Category Archives: Books

Free book: Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?

William Lane Craig’s short book, Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?, is available free today in Kindle format.

Book on the resurrection available free today

J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective. As a former atheist he rejected the claims of the resurrection, but after examination of the evidence he came to believe.

This book is available free in Kindle format today. Click on the book image for the link to the book.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Good reading for the weekend

Noah

There has been much discussion in the past few weeks about the Noah movie. In last Saturday’s roundup, Todd Bolen called attention to the blog of Dr. Brian Mattson. In a post entitled “Sympathy for the Devil” Mattson comments about the movie. He reminds us of the following important point: The Bible is not the text for this movie. Several writers, and speakers, have pointed out that about the only things in common between the Noah movie and the Noah/Flood story of the Bible are a man named Noah, an ark, and water.

Mattson claims and documents the philosophical background of the director of the movie in Gnosticism and Kabbalah. I am certain that many people will see the movie and have no awareness of that, just as many ready Paul’s epistle to the Colossians, and John’s epistles without understanding how they are responding to early Gnostic doctrines.

Here is the link to Mattson’s articles:

The Wife of Jesus, again.

It is almost Easter, so we can expect a rerun on various strange views about Jesus. I first called attention to this speculation about the wife of Jesus back in September, 2012, here. Todd Bolen recently commented on the same material that is now getting new attention. Here, he provides links to the article in the New York Times, and the Harvard Theological Review article by Dr. Karen King (available for download). The Times of Israel article is available here.

Papyrus fragment possibly claiming that Jesus has a wife. Photo: Harvard University, Dr. Karen L. King.

The GJW (Gospel of Jesus Wife) papyrus fragment possibly claiming that Jesus had a wife. Photo: Harvard University, Dr. Karen L. King.

Bolen summarizes the pertinent material, showing that the document tells us nothing about 1st century events:

An initial radiocarbon analysis dated the fragment to 404–209 BC; a second analysis gave a mean date of AD 741. King concludes with a date in the 7th or 8th centuries AD. As far as being a reliable witness to 1st century events, it is not. The author notes that the fragment should be studied in light of the Muslim view that prophets were usually married.

In King’s reading, “The main point of the GJW (Gospel of Jesus Wife) fragment is simply to affirm that women who are wives and mothers can be Jesus’s disciples.”

Larry Hurtado has written three posts about the papyrus document. Begin here and then scroll back for the other two.

Wild Boar at Caesarea Philippi

Carl Rasmussen’s recent Israel student group encountered a herd of about 15 wild boar at Caesarea Philippi. He provides some nice photos to back up his claim, and discusses the various Biblical references about swine. Access the HolyLandPhotos’ Blog here.

Using Google Books

Rob Bradshaw is making many books and journals available in PDF format. I check his BiblicalStudies.org.uk site regularly for materials that might be helpful in my study. Recently he called attention to a short video by Tim Bulkeley on how to access Bible commentaries without a library. The helpful, brief video is here.

 

 

 

 

Cold-Case Christianity, free today

Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace is available free in Kindle format March 10-11. The foreword is written by Lee Strobel. The publisher’s promo information says,


Written by an L. A. County homicide detective and former atheist, Cold-Case Christianity examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal.
Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity.
A unique apologetic that speaks to readers’ intense interest in detective stories, Cold-Case Christianity inspires readers to have confidence in Christ as it prepares them to articulate the case for Christianity.

Click on the book cover for more information, and to order.

HT: Brooks Cochran; Gospel eBooks.

Visualizing Isaiah 22: Shebna cut a tomb for himself

Shebna, the steward over the household of David, is to be replaced by Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. He will have the key of the house of David with power to open and shut. Consider the use of this text by Jesus in Revelation 3:8.

Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock? Behold, the LORD will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. (Isaiah 22:15-23 ESV)

D. J. Wiseman comments on this text and a discovery possibly related to it.

The historical background of the prophecies of Isaiah is provided by a number of contemporary records. One inscription, on a rock lintel from a tomb, was read by Avigad in 1953: ‘This is the (the sepulcher of Shebna) yahu who is over the house. There is no silver or gold here, but only (his bones) and the bones of his slave-wife with him. Cursed be the man who breaks this open.’ (Illustrations from Biblical Archaeology, 60)

Shebna inscription from a tomb. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Shebna inscription from a tomb in Silwan. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This tomb inscription was discovered in 1870 by Charles Clermont Ganneau in the village of Silwan. Following the 1967 war David Ussishkin and Gabriel Barkay examined numerous tombs in Silwan. For more information about the inscription, see Lost Treasures of the Bible by Fant and Reddish (154-157).

Grab ‘em today – books in Kindle format

Neil Lightfoot’s How We Got the Bible, revised and expanded 3rd edition, is available today only for $1.99 in Kindle format.

This book is a wonderful beginning resource to help one understand how the Bible came to be in English. Today only. Learn about manuscripts, transmission of the text, the Canon, and other important topics.

Ray Summer’s Worthy Is the Lamb, commentary on the Book of Revelation, is available for a limited time for $2.99 in Kindle format. Summers discusses the historical background of the book of Revelation, methods of interpretation, and a commentary section. (HT: Brooks Cochran)

Visualizing Isaiah 13:19-22 – Babylon, never inhabited

Edward Chiera, of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, excavated at Nuzi in 1927 and at Khorsabad in 1928, 29. On one of his visits in Mesopotamia he wrote a letter to his wife in which he described Babylon. This letter is included in his book They Wrote on Clay, xi-xv. The following excerpts describe vividly the fulfillment of the prophecies.

“On all sides is desert…. The large network of canals…is now represented by a series of small mounds of dirt, running in all directions. Even the Euphrates has abandoned this land by changing its course… The sun has just now disappeared and a purple sky smiles, unmindful of this scene of desolation…

“A dead city. I have visited Pompeii and Ostia, and I have taken walks along the empty corridors of the Palatine. But those cities are not dead; they are only temporarily abandoned… Here only is real death. Not a column or an arch still stands to demonstrate the permanency of human work. Everything has crumbled into dust…

“Under my feet are some holes which have been burrowed by foxes and jackals… It is beginning to be really dark, and the plaintive song of the Arab has ceased. Nothing breaks the deathly silence…”

Now read the prophecy of Isaiah regarding Babylon.

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. It will never be inhabited or lived in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there; no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there. But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there wild goats will dance. Hyenas will cry in its towers, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged. (Isaiah 13:19-22 ESV)

In 1970, eight years before Saddam Hussein began his rule, I had the opportunity to take a group of Christians to Iraq. The photo below is my favorite one of the mound of ancient Babylon. I sometimes show it with a caption from Jeremiah 51:27 – “Babylon shall become a heap of ruins.”

The mound of ancient Babylon in 1970. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The mound of ancient Babylon in 1970. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

As a little flash from the past I thought I would share this 1970 photo made in front of a small Ishtar gate replica that served as the entry to the ruins of Babylon.

Ferrell Jenkins and Ferrell Jenkins, Jr. at the entry to ancient Babylon.

Ferrell Jenkins and Ferrell Jenkins, Jr. at the entry to ancient Babylon.

Notice that the tour was 21 days long. We visited Rome, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, London, and Lisbon. The cost from New York, including all meals was – drum roll – $1,198!

Reading the Blogs # 3

Michael J. Kruger (canon fodder) has written a review of each episode of the History Channel’s Bible Secrets Revealed. He says the series has reminded him of two critical truths:

1. Our popular culture is prone to distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Bible. I was struck again by how sensationalistic and misleading popular-level programming can actually be when it comes to the Bible.  Although this series had some good moments, as a whole I was disappointed to see the History Channel offer the standard Da Vinci Code-style approach to the Bible.

2. The church must be equipped to respond to these sorts of critiques.  Given the high-profile nature of the History Channel (and similar style programming), the average person we are trying to reach is going to be exposed to this type of material.  And we need to be ready to offer some answers if we expect non-Christians to give the biblical message a hearing.

The six reviews cover a wide variety of topics of interest to many people.

  1. Lost in Transmission
  2. The Promised Land
  3. The Forbidden Scriptures
  4. The Real Jesus
  5. Mysterious Prophecies
  6. Sex and the Scriptures

Begin here on canon fodder for links to each of the reviews.

Kruger is President and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological
Seminary, Charlotte. You will find much useful material on this blog.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Çatalhöyük. Polish archaeologists have discovered containers of barley, said to be 8,200 years old from the Neolithic period, at Çatalhöyük in Turkey.

The largest so far known in the Middle East amount of grain of the Neolithic period in a perfect state of preservation has been discovered by Polish archaeologists in Çatalhöyük, a famous archaeological site in Turkey. Çatalhöyük is one of the largest urban centers of first farmers and one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

Read the report, with photo, here.

Preserving Tal Al Umayri in Jordan. Many archaeological sites are in danger of destruction. Tal Al Umayri, south of Amman, Jordan, is going to become an archaeological park. The site is on private property. Now the owners have agreed to give the land for the project. Details here.

New Museum in Petra, Jordan. The report here says,

According  to the Petra National Trust, it was visited by around 450,000 people in  2013, though this was a significant drop from 2010’s record number of 975,000 visitors. Officials hope the new museum will encourage tourists to spend more time in the ancient city. It will present the history of Petra and the Nabataeans, as well as house antiquities, but it is unclear what this means for the site’s two existing museums: the Petra Nabataean Museum, opened in 1994, and the Petra Archaeological Museum, opened in 1963.

HT: Steven Braman

The Roman Theater at Petra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman Theater at Petra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Old Testament Bibliography by Ray Clendenen. Here is the info from Charles Savelle at Bible X.

You can access Ray Clendenen’s recently revised 385-page Old Testament bibliography here. Note: you have to have an account with academia.edu to access it but if you don’t already have an account,signing up is free.

A Dictionary of the Bible. This five-volume set is now on Community Pricing at Logos. A bid of $15.00 will secure a set in Logos digital format. Information is here.

A Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings.

A Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings. The work will be in digital format for use with Logos Bible Software.

It is true that this is an old work first published between 1893 and 1905, but it contains some excellent material. The five volumes contain 4,718 page. The projected price of $15 is less than you might pay for a paperback with one good idea in it.

I have owned the hardback set for many years and am anxious to include these volumes in my Logos 5. Logos needs some more orders to produce this set of books. Let’s pull together. Once the work is published in digital format the price will be $99.95.

Church History book available for Kindle

Do you have a good book on Church History? I have observed that many church members are generally ignorant of church history. A few months ago I learned that two books by Zondervan were to be available in Kindle format for $3.99 each. The second volume in the series was available, but there was some delay in getting the first volume online. Volume two is available today for $3.99. For how long I do not know.

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Everett Ferguson’s Church History ,Volume One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context: 1, is currently available for the Kindle for $3.99. The regular price for the Kindle edition is $44.99. This book begins with the historical setting for the coming of Christ and the establishment of the church. It ends at about 1300 A.D.

Ferguson is widely respected as a scholar in early church history. With a Ph.D. from Harvard, he is professor emeritus of Bible and distinguished scholar-in-residence at Abilene Christian University. He is author of several books on early Christianity.

An eBook like this could be helpful for travelers visiting the Bible lands. In Turkey, for example, one sees the development of the Church Councils. In Italy there is the rise of the papacy and Catholicism. The Crusades involved numerous countries, including Israel. Sections on monasticism and the rise of Islam can be helpful as well. Ferguson also covers the “Dark Ages” and sets the stage for the earliest Reformation efforts.

Our photo shows ruins of The Church of Mary, also called the Church Council Church, at Ephesus. In A.D. 431 the Council of Ephesus was conducted here.

Church Council Church at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Church of Mary (Church Council Church) at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Hiking Abraham’s footsteps

The full title of this Haaretz article is “Hiking in Abraham’s footsteps, from Turkey to the Holy Land.” Sounds incredible at the moment. To hike this complete trail from Haran (Genesis 12:4) to Beersheba (Genesis 21:31) (not to mention the trip to Egypt) requires travel in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority (West Bank).

Among the leaders back of the concept is David Landis and his wife Anna Dintaman, developers of the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Their book, Hiking the Jesus Trail and Other Biblical Walks in the Galilee, is worthwhile even for those who do not plan to walk the trail.

Larry Haverstock walked the Jesus Trail in 2011. I see that Larry’s posts about the experience is still available on his blog. See the 3rd Journey. You will find some fascinating stories along with beautiful photos you may never see from a bus or car.

Larry Haverstock in the Zippori Forest north of Nazareth.

Larry Haverstock in the Zippori Forest north of Nazareth.

The link to the Haaretz article may be accessed here. In order to read the full article you must register for free access to 10 articles a month.

Don’t expect to walk the Abraham Path from Haran (in Turkey) to Beersheva [Beersheba], but you might be able to walk small portions of the trail everywhere except the part going through Syria.

There are many hiking trails in Israel, but most of these avoid contact with the Palestinian Authority. The new plan seeks to involve the local people in the development of facilities useful to hikers.

If you like hiking, or if you appreciate the geography of the Bible lands you will probably enjoy the article. Abraham Path has a nice web site with maps and photos here.

I don’t know what, if any, relationship there is between the Abraham  Path and the Patriarchs Way, a trail that is said to run from Beersheba to Nazareth. The defacing of the sign to eradicate the Arabic indicates one of the problems either trail might face. One often sees this sort of thing on signs pointing to Christian sites.

Sign pointing to Patriarchs Way off Hebron Road (Hwy. 60) south of Bethlehem . Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign pointing to Patriarchs Way off Hebron Road (Hwy. 60) south of Bethlehem . Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Walk the Land : A Journey on Foot through Israel, by Judith Galblum Pex, is a fascinating account of a couple who walked the Israel Trail from Eilat to Dan.