Saturday, August 04, 2007

Archaeological sites in Israel

  • Apollonia, Israel
  • Ashdod Yam
  • Ashkelon
  • Banias
  • Belvoir Fortress
  • Beit She'an
  • Beit She'arim
  • Caesarea Maritima
  • Capernaum
  • Decapolis
  • Gamla
  • Herodium
  • Hippos
  • Katzrin
  • Masada
  • Meggido
  • Qumran
  • Shivta
  • Tabgha
  • Tel Arad
  • Tel Be'er Sheva
  • Tel Qasile
  • Timna

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Biblical archaeology

Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible. As with the historical records from any other civilization, the manuscripts must be compared to other accounts from contemporary societies in Europe, Mesopotamia, and Africa; additionally, records from neighbors must be compared with them. The scientific techniques employed are those of archaeology in general including excavations as well as chance discoveries.

By contrast Near Eastern archaeology is simply the archaeology of the Ancient Near East without any particular consideration of how its discoveries relate to the Bible.
Biblical archaeology is a controversial subject with differing opinions on what its purpose and goals are or should be.

Biblical Archaeology began after publication by Edward Robinson (American professor of Biblical literature; 1794-1863) of his travels through Palestine during the first half of the 19th century (a time when the oldest complete Hebrew scripture only dated to the Middle Ages), which highlighted similarities between modern Arabic place-names and Biblical city names.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Plagues of Egypt
Moses and Aaron before Pharoah by Gustov DoréThe Plagues of Egypt (Hebrew: מכות מצרים, Makot Mitzrayim), the Biblical Plagues or the Ten Plagues (עשר המכות, Eser Ha-Makot) are the ten calamities inflicted upon Egypt by God in the Biblical story recounted the book of Exodus, chapters 7 - 12, in order to convince Pharaoh (possibly Ramesses II, making the pharaoh of the Oppression Horemheb) to let the Israelite slaves leave.

The 10 plagues as they appear in the Torah are:

  1. (Exodus 7:14-25) rivers and other water sources turned to blood ('Dam')
  2. (Exodus 7:26-8:11) amphibians (commonly believed to be frogs) ('Tsfardeia')
  3. (Exodus 8:12-15) lice ('Kinim')
  4. (Exodus 8:16-28) Either flies, wild animals or beetles ('Arov')
  5. (Exodus 9:1-7) disease on livestock ('Dever')
  6. (Exodus 9:8-12) unhealable boils ('Shkhin')
  7. (Exodus 9:13-35) hail mixed with fire ('Barad')
  8. (Exodus 10:1-20) locusts ('Arbeh')
  9. (Exodus 10:21-29) darkness ('Choshech')
  10. (Exodus 11:1-12:36) death of the firstborn ('Makat Bechorot')


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Masoretic Text
Nash Papyrus (2nd century BCE) contains a portion of the pre-Masoretic Text, specifically the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer The Masoretic Text (MT) is the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh). It defines not just the books of the Jewish canon, but also the precise letter-text of the biblical books in Judaism, as well as their vocalization and accentuation for both public reading and private study. The MT is also widely used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles, and in recent decades also for Catholic Bibles.

The MT was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the seventh and tenth centuries CE. Though the consonants differ little from the text generally accepted in the early second century, it has numerous differences of both little and great significance when compared to (extant 4th century) versions of the Septuagint, originally a Greek translation (around 300 BCE) of the Hebrew Scriptures in popular use in Palestine during the common era and often quoted in the second part of the Christian Bible (known as the New Testament).

The Hebrew word mesorah (מסורה, alt. מסורת) refers to the transmission of a tradition. In a very broad sense it can refer to the entire chain of Jewish tradition (see Oral law), but in reference to the masoretic text the word mesorah has a very specific meaning: the diacritic markings of the text of the Hebrew Bible and concise marginal notes in manuscripts (and later printings) of the Hebrew Bible which note textual details, usually about the precise spelling of words.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Biblical inerrancy
Title page for the 1582 Douai-Rheims New Testament.Biblical inerrancy is the belief that the Bible is without error. The belief takes several forms, ranging from Biblical literalism (the belief that the Bible is true in every word) to the belief that Biblical texts require interpretation in order to be understood correctly.

The theological basis of the belief, in its simplest form, is that as God is infallible, the Bible, as the Word of God, must also be free from error. A more nuanced restatement of the same idea is that God inspired the authors of the Bible without marginalizing their personal concerns or personalities, and so preserved the texts from error.

Protestant churches, unlike Eastern and Roman churches, reject that there is an infallible authoritative tradition that is held over Scripture. Some Protestants hold that the Bible confirms its own infallibility, pointing out that Jesus frequently quotes Scripture as if it was meant to be taken historically rather than entirely allegorically, and citing John 10:35 "the Scripture cannot be broken," they conclude that if the Bible is not inerrant, then Jesus is a liar.

Roman Catholic teaching holds that the resurrection of Christ affirms his divinity, and Christ in turn appointed the Pope himself, or the body of Bishops led by the Pope, guided by the Holy Spirit, to offer infallible guidance on questions of faith and morals whose answers are found within the Word of God, comprised of both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. But liberal Roman Catholics do not affirm that the Bible is without error, even when interpreted correctly by the Pope or tradition.

The Eastern Orthodox Church also believes in unwritten Tradition and the written Scriptures. However, they hold that the infallibility or authority of the Magisterium belongs to all the bishops, not just the Roman bishop.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: historicity of Jesus
Jesus, aged 12, teaching the doctors of the FaithThe historicity of Jesus (i.e., his existence as an actual historical figure), is accepted as a theological axiom by three world religions, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith, based on their respective scriptures.

The earliest known sources are Christian writings - the New Testament - which, according to modern historians, were written several decades after he is said to have died.

However, while Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith also consider Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and Son of God, and Islam views him as a prophet, secular historians and followers of most other world religions (including Judaism) tend to regard him as an ordinary human. Most scholars, however, agree that Jesus was an historical figure regardless of their perspectives on His teaching, His message of salvation, or statements about Himself.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: miracles of Jesus
Resurrection of Lazarus by Juan de Flandes, around 1500.According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus performed many miracles in the course of His ministry. The majority of them are various cures, although there are a large number of exorcisms, three instances of raising the dead, and various other miracles that do not fit into these categories.

Power over death
The Gospels report three cases where Jesus calls a dead person back to life. In one, the daughter of Jairus had just died, and Jesus says she was only sleeping and wakes her with a word. Another case involves a young man being brought out for burial. When Jesus sees his widowed mother, he has pity and raises him from the dead. The third case involves a close friend of Jesus, Lazarus (right), who has been four days in the tomb.

Expelling demons
Belief in supernatural creatures was very common in the first century Judea, as it was nearly everywhere in the world.