Batir is a Palestinian village famous for preserving the terraced farming that allowed the people of ancient Judah to farm in the hill country. Israel’s separation barrier was slated to run right through it. But for the first time, Israel’s high court has given the village hope citing Batir’s cultural and environmental heritage.
This article in the NY TImes about some recent archaeology in Sudan is pretty interesting.
I’ve been watching all of the first six hours of “The Bible.” There are some good parts. I liked the Samson parts, and the Bethsaida stela of the bovine deity was cool. But their Satan character really does look like Obama. Check it out.
A swarm of locusts has been devastating crops in Egypt, just in time for Passover. Locusts were the seventh plague. I missed reports of the earlier ones, including my favorite, the frogs.
I love Bible movies for the same reason I love Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space: they’re ridiculously horrible. Stupid costumes, even dumber dialogue. That’s why I’ll be watching the 10 hour series The Bible set to debut tonight on … wait for it… the History Channel. Once again, bad actors, bad writers, bad producers, all of them will congratulate themselves for spreading the word of God. Hilarious.
Dylan Bergeson authors “The Biblical Pseudo-Archaeologists Pillaging the West Bank” for The Atlantic. It’s about how Israel’s Civil Administration is authorizing some religious nuts, mostly Americans, to pillage archaeological sites in the occupied West Bank. It doesn’t address a very important issue though: who actually owns these artifacts? Anyway, archaeology when done well is a destructive science. This just seems to be destructive.
In my opinion, the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls attracts both crazy people and passionate feelings. The latest chapter in this saga involves Raphael Golb, son of the Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Norman Golb. Raphael was just sentenced to six months in prison for impersonating Lawrence Schiffman, another Dead Sea Scrolls scholars. Why?
Basically Lawrence Schiffman believes, like most scholars, that the community who stored the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves lived at the settlement of Qumran. However, Norman Golb instead argues that people from Jerusalem put their scrolls in these caves to save them, knowing the Romans were on their way to Jerusalem. Apparently to defend his dad and to make Schiffman and others look bad, and perhaps to even get him fired, Raphael Golb created fake email addresses and pretended to be these other scholars. Yikes!
This Smithsonian article by Andrew Lawler has much more information on the origins of the scrolls.
Canadian journalist Simcha Jacobovici has often been involved with sensational claims pertaining to early Christianity. Television shows that he has produced have claimed that the resurrection didn’t happen because Jesus’ bones are buried right next to Mary Magdalene’s in a Jerusalem tomb. He also proposes that the nails buried in the High Priest Caiaphas’ tomb were the very nails used to crucify Jesus. No scholar agrees with Jacobovici, and many have condemned his claims for “pimping off the Bible.” A leader in the campaign to educate people about the academic archaeology of early Christianity and to point out Jacobovici’s dangerous speculations has been Joe Zias, a retired anthropologist and former employee of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Now Jacobovici is suing Zias for libel, claiming his nemesis has cost him money he would have made in other television shows.