Tuesday, 1 September 2015

clay bullae from first temple period of biblical names

Jeremiah, Prophet of the Bible, Brought Back to Life

Clay bullae from the City of David, Jerusalem, provide new evidence for Biblical figures

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in March 2012. It has been updated.—Ed.

The relationship between archaeology and the Bible is not always an easy one, but sometimes they come together in striking agreement as witnesses to history. Two small clay bullae (seal impressions) found in the course of Eilat Mazar’s City of David, Jerusalem, excavations are bringing Jeremiah, prophet of the last kings of Judah, back to life.
clay bullae from the time of Jeremiah
These clay bullae (seal impressions), discovered by archaeologist Eilat Mazar during her excavations of the City of David, Jerusalem, bear the names of two royal ministers mentioned in the Bible’s story of Jeremiah, prophet of the Old Testament. Photos by Gaby Laron, The Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University.
The first of the clay bullae, which surfaced during Mazar’s excavation of what may be King David’s palace, bears the name “Yehuchal [or Jehucal] ben Shelemyahu [Shelemiah]” (pictured above left). The second was found in the First Temple period strata underneath what has been identified as Nehemiah’s Northern Tower, just a few yards away from the first, and reads “Gedalyahu [Gedaliah] ben Pashur” (pictured above right).
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

asherah - what or who is she?

Asherah and the Asherim: Goddess or Cult Symbol?

Exploring the Biblical and archaeological evidence

Ellen White  •  11/04/2014

This four-tiered cult stand found at Tanaach is thought to represent Yahweh and Asherah, with each deity being depicted on alternating tiers. Note that on tier two, which is dedicated to Asherah, is the image of a living tree, often thought to be how the asherim as a cult symbol was expressed. Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem/Israel Antiquities Authority (photograph by Avraham Hay).
Who is Asherah? Or perhaps, what is asherah?1 The Hebrew means “happy” or “upright” and some suggest “(sacred) place.” The term appears 40 times in the Hebrew Bible, usually in conjunction with the definite article “the.” The definite article in Hebrew is similar to English in that personal names do not take an article. For example, I am Ellen, not the Ellen. Thus it is clear that when the definite article is present that it is not a personal name, but this does not eliminate the possibility of it being a category of being (i.e., a type of goddess). There are only eight cases where the term appears without an article or a suffix—suffixes in Hebrew can be used to express possession, e.g., “his,” “their,” etc. Interestingly, the plural of the term, asherim, occurs in both masculine and feminine forms.
This diversity of grammar leads to the two questions at the beginning of this article: Who is Asherah? What is asherah? The reference may be to a particular goddess, a class of goddess or a cult symbol used to represent the goddess. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish what meaning is intended (cf. Judges 3:7).

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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

free hebrew bible (OT) course

Course Description

This course surveys the major books and ideas of the Hebrew Bible (also called the Old Testament) examining the historical context in which the texts emerged and were redacted. A major subtext of the course is the distinction between how the Bible was read by ancient interpreters (whose interpretations became the basis for many iconic literary and artistic works of Western Civilization) and how it is approached by modern bible scholarship. James Kugel, former Harvard professor and author of the course’s textbook, contends that these ways of reading the Bible are mutually exclusive. Professor Cohen respectfully disagrees.
The course syllabus is your primary roadmap; it contains general information about the course and lists the topics covered and assigned readings for each of the 25 lectures. Video recordings of each lecture can be viewed alongside Prof Cohen's lecture notes. A series of timelines is available to illustrate aspects of the course which unfold over time: the Overview timeline shows the major eras of Israelite history and the Ideas-Basic timeline illustrates the succession of major ideas.
The About tab contains a link to suggestions about how to view the course.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

gold coins

Hoard of Gold Coins Found in Caesarea Harbor

Archaeology news

A hoard of gold coins—the largest discovered to date in Israel—was found by divers in the Caesarea harbor.Photo: Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced that a massive coin hoard has been recovered from the waters off the ancient port city of Caesarea Maritima in Israel. The hoard of almost 2,000 gold coins was spotted by a group of divers, who immediately reported their discovery to the Marine Archaeology Unit of the IAA.
The majority of the gold coins, which were minted in Egypt and North Africa, date to the Fatimid caliphs Al-Ḥākim (996–1021 C.E.) and Al-Ẓāhir (1021–1036 C.E.). The rulers of the Fatimid dynasty, who traced their descent from Islamic prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima, came to reign over Egypt, North Africa, the Levant and Sicily between the 10th and early 12th centuries.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

babylonian exile exhibition

‘By the rivers of Babylon’ exhibit breathes life into Judean exile

Never-before-showcased clay tablets documenting the first diaspora go on display at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum

 February 1, 2015, 5:48 pm 22
A clay tablet from 572 BCE, the earliest known text documenting the Judean exile in Babylonia, now on display at the Bible Lands Museum (photo credit: Ardon Bar-Hama courtesy of The Bible Lands Museum)