Bible Archaeology

Archaeologists Unscramble Ancient Graffiti In Israel

Aramaic is the lingua franca of the ancient Middle East, the linguistic root of modern day Hebrew and Arabic.

“Once you understand Aramaic,” says Karen Stern, “you can read anything. You can read Hebrew, you can read Phoenician. I always call it the little black dress of Semitic languages.”

Stern, 35, is an archaeologist and an assistant professor in the history department at Brooklyn College. Her passion is the tomb graffiti of the ancient Jews in what was then Roman Palestine. Graffiti has been “published, but sort of disregarded,” she says. “Whereas I think it is intimate, vocal and spontaneous, and adds to the historical record.”

In this, Stern seems to be supported by scholars: She is completing a yearlong fellowship at the W.F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.

City Of The Dead

An expedition to the Southern Galilee a few hours north ends at the site of one of the country’s richest burial sites: Beit She’arim. It is both national park and necropolis; a city of the dead dating back to the first century. There are more than 30 excavated tombs here.

“It’s amazing that what can seem like hills and fields is standing over the largest concentration of burials from the Roman and Byzantine periods in the entire region,” Stern says, while standing on the hillside…

NPR has more here.


Trinity Sunday: The Sign of the Cross

The Deacon’s Bench:

“This morning, mass began with something that most of us probably take for granted, and hardly think about. We do it so often.

It’s the sign of the cross.

In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

It’s not just a gesture that we use to punctuate prayer. It’s not just a sign of our Catholicity.

It is a re-statement of our baptism…

More here.

Bible Archaeology

Jerusalem in IMAX 3D

This I’m going to have to see…

After a year of research and preparation, the giant screen film JERUSALEM advanced into production with an unprecedented aerial shoot throughout Israel and the West Bank. Scheduled for worldwide release in 2013, the film will take audiences on a spectacular tour of the Holy Land and the city once believed to lie at the centre of the world.

Looks awesome!

It’s due for release in 2013.

HT:   Bible Places


Fathers Who Follow Christ to the Cross

Great, on Father’s Day:

Nine years ago, my life changed forever.

When my wife Colleen and I were married, we made a permanent decision to love; to give ourselves to each other freely and completely. In doing this, we entered into a profound and intimate relationship; we became a one-flesh covenant in communion with Christ through the gift of sacramental grace.

The Real Power of Love

The life-giving bond that Colleen and I share is so powerful and so real that we had to give that love names: Claire, Angela, Benjamin, and Sophia. Children are the result of the central act of sacrifice and worship between a husband and wife, namely, the union of their bodies in the conjugal act, which mirrors the total gift of self by the Eucharistic Christ to his Church. Together, the married couple forms a lifelong, self-donating, and indissoluble union of love: a “communion of persons intended to bear witness on earth and to image the intimate communion of persons within the Trinity” (William E. May, Marriage: The Rock on Which the Family is Built , 65).

Marriage and, indeed, all the sacraments, tell us something about who God is. Marriage, in fact, reflects the reality that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of one divine nature, essence, and substance, for Scripture tell us: “God created man in His image; in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27), and again “‘this at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).

In creating husbands and wives, God has made two things very clear: first, that the one-flesh union between a husband and wife reflects His own divine image and likeness, and second, the fact that husbands and wives are truly equal does not mean they are the same person or have the same role in the marriage. 

We can understand the role of husbands and fathers within marriage by correctly interpreting chapter five of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, particularly verses 22-24: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body . . . As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.”

St. Paul is saying that wives should put themselves under the mission of their husbands. What is the mission of the husband? Verse 25: to “love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” How did Christ love the Church? He gave himself up for her; he died for her. Jesus tells us, ‘I came into the world not to be served but to serve’ and to lay down my life for my bride. “The husband’s headship in the family derives from the fact that he is the chief servant” (Christopher West, audio tape, “Sacramentality of Marriage”).

Fathers Who Follow Christ to the Cross

Our role as husbands and fathers necessarily means that we must sacrifice everything: our bodies, our desires and wills, our hopes and dreams; everything we have and everything we are for the sake of our wives and children. Living our fatherhood by the example of Christ on the Cross is what separates the boys from the men: what separates the men who are merely “daddies” from the real men who are truly fathers…

Our spiritual fatherhood is truly authentic when it is “centered in Jesus Christ and through him to the Trinity” (Jordan Aumann, Spiritual Theology , 17)…

And for Trinity Sunday!

Read the piece in full at Ignatius Insight Scoop here.