Bible Archaeology

Philip Davies on Lead Codices: ‘Probably not a hoax or a forgery’

Far from being a favourite scholar of mine, I have to say I’m rather pleasantly surprised by Prof Philip Davies’ observations:

The following is a general introductory summary by Sheffield Prof. Emeritus Philip Davies on the now famous lead codices (some images are available here):

Having long been involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls (and in the campaignto force the publication of many of them) I was approached by a British scholar who had been given access to some finds in a Jordanian cave (just like the Scrolls!). Most of them are lead books, some sealed, covered with letters in the archaic Hebrew script, and ancient Jewish symbols – menorahs (7-branched candlestick), date-palms, stars,  bunches of grapes. But there is also a portrait
of Alexander the Great, of a crocodile, and possibly a depiction of the crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem. I have now looked at about a hundred images, some of which I have shared with colleagues around the world, and I am certainly hoping to make sense of them. I have handled one. They are probably not a hoax or a forgery, but their exact origin remains mysterious. As well as decorative lettering, there is also some writing that looks as if it ought to mean something. So far it can’t be deciphered, but it may be in code.

The urgent problem at the moment is to ensure that the originals remain accessible. Scientific tests need to be done on these to try and establish date and origin, but the present possessor (who may or may not be legal owner) is considering selling them privately for as much money as he can. My colleagues and I are helping the Jordanian Department of Antiquities to recover them and enable them to be properly examined, conserved and displayed.

It is an exciting and mystifyng collection, but I think the time is too early to speculate about what they mean. The only scientific tests so far conducted suggest they are not of recent manufacture. Obviously I hope they are very old, but whatever their origin they should be able to tell us things we did not know before. I plan to continue studying these with my academic colleagues around the world, in the hope that we can begin to make some sense of these curious
relics.

Philip Davies

HT:   Dr Jim West

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Culture

South Africa’s Social Decay Crisis

iafrica.com reports:

The SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) released “alarming findings” about broken families on Monday, and said the root causes are social decay and sky-high crime levels.

The report titled “First steps to healing the South African family” tells of violence in homes, absent fathers and child-headed households, in many cases with the mother still alive.

“Many South African children are not growing up in safe and secure families…,” the report finds.

Urgent questions need to be raised about why these trends seemed to be on the increase…

“Why do parents, particularly fathers, fail to acknowledge their children? If this is seemingly acceptable to broader society, why is this so? What values are being passed on to children?”

The report shows that only a third of children grow up living with both of their parents and that nearly one million children have lost both their parents, many to Aids.

There are about 98 000 children living in child-headed households, but only 81 percent of them do have living mothers.

About eight percent of children live in “skip-generation” households with grandparents or great aunts and uncles…

Nearly half of children (48 percent) are growing up with absent, but living fathers.

“The latest available data about fathers in South Africa, shows that the proportion of fathers who are absent and living increased between 1996 and 2009, from 42 percent to 48 percent.

“Over the same period, the proportion of fathers who were present decreased from 49 percent to 36 percent.”

The report is based on the results of several international and local research papers.

“A racial dimension was evident in trends of absent fathers. African children under 15 years had the lowest proportion of present fathers in 2009 at 30 percent, compared to 53 percent for coloured children, and 85 percent for Indians, and 83 percent for whites.”

Youth unemployment stands at 51 percent and there are 3.3 million young people not in education, employment or training.

Also, about 50 000 school girls fell pregnant in 2007…

The report finds that more than a third of the country’s prison population is under the age of 25.

“A third of young people think that it would be acceptable to physically attack somebody who had assaulted them in the past if the opportunity arose.

“Violence within families appears to be a major contributing factor to youth crime.

“In a South African study which compared young offenders and young non-offenders, 27 percent of the offenders said that people in their family sometimes hit each other compared with nine percent of the non-offenders.”

According to the report, low education levels and violence in homes probably contribute more to high crime levels than poverty.

“Education also plays a role in the likelihood that young people will turn to crime: only four percent of young offenders had completed Grade 12 compared with 12 percent of non-offending young people…

The researchers say South Africans need to be aware of the risk that dysfunctional families pose to future generations.

“Moreover, there is evidence that people from broken families are more likely to go on to have relationship problems and create fractured families themselves. This is a cycle that needs to be broken.”

Recommendations in the report include the deployment of more social workers, better sex education and initiatives to encourage older men to support young men in the absence of fathers.

In a society that serves not nor knows Christ Jesus, what more can one expect? And with ‘… more social workers, better sex education…’, as humanist recommendations? Well, that pretty well sums up why we are in the mess that we are in.

Church

Burning the Quran is Worse than Burning the Bible?!

Can you believe it?! What a ridiculous statement:

Did you know that burning the Koran is worse than burning the Bible? That’s what MSNBC guest and Time Magazine world editor Bobby Ghosh told host Chuck Todd on Friday. According to him, the Koran is directly from God, while the Bible isn’t. Mediaite offers a transcript:

GHOSH: The thing to keep in mind that`s very important here is that the Koran to Muslims, it is not — it is not the same as the Bible to Christians.

The Bible is a book written by men. It is acknowledged by Christians that it is written by men. It`s the story of Jesus.

TODD: Yes.

GHOSH: But the Koran, if you are a believer, if you`re a Muslim, the Koran is directly the word of God, not written by man. It is transcribed, is directly the word of God.

That makes it sacred in a way that it`s hard to understand if you’re not Muslim. So the act of burning a Koran is much more — potentially much, much more inflammatory than –

TODD: Directly attacking — directly attacking God.

GHOSH: — than if you were to burn a — burn a Bible.

TODD: Directly attacking God.

What a dilettante. Real double standards. And the only difference in point of case that I can think of is that Christians won’t respond by going on a bloody amok.