Bible Archaeology

Israel Finkelstein: In the Eye of Jerusalem’s Archaeological Storm

The City of David, Beyond the Politics and Propaganda:

Archaeological activity in Jerusalem has been sucked into a whirlwind of conflicting political agendas, and the site commonly referred to as “the City of David” is in the eye of the storm. At issue is a place of seminal importance for the Jewish people and indeed for anyone who cherishes the heritage of Western civilization.

When dealing with archaeology in Jerusalem, one must first know the facts. Otherwise it is easy to be led astray by unfounded historical interpretations or to succumb to misinformation from those pursuing their own political agendas…

Read the rest here.

And from the conclusion:

The City of David’s monuments and antiquities — some yet to be discovered — are too important to be allowed to fall victim to politics or neglect. Whatever our political views, we need to be vigilant in maintaining this place as a tangible link to a rich past and as a site of honest historical inquiry…


Cross Symbolizes Faith Amid Tragedy in Joplin

Local priest: ‘At times like this, it is easy to see the face of Jesus.’ Updated numbers and look at how the Catholic community is helping.

NCR reports:

(CNS) — The devastating scene left by the massive F-5 tornado that hit Joplin the evening of May 22 can best be described as apocalyptic.

The tornado cut a swath of destruction three-fourths of a mile wide and six miles long, claiming at least 132 lives, as of May 27, with hundreds still missing. Nearly every building in its path was left in total ruin.

The powerful winds uprooted trees and tossed cars. They toppled bricks, bent steel, snapped power lines, sheared limbs and stripped bark off trees.

In a May 25 news conference for area faith leaders, Missouri Gov. Jeremiah Johnson, upon witnessing the catastrophic destruction at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, described it as a war zone.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church was in the storm’s direct path. The sanctuary, elementary school, rectory, parish hall and the St. Vincent de Paul building, the original church from 1938, were all leveled by the storm.

“Most people’s emotions are still too raw for them to begin processing this catastrophic event,” said Father Justin Monaghan, St. Mary’s pastor. “I just want to tell them, ‘Our prayers are with you, and we will rejoin you in rebuilding, healing and renewal, in the midst of the pain you are all suffering.’”

Read more here.

Happy Birthday, GK Chesterton!

GK Chesterton, the English writer, was born 29 May 1874:

… Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an “orthodox” Christian, and came to identify such a position with Catholicism more and more, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton’s “friendly enemy” according to Time, said of him, “He was a man of colossal genius”…

That he was.

Here are some quotes from the man:

  • Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.
  • Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.
  • I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.
  • If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.
  • The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

And here’s possibly my favourite:

The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.


Turkey’s Christians Under Siege

Unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.

The brutal murder of the head of Turkey’s Catholic Church, Bishop Luigi Padovese, on June 3, 2010, has rattled the country’s small, diverse, and hard-pressed Christian community. The 62-year-old bishop, who spearheaded the Vatican’s efforts to improve Muslim-Christian relations in Turkey, was stabbed repeatedly at his Iskenderun home by his driver and bodyguard Murat Altun, who concluded the slaughter by decapitating Padovese and shouting, “I killed the Great Satan. Allahu Akhbar!” He then told the police that he had acted in obedience to a “command from God.”

Though bearing all the hallmarks of a jihadist execution, the murder was met by denials and obfuscation—not only by the Turkish authorities but also by Western governments and the Vatican. This is not wholly surprising. In the post-9/11 era, it has become commonplace to deny connections between Islam and acts of violence despite much evidence to the contrary. But while this denial has undoubtedly sought to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, as opposed to Christians, Jews, or any other religious group, it has served to encourage Islamist terrorism and to exacerbate the persecution of non-Muslim minorities even in the most secularized Muslim states. For all President Barack Obama’s high praise for its “strong, vibrant, secular democracy,” and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “Alliance of Civilizations” rhetoric, Turkey is very much entrenched in the clash of civilizations paradigm.

Do read the rest on this horrific situation here. There is a lot more to digest.