December 20, 2011 Leave a comment
December 20, 2011 Leave a comment
A newly discovered bathhouse may have been used by owners of a wealthy estate or was part of an inn on an ancient road.
Remains of an ancient bathhouse dating to the Byzantine period were exposed during work being conducted on the modern water infrastructure near Moshav Tarum in the Judean coastal hills. In recent months the Israel Antiquities Authority carried out an archaeological excavation that uncovered impressive finds in the wake of a fifth water supply system to Jerusalem being installed by Mekorot Co.
According to Dr. Rina Avner, the excavation director, together with Dr. Yitzchak Paz on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is a bathhouse that measures 20 x 20 m and dates to the fourth-fifth centuries CE. The remains visible in the field include the frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room) and caldarium (hot room), as well as a courtyard attached northeast of the bathhouse rooms. Two steps led up to a small cold-water pool located in one of the corners of the courtyard.
“It is possible the bathhouse was used by an inn situated on an ancient road that ran along Nahal Harel through the southern Ayalon Valley, and it might also have been part of a wealthy country estate – just like the pools in the gardens of villas in Caesarea today”. Dr. Avner stated that bathing in bathhouses during the Byzantine period is a continuation of the Roman tradition and that similar bathhouses were found in the past at Latrun and Caesarea…
December 20, 2011 Leave a comment
Cairo – Volunteers in white laboratory coats, surgical gloves and masks stood on the back of a pickup truck on Monday along the banks of the Nile River in Cairo, rummaging through stacks of rare 200-year-old manuscripts that were little more than charcoal debris.
The volunteers, ranging from academic experts to appalled citizens, have spent the past two days trying to salvage what’s left of some 192 000 books, journals and writings, casualties of Egypt’s latest bout of violence.
Institute d’Egypte, a research centre set up by Napoleon Bonaparte during France’s invasion in the late 18th century, caught fire during clashes between protesters and Egypt’s military over the weekend. It was home to a treasure trove of writings, most notably the handwritten 24-volume Description de l’Egypte, compiled during the 1798-1801 French occupation.
The Description of Egypt, which French scientists began writing in 1798, is likely burned beyond repair. Its home, the two-story historic institute near Tahrir Square, is now in danger of collapsing after the roof caved in.
“The burning of such a rich building means a large part of Egyptian history has ended,” the director of the institute, Mohammed al-Sharbouni, told state television over the weekend.
He said most of the contents were destroyed in the fire that raged for over 12 hours on Saturday. Firefighters flooded the building with water, adding to the damage.
Burnt pages from books from the Scientific Institute lie in a pile near cabinet offices near Tahrir Square in Cairo.
The violence erupted in Cairo Friday, when military forces guarding the Cabinet building, near the institute, cracked down on a 3-week-old sit-in to demand the country’s ruling generals hand power to a civilian authority. At least 14 people have been killed…
… there is no way of knowing what has been lost for good at this stage, but the material was worth tens of millions of dollars – and in many ways simply priceless.
“I haven’t slept for two days, and I cried a lot yesterday. I do not like to see a book burned,” he said. “The whole of Egypt is crying.”
December 20, 2011 2 Comments
Jesus of Nazareth remains a disturbing presence, a question mark hanging over uneasy Western world-views. Some invoke him unquestioningly as the divine, redeeming Son of God. Others dismiss him as a minor figure whose followers invented stories about him and a religion around him. No serious historian doubts his existence, though some (noted and refuted by Maurice Casey in his trenchant introductory survey) still try. What we have, rather, in general and in the writings surveyed here, is a bewildering range of viewpoints, which with only a slight stretch could be described as pre-modern, modern and postmodern: in this case, a German, an Englishman and a North American. As Barack Obama said of a different trio (recent guest speakers in Westminster Hall), this is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke.
Curiously, the Pope features in both trios. As his visit to Britain last year confirmed, Benedict XVI is by no means the hard-nosed dogmatic disciplinarian many had assumed. Deeply orthodox, of course. But he makes it clear in the preface to the first volume of Jesus of Nazareth (reviewed in the TLS, January 25, 2008) that he is not writing ex cathedra but contributing to discussion and devotion. Everyone is free to disagree with him. His project also reflects unflagging energy. For a man in his eighties to write a serious multi-volume work on Jesus (he promises a third instalment, on the infancy narratives) is remarkable enough. When the author happens to be the chief pastor of over a billion Catholics, it is truly extraordinary…
Benedict’s book, for all that, is full of surprises. There is a welcome emphasis on the rootedness of Jesus and his followers in Israel’s Scriptures, something which older exegesis, both Protestant and Catholic, often passed over. The heart of the volume is an exposition of Jesus’s vocational understanding of his own death in terms of the Psalms and Isaiah, particularly the “servant songs” of Isaiah 42–53, leading to a clear statement of the cross as the moment of vicarious, substitutionary atonement. This, Benedict writes, “constitutes the most profound content of Jesus’ mission”. This is not a view that Protestants normally expect popes to hold. Some Roman theologians, I suspect, will be surprised as well…
Read on here.
December 20, 2011 1 Comment
And now wants to publish the results:
The discovery has prompted fears within the US Government that the knowledge will fall into the hands of terrorists wanting to use it as a bio-weapon of mass destruction.
Some scientists are questioning whether the research should ever have been undertaken in a university laboratory, instead of at a military facility.
The US Government is now taking advice on whether the information is too dangerous to be published.
“The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic, the mortality and cost to the world could be massive,” a senior scientific adviser to the US Government told The Independent, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine”…
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near… Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man”
- (Luke 21:28,36).