Monthly Archives: November 2010

Elaborate hairstyles in New Testament times

The apostle Peter wrote much, by comparison to the size of his first epistle, about the Christian and submission. I wish to call attention to something he said about the relation of wives to their husbands. Notice the reading in four English versions.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes; (1 Peter 3:3 CSB)

Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear– (1 Peter 3:3 ESV)

Let your beauty not be external– the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes– (1 Peter 3:3 NET)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. (1 Peter 3:3 NIV)

Years ago I was impressed with the comments by William Barclay about the elaborate dressing habits of the upper class women of the Greco-Roman world.

In the world of the Greeks and the Romans it is interesting to collect the references to personal adornments. There were as many ways of dressing the hair as there were bees in Hybca. Hair was waved and dyed, sometimes black, more often auburn. Wigs were worn, especially blonde wigs, which are found even in the Christian catacombs; and hair to manufacture them was imported from Germany, and even from as far away as India. Hairbands, pins and combs were made of ivory, and boxwood, and tortoiseshell; and sometimes of gold, studded with gems. (Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters of James and Peter)

He gives other illustrations of the expensive clothing and jewelry of some of the women of the Imperial household. He says,

Christianity came into a world of luxury and decadence combined.

In face of all this Peter pleads for the graces which adorn the heart, which are precious in the sight of God. These were the jewels which adorned the holy women of old. Isaiah had called Sara the mother of God’s faithful people (Isaiah 51:2); and if Christian wives are adorned with the same graces of modesty, humility and chastity, they too will be her daughters and will be within the family of the faithful people of God.

Kistemaker calls attention to a comment by J.N.D. Kelly,

The elaboration in hair-styles, make-up, dress and personal jewelery in the [first] and [second] cent[urie]s is eloquently attested by the literature and art of the period.

With that in mind I decided to show a few examples of statuary of some of the women of the royal households. The first is a woman from the time of Nero (A.D. 54-68). Peter’s letters were written during that period.

Woman from the time of Nero. The Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Woman from the time of Nero. The Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next example is of Livia, the wife of Augustus and the mother of Tiberius.

Livia, wife of Augustus, mother of Tiberius. The Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Livia, wife of Augustus, mother of Tiberius. The Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

And finally, here is a bust of a neice of Trajan (A.D. 98-117).

Trajan's neice. The Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Trajan's neice. The Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Can you imagine the women of that time watching the TV award shows or reading the latest glamor magazines and not wanting to have their hair fixed the same way?

There is a lesson here for everyone, both female and male, who seeks to imitate Christ.

More about the first preaching on Pentecost

In this aerial view of Jerusalem you can see the Temple Mount enclosure and most of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Kidron Valley and the western slope of the Mount of Olives is visible on the right of the photo.

Aerial view of Jerusalem looking NE. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial view of Jerusalem looking NE. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo below is a cropped portion of the image with emphasis on the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount enclosure from the south. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A closer view of the Temple Mount enclosure from the south. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Herod the Great began to rebuild the existing postexilic temple on a grander scale about 20 B.C. Work had been going on for 46 years in the early days of the ministry of Jesus.

Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” (John 2:20 NET)

Where did Peter preach on Pentecost?

A questions comes from a young friend who has traveled to Israel with me, and who is preparing a sermon related to Peter’s sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2). He asks,

Where do you think that Peter spoke from on Pentecost? I ask because I plan on using pictures and visuals in PowerPoint and I want to make sure I’m showing pictures of the right places. From my research, it seems most likely that Peter would have either spoken from the southern steps leading up to the Temple Mount (the double gate) or from the actual Temple Mount. I plan to show just how large the area was, and why there would have been so many people at the Temple that day and at that time (9:00 am).

I have gathered a few comments that express some of my thoughts on this matter.

Some scholars begin with the “one place” where the disciples were gathered (Acts 2:1). It is said to be a “house” (Greek, oikos, Acts 2:2). Kistemaker indicates the place was a house and not in the precincts of the temple. He says we can not be certain, but assumes it was a place near the temple.

Where were the believers? Luke tersely writes that they were “in one place.” If we think of the upper room (1:13), we question whether this room could accommodate a group of 120. Luke, however, indicates that they were sitting in a house (v. 2) and not in the precincts of the temple.3 We admit that we are unable to achieve certainty, but we presume that the meeting place was near the temple, where the apostles stayed continually praising God (compare Luke 24:53). — New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Acts of the Aposltes, 76.

Longnecker discusses references where the term house is used of the temple. He says,

… in the temple precincts they would have had the best opportunity of addressing a large crowd.

His conclusion is,

Therefore it is likely that Luke meant us to picture that same upper room as the setting for the miracle of the Spirit’s coming and the place from where the disciples first went out to proclaim the gospel.

The view that the preaching of Acts 2 took places in the house (upper room) does not provide suitable explanation for the larger group suggested in the text. About three thousand persons accepted the gospel and were baptized on that day (Acts 2:41). There were obviously many who did not obey.

Acts 2 begins in a house, but closes in the temple (Acts 2:46). Marshall expresses my thoughts.

We must assume that at some point the disciples moved outside from the upper room and came in contact with the crowds assembled in Jerusalem for the feast; dwelling need not necessarily imply permanent residence, although many Jews did return to Jerusalem from the Dispersion to end their days there. (Acts: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)

We should note that the term for temple in Acts 2 is hieros. This is the term used of the “temple courts” (NET) or the “temple complex” (CSB).

Second Temple model at the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Second Temple model at the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The temple precinct or complex is large. I was in Jerusalem one year at the close of the Moslem Ramadan when it was reported that more than 100,000 persons were present in the area. This would have provided adequate space for the activities of Acts 2.

The LORD prophesied through Isaiah about the events of the Pentecost of Acts 2.

And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3 NAU)

It is true that the term Zion was sometimes applied to the entire city of Jerusalem, but it frequently seems to have a more specific reference to the temple area.

The disciples continued to go up to the temple at the hour of prayer (Acts 3:1). Their number soon grew to five thousand men and they met in Solomon’s Portico, thought to be on the east side of the temple platform (Acts 4:4; 5:12).

Where did Peter preach? I can’t be absolutely certain, but I opt for the temple complex. A copy of the photo suitable for presentations is available by clicking on the image.

Post A.D. 70 Roman bathhouse found in Jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority released a report today about the discover of a Roman period (Post A.D. 70) bath was found in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Three excavators working on the Roman bathhouse.

The Roman bathhouse. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

A 1,800 year old bathing pool that was probably part of a bathhouse used by the Tenth Legion – the Roman soldiers who destroyed the Temple – was exposed in excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting prior to the construction of a men’s ritual bath (miqve) by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Moriah Company.

The discovery sheds light on the scope of Aelia Capitolina, the city that was founded on the Second Temple period ruins of Jerusalem and that defined the character of ancient Jerusalem as we know it today….

According to Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “We were surprised to discover an ancient bathhouse structure right below the spot where a miqve is to be built. During the excavation we uncovered a number of plastered bathtubs in the side of the pool. Incorporated in the side of the pool is a pipe used to fill it with water and on the floor of the pool is a white industrial mosaic pavement. The bathhouse tiles, which are stamped with the symbols of the Tenth Legion “Fretensis” – LEG X FR, were found in situ and it seems that they were used to cover a rock-hewn water channel located at the bottom of the pool. The hundreds of terra cotta roof tiles that were found on the floors of the pool indicate it was a covered structure. The mark of the soldiers of the Tenth Legion, in the form of the stamped impressions on the roof tiles and the in situ mud bricks, bears witness to the fact that they were the builders of the structure. It seems that the bathhouse was used by these soldiers who were garrisoned there after suppressing the Bar Kokhba uprising in 135 CE, when the pagan city Aelia Capitolina was established. We know that the Tenth Legion’s camp was situated within the limits of what is today the Old City, probably in the region of the Armenian Quarter. This assumption is reinforced by the discovery of the bathhouse in the nearby Jewish Quarter which shows that the multitude of soldiers was spread out and that they were also active outside the camp, in other parts of the Old City”.

Dr. Sion adds, “Another interesting discovery that caused excitement during the excavation is the paw print of a dog that probably belonged to one of the soldiers. The paw print was impressed on the symbol of the legion on one of the roof tiles and it could have happened accidentally or have been intended as a joke”.

Read the full report here.

Dog paw found in excavation of Roman bathhouse in Jerusalem.

Dog paw found in the Roman bathhouse in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

I could not help but think of  the situation poor Lazarus found himself in at the gate of the rich man:

He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. (Luke 16:21 CSB)

HT: Bible Places Blog

Half a millionaire!

Compared with many websites and blogs, reaching the 500,000 hits level, as we did a few minutes ago, is not much. However, for a blog by an obscure writer dealing with the narrow topic of the Bible lands this might be impressive.

During our first month online (May, 2007) we averaged about 81 hits a day. The blog was intended to provide an opportunity for friends of those traveling with me on a tour of Anatolian Turkey and the area of Paul’s first journey to keep in touch. I think there was no thought of continuing the blog on a regular basis.

When we discovered that there was continuing interest in the photographs and bits of information we provided, we continued to write. The growth of readership was gradual. This month we are averaging about 885 hits a day. At the annual professional meetings of the NEAS, ETS, and SBL several people who saw my name badge mentioned reading the blog.

We always have in mind those who preach and teach the Bible as we prepare our material.

Thank you for your interest in this material and for your kind words of encouragement from time to time. I must confess that some days I give thought to discontinuing the blog. Except for the evidence that some of the readers are finding this material helpful I probably would.

I am grateful to others who have called attention to my blog through their links and honorable mentions. Every time Todd Bolen mentions my posts at Bible Places Blog I note an uptick in hits. I continue to be thankful for WordPress and the platform provided to anyone who wishes to post their thoughts/materials on the Internet.

Just had a thought. What if I had a dollar for each hit? It was just a thought.

For this special occasion I wanted to share a nice photo of the site of Paneas /Banias/Caesarea Philippi. This photo shows the site of the Pan shrine at the foot of the vast rock which is part of the the foothills of Mount Hermon. A spring flows from beneath the rock to form the Banias River which in turn joins other branches to form the Jordan River. Click on the photo to get an image suitable for use in sermon and class presentation.

The site of Paneas was Caesarea Philippi in the time of Jesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The site of Paneas was Caesarea Philippi in the time of Jesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is the Bible text that goes with the photo.

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 NAU)

Astronaut photo of Egypt, Israel and Jordan at night

The satellite photo below is one of the fabulous photos made by NASA astronauts from space. The emphasis in this photo is the Nile Delta at night. You are able to see the portion of Egypt where most of the people live. The Sinai, Israel and Jordan are also visible. To the north, the island of Cyprus and the south shore of Turkey can be seen.

NASA Astronaut Photography of the Egypt and Israel by night.Astronaut photo of Egypt, Israel and Jordan at night.

NASA provides a helpful explanation of the photo.

One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people. In this view of Egypt, we see a population almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area.

The Nile River and its delta look like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower in this astronaut photograph of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, as seen from the International Space Station. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a particularly bright base of the flower. The smaller cities and towns within the Nile Delta tend to be hard to see amidst the dense agricultural vegetation during the day. However, these settled areas and the connecting roads between them become clearly visible at night. Likewise, urbanized regions and infrastructure along the Nile River becomes apparent (see also The Great Bend of Nile, Day & Night.)

Another brightly lit region is visible along the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean—the Tel-Aviv metropolitan area in Israel (image right). To the east of Tel-Aviv lies Amman, Jordan. The two major water bodies that define the western and eastern coastlines of the Sinai Peninsula—the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba—are outlined by lights along their coastlines (image lower right). The city lights of Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, and Nicosia are visible on the island of Cyprus (image top).

Scattered blue-grey clouds cover the Mediterranean Sea and the Sinai, while much of northeastern Africa is cloud-free. A thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth’s curvature at image top is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) altitude.

The image is used courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. You may access various images at their website here. An annotated photo is available there.

HT: Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel

Attending the Near East Archaeological Society

For the past few days I have been attending the annual meeting of the Near East Archaeological Society and the Evangelical Theological Society. NEAS is a small organization which meets in association with the ETS each year. This gives one the opportunity to attend meetings of either society. ETS has grown tremendously over the years that I have attended — first about 1976, I think. This year more than 2600 persons registered for the meeting. Even though I no longer teach, I like to attend these meetings in order to keep abreast of recent scholarship in areas in which I have special interest.

Among the lectures I heard at NEAS are the following:

Douglas Petrovich (University of Toronto) presented an impressive lecture on “More signs of societal upheaval in Egypt during the days of Joseph.”

Randall Price (Liberty University) was scheduled to make a presentation on Messiah in the Temple: A New 3-D Digital Computer Model of the Second Temple based on historical and archaeological data,” but his co-presenter was not able to make the trip from Germany. Dr. Price gave a presentation in refutation of the recent claims of a Chinese group who claimed they had found Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat.

Mark Wilson (Asia Minor Research Center) and Nadin Burkhardt (University of Frankfurt) spoke about the new excavation of the Priene synagogue (in Western Turkey).

Steven Ortiz (Southwestern Baptist Seminary) spoke about the most recent excavations at Gezer. Dr. Ortiz is one of the directors of the dig where much evidence from the 9th and 10th century B.C. is coming to light.

Eric Mitchell (Southwestern Seminary) told about the landscape archaeology associated with the current excavations at Gezer.

Bryant G. Wood (Associates for Biblical Research) presented the finds from the 2009 and 2010 seasons at Khirbet el-Maqatir. Wood thinks that this site is an excellent candidate to be identified with biblical Ai, rather than the generally accepted site at Et-Tell. Wood is director of this dig in the Palestinian West Bank.

I asked Michael Luddeni, photographer for Bible and Spade and several excavation projects, to make a photo of Leon Mauldin and me with Dr. Bryant Wood.

Leon Mauldin, Dr. Bryant Wood, Ferrell Jenkins at NEAS annual meeting.

Leon Mauldin, Dr. Bryant Wood, Ferrell Jenkins at NEAS annual meeting.

Steven Collins (Trinity Southwestern University) made an excellent presentation on the rise and ruin of a bronze age city-state at Tall el-Hammam, Jordan. Collins is director of this dig.

James H. Charlesworth (Princeton Theological Seminary) was an invited speaker who gave a lecture on two Herodian pools north and south of the Jerusalem temple as they relate to the Gospel of John (chs. 5 and 9). These, of course, were the pools of Bethesda and Siloam. He argued that both pools were mikvaoths (ritual pools) at the time.

There were other good lectures at NEAS. Some of these scholars make similar presentation at the ASOR or SBL meetings.

Among the lectures I heard at ETS, I found these two to be extremely good:

British scholar N. T. Wright (St. Andrews University) spoke on “Justification yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Eugene H. Merrill (Dallas Theological Seminary) gave the presidential address at the banquet on “Old Testament Scholarship and the man on the street: whence and whither?”

When I was still teaching I attended lectures dealing primarily with the subjects I was actively teaching. Now I attend anything that strikes my fancy. Because I frequently travel to the Middle East I enjoy keeping up with the archaeological excavations in those areas.