many mysteries and unanswered questions about the Bible: Who wrote it? How old is it? And is it accurate? From the moral codes of the Old Testament to the apocalyptic predictions of the Book of Revelation, HISTORY’s new series, Bible Secrets Revealed, seeks to answer those very questions. Over the course of six episodes, scholars, archaeologists and religious leaders will treat viewers to stunning, on-location photography and compelling reenactments while revealing hidden facts and shocking information about this ancient text.

The episodes are:

“LOST IN TRANSLATION” – Nov 13, 2013
“THE PROMISED LAND” – Nov 20, 2013
“THE REAL JESUS” – Dec 4, 2013



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