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Showing posts from November, 2014

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --…

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 --

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 --…

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 --

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 --

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 --

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 --