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Archaeologists Believe They Found Location Where Jesus Christ Taught
New Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments Found in Judean Desert
Documents from Iron Age and Roman times surfacing in the black market helped convince archaeologists there was more to be found.

Philippe Bohstrom Dec 21, 2016 1:36 PM
[Image: 3635052485.jpg]

File photo: A fragment of a Dead Sea scroll, 2010.  Alex Levac

New fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found in the Cave of the Skulls by the Dead Sea in Israel, in a salvage excavation by Israeli authorities. The pieces are small and the writing on them is too faded to make out without advanced analysis. At this stage the archaeologists aren't even sure if they're written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or another language.
“The most important thing that can come out of these fragments is if we can connect them with other documents that were looted from the Judean Desert, and that have no known provenance," says Dr. Uri Davidovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among the scientists investigating the caves.
In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd tossing a stone into a cave in the vicinity of Qumran heard the sound of an earthenware jar cracking, which led to what some have called the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century. Upon crawling inside, he found the first of what came to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Cave of the Skulls, named for seven human skulls and other skeletal remains, discovered by Prof. Yohanan Aharoni in 1960, is part of the Large Cave Complex, a series of naturally occurring spaces atop a steep cliff on the northern bank of Tze'elim Stream, in the southern part of the desert. The site is in one of the starkest areas of the Judean Desert.
The complex also includes the Cave of the Arrows, where the extraordinarily arid conditions preserved a dozen 30-inch-long reed arrow shafts for approximately 1,800 years, as well as iron arrowheads; and the Cave of the Scrolls where the earliest known documents from the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt were unearthed by archaeologists.
Lice combs and papyri

The latest finds, two papyri fragments about two by two centimeters with writing and several fragments without discernible letters, were made during a three-week salvage excavation in the Cave of the Skulls this May and June by a joint expedition of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The excavations were led by Uri Davidovich and Roi Porat of the Hebrew University, together with Amir Ganor and Eitan Klein from the IAA.

The Cave of Skulls in the Judean Desert: Archaeologists scurried to seek ancient finds there before robbers could. Guy Fitoussi, courtesy of the IAA
It bears noting that many of the previously found scrolls have perfectly clear writing, and some are more obscure and still being deciphered.
Though the finds so far are small and many are from secondary dumps associated with modern looting of the caves, the excavations shed new light on human activities in the Judean Desert cliff caves. Despite the inhospitable conditions, they were occupied on and off for thousands of years, starting in prehistoric times and through the Roman period.
Hundreds of fragments of leather, ropes, textiles, wooden objects and bone tools were discovered inside the cave thanks to the aridity of the Judean desert, which preserved the organic material.  
Some things evidently never change, and one is pests. One of the more relatable finds in the cave was pieces of wooden lice combs from the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt.
Along with the unique artifacts made of organic of materials, dozens of pottery shards, stone vessels and flint items were discovered inside the cave. Several metal objects were found as well, including needles and cosmetic tolls as well as hollow-headed hobnails for sandals.  
Another interesting discovery was a bundle – textile wrapping a cluster of beads, which was found in a natural niche at the edge of the cave's western wing.  This bundle has yet to be opened but has meanwhile been X-rayed to identify its content. Joining two other bundles of beads Aharoni had previously discovered, this is the largest collection of beads ever discovered in the Levant from the Chalcolithic period, a prehistoric time predating the Copper Age.

A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls at an Israel Antiquities Authority conservation laboratory in Jerusalem, October 19, 2010.AP
It bears stressing that looters have damaged the layering so badly that certain artifacts cannot be reliably dated.
Housing for herders?
Even so, thousands of remains from foodstuffs including wheat and barley, palm dates, olives and pomegranates support the archaeologists' long-held contention that these caves were used by refugees during the Roman and Chalcolithic times.  They were certainly used by the Jewish warriors and rebels to hide from the approaching Roman armies over 2,000 years ago, say the excavation directors.
What use these caves had in earlier Chalcolithic times is a matter for speculation. Suggestions range from seasonal living spaces for herders or traders, to places of refuge related to social tensions within the settled communities located  west of the Judean Desert.
Davidovich  thinks the second explanation is more likely. “These caves are very difficult to access, and they were used in their natural forms without changes or modifications that would make them more convenient for prolonged occupation," he points out. "This does not make sense when you think of ephemeral stays by shepherds or the like, but is much more plausible when you consider that they served as temporary refuge places.”
The renewed excavations in the Cave of the Skulls is just the first step in a new project of the IAA and the Hebrew University to continue exploring the Judean Desert caves, to salvage hidden treasures that might still lay in the caves, at least before robbers get there first. “We have all the reasons to believe that there are still scrolls hidden," Davidovich says. "Several documents from the Roman times and even from the Iron Age have surfaced in recent years in the antiquities market. They must have originated in the Judean Desert caves."

read more:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

Quote: One of the more relatable finds in the cave was pieces of wooden lice combs

Lovely that is not.

ancient lice combs

 From top left to bottom right: 
fifth or sixth century CE found at Anitonë, Egypt; 
Roman (140-180 CE) found at Bar Hill fort in Scotland; 
135 CE found in the Judean desert in Israel; 
eighth century CE found in the Jordan Valley of Israel; 
modern professional comb offered by the Lice Treatment Center, LLC.

[Image: licecombsgroup.png]
Dec 22, 2016 04:28 PM ET

5,000-Year-Old Nativity Scene Found in Egypt

Ancient cave art in the Egyptian Sahara desert depicts two parents, a baby and a star in the east.

[Image: 31700839942_16bd98fda1_b.jpg]ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 24 13.02 by electric_ashalar, on Flickr

Marco Morelli

Italian researchers have discovered what might be the oldest nativity scene ever found — 5,000-year-old rock art that depicts a star in the east, a newborn between parents and two animals.
The scene, painted in reddish-brown ochre, was found on the ceiling of a small cavity in the Egyptian Sahara desert, during an expedition to sites between the Nile valley and the Gilf Kebir Plateau.
"It's a very evocative scene which indeed resembles the Christmas nativity. But it predates it by some 3,000 years," geologist Marco Morelli, director of the Museum of Planetary Sciences in Prato, near Florence, Italy, told Seeker.
Morelli found the cave drawing in 2005, but only now his team has decided to reveal the amazing find.
"The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," Morelli said.
RELATED: Ancient Ram Statue Unearthed On Christmas Eve in Israel
The scene features a man, a woman missing the head because of a painting detachment, and a baby.
"It could have been interpreted as a normal depiction of a family, with the baby between the parents, but other details make this drawing unique," Morelli said.
He noted the newborn is drawn slightly above, as if raising to the sky. Such position, with the baby not yet between the parents, would have meant a birth or a pregnancy.
"As death was associated to Earth in contemporary rock art from the same area, it is likely that birth was linked to the sky," Morelli said.
The scene becomes more symbolically complex if the other figures, two animals and a small circular feature, are taken into consideration.
RELATED: 5,000-Year-Old Swirling Rock Art Remains a Mystery
On the upper part is a headless lion, a mythical beast which appears in several rock art drawings from the same area, while below in the scene a baboon or an anthropomorphic monkey can be seen.
In the east, the Neolithic artist drawn what appears to be star.
The researchers called the site the "Cave of the Parents."
"No doubt it's an intriguing drawing," Morelli said. "We didn't find similar scenes until the early Christian age."
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
That is really interesting information!

Quote:"The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography
of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," Morelli said.

this sublink was new material as well

this sublink had an interesting comment
5,000-Year-Old Swirling Rock Art Remains a Mystery
Quote:... archaeologist named Ludovic Maclellan Mann, 
who worked at the site in 1937. 
Mann painted lines on the Cochno Stone 
to help measure the prehistoric artwork 
and see if there was a link to astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses.

"was trying to prove that the symbols could predict eclipses 
and were marking movements of the sun and moon in prehistory," 
said Kenny Brophy, 
an archaeologist and senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, 
in a video released by the university. 

He said that Mann's own data ended up disproving the archeologist's theory.
Hikers discover menorah and cross etched into cave walls in Israel
January 4, 2017 by Bob Yirka report

[Image: hikersdiscov.jpg]
Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority
(—A group of hikers exploring caves over Hanukkah week in the Israeli Judean Shephelah lowlands has found what appear to be ancient religious etchings on the walls of a cistern,an underground reservoir holding rainwater—initial analysis of the etchings, a menorah and a cross, by experts with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) suggests they could be thousands of years old, perhaps dating back to the Second Temple period.

Dating the etchings by conventional means such as carbon dating is impossible, of course, but the remoteness and difficult access to the site suggest that the etchings were likely not made in modern times, IAA representative Sa'ar Ganor said in an interview.
Also, interestingly, the menorah etching featured seven branches (three on either side and one in the middle for lighting) rather than the nine commonly used today. This, Ganor pointed out, suggests that the menorah etching was likely created during the time of the Second Temple, when candelabra were used to light the temple, from approximately 516 BCE until 70 CE, when it was destroyed. In modern times, followers of the Jewish faith light the eight small candles on either side of a menorah from the candle in the middle as part of a Hanukkah ceremony to commemorate the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem.

In the same cave, the hikers also found an etching of a cross, a symbol that has been used by Christians to express their faith for thousands of years. How the two etchings came to exist in such close proximity is a mystery, though Ganor notes they likely were made hundreds of years apart by people hiding in the caves for very different reasons. Near both of the etchings was yet another etching—one depicting a key, which has not been studied well enough to reveal its possible identity or meaning. Ganor called the discovery an exciting find and hinted that there may be other etchings involved, as well—a team has been assembled to study the caves, though the actual site is being kept hidden to prevent amateur enthusiasts from causing damage.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Israel to launch expedition to find more Dead Sea Scrolls
More information:

Read more at:[url=][/url]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Ancient Jerusalem Road Hints at Possible Reason for Jewish Revolt Against Rome

Jerusalem dig shows that Herodian-period street was wrongly attributed to King Herod; Naughty excavations dismiss the idea that poorer people lived in the lower part of the city.

Nir Hasson Jan 02, 2017 4:21 AM

he archaeological excavation of a 2,000-year-old underground road in Jerusalem, inaugurated with much fanfare last week, will...

read more:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:excavations dismiss the idea that poorer people lived in the lower part of the city.

Poorer People have always lived in the lower parts of a 'city'

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Morning Light, No sensation to compare to this, suspended animation, state of bliss, I keep my eyes on the circling sky, tongue tied and twisted just and Earth Bound Martian I" Learning to Fly Pink Floyd [Video:]
This article I found is old enough to be placed back at the beggining of the thread on page 2

I found it after I read the recent article I include below after this one.

The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference
James Tabor presents a new look at the original text of the earliest Gospel

James Tabor   •  02/02/2015
This article was originally published on Dr. James Tabor’s popular TaborBlog, a site that discusses and reports on “‘All things biblical’ from the Hebrew Bible to Early Christianity in the Roman World and Beyond.” Bible History Daily first republished the article with consent of the author in April 2013. Visit TaborBlog today, or scroll down to read a brief bio of James Tabor below.

And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing.
Most general Bible readers have the mistaken impression that Matthew, the opening book of the New Testament, must be our first and earliest Gospel, with Mark, Luke and John following. The assumption is that this order of the Gospels is a chronological one, when in fact it is a theological one. Scholars and historians are almost universally agreed that Mark is our earliestGospel–by several decades, and this insight turns out to have profound implications for our understanding of the “Jesus story” and how it was passed down to us in our New Testament Gospel traditions.
The problem with the Gospel of Mark for the final editors of the New Testament was that it was grossly deficient. First it is significantly shorter than the other Gospels–with only 16 chapters compared to Matthew (28), Luke (24) and John (21). But more important is how Mark begins his Gospel and how he ends it.
He has no account of the virgin birth of Jesus–or for that matter, any birth of Jesus at all. In fact, Joseph, husband of Mary, is never named in Mark’s Gospel at all–and Jesus is called a “son of Mary,” see my previous post on this here. But even more significant is Mark’s strange ending. He has no appearances of Jesus following the visit of the women on Easter morning to the empty tomb!
Like the other three Gospels Mark recounts the visit of Mary Magdalene and her companions to the tomb of Jesus early Sunday morning. Upon arriving they find the blocking stone at the entrance of the tomb removed  and a young man– notice–not an angel–tells them:

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing (Mark 16:6-8)

And there the Gospel simply ends!
Mark gives no accounts of anyone seeing Jesus as Matthew, Luke, and John later report. In fact, according to Mark, any future epiphanies or “sightings” of Jesus will be in the north, in Galilee, not in Jerusalem.
In our free eBook Easter: Exploring the Resurrection of Jesus, expert Bible scholars and archaeologists offer in-depth research and reflections on this important event. Discover what they say about the story of the resurrection, the location of Biblical Emmaus, Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, the ancient Jewish roots of bodily resurrection, and the possible endings of the Gospel of Mark.
This original ending of Mark was viewed by later Christians as so deficient that not only was Mark placed second in order in the New Testament, but various endings were added by editors and copyists in some manuscripts to try to remedy things. The longest concocted ending, which became Mark 16:9-19, became so treasured that it was included in the King James Version of the Bible, favored for the past 500 years by Protestants, as well as translations of the Latin Vulgate, used by Catholics. This meant that for countless millions of Christians it became sacred scripture–but it is patently bogus. You might check whatever Bible you use and see if the following verses are included–the chances are good they they will be, since the Church, by and large, found Mark’s original ending so lacking. Here is that forged ending of Mark:

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Even though this ending is patently false, people loved it, and to this day conservative Christians regularly denounce “liberal” scholars who point out this forgery, claiming that they are trying to destroy “God’s word.”
The evidence is clear. This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies of Mark. In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger writes: “Clement of Alexandria and Origen [early third century] show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them.”1 The language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan, and it is pretty evident that what the forger did was take sections of the endings of Matthew, Luke and John (marked respectively in red, blue, and purple above) and simply create a “proper” ending.
Even though this longer ending became the preferred one, there are two other endings, one short and the second an expansion of the longer ending, that also show up in various manuscripts:
But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after these things Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.
[II] This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits [or, does not allow what lies under the unclean spirits to understand the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal your righteousness now’ – thus they spoke to Christ. And Christ replied to them, ‘The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was handed over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin no more, in order that they may inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of righteousness that is in heaven.

I trust that the self-evident spuriousness of these additions is obvious to even the most pious readers. One might in fact hope that Christians who are zealous for the “inspired Word of God” would insist that all three of these bogus endings be recognized for what they are–forgeries.
Interested in the Gospels’ authors? Check out the Bible History Daily post “Gospel of John Commentary: Who Wrote the Gospel of John and How Historical is It?”

That said, what about the original ending of Mark? Its implications are rather astounding for Christian origins. I have dealt with this issue more generally in my post, “What Really Happened on Easter Morning,” that sets the stage for the following implications.

1. Since Mark is our earliest Gospel, written according to most scholars around the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE, or perhaps in the decade before, we have strong textual evidence that the first generation of Jesus followers were perfectly fine with a Gospel account that recounted no appearances of Jesus. We have to assume that the author of Mark’s Gospel did not consider his account deficient in the least and he was either passing on, or faithfully promoting, what he considered to be the authentic Gospel. What most Christians do when they think about Easter is ignore Mark. Since Mark knows nothing of any appearances of Jesus as a resuscitated corpse in Jerusalem, walking about, eating and showing his wounds, as recounted by Matthew, Luke and John, those stories are simply allowed to “fill in” for his assumed deficiency. In other words, no one allows Mark to have a voice. What he lacks, ironically, serves to marginalize and mute him!
2. Alternatively, if we decide to listen to Mark, who is our first gospel witness, what we learn is rather amazing. In Mark, on the last night of Jesus’ life, he told his intimate followers following their meal, “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). What Mark believes is that Jesus has been “lifted up” or “raised up” to the right hand of God and that the disciples would “see” him in Galilee. Mark knows of no accounts of people encountering the revived corpse of Jesus, wounds and all, walking around Jerusalem. His tradition is that the disciples experienced their epiphanies of Jesus once they returned to Galilee after the eight-day Passover festival and had returned to their fishing in despair. This is precisely what we find in the Gospel of Peter, where Peter says:
Now it was the final day of the Unleavened Bread; and many went out returning to their home since the feast was over. But we twelve disciples of the Lord were weeping and sorrowful; and each one, sorrowful because of what had come to pass, departed to his home. But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew, having taken our nets, went off to the sea. And there was with us Levi of Alphaeus whom the Lord …

You can read more about this fascinating “lost” Gospel of Peter here, but this ending, where the text happens to break off, is most revealing. What we see here is precisely parallel to Mark. The disciples returned to their homes in Galilee in despair, resuming their occupations, and only then did they experience “sightings” of Jesus. Strangely, this tradition shows up in an appended ending to the Gospel of John–chapter 21, where a group of disciples are back to their fishing, and Matthew knows the tradition of a strange encounter on a designated mountain in Galilee, where some of the eleven apostles even doubt what they are seeing (Matthew 28:16-17).
The faith that Mark reflects, namely that Jesus has been “raised up” or lifted up to heaven, is precisely parallel to that of Paul–who is the earliest witness to this understanding of Jesus’ resurrection. You can read my full exposition of Paul’s understanding “the heavenly glorified Christ,” whom he claims to encounter, here. And notably, he parallels his ownvisionary experience to that of Peter, James and the rest of the apostles. What this means is that when Paul wrote, in the 50s CE, this was the resurrection faith of the early followers of Jesus! Since Matthew, Luke and John come so much later and clearly reflect the period after 70 CE when all of the first witnesses were dead–including Peter, Paul and James the brother of Jesus, they are clearly 2nd generation traditions and should not be given priority.
Mark begins his account with the line “The Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Clearly for him, what he subsequently writes is that “Gospel,” not a deficient version that needs to be supplemented or “fixed” with later alternative traditions about Jesus appearing in a resuscitated body Easter weekend in Jerusalem.
Finally, what we recently discovered in the Talpiot tomb under the condominium building, not 200 feet from the “Jesus family” tomb, offers a powerful testimony to this same kind of early Christian faith in Jesus’ resurrection. On one of the ossuaries, or bone boxes in this tomb, is a four-line Greek inscription which I have translated as: I Wondrous Yehovah lift up–lift up! And this is next to a second ossuary representing the “sign of Jonah” with a large fish expelling the head of a human stick figure, recalling the story of Jonah. In that text Jonah sees himself as having passed into the gates of Sheol or death, from which he utters a prayer of salvation from the belly of the fish: “O Yehovah my God, you lifted up my life from the Pit!” (Jonah 2:6). It is a rare thing when our textual evidence seems to either reflect or correspond to the material evidence and I believe in the case of the two Talpiot tombs, and the early resurrection faith reflected in Paul and Mark, that is precisely what we have.2 That this latest archaeological evidence corresponds so closely to Mark and Paul, our first witnesses to the earliest Christian understanding of Jesus’ resurrection, I find to be most striking.
 Dr. James Tabor is a professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Since earning his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1981, Tabor has combined his work on ancient texts with extensive field work in archaeology in Israel and Jordan, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, Masada and Wadi el-Yabis in Jordan. Over the past decade he has teamed up with with Shimon Gibson to excavate the “John the Baptist” cave at Suba, the “Tomb of the Shroud” discovered in 2000, Mt Zion and, along with Rami Arav, he has been involved in the re-exploration of two tombs in East Talpiot including the controversial “Jesus tomb.” Tabor is the author of the popular TaborBlog, and several of his recent posts have been featured in Bible History Daily as well as the Huffington Post. His latest book, Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity has become a immediately popular with specialists and non-specialists alike. You can find links to all of Dr. Tabor’s web pages, books, and projects at
1. Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd edition, (Hendrickson Publishers, 2005), 123. Metzger also states: “The last twelve verses of the commonly received text of Mark are absent from the two oldest Greek manuscripts (? and B), 20 from the Old Latin codex Bobiensis, the Sinaitic Syriac manuscript, about one hundred Armenian manuscripts, 21 and the two oldest Georgian manuscripts (written a.d. 897 and a.d. 913).”
Correction: In the original publication of this article, Bruce Metzger’s statement “Clement of Alexandria and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them” (Metzger, 2005, p.123) was not appropriately referenced as a quotation from Metzger. We thank our careful reader James Snapp, Jr., of Curtisville Christian Church in Indiana, for bringing this to our attention. —Ed.
2. We offer a full exposition of these important discoveries in our recent book, The Jesus Discovery. The book is a complete discussion of both Talpiot tombs with full documentation, with full chapters on Mary Magdalene, Paul, the James ossuary, DNA tests, and much more. You can read my preliminary report on these latest “Jonah” related findings at the web site Bible & Interpretation, here, and a good account of the controversyhere. During March and April, 2012 I also wrote a dozen or more posts on this blog responding to the academic discussions, see below under “Archives” and you can browse the posts by month.

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible

Lawrence Mykytiuk’s feature article from the January/February 2015 issue of BARwith voluminous endnotes

Lawrence Mykytiuk   •  12/03/2016
Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s article “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” as it originally appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2015. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in 2014.—Ed.


Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as a real human being? 

Outside of the New Testament, what is the evidence for his existence? In this article, author Lawrence Mykytiuk examines the extra-Biblical textual and archaeological evidence associated with the man who would become the central figure in Christianity. Here Jesus is depicted in a vibrant sixth-century C.E. mosaic from the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Photo: Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Ravenna, Italy/Bridgeman Images.
After two decades toiling in the quiet groves of academe, I published an article in BAR titled“Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.”a The enormous interest this article generated was a complete surprise to me. Nearly 40 websites in six languages, reflecting a wide spectrum of secular and religious orientations,linked to BAR’s supplementary web page.b Some even posted translations.

I thought about following up with a similar article on people in the New Testament, but I soon realized that this would be so dominated by the question of Jesus’ existence that I needed to consider this question separately. This is that article:1
Did Jesus of Nazareth, who was called Christ, exist as a real human being, “the man Christ Jesus” according to 1 Timothy 2:5?
The sources normally discussed fall into three main categories: (1) classical (that is, Greco-Roman), (2) Jewish and (3) Christian. But when people ask whether it is possible to prove that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, as John P. Meier pointed out decades ago, “The implication is that the Biblical evidence for Jesus is biased because it is encased in a theological text written by committed believers.2 What they really want to know is: Is there extra-Biblical evidence … for Jesus’ existence?”c
Therefore, this article will cover classical and Jewish writings almost exclusively.3
In the free ebook Who Was Jesus? Exploring the History of Jesus’ Life, examine fundamental questions about Jesus of Nazareth. Where was he really born—Bethlehem or Nazareth? Did he marry? Is there evidence outside of the Bible that proves he actually walked the earth?

Tacitus—or more formally, Caius/Gaius (or Publius) Cornelius Tacitus (55/56–c. 118 C.E.)—was a Roman senator, orator and ethnographer, and arguably the best of Roman historians. His name is based on the Latin word tacitus, “silent,” from which we get the English word tacit. Interestingly, his compact prose uses silence and implications in a masterful way. One argument for the authenticity of the quotation below is that it is written in true Tacitean Latin.4 But first a short introduction.

Roman historian Tacitus.Photo: Bibliotheque nationale, Paris, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Images.
Tacitus’s last major work, titled Annals, written c. 116–117 C.E., includes a biography of Nero. In 64 C.E., during a fire in Rome, Nero was suspected of secretly ordering the burning of a part of town where he wanted to carry out a building project, so he tried to shift the blame to Christians. This was the occasion for Tacitus to mention Christians, whom he despised. This is what he wrote—the following excerpt is translated from Latin by Robert Van Voorst:

TACIT CONFIRMATION. Roman historian Tacitus’s last major work,Annals, mentions a “Christus” who was executed by Pontius Pilate and from whom the Christians derived their name. Tacitus’s brief reference corroborates historical details of Jesus’ death from the New Testament. The pictured volume of Tacitus’s works is from the turn of the 17th century. The volume’s title page features Plantin Press’s printing mark depicting angels, a compass and the mottoLabore et Constantia (“By Labor and Constancy”). Photo: Tacitus, Opera Quae Exstant, trans. by Justus Lipsius (Antwerp, Belgium: Ex officina Plantiniana, apud Joannem Moretum, 1600). Courtesy of the Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co. (PRB&M).

[N]either human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular.5

Tacitus’s terse statement about “Christus” clearly corroborates the New Testament on certain historical details of Jesus’ death. Tacitus presents four pieces of accurate knowledge about Jesus: (1) Christus, used by Tacitus to refer to Jesus, was one distinctive way by which some referred to him, even though Tacitus mistakenly took it for a personal name rather than an epithet or title; (2) this Christus was associated with the beginning of the movement of Christians, whose name originated from his; (3) he was executed by the Roman governor of Judea; and (4) the time of his death was during Pontius Pilate’s governorship of Judea, during the reign of Tiberius. (Many New Testament scholars date Jesus’ death to c. 29 C.E.; Pilate governed Judea in 26–36 C.E., while Tiberius was emperor 14–37 C.E.6)
Tacitus, like classical authors in general, does not reveal the source(s) he used. But this should not detract from our confidence in Tacitus’s assertions. Scholars generally disagree about what his sources were. Tacitus was certainly among Rome’s best historians—arguably the best of all—at the top of his game as a historian and never given to careless writing.
Earlier in his career, when Tacitus was Proconsul of Asia,7 he likely supervised trials, questioned people accused of being Christians and judged and punished those whom he found guilty, as his friend Pliny the Younger had done when he too was a provincial governor. Thus Tacitus stood a very good chance of becoming aware of information that he characteristically would have wanted to verify before accepting it as true.8

CHRESTIANS OF CHRIST. Book XV of Tacitus’sAnnals is preserved in the 11th–12th-centuryCodex Mediceus II, a collection of medieval manuscripts now housed in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, Italy, along with other manuscripts and books that belonged to the Medici family. Highlighted above is the Latin text reading “… whom the crowd called ‘Chrestians.’ The founder of this name, Christ, had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate …”Photo: Codex Mediceus 68 II, fol. 38r, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, Italy.
The other strong evidence that speaks directly about Jesus as a real person comes from Josephus, a Jewish priest who grew up as an aristocrat in first-century Palestine and ended up living in Rome, supported by the patronage of three successive emperors. In the early days of the first Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 C.E.), Josephus was a commander in Galilee but soon surrendered and became a prisoner of war. He then prophesied that his conqueror, the Roman commander Vespasian, would become emperor, and when this actually happened, Vespasian freed him. “From then on Josephus lived in Rome under the protection of the Flavians and there composed his historical and apologetic writings” (Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz).9 He even took the name Flavius, after the family name of his patron, the emperor Vespasian, and set it before his birth name, becoming, in true Roman style, Flavius Josephus. Most Jews viewed him as a despicable traitor. It was by command of Vespasian’s son Titus that a Roman army in 70 C.E. destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple, stealing its contents as spoils of war, which are partly portrayed in the imagery of their gloating triumph on the Arch of Titus in Rome.10 After Titus succeeded his father as emperor, Josephus accepted the son’s imperial patronage, as he did of Titus’s brother and successor, Domitian.
Yet in his own mind, Josephus remained a Jew both in his outlook and in his writings that extol Judaism. At the same time, by aligning himself with Roman emperors who were at that time the worst enemies of the Jewish people, he chose to ignore Jewish popular opinion.
Josephus stood in a unique position as a Jew who was secure in Roman imperial patronage and protection, eager to express pride in his Jewish heritage and yet personally independent of the Jewish community at large. Thus, in introducing Romans to Judaism, he felt free to write historical views for Roman consumption that were strongly at variance with rabbinic views.

Jewish historian Josephus is pictured in the ninth-century medieval manuscript Burgerbibliothek Bern Codex under the Greek caption “Josippos Historiographer.” Photo:Burgerbibliothek Bern Cod. 50, f.2r.
In his two great works, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, both written in Greek for educated people, Josephus tried to appeal to aristocrats in the Roman world, presenting Judaism as a religion to be admired for its moral and philosophical depth. The Jewish Wardoesn’t mention Jesus except in some versions in likely later additions by others, but Jewish Antiquities does mention Jesus—twice.

The shorter of these two references to Jesus (in Book 20)11 is incidental to identifying Jesus’ brother James,12the leader of the church in Jerusalem. In the temporary absence of a Roman governor between Festus’s death and governor Albinus’s arrival in 62 C.E., the high priest Ananus instigated James’s execution. Josephus described it:

Being therefore this kind of person [i.e., a heartless Sadducee], Ananus, thinking that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus had died and Albinus was still on his way, called a meeting [literally, “sanhedrin”] of judges and brought into it the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah … James by name, and some others. He made the accusation that they had transgressed the law, and he handed them over to be stoned.13

James is otherwise a barely noticed, minor figure in Josephus’s lengthy tome. The sole reason for referring to James at all was that his death resulted in Ananus losing his position as high priest. James (Jacob) was a common Jewish name at this time. Many men named James are mentioned in Josephus’s works, so Josephus needed to specify which one he meant. The common custom of simply giving the father’s name (James, son of Joseph) would not work here, because James’s father’s name was also very common. Therefore Josephus identified this James by reference to his famous brother Jesus. But James’s brother Jesus (Yehoshua) also had a very common name. Josephus mentions at least 12 other men named Jesus.14 Therefore Josephus specified which Jesus he was referring to by adding the phrase “who is called Messiah,” or, since he was writing in Greek, Christos.15This phrase was necessary to identify clearly first Jesus and, via Jesus, James, the subject of the discussion. This extraneous reference to Jesus would have made no sense if Jesus had not been a real person.

Visit the historical Jesus study page in Bible History Daily to read more free articles on Jesus.


JAMES, BROTHER OF JESUS. In Jewish Antiquities, parts of which are included in this mid-17th-century book of translations, Josephus refers to a James, who is described as “the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah.” Josephus’s mention of Jesus to specify which James was being executed by the high priest Ananus in 62 C.E. affirms the existence of the historical Jesus.Photo: Josephus, Famovs and Memorable Works of Josephvs, trans. by Thomas Lodge (London: J. L. for Andrew Hebb, 1640).
Few scholars have ever doubted the authenticity of this short account. On the contrary, the huge majority accepts it as genuine.16 The phrase intended to specifywhich Jesus, translated “who is called Christ,” signifies either that he was mentioned earlier in the book or that readers knew him well enough to grasp the reference to him in identifying James. The latter is unlikely. First-century Romans generally had little or no idea whoChristus was. It is much more likely that he was mentioned earlier in Jewish Antiquities. Also, the fact that the term “Messiah”/“Christ” is not defined here suggests that an earlier passage in Jewish Antiquities has already mentioned something of its significance.17 This phrase is also appropriate for a Jewish historian like Josephus because the reference to Jesus is a noncommittal, neutral statement about what some people called Jesus and not a confession of faith that actually asserts that he was Christ.

This phrase—“who is called Christ”—is very unlikely to have been added by a Christian for two reasons. First, in the New Testament and in the early Church Fathers of the first two centuries C.E., Christians consistently refer to James as “the brother of the Lord” or “of the Savior” and similar terms, not “the brother of Jesus,” presumably because the name Jesus was very common and did not necessarily refer to their Lord. Second, Josephus’s description in Jewish Antiquities of how and when James was executed disagrees with Christian tradition, likewise implying a non-Christian author.18
This short identification of James by the title that some people used in order to specify his brother gains credibility as an affirmation of Jesus’ existence because the passage is not about Jesus. Rather, his name appears in a functional phrase that is called for by the sense of the passage. It can only be useful for the identification of James if it is a reference to a real person, namely, “Jesus who is called Christ.”
This clear reference to Jesus is sometimes overlooked in debates about Josephus’s other, longer reference to Jesus (to be treated next). Quite a few people are aware of the questions and doubts regarding the longer mention of Jesus, but often this other clear, simple reference and its strength as evidence for Jesus’ existence does not receive due attention.
The longer passage in Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities (Book 18)19 that refers to Jesus is known as the Testimonium Flavianum.
If it has any value in relation to the question of Jesus’ existence, it counts as additionalevidence for Jesus’ existence. The Testimonium Flavianum reads as follows; the parts that are especially suspicious because they sound Christian are in italics:20

Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.21 For he was one who did surprising deeds, and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place came to love him did not give up their affection for him, for on the third day, he appeared to them restored to life. The prophets of God had prophesied this and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, have still to this day not died out.22

All surviving manuscripts of the Testimonium Flavianum that are in Greek, like the original, contain the same version of this passage, with no significant differences.
The main question is: Did Flavius Josephus write this entire report about Jesus and his followers, or did a forger or forgers alter it or possibly insert the whole report?23 There are three ways to answer this question:24
Alternative 1: The whole passage is authentic, written by Josephus.

Alternative 2: The whole passage is a forgery, inserted into Jewish Antiquities.
Alternative 3: It is only partly authentic, containing some material from Josephus, but also
some later additions by another hand(s).

Regarding Alternative 1, today almost no scholar accepts the authenticity of the entire standard Greek Testimonium Flavianum. In contrast to the obviously Christian statement “He was the Messiah” in the Testimonium, Josephus elsewhere “writes as a passionate advocate of Judaism,” says Josephus expert Steve Mason. “Everywhere Josephus praises the excellent constitution of the Jews, codified by Moses, and declares its peerless, comprehensive qualities … Josephus rejoices over converts to Judaism. In all this, there is not the slightest hint of any belief in Jesus”25 as seems to be reflected in the Testimonium.
The bold affirmation of Jesus as Messiah reads as a resounding Christian confession that echoes St. Peter himself!26 It cannot be Josephus. Alternative 1 is clearly out.
Regarding Alternative 2—the whole Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery—this is very unlikely. What is said, and the expressions in Greek that are used to say it, despite a few words that don’t seem characteristic of Josephus, generally fit much better with Josephus’s writings than with Christian writings.27 It is hypothetically possible that a forger could have learned to imitate Josephus’s style or that a reviser adjusted the passage to that style, but such a deep level of attention, based on an extensive, detailed reading of Josephus’s works and such a meticulous adoption of his vocabulary and style, goes far beyond what a forger or a reviser would need to do.
Even more important, the short passage (treated above) that mentions Jesus in order to identify James appears in a later section of the book (Book 20) and implies that Jesus was mentioned previously.

The BAS DVD Uncovering Early Christianity offers four exclusive full-length lectures by Bart Ehrman on topics ranging from forgeries and counter-forgeries in the New Testament to how and when Jesus became divine. Learn more >>


THE TESTIMONY OF JOSEPHUS. This 15th-century manuscript, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, contains the portion of Josephus’s Testimonium Flavianum that refers to Jesus (highlighted in blue). The first sentence of the manuscript, highlighted in green, reads, from the Greek, “Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.” The majority of scholars believe this passage of the Testimonium is based on the original writings of Josephus but contains later additions, likely made by Christian scribes. Photo: Codex Parisinus gr.2075, 45v. Courtesy Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
The best-informed among the Romans understoodChristus to be nothing more than a man’s personal name, on the level of Publius and Marcus. First-century Romans generally had no idea that calling someone “Christus” was an exalted reference, implying belief that he was the chosen one, God’s anointed. The Testimonium, in Book 18, appropriately found in the section that deals with Pilate’s time as governor of Judea,28 is apparently one of Josephus’s characteristic digressions, this time occasioned by mention of Pilate. It provides background for Josephus’s only other written mention of Jesus (in Book 20), and it connects the name Jesus with his Christian followers. The short reference to Jesus in the later book depends on the longer one in the earlier (Book 18). If the longer one is not genuine, this passage lacks its essential background. Alternative 2 should be rejected.

Alternative 3—that the Testimonium Flavianum is based on an original report by Josephus29 that has been modified by others, probably Christian scribes, seems most likely. After extracting what appear to be Christian additions, the remaining text appears to be pure Josephus. As a Romanized Jew, Josephus would not have presented these beliefs as his own. Interestingly, in three openly Christian, non-Greek versions of the Testimonium Flavianum analyzed by Steve Mason, variations indicate changes were made by others besides Josephus.30 The Latin version says Jesus “wasbelieved to be the Messiah.” The Syriac version is best translated, “He was thought to be the Messiah.” And the Arabic version with open coyness suggests, “He was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” Alternative 3 has the support of the overwhelming majority of scholars.
We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus. These independent historical sources—one a non-Christian Roman and the other Jewish—confirm what we are told in the Gospels:31
1. He existed as a man. The historian Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first-century Palestine and wrote only decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ known associates, such as Jesus’ brother James, were his contemporaries. The historical and cultural context was second nature to Josephus. “If any Jewish writer were ever in a position to know about the non-existence of Jesus, it would have been Josephus. His implicit affirmation of the existence of Jesus has been, and still is, the most significant obstacle for those who argue that the extra-Biblical evidence is not probative on this point,” Robert Van Voorst observes.32 And Tacitus was careful enough not to report real executions of nonexistent people.

2. His personal name was Jesus, as Josephus informs us.
3. He was called Christos in Greek, which is a translation of the Hebrew wordMessiah, both of which mean “anointed” or “(the) anointed one,” as Josephus states and Tacitus implies, unaware, by reporting, as Romans thought, that his name was Christus.
4. He had a brother named James (Jacob), as Josephus reports.
5. He won over both Jews and “Greeks” (i.e., Gentiles of Hellenistic culture), according to Josephus, although it is anachronistic to say that they were “many” at the end of his life. Large growth
in the number of Jesus’ actual followers came only after his death.
6. Jewish leaders of the day expressed unfavorable opinions about him, at least according to some versions of the Testimonium Flavianum.
7. Pilate rendered the decision that he should be executed, as both Tacitus and Josephus state.
8. His execution was specifically by crucifixion, according to Josephus.
9. He was executed during Pontius Pilate’s governorship over Judea (26–36 C.E.), as Josephus implies and Tacitus states, adding that it was during Tiberius’s reign.

Some of Jesus’ followers did not abandon their personal loyalty to him even after his crucifixion but submitted to his teaching. They believed that Jesus later appeared to them alive in accordance with prophecies, most likely those found in the Hebrew Bible. A well-attested link between Jesus and Christians is that Christ, as a term used to identify Jesus, became the basis of the term used to identify his followers: Christians. The Christian movement began in Judea, according to Tacitus. Josephus observes that it continued during the first century. Tacitus deplores the fact that during the second century it had spread as far as Rome.
As far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist.33Referring to the first several centuries C.E., even a scholar as cautious and thorough as Robert Van Voorst freely observes, “… [N]o pagans and Jews who opposed Christianity denied Jesus’ historicity or even questioned it.”34
Nondenial of Jesus’ existence is particularly notable in rabbinic writings of those first several centuries C.E.: “… f anyone in the ancient world had a reason to dislike the Christian faith, it was the rabbis. To argue successfully that Jesus never existed but was a creation of early Christians would have been the most effective polemic against Christianity … [Yet] all Jewish sources treated Jesus as a fully historical person … [T]he rabbis … used the real events of Jesus’ life against him” (Van Voorst).35
Thus his birth, ministry and death occasioned claims that his birth was illegitimate and that he performed miracles by evil magic, encouraged apostasy and was justly executed for his own sins. But they do not deny his existence.36

Check out the web-exclusive supplement to Lawrence Mykytiuk’s “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” feature from the March/April 2014 issue of BAR >>

Lucian of Samosata (c. 115–200 C.E.) was a Greek satirist who wrote The Passing of Peregrinus, about a former Christian who later became a famous Cynic and revolutionary and died in 165 C.E. In two sections of Peregrinus—here translated by Craig A. Evans—Lucian, while discussing Peregrinus’s career, without naming Jesus, clearly refers to him, albeit with contempt in the midst of satire:

It was then that he learned the marvelous wisdom of the Christians, by associating with their priests and scribes in Palestine. And— what else?—in short order he made them look like children, for he was a prophet, cult leader, head of the congregation and everything, all by himself. He interpreted and explained some of their books, and wrote many himself. They revered him as a god, used him as a lawgiver, and set him down as a protector—to be sure, after that other whom they still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world.37
For having convinced themselves that they are going to be immortal and live forever, the poor wretches despise death and most even willingly give themselves up. Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living according to his laws.38

Although Lucian was aware of the Christians’ “books” (some of which might have been parts of the New Testament), his many bits of misinformation make it seem very likely that he did not read them. The compound term “priests and scribes,” for example, seems to have been borrowed from Judaism, and indeed, Christianity and Judaism were sometimes confused among classical authors.
Lucian seems to have gathered all of his information from sources independent of the New Testament and other Christian writings. For this reason, this writing of his is usually valued as independent evidence for the existence of Jesus.
This is true despite his ridicule and contempt for Christians and their “crucified sophist.” “Sophist” was a derisive term used for cheats or for teachers who only taught for money. Lucian despised Christians for worshiping someone thought to be a criminal worthy of death and especially despised “the man who was crucified.”
▸ Celsus, the Platonist philosopher, considered Jesus to be a magician who made exorbitant claims.39
▸ Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor and friend of Tacitus, wrote about early Christian worship of Christ “as to a god.”40
▸ Suetonius, a Roman writer, lawyer and historian, wrote of riots in 49 C.E. among Jews in Rome which might have been about Christus but which he thought were incited by “the instigator Chrestus,” whose identification with Jesus is not completely certain.41
▸ Mara bar Serapion, a prisoner of war held by the Romans, wrote a letter to his son that described “the wise Jewish king” in a way that seems to indicate Jesus but does not specify his identity.42
Other documentary sources are doubtful or irrelevant.43
One can label the evidence treated above as documentary (sometimes called literary) or as archaeological. Almost all sources covered above exist in the form of documents that have been copied and preserved over the course of many centuries, rather than excavated in archaeological digs. Therefore, although some writers call them archaeological evidence, I prefer to say that these truly ancient texts are ancient documentary sources, rather thanarchaeological discoveries.
Some ossuaries (bone boxes) have come to light that are inscribed simply with the name Jesus (Yeshu or Yeshua‘ in Hebrew), but no one suggests that this was Jesus of Nazareth. The name Jesus was very common at this time, as was Joseph. So as far as we know, these ordinary ossuaries have nothing to do with the New Testament Jesus. Even the ossuary from the East Talpiot district of Jerusalem, whose inscription is translated “Yeshua‘, son of Joseph,” does not refer to him.44
As for the famous James ossuary first published in 2002,d whose inscription is translated “Jacob, son of Joseph, brother of Yeshua‘,” more smoothly rendered, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” it is unprovenanced, and it will likely take decades to settle the matter of whether it is authentic. Following well established, sound methodology, I do not base conclusions on materials whose authenticity is uncertain, because they might be forged.45Therefore the James ossuary, which is treated in many other publications, is not included here.46
As a final observation: In New Testament scholarship generally, a number of specialists consider the question of whether Jesus existed to have been finally and conclusively settled in the affirmative. A few vocal scholars, however, still deny that he ever lived.47
I don't recall ever hearing about anything like this: Teratomas

But when I did read the article I immediately thought of the 'immaculate conception'

I post this article to compare known medical history to interpreting scripture.

Spoiler alert:
Itz beyooooooooooooooooooooond extremely rare to emerge a fully fledged child.

Partially developed brain found in young girl's ovary
January 9, 2017 by Bob Yirka report

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Credit: Neuropathology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/neup.12360
(MedicalXpress)—A team of surgeons performing a routine appendectomy on a young woman also found and removed a tumor they noticed growing on their patient's ovary. Subsequent analysis of the tumor by researchers with the Shiga Medical Centre for Adults in Japan revealed that the tumor contained a teratoma with a brain-like structure along with a partially developed skull bone and hair fragments. They have published their findings in the journal Neuropathology.

Teratomas, also known as dermoid cysts, are not all that uncommon, the researchers report, but ones that have brain-like structures are extremely rare. In this case, the teratoma, which is Greek for the word monster, held a brain-like structure that was so advanced it had partially developed into a cerebellum with a brain stem and was able to transmit electrical pulses delivered by the research team.
The tumor was approximately 10 centimeters wide and held what the researchers describe as a mat of greasy hair and a brain-like structure that was covered by skull-like bone material. Teratomas are actually a type of tumor that develop most often in organs such as the thyroid, liver, lung, brain and ovaries—their defining characteristic is the development of bodily material that is out of character for the location in which it is found. Why they occur is not known, but prior research has suggested that, like cancerous tumors, they result from a malfunction during cell division, often in ways that resemble abnormal stem-cell growth. The researchers also note that approximately 20 percent of ovarian tumors have teratomas, which often have hair, teeth, muscle, fat or cartilage and of course sometimes brain cells. Very seldom are such cells organized into anything resembling brain parts.
In some cases, such tumors can cause symptoms due to the immune system being activated, but the patient in this case, a 16-year-old girl, had no symptoms before her surgery and recovered quickly after removal of both appendix and tumor, the researchers note. They also observe that despite the uneasiness some may feel a regarding teratomas, they offer researchers insights into human development that can be found no other way.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Johns Hopkins doctors remove baby's brain tumor that contained teeth
More information: Masayuki Shintaku et al. Well-formed cerebellum and brainstem-like structures in a mature ovarian teratoma: Neuropathological observations, Neuropathology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/neup.12360
In the surgical case of a mature cystic teratoma of the ovary that arose in a 16-year-old girl, a large amount of well-differentiated and highly organized cerebellar tissue was found. Three layers of the cerebellar cortex were well formed, and synaptophysin-positive "glomeruli" were found in the granule cell layer. Some Purkinje cells exhibited focal expansion and a dysmorphic appearance of the dendrites. Adjacent to the cerebellar tissue, a large space lined by the ependymal layer and a club-shaped CNS tissue mass resembling the brainstem were found, and structures reminiscent of the midbrain tectum and pontine nuclei were distinguished within this mass. The CNS tissue was surrounded by the leptomeninges and a skull-like, bony shell. Structures consistent with the supra-tentorial CNS tissue were not found. This case represents an example of infra-tentorial CNS tissue that was well-differentiated and organized to an exceptionally high degree in an ovarian mature teratoma. Various degenerative changes have been documented in CNS tissue in ovarian teratomas, but the dendritic abnormalities of Purkinje cells seen in the present case are novel findings.

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So Rare only Mary may stake that claim...?besides all the other dieties,etc that had virgin births too from other pantheons?

What happens when predictions aren't soothe-sayery???

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Astronomers predict explosion that will change the night sky in 2022
January 9, 2017 by Matt Kucinski, Lynn Rosendale

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Molnar’s prediction is that a binary star (two stars orbiting each other) he is monitoring will merge and explode in 2022. Credit: Calvin College
Calvin College professor Larry Molnar and his students along with colleagues from Apache Point Observatory (Karen Kinemuchi) and the University of Wyoming (Henry Kobulnicky) are predicting a change to the night sky that will be visible to the naked eye.

"It's a one-in-a-million chance that you can predict an explosion," Molnar said of his bold prognostication. "It's never been done before."
Molnar's prediction is that a binary star (two stars orbiting each other) he is monitoring will merge and explode in 2022, give or take a year; at which time the star will increase its brightness ten thousand fold, becoming one of the brighter stars in the heavens for a time. The star will be visible as part of the constellation Cygnus, and will add a star to the recognizable Northern Cross star pattern.
A question leads to exploration
Molnar's exploration into the star known as KIC 9832227 began back in 2013. He was attending an astronomy conference when fellow astronomer Karen Kinemuchi presented her study of the brightness changes of the star, which concluded with a question: Is it pulsing or is it a binary?
Also present at the conference was then Calvin College student Daniel Van Noord '14, Molnar's research assistant. He took the question as a personal challenge and made some observations of the star with the Calvin observatory.
"He looked at how the color of the star correlated with brightness and determined it was definitely a binary," said Molnar. "In fact, he discovered it was actually a contact binary, in which the two stars share a common atmosphere, like two peanuts sharing a single shell.
"From there Dan determined a precise orbital period from Kinemuchi's Kepler satellite data (just under 11 hours) and was surprised to discover that the period was slightly less than that shown by earlier data" Molnar continued.
This result brought to mind work published by astronomer Romuald Tylenda, who had studied the observational archives to see how another star (V1309 Scorpii) had behaved before it exploded unexpectedly in 2008 and produced a red nova (a type of stellar explosion only recently recognized as distinct from other types). The pre-explosion record showed a contact binary with an orbital period decreasing at an accelerating rate. For Molnar, this pattern of orbital change was a "Rosetta stone" for interpreting the new data.
Making a bold prediction
Upon observing the period change to continue through 2013 and 2014, Molnar presented orbital timing spanning 15 years at the January 2015 meeting of the American Astronomical Society, making the prediction that KIC 9832227 may be following in the footsteps of V1309 Scorpii. Before taking the hypothesis too seriously, though, one needed to rule out other, more mundane, interpretations of the period change.
In the two years since that meeting, Molnar and his team have performed two strong observational tests of the alternative interpretations. First, spectroscopic observations ruled out the presence of a companion star with an orbital period greater than 15 years. Second, the rate of orbital period decrease of the past two years followed the prediction made in 2015 and now exceeds that shown by other contact binaries.
Moving from theory to reality
"Bottom line is we really think our merging star hypothesis should be taken seriously right now and we should be using the next few years to study this intensely so that if it does blow up we will know what led to that explosion," said Molnar.
To that end, Molnar and colleagues will be observing KIC 9832227 in the next year over the full range of wavelengths: using the Very Large Array, the Infrared Telescope Facility, and the XMM-Newton spacecraft to study the star's radio, infrared and X-ray emission, respectively.
"If Larry's prediction is correct, his project will demonstrate for the first time that astronomers can catch certain binary stars in the act of dying, and that they can track the last few years of a stellar death spiral up to the point of final, dramatic explosion," said Matt Walhout, dean for research and scholarship at Calvin College.
Watching in wonder
"The project is significant not only because of the scientific results, but also because it is likely to capture the imagination of people on the street," said Walhout. "If the prediction is correct, then for the first time in history, parents will be able to point to a dark spot in the sky and say, 'Watch, kids, there's a star hiding in there, but soon it's going to light up.'"
Molnar says that this is the beginning of a story that will unfold over the next several years, and people of all levels can participate.
"The orbital timing can be checked by amateur astronomers," said Molnar. "It's amazing the equipment amateur astronomers have these days. They can measure the brightness variations with time of this 12th magnitude star as it eclipses and see for themselves if it is continuing on the schedule we are predicting or not."

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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
5 Big Archaeology Stories to Watch for in 2017

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | January 4, 2017 06:33am ET

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Dead Sea Scrolls

The Israel Antiquities Authority thinks more ancient scrolls remain to be found in the Judean Desert and that looters have already found some of them. The authority has announced a series of surveys, excavations and law-enforcement operations to find them this year.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1946 or 1947 by Bedouins in caves near the site of Qumran. Between 1947 and 1956, thousands of scroll fragments making up about 900 manuscripts were uncovered by archaeologists and Bedouins who sold the scrolls. Smaller batches of scrolls have been found at other sites in the Judean Desert since that time.
There are indications, however, that more undiscovered scrolls remain to be found in the Judean Desert. In October, Live Science reported on 25 new Dead Sea Scroll fragments that had been described in two books. They were purchased on the antiquities market, and scholars think that although some are forgeries, others might be from caves that looters discovered. Since 2002, about 70 fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls have appeared on the antiquities market, and that number is growing. Also in October, an anti-looting unit intercepted a 2,600-year-old papyrus fragment that was about to be sold (although there is a debate over whether it is authentic).

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Biblical artifacts revealed

In the fall of 2017, a 430,000-square-foot (40,000 square meters) museum called the Museum of the Bible will open just three blocks south of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The museum will house the "Green Collection," made up of about 40,000 artifacts donated by Steve Green, president of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores. The artifacts have some connection to the Bible and include about a dozen Dead Sea Scrolls that were published recently. 
Green purchased his first artifact in 2009 and grew his collection rapidly. Much of his collection has never been studied by scholars. 

There are rumors that the collection includes a fragment of the Gospel of Mark that some scholars believe dates to the first century A.D., a date that would make it the oldest copy of a Christian Gospel known to exist. 
The Museum of the Bible has not confirmed or denied that this text is part of the Green Collection.

Quote:The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference

James Tabor presents a new look at the original text of the earliest Gospel

How Was the Bible Written During and After the Exile?

Biblical Hebrew in a changing world

Megan Sauter   •  01/09/2017

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Holding on to Biblical Hebrew: Even during the Babylonian Exile, Jewish exiles continued to use the Hebrew language. This promissory note from Al-Yahudu, also known as Judahtown, in Babylonia is inscribed with a Yahwistic name, Shelemyah, which is written in paleo-Hebrew script. Photo: Cindy and David Sofer Collection, Al-Yahudu No. 010.

The Hebrew language has evolved over time. Even during the course of writing the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Biblical Hebrew changed, which is apparent when you compare early Biblical texts with late ones.

How was the Bible written during and after the Babylonian Exile? Did the Biblical authors continue to use the Hebrew language even though they were living in lands where Hebrew was no longer the common language? In his article “How Hebrew Became a Holy Language,” published in the January/February 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan Joosten explains thatBiblical Hebrew did not go out of use. Rather the Jewish population continued to use it—and even attached a new reverence to it.
After Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and deported Judahite captives to Babylonia, he settled them in cities and villages, such as Al-Yahudu (also known as Judahtown), around the River Chebar. The official language of the Babylonian Empire was Aramaic. Although the Jewish deportees communicated in Aramaic with their new neighbors, they continued to write and speak the Hebrew language in their communities, which helped them preserve a distinct identity. An archive from Al-Yahudu demonstrates this. For example, a promissory note from Al-Yahudu (see above) is inscribed with the Hebrew name Shelemyah, which contains the element “yah” that connects the name holder to his deity, Yahweh. The note is written in paleo-Hebrew script, not Aramaic cuneiform.

The religion section of most bookstores includes an amazing array of Bibles. In our free eBook The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide, prominent Biblical scholars Leonard Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff expertly guide you through 21 different Bible translations (or versions) and address their content, text, style and religious orientation.

While living in foreign lands—and after returning to Palestine—how was the Bible written? Although some of the late books of the Bible were written in Aramaic, most of them were still written in Hebrew. However, this Hebrew is distinct from that found in earlier Biblical texts. Joosten elaborates, “In the late books of the Bible—Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther—an archaic form of Hebrew is reused in a way that indicates it was ‘lifted’ from the earlier text and revivified on the basis of exegesis.”

The Biblical authors of this period studied the Hebrew of earlier books and intentionally incorporated it into their writings. In this process, some words took on different meanings. For example, in earlier Biblical texts, the Hebrew word torah denotes “writing” or “direction,” but in later texts, this word usually signifies “the book in which Jewish law is written down.” The authors’ conscientious choice to continue writing in Hebrew set it apart almost as a sacred language.
Of course, the exiles in Babylon do not represent the only surviving Jewish community at this time. Joosten also notes that “there was a western exile and diaspora, exemplified by the prophet Jeremiah, who fled with a group of exiles to Egypt (see Jeremiah 43–44). As the elite of Jerusalem was led by the Babylonians to the East, other Judahites fled to the West. A sizable colony of Jews was settled in Elephantine, a Nile island in upper Egypt, in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E.”
Both groups of exiles revered the Hebrew Bible and committed to preserve and transmit it faithfully. However, they did this in very different ways. While the Jews in Babylon—and later Palestine—studied and continued to use Biblical Hebrew, the Jews in Egypt decided to translate the Hebrew Bible into the common tongue, which for them was Greek.[/size]

Quote:In the Hellenistic period, the western diaspora produced the Septuagint, a full translation of Israel’s Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek. The translation of Scripture, as in Egypt, and the classicizing continuation of Hebrew, as in the East, are in a way polar opposites. In the face of Scriptures written in an ancestral idiom that is on the verge of becoming obsolete, one can opt for translation, transferring the meaning of the text into one’s own world—as in the West. But another option is possible too—to turn one’s back on one’s own world and to project oneself into the world of the ancient texts. The second option is the one taken by the Judahites of the Babylonian Exile and followed after them by Judaism of all hues, as it developed in Palestine. The first option, that of translation, was exercised by the Jews of Egypt, who thus followed a distinct path.
From revivification to translation, the Hebrew language was adapted to a changing world. To learn more about the development of Biblical Hebrew, read Jan Joosten’s article “How Hebrew Became a Holy Language” in the January/February 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Preserved fortification, donkey stables dating to King Solomon discovered at TAU's Timna Valley excavations
January 17, 2017

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The entrance complex with a two-room gatehouse flanked by animal pens and piles of dung. Credit: Erez Ben-Yosef et al.
Some believe that the fabled mines of King Solomon were located among copper smelting camps in Israel's Timna Valley. The arid conditions at Timna have seen the astonishing preservation of 3,000-year-old organic materials, which have provided Tel Aviv University archaeologists with a unique window into the culture and practices of a sophisticated ancient society.

An advanced military fortification—a well-defined gatehouse complex—unearthed recently at Timna, including donkey stables, points to the community's highly-organized defense system and significant dependence on long-distance trade. The research was recently published in The Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
The fortification dates to the reigns of Kings David and Solomon in the 10th century BCE.
"While there is no explicit description of 'King Solomon's mines' in the Old Testament, there are references to military conflicts between Israel and the Edomites in the Arava Valley," says Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef of TAU's Institute of Archaeology and one of the leaders of the Timna research and excavation team, along with his colleagues Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen and Dr. Dafna Langgut. "According to the Bible, David traveled hundreds of miles outside of Jerusalem and engaged in military conflict in the desert—striking down '18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.' Now, having found evidence of defensive measures—a sophisticated fortification—we understand what must have been at stake for him in this remote region: copper."
Military threats
"Copper was a rare product and very challenging to produce," Dr. Ben-Yosef continues. "Because copper—like oil today, perhaps—was the most coveted commodity, it landed at the very heart of military conflicts. The discovery of the fortification indicates a period of serious instability and military threats at that time in the region."
In the remarkably intact two-room fortification, located in one of the largest smelting camps in the Timna Valley, the researchers also found evidence of a complex long-distance trade system that probably included the northern Edomite plateau, the Mediterranean coastal plain and Judea. The complex featured pens for draught animals and other livestock. According to precise pollen, seed, and fauna analyses, they were fed with hay and grape pomace—high-quality sustenance that must have been delivered from the Mediterranean region hundreds of miles away.
"The gatehouse fortification was apparently a prominent landmark," says Dr. Ben-Yosef. "It had a cultic or symbolic function in addition to its defensive and administrative roles. The gatehouse was built of sturdy stone to defend against invasion. We found animal bones and dung piles so intact, we could analyze the food the animals were fed with precision. The food suggests special treatment and care, in accordance with the key role of the donkeys in the copper production and in trade in a logistically challenging region."
Archaeology and the Old Testament
The site was discovered in 1934 by the American archaeologist Nelson Glueck. He called the copper smelting site "Slaves' Hill," because he believed it bore all the marks of an Iron Age slave camp, complete with fiery furnaces and a formidable stone barrier that seemed designed to prevent escape. But in 2014 Dr. Ben-Yosef and colleagues debunked this theory, revealing that the diets and clothing of the smelters—perfectly preserved by the desert conditions—pointed instead to a hierarchical, sophisticated society.
"The historical accuracy of the Old Testament accounts is debated, but archaeology can no longer be used to contradict them," Dr. Ben-Yosef observes. "On the contrary, our new discoveries are in complete accordance with the description of military conflicts against a hierarchical and centralized society located south of the Dead Sea."
Dr. Ben-Yosef and his team plan to continue exploring the ancient societies that worked in these remote copper mines. "The unique preservation of organic materials in Timna, coupled with 21st century research methods including ancient DNA and residue analyses, bear the potential for additional significant discoveries in the future," says Dr. Ben-Yosef.
The excavations at the ancient mines of Tinma continue every winter as part of the Central Timna Valley (CTV) Project of Tel Aviv University.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Proof of Solomon's mines found in Israel
More information: Erez Ben-Yosef et al, Beyond smelting: New insights on Iron Age (10th c. BCE) metalworkers community from excavations at a gatehouse and associated livestock pens in Timna, Israel, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.12.010 
Provided by: Tel Aviv University

Read more at:[url=][/url]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
fascinating post on the copper mines

Quote:"The historical accuracy of the Old Testament accounts is debated, 
but archaeology
can no longer be used to contradict them," 
Dr. Ben-Yosef observes. 
"On the contrary, our new discoveries are in complete accordance with the description of military conflicts 
against a hierarchical and centralized society located south of the Dead Sea."

Interperetation of archaeologic evidence often reverses direction.
Scientist interpretations of meager evidence collected are often considered the only valid conclusions,
and called fact while everything thing else theorized is fiction,
until their facts are often proven to be the fiction.
A major example of that is Pakal's tomb lid interpretation by Linda Schele,
which has been completely reveresed with new evidence in recent discovered carved stele.
It is no surprise that the above quote follows in the same footsteps.
Do these ancient letters from Jesus Christ’s own family prove that he was NOT divine?
JESUS Christ was NOT the Son of God, was not divine and was probably not even crucified, according to letters allegedly written by his own family.
PUBLISHED: 12:42, Sat, Oct 29, 2016 | UPDATED: 15:04, Sat, Oct 29, 2016

Letters which have emerged seemingly written by his own family and those closest too him in the few years after Christ’s death - which many scholars agree was in the early 30s AD - paint Jesus as a mortal.
It is widely accepted that Jesus had several younger siblings. 

Quote:Mayito7777 Wrote:

EA why you have to take everything that is dear and sacred for some people and have to make it stupid, filthy and dirty? Why dont you concentrate on your science whatever you want and live Christ and Christianity out of your dirty mind?

The Gospel of Mark and The Gospel of Matthew both state that Jesus had four brothers – James, Joses (or Joseph), Jude (or Judas – but not THAT Judas) and Simon, while both books also claim that he had several unnamed sisters.
However, the letters written by James and Jude both fail to state that Jesus was divine or the Son of God.
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The Bible's teachings of Jesus may be wrong
In the original Book of James, which is believed to have been written in the first century making it one of the oldest Christian texts, it describes Jesus as his followers’ “master”, but there is no mention of divinity.
There is not even a mention that Jesus was crucified – one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith.
In a Dr Robert Beckford documentary called ‘The Secret of Jesus’, James Tabor, a Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, says that the letters from James, the younger brother of Jesus, blow Christianity wide open.
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Christ in the house of his parents, by John Everett Millais, depicts Jesus with some of his siblings
He said: “The thing about the Book of James, it’s the teachings of Jesus, not the teachings about Jesus. James passes on what he got from his brother – you could say it has no theology.
“Doesn’t mention the cross of Christ, doesn’t mention the blood of Jesus, doesn’t mention forgiving sins through believing in the Lord – nothing like that.”
One of the earliest Christian books – The Didache or The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles – which was written when Christ’s surviving family were still alive in the first century AD, also seems to paint Jesus as a human, and recommends people follow his teachings, rather than the man himself.
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The crucifixion of Christ is not mentioned in several early Christian texts
In the Didache, there is again no reference to the virgin birth, the resurrection, and most significantly of Jesus as God, but rather as his servant. 
The ancient book also details early Communion where there is no detail of bread and wine being the blood and body of Christ.
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The Didache does not mention the resurrection of Christ
The early Christian church hid these books for centuries in order to push a different story of Christ.
However, one seems to have slipped through.
In The Bible, a letter from Jude, another of Christ’s brothers, seems to show that the people who personally knew Jesus were growing tired of the followers who had jumped onto Christianity and were pushing the divine agenda.

The passage from Jude reads: “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires. They are loud mouth boasters flattering people to gain advantage.”

Mr Tabor added: “[Jude is] getting very worried and he’s telling the little group that will still listen to him – I think in effect he’s saying ‘don’t listen to all these new things that are coming along. You fight hard for that original faith that was delivered to us’.”[img=0x0][/img]

(01-25-2015, 01:06 AM)Mayito7777 Wrote: EA why you have to take everything that is dear and sacred for some people and have to make it stupid, filthy and dirty? Why dont you concentrate on your science whatever you want and live Christ and Christianity out of your dirty mind?

Scientists use mathematical calculations to PROVE the existence of God

SCIENTISTS have ‘confirmed’ the existence of God after proving a mathematician’s theory which suggests that there is a higher power.

Two computer scientists say they proved that there is a holy supreme force after confirming the equations.
In 1978, mathematician Kurt Gödel died and left behind a long and complex theory based on modal logic.
Dr Gödel’s model uses mathematical equations that are extremely complicated, but the essence is that no greater power than God can be conceived, and if he or she is believed as a concept then he or she can exist in reality.

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Or as Dr Gödel put it through his equations: “Ax. 1. {P(φ)∧◻∀x[φ(x)→ψ(x)]} →P(ψ)Ax. 2.P(¬φ)↔¬P(φ)Th. 1.P(φ)→◊∃x[φ(x)]Df. 1.G(x)⟺∀φ[P(φ)→φ(x)]Ax. 3.P(G)Th. 2.◊∃xG(x)Df. 2.φ ess x⟺φ(x)∧∀ψ{ψ(x)→◻∀y[φ(y)→ψ(y)]}Ax. 4.P(φ)→◻P(φ)Th. 3.G(x)→G ess xDf. 3.E(x)⟺∀φ[φ ess x→◻∃yφ(y)]Ax. 5.P(E)Th. 4.◻∃xG(x)”.

You get it, right?

But two computer scientists have used computers to run such complicated which they say confirms that the equation does indeed add up.

The point of the researchers’ argument was that they were not directly trying to prove the existence of God, but rather to showcase the power of computers.

Christoph Benzmüller of Berlin's Free University, who ran the calculations along with Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo of the Technical University in Vienna, told Spiegel Online: "It's totally amazing that from this argument led by Gödel, all this stuff can be proven automatically in a few seconds or even less on a standard notebook.

“I didn’t know it would create such a huge public interest but [Gödel’s ontological proof] was definitely a better example than something inaccessible in mathematics or artificial intelligence…

“It’s a very small, crisp thing, because we are just dealing with six axioms in a little theorem.

“There might be other things that use similar logic.”
Eye Dig this Subject. LilD
Quote:"The historical accuracy of the Old Testament accounts is debated, 
but archaeology
can no longer be used to contradict them," 

"The historical accuracy of the New Testament accounts is debated, 
but archaeology
can no longer be used to contradict them," 

The Bible was WRONG: THIS is where Jesus was crucified
THE Bible was WRONG when it came to Jesus’s crucifixion, according to an archaeologist who claims to have discovered where his last moments really took place.
PUBLISHED: 15:36, Tue, Oct 18, 2016 | UPDATED: 15:44, Tue, Oct 18, 2016

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Jesus was crucified in Silwan village, according to one archaeologist
It had long been thought that the Romans had condemned Jesus to the cross which he had allegedly been ordered to carry to his crucifix to a hill in Calvary – just outside the walls of the City of Jerusalem.
However, archaeologist Robert Cornuke, who has authored several books on the Bible, has now controversially claimed that this is wrong, and the Son of God was actually executed in the nearby Silwan Village – an area now occupied by Palestine.
Bonnie Brown, a philanthropist who helped Mr Cornuke with his research, said the sites previously believed to be the place of the crucifixion, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher along with Gordon’s Calvary, contained too many “geographical flaws”.
Ms Browne told ASSIST News: “Cornuke … proposes an altogether different place for the Crucifixion; namely the Palestinian occupied Silwan Village which is about 600 feet east of the City of David in Jerusalem.

[Image: carrying-cross-688674.jpg][img=590x0][/img]GETTY
Jesus was ordered to carry his own cross, according to the Bible
“Using the Bible as his map and old photographic imagery from the 1800’s Robert Cornuke puts together the pieces of an ancient sacred puzzle. 
“He is assisted in his research by his investigative skills as a former police investigator.”
[Image: silwan-village-688676.jpg][img=590x0][/img]GETTY
Silwan Village was apparently where Jesus was actually crucified
Mr Cornuke makes his claim in his new book ‘Golgotha: Searching for the True Location of Christ's Crucifixion’.
The publisher of the book, Ron Matsen, chief executive officer of the Koinonia House, claiming that people have been blinded by tradition.

Mr Matsen says Mr Cornuke dismissed “emotionally held traditions of the past that may have obscured the pathway to truth and opens the door to a whole new way of finding the Biblical site of the crucifixion.

"By using the compass of solid evidence, Bob charts a course for discovery that will thrill the willing Bible explorer who is on a quest for truth. 

“Don't let tradition get in the way of truth.”

When a preprint becomes the final paper
A geneticist's decision not to publish his finalized preprint in a journal gets support from scientists online. 20 January 2017
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Preprint papers posted on servers such as arXiv and bioRxiv are designed to get research results out for discussion before they are formally peer reviewed and published in journals. But for some scientists, the term is now a misnomer — their preprint papers will never be submitted for formal publication.
Graham Coop, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Davis, took to social media on 13 January to state that one of his bioRxiv preprints is the “final version”

.Graham Coop @Graham_Coop
Left comment indicating that I regard @biorxivpreprint as my final version of genetic draft response, wont "publish" …
8:49 PM - 12 Jan 2017

Coop’s paper1 critiques a 2015 study about a process known as genetic hitchhiking — changes in the population frequencies of gene variants owing to their close proximity to other gene variants that are increasing in frequency as a result of selection.
Part of his reason for leaving the paper as a preprint is because it is a response to a previously published article, rather than a full article in its own right, says Coop. But another reason for the move, he explains, was to experiment with how preprints are perceived by researchers.
David Stern, an evolutionary biologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, noted that his group already follows this ‘pre-as-final’ path for some papers.[/size]

David Stern @David_L_Stern
@VinJLynch @Graham_Coop @cshperspectives We already do. My TagMap paper is biorxiv only, cited 2x. By us, anyway ;)
2:39 PM - 16 Jan 2017

One of the major services of traditional journals is that papers are peer reviewed before publication, allowing authors to make changes in response to referees' comments. Increasingly, some preprint advocates suggest that readers informally peer reviewing papers after they are posted — a form of post-publication peer review — can substitute for this.
Vincent Lynch, a human-genetics researcher at the University of Chicago in Illinois, supported Coop, and said that peer review after publication was more important than traditional journal review beforehand.[/size]

Vincent J. Lynch @VinJLynch
@Graham_Coop @biorxivpreprint awesome! Preprint=print in my view. Prepub peer review is cherry on top, postpub is what matters!
10:05 PM - 12 Jan 2017

Lynch thinks that the idea of 'final version preprints' will catch on with other researchers. “Publication in a journal doesn’t magically transform data from conjecture into fact,” Lynch told Nature. He notes that readers of journals still judge the quality of the data in papers, which can be done just as easily with final version preprints.
But, perhaps surprisingly, Coop tweeted that he doesn’t see the final version preprint as likely to catch on widely just yet — at this point, there isn't enough post-publication peer review (or “PPR”) so he still sees a use for peer review (“PR”).[/size]

Vincent J. Lynch @VinJLynch
@Graham_Coop @biorxivpreprint curious if you think this model, which I support, is generally applicable?!?
Graham Coop @Graham_Coop
@VinJLynch @biorxivpreprint I wish it was, but I don't see it as viable at mo. Too little critical PPR, find PR generally useful
10:19 PM - 12 Jan 2017

Lynch and Coop also caution that using preprints as final versions may not work for younger colleagues, who need to show a track record of journal publications to help advance their careers. “Students and postdocs will have likely have job and grant applications reviewed by those who don’t share my view or take preprints seriously,” Lynch adds. “It would be unfair to them to only submit a preprint.”
Coop was the only author of his paper, and he says he would have probably submitted the preprint to a journal if his students contributed significantly to the work.
Independent data scientist Jordan Anaya, who has developed a search engine for preprints calledPrePubMed, tweeted that as more final version preprints appear, there will need to be an easy way to show online which ones are actually final papers[/size]

Omnes Res @OmnesResNetwork
@Graham_Coop @biorxivpreprint Interesting. I stopped sending my preprints to journals. Wish there was an easy way to indicate this.
11:44 PM - 12 Jan 2017

Anaya told Nature that he hasn’t submitted his last two preprints to journals, noting: “If the work is important enough that people read it, hopefully someone will point out if they disagree with it or find something wrong with it.”
Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21333[/size]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in ...

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have .... …25Godmade the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after ...
‎[url=]Genesis 1:27 · ‎Genesis 1:25 · ‎Genesis 1:26 · ‎INT[/size]

JULY 25, 2016

Mirror Neurons After a Quarter Century: New light, new cracks

by JohnMark Taylor
figures by Youngeun Kaitlyn Choi
What about the human brain allows a person to perform such feats as learning guitar through imitation, empathizing with anothers’s pain, or intuiting where a fencer will strike next? Nearly twenty-five years ago, scientists discovered a special kind of cell called a mirror neuron that many both in science and the popular press came to believe might enable social skills like these, skills that underlie much of what makes us uniquely human. However, after a quarter century, dozens of experiments, and reams of popular articles, the true significance of these cells has become increasingly controversial. What have mirror neurons really told us so far about the human mind, and what remains to be learned from them?
What are mirror neurons?
The story of mirror neurons began simply enough. In 1992, a team of neuroscientists led by Giacomo Rizzolatti inserted tiny electrodes into the brains of macaque monkeys, hoping to better understand how the brain orchestrates the delicate interplay of muscles involved in moving the hand. Using these electrodes, the researchers monitored the activity of neurons, the cells that constitute the smallest processing units of the brain, analogous to microchips in computers. A neuron can be specialized to perform any of a dizzying number of functions, from perceiving a face to regulating sleeping and waking.
Rizzolatti’s team, examining neurons in a part of the macaque brain involved in controlling the muscles of the hand, expected to find neurons that fired specifically when the monkey performed particular actions, such as reaching for or grabbing something. They indeed found neurons that fired when the monkey performed these actions, but it turned out that this was only half the story. One day, when the experimenters ate lunch in the same room as the monkeys, they observed something entirely unexpected: some of these neurons also fired when the monkey observed an experimenter performing the same action (in this case, bringing food to one’s mouth). In short: these neurons fired both when monkey see, and when monkey do.
[img=644x0][/img]Figure 1: Mirror neurons in action. A mirror neuron fires an electrical pulse, or action potential, when the monkey either observes or executes a specific action. In this case, the mirror neuron responds to grasping actions. The graph at the bottom shows what the action potentials (each depicted as a hump) would look like when measured with an electrode, as used by the researchers.
Mirror neurons’ great potential
For nearly a decade, these neurons, termed “mirror neurons,” remained relatively unknown to the public. However, their reputation began to change in 2000, when the famous neuroscientist and popularizer of science V.S. Ramachandran wrote an article speculating that “mirror neurons would do for psychology what DNA did for biology: they will provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments.”
In a series of elegant, compelling proposals, Ramachandran theorized that mirror neurons might help explain a wide variety of human social abilities. For example, how, biologically, do people imitate the actions of others, an ability that in part enables the spread of culture? Ramachandran proposed that mirror neurons translate an observed action into a series of commands for the muscles to execute. How do people understand the intentions behind another’s actions? Mirror neurons may run a sort of virtual reality simulation of what it would be like for oneself to perform that action. Why are autistic individuals impaired when it comes to understanding the thoughts of others? Perhaps they have deficient mirror neurons (an idea that came to be called the “broken mirror” hypothesis). Within a year, the use of the phrase “mirror neurons” more than doubled, and over the next decade, mirror neurons captured the public imagination, being touted as able to offer insight into everything from empathizing with therapy clientsto international diplomacyhow children learn music, and how people appreciate art. Not bad for a finding that was initially rejected from the top science journal, Nature, for “lacking public interest.”
As interest in mirror neurons exploded among the public, scientists remained divided regarding their significance. Some scientists, such as Rizzolatti and Ramachandran, were optimistic that mirror neurons would prove crucial for many of humans’ social abilities, while others thought that their importance was overblown. For some time, skeptics had one particularly effective arrow in their quiver: despite claims that mirror neurons might underlie much of what makes humans unique (such as language and culture), until 2008, they had never once been decisively identified in humans. Even as of 2016, only one study, using electrodes implanted into the brains of epilepsy patients, has successfully identified human neurons with properties similar to those found in the macaques.
An updated perspective
Accordingly, over the past ten years, the pendulum of scientific opinion has begun to swing towards the skeptics. Many of the more prominent theories regarding the function of mirror neurons have not survived scrutiny. First, it was seen as increasingly implausible that mirror neurons alone could explain the human capacity for imitation; adult macaques, it became increasingly clear, did not engage in mimicry despite having mirror neurons, and so mirror neurons could not explain this ability by themselves. Second, the theory that the ability to mentally simulate others’ actions (putatively enabled by mirror neurons) is necessary to understand others’ actions has become increasingly shaky. For instance, some patients with brain damage that prevent them from performing certain actions (such as brushing one’s teeth) are nonetheless able to understand the meaning of these actions when performed by others.
Finally, the theory that mirror neuron defects might underlie autism—the “broken mirror” hypothesis—has proven most dubious of all. An exhaustive recent review of 25 different studies presents a wide array of behavioral and neurological evidence that deficient mirror neurons probably do not lie at the core of autism. For example, while the broken mirror hypothesis predicts that autistic individuals should show severe impairments in understanding and imitating actions such as reaching, several studies have found no such impairments. Moreover, while many studies have reported differences between the brains of autistic and non-autistic individuals, these differences do not appear to lie in parts of the brain thought to contain mirror neurons.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), several studies have examined the cortical thickness (the size of the sheet of neurons covering the brain) of various brain areas, and have found only sparse evidence that structural differences in mirror neuron regions might be involved in autism. Rather, structural differences between autistic and non-autistic individuals appear to extend widely throughout the brain, and differences in mirror neuron regions do not appear to show reproducible patterns between subjects. Additionally, these mirror neuron regions appear to show similar activity in autistic and non-autistic individuals when they view or perform various actions, suggesting that the neural basis of autism probably lies elsewhere.
Counterarguments like these have pushed mirror neuron proponents to fine-tune their claims. For example, Rizzolatti, the original discoverer of mirror neurons in macaques, now suggests that mirror neurons might only be required for understanding the actions of others from a first-person perspective. He explains that this internalization of behaviors we see might provide us a deeper level of understanding about another person’s goals, but cedes that mirror neuron activity might only constitute one among several ways of comprehending others’ behavior.
Mirror neurons have begun to assume a humbler identity than was initially theorized, but it is important to remember that despite recent criticism, their activity may still play an important role in many behaviors. For instance, even Gregory Hickok, perhaps the most prominent critic of the hype surrounding mirror neurons, accepts that they probably play a role in enabling imitation, given that there must be some mechanism in the brain that converts an observed action to a series of muscle commands. Much research remains to be done; for instance, there has yet to be a study that specifically disables mirror neurons (an experiment that recent technological advances may make possible in monkeys), which would help to elucidate what exact behaviors rely on these neurons. Now that the hype around mirror neurons has begun to dissipate, it will be interesting to see what role remains for these curious cells.
JohnMark Taylor is a PhD student in the Harvard University Psychology Department.

Tektonic was as Harvard is.

RE: Anomalist Believes He Found Location Where Jesus Christ Taught...

follow the illogic...
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
When he touched the ground,he had the whole world in his hands.

While others forbade he beckoned the children to his side.

He held the reigns of deliverance and ascended in the sky.

He could be everywhere on Earth on the same day.

He was a gifted giver of great joy and happiness.

A man of many miracles and truth myth and legends.

Assisted by a wondrous host of non-human beings.

We have cultured many rituals around his benevolence.

He was of course Santa Claus.

And being nowhere even close to the north pole... this is a serving of un-thawed leftover X-mas Turkey.

Myra, Turkey: St. Nicholas’s Christian Capital
A pilgrimage destination for Byzantine Christians

Noah Wiener   •  01/26/2017
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2014.—Ed.

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At Myra, a 13th-century chapel's interior includes a cross-shaped window positioned to illuminate the altar table with a cross of sunlight. Photo: Myra-Andriake Excavations.
For centuries the city of Myra, located in the heart of Lyciaon the southern coast of Turkey, served as a pilgrimage destination for Byzantine Christians. The fourth-century bishop of Myra, later canonized as St. Nicholas (and commonly remembered as Santa Claus), shaped the development of the Christian city before his traditional burial at Myra. For over 1,500 years, the church of St. Nicholas has stood out as an icon of the Christian saint’s influence in an area marked by the monumental remains of the earlier Greco-Roman Lycian populace.

Recent archaeological activity at Myra has begun to expose a remarkably intact Christian city beneath modern Demre. While the church of St. Nicholas, the honeycomb tombs and the theater have endured as iconic symbols of the Lycian coast, the majority of the ancient city was buried under 18 feet of sediment deposited by the nearby Myros River.
Archaeologists have completed the excavation of a 13th-century chapel preserved with a Pompeiian clarity. Built just a century before the city was abandoned, the structure features a six-foot deesis fresco depicting Jesus, John and Mary holding scrolls with Greek Biblical texts, a style never before found in Turkey. Details of the architecture remain in pristine shape, including a cross-shaped window that shines directly onto the altar. Archaeologists working at the site hope that the preservation witnessed in the chapel excavation will extend down to the earliest Christian and Greco-Roman remains as well.[/size]

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In “Destinations: Myra, Turkey” in the Summer 1998 issue of Archaeology Odyssey, Julie Skurdenis described Lycia and Myra:
I had come to Turkey to visit the sites of ancient Lycia, which dot a 160-mile stretch of Mediterranean coastline between the cities of Fethiye and Antalya. With its majestic rock-cut tombs, Lycia is a place of rugged beauty. It remains relatively remote, despite the recent intrusion of a modern highway.

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The fourth-century church of St. Nicholas in Demre was built to commemorate the bishop of Myra. The church once contained the remains of St. Nicholas, but Italian merchants reportedly raided his tomb and carried off his bones to Italy. Photo: Sonia Halliday Photographs.
But I had also come to Turkey because of Santa Claus, or Baba Noel, as jolly old St. Nick is known here. The Lycian city of Myra was home to St. Nicholas, the fourth-century A.D. Christian bishop who became associated with Christmas and gift giving.

Where the Lycians originally came from no one really knows. Herodotus reports that they were Minoans from Crete, arriving sometime around 1400 B.C. More likely they were an indigenous tribe related to the Hittites and referred to in Hittite documents as the Lukka. In Homer’s Iliad, the Lycians fight as allies of Troy in the Trojan War.
Throughout its history, Lycia was controlled by a succession of foreign rulers: the Persians in the sixth century B.C., the Athenians in the fifth centuryAlexander the Great in the fourth century, and then Alexander’s successors,the Ptolemies, who also ruled Egypt. After a brief subjugation by the Syrians, Lycia came under Roman influence in the second century B.C. In late Roman times, Myra became the seat of a Christian bishopric. The Byzantine emperor Theodosius II made the city the capital of Lycia in the fifth century A.D. But the region’s demise came two centuries later, with invasions by the Arabs and the silting up of its formerly busy harbor.

In the free eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity, learn about the cultural contexts for the theology of Paul and how Jewish traditions and law extended into early Christianity through Paul’s dual roles as a Christian missionary and a Pharisee.[/size]

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[size=undefined]This recently excavated thirteen-century chapel was discovered in a remarkable state of preservation after it was covered by a quick buildup of sediments. Photo: Myra-Andriake Excavations.
The English traveler Sir Charles Fellows, who visited Lycia in 1838, noted that Myra’s “ruins appear to be little injured by age.” Indeed, Myra—whose name may derive from the Greek word for myrrh, a fragrant gum resin used to make incense—is one of the most beautiful places along Turkey’s southern coast. When I arrived at the ancient city, the bright blue Turkish skies turned black, unleashing continual rainstorms. (Fellows had a similar experience on his first day at Myra: “Yesterday the rain came down in torrents,” he wrote, “and we remained busily employed in sketching and writing in our little hut, which was scarcely proof against the heavy rain.”) For me, however, the rain only heightened the ancient city’s dramatic beauty.

What is left of Lycian Myra, in addition to remnants of its acropolis wall, is its necropolis—dozens of tombs carved out of a steep cliff, one atop the other, honeycombing the mountainside. Some of the tombs are elaborate temple-like structures, but most resemble Lycian houses of 2,400 years ago; even their roofs were carefully carved out of the rock to resemble the ends of logs. The Lycians apparently believed that the dead should feel at home in their final resting places.[/size]

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The dramatic tombs of ancient Myra were expertly carved out of a sheer, rocky cliff. The tombs show a variety of architectural styles: Some resemble ornate temples, though most look like modest houses. Photo: Giovanni Lattanzi.
The interiors of the tombs are lined with stone benches, sometimes carved to look like beds, on which the dead were placed. Carved reliefs adorn the exterior and interior walls as well as the pediments above the entrances to some of the tombs. One recurring subject of these carvings is the funeral banquet, attended by the deceased and his family and friends.

Myra’s Roman past is represented by the well-preserved Greco-Roman theater, located at the base of the cliff beside the necropolis. Constructed in the second century B.C., the theater was damaged during the massive earthquake of 141 A.D. and restored by Opramoas, a wealthy official who lived in Rhodiapolis, Myra’s neighbor to the east. The theater’s cavea, or auditorium, rests against the cliff. Myrans attending plays or, later in the city’s history, gladitorial spectacles, would have entered either at ground level or through the huge vaulted passageways on either side of the cavea. Along the sides of these passageways are small rooms where sellers once hawked their goods, crying out the Roman equivalent of “Get your cold beer.” Sheltered under the theater’s vaulted passageways, I could have used a cold beer during an hour-long deluge of Jovian proportions! Other remnants of Roman Myra—its agora, baths and temples—still lie buried near the theater.
St. Nicholas’s church in Demre (also called Kale) is about a mile from the theater’s ruins. St. Nicholas was born in Patara, another Lycian city just west of Myra, around 300 A.D. Little is known of his life other than that he was bishop of Myra and may have been imprisoned during the final years of Emperor Diocletian’s reign. The Demre church, now sunken into a hollow, probably dates to the fourth century. It was largely rebuilt in 1043 by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX and again in 1862 by Czar Nicholas I. Except for a few 19th-century additions—such as a belltower—it looks the way it probably did in the 11th century, when Nicholas’s body was supposedly stolen by Italian merchants and carried off to Bari in southern Italy.

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Myra’s Roman past is represented by the well-preserved Greco-Roman theater, located at the base of the cliff beside the necropolis. Constructed in the second century B.C., the theater was damaged during the massive earthquake of 141 A.D. and restored by the wealthy official Opramoas.
The four-aisled basilica has marble pavements, remnants of frescoes and an ornate broken tomb in the church’s southern aisle, which may have once held the saint’s bones. A huge modern statue of Nicholas looms over a small garden adjacent to the church: He carries a sack of gifts and is surrounded by a cluster of children.

Interestingly enough, the legend of Santa Claus was born, not in the frigid terrain of the North Pole, but in the warm climes of southern Turkey. Doh  As the story goes, St. Nicholas took pity on the poor girls of Demre who remained hopelessly unmarried, unable to afford a suitable dowry. So Nicholas began dropping bags filled with coins down the chimneys of the unsuspecting girls’ houses. In Europe, Nicholas became associated with the feast of Christmas; in America, his name was subsequently changed to Santa Claus.
Myra is not the only spectacular ancient Lycian city. On the road between Fethiye and Kalkan, one can find a cluster of sites with tombs cut from steep rock escarpments—a “string of Lycian pearls,” as one local caretaker called them with obvious pride. Xanthos boasts unique pillar tombs. Tlos contains a rock necropolis and numerous sarcophagi. Letoon, once the national shrine of Lycia, has three temples dedicated to the titaness Leto and her divine twins, Artemis and Apollo. And Patara, the birthplace of St. Nicholas, is renowned for its spectacular white sand beach as well as its monumental gateway and Lycian necropolis.

[size=undefined]This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on May 1, 2014.—Ed.[/size]

[size=undefined]More leftovers and Turkey Stuff[/size]

[size=undefined]Jews in Roman Turkey

Jewish presence uncovered at Limyra, Turkey

Megan Sauter   •  01/25/2017
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2015.—Ed.

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Fragments of chancel screens with seven-branched menorahs and other Jewish symbols on them were uncovered in a Jewish building at Limyra—in Roman Turkey—by Martin Seyer and his excavation team. Photo: Courtesy Martin Seyer
Located on the coast of southwestern Turkey, Limyra has a long, rich history—although the site now lies in ruins. Occupied for more than a millennium, it served as the home for many different religious groups. A recent archaeological discovery at Limyra suggests that a Jewish community also lived there.

Martin Seyer of the Austrian Archaeological Institute explains the history of the site and shares an update about recent excavations at Limyra, Turkey, in his article “Mysterious Jewish Building in Roman Turkey” in the January/February 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Limyra, Turkey, was first settled in the sixth century B.C.E. During the fourth century B.C.E., it was the largest city in Lycia (a region on the southern coast of Anatolia). Limyra and its surrounding region have roughly 400 tombs divided among five necropoleis. This is the largest number of tombs of any Lycian city. The site also has temples from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Several centuries later, in the Byzantine period, Limyra served as the seat of a bishop. Three basilical churches, including the Episcopal (Bishop’s) Church from the late fifth or sixth century C.E., stood in the city at that time.[/size]

In the free eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity, learn about the cultural contexts for the theology of Paul and how Jewish traditions and law extended into early Christianity through Paul’s dual roles as a Christian missionary and a Pharisee.[/size]

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[size=undefined]Necropolis I is the most famous necropolis surrounding Limyra, Turkey. It has nine impressive Lycian tombs. Photo: Courtesy Martin Seyer
In the midst of these pagan and Christian influences, it appears that there was also a Jewish presence at Limyra, Turkey. In a building recently excavated by Martin Seyer, chancel screens with Jewish symbolsmenorahs, ashofar and a lulav (palm branch)—have been uncovered. In a later period, these screens were broken and reused as paving stones.

In the same building, close to the discovery spot of the chancel screens, is a water basin. With plastered walls and a floor of marble slabs, this basin was fed by rainwater. A low stone bench rests against one of the walls. Could this basin have served as a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath?
With its Jewish features, could this structure have been a synagogue? Martin Seyer clarifies that although it is not possible to create a precise stratigraphy for this building because of the high groundwater level, there are still some reasons to interpret this structure as a synagogue:
In short, it appears that this building had features of a synagogue in both an early and late phase. The chancel screens that were laid as paving in the vestibule indicate that the water basin can be viewed in connection with a Jewish structure. Even if these slabs were laid in secondary usage to raise the floor level against the gradually rising groundwater, they nevertheless indicate that a synagogue was once located in the immediate vicinity. These slabs are without doubt remnants of screens that separated the Torah shrine from the rest of the hall. Such chancel screens have been found in many synagogues near the Torah shrine. It is therefore not improbable that the building partially excavated in Limyra was itself a synagogue.
This building with its Jewish features is the only attestation of a Jewish community in Limyra, Turkey. Previous to its discovery, the only other indicator that there were Jewish inhabitants at Limyra was a solitary Greek inscription on a rock tomb that reads, “Tomb of Iudas.” The recently excavated building with Jewish features shows that there were enough Jewish inhabitants to justify a synagogue.
To learn more about Limyra, read the full article “Mysterious Jewish Building in Roman Turkey” by Martin Seyer in the January/February 2016 issue of BAR.

[size=undefined]BAS Library Members: Read the full article “Mysterious Jewish Building in Roman Turkey,” by Martin Seyer in the January/February 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.

[size=undefined][size=undefined][i]This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on December 21, 2015.[b]—Ed.[/size][/b][/i][/size]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
(12-21-2016, 11:00 PM)EA Wrote: New Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments Found in Judean Desert
Documents from Iron Age and Roman times surfacing in the black market helped convince archaeologists there was more to be found.

Philippe Bohstrom Dec 21, 2016 1:36 PM
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File photo: A fragment of a Dead Sea scroll, 2010.  Alex Levac

New fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found in the Cave of the Skulls by the Dead Sea in Israel, in a salvage excavation by Israeli authorities. The pieces are small and the writing on them is too faded to make out without advanced analysis. At this stage the archaeologists aren't even sure if they're written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or another language.
“The most important thing that can come out of these fragments is if we can connect them with other documents that were looted from the Judean Desert, and that have no known provenance," says Dr. Uri Davidovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among the scientists investigating the caves.
In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd tossing a stone into a cave in the vicinity of Qumran heard the sound of an earthenware jar cracking, which led to what some have called the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century. Upon crawling inside, he found the first of what came to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Cave of the Skulls, named for seven human skulls and other skeletal remains, discovered by Prof. Yohanan Aharoni in 1960, is part of the Large Cave Complex, a series of naturally occurring spaces atop a steep cliff on the northern bank of Tze'elim Stream, in the southern part of the desert. The site is in one of the starkest areas of the Judean Desert.
The complex also includes the Cave of the Arrows, where the extraordinarily arid conditions preserved a dozen 30-inch-long reed arrow shafts for approximately 1,800 years, as well as iron arrowheads; and the Cave of the Scrolls where the earliest known documents from the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt were unearthed by archaeologists.
Lice combs and papyri

The latest finds, two papyri fragments about two by two centimeters with writing and several fragments without discernible letters, were made during a three-week salvage excavation in the Cave of the Skulls this May and June by a joint expedition of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The excavations were led by Uri Davidovich and Roi Porat of the Hebrew University, together with Amir Ganor and Eitan Klein from the IAA.

The Cave of Skulls in the Judean Desert: Archaeologists scurried to seek ancient finds there before robbers could. Guy Fitoussi, courtesy of the IAA
It bears noting that many of the previously found scrolls have perfectly clear writing, and some are more obscure and still being deciphered.
Though the finds so far are small and many are from secondary dumps associated with modern looting of the caves, the excavations shed new light on human activities in the Judean Desert cliff caves. Despite the inhospitable conditions, they were occupied on and off for thousands of years, starting in prehistoric times and through the Roman period.
Hundreds of fragments of leather, ropes, textiles, wooden objects and bone tools were discovered inside the cave thanks to the aridity of the Judean desert, which preserved the organic material.  
Some things evidently never change, and one is pests. One of the more relatable finds in the cave was pieces of wooden lice combs from the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt.
Along with the unique artifacts made of organic of materials, dozens of pottery shards, stone vessels and flint items were discovered inside the cave. Several metal objects were found as well, including needles and cosmetic tolls as well as hollow-headed hobnails for sandals.  
Another interesting discovery was a bundle – textile wrapping a cluster of beads, which was found in a natural niche at the edge of the cave's western wing.  This bundle has yet to be opened but has meanwhile been X-rayed to identify its content. Joining two other bundles of beads Aharoni had previously discovered, this is the largest collection of beads ever discovered in the Levant from the Chalcolithic period, a prehistoric time predating the Copper Age.

A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls at an Israel Antiquities Authority conservation laboratory in Jerusalem, October 19, 2010.AP
It bears stressing that looters have damaged the layering so badly that certain artifacts cannot be reliably dated.
Housing for herders?
Even so, thousands of remains from foodstuffs including wheat and barley, palm dates, olives and pomegranates support the archaeologists' long-held contention that these caves were used by refugees during the Roman and Chalcolithic times.  They were certainly used by the Jewish warriors and rebels to hide from the approaching Roman armies over 2,000 years ago, say the excavation directors.
What use these caves had in earlier Chalcolithic times is a matter for speculation. Suggestions range from seasonal living spaces for herders or traders, to places of refuge related to social tensions within the settled communities located  west of the Judean Desert.
Davidovich  thinks the second explanation is more likely. “These caves are very difficult to access, and they were used in their natural forms without changes or modifications that would make them more convenient for prolonged occupation," he points out. "This does not make sense when you think of ephemeral stays by shepherds or the like, but is much more plausible when you consider that they served as temporary refuge places.”
The renewed excavations in the Cave of the Skulls is just the first step in a new project of the IAA and the Hebrew University to continue exploring the Judean Desert caves, to salvage hidden treasures that might still lay in the caves, at least before robbers get there first. “We have all the reasons to believe that there are still scrolls hidden," Davidovich says. "Several documents from the Roman times and even from the Iron Age have surfaced in recent years in the antiquities market. They must have originated in the Judean Desert caves."

read more:

Archaeologists find 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave
February 8, 2017 by Dov Smith

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Archaeologists Oren Gutfeld & Ahiad Ovadia survey cave. Credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld
xcavations in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, prove that Dead Sea scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden in the cave, and were looted by Bedouins in the middle of the last century. With the discovery of this cave, scholars now suggest that it should be numbered as Cave 12.

The surprising discovery, representing a milestone in Dead Sea Scroll research, was made by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, with the help of Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia USA.
The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it.
The excavation was supported by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), and is a part of the new "Operation Scroll" launched at the IAA by its Director-General, Mr. Israel Hasson, to undertake systematic surveys and to excavate the caves in the Judean Desert.
Excavation of the cave revealed that at one time it contained Dead Sea scrolls. Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted.
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Archaeologist Ahiad Ovadia digs carefully in cave. Credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld
Until now, it was believed that only 11 caves had contained scrolls. With the discovery of this cave, scholars have now suggested that it would be numbered as Cave 12. Like Cave 8, in which scroll jars but no scrolls were found, this cave will receive the designation Q12 (the Q=Qumran standing in front of the number to indicate no scrolls were found).
"This exciting excavation is the closest we've come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave," said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology and director of the excavation. "Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we 'only' found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more."

The finds from the excavation include not only the storage jars, which held the scrolls, but also fragments of scroll wrappings, a string that tied the scrolls, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll. The finding of pottery and of numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, also revealed that this cave was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods.
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Fragments of jars that contained stolen scrolls. Credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld
This first excavation to take place in the northern part of the Judean Desert as part of "Operation Scroll" will open the door to further understanding the function of the caves with respect to the scrolls, with the potential of finding new scroll material. The material, when published, will provide important new evidence for scholars of the archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea caves.
"The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered," said Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to launch a historic operation, together with the public, to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert."
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Remnant of scroll. Credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld

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Remnant of scroll when removed from jar. Credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Israel to launch expedition to find more Dead Sea Scrolls
Provided by: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Read more at:[/url][url=]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

Quote:"We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. 

Very little gets unburied and exposed to humanity unless these "antiquity thieves" acquire the artifacts.
Note how the article talked about ancient documents and such,
appearing out of nowhere onto the auction market.
What makes it's way to the auction market is the low to mid range value end of what was looted.
The rare stuff is in private collections now and well taken care of, 
where it will eventually emerge a few years down the road.

Often, the looting is financed by interests with deep pockets in specific interest areas.
Looters financed by deep pocket interests,
and breaking into primetime tomb or hidden cave locations,
are often trained in how to handle rare finds.
The underground collector market is often a much better hope for revealing unknown history,
than politically correct museums where the true controversial finds get buried for "research",
or just plain buried.

Just take one look back at Zahi Hawass in Egypt at Giza, 
and his time in controlling research and interpretations therein.
He strangled everything to death.

Hawass the Snake is why museums and governments cannot be trusted.
The Israeli antiquities people in their government and universities are no different. 

Quote:The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources ...

yea yea yea ... what's taking them so long? ... all they do is pass laws that make looting illegal.
That doesn't work and they know it.
Governments are irresponsible and stupid,
and universities are just transfer tombs for these antiquities.

Quote:The State of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources ...
together with the public  Rofl
to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert.

"together with the public"   Tp  is propaganda bullshit

I am all for the excavation he talks about.
But not by him or his university grad student clones or the Israeli government.
university bureaucrats and deranged professors create hysteria in the antiquities world.

Why does the London Museum have so much great material from Sumeria? 
They looted it all long ago, 
and now it is much safer in London, and the Brits aren't going to give any of it back.

Antique and artifact ivory is almost illegal everywhere now.
It is nonsense.
These are art objects that have nothing to do with modern killing of elephants.
This is an example of laws going wild.

Owning pre-Columbian artifacts is coming under scrutiny as well.
Any important ancient item can be construed to be "heritage", 
and confiscation can occur.

Governments are irresponsible and stupid,
and universities or many museums are just transfer tombs for these antiquities.
Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found?
Jesus’ home in Nazareth

Ellen White   •  03/17/2017
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2015. It has been updated.—Ed.

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This very well could be the childhood home of Jesus. It doesn’t look inviting, but this rock-hewn courtyard house was quite likely Jesus’ home in Nazareth. The recent excavation by Ken Dark and the Nazareth Archaeological Project revealed evidence suggesting this is where Jesus was raised—or at the least the place venerated as such by the Byzantine period. Photo: Ken Dark.
[size=undefined]The childhood home of Jesus may have been found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, according to archaeologist Ken Dark.[/size]

The excavation site located beneath the convent has been known since 1880, but it was never professionally excavated until the Nazareth Archaeological Project began its work in 2006. In“Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR, Ken Dark, the director of the Nazareth Archaeological Project, not only describes the remains of the home itself, but explores the evidence that suggests that this is the place where Jesus spent his formative years—or at least the place regarded in the Byzantine period as the childhood home of Jesus.
The excavation revealed a first-century “courtyard house” that was partially hewn from naturally occurring rock and partially constructed with rock-built walls. Many of the home’s original features are still intact, including doors and windows. Also found at the site were tombs, a cistern and, later, a Byzantine church.

The Galilee is one of the most evocative locales in the New Testament—the area where Jesus was raised and where many of the Apostles came from. Our free eBook The Galilee Jesus Knew focuses on several aspects of Galilee: how Jewish the area was in Jesus’ time, the ports and the fishing industry that were so central to the region, and several sites where Jesus likely stayed and preached.

The remains combined with the description found in the seventh-century pilgrim accountDe Locus Sanctis point to the courtyard house found beneath the convent as what may have been regarded as Jesus’ home in Nazareth. Archaeological and geographical evidence from the Church of the Annunciation, the International Marion Center and Mary’s Well come together to suggest that this location may be where Jesus transitioned from boy to man.

Ken Dark also discusses the relationship between the childhood home of Jesus, Nazareth and the important site of Sepphoris. It has been thought that Sepphoris would have provided Joseph with work and Jesus many important cultural experiences. However, Ken Dark believes that Nazareth was a larger town than traditionally understood and was particularly Jewish in its identity—as opposed to the Roman-influenced Sepphoris. This is partially based on the result of his survey of the Nahal Zippori region that separates Sepphoris and Nazareth geographically.
For more on the childhood home of Jesus, read the full article “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” by Ken Dark in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.


BAS Library Members: Read the full article “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?”by Ken Dark in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on March 2, 2015.

Is it possible to identify the first-century man named Jesus behind the many stories and traditions about him that developed over 2,000 years in the Gospels and church teachings? Visit the Jesus/Historical Jesus study page to read free articles on Jesus in Bible History Daily. 

Related reading in the BAS Library:
Steve Mason, “Where Was Jesus Born?: O Little Town of…Nazareth?” Bible Review, February 2000.
Philip J. King, “Biblical Views: Jesus’ Birthplace and Jesus’ Home,” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2014.
Eric M. Meyers, “The Pools of Sepphoris: Ritual Baths or Bathtubs? Yes, They Are,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2000.
Mark Chancey and Eric M. Meyers, “Spotlight on Sepphoris: How Jewish Was Sepphoris in Jesus’ Time?” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2000.
Zeev Weiss, “The Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic,” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2000.

Some corpses may mysteriously heat up after death

A strange case-study from the Czech Republic
By Sarah Fecht March 16, 2017

[Image: morgue.jpg?itok=dv_aEmZm&fc=50,50]
José Martins via Flickr

Bodies are supposed to cool down to the temperature around them after death ... but some reports suggest that doesn't always happen.

One morning, in a hospital in the Czech Republic, a 69-year-old man died of heart disease. An hour later, as nurses were preparing to move his body down to the lab for autopsy, they noticed his skin was unusually warm. After calling the doctor back to make sure the man was really dead (he was), they took his temperature. At 1.5 hours after death, the body was 104 degrees Fahrenheit—about five degrees hotter than it was before he died, even though the hospital room was kept at about 68 degrees.
Fearing the body might spontaneously combust, the doctor and nurses took pains to cool it with ice packs, and eventually it got as chilly as one would expect of a corpse. This interesting case-study is published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, and in fact has nothing to do with spontaneous combustion.

“Post-mortem hyperthermia is a well-documented phenomenon, but it's not well understood," says Victor Weedn, a forensic pathologist at George Washington University. Although it's mentioned in forensic science textbooks, “It's not necessarily known by a lot of people.”
In a living body, cells generate heat as they break down food, usually keeping the body temperature around a comfortable 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. After death, with no food and no oxygen to digest it with, cells generally stop producing heat, and the body cools down at a fairly predictable rate over several hours. Investigators commonly use body temperature to estimate how long it's been since a person died—which can be essential in solving a murder, for example.
Unfortunately, the relationship between body temperature and time may not always be so straightforward.
Catching Heat
In 1839, physician John Davey documented some unusually high temperatures in the bodies of British soldiers who died in Malta. Some corpses got as hot as 113 degrees Fahrenheit, although Davey speculated the warm climate might have played a role. Nevertheless, post-mortem heating has been documented by numerous other physicians and forensic scientists.
However, Peter Noble, a microbiologist from Alabama State University who studies how microbiomes and gene expression change after death, thinks the studies on post-mortem heating haven't been rigorous enough. He noted that many fail to mention the accuracy of their thermometers, where the temperatures were taken (the rectal temperature is the gold standard, because it gives the core body temp), the ambient temperature in the room, and whether or not the corpses were clothed. And many of the studies have not been peer-reviewed.
In fact, Noble is not convinced that post-mortem heating is a real phenomenon. In the Czech case, he notes that the body's temperature was taken in the armpit, which is not ideal, and if the thermometer wasn't reasonably accurate, the highest and lowest temperatures may have actually been significantly different.
Hot Mess
If post-mortem heating does exist, there's a chance it could mess up forensic investigations, according to the authors on the case study.
That risk is greatest in some parts of Europe; American investigators are less likely to rely on body temperature to estimate the time since death, says Weedn. “To the extent that we use it, it's just as a general thing. If it's warm, you know the death was fairly recent.”
That's because a lot of factors can influence the temperature of a body, including the how much fat or clothing is on the corpse, ambient temperature, and moisture. “There's so much variation that it's not very valuable,” says Weedn.
So investigators in the U.S. tend to rely on multiple indicators to provide a range of time wherein a death is most likely to have occurred. The stiffness of the muscles (rigor mortis), color changes as the blood settles due to gravity, putrefaction, and insect colonization all provide clues that help to solve a mysterious death.

Unsolved mysteries
But post-mortem heating itself remains mysterious. Its causes, frequency, and even its very existence remain blurry. The phenomenon has been difficult to study, because the cases are fairly rare and unpredictable, and not everyone dies in hospital beds with their temperature carefully monitored.

Factors that may make a body more susceptible to post-mortem heating are as wide-ranging as intoxication, brain trauma, asphyxiation, cancer, drug use, infection, heart attack, and excited delirium.

As for what's causing the heating, most papers just hand-wave and say “metabolic processes.” The latest paper suggests "continuing tissue and bacterial metabolism and insufficient thermal loss."

It's possible that if a person is running and dies suddenly—blood circulation stops—the heat in their muscles would have nowhere to go and the body would heat up temporarily, says Noble. Or perhaps drugs that manipulate blood flow could play a role. But decompositional bacteria probably couldn't cause post-mortem heating, he says, because "the immune system is still functional at 24 hours postmortem and bacterial growth is generally suppressed."

The bacteria in our guts may continue to break down food after we die, which could generate some heat. And the cells in your body don't all stop metabolizing at once. They'll continue to use oxygen and break down food for as long as they can—which is maybe a few minutes after breathing and circulation stops. As the carbon dioxide they produce builds up with nowhere to go, the resulting acid starts to break down the cells in a process called autolysis, or self-digestion. That process could also theoretically generate heat. But then, why doesn't post-mortem heating occur more often?

According to Weedn, the U.S. doesn't have much support for researchers who try to answer these types of questions, or for forensic science research in general.
With more questions than answers, and the lack of an active investigation, you could call this … a cold case.

[Image: Shroud%26Allen.JPG]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Part of Egyptian Statue May Have Been Discovered by Temple Mount ‘Sifters’


 13 Nisan 5777 – April 9, 2017

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Pinky finger of an Egyptian statue discovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project

A finger of a statue has been discovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and it is currently being examined by the leading archaeologists who have determined that the statue probably originated in Egypt, although there is a need for further in-depth research in order to accurately date it.
The finger fragment will be handed over to additional experts for dating.

The statue fragment was discovered in the soil dumped in the Kidron Valley by the Muslim Waqf in 1999. The soil originated from an illegal excavation on the Temple Mount. The 400 truckloads of soil was collected by the archaeologists Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Mr. Zachi Dvira, and about 70% of it has been sifted since 2004. The soil contains an abundance of finds that shed much light on the history of the Temple Mount through the ages. The research is done under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, and is funded by the Israel Archaeology Foundation. The Ir-David Foundation has, until recently, funded the sifting site.

“This is a fragment of a life-size statue, which was made in Egypt and imported to Canaan,” reports Dr. Gabriel Barkay, co-director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “We clearly notice that this is part of a pinky finger measuring 3.5 cm, from a man’s hand, which includes a fingernail. The statue is made of a hard black stone originating in Egypt. The statue most likely represented a figure of a god or a king. The black stone from which the statue was manufactured testifies to its Egyptian origin.”

The finger has been examined by archaeologists who specialize in early art from the Land of Israel. Though the identification and dating are not yet certain, according to Dr. Barkay the statue fragment was probably made in the Egyptian art style common during the Late Bronze Age (about 3500 years ago). We cannot exclude the possibility that the statue is from a later period.

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Statue of Egyptian Pharaoh, Thutmose III from the British Museum / Photo credit: copyright-free Google Image

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has yielded additional artifacts which were imported from Egypt or manufactured under Egyptian influence. Among them is an additional statue fragment of a man’s shoulder, scarabs (amulets shaped like dung beetles), seal impressions, and Egyptian-style jewelry all dating to the Late Bronze Age.

These artifacts join others from this period which were discovered in recent years in the City of David, as well as artifacts which may testify to the existence of an Egyptian Temple in Jerusalem in the area of the St. Etienne Monastery near Damascus Gate, dated to the 13th century BCE (before to the date traditionally attributed to the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt).

Ancient Egypt ruled over the Land of Israel during the second half of the 2nd Millennium BCE, the days of the Egyptian New Kingdom and of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties. Jerusalem is known to have been a semi-autonomous city-state, located in the Egyptian province of Canaan.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, which is struggling to remain open in the face of depleted funds, has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign calling on the public to support the research and publication of the many finds discovered over the years, and secure the project’s future.
Last week’s media reports about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s intervention for resuming the sifting were not accurate, according to a press release issued by the sifting project. The sifting has not been resumed, but a meeting will be scheduled for after the Passover holiday to resolve the crisis in order to resume the sifting.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Meet the Scientists Trying to Find Jesus's DNA
One of the most sought after 2,000-year-old bones.

15 APR 2017

[Image: JesusDNA_web_1024.jpg]

It was the first stop on an extraordinary journey. On a bright but bitterly cold January afternoon earlier this year, I found myself on a small island in the Black Sea, just off Sozopol on the east coast of Bulgaria.

Sveti Ivan has long been a destination for travellers: it boasted a temple of Apollo in ancient times. But I was there to speak to an old Bulgarian archaeologist about the most important find of his career. [img=1x0][/img]

In 2010, Kasimir Popkonstantinov discovered what he believes are the bones of one of the most famous of all saints: John the Baptist. I was interested in what DNA analysis could tell us about these bones, and other ones.

Together with biblical scholar Joe Basile, I was travelling around the world filming a documentary about the religious and scientific evidence linking archaeological artefacts to Jesus Christ himself.

Popkonstantinov made his discovery when excavating a sixth century church on the island, built on top of a basilica from the century before.

As he carefully scraped through the mud where the altar would have been, he came across a stone slab and was amazed to find a small marble box underneath. He immediately knew what it was.

For a church to be consecrated in this part of Europe in the fifth century, it needed to contain a relic from a holy saint or religious person. This box, known as a reliquary, would have housed such a relic.
He continued to dig around and found another, smaller box about a metre away. On the edge of the inferior box was an inscription: "May God save you, servant Thomas. To Saint John".

When Kasimir later opened the reliquary, he found five bone fragments. The epitaph on the smaller box, probably used to carry the bones when travelling, was the key piece of evidence that led him to believe that the bones could perhaps be those of John the Baptist.

The finding is hugely important, partly because John the Baptist was both a disciple of Jesus and his cousin – meaning they would share DNA.


Old city of Jerusalem. Image: George Busby

Thanks to a number of scientific advances, the field of ancient DNA – the extraction and analysis of genetic material from bones and fossils of organisms dug up out of the ground – is booming.

We now have DNA sequences from hundreds of people who are long since dead, and analysis of these sequences is further refining our understanding ofhuman history.

DNA as proof of identity

I was initially sceptical about what the Bulgarian bones could teach us. For a start, no DNA test can prove that these were bits of John the Baptist, Jesus or any other specific person.

We can't extract and analyse an unknown DNA sample and magically say that it belonged to this or that historical character. To do that, we'd need to have a DNA sample that unambiguously came from John the Baptist that we could compare the bones to. So sequencing DNA in itself is not going to be too helpful.

Another major consideration is the risk of contamination. In an ideal scenario, ancient material we want to use for genetic analysis should be untouched by anyone since that person had died.

The best ancient samples are dug out of the ground, put into a bag, and then sent straight to an ancient DNA lab. In the 500 years between John's death and the bones being sealed in the church, any number of people could have handled them and left their DNA behind.

But this doesn't mean that all is lost. DNA degrades over time, so we can test any DNA extracted from ancient remains for telltale signs of degradation. That means we can differentiate modern contamination from ancient genomes.

We can also try to take DNA from the inside of bones and sequence DNA from the people who are known to have come into contact with the artefacts to help tell the ancient DNA and modern contaminants apart.

What DNA can tell you

DNA should be used as an additional tool to archaeology. In my opinion, there are two clear benefits that the analysis of DNA can bring to this particular party. We can compare the DNA from a relic to DNA from other relics.

If we find other relics purported to be from John the Baptist, or a close relative like Jesus, then we could use genetics to compare the two to see if they are likely to have come from the same or related people.

Also, we have growing collections of DNA sampled from people around the world, which we can use to make a guess on the geographical origins of the relics.

So what did the Bulgarian bones tell us? Radio carbon dating suggested they were indeed 2,000 years old. Their DNA sequence appeared to show an affinity to modern day Middle Eastern populations.

Unfortunately, when I spoke to the geneticist who did the research, he told me they had since discovered that the DNA sequence matched the person who'd actually extracted the bone material – meaning it was more than likely contamination.

And they only had a small amount of material to work with, so it's unlikely that we'll be able to use DNA to get to the bottom of who the bones belonged to.


Material from the James Ossuary. Image: English Wikipedia

However, I also visited other scientists who had other relics, where DNA analysis could be possible.

For example, recent research identified multiple people's DNA on the The Turin Shroud, which is a piece of cloth that some believe wrapped Jesus when he was taken down from the cross.

In Jerusalem, we also met with a man who is in the process of sequencing material from the James Ossuary, a first century chalk box which may have held the bones of Jesus's brother.

We also met an archaeologist in Israel with several crucifixion nails, one of which was still embedded in a poor crucified soul's heel bone. Unfortunately, it's impossible to extract DNA from rusty iron.

While DNA analysis can't prove that these are the artefacts some believe them to be, the hope is that these and other items could one day provide insight into the relationships between them and their modern descendants.

Let's assume for a moment that contamination could be completely ruled out and that DNA analysis demonstrated that DNA from the Shroud was a familial match to DNA from the James Ossuary – and that they are both related to the Bulgarian bones.

Could this then have been the DNA of Jesus and his family? To answer that, all you need is a little belief.
George Busby, Research Associate in Statistical Genomics, University of Oxford.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
What wine did Jesus drink at the Last Supper?
April 17, 2017 by Tom Avril, The Philadelphia Inquirer

[Image: 1-wine.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
What kind of wine did Jesus serve at the Last Supper?

Patrick McGovern, a specialist in ancient beverages at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, has a few ideas.
Rich, concentrated wines, flavored with spices and fruits, were common in the Jerusalem area 2,000 years ago, McGovern tells the Independent, the London-based news site.
McGovern is renowned for his study of ancient vessels that yield clues to the beverages they once contained.
By analyzing chemical residues, he has identified chocolate-based elixirs from long-ago Central America and a honey-tinged beverage from a tomb that is thought to be the final resting place of the father of King Midas.
The Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware relied on his findings to create a modern-day equivalent of the latter, called Midas Touch.
But the Last Supper remains an unknown, noted McGovern, the scientific director of Penn's Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health.
The wines of the Middle East from that era were commonly flavored with pomegranates, mandrakes, saffron and cinnamon, McGovern told the Independent.
A better answer would be possible if someone found the vessel in question, he said.
"If someone can find me the Holy Grail and send it to my lab, we could analyse it and tell you," he said.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Ancient Chinese pottery reveals 5,000-yr-old beer brew (Update)

Read more at:[url=][/url]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
I was doing a little research on an engraving I have.
Turns out to be a Giovanni Battista de Cavalieri engraving ca. 1594.
Some of these engravings are actually physically signed by the artist.
Mine is not, so it is peanut$. 
I found this exceptionally grisly engraving by the same artist,
that sold for 16,000 at Christies.
This one is signed, and that is why it got the money.
subject matter fits here I think ...
I got this off the Christies auction link for the item.
I had to stitch 6 sections of image together to get the full large hi res Christie's image.
Massacre of the Innocents ... with king herod in bethlehem
huge image at link

[Image: LHT3GF3.jpg]

human history 
 ... Whip ...
[Image: compoiite-585x306.jpg]
Coins May Date Shroud of Turin to First Century

The Shroud of Turin contains an image – the so-called Man of the Shroud – that many believe identifies it as the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, and has an extensive history since the mid 1300s when it was first put on display. Its authenticity has not been endorsed nor rejected by the Catholic Church, but scientific study of it has evolved into an entire discipline known as sindonology.
[Image: shroud-570x285.jpg]
A radiocarbon dating test in 1988 on a corner of the shroud dated it to between 1260 and 1390 but the results have been questioned by both shroud believers and other scientists. Now, a coin expert using 3D projection images taken in 1976 claims that bulges on the eyes of the Man of the Shroud look like coins from the reign of Tiberius Caesar, putting them at around the year 29.
[Image: Shroud-of-Turin-with-Negative-570x320.jpg][img=570x0][/img]Most images of the shroud use the black-and-white negative which shows more detail
Numismatist Agostino Sferrazza made this revelation in an interview on RCF Liège, a radio station in Belgium. He’s been studying the 3D images created by computer scientist Nello Balossino at the Turin Faculty of Sciences and believes, as do many others, that there appears to be a bulge on the eye. After eliminating all other possibilities, many experts say this could only be coins placed over the eyes of the deceased after death. Further enhancement of the images shows a lituus (Roman staff) on one and a cup on the other.
[Image: coin.jpg][img=300x0][/img]A coin similar to what Agostino Sferrazza believes is seen on the shroud
However, what convinced numismatist Sferrazza were the barely legible letters YKAI. He believes this is part of the Greek “TIBERIOY KAICAPOC” which means Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor from 14 CE to 37 CE. Based on his expertise and historical records, Sferrazza puts the date of the coins at 29 CE and has “no doubt” about it.
Does this mean the shroud also dates to 29 CE? Or does it mean that whoever put the image on the shroud (which has still not been explained and is still only available for study via photographs) was smart enough to include coins from the right time period? Unfortunately, absolute scientific proof would require a more destructive analysis of the piece of cloth and the threads with the image on them. As with religious icons in virtually all religions, the chances of that happening are pretty slim.
For now, the coin hypothesis is still a hypothesis and the origin of the Shroud of Turin is still shrouded in mystery.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Evidence Revealed of the Last Battle of Jerusalem from 2,000 Years Ago


 29 Iyyar 5777 – May 25, 2017

[Image: Nahshon-Szanton-holding-a-date-shaped-gl...96x462.jpg]
Nahshon Szanton holding a date-shaped glass juglet that was uncovered in the excavations of the street.  Photo Credit: Shai Halevy, courtesy of IAA

On the occasion of Jerusalem Day and the jubilee celebrations commemorating the reunification of the city, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Nature and Parks Authority are unveiling evidence from 2,000 year ago of the battle of Jerusalem on the eve of the destruction of the Second Temple, at the City of David in the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

Arrowheads and stone ballista balls were discovered on the main street that ascended from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple, which was excavated in recent years with funding provided by the City of David Society (Elad). These finds tell the story of the last battle between the Roman forces and the Jewish rebels who had barricaded themselves in the city, a battle that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem. This battle is described by the historian Flavius Josephus: “On the following day the Romans, having routed the brigands from the town, set the whole on fire as far as Siloam.” (Josephus, Wars, Book 6:363)

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A section of the stepped-street dating to the Second Temple period. / Photo credit: Shai Halevy, courtesy of IAA

According to Nahshon Szanton and Moran Hagbi, the directors of the excavation on the stepped-street on behalf of the IAA, “Josephus’ descriptions of the battle in the lower city come face-to-face for the first time with evidence that was revealed in the field in a clear and chilling manner. Stone ballista balls fired by catapults used to bombard Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the city, were discovered in the excavations. Arrowheads, used by the Jewish rebels in the hard-fought battles against the Roman legionnaires were found exactly as described by Josephus.”

So far, a section of the road about 300 ft long and 22.5 ft wide, paved with large stone slabs as was customary in monumental construction throughout the Roman Empire, has been exposed in the excavations. The archaeological excavations on the street utilize a combination of advanced and pioneering research methods, the results of which so far strengthen the understanding that Herod the Great was not solely responsible for the large construction projects of Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period. Recent research indicates that the street was built after Herod’s reign, under the auspices of the Roman procurators of Jerusalem, and perhaps even during the tenure of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who is also known for allegedly sentencing Jesus to death by crucifixion.

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An oil lamp from the Early Roman period that was revealed in a niche in the drainage channel beneath the stepped-street. The lamp was presumably used by a person who hid there from the Romans during the revolt. / Photo credit: Shai Halevy, courtesy of the IAA

According to the exacvation’s directors, Szanton and Hagbi, “This conclusion in fact sheds new light on the history of Jerusalem in the late Second Temple Period, and reinforces recognition of the importance of the Roman procurators’ rule in shaping the character of Jerusalem.”

“Two thousand years after the destruction of Jerusalem and fifty years since its liberation,” the archaeologists added, “we are going back to the water cisterns, the market and the city square on the eve of its destruction. Naomi Shemer certainly never dreamed of re-discovering Jerusalem in the days of the Second Temple.”

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Arrowheads that were discovered in the excavation. / Photo credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the IAA

According to Dr. Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem region archaeologist for the IAA, “We intend to uncover the entire length and width of the street within five years, and thereby complete the excavation of this unique site which had already drawn the attention of archaeologists from around the world about one hundred years ago. In fact, one can consider the current excavations in the City of David a natural continuation of the previous archaeological excavations of the site, which were begun in the past by European and American scholars. About four years ago archeological excavations were renewed along the street, this time in order to expose its full length and width.” Baruch added, “When the excavations are completed, the remains of the street will be conserved and developed and made ready to receive the tens of thousands of visitors who will walk along it.”

In recognizing the importance of the site and the finds, IAA researchers chose to utilize advanced cutting-edge research methods from the fields of natural science, biology and geology in their excavations. A combination of these advanced techniques makes the excavation of the stepped-street in the City of David exceptional in its scientific quality and importance in the development of archaeological research in Jerusalem and Israel in general, and they enable researchers to address questions that have not yet been studied.

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Nahshon Szanton holding a ballista stone that was apparently catapulted during the siege of the city. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of IAA

The current excavations also focus on exposing the area adjacent to the street, and the shops that were alongside it. Finds revealed in the excavations will allow researchers to answer such intriguing questions as: What did the main street that led to the Temple look like? What was the urban nature of the Lower City that extended on either side of the magnificent road? What did they eat in Jerusalem during the difficult siege, etc.? In order to answer these questions, a multidisciplinary study is being conducted, as well as careful wet sifting at the sifting site in the Zurim Valley National Park, where even the smallest finds are collected.
It seems that it won’t be long before it will be possible for the first time to walk along one of the main streets of ancient Jerusalem, to see how it looked, and receive answers to fascinating historical questions that have been asked for 100 years relating to the history of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple, at the height of its splendor, and from the moments of its destruction.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
More Wine?

Multispectral Imaging Reveals Ancient Hebrew Inscription Undetected for Over 50 Years

 Hana Levi Julian

 21 Sivan 5777 – June 15, 2017

[Image: KRAYIOT-SCENE-NEAR-TEL-ARAD.jpg][img=599x0][/img]Northern Negev excavation near Tel Arad, off Highway 31, east of Hura and Be'er Sheva.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have, by using advanced imaging technology, discovered a hitherto invisible inscription on the back of a pottery shard that has been on display at The Israel Museum for more than 50 years.

The ostracon (ink-inscribed pottery shard) was first found in poor condition in 1965 at the desert fortress of Arad. It dates back to ca. 600 BCE, the eve of the kingdom of Judah’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. The inscription on its front side, opening with a blessing by Yahweh, discusses money transfers and has been studied by archaeologists and Biblical scholars alike.

“While its front side has been thoroughly studied, its back was considered blank,” said Arie Shaus of TAU’s Department of Applied Mathematics, one of the principal investigators of the study published today in [i]PLOS ONE.

“Using multispectral imaging to acquire a set of images, Michael Cordonsky of TAU’s School of Physics noticed several marks on the ostracon’s reverse side. To our surprise, three new lines of text were revealed,” Shaus said.

The researchers were able to decipher 50 characters, comprising 17 words, on the back of the ostracon. “The content of the reverse side implies it is a continuation of the text on the front side,” said Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin of TAU’s Department of Applied Mathematics, another principal investigator of the study.

The multidisciplinary research was conducted by Faigenbaum-Golovin, Shaus, and Barak Sober, all doctoral students in TAU’s Department of Applied Mathematics, and by Dr. Anat Mendel-Geberovich of TAU’s Department of Archaeology. Additional collaborators include Prof. David Levin and Prof. Eli Turkel of TAU’s Department of Applied Mathematics, Prof. Benjamin Sass of TAU’s Department of Archaeology, as well as Michael Cordonsky and Prof. Murray Moinester of TAU’s School of Physics. The research team was co-led by Prof. Eli Piasetzky of TAU’s School of Physics and Prof. Israel Finkelstein of TAU’s Department of Archaeology.

“Using multispectral imaging, we were also able to significantly improve the reading of the front side, adding four ‘new’ lines,” said Sober.

A request for more wine

“Tel Arad was a military outpost — a fortress at the southern border of the kingdom of Judah — and was populated by 20 to 30 soldiers,” said Dr. Mendel-Geberovich. “Most of the ostraca unearthed at Arad are dated to a short time span during the last stage of the fortress’s history, on the eve of the kingdom’s destruction in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar. Many of these inscriptions are addressed to Elyashiv, the quartermaster of the fortress. They deal with the logistics of the outpost, such as the supply of flour, wine, and oil to subordinate units.”

“The new inscription begins with a request for wine, as well as a guarantee for assistance if the addressee has any requests of his own,” said Shaus. “It concludes with a request for the provision of a certain commodity to an unnamed person, and a note regarding a ‘bath,’ an ancient measurement of wine carried by a man named Ge’alyahu.”

“The newly revealed inscription features an administrative text, like most of the Arad inscriptions,” said Dr. Mendel-Geberovich. “Its importance lies in the fact that each new line, word, and even a single sign is a precious addition to what we know about the First Temple period.”

“On a larger scale, our discovery stresses the importance of multispectral imaging to the documentation of ostraca,” said Faigenbaum-Golovin. “It’s daunting to think how many inscriptions, invisible to the naked eye, have been disposed of during excavations.”
“This is ongoing research,” concluded Sober. “We have at our disposal several additional alterations and expansions of known First Temple-period ostraca. Hence, the future may hold additional surprises.”

Ancient Jerusalem tower younger than thought
Thu, Jun 15, 2017

Ultra-precise dating takes nearly 1,000 years off its age.
[Image: ancient-jerusalem-tower-younger-than-tho...=1000&q=70]
WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE—Gihon Spring, just downhill from the ancient city of Jerusalem, was crucial to the survival of its inhabitants, and archaeologists had uncovered the remains of a massive stone tower built to guard this vital water supply. Based on pottery and other regional findings, the archaeologists had originally assigned it a date of 1,700 BCE. But new research conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science provides conclusive evidence that the stones at the base of the tower were laid nearly 1,000 years later. Among other things, the new results highlight the contribution of advanced scientific dating methods to understanding the history of the region.
Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto, Head of the Weizmann Institute of Science's D-REAMS Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory and track leader within the Max Planck-Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, had the opportunity to date the tower as part of her ongoing cooperative research projects with the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA). Since 2012, Dr. Joe Uziel and Nahshon Szanton of the IAA, in continuing the excavations around the tower, have discovered that the base of the tower was not built on bedrock. "The boulders in the tower's base, in and of themselves," explains Boaretto, "do not yield any information other than the fact that whoever placed them there had the ability to maneuver such heavy stones. But underneath the boulders, the soil exhibits the layers typical of archaeological strata, and these can reveal the latest date that the site was occupied before the tower was built."
The unique and methodical approach of the D-REAMS lab team begins by planning and executing the field sampling and excavation from the beginning - together with the site archaeologists. "Getting one's hands dirty is all part of building a reliable chronology," says Boaretto. During field work conducted with the archaeologists and later in her laboratory with postdoctoral fellow Dr. Johanna Regev, Boaretto identified several clearly-delineated strata. From these, they carefully collected remains of charcoal, seeds and bones - organic matter that can be definitively dated through radiocarbon dating.
The first dating was conducted on mid-to-lower levels of sediment, and these dates indeed agreed with those originally proposed. "But there was another half-meter of sediment between the material we had dated and the large cornerstone," says Boaretto. "At a glance, we thought this might represent another few hundred years before the stone was placed." The presence of separate, sequential layers, which they identified using microarchaeological tools and radiocarbon dating, enabled the researchers to attach dates to the strata just below the tower.
The radiocarbon dating method is based on counting the radioactive 14C atoms in a sample. These carbon atoms are found in all living things in a small, but stable ratio to that of regular carbon, and they begin to decay at a known rate after death. At the Weizmann Institute of Science, the count of 14C atoms in a sample is performed with an accelerator, so it can return highly accurate results on something as small as a seed.
The date revealed by this radiocarbon dating was sometime around 800-900 BCE. That is nearly 1,000 years later than thought, and it moves the building of the tower to another historical period entirely, from the Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age.
[Image: 35158197292_488f35db42.jpg]
Recently uncovered remains of a massive stone tower built to guard Gihon Spring—a vital water supply just downhill from the ancient city of Jerusalem. Cedit: Weizmann Institute of Science
To complete the study, Boaretto and her team asked whether any explanation could allow the tower to have been built earlier - repairs, for example - but the presence of the large boulders sitting above layers of earth containing the remains of everyday activities would appear to be fairly conclusive evidence that the later date is the correct one. Boaretto: "The conclusive, scientific dating of this massive tower, placing it in a later era than was presumed, will have repercussions for other attempts to date construction and occupation in ancient Jerusalem."
Article Source: Weizmann Institute of Science news release
Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto's research is supported by the Dangoor Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Laboratory.
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Christian Archaeologists May Have Unearthed Lost Kinneret City of 3 Apostles


 14 Av 5777 – August 6, 2017

[Image: The-lost-Roman-city-of-Julias.jpg]
The lost Roman city of Julias

Reaching the end of the second excavation season at the Bekaa (El Araj) site near the Arik Bridge at the Jordan estuary to the Kinneret, in the Betiha Nature Reserve, the dig officials have released a number of important clues that reinforce the identification of the site as the lost Roman city of Julias, home of three apostles of “that man.”
A layer from the Roman period was exposed this season, revealing potsherds and coins from the first to the third centuries CE. The excavation was conducted by the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology, under the direction of Dr. Mordechai Aviam, with Prof. Steve Notley, academic director of the excavation of the Christian Nyack College of New York.

“Our main surprise was that at the bottom of the excavation, in a limited area at this stage, the wall of a building was discovered, next to which was a mosaic floor and artifacts that characterize a bathhouse,” Dr. Aviam reported.

“A bathhouse in the Roman period is not a common structure in the villages, so it is an important clue to the possibility that beneath the surface lie the remains of the lost city of Julias, the city of the three apostles of Jesus, which has not been identified to this day,” Aviam said, suggesting that “this is a discovery that will arouse great interest among early Christian scholars, historians of the New Testament and researchers of the Land of Israel in general and the Jewish Galilee during the Second Temple period in particular.”

Dr. Aviam added that “another important evidence that was discovered in the excavation is that the Roman stratum is located at a depth of about 212 meters below sea level. In the past, researchers claimed that the Kinneret was at that era about 209 meters below sea level, and therefore Bethsaida, located at the Jordan Park, would have been 3 meters below the water of the Kinneret.”

“The finds in the excavation indicate that the Kinneret was probably lower than previously claimed,” said Aviam, solving the riddle of how life had been possible underwater in Bekaa.

Bethsaida is mentioned in several places in the New Testament as the home of at least three apostles – Peter, Andreas and Philip. Because of the importance of the place to the Christian world, many scholars have been engaged in identifying its location. In the past 40 years, extensive and long-term archaeological excavations have led to identifying Bethsaida as the dig in the Jordan Park.
Josephus wrote that King Herod Philip, son of Herod the Great, founded a new city near or on the location of the Jewish village of Bethsaida.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
 AUGUST 10, 2017 10:35
"This discovery provides fascinating evidence of ritual purity in the daily lives of Galilean Jews during the time of Jesus," the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

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Archaeological excavations inside the ancient workshop.. (photo credit:Israel Antiquities Authority)

A rare 2,000-year-old workshop for the production of chalkstone vessels, dating to the Roman Period, was recently unearthed by archeologists from the Antiquities Authority during excavations in Reina, in the Lower Galilee.

The excavations took place in a small cave in which researchers found thousands of chalkstone cores and other production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production, the authority said on Thursday.

The ancient site is the fourth workshop of its kind to ever have been discovered in Israel. It was uncovered during the course of construction work at a municipal sports center conducted by the Reina Local Council.

According to Dr. Yonatan Adler, senior lecturer at Ariel University and director of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, during the first century of the Common Era, Jews throughout Judea and the Galilee used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone.

“The reason for this curious choice of material seems to have been religious, as according to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken,” Adler explained on Thursday.

“Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result, ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.”

Although chalkstone vessels have been unearthed at many Jewish sites throughout the country, Adler said it is extremely unusual to uncover a site where such vessels were actually produced.

“Today, we are excavating a second site near Reina, located 1 kilometer from here,” he said.

“Until now, only two other similar sites have been excavated, however both of these were in the area of Jerusalem.

Our excavations are highlighting the pivotal role of ritual purity observance – not only in Jerusalem, but in the far-off Galilee as well.”

The excavations also revealed an artificially hewn cave from which ancient workers quarried the raw material for the chalkstone vessels.

“Ancient chisel marks cover the walls, ceiling and floor of the cave,” Adler said.

“Inside the cave and on the ground nearby are strewn thousands of stone cores, the ancient industrial waste from stone mugs, and bowls produced on a lathe. Hundreds of unfinished vessels were also found, apparently damaged during the production process and discarded on-site.”

While similar finds have been recorded in other parts of the country, Yardenna Alexandre, an archeologist at the authority specializing in the study of the Galilee during the Roman Era, described the most recent discovery as an unprecedented opportunity.

“Throughout the years, we have been discovering fragments of these kinds of stone vessels alongside pottery in excavations of houses in both rural and urban Jewish sites from the Roman Period, such as Kafr Kana, Tzipori and Nazareth,” said Alexandre.

“Now, for the first time, we have an unprecedented opportunity to investigate a site where these vessels were actually produced in the Galilee.”

Alexandre added that Jews using stone vessels for religious purposes is well attested in Talmudic sources, but noted that the phenomenon also appears in the Wedding at Cana narrative in the Gospel of John, where the water-turned-to-wine is said to have been held in six jars made of stone: “Now, there were six stone water jars set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing 20 or 30 gallons each” (John 2:6).

Moreover, she said a link to the narrative lies in the location of the excavations at Reina, just south of the modern village of Kafr Kana, identified by many scholars as the site of New Testament Cana.

“It is possible that large stone containers of the type mentioned in the Wedding at Cana of Galilee story may have been produced locally in the Galilee,” Alexandre said.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Speaking of wine...
The remarks of the master of the feast – "The good wine has been kept until now" – are unfortunately not helpful. Either the first natural batch of unfermented grape juice was deteriorating in flavor, then replaced by the supernatural batch, or the first batch was fermented and so was the second but was of better quality. Bottom line: We do not know.

in [size=undefined]
The gospel of John gives a brief description of the first miracle performed by Jesus – changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John1:1-10). The actual site of Cana is contested, but it is no more than a half day's walk north of Nazareth. The extended family of Joseph and Mary may have included, say, a cousin who lived at Cana or possibly it was a sister of Jesus (Matthew 13:55-56) who was being married to a man of Cana. In any case, the Jewish wedding was essentially a family affair and could have lasted several days.
During this time and between the feasts there were games and riddles and vigorous dancing to music – not as couples but as groups – while throughout, it was an opportunity for the two families to get to know each other. The legal aspects of the marriage included the exchange of vows, the bride price and the blessing – all before witnesses. The first feast then began, and at this point the groom took his bride to the Chuppah – or wedding canopy – after which they returned to the feast as man and wife. Of course, as the gospel account tells us, wine was served throughout the occasion and, while we are not told, some Christians vigorously insist that it was unfermented (i.e., grape juice).
Scripture does speak about certain godly people who abstained from drinking fermented wine or "strong drink" – those who had taken a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:2-21), Hannah in prayer (I Samuel 1:15), the wife of Manosh (Judges 13:2-4), the Rechabites (Jeremiah 35:2), and finally, John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). However, while this may be good advice for Christians, it does not mean that the miraculous conversion of the water by Jesus produced unfermented wine.
In the first place, this was not a Christian wedding – no one yet believed in Him, including His own brothers (John 7:1-50), while, of course, He had not yet been to the cross. No, it was a Jewish wedding in a hot country where some alcohol is necessary to preserve the flavor of the grape. The remarks of the master of the feast – "The good wine has been kept until now" – are unfortunately not helpful. Either the first natural batch of unfermented grape juice was deteriorating in flavor, then replaced by the supernatural batch, or the first batch was fermented and so was the second but was of better quality. Bottom line: We do not know.[/size]

A royal find of ancient grapes and wine residue may help resurrect ...

Jul 31, 2015 - Archaeologists digging in a kingly palace in Israel have found 120 large wine jars, some with residue, and grape seeds from 4,000 years ago ...[/size]

2,000-year Old Stoneware Factory in Israel Shows Galilee Jews Were as Zealous as Judeans Holycowsmile

Turns out Galilee Jews were as devout as their Judean counterparts ■ Chalk cave could be source of stone jars whose water Jesus turned into wine at nearby Kafr Kana
read more:

  @ Cana
This may demonstrate to guests(WITNESSES) that are not from JUDEA may have not been "zealous" and mistakenly Thought that Large Wine Jars  were Large water Purification Jars 

Below I show plausible explainations for the miracle.

The likely process.
The likely psychology.
The likely unzealous/unfamiliar 'witnesses' versus the also present intoxicated 'witnesses'

The likely process  Arrow

Why a few drops of water make whisky taste better

August 17, 2017

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Scientists have discovered that adding water to whisky alters the drink's molecules to make it taste better
Ignore the snobs, because most experts agree: a few drops of water enhance the taste of whiskies, from well-rounded blends to peat bombs redolent of smoke, tobacco and leather.

Read more at:

[b]The likely psychology. Arrow [/b]

Why expensive wine appears to taste better

August 14, 2017

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Prof. Bernd Weber from the Center for Economics and Neuroscience at the University of Bonn with red wine, like the wine he used for the tasting with the subjects. Credit: Xenia Grote
Price labels influence our liking of wine: The same wine tastes better to participants when it is labeled with a higher price tag. Scientists from the INSEAD Business School and the University of Bonn have discovered that the decision-making and motivation center in the brain plays a pivotal role in such price biases. The medial prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum are particularly involved in this. The results have now been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Read more at:

[b]The likely unzealous/unfamiliar 'witnesses' versus the also present intoxicated 'witnesses' Arrow [/b]

[b]When an eyewitness is wrong: Recommendations for mitigating false convictions

August 14, 2017 by Heather Zeiger report

[b][Image: 58e552a2bf75d.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
(Medical Xpress)—Eyewitness testimony is a foundational component in the U. S. criminal justice system. Criminals are convicted and innocent people go free on the basis of an eyewitness testimony. But, sometimes the eyewitness gets it wrong.

Wine Jar  Sheep Water Jar[/b]

Unzealous  Beer  Drunks

The likely process.
The likely psychology.
The likely unzealous/unfamiliar 'witnesses' versus the also present intoxicated 'witnesses'

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
For the IRB approved study, 1,061 ethnically diverse people ranging in age from 18 to 82 participated by having their genomes sequenced to an average depth of at least 30x. Researchers also collected phenotype data in the form of 3-D facial images, voice samples, eye and skin color, age, height, and weight.

The team predicted eye color, skin color and sex with high accuracy, but other more complex genetic traits proved more difficult. The team believes their predictive models are sound, but that large cohorts are needed to make prediction more robust.

Quote:John 18:12

So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,

John 18 Commentary - Jesus Is Arrested -

The group that came to arrest Jesus was composed of Roman soldiers, Jewish ...[/size]

The detachment of soldiers (speira) refers to a cohort, a group of 600 soldiers ...

World's oldest Italian wine just discovered: Ancient pottery tests positive for wine
August 24, 2017

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Chemical analysis on these storage jars mark the earliest discovery of wine residue in the entire prehistory of the Italian peninsula. Credit: Dr. Davide Tanasi, University of South Florida
Chemical analysis conducted on ancient pottery could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy. A large storage jar from the Copper Age (early 4th millennium BC) tests positive for wine.

Read more at:

Identification of individuals by trait prediction using whole-genome sequencing data

September 6, 2017

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Examples of real (Left) and predicted (Right) faces from the Human Longevity study predicting face and other physical traits from whole genome sequencing data. Credit: Human Longevity, Inc.
Researchers from Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) have published a study in which individual faces and other physical traits were predicted using whole genome sequencing data and machine learning. This work, from lead author Christoph Lippert, Ph.D. and senior author J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS).

The authors believe that, while the study offers novel approaches for forensics, the work has serious implications for data privacy, deidentification and adequately informed consent. The team concludes that much more public deliberation is needed as more and more genomes are generated and placed in public databases.
For the IRB approved study, 1,061 ethnically diverse people ranging in age from 18 to 82 participated by having their genomes sequenced to an average depth of at least 30x. Researchers also collected phenotype data in the form of 3-D facial images, voice samples, eye and skin color, age, height, and weight.

[Image: 1427971544324]

The team predicted eye color, skin color and sex with high accuracy, but other more complex genetic traits proved more difficult. The team believes their predictive models are sound, but that large cohorts are needed to make prediction more robust. 

The team also developed a machine learning doink-headcalled a maximum entropy algorithm, which had novelty in that it found an optimal combination of all predictive models to match whole-genome sequencing data with phenotypic and demographic data and enabled the correct identification of, on average, 8 out of 10 participants of diverse ethnicity, and 5 out of 10 African American or European participants.

Venter, HLI's co-founder, executive chairman and head of scientific strategy, commented, "We set out to do this study to prove that your genome codes for everything that makes you, you. 

[Image: obs-en-38-15.jpg]

This is clearly a proof of concept with a limited cohort but we believe that as we increase the numbers of people in this study and in the HLI database to hundreds of thousands we will be able to accurately predict all that can be predicted from individuals' genomes."
He added, "We are also concerned that the public and the research community at large are not adequately focused on the need for better safeguards and policies for individual privacy in the genomics era and are urging more analysis, better technical solutions, and continued discussion."
Lippert, data scientist at HLI, added, "This study shows the potential of imaging technologies to screen the traits of large numbers of individuals. Machine learning enables fully automated data interpretation and plays a crucial role in scientific discovery."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers conduct sequencing and de novo assembly of 150 genomes in Denmark
More information: Christoph Lippert et al. Identification of individuals by trait prediction using whole-genome sequencing data, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1711125114 
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences[Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Human Longevity, Inc.

Read more at:

The next challenge for facial recognition is identifying people whose faces are covered
Current methods are unreliable, but progress is being made — and quickly
by James Vincent@jjvincent  Sep 6, 2017, 3:27pm EDT

  • by Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Facial recognition is becoming more and more common, but ask anyone how to avoid it and they’ll say: easy, just wear a mask.

[Image: malchus-peter.jpg]

 In the future, though, that might not be enough. Facial recognition technology is under development that’s capable of identifying someone even if their face is covered up — and it could mean that staying anonymous in public will be harder than ever before.

[Image: Bible%2B42%2B-%2BPeter%2Bdenies%2BJesus.jpg]

The topic was raised this week after research published on the preprint server arXiv [url=]describing just such a system was shared in a popular AI newsletter. Using deep learning and a dataset of pictures of people wearing various disguises, researchers were able to train a neural network that could potentially identify masked faces with some reliability. Academic and sociologist Zeynep Tufekci shared the work on Twitter, noting that such technology could become a tool of oppression, with authoritarian states using it to identify anonymous protestors and stifle dissent.
The paper itself needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, though. Its results were far less accurate than industry-level standards (when someone was wearing a cap, sunglasses, and a scarf, for example, the system could only identify them 55 percent of the time); it used a small dataset; and experts in the field have criticized its methodology.
“It doesn’t strike me as a particularly convincing paper,” Patrik Huber, a researcher at the University of Surrey who specializes in face tracking and analysis, told The Verge. He pointed out that the system doesn’t actually match disguised faces to mugshots or portraits, but instead used something called “facial keypoints” (the distances between facial features like eyes, noses, lips, etc) as a proxy for someone’s identity.
[Image: Screen_Shot_2017_09_06_at_7.37.50_PM.png]An image from the recent study, showing how the neural networks estimate “facial keypoints” even when the face is covered.
But although the paper has its flaws, the challenge of recognizing people when their faces are covered is one that plenty of teams are working on — and making quick progress.
Facebook, for example, has trained neural networks that can recognize people based on characteristics like hair, body shape, and posture. Facial recognition systems that work on portions of the face have also been developed (although, again; not ready for commercial use). And there are other, more exotic methods to identify people. AI-powered gait analysis, for example, can recognize individuals with a high degree of accuracy, and even works with low-resolution footage — the sort you might get from a CCTV camera.
One system for identifying masked individuals developed at the University of Basel in Switzerland recreates a 3D model of the target’s face based on what it can see. Bernhard Egger, one of the scientists behind the work, told The Verge that he expected “lots of development” in this area in the near future, but thought that there would always be ways to fool the machine. “Maybe machines will outperform humans on very specific tasks with partial occlusions,” said Egger. “But, I believe, it will still be possible to not be recognized if you want to avoid this.”
Wearing a rigid mask that covers the whole face, for example, would give current facial recognition systems nothing to go on. And other researchers have developed patterned glasses that are specially designed to trick and confuse AI facial recognition systems. Getting clear pictures is also difficult. Egger points out that we’re used to facial recognition performing quickly and accurately, but that’s in situations where the subject is compliant — scanning their face with a phone, for example, or at a border checkpoint.
Privacy advocates, though, say even if these systems have flaws, they’re still likely to be embraced by law enforcement. Last month, for example, police in London used real-time facial recognition to scan people attending the annual Notting Hill Carnival. Before the event they assembled a “bespoke dataset” with images of more than 500 people who were either banned from attending or wanted for arrest and then set up cameras at one of the Carnival’s main thoroughfares. According to a report from human rights group Liberty, only one attendee was successfully identified using this system (and even then his arrest warrant was out-of-date) while there were 35 false positives. The police still deemed it a success.
If you combine this attitude with the increasing adoption of police body cameras, the growth of facial recognition databases, and new AI techniques for analyzing data, it seems clear that public anonymity is being undermined. And in the current political climate, where protests are becoming more common and more violent, this is potentially very dangerous. And as Tufekci noted on Twitter, this new technology is often developed without considering the uses it might be put to.
Amarjot Singh, the lead researcher behind the recent paper published on arXiv, said he thought the systems themselves were neutral, and whether they would have a harmful effect on society depended on how they were deployed. “There are more benefits to this technology than harm,” he told The Verge. “Everything can be used in a good way and a negative way. Even a car.” He added that he and his colleagues were working to get funding to improve their system, and that they might eventually commercialize it. “To expand the dataset we might try and make a product out of it,” said Singh. “We’re not very sure of that yet, but we will definitely be expanding the dataset.”
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Skeletons could provide clues to who wrote or protected the Dead Sea Scrolls
Few women or children have been found at Qumran burial site, suggesting similarities to Byzantine monastery cemeteries

Bruce Bower

2:05pm, November 17, 2017
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SCROLL CALL  Newly excavated skeletons at a roughly 2,000-year-old West Bank site support a theory that a community of celibate men lived there at the time the Dead Sea Scrolls were placed in nearby caves. These men may have written or protected the scrolls.
BOSTON — A decades-long debate over who once occupied a settlement located near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found has taken a chaste turn.
Analyses of 33 newly excavated skeletons of people buried at the West Bank site, Qumran, supports a view that the community consisted of a religious sect of celibate men. Anthropologist Yossi Nagar of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem presented the findings November 16 at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Preliminary radiocarbon dating of one of the Qumran bones indicates that the interred bodies are around 2,200 years old — close to the same age as the ancient texts, which are estimated to have been written between around 150 B.C. and A.D. 70.
Plus, reexamination of 53 previously unearthed human skeletons from Qumran’s cemetery, now housed in France, found that six of seven individuals formerly tagged as women were actually men, Nagar said. A small number of children have also been excavated at Qumran.
Israel Antiquities Authority anthropologists Hanania Hizmi and Yevgeny Aharonovich directed the latest excavations at Qumran in 2016. The researchers called in Nagar to study the skeletons. He identified 30 of the newly excavated individuals as definitely or probably males, based on factors that include pelvic shape and body sizes. (There was not enough evidence to assign a sex to the remaining three.) At the time of their deaths, the men ranged in age from around 20 to 50 or more, Nagar estimated.

[Image: 111717_BB_deadseascrolls_inline_370.jpg]
HIDING PLACE Caves near the community of Qumran, such as this one, held the Dead Sea Scrolls. Qumran housed a community largely composed of celibate males, says a researcher who has studied newly excavated graves at the ancient site.
“I don’t know if these were the people who produced the Qumran region’s Dead Sea Scrolls,” Nagar said. “But the high concentration of adult males of various ages buried at Qumran is similar to what has been found at cemeteries connected to Byzantine monasteries.” The Byzantine Empire, founded in A.D. 330, was an extension of the Roman Empire in the eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier investigations of Qumran suggested it was founded more than 2,700 years ago. Warfare led to its abandonment before it was settled again for about 200 years, up to around the year A.D. 68.
Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include parts of the Hebrew Bible, in 11 nearby caves between 1947 and 1956 stimulated intense interest in who had occupied Qumran. In February of 2017, researchers revealed they had found another cave in the same area that possibly held scrolls or pieces of papyrus and leather intended to be written on.
An influential early theory held that members of an ancient, celibate Jewish sect, the Essenes, lived at Qumran and either wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls or were caretakers of these religious, legal and philosophical documents. But over the past 30 years, other possible inhabitants of Qumran have been proposed, including Bedouin herders, craftsmen and Roman soldiers.
Qumran individuals show no signs of war-related injuries and are not predominantly young adult men, as would be expected of a cemetery for soldiers, Nagar said. The Qumran skeletons can’t be confirmed as Essenes, but their identity as part of a community of celibate men appears probable, he added.
Extraction and analysis of DNA from the Qumran skeletons would help confirm that they are all, or almost all, men, said Jonathan Rosenbaum, a professor of Jewish Studies at Gratz College in Melrose Park, Penn.
Researchers removed small samples of bone from some of the newly excavated Qumran skeletons before reburying the finds in their original resting places. Nagar wasn’t sure if any attempts to retrieve DNA from bone samples would be launched.
Y. Nagar et al. The people of Qumran — new discoveries and paleodemographic interpretations. American Schools of Oriental Research annual meeting, Boston, November 16, 2017.
Further Reading
B. Bower. Digital rehab exposes Biblical roots of ancient Israeli scroll. Science News Online, September 21, 2016.
B. Bower. Return of the kings. Science News. Vol. 174, November 22, 2008, p. 10.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
J 33 V

Professors discover copy of Jesus' secret revelations to his brother
November 30, 2017

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A piece of the Coptic translation of the First Apocalypse of James from the Nag Hammadi Codex V. Credit: Nag Hammadi Library, Oxford University.
The first-known original Greek copy of a heretical Christian writing describing Jesus' secret teachings to his brother James has been discovered at Oxford University by biblical scholars at The University of Texas at Austin.

To date, only a small number of texts from the Nag Hammadi library—a collection of 13 Coptic Gnostic books discovered in 1945 in Upper Egypt—have been found in Greek, their original language of composition. But earlier this year, UT Austin religious studies scholars Geoffrey Smith and Brent Landau added to the list with their discovery of several fifth- or sixth-century Greek fragments of the First Apocalypse of James, which was thought to have been preserved only in its Coptic translations until now.

"To say that we were excited once we realized what we'd found is an understatement," said Smith, an assistant professor of religious studies. "We never suspected that Greek fragments of the First Apocalypse of James survived from antiquity. But there they were, right in front of us."

The ancient narrative describes the secret teachings of Jesus to his brother James, in which Jesus reveals information about the heavenly realm and future events, including James' inevitable death.

"The text supplements the biblical account of Jesus' life and ministry by allowing us access to conversations that purportedly took place between Jesus and his brother, James—secret teachings that allowed James to be a good teacher after Jesus' death," Smith said.

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Geoffrey Smith (left) and Brent Landau take a closer look at the Greek fragment identified as the First Apocalypse of James. The fragments--and rights to published images of them--are owned by the Egypt Exploration Society. Credit: Geoffrey Smith, UT Austin.
Such apocryphal writings, Smith said, would have fallen outside the canonical boundaries set by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in his "Easter letter of 367" that defined the 27-book New Testament: "No one may add to them, and nothing may be taken away from them."

With its neat, uniform handwriting and words separated into syllables, the original manuscript was probably a teacher's model used to help students learn to read and write, Smith and Landau said.

"The scribe has divided most of the text into syllables by using mid-dots. Such divisions are very uncommon in ancient manuscripts, but they do show up frequently in manuscripts that were used in educational contexts," said Landau, a lecturer in the UT Austin Department of Religious Studies.

The teacher who produced this manuscript must have "had a particular affinity for the text," Landau said. It does not appear to be a brief excerpt from the text, as was common in school exercises, but rather a complete copy of this forbidden ancient writing.

Smith and Landau announced the discovery at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in Boston in November and are working to publish their preliminary findings in the Greco Roman Memoirs series of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Scholar: Jesus talks of wife in ancient script

Provided by: University of Texas at Austin

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Wayyyyyyyyyyy back to the apocalypse (2012)

Scholar: Jesus talks of wife in ancient script

September 18, 2012 by Rodrique Ngowi

(AP)—A Harvard University professor has unveiled a fourth century fragment of papyrus that she says is the only existing ancient text that quotes Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife.

Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, says the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to "my wife," whom he identified as Mary. King says the fragment of Coptic script is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century.

King unveiled the fragment of the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife" in Rome on Tuesday. She says it doesn't prove Jesus was married but speaks to issues of family and marriage that faced Christians.

King says on a Harvard website that the dialogue includes the disciples discussing whether Mary is worthy and Jesus saying "she can be my disciple."

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Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Archaeologists find ‘oldest school in the world’ in Israel
Anshel Pfeffer, Jerusalem
November 28 2017, 12:01am, The Times

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Avi Gopher and Ran Barkai, from Tel Aviv University, at the Kessem Cave near Rosh Ha’ayinBAZ RATNER REUTERS
Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe was a prehistoric school, where the ancestors of modern humans taught their children how to survive by manufacturing flint instruments and dismembering animals, 400,000 years ago.
The hominini, ancestors of today’s homo sapiens, had a similar brain size to today's humans and, according to the findings in the Kessem Cave in central Israel, had developed relatively advanced techniques of manufacture.
The dig, led by Avi Gopher and Ran Barkai, of Tel Aviv university, has been dubbed “the oldest school in the world”, because it suggested hominini had used the space to impart flint skills to their children, the oldest such documented find.
“From the location of the artifacts, we can see that there was a clear division of space…

Quote: Laodikeia was one of the Seven Churches named in the Book of Revelation and later became a metropolitan city in the Early Byzantine period.

Stunning ancient gym floor mosaic revealed during construction work in Laodikeia, Turkey 29.11.2017 | 01:59
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The discovery occurred randomly, when a resident of the area began to dig for the foundations of a building

In all parts of Asia Minor, many ancient findings of Byzantine, Hellenistic or Roman times are regularly discovered and, this time, an excellent gym floor mosaic, as appraised by archaeologists, was unearthed in Laodikeia.
As often, the discovery occurred randomly, when a resident of the area began to dig for the foundations of a building.
When he filed for the necessary permission to build on a plot of land, the archaeological service discovered that underneath tha building, an archaeological treasure lay in wait.
Temporarily, the building was covered with a trentop for protection, until the archaeological service starts work in the spring in order to eventually present the new finding to the public.
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Laodikeia is located within the borders of the villages of Eskihisar, Goncalı, Korucuk and Bozburun, six km north of the modern city of Denizli. The site is on the road to Pamukkale (Hierapolis), which is approximately ten km to the north.
It is also situated at the crossroads of main routes that connect western, central and southern Anatolia with each other. Set amid the fertile plains of the Lycos River, Laodikeia lies on a high plateau surrounded on three sides by rivers: the Lycos (modern Çürüksu) to the northeast, the Kapros (modern Başlıçay) to the southeast and the Asopos (modern Gümüşçay - Goncalı Deresi) to the northwest.
The site is one of the important archaeological remains for the region along with Hierapolis (Pamukkale) and Tripolis. Excavations at Laodikeia show that the city was settled continuously from the Chalcolithic Period (Copper Age, 5500 BCE) to 7th century CE. The name of the settlement was, in turn, Rhoas (Asopos Hill), Diopolis (City of Zeus) and finally Laodikeia.
The settlement was founded as a city in the Hellenistic Period. The Hellenistic city was founded by the commander Seleucus Antiochus II in the name of his wife Laodike around the middle of the third century BCE. The region later became part of the Roman Republic (after Empire) in 130-129 BCE. Throughout its history, Laodikeia suffered many earthquakes and was rebuilt numerous times. It was finally abandoned after a severe earthquake in the reign of Emperor Focas (r. 602-610 CE). Its citizens settled in Denizli - Kaleiçi and Hisarköy on the north slopes of Mt. Salbakos (modern Babadağ), after the city's abandonment. Laodikeia was one of the Seven Churches named in the Book of Revelation and later became a metropolitan city in the Early Byzantine period.
During the Hellenistic Period the city was designed on the Hippodamian grid plan where the streets cross at right angles or run parallel to each other. The golden age of the city was from the 1st to 5th centuries CE. Most of the structures and the city itself have been developed during this period.
Encompassing an area of about five square kilometres, Laodikeia boasts the following impressive remains: the largest ancient stadium of Anatolia (measuring 285 x 70m), two theatres (Western and Northern Theatres), four bath complexes (East, Central, West and East Roman baths), five agoras (East, Central, West, South and North Agoras), five fountains (nymphaea; East Byzantine, Caracalla, Septimus Severus, B and West Fountains), two monumental portals (Ephesus and Syria Gates), a council house (bouleuterion), houses with a peristyle design (House A Complexes, Peristyle House with Church), temples (Temple A), churches (East, North, West, Central, Southwest Churches and Laodikeia Church), public latrines, two large water distribution terminals and monumental colonnaded streets (Syria, Ephesus, Stadium Streets). The city is surrounded by cemeteries (necropoleis) on its four sides.
The most important income of the city was commerce, thanks to its location on the crossroads of major trade routes. The foremost trade was textiles. In addition, marble, grain and livestock commerce also provided an important income to the city.

The seventh and final letter to the churches of ancient Asia Minor is to the church in the city of Laodicea. This last message is found in Revelation 3:14-22. Laodicea was a wealthy, industrious city in the province of Phrygia in the Lycos Valley.

The message is from the Lord Jesus Christ via an angel or messenger (likely a reference to the church’s pastor): “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write . . .” (Revelation 3:14). This was not simply John’s message to those in Laodicea; it was a message from the Lord. Jesus identifies Himself thus: “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” These titles emphasize the Lord’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and power to bring all things to their proper completion (the “Amen”).

In contrast to the other six churches, the Laodicean church has nothing to commend it. Jesus begins the message with condemnation: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17). Jesus emphasizes their “lukewarm,” apathetic nature three times. As a result of their ambivalence to spiritual things, Jesus would have nothing to do with them. He would “spit them out,” as the people of Laodicea would spit out the tepid water that flowed from the underground aqueducts to their city. With their apathy came a spiritual blindness; they claimed to be rich, blessed and self-sufficient. Perhaps they were rich in material things. But, spiritually, the Laodiceans were in a wretched, pitiful condition, made all the worse in that they could not see their need. This was a church filled with self-deceived hypocrites.

Jesus calls the Laodicean church to repent of its sin: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). Their material wealth had no eternal benefit, so Jesus commands them to come to Him for true, spiritual riches (see Isaiah 55:1-2). Only Christ can supply an everlasting inheritance, clothe us in righteousness, and heal our spiritual blindness.

Jesus then notes His concern for His church in Laodicea: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:19-20). His rebuke is not born of animosity but of love. “The Lord disciplines those he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). The desired response to God’s reproof was zealous change and true repentance.

Verse 20 is often used as an evangelistic appeal, yet its original context communicates Christ’s desire for fellowship with His lukewarm church in Laodicea. The church is nominally Christian, but Christ Himself has been locked out. Rather than turn His back on them, He knocks, seeking someone to acknowledge the church’s need and open the door. If they would repent, Jesus would come in and take His rightful place in the church. He would share a meal with them, a Middle Eastern word picture speaking of closeness of relationship.

Jesus then makes a promise to the believers in Laodicea: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21). The “overcomer” refers to any believer, and the promise is that he will share Christ’s future kingdom.

In summary, the church at Laodicea had become apathetic in their love for Christ. They were allowing “the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things [to] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Christ called them to repent and live zealously for Him, to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). The Lord Jesus issues the same call to those who say they follow Him today.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

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