Saturday, July 28, 2007
Capernaum (pronounced k-pûrn-m; Hebrew כפר נחום Kefar Nachum, "Nahum's hamlet") was a settlement on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The site is a ruin today, but was inhabited from 150 BC to about AD 750.
The town is mentioned in the New Testament: in the Gospel of Luke it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus himself.
According to Luke, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum (see John 6:53-59 below), and a building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Jericho (Arabic أريحا , Hebrew יְרִיחוֹ ) - Holy echo is a town in the West Bank, Palestine near the Jordan River. Jericho has a population of approximately 19,000. It is believed by some to be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the world. The current mayor of Jericho is Hassan Saleh.
The present city was captured by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. It was the first city handed over to Palestinian Authority control in 1994, in accordance with the Oslo accords. After a period of Israeli readministration, it was returned to the Palestinian Authority on 16 March 2005.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Hezekiah's tunnel is a tunnel that was dug underneath Ophel in Jerusalem about 701 BC during the reign of King Hezekiah. The tunnel, leading from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, was designed to act as an aqueduct to provide Jerusalem with water during an impending siege by the Assyrians, led by Sennacherib. The curving tunnel is 533m long, and by using a small altitude difference between each end, conveyed water along its length from the spring to the pool.
According to an inscription (the Siloam inscription) found within it, the tunnel was excavated by two teams, one starting at each end of the tunnel and then meeting in the middle. The inscription is partly unreadable at present, and may originally have conveyed more information than this. It is clear from the tunnel itself that several directional errors were made during its construction. Recent discoveries concerning a related tunnel - Warren's shaft - have suggested that the tunnel may have been formed by substantially widening a pre-existing natural karst.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Siloam inscription or Silwan inscription (in reference to Jerusalem neighborhood called Silwan) is a passage of inscribed text originally found in the Hezekiah tunnel (which feeds water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam in East Jerusalem). Discovered in 1880, the inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century BCE. It is among the oldest extant records of its kind written in Hebrew using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.
History of the discovery
Despite Hezekiah’s tunnel being examined extensively during the 19th century by such eminent archaeologists as Dr. Edward Robinson, Sir Charles Wilson, and Sir Charles Warren, they all missed discovering the inscription, probably due to the accumulated mineral deposits making it barely noticeable.
According to Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a youth, while wading up Hezekiah's tunnel from the Siloam Pool end, discovered the inscription cut in the rock on the eastern side, about 19 feet into the tunnel.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The Rosetta Stone is a dark grey-pinkish granite stone (often incorrectly identified as basalt) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Koine Greek. Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the hieroglyphs (a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians, using a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements).
Ptolemy V assumed the crown at the age of five after a rather turbulent time in Egyptian history. The young ruler was faced with the daunting task of reclaiming lands lost to various invaders and reunifying his country's populace. As an attempt to reestablish legitimacy for the ruler and create a royal cult, Ptolemy's priests issued a series of decrees. The decrees were inscribed on stones and erected throughout Egypt. The Rosetta stone is a copy of the decree issued in the city of Memphis.
The same Ptolemaic decree of 196 BC is written on the stone in the three scripts. The Greek part of the Rosetta Stone begins: Basileuontos tou neou kai paralabontos tén basileian para tou patros... (The new king, having received the kingship from his father...) It is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing various taxes he repealed (one measured in ardebs (Greek artabai) per aroura), and instructing that statues be erected in temples and that the decree be published in the writing of the words of gods (hieroglyphs), the writing of the people (demotic), and the Wynen (Greek; the word is cognate with Ionian) language.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The House of David Inscription (also known as the Tel Dan Stele) is a black basalt stele erected by an Aramaean king in northernmost Israel containing an Aramaic inscription to commemorate his victory over the ancient Hebrews. Although the name of the author of the stele does not seem to appear on the available fragments, it is most likely a king of neighboring Damascus. Language, time, and location make it plausible that the author was Hazael or his son, Bar Hadad II/III, who were kings of Damascus and enemies of the kingdom of Israel. The stele was discovered at Tel Dan, previously named Tell el-Qadi, a mound where a city once stood at the northern tip of Israel . Fragment A was discovered in 1993, and fragments B1 and B2, which fit together, were discovered in 1994.
In the broken part of the stone below the smooth writing surface, there is a possible "internal" fit between fragment A and the assembled fragments B1/B2, but it is uncertain and disputed. If the fit is correct, then the pieces were originally side by side. The inscription has been dated to the 9th or 8th centuries BCE. The 8th-century limit is determined by a destruction layer caused by a well-documented Assyrian conquest in 733/732 BCE. Because that destruction layer was above the layer in which the stele fragments were found, it is clear that it took place after the stele had been erected, then broken into pieces which were later used in a construction project at Tel Dan, presumably by Hebrew builders. It is difficult to discern how long before that Assyrian conquest these earlier events took place.