Bible Archaeology

The Gate

Joel Kramer writes:

My current video project, The Soul Shepherd, has had me filming Bedouin shepherds and their flocks over the last two years. Today I begin sharing some of that footage with you in this video short, The Gate.

As you watch, ponder the metaphor of our human souls as sheep needing the care of a shepherd. Let the visuals and scriptures help you see more clearly your relationship with “our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep”. (Hebrews 13:20).


Bible Archaeology

Is This the High Priestly Palace Where Jesus Stood Trial?

In the 1970s, renowned archaeological architect Leen Ritmeyer, with his training in both ancient architecture and conservation of historic sites, supervised the team that reconstructed a large palace not far from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He has tentatively identified the “Palatial Mansion” (or “Herodian Mansion”) as the place of residence for Annas the high priest. If this is correct, then this would be a “look inside” the first phase of Jesus’s Jewish trial. And it may explain things like where the courtyard was located and how Jesus could look at Peter though they were in two different locations (Jesus inside and Peter outside, warming himself by a charcoal fire).In doing background research for a forthcoming volume co-authored with Andreas Köstenberger (Jesus’s Final Week: An Easter Chronology and Commentary), I corresponded with Dr. Ritmeyer, who was kind enough to answer a few questions and to share some of his reconstruction drawings with us…

You can read the Q&A here.

It’s well worth checking out if you, like me, are into Biblical Archaeology.



Wife Charged with Murder of Priest

Anglican priest’s body was discovered by his two young children.

The Sowetan:

The wife of a Butterworth Anglican Church priest yesterday made a brief appearance in the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court in connection with the murder of her husband earlier this month.

Lungiswa Xuba, 40, and Vuyo Mehlo, 40, were arrested in Elliot last week Friday by Butterworth police detectives in connection with the death of Xuba’s husband, the Reverend Ongama Xuba.

At this stage it is not clear what Mehlo’s relationship is to Xuba.

Butterworth police spokesman, Captain Jackson Manatha confirmed their arrest and charges.

“After their arrest on Friday last week they were detained by police until they appeared in court yesterday. They made a brief court appearance and are expected back in court next week for a formal bail application.

“Both are charged with the murder of Xuba,” Manatha said.

Ongama was found lying dead in a pool of blood on August 3 inside the St Peters Anglican Church house yard in King Street, Butterworth.

He had multiple stab wounds to his upper body.

His body was discovered by his two young children who arrived home with their mother after returning from a shop.

“After seeing his body in a pool of blood, the two children returned quickly to inform their mother that their father was covered in blood.

“It is alleged that the mother and her two children had gone to town to buy something for the deceased.

“It is not clear how the perpetrator gained entrance to the house,” Manatha said.

At the time, Manatha said the motive for the murder was not known and that nothing had been taken from the house.

Ongama’s death shocked many in Butterworth and his church leader, Bishop Elliot Williams of the Mbhashe Anglican Church, described his death and the news of his wife’s arrest as “terrible”.

Eastern Cape Council of Churches leader Reverend Mpumelelo Qwabaza said police should not leave any stone unturned in their investigation.

“It is sad news to hear that the wife of the deceased has been arrested in this case.

“But we call for people to cooperate with the police investigation and we are praying that the congregation must be calm and let the police do their work.”

Qwabaza said they wanted a speedy investigation into the matter so that the truth could be revealed.

“There are children involved in this and two families, so it would be nice to see the investigations speedily resolved to have closure in this matter.

“(Ongama) was a leader who did not deserve to die like that.”

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Luxolo Tyali confirmed the case and said the two would appear in court next week Wednesday. “They are currently remanded in custody.

“By next week they will both be given an opportunity to exercise their right to have their legal representatives in the case,” Tyali said.



Fourth Century Christianity in Carinthia

Bread and Circuses:

Exciting news in the Austrian press about what is likely to be the oldest traces of Christianity in Carinthia, in Virunum. A church dating to the 350s was found a couple of years ago, but further excavation suggests that there was a bishop’s palace there – in other words that it was a much significant centre of Christianity than first thought. From Kleine Zeitung:

“Vor sechs Jahren haben wir bereits eine Bischofskirche aus dem vierten  Jahrhundert entdeckt.” Doch nach einer exakten Analyse der Daten könne  man nicht mehr nur von einer Kirche ausgehen. Die Ausmaße auf dem  spätantiken Areal nahe Maria Saal scheinen größer als bisher angenommen. “Wir haben eine weitere Kirche und sechs Klerikerwohnungen entdeckt.”  Zudem vermuten die Archäologen eine dritte Kirche auf der anderen Seite  der Hauptstraße. “Anhand des Grundrisses könnte es sich dort eine  weitere Kirche befinden”, sagt Dolenz. Ob es so ist, wird sich Ende  Oktober herausstellen. Denn dann sollen die neu gewonnenen Erkenntnisse  durch geomagnetische Untersuchungen untermauert werden.

There is more at with a good number of photographs.



Fr Anthony Chadwick: A Couple of Snippets…

On the Traditional Anglican Communion – past and present.

Do give his post a read over at As the sun is in its orb.

UPDATEDeborah Gyapong weighs in and comments on the above.

… I believe that Hepworth understood that the communal and ecclesial way would include a more corporate “front-end” reception, more respect for the bishops’ as guardians of Catholic doctrine rather than an insistence on individual lay conversion, and more respect for the legal and corporate identities of the TAC churches so they could come in as Bishop Craig Botterill once said to me, “lock, stock and barrel” rather than having to disband, potentially leave all behind, come in as individual converts and then attempt to re-assemble after the fact.  Our ecclesial bonds were not regarded as important and consequently our parish families and our dioceses were disintegrated.  Imagine, will you, if every Roman Catholic parish suddenly had to have the individual faith of each of its members examined  (polls show only about half even believe in Real Presence) on pain of not receiving communion if they would not sign on the dotted line that they believed everything the Church holds to be true, whether on contraception to the male priesthood etc.   But most of the TAC bishops showed they did not hold or, as their actions now indicate, aspire to hold the Catholic faith as it is presented in the Catechism.  So, in retrospect the Holy See was perhaps wise to do it the way it did…

Rest here.