Protester Burns Bible During Papal Mass

Vatican security on Sunday escorted away a man who managed to climb up on top of the colonnade that runs around St Peter’s Square during a canonisation mass led by Pope Benedict XVI.


The Telegraph reports (and has a video):

The disruption came toward the end of the two-hour service when the man climbed the colonnade and then proceeded to burn a green-covered bible.

At one point, the man was heard yelling out “Hey Pope, where is Christ?” in English.

Vatican security and officials tried to talk the man into ending his disturbance.

At one point they were joined by a bishop who leant over the railing next to the security guards, gesturing to the man to come towards him.

Eventually, the man was talked back from the edge of the colonnade.

After he climbed over the railing, he was led away by Vatican security.

Pope Benedict XVI continued the mass apparently unaware of the drama going on above him.

He proceeded to canonise three 19th-century founders of religious orders: Italian bishop and missionary Monsignor Guido Maria Conforti, Spanish nun Sister Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro and an Italian priest who worked with the poor, the Reverend Luigi Guanella


AP has the news with some more pics here.

Bible Archaeology

Language in First Century Israel

Writes Dr Darrell Bock:

Last night I reread an essay I read years ago about the use of lnaguage in First Century Israel by Joseph Fitzmyer. It is entitled “The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D.” It was originally published in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly 32 (1970): 501-31.

In it he notes that the use of Latin was rare, although a Latin inscription naming Pontius Pilate as prefect found at Caesarea Maritima in 1961 is among the most famous archeological finds in that period. This is the one ancient find we have that names him.

Most importantly, Fitzmyer notes how widespread Greek was. Our oldest inscription is from 277 BC, observes that Esdras, 2 Maccabees, and additions to Esther and Daniel were composed in Greek. Josephus and Justus of Tiberius wrote in Greek, but Josephus needed some help of assistants to do it. Epigraphic materials come in a variety of forms: the prohibition of Gentiels to enter the Holy Place and the Theodotus inscription of a synagogue dedication being the most famous of these. Many ossuaries (burial boxes) show up with Greek inscriptions. Materials from Murabba’at and Wadi Habra also show use of Greek. He thinks it likely Jesus spoke Greek, fitting its “widespread” use in the region, including towns with use by farmers and tradesmen.

Aramaic was the most widely used language, and there was some evidence of usage of Hebrew. The presence of targums (Aramaic translations of Scripture) shows that Hebrew was not as widespread.

This means that there is a likelihood as well that the merchant disciples (fishermen, tex collectors, etc)  would likely have had some knowledge of Greek. The picture of these followers of Jesus as illiterate (as Bart Ehrman argues, for example)  is not so likely.