Barely covered by a thin layer of soil, the first century city of Magdala is being excavated along the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. What does this excavation have to do with Magdala’s most famous resident, Mary Magdalene, the follower of Jesus who was the first to see him after his resurrection? We explore these issues with Steven Notley, the director of Nyack College’s Graduate Program in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins.
We continue our series of conversations focusing on the cultural ravages of the fighting in the Middle East by turning to the topic of Aramaic. The language has been spoken for more than 2,000 years in the region, and was the language that Jesus spoke (at least one of them). Today, ancient communities that have spoken Aramaic for thousands of years are being uprooted and forced to flee for their lives.
What will happen to our ability to explore biblical understanding through this door of language if Aramaic culture is extinguished? We explore this issue with George Kiraz, the founder of Gorgias Press and Beth Mardutho, the Syriac Institite.
We resume our conversations with American archaeologists who are working to help Iraqis and Syrians preserve their cultural heritage in the midst of the fighting that continues to wreak havoc and destruction in the area that has often been called the cradle of civilization.
This week’s program features Katharyn Hanson, a University of Chicago grad who has been working with the Archaeological Site Preservation Program at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq.
A look at the Holyland’s biblical history through the eyes of the Crusaders, and the buildings and relics they left behind. Our guest is Lisa Mahoney, professor of Art History at DePaul University.
Three more news items discussed from the news digest of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine: an Assyrian seal discovered at Omrit in northern Israel, completely out of context in a Roman temple; the excavation of the theater where the martyrdom of Polycarp took place; and the preservation of ancient agricultural terraces in the region around Jerusalem.
Continuing our review of recent discoveries in Biblical archaeology as reported in the summer issue of ARTIFAX magazine we discuss with professor Clyde Billington the discovery of curious mosaics at a Byzantine synagogue at Huqoq, and a shovel survey of what some archaeologists believe may be the real site of the biblical Bethsaida.
The first two seasons of excavations at Huqoq (near the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee) revealed mosaics depicting episodes in the life of Samson. But in this past summer’s third season the mosaics uncovered seemed to veer from the biblical account. One may even depict Alexander the Great.
What is usually called New Testament Bethsaida, the site of et-Tell, is a mile and a half from the NE shore of the Sea of Galilee. Thinking that et-Tell may be too far from the shore to be Bethsaida, some archaeologists are taking another look at Khirbet el-Araj, which is nearer the shore.
Discussing some of the items in the archaeology news digests in the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, Professor Clyde Billington and I discuss the discovery of the Stone Rejected by the Builders in the western wall of the Temple Mount, the stone mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 21:42, quoting Psalm 118:22-23.
We also report on the discovery of counting tokens used several millenia after writing and record keeping supposedly transitioned from the use of tokens to cuneiform. The story of the invention of writing is intertwined with the biblical story and the history of Christianity. This is an intriguing development.