Biblical Archaeology

Was One of Jerusalem’s Greatest Archaeological Mysteries Solved?

Leen Ritmeyer reports:

Today the Israel Antiquities Authority announced:

A fascinating discovery recently uncovered in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the Givati parking lot at the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park, has apparently led to solving one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries: the question of the location of the Greek (Seleucid) Acra–the famous stronghold built by Antiochus IV in order to control Jerusalem and monitor activity in the Temple which was eventually liberated by the Hasmoneans from Greek rule…

Read on here.

 

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Biblical Archaeology

What Is the Oldest Hebrew Bible?

ashkar-gilson-manuscript

What is the oldest Hebrew Bible? That is a complicated question. The Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments of the oldest Hebrew Bible text, while the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex are the oldest complete versions, written by the Masoretes in the 10th and 11th centuries, respectively. The Ashkar-Gilson Manuscript falls in between the early scrolls and the later codices…

Bible History Daily seeks to answers the question.

 

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).

 

Church

Where Did Jesus Turn Water into Wine?

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

 —John 2:1-4

Bible History Today:cana-of-galilee

Jesus’ first miracle was performed in Cana of Galilee. When the wedding party in Cana ran out of wine, Jesus commanded the servants to fill up six stone jars with water. After he is offered a cup from one of the jars, the chief steward of the wedding discovers that he is drinking wine (John 2:1–11).

Where did Jesus turn water into wine? Where is Cana of Galilee? There are at least five candidates for Cana in the Bible, but, according to archaeologist Tom McCollough in “Searching for Cana: Where Jesus Turned Water into Wine” in the November/December 2015 issue of BAR, only one site offers the most compelling evidence…

More on that site here.

Church

Up to 1 in 10 Roman Catholic Priests Are Former Anglicans (UK)

The Tablet:

Up to one in 10 Catholic priests are former Church of England clergy, according to new figures.

Professor Linda Woodhead, a sociologist of religion at Lancaster University and organiser of the Westminster Faith Debates, worked with the Catholic bishops’ vocations director Fr Christopher Jamison OSB to establish that 389 Catholic priests are former Anglican priests, including 87 priests in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingam.

Currently it is estimated that in England and Wales there are 3,000 active diocesan priests, 800 retired priests, 1,000 religious priests and 700 deacons. Most of the Anglicans are believed to be working in parishes or chaplaincies.

Professor Woodhead told The Tablet that the Church of England clergy represented in these figures began to leave their original Church from 1994, when the first women were ordained priests. Those who left between 1994 and 2004 were provided with financial compensation amounting to 100 per cent of their stipend in year one, three-quarters in year two and two-thirds in year three. The payments amounted to £27.4 million over a decade.

She wanted to establish the veracity of reports that 400-500 priests and thousands of lay faithful had decided to join the Catholic Church, with many now serving as priests, including hundreds who are married.

She estimates that about 250 clergy “went across” between 1994 and 2000, with a further 52 from 2001, and then the Ordinariate clergy on top of that.

Professor Woodhead pointed out that the Catholic Church made the biggest gain from the moves given that there are 18,000 Anglican clergy compared with around 4,000 Catholic priests.

“So a relatively small loss of clergy numbers for the Church of England represents a very significant gift for the Catholic Church in England and Wales at a time of falling ordinations,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary, said in a homily at Portsmouth Cathedral that people sometimes asked members of the Ordinariate why they couldn’t become “proper Catholics.”

He said: “What they mean is, why can’t you just be absorbed into the wider Catholic Church so that what you bring disappears like sugar dissolved in water,” stressing that Christian unity was not about uniformity.

In September there will be events held by Ordinariate groups across the country to promote better understanding of the structure, set up to allow Anglicans to become Catholics while retaining elements of their identity.