In January, nine papyri documents almost 2,000 years old were discovered by a student in the Luther College library archives, where they had remained hidden in a cardboard box for decades.
Luther sophomore Brittany Anderson was conducting a routine inventory of the papers of the late Orlando W. Qualley, longtime professor of classics and dean of the college, when she came across the nine ancient documents among Qualley’s letters and journals donated to the college in the 1980s. The papyri—one of which, a libellus, is especially rare—date from the first to the fifth centuries A.D. and were apparently purchased by Qualley from an antiquities dealer when he was part of a University of Michigan archaeological excavation at Karanis, south of Cairo, in 1924-25.
“Luther College is incredibly fortunate to have in its possession the Qualley papyri, especially the libellus, a rare and invaluable find from the early centuries of Christian history,” said Philip Freeman, Qualley Chair of Ancient Languages at Luther. “As soon as they are properly preserved, we hope to display all the papyri in our library for everyone to see. They provide a great opportunity for our students to examine a genuine piece of the ancient world.”
The nine papyri, written in ancient Greek, measure from 5 to 20 centimeters in length and are in remarkably good shape, though all are fragmentary and quite fragile. Papyrus was the primary writing medium of the ancient world and was made from the interwoven fibers of the papyrus plant, which grows along the banks of the Nile River.
Upon finding the documents, Anderson contacted the Luther Classics Department faculty, who examined the papyri and in turn contacted the Papyrus Collection staff at the University of Michigan, one of the leading centers of papyrus study in the world, for help in identifying and analyzing the discoveries. Several are accounting documents, but papyrologist Graham Claytor immediately identified one as a libellus dating from the first great Roman persecution of Christians beginning under Emperor Decius in the year 250.
Decius issued a decree that year ordering all inhabitants of the empire to offer a sacrifice to the gods as a show of loyalty. A libellus was a document given to a Roman citizen to confirm the performance of such a sacrifice. Christians were forbidden by their beliefs from performing these sacrifices and were thus subject to arrest, torture and execution for refusing to obey the emperor’s decree. Pope Fabian was among those who refused to sacrifice and was subsequently killed by the Roman authorities.
The Luther College libellus bears the name of Aurelius Ammon, a servant of the well-attested Aurelius Appianus, a leading citizen of Alexandria, Egypt. It declares that Aurelius Ammon has sacrificed “in accordance with the orders” of the emperor. The papyrus was probably part of a collection made in ancient times from the village of Theadelphia in Egypt’s Fayum region. Only a few of these rare documents have been uncovered, and they are currently housed in research libraries in Hamburg, Berlin, Manchester, Florence, and the University of Michigan. Now Decorah, Iowa, joins the list.
Luther College plans to work with the University of Michigan to preserve all the Qualley papyri and make them available online in digital format to scholars and people around the world.
as 700 years of law redrafted ahead of gay marriage. You just can’t make this stuff up!
Men are to be banned from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales as part of an unprecedented effort to rewrite more than 700 years of law to prevent unintended consequences of gay marriage.
Even a 14th Century act declaring it high treason to have an affair with the monarch’s husband or wife is included in the sweeping redrafting exercise.
Civil servants have drawn up a list of scores of statutes and regulations dating back as far 1285 to be amended or specifically excluded when the Government’s Same-Sex Marriage Act comes into force next month.
Under proposals to be debated by MPs and Peers as early as next week, terms such as “widow” will be deleted or reworded in legislation covering topics as diverse as seamen’s pensions and London cab licences to take account of the new definition of marriage.
References to mothers, fathers, husbands and wives are also to be amended to avoid future confusion.
Avoid confusion?! More like creating it.
The order makes clear that a clause in the Act giving gay and heterosexual marriage the same legal effect does not apply to the rights of anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”.
It also makes clear that were a future Prince of Wales to marry a man his husband could not be called Princess of Wales.
More immediately, the order rules out the possibility of Dukes, Earls and other male peers who marry other men making their husbands Duchess, Countess or Lady…
An East Barnet vicar says his parish is preparing to challenge Church of England leaders after they reiterated their ban on blessing same-sex couples.
The House of Bishops, which governs practice in Anglican churches across England, earlier this month rejected recommendations that it lifts its ban on blessing gay couples.
But the parish of St Mary’s Church in East Barnet says it plans to lodge a protest against the decision and write a formal letter once its members have met later this month.
The parish is a supporting member of Inclusive Church, an organisation campaigning for the acceptance of minorities including lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender couples and individuals.
Same-sex marriages are currently banned inside the Church of England, which is governed by its own historic laws, but some believe it should go some way towards lessening its discrimination by allowing the blessing of gay couples in churches.
Members of the St Mary’s Church council now plan to meet and formulate a statement in response to the House of Bishop’s latest refusal to be moved on the subject.
Church rector James Mustard said he expects his parish to release the statement in the coming weeks and says it is an important subject for the image and ministry of his church in the area.
He said: “The feeling is that this ongoing prohibition on blessing same-sex couples is harmful to our relationship with the community, whether they come to the church or not.
“I think it is important that churches in favour of supporting same-sex couples with blessings should speak out, and we’re preparing to issue a statement opposing the House of Bishops’ decision.”
Louisville, KY––In what the police are calling a “fanatical act committed while in the state of a nervous breakdown,” Associate Pastor of St. Margaret Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, Father Randy Coelho, walked into the parish gift shop and began to overturn registers as well as tables containing rosaries, scapulars, and other religious goods earlier this morning.
The incident occurred shortly after the conclusion of the 7pm Mass, when an “overworked” Coelho appeared to have “snapped” following his first four-Mass day since ordination.
“It was very unusual,” said gift shop owner Rosie Culkin. “He’s usually so calm. But he in came screaming at us saying, ‘Is it not written, my house shall be called a house of prayer? But you have made it into a den of thieves.’ So I tried to calm him down and tell him that this was just the gift shop and that the house of prayer was about twenty-feet thataway. But he kept flipping everything over, which really sucked cause we have inventory to do tonight.”
Culkin went on to say that after also telling [Coelho] that it was not a den of thieves because thieves typically do not come into religious gift shops after Mass ready to purchase religious goods with cash or credit. Coelho told police that he just wanted to make sure they were not selling doves. No charges are expected to be filed.
… archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2,300-year-old rural village that dates back to the Second Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced.
Trenches covering some 8,000 square feet (750 square meters) revealed narrow alleys and a few single-family stone houses, each containing several rooms and an open courtyard. Among the ruins, archaeologists also found dozens of coins, cooking pots, milling tools and jars for storing oil and wine.
“The rooms generally served as residential and storage rooms, while domestic tasks were carried out in the courtyards,” Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director for the IAA, explained in a statement.
Archaeologists don’t know what the town would have been called in ancient times, but it sits near the legendary Burma Road, a route that allowed supplies and food to flow into Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The rural village located on a ridge with a clear view of the surrounding countryside, and people inhabiting the region during the Second Temple period likely cultivated orchards and vineyards to make a living, IAA officials said.
The Second Temple period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70) refers to the lifetime of the Jewish temple that was built on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to replace the First Temple after it was destroyed. Archaeological evidence suggests this provincial village hit its peak during the third century B.C., when Judea was under the control of the Seleucid monarchy after the breakup of Alexander the Great’s empire. Residents seem to have abandoned the town at the end of the Hasmonean dynasty — when Herod the Great came into power in 37 B.C. — perhaps to chase better job opportunities in the city amid an economic downturn.
“The phenomenon of villages and farms being abandoned at the end of the Hasmonean dynasty or the beginning of Herod the Great’s succeeding rule is one that we are familiar with from many rural sites in Judea,” archaeologist Yuval Baruch explained in a statement. “And it may be related to Herod’s massive building projects in Jerusalem, particularly the construction of the Temple Mount, and the mass migration of villagers to the capital to work on these projects.”
The discovery was made during a salvage excavation ahead of a construction project that began last year; a 21-mile-long (35 kilometers) gas pipeline was supposed to run through the site, but engineering plans were revised to go around the ruins, IAA officials said. Salvage excavations are common in Israel to avoid building over ancient sites. For instance, remarkably well-preserved Byzantine church mosaics were recently revealed ahead of the construction of a park, and an ancient Roman road connecting Jerusalem to Jaffa was uncovered ahead of the installation of a drainage pipe.
Preachers who practice handle poisonous snakes during church services vow to continue tradition despite deaths and illegality.
A pentecostal preacher in Kentucky who died after being bitten by a rattlesnake is being hailed as a martyr by his colleagues, who will continue breaking the law by handling poisonous reptiles during their church services, according to friends.
Jamie Coots “lived and died consistent with his faith” and his death will only inspire more people to obey an instruction from God in the Gospel of Mark that “they shall take up serpents,” said Professor Ralph Hood, of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“This won’t stop them: just the opposite,” said Hood, a friend of Coots and the most noted expert on the Appalachian serpent-handling tradition. “They will continue, and praise Jamie Coots as a martyr who died for his faith.”
Coots died on Saturday night after being bitten on the right hand during a service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church. The 42-year-old, who featured prominently in the National Geographic series Snake Salvation, refused medical attention on religious grounds.
His funeral is due to be held in his hometown of Middlesboro on Tuesday evening.
Coots’s son, Cody, said his family had expected him to survive because he had been bitten eight times before. “Everybody was getting in, shouting, taking up serpents, speaking in tongues, handling fire,” he told Kentucky’s WKYT-TV. “You could just feel the power of God.”
Coots had continued flouting a 74-year-old Kentucky law banning the use of poisonous snakes in religious services, even after a woman died from a bite during a ceremony he conducted in 1995. Coots was charged, but avoided prosecution after a judge declined to proceed with the case. He was also fined $6,400 in 2008 after being convicted of illegally trading in poisonous snakes.
Andrew Hamblin, a pastor in neighbouring Tennessee who was mentored by Coots and co-starred with him in the National Geographic series, is understood to have been devastated by the death. The Guardian has been told that he intends to continue his snake-handling services at Tabernacle Church of God…