Lists of the most important discoveries created as year comes to a close
As the year draws to a close, it's worth reflecting on what has been discovered in the past twelve months that adds to our knowledge of the ancient world.
Claude Mariottini, Professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, has posted a list of the ten important discoveries related to the Bible. He notes that the list is not exhaustive, but covers the important items that he has covered in his blog. He also lists another five that relate to the Bible, including Gabriel's Revelation, on which I have posted here.
Mariottini's lists are worth considering. He provides links to the various items noting when the discovery was initially announced on his blog.
Archaeology helps put the record straight
A concept put forward in older dictionaries and commentaries is that Hebrew was not spoken or used in the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles in Judaea and Galilee. Rather the language spoken was Aramaic. This idea was so pervasive that references by Eusebius that the Gospel of Matthew was written in the Hebrew language were footnoted to read Aramaic. During the last 60 years, however, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other archaeological remains show that Hebrew was alive and well as a language, even under the Roman occupation of the land.
A recent article by Jerusalem Perspective sets out to analyse the languages based on a large part of the epigraphic record of inscriptions and coins from the Second Temple Period. It establishes that Hebrew was an actively used language in the land, existing alongside Aramaic and Greek.
New book seeks to set record straight
Augustine of Hippo has long been considered a prinicipal cause of the abymsal relations between Christians and Jews. His ideas that Jews should live only to suffer for the rejection and death of Jesus Christ helped shape the pogroms of the past and the hostility that exists to the current day.
Now Paula Fredriksen of Boston University is offering another reading of Augustine's evaluation of the Jews in a new book entitled: Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism, which is now available. A brief introduction to the thesis of the book and an interview with Paula Fredriksen is featured in the online issue of Time Magazine.
Augustine has been considered extensively in Vision. See Augustine's Legacy, a collection of articles noting his lingering influence on modern theological thought.
H/T to Jim Davila, of Paleojudacia
First public showing of stone
Gabriel's Revelation, a piece of stone with ink writing dating to the time of Herod's Temple, is on display in Houston as part of a new exhibition "The Birth of Christianity: A Jewish Story" presently showing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The Houston Chronicle's Barbara Karkabi introduces the exhibition in the Chronicle's Houston Belief with the question:
In raising that question, Karkabi takes the whole issue of the roots of Christianity out of its perceived origins and invites the reader and viewer to consider Christianity in its Jewish milieu. In doing so, the question of celebrations on December 25 is called into question.
Exhibition of interest
Babylon, a city and empire that has profoundly influenced every subsequent western civilization, is the subject of a current exhibition at the British Museum. The exhibition, Babylon, Myth and Reality is running until March 15, 2009 at the British Museum in London. Lacking the grandeur of the Ishtar Gate housed in thePergamon Museum in Berlin, the exhibition still has much to convey about this great city and how it has been percieved over the centuries.
For those who are not likely to be in London before conclusion of the exhibition, a flavor of the event can be seen online courtesy of the Museum via videos. Well worth a visit!
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