Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

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1567-1568 Alice Mandell – The Amarna Letters

Alice Mandell

Alice Mandell

Called by one author, “a preface to Biblical History,” the Amarna tablets describe the Canaanite world just before the Israelites arrived. These diplomatic messages were sent from Canaanite kings and others to the Pharaoh Akhenaton, describing and complaining about various circumstances. These cuneiform tablets were discovered in Amarna, Egypt, in the late 19th century and are still being discussed and debated by Egyptologists and biblical scholars.

In this 2-part recorded conversation, Alice Mandell, Assistant Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature in the University of Wisconsin Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, describes some of the latest discoveries and latest debates about these tablets and the ancient world they describe.

 

1566 John DeLancey – The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The newly renovated edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The newly renovated edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Photo by John DeLancey

This Easter, the Church that marks the traditional location of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is coming out of a 4 million dollar renovation.  John DeLancey, co-leader of our Israel tour next year, is just back from another visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and discusses the newly renovated edicule in its rotunda.

The edicule, a small structure that covers the tomb of Jesus, has been rebuilt and strengthened against collapse.

In addition, we review news coverage of a recent open house at the Israel Antiquities Authority warehouse where relics from the time of Jesus are displayed for reporters.

1565 Joel Pless – Pompeii & Herculaneum

Victims of Mt. Vesuvius eruption in situ.

Victims of Mt. Vesuvius eruption in situ.

A window into the Roman world of the New Testament is afforded through the ruins that have been excavated at Pompeii and Herculaneum. The two cities were destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

But is there even more of a biblical connection? An answer that may surprise you from Joel Pless, professor at Wisconsin Lutheran College, in this interview.

Yes we do know that the apostle Paul traveled in this area, near the end of his ministry, but there’s more than that. Tune in and listen.

Photo: By Lancevortex – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47499

1564 Clyde Billington – Walls of Jerusalem, Jebusite and Roman

Walls of Jerusalem - built in the 16th century

Walls of Jerusalem – built in the 16th century

News stories about the walls of Jerusalem, reported in the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, include stories about the discovery of two triclinia (banquet rooms), along the western wall of the Temple Mount; the discovery of the location where the Romans breached the “Third Wall” during the first Jewish revolt; and new information about the Middle Bronze Age fortifications built by the Jebusites around the Gihon Spring.

 

1563 Clyde Billington – The Hyrcanus Inscription and The Thinker

The Thinker

The Thinker

More stories from the news digests of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, including inscriptions that name a newly discovered Roman governor of ancient Judea, and that connect to the ruling family of the Hasmonean period.

An inscription naming Gargilius Antiquus was found in the harbor of Dor, indicating that he was probably the governor of the Roman province of Judea when the second Jewish revolt broke out.

An inscription, “Hyrcanus,” was found in the massive Givati Parking Lot excavation just outside the walls of Jerusalem. It is probably one or the other John Hyrcanus, from the Hasmonean lineage of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.

“The Thinker” is the name given to the figure of a man found sitting atop a pot dating to around 1800 BC, the patriarchal period. The man is shown deep in thought.

And finally mention of some of the finds from last summer’s Gezer excavation of the Bronze Age gate.

 

1562 Clyde Billington – Dead Sea Scrolls & The Sinai Inscription

Serabit el-KhademCatching up with some of the archaeology stories in the news digests of the latest issue of our ARTIFAX magazine, co-editor Clyde Billington and I discuss some new Dead Sea Scrolls fragments that have been found. That is, they were found in some caves along the western shore of the Dead Sea but not at Qumran, rather further south near Masada, along Wadi Tze’elim.

Another discovery in the same cave (known as the Cave of the Skulls) is the Jerusalem Papyrus, which was one of our Top Ten biblical archaeology stories of 2016. This papyrus contains what appears to be the oldest mention of Jerusalem in the Hebrew language, dating to the 7th century B.C.

And finally, we discuss the recent proposition put forth by Douglas Petrovich, that the alphabetic Semitic inscriptions from Wadi el-Hol in Egypt and Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai were actually written by ancient Hebrews.

1560-1561 Randall Price – Qumran Cave #12

qumrancave4

Qumran Cave #4

For more than 60 years, the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery has included mention of the 11 caves in which scrolls and scroll materials were found. Then, earlier this year, it was announced that Cave #12 has been identified. A new effort to identify caves with archaeological contents along the shore of the Dead Sea has begun.

On this program we talk with professor Randall Price, one of the leaders of this year’s Cave #12 excavation for more details on the cave search and what’s ahead.