Biblical Archaeology

Why Are Palestinians Called Palestinians?

Over at PaleoJudaica:

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Why Are Palestinians Called Palestinians? The Palestinians don’t see themselves as descendants of the Biblical invaders, but they are named for the Philistines just the same (Elon Gilad, Haaretz).

The word “Palestinian” derives from the Philistines, a people who were not indigenous to Canaan but who had gained control of the coastal plains of what are now Israel and Gaza for a time. According to ancient Egyptian records of the period, which is the first written mention of them, the Philistines reached the region in around the 12 century BCE, which the archaeological record seems to confirm.

Although it is likely that some Philistine blood runs through the veins of modern-day Palestinians (and through the Jews’), they are a different people with a different culture.

Where the Philistines originated is a matter of debate, as they left no written records, but there are two main theories, based mainly on signature pottery shards. The original theory was that the Philistines originated in the Aegean basin and belonged to the Mycenaean culture. A newer hypothesis is that they were members of the Hurrian culture and came from what is today southern Turkey and Syria.

In any case, given the current state of knowledge, it is impossible to determine the etymology of the Philistines’ name in their own language.

What we can discuss is how this word morphed into the name of an altogether different people thousands of years later.

[…]

And so he does, taking the development of the name up to the present. Good discussion. The origin of the name is a less complicated question than that of the genetic origin of the people who now call themselves “Palestinians.” Genetic testing is probably advanced enough these days to make some progress toward answering the latter question. Meanwhile, some years ago I posted some thoughts on the subject here (point 2).

 

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Culture

The BBC: Writing Christianity Out of History

A few days ago I had the slimy experience of listening to a forty-minute discussion on BBC radio purporting to show the history of Britain through the medium of poetry. I describe the experience as slimy because I felt, having listened to it, that I had been slimed, finding myself covered spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally in a decaying, mendacious goo.

Let me explain…

Read on here.

 

Culture

Oldest Draft of King James Bible Discovered

This is rather exciting… Discovery has the news:

The King James Bible, the most widely read book in the English language — from which phrases like “a man after his own heart” emerged — is as storied as it is elusive. Now, a historian claims to have found the oldest known draft of the Christian text, written in messy script, in an obscure archive at the University of Cambridge.

The manuscript was hidden among the papers of Samuel Ward, one of the men commissioned by King James I to translate a new version of the Christian text into English in the early 17th century.

Jeffrey Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, chanced upon the 400-year-old notebook while doing research on Ward for an essay he’s writing. The Eureka moment came when Miller realized that the notebook contained text from the very book that Ward had been commissioned to help translate. Miller recalled thinking, “Oh my gosh, he’s talking about a book that he had been asked to help translate,” he said. “Then I realized rather he was creating the King James Bible in that moment.”

Describing his discovery in the Times Literary Supplement, Miller said the notebook is not just the earliest draft ever found, but it is also the only surviving draft written in the hand of one of the original translators…

There is more here.

 

Church

Dutch Reformed Church – NG Kerk – in South Africa Votes in Favour of Gay Unions

And homosexual Ministers are no longer required to remain celibate. I saw the news in Die Burger today. px

NG Kerk sê finaal ja: Gay mense is welkom:

Met amper geen besoekers in die besoekersgalery het die NG Kerk gay mense volledig in die kerk – as gelykes – verwelkom.

Die afgevaardigdes het Vrydag in Pretoria met 114 stemme die gewysigde voorstel ingestem. 63 stemme was daarteen.

Gay predikante hoef nie meer selibaat te wees nie en kan in ‘n burgerlike verbintenis wees.

Die selibaatheidsklousule wat in die besluit van 2007 ingeskryf is, is heeltemal verwyder.

Die besluit bevestig weer dat ‘n huwelik tussen een man en een vrou is.

Dit is egter nou amptelik dat “burgerlike verbintenisse van persone van dieselfde geslag wat gekenmerk word deur liefde en trou” bevestig kan word deur predikante wat “hul weg oopsien” om dit te doen.

Die algemene sinode het reeds Donderdag in ‘n toetsstem die voorstel van dr. André Bartlett, wat die raamwerk van die finale besluit is, aanvaar….

More here.

Archaeology

Mona Lisa’s Bones Found?

It’s on Discovery News, so don’t get your hopes up…

Italian archaeologists trying to solve the mystery behind the identity of one of the world’s most famous models said Wednesday that they had found shards of bone which could have belonged to Mona Lisa.

The team is certain that Florentine Lisa Gherardini was the mysterious woman who sat for Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait, but after years of research on skeletons unearthed in the Tuscan city, they have just one bit of femur that might match — and even that is too damaged for DNA testing.

Shards of bone? They could belong to anyone. No, they’re grabbing at straws here, I’m afraid.