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Shammu
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« Reply #480 on: March 27, 2010, 12:10:41 AM »

Ancient bones delay Israel hospital project
Mon Mar 22, 12:35 PM EDT

JERUSALEM — An Israeli government decision to relocate a hospital ward from its planned site on top of ancient graves has sparked heavy criticism from Israel's medical community, while marking a victory for the country's ultra-Orthodox religious political parties.

Construction on an emergency room in the southern city of Ashkelon was halted when human remains were discovered at the site.

Archaeologists determined the bones belonged to Christians or pagans from the Byzantine period. But Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, insisted they were Jewish bones that shouldn't be moved according to religious practice.

The Health Ministry director resigned Monday and doctors are protesting. The decision is expected to delay construction by a year and cost about $10 million.

Ancient bones delay Israel hospital project
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« Reply #481 on: March 27, 2010, 12:15:12 AM »

Researchers dig up controversy in Jerusalem

Thursday, 25 Mar, 2010

JERUSALEM: Archaeologists in Jerusalem are competing to unearth artefacts pointing to the ancient city's Jewish past, which are used to justify Israel's claim to all of it as the indivisible capital of the modern Jewish state.

But critics say some of “finds” are really just bending science to prove a “Biblical heritage” that is open to dispute.


“Archaeologists have given up many of their best practices in order to answer the continuing demands of mainly political actors,” says Raphael Greenberg, an Israeli archaeologist from Tel Aviv University, who has worked in Jerusalem.

With generous funding, including from religious groups intent on expanding Jewish settlement, archaeologists are digging up possible Biblical sites in occupied East Jerusalem and its surrounding West Bank suburbs at record pace.

So fast, say critics, that there are cave-ins at some sites, heightening tensions with the 250,000 Palestinians who live in the holy city, which Israel has controlled fully since 1967.

Archaeology in Jerusalem dates back well over a century - British enthusiasts began digging below the Old City 150 years ago, revealing remains that many say are those of a walled settlement ruled by the biblical Jewish king David.

That City of David site, still an active dig, is now also a tourist attraction, with around 400,000 visitors a year. It is funded by Elad, a group which also supports Jewish settlement.

As visitors eye the cracked stone walls, a stout 60-year-old man dons a skullcap, stops the group and flips open a Bible.

“This is where archaeologists found a clay seal with the name Gedaliah Ben Paschur, mentioned in verse 38:1 in the Book of Jeremiah,” whispers the volunteer, who gives his as Mordechai. “I can't tell you what to think. But what else could this place be, if not the ancient Biblical city?”

Quest for Roots

Greenberg is not persuaded by fixation on the holy book.

“Archaeology cannot prove or disprove the Bible,” he says “A name that matches that of a person in the Bible can only be taken so far - it's just a name.”

He says some archaeologists cater to financial donors like Elad, which seeks to establish Biblical roots and develop tourism, thereby strengthening Jewish claims on the area.

“Over time, when you're funded by these people in huge sums, and we're talking millions of dollars, you become part of the machine,” argued Greenberg, who has been speaking out for some time over his doubts about archaeology in the holy city.

Jerusalem archaeologists feel pressured on all sides.

“I'm being looked at by religious extremists on all sides, the municipality, and the Antiquities Authority. Everybody is pushing his side,” says Ronny Reich, an archaeologist from the University of Haifa in northern Israel.

Walking atop the massive stone steps of the Silwan Pool - or the Pool of Siloam - which he excavated in 2004, Reich dodges crowds of tourists. According to scripture, Jesus healed a blind man here.

Reich insists that his Elad funders do not influence him and he is “not in accordance” with everything Elad does. He says his work is unfairly attacked: The critics “can't fight Elad in court, so they use my dig”, he said, to attack it by proxy.

Bible as Tool

Bringing an outsider's eye to the arguments, British writer Simon Goldhill, in his 2008 book “Jerusalem: City of Longing”, speaks of the thrill of the digs that are rewriting text books, almost by the year, but also of the bitter, personal arguments:

“The vitriolic dispute over the status of the Bible for archaeology is a classic Jerusalem row,” the Cambridge professor writes, “touched as it is with so many personal issues within the small community of professional archaeologists, and laced as it is with the political charge of early history in this country.”

Critics like Hani Nur al-Din from the Palestinian Al Quds University in Jersualem accuses some Holy Land archaeologists of caring more about publicity than scholarly peer review.

He names Eilat Mazar, of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who drew attention last month after excavating a wall she says was built by the biblical King Solomon in the 10th century BC.

“She doesn't give any archaeological context to her findings other than dating pottery shards,” Nur al-Din charged. “The Bible should be put aside. It's not a history book.”

But Mazar, scion of an illustrious Israeli archaeology dynasty, disputes that: “Excavating Jerusalem without knowing the Bible is impossible,” she says. She said she would write a scientific report of her find following laboratory study.

Pointing out the freshly excavated wall, Mazar says the Bible offers a “core of reality”: “We've got a fantastic 10th century fortification line that indicates a central, powerful regime,” she said. “The Bible tells us there was such a king at this time, and his name was Solomon. Why ignore it?

“The question is if we can trace that core and prove it existed. Well, here it is.” Greenberg complains that the focus on the specific histories of the peoples on the land around Jerusalem can obscure the fact that finds here can have greater importance than proving, or disproving, the ancestral ties of one group or another.
   
"Israeli archaeology has a lot to contribute to very basic history about the development of the earliest human civilizations," he said.

"If all we deal with is who were the Jews or the Palestinians, then this remains a very anachronistic and parochial archaeology with little to say to the world."

Researchers dig up controversy in Jerusalem
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« Reply #482 on: March 27, 2010, 11:24:01 PM »

Thanks Brother!

As we all know, the controversy will get much worse in Jerusalem. In the meantime, archeology will prove in Jerusalem what the Bible already states.
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« Reply #483 on: April 05, 2010, 11:33:54 PM »

I realize this is an older article since the find was originally published in 2005 but it hasn't been posted here yet and I thought it was quite pertinent to show.

Prison dig reveals church that may be the oldest in the world
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent, and AP

A mosaic and the remains of a building uncovered recently in excavations on the Megiddo prison grounds may belong to the earliest church in the world, according to a preliminary examination by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

One of the most dramatic finds suggests that, instead of an altar, a simple table stood in the center of the church, at which a sacred meal was held to commemorate the Last Supper.

Photographs of three Greek inscriptions in the mosaic were sent to Hebrew University expert Professor Leah Di Segni, who told Haaretz on Sunday that the use of the term "table" in one of them instead of the word "altar" might lead to a breakthrough in the study of ancient Christianity. It is commonly believed that church rituals based on the Last Supper took place around an altar.
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The excavation was begun prior to the issuing of building permits for a new wing of the Megiddo prison, which houses security prisoners. Some 60 inmates from the Megiddo and Tzalmon prisons took part in the excavation.

The site is close to Tel Megiddo, believed to be Armageddon of the New Testament book of Revelation.

The northern inscription mentions a Roman army officer who donated the money to build the floor. The eastern inscription commemorates four women, and the western inscription mentions a woman by the name of Ekeptos (or Akaptos), who "donated this table to the God Jesus Christ in commemoration."

The mosaic also contains geometric patterns and a medallion with a fish design.

"I was told these were Byzantine," Di Segni said, "but they seem much earlier than anything I have seen so far from the Byzantine period. It could be from the third or the beginning of the fourth century."

A pottery vessel discovered at the site confirms Di Segni's dating, however she said the church's age can only be determined with certainty after excavators reach the level below the floor. "The problem is that in Israel we have no mosaic inscriptions from this period, and they will have to be compared with inscriptions from Antioch or Rome," she said.

Christian rituals were prohibited in the Roman Empire prior to the year 313 CE, and Christians had to pray in secret in catacombs or private homes. The earliest churches, dating from around 330 CE, are the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Nativity in Bethlehem, and Alonei Mamre near Hebron. However, they contain only scant remains of the original structures, which were built by Emperor Constantine I.

The structure discovered at the Megiddo prison is a simple rectangular one lacking the later characteristics of churches, such as an apse facing east. "I don't know if this structure can even be called a church," Di Sengi said.

Other discoveries at the prison include dwellings from the Roman times and a ritual bath, which was sealed and built on top of during the Byzantine period, bearing out historical information about a Jewish site in this area, Kfar Othnai, which became a Christian site in the Byzantine period.

The excavation was directed by Yotan Tepper of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
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« Reply #484 on: April 06, 2010, 04:30:57 PM »

Fascinating! - Thanks Pastor Roger!
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« Reply #485 on: April 23, 2010, 12:14:56 PM »

Oldest Hebrew Writing discovered:

http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?s=history&c=bradford-columnist-153x65&l=on&pic=100115-hebrew-02.jpg&cap=The+ancient+text+shown+in+this+drawing+was+discovered+on+a+shard+of+pottery+in+Israel%2C+and+turned+out+to+be+the+earliest+known+example+of+Hebrew+writing.+Credit%3A+University+of+Haifa&title=

Notice it isn't written in what would be said to be "Hebrew" today, but in a script nearly identical to Phoenician. It is claimed to be Hebrew because of the words used and the way they are used.

If you really think about it, only about 70 Israelites went down to Egypt, too small a group to retain their own language and culture - and they had been living among the Amorites and Canaanites and likely spoke those languages, not a unique one of their own. (Abraham was a Chaldean and would have spoken Chaldean originally).

After 430 years in Egypt the Hebrews probably only spoke Egyptian at the time of the Exodus, and the minority who could read and write would have done so in Egyptian Hieratic. (Moses was probably fluent in several languages). The ten commandments would have been engraved in Hieroglyphics (usually what was used on stone) or Hieratic to be intelligible to them.

Hebrew would have developed later as they picked up the languages of the surrounding nations and mixed them with Egyptian. They spent 40 years on the borders of Moab, so would have picked up a lot of Moabite.

So while we view Hebrew as an "ancient" language, it is probably actually rather recent.
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« Reply #486 on: April 23, 2010, 12:48:33 PM »

I would be interested in seeing the translation of this find.

The study of Etymology can be quite interesting but it can also be quite difficult. As you indicate languages of different groups of people do get mixed together tainting the original language. It is known that besides using a form of written language (perhaps a type of Hieroglyphics as you suggest) that much of a families history, scriptures and such was passed down orally as well. This most likely was done in their original language as closely as it was possible. I do say 'most likely' as we do not have anything definite to tell us this for certain and some conjecture based on what little information we have must be used.

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« Reply #487 on: April 24, 2010, 01:04:39 PM »

I would be interested in seeing the translation of this find.

The study of Etymology can be quite interesting but it can also be quite difficult. As you indicate languages of different groups of people do get mixed together tainting the original language. It is known that besides using a form of written language (perhaps a type of Hieroglyphics as you suggest) that much of a families history, scriptures and such was passed down orally as well. This most likely was done in their original language as closely as it was possible. I do say 'most likely' as we do not have anything definite to tell us this for certain and some conjecture based on what little information we have must be used.



From: http://www.physorg.com/news182101034.html

 This inscription is similar in its content to biblical scriptures (Isaiah 1:17, Psalms 72:3, Exodus 23:3, and others), but it is clear that it is not copied from any biblical text.

More information: English translation of the deciphered text:

1' you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2' Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3' [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4' the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5' Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

Provided by University of Haifa
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« Reply #488 on: July 31, 2010, 01:02:23 PM »

Philistine Temple Ruins Uncovered in Goliath's Hometown

Bar Ilan University archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a Philistine temple in the ancient city of Gath, home of the Biblical Goliath, buried in one of the largest tels (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel.


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138843
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« Reply #489 on: July 31, 2010, 03:46:30 PM »

Philistine Temple Ruins Uncovered in Goliath's Hometown

Bar Ilan University archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a Philistine temple in the ancient city of Gath, home of the Biblical Goliath, buried in one of the largest tels (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel.


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138843

Fascinating Story - Thanks for sharing it. I love it when parts of the Bible are proven with various discoveries. I know that the entire Bible is true, but discoveries like this help the lost to know that the Bible is true.
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« Reply #490 on: September 30, 2010, 03:33:38 PM »

This is not so much about a new find but rather the new access to earlier finds.

British Library puts Greek manuscripts online

"Other digital projects include a 16th century notebook by Leonardo Da Vinci and the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus, containing the earliest surviving copy of the complete New Testament."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100927/lf_nm_life/us_britain_manuscripts_1
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« Reply #491 on: September 30, 2010, 05:11:40 PM »

This is not so much about a new find but rather the new access to earlier finds.

British Library puts Greek manuscripts online

"Other digital projects include a 16th century notebook by Leonardo Da Vinci and the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus, containing the earliest surviving copy of the complete New Testament."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100927/lf_nm_life/us_britain_manuscripts_1

Fascinating! - Thanks!

The actual link for the British Library of Digitized Manuscripts is

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/

Everything works fine, and they have 285 manuscripts.
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« Reply #492 on: September 30, 2010, 07:39:25 PM »

Thanks for the link, brother.
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« Reply #493 on: January 02, 2011, 09:22:04 PM »

Ancient Jewish manuscripts reveal a forgotten history

New research has uncovered a forgotten chapter in the history of the Bible, offering a rare glimpse of Byzantine Jewish life and culture.

The study by Cambridge University researchers suggests that, contrary to long-accepted views, Jews continued to use a Greek version of the Bible in synagogues for centuries longer than previously thought. In some places, the practice continued almost until living memory.

The Cairo Genizah was not an archive designed to preserve documents. It was a “receptacle,” a final resting place or cache of “trashed” documents written in Hebrew or transliterated into Hebrew text, Arabic and other languages during the Middle Ages. The Ben-Ezra Synagogue in Cairo systematically disposed of deceased persons’ documents in a special vaulted room in the attic of the synagogue, accessible through a hole in the wall. Some of the Geniza’s contents had already gone to private collections or libraries – mostly via scholarly visitors or Middle Eastern antiquity markets. Luckily, Cairo’s dry climate prevented complete deterioration of the remaining writings even though they were damaged due to the ageing process.

In 1896, the importance of the Cairo Genizah came to the attention of Cambridge University scholar Prof. Solomon Schechter who transferred the remains – some 130,000 fragments – to Cambridge.

Now, a fully searchable online corpus (http://www.gbbj.org) has gathered these manuscripts together, making the texts and analysis of them available to other scholars for the first time.

“The translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE is said to be one of the most lasting achievements of the Jewish civilization – without it, Christianity might not have spread as quickly and as successfully as it did,” explained Nicholas de Lange, Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, who led the three-year study to re-evaluate the story of the Greek Bible fragments.

“It was thought that the Jews, for some reason, gave up using Greek translations and chose to use the original Hebrew for public reading in synagogue and for private study” he added.

Close study of the Cairo Genizah fragments by Professor de Lange led to the discovery that some contained passages from the Bible in Greek written in Hebrew letters. Others contained parts of a lost Greek translation made by a convert to Judaism named Akylas in the 2nd century CE.

Remarkably, the fragments date from 1,000 years after the original translation into Greek, showing use of the Greek text was still alive in Greek-speaking synagogues in the Byzantine Empire and elsewhere.

Manuscripts in other libraries confirmed the evidence of the Cambridge fragments, and added many new details. It became clear that a variety of Greek translations were in use among Jews in the Middle Ages.

Not only does the new research offer us a rare glimpse of Byzantine Jewish life and culture, but it also illustrates the cross-fertilisation between Jewish and Christian biblical scholars in the Middle Ages. “This is a very exciting discovery for me because it confirms a hunch I had when studying Genizah fragments 30 years ago,” said Professor de Lange.

The online resource enables comparison of each word of the Hebrew text, the Greek translation – knows as the Septuagint after the 70 Jewish scholars said to have translated it – and the fragments of Akylas’ and other Jewish translations from antiquity.  There is no doubt that there will be more to learn in the future.

http://www.pasthorizons.com/index.php/archives/01/2011/ancient-jewish-manuscripts-reveal-a-forgotten-history
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« Reply #494 on: January 03, 2011, 04:38:36 AM »

Quote
Ancient Jewish manuscripts reveal a forgotten history

Great story Pastor Roger - Thanks!
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