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Magnificent Entryway to King Herod’s Palace Revealed

A massive entranceway has been revealed at King Herod’s palace. Archaeologists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been excavating the Herodian Hilltop Palace over the past year. This entranceway is one of the most impressive features found at the site so far. One of the most startling features of the entryway is a corridor with complex systems of arches spanning its width on three separate levels. The arches act as buttresses for the corridor’s vast side walls; these would have allowed the King and his entourage direct access to the Palace Courtyard. See picture and read article at -- http://www.newhistorian.com/magnificent-entryway-king-herods-palace-revealed/2524/

Listen to Ancient Song Recreated From 3,400-Year-Old Cuneiform Tablets

Scholars from the University of California at Berkeley have brought to life the ancient sounds of Mesopotamia following the decryption and study of a set of ancient cuneiform texts that date back 3,400 years, according to a report on WFMU. The result is the recreation of a piece of music unheard for thousands of years. Although nearly 40 hymns in cuneiform writing were found on fragments of clay tablets, only one of these tablets, the Hurrian hymn to Nikkal, was found to be nearly complete. The tablet contains the lyrics for a hymn to a goddess of orchards, Nikkal, and instructions for a singer accompanied by a nine-stringed sammûm, a type of harp or, much more likely, a lyre. One or more of the tablets also contains instructions for tuning the harp. Listen to song, see pictures and read article at -- http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/882920-listen-here-ancient-song-recreated-from-3400-year-old-cuneiform-tablets/

`Last Supper' Papyrus May Be One of Oldest Christian Charms

A 1,500-year-old fragment of Greek papyrus with writing that refers to the biblical Last Supper and "manna from heaven" may be one of the oldest Christian amulets, say researchers. The fragment was likely folded up and worn inside a locket or pendant as a sort ofprotective charm, according to Roberta Mazza, who spotted the papyrus while looking through thousands of papyri kept in the library vault at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. See pictures and read complete article -- http://www.livescience.com/47705-last-supper-papyrus-discovered.html

On the Making of Papyrus

“The only ancient description we have of the making of papyrus is that of Pliny the Elder in his Natural History Book XIII. He wrote in the latter half of the first century A.D., and while some scholars have questioned whether he had actually seen the process due to some of his remarks, even if he got it second hand, this is valuable first century information… (Pliny, Natural History, 13.74-82)”
Paper is made from the papyrus plant by separating it with a needle point into very thin strips as broad as possible. The choice quality comes from the center, and thence in the order of slicing. The (choice) quality in former times called ‘hieratic’ because it was devoted only to religious books has, out of flattery, taken on the name of Augustus, and the next quality that of Livia, after his wife, so that the ‘hieratic’ has dropped to third rank. Paper of whatever grade is fabricated on a board moistened with water from the Nile: the muddy liquid serves as the bonding force. First there is sp…

Synagogue from Roman Empire unearthed in Israel

Excavations in town of Magdala in Golan Heights reveal remains of ancient structure; “historic and rare findings” include fragments of columns, parts of benches and pottery. The structure's grandeur led researchers to conclude that the site contained the ruins of an ancient synagogue. "We're still at an early stage of unearthing the structure," they said. "We found parts of the structure, fragments of columns, parts of benches, the threshold of a door and pottery fragments." See pictures and read complete article at -- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4608001,00.html

Hearing the Real Yeshua’s Voice – Understanding His Message & His Movement

Blessed are the SHALOM makers,
for they shall be called sons of God
.

Who are the SHALOM makers? TZEDAQAH (righteousness) is one of the most important words in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Bible of Yeshua (the real Jewish Jesus). The teachings of Yeshua make it very clear that TZEDAQAH is the most important word to him, too. We have witnessed what happens when “believers in Jesus” understand the teachings of Yeshua – they stop believing institutional doctrines and start revealing the image of God through their acts of TOV. Read the complete blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2014/12/hearing-real-yeshuas-voice.html

Christmas Day truce 1914

A First World War soldier’s account of the Christmas truce of 1914 has been released for the first time, chronicling “one of the most extraordinary sights anyone has ever seen”. Captain A D Chater was serving with the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders when peace came briefly to the English and German trenches on the Western Front. His letter to his “dearest mother”, describing the famous moment former enemies risked their lives to walk out into no-man’s land to wish each other a happy Christmas and play football, has been released. See pictures and read article at -- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/christmas-truce-of-1914-letter-from-trenches-shows-football-match-through-soldiers-eyes-9942929.html

BHC Flashbacks 1992

Ignorance we can understand, but we cannot wink at deception.  Jesus would define "deception" as "the stealing of a mind."  The greatest thieves of history are not those who steal money or gold, but those who steal minds. (Jim Myers 1992)

Do you consider the work of the Biblical Heritage Center important?

As 2014 comes to an end and we prepare for 2015, we are asking those who consider the work of the Biblical Heritage Center important to help fund the work by making a generous year-end donation.
BHC provides streams of information designed to help people understand their biblical heritages – all of the things that have been linked to a biblical text. We publish this information in our newsletter Discovering the Bible, BHC Google Group, BHC Blog, The Real Yeshua Blog, From One Jesus to Many Christians Blog, BHC Bible Study Blog, Twitter, Facebook pages, and the BHC website – and we do not charge people for it.
Has BHC’s information or have we made a difference in your life? If we have – please take time to make a generous donation today – we want to be able to continue providing information for you and help others too.
For information about how to make a donation or to make an online donation today go to -- http://biblicalheritage.org/BHC/donate.htm .
If you would like to set it up to a…

Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

The other day, someone gave me a note with Nahum 1:7 printed at the top:
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”
For some reason, they neglected to include the next line, which continues the thought from verse 7:
“But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of Nineveh.”
Okay, so maybe the fuller version doesn’t deliver quite the same Hallmark moment. And maybe that’s the problem with how many Christians use the Bible. Christians read (and quote) Scripture in tiny, artificial fragments all the time. And by doing so, do we alter the meaning without even realizing it. Digital Bible apps make it easier than ever to Twitterize holy writ. But we’ve been doing it for ages. Read the complete article at -- http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/04/01/five-bible-verses-you-need-to-stop-misusing/31534

10th-Century BCE Clay Seals Found in Israel Paint Different Picture

Six clay seals unearthed at Khirbet Summeily, an early Iron Age site in southern Israel, suggest that there was more political complexity in the region at that time than had been previously thought. “These appear to be the only known examples of bullae from the tenth century [BCE], making this discovery unique. See pictures and read article at -- http://www.archaeology.org/news/2832-141216-israel-clay-seals

The Neo-Assyrian Empire (934-610 BCE or 912-612 BCE)

Beginning with the reign of Adad Nirari II (912-891 BCE), the empire made great territorial expansions that resulted in its eventual control of a region which spanned the whole of Mesopotamia, part of Anatolia, the Levant, and Egypt. They fielded the most effective fighting force in the world at that time, the first to be armed with iron weapons, whose tactics in battle made them invincible. Their political and military policies have also given them the long-standing reputation for cruelty and ruthlessness though this has come to be contested in recent years, as it is now argued they were neither more nor less cruel than other ancient empires (such as that of Alexander the Great or of Rome). The kings of the empire, such as Tiglath Pileser III, Shalmaneser V, Sargon II, Sennacherib, and Esarhaddon, are mentioned a number of times throughout the Bible as the enemies of the Israelites, although the inscriptions of the Assyrians and the books of the Bible differ, sometimes dramatically, …

Sailors on sandy seas: camels in Saharan rock art

Surprising as it seems, the camel is a relative newcomer to the Sahara – at least when compared to other domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, horses and donkeys. Although the process is not yet fully known, camels were domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula around the third millennium BC, and spread from there to the Middle East, North Africa and Somalia from the 1st century AD onwards. The steps of this process from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean have been documented through many different historical sources, from Roman texts to sculptures or coins, but it is especially relevant in Saharan rock art, where camels became so abundant that they have given their name to a whole period.What is it that makes camels so suited to deserts? It is not only their ability to transform the fat stored in their hump into water and energy, or their capacity to eat thorny bushes, acacia leaves and even fish and bones. Camels are also able to avoid perspiration by manipulating their core temperature, end…

The history of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

The First Temple was built in the 10th century B.C.E. by King Solomon, according to the Hebrew Bible (1 Kings 5-9). But the sanctity of the site goes back hundreds and possibly thousands of years before that.
The land on which Solomon built the temple had been acquired by King David, Solomon's father, who thought to build a grand temple himself. But the Lord, according to the biblical story, rejected David's ambition because of the king's sins and the job passed to the son.
The land David chose, a threshing floor, was associated with Moriah, where the patriarch Abraham brought his son Isaac for sacrifice (Genesis 22:14). (In the Bible, the mount is also referred to as “Zion,” a name that eventually came to encompass the entire Land of Israel.) That too is a tradition shared by the three great monotheistic religions. Other than that, and a few other minor references to the site in the Bible, however, there is no obvious explanation why Solomon built his temple here.
What is cl…

The God factor and the pistachio tree

The Atlantic pistachio tree is not only a source of food and a lesson in mutuality, thanks to a very strange symbiotic relationship it has with an insect. It was also a goddess, at least once upon a time. In Israel, fall doesn't trumpet its arrival in a cacophonous changing of leaves. A rare one whose leaves do turn russet in the best tradition of more northern climes is the wild terebinth, a.k.a. the Atlantic pistachio – oft-mentioned in the bible and a source of superfood for the locals before they were even human.
Some terebinths are low and bushy, like in the Valley of Elah, whereDavidfought Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2 -elahis the name of this tree in Hebrew). Yet others have broad girths and wide crowns, in the rare places where deforestation over the centuries was avoided.
ThePistacia atlanticanuts among the “choice fruits” of Canaan that Jacob instructed his sons to take back to Egypt (Gen. 43:11) were pistachios (although the Hebrew word used in that verse,botnim, is today translat…

Isaiah son of Amoz

Isaiah son of Amoz towers among the giants of classical biblical prophecy -- repeatedly challenging the nation and its leaders with the ethical and religious will of God, and providing instructions and visions of moral renewal and universal peace. In such ways, he both dramatizes the engagement of a prophet with the social and political events of his times and expresses an impassioned concern for a life governed by covenantal values.
For Isaiah, deceit and dissembling, like moral blindness and greed, corrupt the religious spirit and are anathema to God. The ancient covenant is thus no abstract teaching, but a concrete challenge for rectitude and justice in daily life. Intensely alive in the troubled times of Judah in the late eighth century B.C.E., Isaiah's words and deeds have became a model for a life of prophetic witness to divine demands.
Isaiah's prophetic career was enmeshed in the political and cultural turmoil of the times. According to the superscription to the book, th…

Importance of Time Markers & Who Came Up With Sex

Always watch for clues that reveal how much time passes in the verses of the Bible that you are reading. Not only will this help you better understand the context of what you are reading, it will make you aware of what happened in that period of time. This will often help fill in blanks about what took place in that period of time; it may also raise some very interesting questions.
And the man knew his woman Chavah, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. (Genesis 4:1a)

Read the complete BHC Bible Study at -- http://bhcbiblestudies.blogspot.com/2014/12/importance-of-time-markers-who-came-up.html

Today is “Giving Tuesday”

Today is “Giving Tuesday,” a new tradition in the holiday season after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is a day of giving to support your favorite nonprofit organizations. We hope you'll keep theBiblical Heritage Center in mind as you give today. Please remember that you might be able to double your gift if your company matches charitable donations. Also, PayPal will add 1% to all donations made today until December 31 by our online PayPal link. To donate click on – http://biblicalheritage.org/BHC/donate.htm

Thank you!

8,000 artefacts and rising - most important discovery ever in London

Archaeologists have so far discovered 8,000 objects and expect that to rise to 10,000 by the time the project is finished. These include writing tablets, clothing, jewelry and pottery as well as parts of buildings that will help build a picture of thriving London life from around 40 AD to the fifth century. Over 150 fragments of writing tablets have been discovered in one room. Read complete article at -- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/8000-artefacts-and-rising-city-dig-pronounced-the-most-important-ever-in-london-8566348.html

You Can’t Understand the Bible by Yourself

The western church, as you know, wades around in a thick sludge of individualism. We admit it. We bemoan it. But sometimes we don’t realize just how deep our individualism runs.Put frankly, you can’t understand the Bible by yourself. You need the community of God to rightly interpret the text. You may think this is heresy—or Catholic—but hear me out. I don’t want to deconstruct a presupposition for deconstruction’s sake. My aim is to bring us back to a more biblical view of the Bible. I want us to study the Bible in community because that’s how the Bible was meant to be read, studied, and lived. Read complete article at -- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2014/11/you-cant-understand-the-bible-by-yourself/


Seven common misconceptions about the Hebrew Bible

Everyone talks about the Bible, though few have read it cover to cover. This is not surprising—some sections of the Bible are difficult to understand without a commentary, others are tedious, and still others are boring. That is why annotated Bibles were created—to help orient readers as they read through the Bible or look into what parts of it mean. For those who have not read the Bible cover-to-cover—and even for many who have—here are some common misconceptions about the Hebrew Bible. Read the complete article at -- http://blog.oup.com/2014/11/seven-common-misconceptions-hebrew-bible/

New App ‘Dig Quest: Israel’ Teaches Children About Archaeology in Israel

The Israeli Antiquities Authority is releasing a free app for iPhones and iPads. The app, called “Dig Quest: Israel,” is meant to help kids get a feel for what archaeologists do, and experience what it’s like to discover artifacts from the past. The app features two simulated dig sites – a Roman period mosaic at Lod, and the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.The app plans to add more dig sites and content, over time. “The Israel Antiquities Authority embarked on the development of the Dig Quest: Israel App for kids as part of the overall mission of the IAA to make available and accessible to audiences around the world the archaeological treasures of Eretz Israel,” said the IAA spokesperson. Read complete article at -- http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/11/23/new-app-dig-quest-israel-teaches-children-about-archaeology-in-israel/

Roman Games, Chariot Races & Spectacle

If there was one thing theRomanpeople loved it was spectacle and the opportunity of escapism offered by weird and wonderful public shows which assaulted the senses and ratcheted up the emotions. Roman rulers knew this well and so to increase their popularity and prestige with the people they put on lavish and spectacular shows in purpose-built venues across theempire. Such famous venues as theColosseumandCircus MaximusofRome would host events involving magnificent processions, exotic animals,gladiatorbattles,chariotraces, executions and even mock naval battles.
It is significant that most of the best preserved buildings from the Roman period are those which were dedicated to entertainment. Amphitheatres and circuses were built across the empire and even army camps had their own arena. The largest amphitheatre was the Colosseum with a capacity of at least 50,000 (likely more, if one factors in the smaller bodies and different sense of personal space compared to modern standards) whilst …

10 Deities of the Underworld

All the major religions have their different views about what will happen after an individual passes away. There are some that teach that it leads to a life full of blessings and pleasure while others describe afterlife as a place of torment and misery run by unjust underworld gods. These religions have their own representative of the underworld. See pictures and read article at -- http://fancylists.com/10-deities-underworld/

Blaming Israel for Palestinian violence is racist: it denies that Arabs are moral agents.

The media response to the Jerusalem killings betrays a widespread assumption: that Palestinians are "noble savages" who are not responsible for their actions. What we learnt (again) this week was that the anti-Zionist ideology, the ludicrously simplistic assumptions it makes about Palestinians and Israelis, and the demonizing/exculpatory framework through which it distorts our understanding of the conflict, is now bleeding from the cloisters of academia into those wider structures of feeling and patterns of response that shape our public square. Read the complete article at -- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/11243168/Blaming-Israel-for-Palestinian-violence-is-racist-it-denies-that-Arabs-are-moral-agents.html

Temple Mount: Common ground between Jews and Christians

“Temple Denial, is also denial of the Gospels,” says former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren. Although the current Temple Mount debate focuses on Jewish and Muslim worship, the holy site also has religious significance to Christians. Who practices their religion on the Temple Mount is a very different question to who can stake religious claim to the holy site. Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah and US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the recent incidents of terror provoked by  the Temple Mount debate. “Following Thursday's talks" Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told reporters, "firm commitments were made to maintain the decades-old status quo that allows only Muslims to pray at Al-Aqsa.” For Christians, as for Jews, the “status quo” which forbids them to pray on the Temple Mount, is rooted in the notion that no Jewish Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount in the first place. Read the complete article at …

How Rich Pastors Are Getting Richer (While Poor Pastors Stay Poor)

According to §107 of the US Tax Code, all “ministers of the gospel” are free from income tax on their housing expenses. Not everyone thinks this benefit is a good idea. The most recent of several challenges came in November 2013 when the Wisconsin District Court ruled that the clergy tax benefit was unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause. Judge Barbara Crabb made the decisionbecause, she argued, the tax benefit is given to individuals solely based on religious merit, not on need – “basically, clergy treat the tax benefit as a public entitlement, and they are afraid to lose it.” That decision has drawn a lot of criticism from religious organizations. Read the complete article at -- http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/11/21/how-rich-pastors-are-getting-richer-while-poor-pastors-stay-poor/35143

Is a healthcare system with “no pay upfront – no surgery” in our future?

What kind of values do you want the people who control our healthcare system to have? Which would you prefer that they value the most – human life or money?

The article “Health plans lead to more hospital pre-pays” in USA Today makes it clear that a major shift of values is taking place in America today. Read the complete TOV Center Blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-healthcare-system-with-no-pay.html

Jewish Worshippers Massacred During Morning Prayers.

The seething situation in Jerusalem took a turn for the worse early Tuesday morning [Nov. 18] when Palestinian Arab terrorists entered a local synagogue and attacked Jewish worshippers conducting traditional morning prayers. Two Muslim assailants entered the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue complex in the religious Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof shortly after dawn armed with a pistol, knives and axes. Four Israelis were killed and another nine were wounded, many of them seriously, during the bloody rampage.  Read complete article at -- http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/25532/Default.aspx

Vatican Library undertaking an extensive digital preservation of its 82,000 document collection.

TheVatican Apostolic Library, one of the oldest libraries on the planet,is undertakingan extensive digital preservationof its 82,000 document collection — and they’re all availableto view free of charge. Over the course of a few years, with the assistance of Japanese company NTT DATA, the library hascatalogued nearly 4,500 manuscripts online— and it hopes to reach the 15,000 mark within the next four years. The current list of digitized manuscripts can be viewed through theVatican Library website. Read article at -- http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/vatican-library-digitizes-ancient-manuscripts-shares-free-charge/

A Clay Tablet fragment found in Jerusalem

During the 2009-10 excavations on the Ophel (Eastern Hill of Jerusalem), Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered a small fragment of a cuneiform tablet dated to the Late Bronze Age, roughly 1350 B.C.). The document was written in Akkadian, a Mesopotamian language akin to biblical Hebrew. Interestingly, Akkadian was the international language of the time, used by multiple political powers to correspond to each other.So, why is this important? Well, this little fragment provides the first direct evidence for the scribal use of cuneiform at Jerusalem, which can be added to the evidence from other cities in the region that have recently yielded similar material (Jericho, Hazor, Shechem, Hebron and Gezer, all widely known biblical cities). Before this discovery, we knew little about pre-Israelite Jerusalem. Read the complete article at -- http://lacrossetribune.com/news/opinion/mark-w-chavalas-tablet-fragment-sheds-light-on-history/article_1a1da8a7-f591-502e-9f92-b7ad9…

Sumerian Clay tablet from Ur, southern Iraq ca. 2100-2000 BCE

See 4,000+ year-old sketches of building layouts on clay tablets. They are very rare. This is a temple plan and the captions next to the drawn walls give their lengths in cubits. Whereas the outer walls of the building have a thickness of three cubits the walls inside the building are two cubits thick. The entrance to the building, which can most probably be identified as temple was in the middle of the left outer wall. In a straight line four rooms are indicated, of which the second room has almost a square layout. From this more or less central room one could reach further rooms that lie to the side of the building. Most interesting is an elongated room in the upper part of the sketch, in which a flight of stairs might be indicated. See these amazing photographs at -- http://mesopotamianheritage.tumblr.com/post/99991285037/sumerian-clay-tablet-ur-southern-iraq-ca

Exploring Aelia Capitolina, Hadrian’s Jerusalem

With thousands of archaeological sites, Jerusalem is one of the most excavated cities on the planet and to walk its streets is to walk through thousand years of history. This ancient city has been fought over more than any other place. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt many times and Hadrian played a significant role in Jerusalem’s physical development. In AD 130, on his grand tour of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, Hadrian visited the devastated city of Jerusalem, accompanied by his young lover Antinous. He established a new city on the site of the old one which was left in ruins after the First Roman-Jewish War of 66-73. The new city was to be named Colonia Aelia Capitolina. Aelias derived from the emperor’s family name (Aelius, from the gensAelia), and Capitolina refers to the cult of the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva). Go to this great article and see lots of fantastic pictures at -- http://etc.ancient.eu/2014/11/07/exploring-aelia-capitolina-hadrian…

Violence, Values & Trust

I remember when I was growing up and eating dinners as a family. The TV would be on and the news would list the daily body counts during the Vietnam War. They were just numbers, the dead, the wounded the missing. After a while, they were just numbers, not people to many of those watching the news. Of course, it was a very different situation to those involved and their families. But, all of this violence took place in a war where violence was the only option for the soldiers. Doing the work that I do -- dealing with homicide, suicide, domestic violence and PTSD -- violence is “the chosen response.” More and more American civilians are “choosing” to respond to adversity and disagreements with acts of violence. What is the problem? Read Rabbi Leynor’s blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/11/violence-values-trust.html

The day a Holocaust survivor got revenge on his tormentor

“In the last days of the war the overwhelming realization of utter defeat was too much for many Germans. Stripped of the bayonets and bombast which had given them power, they could not face a reckoning with either their conquerors or their consciences. These found the quickest and surest escape in what Germans call Selbstmord, self-murder . . . In Hitler’s Reich, Germans stopped killing others and began killing themselves.” Read complete article at -- http://nypost.com/2014/11/09/famed-tailors-amazing-tale-of-revenge-after-the-holocaust/

Did God or Satan Do It?

A visitor to our website read the article “2 Samuel 24:1 vs  I Chronicles 21:1” that was written by Sid Dosh in April 1999 and emailed the following questions to me:
I don't really understand the contradiction of 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1. Which of the 3 possible explanations on your site is it? Can this disprove the Bible? Is there a clear explanation as to why one says that God moved David and the other says satan?

Read my reply at -- http://www.biblicalheritage.org/Bible%20Studies/110314_God_or_Satan.pdf

60 Minutes enters the world of homegrown jihadists

CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward interviews pro-ISIS Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary who lives and preaches in Britain. This is an interview you should really take a few minutes to listen to and hear his words and vision for Britain and America. Go to -- http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-to-face-with-an-islamic-extremist-campaigning-for-isis/

10 things you didn’t know about the history (and mystery) of Halloween

#1 Most people believe 31 October is an ancient pagan festival associated with the supernatural. In fact, it has religious connotations– although there is disagreement among historians about when it begun. Some say Hallowtide was introduced as All Saints’ Day in the 7th century AD by Pope Boniface IV, while others maintain it was created in the 9th century AD by Christians to commemorate their martyrs and saints. In medieval Britain, ‘Halloween’ was the eve of the Catholic festival All Saints or All-Hallows (from Old English ‘Holy Man’) on 1 November, and was followed by the feast of All Souls on 2 November.
#3 Much of the modern supernatural lore surrounding Halloween was invented as recently as the 19th century.Scots and Irish settlers brought the custom of Mischief Night visiting to North America, where it became known as ‘Trick or Treat’.  Until the revival of interest in Halloween during the 1970s, this American tradition was largely unknown in England. The importation of ‘Trick o…

Gold in Antiquity

Gold, chemical symbol Au (from the Latinaurummeaning ‘shining dawn’), is a precious metal which has been used since antiquity in the production of jewelry,coinage, sculpture, vessels and as a decoration for buildings, monuments and statues. Gold does not corrode and so it became a symbol of immortality and power in many ancient cultures. Its rarity and aesthetic qualities made it an ideal material for ruling classes to demonstrate their power and position. First found at surface level near rivers in Asia Minorsuch as the Pactolus inLydia, gold was also mined underground from 2000 BCE by the Egyptians and later by the Romans inAfrica, Portugal and Spain. See pictures and read article at -- http://www.ancient.eu/gold/

Translation of report from the recent general assembly of Roman Catholic Bishops

You have probably read about the Church Councils that met back in the days of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Eusebius, Athanasius, Augustine, etc. Their votes produced the foundational doctrines of Christianity. The bishops have continued to meet over the centuries and the English translation of the report from their most recent meeting -- Synod14 - "Relatio Synodi" of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” (5-19 October 2014) – is now online. Take a moment to glance over it and get a feel for the process that has governed the Roman Catholic Church since the first meeting in 325 CE – the Council of Nicea. Read the current report at -- http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/18/0770/03044.html

6,000 Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered in Ukraine

A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 197 by 66 feet in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five rooms. See pictures and read article at -- http://www.livescience.com/48352-prehistoric-ukraine-temple-discovered.html

Paul’s Gospel

Dr. Ike Tennison and I have been working with the Greek text of Galatians. We believe it provides one of the best sources for understanding how Paul viewed himself and understood his calling and message. Galatians is loaded with clues that are often overlooked because of the attempts of later Christian writers to recast Paul and make him better fit into the context of the original Jesus Movement – specifically Luke’s (or whoever the unknown specified author was) in the Book of Acts. Pay close attention to what Paul wrote in the first chapter of Galatians:
Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through a man . . . For I make known to you, brothers, the gospel preached by me is not from a man. For I received it not from man, nor was I taught (the gospel) it; but (I received the gospel) through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:1a, 11-12)
We find these points very interesting:
(1) My authority did not come from any human being. – In our opinion, the specific human beings Paul had in mi…

“My Higher Power”

I'm responding to a question on the TOV Center Blog about why I placed the term “Higher Power” in parenthesis in an earlier blog. I am a rabbi, counselor and police chaplain. I work with all kinds of people from many different backgrounds, cultures, religions with different beliefs about God, as well as some with no concept of any "Higher Power." During my years working in hospice as a bereavement counselor/chaplain, I came into contact with a number of people and families with different or no spiritual/religious beliefs. I needed to find a way of bringing them comfort, healing and peace as life was coming to an end. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-higher-power.html

Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel

A lunar-crescent-shaped stone monument that dates back around 5,000 years has been identified in Israel. Located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northwest ofthe Sea of Galilee, the structure is massive  — its volume is about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet) and it has a length of about 150 meters (492 feet), making it longer than an American football field. Pottery excavated at the structure indicates the monument dates to between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C., meaning it is likely older than thepyramids of Egypt. It was also built before much ofStonehengewas constructed.  See picture and read article at -- http://www.livescience.com/47835-massive-5-000-year-old-stone-monument-revealed-in-israel.html?adbid=524041584480768000&adbpl=tw&adbpr=15428397&cmpid=514645_20141020_31671126

Important! Smartphone flashlight apps are stealing info.

Gary Miliefsky, SnoopWall CEO, and founding member of the US Department of Homeland Security announces a privacy breach posed by smartphone flashlight apps. You will probably have to take your phone back to the store where you bought it and have it factor reset to remove all of the adware & spyware it has stored on your phone. A friend of mine took his back, the store reset it and a few minutes later it reappeared again. The store had to repeat the procedure again. So far it hasn’t come back. Be sure to watch this video and share it with your friends. http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report-bret-baier/blog/2014/10/01/cybersecurity-threat-could-be-lurking-your-phone

Shortcomings of Religious Monopolies

As Adam Smith recognized so clearly, religious organizations are not immune to the shortcomings that soon beset all monopolies. Rather, when fully supported by state establishment, “the clergy, reposing themselves upon their benefices,” give “themselves up to indolence” and neglect “to keep up the fervor of faith and devotion in the great body of the people.”

Source: The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success by Rodney Stark © 2005; Random House Trade Paperbacks, New York, NY; pp. 204-205.

The Nazi Doctors and Nuremberg: Some Moral Lessons Revisited

Clearly, protection of the integrity of medical ethics is important for all of society. If medicine becomes, as Nazi medicine did, the handmaiden of economics, politics, or any force other than one that promotes the good of the patient, it loses its soul and becomes an instrument that justifies oppression and the violation of human rights. . . Hitler, like his counterparts in Stalinist Russia and Imperial Japan, recruited medicine at the very beginning of his regime. Physicians should have refused. Even Hitler would probably not have prevailed against a united profession exerting its collective moral power. But the caduceus joined the swastika in a lethal symbiosis that cost millions of lives and forever branded German medicine as a traitor to every tradition that ever made medicine a beneficent rather than a maleficent enterprise. Read the complete article at -- http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/nuremberg/NurembergNews8_15_97.html

Brittany Maynard -- My right to death with dignity at 29.

“I was 29 years old. I'd been married for just over a year. My husband and I were trying for a family. In April, I learned that not only had my tumor come back, but it was more aggressive. Doctors gave me a prognosis of six months to live. Because my tumor is so large, doctors prescribed full brain radiation. I read about the side effects: The hair on my scalp would have been singed off. My scalp would be left covered with first-degree burns. My quality of life, as I knew it, would be gone. After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left.” Read article & watch video at -- http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/opinion/maynard-assisted-suicide-cancer-dignity/index.html

Whose God wants wives to submit to violent husbands?

The Dallas Morning News has been running a series called Deadly Affection. In a recent article, a woman, who was the member of a church, came to a service one Sunday black and blue from her husband's beatings. The pastor told her she needed to keep forgiving him, pray for him, just keep asking God to change him -- and ask God to help her be a better wife. He didn’t tell her to protect herself from that predator or offer to go see her husband and tell him that the church wasn’t going to set back and ignore what he was doing to her. Look folks; God is not our cosmic bellboy/bellgirl and prayer isn’t a drive-thru window that we use to place our orders. Read Rabbi Leynor’s latest blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/10/whose-god-wants-wives-to-submit-to.html

Yom Kippur Before the Temple was Destroyed

Today (October 3, 2014) at sundown is the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is by far the most widely observed of Jewish holidays and fast days. Synagogues are packed with families in Israel, as well as throughout the diaspora. It has been the most important Jewish holiday throughout the centuries, going back into the Second Temple Period -- the times of the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes and the Jesus Movement. A good way for Christians to understand its importance is to compare it to what Easter means to Christians. In this article I am going to focus on Yom Kippur during the Late Second Temple Period, rather than the rituals now practiced in synagogues. Keep in mind that what follows will reflect what Jesus and his original followers experienced every year. There are hints in the Synoptic Gospels that the final year of the life of Jesus may have coincided with the Year of Jubilees, but we will look at what happened every year at the Temple. The fact that the highest …

The U.S. Navy Saved Jews of Eretz Yisrael Exactly 100 Years Ago

One hundred years ago the Jews of Palestine suffered terribly from hunger, disease and oppression.  The territory was ruled with an iron fist by the Ottoman (Turkish) army.  The Middle East teetered on the brink of World War I, and in 1914 Turkey abolished the “capitulation” agreements with European powers which granted them elements of sovereignty over their subjects in the Ottoman Empire.  For many Jews ofEretz Yisraeltheir French, British and Russian protectors were gone. The financial assistance they received from their European Jewish brethren evaporated. In late 1914, the war in the Middle East began with Turkey massing troops in Palestine and the Sinai to move against the British along the Suez Canal.  The Turkish army prepared for the attack by forcibly conscripting locals, including Jews, and by looting (so-called “levies”) supplies, food and animals from residents of Palestine. See pictures and read the complete article at -- http://jcpa.org/u-s-navy-saved-jews/

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

This Friday (sundown - October 3, 2014), as the sun goes down, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) begins. As I have mentioned before, it is our responsibility to repair and reconcile relationships. The three most important relationships are the one we have with ourselves, the one we have with our "Higher Power" (whatever that might or might not be), and the ones we have with the rest of creation. All the work seems to be on us and rightfully so, because of all of creation, humans are the one creature that always needs improvement. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-day-of-atonement-yom-kippur.html

3,500-year-old Hittite tablet to be deciphered with 3D scanning system

A tablet found on a rock during excavations in Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite civilization in the central Anatolian province of Çorum, will be deciphered with a 3D scanning system. See picture & read article at -- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/hittite-tablet-to-be-deciphered-with-3d.aspx?pageID=238&nID=72324&NewsCatID=375

What Does God Value the Most?

A lawyer, who was a Pharisee, asked Jesus this question -- “Which commandment is the greatest commandment.” Below is Jesus’s answer: 
You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Torah and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

The lawyer asked for one commandment, but Jesus combined parts of two commandments. Jesus not only answered the question, he revealed something much more important – God’s highest value and a foundational principle of His kingdom. Read the complete article at -- http://biblicalheritage.org/DTB/0914_DTB_What_Does_God_Value.pdf

The Power of Collective TOV Creativity -- Ubuntu

One of the most important concepts that Jim Myers and I teach through the Tov Center is about the importance of "Community." We live in a society of individuals. Everyone is a "ME." Individual rights, needs and wants take priority over those of community. Essentially, the "WE" is disappearing from America, the nation famously known as “WE the people!” This creates a problem that most people do not seem to be aware of -- without a "WE" there is no "ME." Without a “WE” there is no righteousness; there is no kindness; there is no justice; there is no Tov; and, there is no community without others! And, very importantly, there is no shared Values Standard we can use to guide and measure human relationships. Every “ME” is running around with his or her own “self-created standard” measuring the world with it. Read Rabbi Leynor’s latest blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-power-of-collective-tov-creativity.html

Builder unearths vast treasure trove of 22,000 Roman coins

An amateur metal detectorist has unearthed one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain. Laurence Egerton, 51, made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton, in East Devon - and he was so concerned someone would steal it, he camped out for three nights while archaeologists excavated the site. Dubbed Seaton Down Hoard, the collection of 22,000 copper-alloy coins is thought to have been buried by a private individual or soldier for safe keeping, but was never recovered. See picture and read article at -- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2770576/Builder-unearths-vast-treasure-trove-22-000-Roman-coins-spends-three-nights-sleeping-site-guard-hoard.html

Why the US bombed “Khorasan” last night.

This week the US, France and a few Arab countries started bombing ISIS targets in Syria, in addition to the attacks on ISIS in Iraq. In response, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad AL-Adnani released a statement Monday urging Islamist militants to kill American and French citizens around the world. But is ISIS really the biggest Islamic-jihad danger to the US? After all, the Obama administration has repeatedly said that ISIS does not present an “immediate threat” to America. And they could be right. Intelligence officials say the U.S. needs to be on the alert for terror threats from a militant group in Syria --and it's not ISIS. Last weekend several US media outlets reported on “Khorasan” an Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization based in Syria, that most analysts say is far more dangerous to the US and Western countries than ISIS. Read the complete report by Gil Elan at -- http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1825091/5193c7d9a6/591947869/c8aec7c0be/

Rosh HaShanah Begins at Sundown Today

In Hebrew, Rosh means “head” and HaShanah means “the year,” so the name of the holiday literally means “Head of the Year.” It is the Jewish new year, even though it takes place in the seventh month – Tishrei – of the Jewish calendar. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nisan which takes place in the spring.  
Rosh HaShanah is a time of celebration and introspection.  The two days of Rosh Hashanah usher in the Ten Days of Repentance (Aseret Yemei Teshuvah), also known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim), which culminate in the major fast day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Below are links to websites that will provide much more information about Rosh HaShanah.
(1) My Jewish Learning -- Basics, Traditions & Rituals, Food and PrayersCLICK HERE.
(2) Judaism 101CLICK HERE.
(3) HAARETZThe history of Rosh Hashanah, which wasn't always the 'new year'CLICK HERE.
(4) About ReligionThe 8 Most Important Things to Know About Rosh HaShanahCLICK HERE.

Now for so…

A real man doesn't hit women (or children) – ever!!!

Alright! I'm coming clean! I don't care for sports, (cause I suck at them), I don't have tattoos, I don't hunt nor do I like  camping and hiking the great outdoors,(though I am inspired by all the amazing places I've seen), I don't drink beer, I don't drive a pickup. OMG! Do you think I'll be drummed out of the ranks of " Malehood?"

It's interesting to see and hear so many perceptions of what being a "real man" means. Advertising and professional sports in particular bombard us with images of males with rippling muscles smashing and crashing into one another -- on a field, slab of ice, etc. Real men smash & crash into others! But, it is very disturbing to see so many reports of domestic violence committed by professional athletes.  Read Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor’s blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-real-man-doesnt-hit-women-or-children.html

Whipped, ears cut off, fined & banished by Massachusetts Christians

When the Founding Fathers separated “church and state” they had a very good reason – placing a barrier between religious authorities and the use of state force. History records many events in which religions used state judicial and military force to punish “unbelievers, heretics and blasphemers.” With all of the media focus on ISIS/ISIL, we should remember the lessons we learned from our Christian heritages. Read account at -- http://fromonejesus.blogspot.com/2014/09/whipped-ears-cut-off-fined-banished-by.html

Funeral home offers drive-thru viewing.

Paradise Funeral Chapel Saginaw, Michigan has installed a window that displays a body set up in a special area inside the building with a raised and tilted platform for the casket. Curtains over the window automatically open when a car pulls up, and mourners get three minutes to view a body as music plays overhead. There also a deposit opening for leaving donations, cards or memory items. And behind a door is a retractable guest book that drive thru mourners can sign. Read complete article at -- http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/09/15/funeral-home-drive-thru-viewing/15693543/

Remember, Repair and Re-Create!

The Hebrew month of Elul, which comes before the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is known as “the days of transformation.”  We are supposed to review our acts and actions in the past year. What have our actions and choices created? This can be a painful time for thinking people. We are to remember during this season. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/09/remember-repair-and-re-create.html

From Church Bells to Cannons

The Chinese were the first to use an explosive powder. Eventually, the Chinese did develop a crude cannon, probably about the same time as knowledge of the Chinese explosive arrived in Europe, sometime between 1300 and 1310. In Europe the application of this technology was immediate – cannons probably were first used in battle during a siege of Metz in 1324. What is certain is that by 1325 cannons were in use all over western Europe. And in European hands, the cannon revolutionized warfare. The nobility no longer could retire to their castles, safe from any enemy not willing to undertake a long siege, while on the battlefield even expensive suits of armor gave no protection against artillery fire. Cannons could spread so rapidly because the capacity to cast them already existed all over Europe in the church bell industry.

SOURCE: The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success By Rodney Stark © 2005; Random House Trade Paperbacks, New York, NY; p…

LIFE at Lascaux: First Color Photos From Another World

On September 12, 1940, four boys and their dog, Robot, walk along a ridge covered with pine, oak and blackberry brambles. Robot begins digging near a hole beside a downed tree. The youngsters begin to dig, widening the hole, removing rocks—until they’ve made an opening large enough for each to slip through, one by one. They have discovered not merely another place, but another time. In the cool dark beneath the sunlit world above, the boys found themselves in “a Versailles of prehistory”—a vast series of caves, today collectively known asLascaux, covered with wall paintings that, by some estimates, are close to 20,000 years old. In 1947, LIFE magazine’s Ralph Morse went to Lascaux, becoming the first professional photographer to document the breathtaking scenes. Now in his late-90s, Morse shared his memories of that time and place with LIFE.com, recalling what it was like to encounter the strikingly lifelike, gorgeous handiwork of a long-vanished people: the Cro-Magnon. See pictures a…

Baptists have lost a quarter of their market-share

Baptists are on the decline in America. New research finds that Baptists have lost a quarter of their market-share, and this is likely going to continue (or even accelerate). Baptists, like all religions, are losing members who are leaving religion altogether. But this isn’t the major source of Baptist losses. Among those who have left a Baptist church, only one-in-five are no longer religious. The other 80 percent of former Baptists have simply moved to similar Christian churches. Read complete article at -- http://tobingrant.religionnews.com/2014/09/11/baptist-decline-simple-move-churches-reverse/

America is Good for Religion

There are a number of people who are very involved in trying to make sure that their "religious" views should be everyone's religious views. They feel that "Religion is good for America.” But this is open to debate because in my opinion -- “it isAmerica that is good for religion.”
Did you know that there are estimated 40,000 Christian Protestant denominations in America? Judaism is split into Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Renewal, as well as Secular Jews. And then there is the Roman Catholic Church and a Reformed Catholic Church. Of course, we should not forget the Greek Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, Zoroastrians, and Muslims. Read Rabbi Leynor’s blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2014/09/america-is-good-for-religion.html