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Showing posts from June, 2014

Netanyahu: Israel needs to keep Jordan border to fight Islamist threat

Israel needs to maintain military presence along the Jordan border so it could defend itself from the threat of extremist Islamist forces, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Sunday at Tel Aviv University's INSS think tank.
"Our first challenge is to protect our borders. Extremist Islamic forces are knocking on our doors in the north and south and we've set up obstacles against them, except for in one sector," Netanyahu said, referring to the border with Jordan. The first thing we must do is build a fence in the east. While the fence doesn't stop all infiltrations, gun and rocket fire though it or over it, or the digging of tunnels, it dramatically narrows down infiltration to Israel.”

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4,000-year-old Sumerian King List Still Puzzles Historians After More Than a Century of Research

Out of the many incredible artefacts that have been recovered from sites in Iraq where flourishing Sumerian cities once stood, few have been more intriguing that the Sumerian King List, an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer (ancient southern Iraq) from Sumerian and neighboring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of “official” kingship. What makes this artefact so unique is the fact that the list blends apparently mythical pre-dynastic rulers with historical rulers who are known to have existed. 
The first fragment of this rare and unique text, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, was found in the early 1900s by German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht at the site of ancient Nippur and published in 1906.  Since Hilprecht’s discovery, at least 18 other exemplars of the king’s list have been found, most of them dating from the second half of the Isin dynasty (c. 2017-1794 BCE.).  No two of these documents are ident…

New Technology Unmasks Ancient Scriptural Manuscripts

What if ancient religious manuscripts once thought to be lost weren’t lost at all? Professor Todd Hanneken, Ph.D., is the first scholar to combine two existing imaging technologies in order to “see” handwritten text that has been indecipherable to the naked eye for hundreds of years.Until the invention of paper, it was a common practice to erase the text of a manuscript to make room for new writing. The result is known as a “palimpsest,” with only ghostlike traces of the original ink remaining. Palimpsests are valuable for studying the early development of religions and cultures because they tell the story of how some beliefs fell from dominance, and how others came to be favored.
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When the Talmud Replaced the Temple as the Structure at the Heart of Jewish Life

The destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. might easily have meant the death of Judaism. As we have seen again and again in the Talmud, the Temple was the center of Jewish belief and practice in a way that we can hardly imagine today. It was the only place where Jews could sacrifice to God, the only place where God’s spirit dwelled on Earth—not to mention a powerful symbol of Jewish sovereignty. The fact that Judaism managed to survive after the Temple was burned to the ground is the most remarkable of the many acts of renewal and transformation that have preserved Jewish life over thousands of years.
The legend of Yochanan ben Zakkai is a vivid parable of how Judaism managed to endure that trauma. According to tradition, Yochanan, the leading rabbinic sage of his generation, was trapped in Jerusalem during the Roman siege. . . The dead, however, could be taken out of Jerusalem for burial. So, Yochanan pretended to be a corpse and had himself smuggled out of the city in a coffin. Once he…

The Egyptian concept of an afterlife was a mirror-world of one’s life on earth

EgyptianMythologywas the belief structure and underlying form of ancient Egyptianculture from at least c. 4000 BCE (as evidenced byburialpractices andtombpaintings) to 30 CE with the death ofCleopatraVII, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt.  Every aspect of life in ancient Egypt was informed by the stories which related the creation of the world and the sustaining of that world by the gods.
Egyptian religious beliefs influenced other cultures through transmission via tradeand became especially wide-spread after the opening of theSilk Road in 130 BCE as the Egyptian portcityofAlexandriawas an important commercial center. The significance ofEgyptian mythologyto other cultures was in its development of the concept of an eternal life after death, benevolent deities, and reincarnation. BothPythagorasandPlatoofGreece were said to have been influenced by Egyptian beliefs in reincarnation and Romanreligious culture borrowed as extensively from Egypt as it did from othercivilizations.


Jesus Is the Worst Thing to Happen to Christianity in Awhile

Rev. Wonderful (Haha!, Get it? ’Cause he’s really not “wonderful?”) enjoys the untempered adulation of the adoring masses. He’s introduced as the "most loved man in America. So what makes the “Reverend” so “Wonderful,” so nationally beloved and respected? He’s theologically liberal, of course. (Because, you know, all the famous preachers are liberals. They all have megachurches and television empires and political machines.) Unfortunately, though, it’s precisely his theological liberalism that leads God to run Rev.’s sorry butt back through the pearly gates and cast him “into the lake of fire forever.” So, you might be wondering just what is this liberal poltroon’s great sin against God and the Christianity on behalf of which this tract offers its voice? What has consigned the Reverend to eternal perdition? Why, it’s his preaching, of course. Just listen to the evil spewing from his mouth:
“Yes, God cares about souls, but He [sic] also cares about SOCIAL JUSTICE … the poor and ne…

The Power of the Minds of Individuals

The Bible and history make it clear that the acts of one individual can have a profound effect on a society and  an individual cannot undermine the moral basis of society without endangering the very existence of civilization. 

The fewer deeds of TOV (acts that increase the quality of life, make life more functional, protect life and preserve life) there are in a society, the greater the number of deeds of HAMAS (outrage, violence, bearing false witness, and causeless hatred) it will have. 

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Back to the Jihadist Future

By Gil Elan, President and CEO of SWJC, is a formerLieutenant Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and a widely regarded expert on Israel and the Middle East.  
We've seen this movie before. Around 622 CE, a small army of newly converted Arab Muslims, religiously zealous and fiercely loyal to their charismatic prophet Mohammed, rode out of the Arabian peninsula to spread Islam - the new and latest version of the "one universal truth" first given to the Jews (the Torah) and later the Christians (the New Testament). . . This brings us to what is happening today in Iraq and Syria. The comparison and parallels to the seventh century are clear, though with one major difference - unlike the somewhat ragtag Muslim forces that followed Mohammed and the early Caliphs, the ISIS is a formidable, well-disciplined, well trained and very well equipped battle-hardened and ever-growing military powerhouse.

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Excommunication 101

Last week, two Mormons received letters from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints informing them they were under investigation for apostasy, an offense that can lead to their excommunication. Both will appear before separate bodies of Mormon bishops before July. That action raised a couple of questions:
What exactly is excommunication?Who practices it?Why do they do it?

Turns out, a whole lot of world religions have some form of excommunication, though not all of them call it that. Read the complete article at --

What does “liberty” mean to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?

What does “liberty” mean to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as they take over towns in Iraq. Those who steal will have their hands chopped off. Islam’s five daily prayers must be performed on time. Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are forbidden. Carrying weapons and non-ISIS flags is illegal. All shrines and graves will be destroyed, since they are considered polytheistic. Women must dress modestly (a euphemism for the full-bodyniqab) -- on multiple occasions summarily executed andcrucifiedindividuals forapostasy. Read complete article at --

"Set aside sectarian differences" - Are You Kidding!!!

I love the term “set aside sectarian differences.” I just heard President Obama use it in an interview about what’s gone wrong in Iraq. Did the military advisors of Bush I & Bush II really think that the success of two military invasions would be accomplished because the leaders of the nations of the Middle East would really “set aside sectarian differences?” Did they believe that after foreign armies marched through their lands centuries of tribal hatred and a century of battles between oil corporations for the black gold would simply magically disappear?
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Tonight Marks the Anniversaries of King David’s Birth & Death

According to tradition, King David was born and died on Shavuot. To try and summarize the life of King David in a 300 word Treat would be impossible. In the annals of Jewish history, David was more than a king. He was a shepherd, a warrior, a scholar and a poet -- and these descriptions do not even begin to describe the complex personal life of David and his family. Read the complete article at --

SHAVU’OT (Pentecost) Begins at Sundown Today

Both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity link Shavuot to specific historical events that play important roles in establishing the legitimacy of their movements.  
For Rabbinic Judaism it was their teaching that G-d gave two different types of laws on Mt. Sinai, the Written Law and the Oral Law.  
For Christianity it was the descent of the Holy Spirit on the congregation of believers gathered at the Temple in Jerusalem for Shavuot.  
In the New Testament, SHAVU’OT is called Pentecost (Ancient Greek: Πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], Pentēkostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth [day]"). The name “Pentecost” reflects the 50 day period between PESACH and SHAVU’OT.
This year SHAVU’OT begins at sunset June 3rd and continues to sunset June 5th. It is an important event that should be understood by all who have a biblical heritage. Remember and give thanks for the “crops” that provide for your needs today – those raised in fields by farmers and those earned by your labor at your work.
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