Bible Archaeology

Ophel City Walls Site Opening in Jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority release:

The Inauguration of the First Temple Period Ophel City Walls Site in the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park and the Opening of the Exhibit of the Oldest Written Document from Jerusalem in the Davidson Center in the Archaeological Garden

The site, which was uncovered by Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Institute of Archaelogy of the Hebrew University and was prepared for public display and access by the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department, will be opened to visitors.

In a festive ceremony to be held Today – Tuesday, June 21, 2011, the Ophel City Wall site, a complex of buildings uncovered along the route of the fortifications from the First Temple period (tenth-sixth centuries BCE), and the display of the earliest written document ever uncovered in Jerusalem will be inaugurated. The opening of the site, located in the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park, and the exhibit in the Davidson Center are made possible through the generous donation by Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman.

The ceremony will be attended by Mayor Nir Barkat, Israel Antiquities Authority director Shuka Dorfman, Nature and Parks Authority deputy director general Modi Oron, East Jerusalem Development Company director Gideon Shamir and Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Upon completion of the excavation and conservation work at the Ophel City Wall site, visitors will now be able to touch the stones and walls whose construction tells the history of Jerusalem throughout the ages…

The rest here.


Oh When the Ants Go Marching In… ?!

During a concert for students at a middle school, a New York City suburb changed the words “when the saints go marching in” to “when the ants go marching in” because authorities objected to the word “saints.”

Secular madness indeed!


Japan: Scientists Synthesize Meat from Human Faeces

This is the kind of thing that makes me so glad that I opted for vegetarianism!

It’s being called the “poop burger”. Japanese scientists have found a way to create artificial meat from sewage containing human feces.

Somehow this feels like a Vonnegut plotline: population boom equals food shortage. Solution? Synthesize food from human waste matter. Absurd yes, but Japanese scientists have actually discovered a way to create edible steaks from human feces.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.

The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef…

Good grief!

There’s more here.

This world is certifiably mad…


Vatican Gives iPods to Pilgrims

On loan that is. The Huffington Post reports:

Rome – The Vatican is lending iPods to pilgrims in a pilot program aimed at coupling ancient basilicas with modern technology to lower the noise level from tour guide chatter.

From a tiny booth in the back of St. John in Lateran, the Vatican has been quietly asking tourists if they want to tour Rome’s oldest basilica with an iPod in hand loaded with an app to make accessing the place’s art, architecture and Christian history user friendly.

The Vatican will formally unveil the experiment on Wednesday. Tourists from around the world were exploring the cavernous basilica with specially adapted iPods in hand Tuesday. There’s no charge, although users must leave a document as security.

The experiment runs through December.

Bible Archaeology

Olives of Jerusalem

Via Journey to Jerusalem:

There could hardly be a plant more important or more associated with spiritual themes in Jerusalem than the olive. If you encounter Arab children in tourist spots in Jerusalem, one will almost certainly give you an olive branch and request a donation. The ancient symbol of peace also symbolizes many other things in Israel.

They say you plant an olive tree for your grandchildren, not for yourself. This is because a tree requires twenty years to mature. The hard wood of an olive makes for a long-lived and resilient fruit-bearing tree. 

In Jewish scripture, the olive represents the holiness and purity of worship, as it says in Exodus 27:20, “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may be set up to burn continually.” And it represents the place of anguished prayer in Gethsemane the night before Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified: “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mark 14:26). In the last days, we read that God will make Israel as beautiful as an olive tree (Hosea 14:6).


The True Causes of Schism

We often think schism is caused by heresy, but often it is the case that a heresy is merely propped up as an excuse for the schism, when the real motives lie elsewhere.

In his essay, “Cultural Polarity and Religious Schism,” the great historian Christopher Dawson wrote:

Behind every heresy lies some kind of social conflict, and it is only by the resolution of this conflict that unity can be restored.

He gives as an example the Armenian schism at the time of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.

Yet even from the beginning it is obvious that the passions which filled the steets of Alexandria with tumult and bloodshed and set bishops fighting like wild animals were not inspired by a pure desire for theological truth or even by purely religious motives of any kind.

Dawson goes on to analyze the sociological causes behind schisms, including that of Protestantism in Europe during the time of the Reformation, but I want to focus more specifically on the Orthodox schism.

It seems clear to me that the Orthodox schism from the Catholic Church was caused by motives other than theological. Indeed, reading the history of the events of the schism, the rift between the Latin West and Greek East, coupled with the overweening pride of the leaders on both sides, it is clear that such deep cultural, political, and geographic differences contributed to the schism more than the relatively minor theological differences… 

More here.


SOLT’s Superior Speaks Re: Fr Corapi

Father Gerard Sheehan issues a statement regarding the case of Father John Corapi.

The NC Register has it:

“As the regional priest servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), I issue the following statement on behalf of the society:

On 16 March 2011, the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, and the SOLT received a complaint against Father John Corapi, SOLT. As is normal procedure and due to the gravity of the accusation alleging conduct not in concert with the priestly state or his promises as a member of an society of apostolic of diocesan right, Father Corapi was suspended from active ministry (put on administrative leave) until such a time that the complaint could be fully investigated and due process given to Father Corapi. In the midst of the investigation, the SOLT received a letter from Father Corapi, dated June 3, 2011, indicating that, because of the physical, emotional and spiritual distress he has endured over the past few years, he could no longer continue to function as a priest or a member of the SOLT. Although the investigation was in progress, the SOLT had not arrived at any conclusion as to the credibility of the allegations under investigation.

At the onset, the Bishop of Corpus Christi advised the SOLT to not only proceed with the policies outlined in their own constitution, but also with the proper canonical procedures to determine the credibility of the allegations against Father Corapi. We reiterate that Father Corapi had not been determined guilty of any canonical or civil crimes. If the allegations had been found to be credible, the proper canonical due process would have been offered to Father Corapi, including his right to defense, to know his accuser and the complaint lodged, and a fair canonical trial with the right of recourse to the Holy See. On June 17, 2011, Father John Corapi issued a public statement indicating that he has chosen to cease functioning as a priest and a member of the SOLT.

The SOLT is deeply saddened that Father Corapi is suffering distress. The SOLT is further saddened by Father Corapi’s response to these allegations. The SOLT will do all within its power to assist Father Corapi if he desires to seek a dispensation from his rights and obligations as a priest and as a professed member of the SOLT. We request your prayers and the intercession of the Blessed Mother for the healing of Father Corapi and for any who have been negatively affected by Father Corapi’s decision to end his ministry as a priest and a member of the SOLT.”

Corapi’s gone rogue I’m afraid.

UPDATE:  As of 05 July 2011, Fr Gerard Sheehan who is Fr John Corapi’s superior in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), has released a shocking statement.  Very distressing indeed.