Bible Archaeology

Jordan’s Wadi Rum Named World Heritage Site

I spent a night there sleeping with Bedouins once. A stunning place it is indeed.

Wadi Rum, the majestic, mountainous desert located in the far south of Jordan, was named this summer to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Wadi Rum protected area, which includes more than 275 square miles of sweeping dunes and dramatic, sheer-sided mountains, has become one of Jordan’s top tourist attractions. It is also home to many of Jordan’s traditional Bedouin tribes, as well as a number of archaeological sites dating from the prehistoric periods to the Islamic era. Particularly prominent are inscriptions and carvings dating to the time of the Nabataean kingdom of Petra,* which controlled the trade routes that passed through the region more than 2,000 years ago. Rum is referred to, both in the Bible and classical sources, as Aram or Iram, while it may also be the land of Uz mentioned in the book of Job (1:1).

Wadi Rum, the majestic, mountainous desert located in the far south of Jordan, was named this summer to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.



Tripoli: Historic Church of St George Ransacked

Very sad news coming out of Tripoli:

The historic church of St. George located in Libya, in Tripoli, dating back to 1647 was ransacked.  The church is the oldest Orthodox church in North Africa.

The president of the Greek community, Dimitris Anastassiou transferred the news to the Metropolitan of Tripoli Mr. Theophylaktos, who has been in Greece since late June.

“I am feeling heartbroken for what is happening in Libya, this beautiful country which was destroyed and whose people are noted for their hospitality,” stated Metropolitan of Tripoli, who settled in Libya in 1991.

”I was sad to hear the news from Mr. Anastassiou. The thieves stole the shrine of our patron saint which I had brought from Mount Athos.  Old Gospels, chalices, cherubim, censers, one of which we had been given by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Those who stole the holy objects contacted the president of the community and asked for money in order to return them. Mr. Anastassiou reported the incident to the police, but as things are at the moment, noone will deal with this matter,” he said.



World’s Oldest Person Celebrates 115th Birthday

Perhaps that should be, the world’s oldest known person:

Besse Cooper’s birthday celebrations were held at her residence in Monroe,   Georgia – although this year, unlike last, there was no Elvis impersonator at the party.

A researcher from Guinness Book of World Records was on hand at Mrs Cooper’s birthday party to deliver the Tennessee native her second plaque that certifies her as the oldest person on the planet.

“We thought one was enough,” said her son, Sidney Cooper, 76.

“She still remembers things and thinks clearly and talks.

“But she has her good days and her bad days. I’d say she sleeps about 80 per cent of the time.

Born in Tennessee in 1896, Besse Cooper moved to Georgia during World War in search of work as a teacher.

She married her husband Luther in 1924, and they had four children.

Today she has 12 grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

In the same year Mrs Cooper was born, the first Dow Jones Industrial Average was published, the first modern Olympic Games were held and the first Ford vehicle was built.

“She never worried,” says her son.

Besse Cooper told local newspapers that her secret to longevity lies in two key tenets.

“I mind my own business,” she said. “And I don’t eat junk food.”

Good advice (though no mention of faith).

Wow… Born in 1896! And her son is 76. She’s old.


Anti-Semitism at St Andrews University

Writes His Grace:

On the left is 20-year-old Gentile Paul Donnachie; on the right is 18-year-old Jew Chanan Reitblat – both students at St Andrews University.

On the evening of March 12th, a drunken Mr Donnachie entered Mr Reitblat’s room in the halls of residence, rubbed his genitals and then wiped his hands on an Israeli flag displayed proudly upon Mr Reitblat’s wall. Mr Donnachie said: “Whilst in the room at the student residences of an individual who I considered a friend, Chanan Reitblat, I placed my hands down the front of my jeans and onto an Israeli flag which belonged to him, accompanied by comments to the effect that Israel is a terrorist state, and is guilty of many civilian deaths.”

He continued, “The action was not malicious. However, it sparked a great deal of political debate amongst our group of friends within our Hall of Residence, whereby the nature of the State of Israel was discussed.”

But Mr Donnachie has been found guilty of racial abuse, and has been expelled from St Andrews University.

Cupar Sheriff Court in the county of Fife is not really a happening kind of place, but it was packed throughout the two-day trial, with friends of the plaintiff and members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) among those in attendance. There were cries of ‘shame’, ‘disgrace’ and ‘scandal’ from the public benches after Mr Donnachie, who described himself as a ‘political activist’, was found guilty by Sheriff Charles Macnair.

Sentence has been deferred until September 13th, with Mr Donnachie vowing to appeal the verdict. He maintains that he was protesting against the state of Israel rather than offending any individual.

The case turns on whether or not critism of the Israeli flag amounts to anti-Semitism. According to artist Carlos
, the Star of David is a legitimate target when placed on the Israeli flag:

Since visiting the West Bank in 1999, Latuff has become known for his support of the Palestinian cause; some campaigners claim his work is antisemitic. “Part of the supposed ‘evidence’ for my antisemitism is the fact that I’ve used the Star of David, which is a symbol of Judaism,” he says wearily. “But check all my artworks – you’ll find that the Star of David is never drawn alone. It’s always part of the Israeli flag. Yes, it’s a religious motif, but in Israel it has been applied to a state symbol; and it’s the institutions of the state – the politicians and the army – that I’m targeting.
Including the flag of Israel in a cartoon is no more an attack on Judaism than including the flag of Turkey would be an attack on Islam.”

But Harry’s Place exposes the lie: Latuff is a high-grade anti-Semite, and the prejudice just pours out of his artwork.

The St Andrews case is indeed interesting, not least because the University’s own Chaplaincy Centre has a web page to advise Jewish students, which warns: ‘A continuing and on-going concern of all Jews is the manifestation of anti-semitism.’ They didn’t quite expect to find it with their own halls of residence. But despite the Sheriff stating that the case has a ‘significant and very legitimate’ public interest dimension, you’ll only find the story reported in a local newspaper or in the Jewish press. When you consider all the fuss and bother (and cash) expended on campus ‘Islamophobia’, is it not rather anti-Semitic of the mainstream media (pace the BBC) not to have dedicated just a few column inches to the story?