Daily Archives: 2 Dec 2015

It’s The Onion, But It’s Also Completely True- To Our National Shame

In the days following a violent rampage in southern California in which a lone attacker killed seven individuals, including himself, and seriously injured over a dozen others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Tuesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place.

“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said North Carolina resident Samuel Wipper, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations.

“It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this guy from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what he really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past five years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

This is who we have become as a nation.

He May Not Have Said It, But I Bet You He’s Thinking It

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We Will Never Learn

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When Elephants Are More Decent Than People

Let those who have ears to hear, hear.

Signs of Our Times

We live in sick, evil, perverse, wicked, vile, disturbing, inhuman, ungodly, demonic times.

In California

There were reports of at least 20 victims down amid an active shooter incident in San Bernardino late Wednesday morning, according to a San Bernardino Police Department official.

San Bernardino Fire Department initially tweeted that they were responding to a report of a “20-victim shooting.” The call came in around 11 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Waterman Avenue, at the Inland Regional Center, according to San Bernardino police Lt. Rich Lawhead.

Police confirmed via a tweet sent around 11:30 a.m. that there was an active shooter still in the area of Orange Show Road / Waterman Avenue near Park Center Circle. There were possibly one to three shooters, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department tweeted.

Whatever God has in store for us in terms of the penalty of our perversity, we richly deserve it.

A conjunction of carnivals

I wish more people in the world were like you, Richard. I could die knowing that all would be well.

Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception

In astronomy a ‘conjunction’ is an event in which, when viewed from the earth, two (or more) celestial objects align and, as a result, appear to meet. This is viewed by astronomers as very interesting and, therefore, is seen to be a good thing. Non-astronomers tend to be rather less sanguine about the whole thing and peer into the great panoply of the heavens saying, “Tell me again where Venus is?” (but this is their problem and not the astronomers’)…

Astronomical conjunctions are pretty common and outside the astronomical fraternity they often go unremarked – unless it happens near Christmas when someone rattles off a newspaper column about having just discovered the true meaning of the star of nativity.

So I am delighted to inform you of a much rarer conjunction – this month sees the conjunction of Biblical Studies Carnivals. Instead of the normal two, we have… (drum roll)… wait…

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Zurich Almost Called A Swabian to the Great Minster Instead of Zwingli

zwingli_marignanoStrong as was the sentiment in Zurich in favor of Zwingli, there were not wanting those who from the start opposed his election. A personality so aggressive could not fail to make enemies.

Many hated him because of his views on the subject of foreign pensions; others whose sympathies were thoroughly Roman suspected his loyalty to the Church, and caught a faint vision of what his coming to Zurich would mean.

The opposition, though bitter and determined, because of the fewness of their numbers despaired from the start of accomplishing anything. As soon as it was known that Zwingli was under consideration several candidates were put forward for the place, and among them one Lawrence Fable, who preached a sermon in the Great Minster, and of whom the report was circulated that he had been chosen.

Zwingli at first was inclined to credit the report. Hitherto he had appeared quite indifferent to what was occurring at Zurich. The knowledge that unworthy persons were seeking to supplant him seems to have acted as a stimulus. At any rate, he now became interested to the extent of writing to Myconius in regard to his prospects. In a letter under date of December 2, 1518, assuming the truthfulness of the report with respect to Fable, he says,

“Well! I know the significance of popular applause. A Swabian preferred to a Swiss! Truly, a prophet is without honor in his own country.”

Myconius in reply the next day removes his false apprehension. “Fable will remain a fable; for they have learned that he is father of six boys and holds I know not how many livings.”  He then proceeds to assure him of the number and strength of his friends, and of his own unceasing activity in his behalf. He does not conceal from him the doings of his enemies, and mentions certain charges that were being circulated against his character.

“Although there is no one,” he says, “but praises your teachings to the skies, there are certain to whom your natural aptitude for music appears to be a sin, and thence infer that you are impure and worldly,” Again, he assures him that he has great reason to hope. “It is right that you should take courage and not despair. Even the canons who are opposed to you predict to themselves that you will be the next preacher.”

He closes with the exhortation, “Hope on, for I hope.” The election took place on the 11th of December, 1518, and Zwingli was chosen by a large majority. This event caused great rejoicing among his friends, except those at Einsiedeln, for whom it was a matter of the keenest regret.

The administrator of the Abbey, Baron Geroldseck, whose relationship with Zwingli had ripened into the warmest of friendships, was especially affected. Even the council of the canton were impressed to the extent of transmitting to Zwingli a letter of regret couched in the most respectful terms.*

Swabians… seriously?

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*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 71–73.

The December Biblical Studies Carnival- Posting 1 January 2016 Call for Submissions

Believe it or nay the December Carnival (posting 1 January) will be strictly related to Biblical Studies.   We’re going old school.  We’re starting the New Year off with a gigantic collection of posts related to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  And that’s it.

Send along posts you see or post which have to do with those two subject areas.  And thanks!

NB- And yes, archaeological, textual, and historical materials related to OT and NT are allowed.

New Definitions for Aleph Words in the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew

David J.A. Clines has the essay here on his Academia.edu page.  I’ve heard, as an aside, that Logos is doing an electronic version of DCH but until I see it I don’t think I’ll believe it.  You know how rumors get started and the first thing you know, your hopes are built up only to be dashed by the passing of years with the appearance of the one longed for.

Whose reading is right? Conflicts of interpretation in world Christianity – Leeds Trinity

Spoiler alert- MINE. You’re welcome.

Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception

I’ve just received notice of this – it looks really good and many here might also find it interesting…

                

British and Irish Association for Practical Theology (Mission Studies Special Interest Group) and Leeds Trinity University

Whose reading is right? Conflicts of interpretation in world Christianity

Day Conference: 12 April 2016, 11.00am-3.30pm

Venue: Leeds Trinity University, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5HD, www.leedstrinity.ac.uk

Guest speaker: Dr Joshua Broggi, University of Oxford

Theme: Why do readers from different cultures produce divergent readings of the Bible? In view of the global character of Christianity, this has become a prominent question. When Christians read scripture, traditions supply concepts that shape what counts as normal, good, and true. But what is the effect of Christian commitments on rationality? How have readers decided on a correct interpretation?

This day conference organised by the British and Irish Association for Practical Theology and Leeds Trinity University is…

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Saga Semitica

If you’ve not been following Michael Langlois’ series it’s time to catch up.

In this episode

Le peuple d’Israël a un nouveau chef : Josué. Sa mission ? Réussir là où Moïse, son illustre prédécesseur, a échoué : mener les Hébreux en terre promise. Quels dangers l’attendent-ils ? Quels ennemis devra-t-il affronter ? Sera-t-il à la hauteur de la tâche ? Saura-t-il gagner la confiance et le respect des Israélites ?

The Hezekiah Bulla: The Hebrew University Press Release

Impression of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal Discovered in Ophel Excavations South of Temple Mount in Jerusalem

First seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king ever exposed in situ in a scientific archaeological excavation

Discovery brings to life the Biblical narratives about King Hezekiah and the activity conducted during his lifetime in Jerusalem’s 1st Temple Period Royal Quarter

Jerusalem, December 2, 2015 — The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology under the direction of Dr. Eilat Mazar, have unearthed an impression of the royal seal of King Hezekiah (727–698 BCE).

A seal impression of King Hezekiah unearthed in the Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology under the direction of Dr. Eilat Mazar. (Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar; Photo by Ouria Tadmor)

Measuring 9.7 X 8.6 mm, the oval impression was imprinted on a 3 mm thick soft bulla (piece of inscribed clay) measuring 13 X 12 mm. Around the impression is the depression left by the frame of the ring in which the seal was set.

The impression bears an inscription in ancient Hebrew script:

“לחזקיהו [בן] אחז מלך יהדה”
“Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah”

and a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols symbolizing life.

The bulla originally sealed a document written on a papyrus rolled and tied with thin cords, which left their mark on the reverse of the bulla. This bulla came to light, together with many pottery sherds and other finds such as figurines and seals, in Area A of the excavations (2009 season), supervised by Hagai Cohen-Klonymus.

The bulla was discovered in a refuse dump dated to the time of King Hezekiah or shortly after, and originated in the Royal Building that stood next to it and appears to have been used to store foodstuffs. This building, one of a series of structures that also included a gatehouse and towers, was constructed in the second half of the 10th century BCE (the time of King Solomon) as part of the fortifications of the Ophel — the new governmental quarter that was built in the area that connects the City of David with the Temple Mount.

The bulla was found together with 33 additional bullae imprinted from other seals, some bearing Hebrew names, their reverse showing marks of coarse fabric and thick cords that probably sealed sacks containing foodstuffs.

The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology under the direction of Dr. Eilat Mazar.

Dr. Eilat Mazar said: “Although seal impressions bearing King Hezekiah’s name have already been known from the antiquities market since the middle of the 1990s, some with a winged scarab (dung beetle) symbol and others with a winged sun, this is the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation.”

A third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Mazar directs excavations on the City of David’s summit and in the Ophel to the south of the Temple Mount’s southern wall. Among her many archaeological finds over the years, in 2013 she revealed to the world an ancient golden treasure discovered at the Ophel (see http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/18251).

A video about this discovery is available online at http://www.keytodavidscity.com.

The renewed Ophel excavations (2009-2013), and the processing of the finds as well as the preservation and preparation of the excavated area for tourists by the Israel Antiquities Authority were made possible through funding provided by Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman (New York).The excavation site is situated within the Ophel Archaeological Park, which is part of the National Park Around the Walls of Jerusalem under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

The seal impression was found during the wet-sifting of earth layers from the excavation in the Emek-Zurim wet-sifting facility, directed by Dr. Gabriel Barkai and Zachi Dvira, under the auspices of the Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation. The bulla was discovered by Efrat Greenwald, a member of the Ophel expedition, who supervised the wet-sifting of the excavation material. Reut Ben-Aryeh, who prepared the Hebrew bullae from the Ophel excavations for publication, was the first to identify it as a seal impression of King Hezekiah. Students and alumni of Herbert W. Armstrong College from Edmond, Oklahoma participated in the excavation.

King Hezekiah is described favorably in the Bible (II Kings, Isaiah, II Chronicles) as well as in the chronicles of the Assyrian kings— Sargon II and his son Sennacherib—who ruled during his time. Hezekiah is depicted as both a resourceful and daring king, who centralized power in his hands. Although he was an Assyrian vassal, he successfully maintained the independent standing of the Judean Kingdom and its capital Jerusalem, which he enhanced economically, religiously, and diplomatically.

The Bible relates of Hezekiah that “there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those before him” (II Kings 18:5).

The symbols on the seal impression from the Ophel suggest that they were made late in his life, when both the Royal administrative authority and the King’s personal symbols changed from the winged scarab (dung beetle)—the symbol of power and rule that had been familiar throughout the Ancient Near East, to that of the winged sun—a motif that proclaimed God’s protection, which gave the regime its legitimacy and power, also widespread throughout the Ancient Near East and used by the Assyrian Kings.

This change most likely reflected both the Assyrian influence and Hezekiah’s desire to emphasize his political sovereignty, and Hezekiah’s own profound awareness of the powerful patronage given his reign by the God of Israel. While the changed Royal administrative symbol imprinted on the King’s jars used the motif of a sun with wings extended to the sides, Hezekiah’s personal changed symbol had a sun with sheltering wings turned down and a life-symbol at the end of each wing. This special addition of the symbol of life may support the assumption that the change on the King’s personal seal was made after Hezekiah had recovered from the life-threatening illness of shehin (II Kings 20:1-8), when the life-symbol became especially significant for him (ca. 704 BCE).

The discovery of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal impression in the Ophel excavations vividly brings to life the Biblical narratives about King Hezekiah and the activity conducted during his lifetime in Jerusalem’s Royal Quarter.

The full research about King Hezekiah’s bulla is included in the first volume of the Ophel Excavations 2009–2013 Final Reports, published today with the support of the David Berg Foundation.

The Institute of Archaeology, the birthplace of Israeli archaeology, is an independent research and teaching unit within the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Humanities. Academic programs include studies for B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in prehistoric, biblical, and classical archaeology, Civilizations of the Ancient Near East and Computerized Archaeology. In addition to its role as a teaching and training institution, the Institute is involved in major archaeological endeavors and interdisciplinary research programs. Its excavations at major prehistoric and historic sites have shaped many of the current paradigms in Israeli archaeology and contributed to a better understanding of past human behavior. For more information, visit http://archaeology.huji.ac.il.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s leading academic and research institution, producing one-third of all civilian research in Israel. For more information, visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en.

For more information, contact:

Dov Smith
Assistant Spokesman — International
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
+972-2-5882844 / +972-54-8820860
dovs@savion.huji.ac.il

The Hezekiah Bulla

Yitzhak Sapir writes

Gil Litman reports that (in what I believe is an ordered excavation) at the Ofel in Jerusalem, a bulla inscribed “Of Hezekiahu Ahaz King of Ju[deah]” was found. https://twitter.com/GilLitman/status/671988012788654080. A full size version of the photo and another photo can be found here:
http://rotter.net/forum/scoops1/269927.shtml

hezekiah_bulla

Quote of the Day

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