Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

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1487-1488 Jennie Ebeling – Jezreel 2015

Jennie Ebeling Jezreel, the home of Ahab and Jezebel, has been under excavation for the past three seasons. We talked with dig co-director Jennie Ebeling of the University of Evansville two years ago, as they were getting underway. Now we’re back for an update on the environs of Naboth’s vineyard and other results from the 2015 excavation.

No program this week

The Book & The Spade is on vacation this week, but we want to offer our congratulations to Ben Brown, winner of our review copy of the book A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion, by Gary Burge. And what a good time to be reading the book, with the news this week of the large Roman Legion base discovered at Megiddo.

1485-1486 Scott Stripling – Khirbet el-Maqatir 2015 season

Scott Stripling Khirbet el-Maqatir started out as a small dig with about 12 people two decades ago. For the last couple of years it has been the largest dig in Israel with around 62 diggers this year.

Originally begun to test a theory about the location of the city of Ai from Joshua 7-8, it has now developed into a multi-dimensional site with remains from almost a half dozen eras. And yet it’s a ruin (khirbet) and not a tel.

Again this year Scott Stripling fills us in on the discoveries and developments of their 3-week season.

1483-1484 Gary Burge – A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion

A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion book cover This is another fictional account of life in the first century, the time of Jesus, by a New Testament scholar. In order to make biblical research accessible to the average person, books like this engage the imagination and take us back to the same period that we read about in the gospels.

It’s a short book, packed with a lot of biblical information in a very accessible format. I enjoyed reading it and I enjoyed my conversation with Gary Burge, giving the background of the project and some of the perspectives that he included in the book.

About three years ago we interviewed Ben Witherington about his book, A Week in the Life of Corinth.

We are giving away our review copy of this book. If you would like the opportunity to receive this book, you can get details by listening to program #1484.

1482 Clyde Billington – Mask of Pan

Mask of Pan

Mask of Pan

Archaeologists found a bronze mask of the Greek/Roman god Pan at the decapolis city of Hippos/Sussita. Who was Pan and how did he relate to the biblical story? That’s one of the topics we discuss in this program, reporting on news digest items from the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine.

Other topics include an ancient Christian grave yard found in Saudi Arabia, and a cache of Egyptian seals from in the Negev desert.

1480-1481 Ken Dark – Nazareth Archaeology

Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth

Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth

Nazareth is the Rodney Dangerfield of Biblical Archaeology, it gets virtually no attention from archaeologists and many pilgrimage tours barely visit the city. Very little is known about Nazareth archaeologically, but there is a little more known now following the work of professor Ken Dark, of the University of Reading Research Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies.

In this two-part interview Ken explains some of the reasons why Nazareth has been so overlooked, and what he discovered about a possible site that may have been the childhood home of Jesus.

1479 Clyde Billington – The Chebar River & Fatimid Gold

Fatimid gold coins from Caesarea harbor

Fatimid gold coins from Caesarea harbor

More Biblical Archaeology news from the just-published Spring 2015 issue of ARTIFAX magazine. I’m joined by my co-editor, Clyde Billington, to discuss some intriguing cuneiform tablets now on display at The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, that offer intriguing insights into the Jewish exile in Babylon. One tablet mentions the Chebar River, the only mention of this river outside of the book of Ezekiel.

Several other news items cover discoveries made by non-archaeologists in Israel: gold coins in the harbor of Caeseara (pictured), and silver coins in a cave in the Galilee. Those who discovered these treasures did the right thing, by notifying the authorities right away so the finds could be studied in order to reveal all possible information about the time periods they represent.

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