hey, i would like to share with you about my passion for the Old Testament (OT). my students call me 'rabbi' or 'reb' for short.
the reb's passion in life (apart from God and wife and family) is the OT.
you might have guessed by now - the reb teaches the OT in a seminary. he also does a lot of weekend teaching and preaching in churches.
Queen Helena of Adiabene lived in the first century B.C.E. in the semi-autonomous kingdom of Adiabene in the upper Tigris region of Assyria. She famously converted to Judaism and spent many years in Jerusalem—where her generosity and piety earned her a lasting legacy.
In “Queen Helena’s Jerusalem Palace—In a Parking Lot?” in the May/June 2014 issue ofBAR, R. Steven Notley and Jeffrey P. García explore Queen Helena’s Jerusalem tomb and the recently excavated Jerusalem palace that might belong to her. In a special web exclusive (below the slideshow), they elaborate to BAR about where the inscribed sarcophagus was found in her tomb, who was buried inside of it and how the false idea that Queen Helena of Adiabene was buried inside was perpetuated.
Which sarcophagus do you think is best suited to bury a queen as regal and beloved as Queen Helena of Adiabene?
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The setting sun casts light on the altar of Petra’s Monastery during the winter solstice. Photo: Juan Antonio Belmonte, Ph.D.
The famous rock-cut monuments of Petra in Jordan may have been constructed with the movements of the sun in mind.According to a recent study published in the Nexus Network Journal, the Nabataeans took into account how the sunlight would illuminate their major buildings during specific times in the year when erecting their towering capital city.
Originating as a nomadic tribe in northern Arabia, the Nabataeans settled into semi-permanence in the area of Petra in the late fourth century B.C. As described in the Bible History Daily feature “Solving the Enigma of Petra and the Nabataeans,”the Nabataeans rose to prominence in the ensuing centuries with their involvement in the lucrative South Arabian frankincense and myrrh trade:
By the first century B.C., Petra had become a full-fledged capital city, its rulers raking in considerable profits from an international spice trade that now extended from India to Rome. With such wealth and position, the Nabataean kings had to present both themselves and their city as equal partners in the international community, which at the time meant adopting the styles, tastes and the mores of “western” Hellenistic civilization. Petra, much like Jerusalem under the Herodian dynasty, was to be built as a first-order Greco-Roman city ruled by western-looking kings.
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IAA excavations have uncovered a 1,500-year-old monastery with well-preserved mosaics in the northern Negev desert in Israel. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
In a recent press release, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the discovery of a Byzantine-period monastery with colorful, well-preserved mosaics near the Bedouin village of Hura in the northern Negev desert.
IAA archaeologists uncovered the monastery, measuring 65 by 115 feet with halls built along an east–west axis, during salvage excavations. The most impressive mosaics were found in the monastery’s dining room and prayer hall. Floral motifs, geometric decorations, amphorae, baskets and a pair of birds decorate the dining room’s mosaic floor. Blue, red, yellow and green mosaic leaf patterns adorn the prayer hall.
Where is Modi’in, hometown of the Maccabees? Excavations conducted at Umm el-‘Umdan within the modern Israeli city of Modi’in have uncovered evidence of an ancient Jewish village. Pictured is a Herodian-period synagogue, beneath which lies a structure dated to the time of the Maccabean revolt—when the Maccabees led a rebellion against the Seleucid king. Photo: Skyview.
Modi’in was the hometown of the Maccabees, the heroes of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid king who ruled over Judea. Have excavations conducted within the modern Israeli city of Modi’in—20 miles northwest of Jerusalem—finally exposed the Jewish village that the Maccabees called home? The finds discovered at the site of Umm el-‘Umdan in modern Modi’in are described in “Modi’in: Hometown of the Maccabees” by Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah and Alexander Onn in the March/April 2014 issue ofBiblical Archaeology Review.
When King Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the Temple and forbade circumcision and Sabbath observance, the Maccabees led a successful rebellion in the 160s B.C.E.—the Maccabean revolt—that is still celebrated in the festival of Hanukkah. In theNovember/December 2008 issue of BAR, Andrea M. Berlin and Geoffrey B. Waywell describe the Maccabean revolt:
The [Maccabean revolt was] led by Mattathias’s eldest son, Judas, known as the Hammer because of his military prowess. When he was killed, he was succeeded by his brother Jonathan, who assumed the office of high priest as well as the political leadership, but he was soon captured and murdered. Jonathan was succeeded by his brother Simon, who likewise assumed the office of high priest, although the Maccabees were not of a high priestly family.
Yonatan Adler’s work revealed new phylacteries containing unopened tefillin Dead Sea Scrolls texts, confirming a continuity of Jewish practice over the past two millennia. Photo: The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library
The thousands of fragments of Biblical text that comprise the Dead Sea Scrolls have shed light on the origins of early Christian thought, the development of the Hebrew Bible and the history of Judaic beliefs from the third century B.C.E. to 70 C.E. Often considered the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls have received intense academic scrutiny by archaeologists, religious scholars and epigraphers alike over the past 60 years. And yet nine small Dead Sea Scroll fragments managed to escape the attention of scholars—until now.
The scroll fragments were hidden in ancient phylacteries, or tefillin, which are small leather boxes containing scripts from the Jewish law that observant Jews wear on the forehead and arm during recitation of certain prayers. Dozens of tefillin scroll fragments containing excerpts from Exodus and Deuteronomy have been uncovered at Qumran, and some of the phylactery texts that have been opened include different spellings from the traditional Biblical text.