Monthly Archives: March 2013

Crucified skeleton found near Jerusalem

The Romans were adept at crucifixion, according to many historical sources. The first archaeological evidence of crucifixion was uncovered in 1978 [1968; see comments] when an ossuary (bone box, or receptacle) was found north of Jerusalem containing the bones of a man who had been crucified. His name was “Yehohanan, the son of Hagakol.” He is thought to have been between 24 and 28 years of age, and was about 5 feet 6 inches in height.

Both the ossuary and a replica of the heel bone are displayed in the Israel Museum. When Yehohanan was removed from the cross the nail pulled away from the wood.

Ankle bone of a man crucified outside Jerusalem in Roman times. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Nail through the heel bone of a man crucified outside Jerusalem in Roman times. Display in Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

On Pentecost, Peter proclaimed the truth about Jesus. He said,

This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. (Acts 2:23 NIV)

No ossuary, or bones belonging to Jesus, have ever been found. The angel at the empty tomb of Jesus announced to the women who had gone to complete the burial,

He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. (Matthew 28:6 NET)

Rock tomb with rolling stone near Jezreel Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rock tomb with rolling stone near Jezreel Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

SourceFlix has posted a nice brief video of Passion Week Archaeology here.
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Florida College Lectures on Logos Pre-pub

Yesterday I explained a little about Logos Bible Software and their Community Pricing and Pre-publication Specials. Today I want to tell you about a set of Pre-pub books that are of special interest to me.

Florida College is an accredited (by the Southern Association) private liberal arts college that for decades has offered four years of Bible studies. The college does not accept funds from churches, but the board, administration and faculty are members of Churches of Christ that are often designated as non-instiutional.

Accreditation as a junior college was granted to Florida College in the mid-1950s, but the college continued to offer four years of Bible studies. Biblical Studies was the first accredited Bachelor’s degree to be offered in 1997.

Since its beginning in 1946, Florida College (earlier named Florida Christian College) conducted an annual Bible lecture program. Beginning in 1974 the main lessons in these lectureships were published in book form from the manuscripts of invited speakers. The speakers were teachers and ministers associated with Churches of Christ.

Melvin Curry followed Homer Hailey as chair of the Bible department after Hailey’s retirement in 1973. Nineteen of the volumes were edited by Curry. After that, it came my turn to edit ten volumes while I served as chair of Biblical Studies. Since my retirement in 2001, Daniel Petty has served as department chair and edited the annual lecture book.

FC Lectures 1996

There are a total of 38 volumes (1974–2011) in the series. Some of these volumes have been out of print for several years.

The Logos web site offers the following overview of the lecture books:

The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) brings you thirty-eight years of the college’s annual lectures series in complete written form. Prior to the first published lecture series in 1974, only content outlines were available.

Each volume includes fifteen or more lectures from contributors from various biblical fields, and focus on a specific theme. These themes deal with modern issues and are supported by recent scholarship. Learn what true worship entails. Discover how God can restore your life. Challenge yourself to share the gospel message. The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) (38 vols.) contains both informative and stimulating topics that allow you to apply the biblical principles found in its lectures to your daily walk with Christ.

With Logos, every word is essentially a link! Scripture references are linked directly to the Bibles in your library—both the original language texts and English translations. Logos Bible Software allows you to quickly move from the table of contents to your desired content and search entire volumes and collections by topic, title, or Scripture reference, making Logos the perfect software to expand your understanding of the Word.

How Pre-publication works. Books on Pre-pub will not be produced until Logos sees that there are enough orders to make the publication feasible. Interested customers lock in the pre-pub price. You must set up an account with Logos, but your card is not charged until the book or set is ready to deliver. You will be notified when the book is ready. At that time you have a choice to continue or cancel. You may have to wait 6 months or more until the work is ready.

The deal is great. This 38 volume set of Florida College Lectures is available on Pre-pub for $74.95. This set is scheduled to sell for $174 when it is published. Even that is a bargain.

In order for this great resource to become a reality, Logos need a few more people to agree to buy the completed work. Help yourself, and others, in this worthy effort.

Think about these 38 volumes for $75. There are more than 600 lectures. That’s about 12 cents per lecture. Even mine are worth that. The entire collection is searchable, along with all other works you have in your Logos collection. When a Scripture reference appears, simply mouse over it and the Scripture is visible in your preferred version of the Bible.

In a previous post here I have explained that you must have a Logos base package, or already have Logos on your computer.

Logos Bible Software is the premier digital publishing format for books dealing with Biblical Studies. If you are serious about Bible study, you need to investigate Logos.

Meanwhile. Go to the Logos web site and place your Pre-pub order NOW. The sooner Logos publishes, the sooner we can begin to utilize the search features in this entire set. You can always get to the information by going to Logos.com. Look under Products for the Pre-publication Specials. The direct link to info about the Florida College Annual Lectures, with a list of every lecture, is here.

Logos Community Pricing

Logos Bible Software has a feature called Community Pricing. It works like this. A book (or set) is chosen for publication. Interested persons are asked to place a bid on the completed digital publication. When there are enough bids to pay for publication the book is published. After the initial publication, the price goes up. I have purchased many Logos publications using Community Pricing and Pre-Publication Specials.

To use the Community Pricing or Pre-Pub specials you must already have Logos (or the older Libronix) on your computer. You may purchase a base package from Logos (here), or buy a relatively inexpensive set of books from someone like Rejoice Christian Software. I suggestion you buy something like the  Baker New Testament Commentary ($79.95 here), the Norman Geisler Apologetics CD-Rom Library ($29.95 here), or one of the other great specials they offer.

thompson_land-and-the-bookHere is a Community Pricing special too good to miss for anyone interested in the land of the Bible: The Land and the Book by William M. Thomson. This is an old work that is rich in information about the land and the culture of the Bible land.

Rich with scriptural landmarks and filled with hundreds of beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations, Thomson’s The Land and the Book has been a popular classic for over 100 years. Learn more about the people, places, and historical events behind the text you’re studying. Incorporate pictures, illustrations, and graphics into sermons, school papers, or Sunday school lesson plans. Whether you are a student, pastor, scholar, or layperson, the 3-volume Land and the Book is a must-have resource for Bible study or reading.

A work like this does not replace current studies, but it supplements them. Just go to Logos (here) and bid $18 on this work. If it sells for less you will pay less.
In the next post I will share another special pre-pub bargain.

Locusts video from Israel

Recently we mentioned the plague of locusts that devastated crops in Egypt. The southern portion of Israel might have been affected except for the effective use of pesticides.

When Joel Kramer, Executive Director of SourceFlix, learned that the locusts were in the southern part of Israel he drove from Jerusalem through the Negev and wilderness to photograph the locusts near the Egyptian border. He shares this with us in a high quality video here.

Joel includes wording from the book of Exodus 10 to remind us of the biblical plague of locusts in the time of Moses.

The writer of Proverbs describes the locusts this way:

 the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; (Proverbs 30:27 ESV)

In studying the book of Revelation, I am impressed at the way in which locust plagues, which were (and still are) common in the Middle East, are used in the sounding of the fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-11). The comparison between the locusts and a literal army in their movement and damage is impressive.

 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,
8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth;
9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.
10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. (Revelation 9:7-10 ESV)

HT: Bible Places Blog.

Hidden treasure

The discovery of hidden treasure is fairly common in and near ancient sites. Individuals may not have a bank account, but they keep the funds they have stored in what they consider a safe place.

The photo below shows a clay jar with a hoard of silver coins displayed in the Samsun (Turkey) Archaeological Museum. These coins date from the Roman Imperial Period (69-79 A.D. and 238/244 A.D.). The earliest coins are not far removed from the time of the delivery of Peter’s Epistles to saints in Pontus and other Roman provinces (1 Peter 1:1). For more information about the delivery of Peter’s Epistles, see here.

For more information about the museum, check here and here.

Hoard of Roman coins displayed in Samsun Archaeological Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Roman coins displayed in Samsun Archaeological Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Photos such as this remind us of several Biblical passages. For today, consider Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding what he was to teach those who set their hope on the uncertainty of riches.

 17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)

Restoration of historic sections of Izmir (biblical Smyrna)

Izmir is looking for local input on a restoration plan of the historic areas of Kadifekale and the agora.

On my last visit to Izmir I could see new work underway, especially in the area of the agora. The city now is developing a plan to restore an area of the city to make it more desirable for local citizens as well as tourists.

An article in Hurriyet Daily News (here) reports,

Municipal authorities in İzmir are calling for public participation amid an ambitious new project to redevelop some of the Aegean province’s most famous tourists sites in a bid to draw more visitors.

“We want to share ideas with scientists and the residents of İzmir. If we cannot get the support of citizens, it will not be possible to realize this project,” İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu said.

Our first photo shows a portion of the Roman agora. The arches which appear to be at ground level are actually the lower level of a two-story building.

The Roman agora of Izmir, biblical Smyrna. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman agora of Izmir, biblical Smyrna. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The second photo was made from the agora, with a view of Kadifekale. The word Kadifekale means velvet castle. In ancient times this hill was called Mount Pagos. The article mentions plans to include a restored area on the mountain, including the theater which was built on the hillside. Mark Wilson says the ancient theater, now build over by houses, seated 16,000 persons (Biblical Turkey, 312).

A view of Kadifekale (Mount Pagos) from the agora. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A view of Kadifekale (Mount Pagos) from the agora. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Smyrna is mentioned in the Bible as the location of one of the Seven Churches addressed in the book of Revelation (the Apocalypse).

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. (Revelation 2:8 ESV; see also 1:11)

Here’s hoping for a speedy and accurate restoration of the ancient city.
HT: Jack Sasson

“Rejoice and be glad” you are not in Jerusalem

U.S. President Barack H. Obama plans a visit to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, beginning Wednesday. Preparations are already under way. Arutz Sheva 7 reports here on the problems already evident.

In addition to the fact that Jerusalem is now one of the most difficult cities to navigate (my opinion based on 47 years of travel experience), the Passover is approaching. Jewish families must make many special preparations.

The President will be staying at the famous King David Hotel. If you planned to visit the Herodian Family Tomb behind the hotel, just forget it for a few days.

Over 5,000 police will be directly involved in providing security for Obama and his entourage, while hundreds of others will be helping out in indirect ways. For example, over 100 officers will be added to the police help line specifically to deal with issues called in by citizens relating to the Obama visit. Police will keep citizens updated on all aspects of the visit by phone and through social media.

Over 1,000 police alone will be deployed around the King David Hotel, where Obama will be staying, and will follow Obama around as he pays visits to people and institutions during his three day visit here.

Here is a photo of the King David Hotel from across the western part of the Hinnom Valley. It was taken either from the Protestant Cemetery, the Campus of Jerusalem University College, or a few meters to the north of that.

King David Hotel from the slope of Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

King David Hotel from the slope of Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Take a look at some of the traffic problems.

Already on Sunday, long before Obama arrives, traffic in Jerusalem was extremely choked, as police began setting up barricades, and many Jerusalemites took to the road to finish their Passover shopping while the roads are still open.

Among the roads to be closed sporadically during Obama’s visit will be Road 1, between Ben Gurion Airport and the entrance to Jerusalem, as well as main Jerusalem thoroughfares such as Herzl Boulevard and Derech Hevron [Hebron Road]. Police said they will make every effort to ensure that roads are closed only of absolutely necessary.

Several years ago I was in Jerusalem when President Clinton came to visit. Our hotel was far from the Old City, but policemen were stationed about a block apart. Nations normally enjoy these high level visits, but I am not sure this current one means very much, but it keeps Air Force One running. (O.K., you have a right to your opinion.)

HT: Barry Britnell