Tag Archives: Carl Rasmussen

A synagogue on the island of Delos

In the previous post we mentioned that there were numerous synagogues used by Jews of the Diaspora. Paul visited synagogues in many of the cities where he preached.

During his Spring travels, Dr. Carl Rasmussen visited the Greek island of Delos. Delos is one of those places that can only be reached with much effort. Carl has graciously granted permission for me to use a couple of his photos here. The first one shows a view to the west, southwest, showing various rooms of the synagogue. Note the “Moses Seat” in the upper right of the photo. The entrance is visible in the lower left.

Delos synagogue. Photo by HolyLandPhotos.

Delos synagogue. Photo by Carl Rasmussen, HolyLandPhotos.

The second photo shows a close up of the “Moses Seat” and the marble seats on each side. You may click on the photos for larger images provided by Dr. Rasmussen at the HolyLandPhotos’ Blog.

Delos synagogue. Photo by Carl Rasmussen, HolyLandPhotos.

Delos synagogue. Photo by Carl Rasmussen, HolyLandPhotos.

This large synagogue dates to the mid-second century B.C. Two inscriptions found in 1979-80 indicate that the worshipers here (Israelites) were likely Samaritans who revered Argarizein (Mount Gerizim). (See Kraabel, “New Evidence of the Samaritan Diaspora has been Found on Delos.” BA 47:1; 1984).

The Moses Seat. We commonly identify a special seat like the one in this synagogue as the Seat of Moses. Jesus may have made reference to such a seat (Matthew 23:2-3). For more information about the “Moses Seat” see here. Michael White suggests at least the possibility that this seat may be a “Proedrion, either for the major donor (or patron) or for the leader of the group” (HTR 80:2 (1987). I don’t see that this changes the fact that a reader and teacher of the Law might sit here.

If you have any interest in the synagogues scattered over the Mediterranean world, you will want to visit the HolyLandPhotos’ Blog here.

Tradition has it that Delos is the birthplace of Apollo, the son of Zeus, and his twin sister Artemis.

Marble head of Apolls from Perga. Second century A.D. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Marble head of Apolls from Perga. Second century A.D. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in the Antalya Archaeological Museum.

An article by Gordon Franz a few years ago piqued my interest in Delos. He wrote on “The Synagogue On The Island Of Delos And The Epistle Of James” in Bible and Spade (18:3; 2005). Franz provides the history and geography of the island. He includes a photo of the “Samaritan inscription,” and then proceeds to use the synagogue of Delos to illustrate two passages from the Epistle of James. He discusses James 2:2-4 and selected verses from James 3.

For those who have an interest in visiting Delos, Prof. Rasmussen explains exactly how to reach the synagogue from the Delos Museum. Rasmussen is author of the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, and provides nearly 4000 thousand photos at the Holy Land Photos archive.

Photos worth 1000 words (or more)


Shmuel Browns, Israel guide and photographer, has posted the best photo of a locust that I have seen. And the photos of flowers in the Judean Desert are something most tourists never get to see. Look here.

From the top of the Great Pyramid

Carl Rasmussen, at his HolyLandPhoto’s blog, calls attention to some photos made by some Russians from the top of one of the Great Pyramid of Giza here. There you will find links to the Mail Online (British) and English Russia.

I suppose I never wished to climb the Great Pyramid, but I had two men with me in 1978 who wanted to do so. In the photo below you might be able to make out two men (Jim Puterbaugh and Bob Lyman) to the right of the marker showing the original height of the structure. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Two climbers on top of the Great Pyramid in 1978. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Two climbers on top of the Great Pyramid in 1978. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops (or Khufu) was constructed about 2500 B.C. No, not by the Israelites. That is even earlier than the biblical Patriarchs. It is said to contain more than 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each weighing an average of 2½ tons. The height was originally 479 feet, but now is 449½ feet.

It is April 1, but this is no joke.

Jerusalem Panorama

Look at this great high resolution panorama of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives here. Spend some time with it. (HT: Bible Places Blog.)

Limited time bargain on a great Bible atlas

Christianbook.com is offering Carl Rasmussen’s Zondervan Atlas of the Bible for a limited time at the unusual price of $14.99. Click here.


I can’t promise that it will still be available by the time I get this posted, but you can try.

Update Noon  12-04-12:  I see the price is now $19.99. If you have a a Prime account with Amazon (postage free), or wish to add another item, the price may be better at $22.73 for Zondervan Atlas of the Bible.

This Atlas is an extremely good one. It is well written, accurate, colorful, filled with great photos and helpful maps. Earlier this evening I emailed a notice to folks who have traveled with me recently, or who plan to, with this note:

This is an excellent book for anyone planning a tour to Israel, or anyone who has been. It should be one of your most helpful Bible study tools.

One of the ladies who traveled to Israel earlier this year replied with this note:

That is a great price. I got one before we went. I use it daily as I read and it sure brings the scriptures alive. It is much more so now that we have seen the country.

Monday meandering — August 1

My upgrade to BibleWorks 9 arrived about a week ago. I am enjoying getting acquainted with some of the new features and resources. For information see here.

Bible Works 9

Mark Hoffman has given a sort of pre-review at his Biblical Studies and Technology Tools website here. Hoffman was a beta tester for the new version.

Hoffman also talks about Logos for Android here. As a user of Logos (Libronix) I was delighted to see this beta app for the Android. I am enjoying access to many of the Logos books and have downloaded a couple of significant volumes.

Carl Rasmussen, author of Zondervan’s Atlas of the Bible, recently visited a well preserved portion of the Caesarea aqueduct. But it is not the portion of the aqueduct that most tourists see immediately north of Caesarea. This portion is about 3 miles north-northwest of Caesarea. Nice photos included on his HolyLandsPhoto blog here.

Carl also reports that a new paved road now goes directly to Yodfat (Jotapata). This is an improvement over the hour long walk to the site. See here. He visited Qumran, caves 1 and 11. See here.

Since I wrote the two paragraphs above there is a new post about the Middle Bronze I Age tombs (2200-2000 B.C.) located about 16 miles northeast of Jerusalem at Dhahr Mirzbaneh (east of Ein Samiya). Click here.

These three posts by Prof. Rasmussen include photos with a link to additional photos at his Holy Land Photos site.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) announces that they have added Free Audio and Video at iTunes U.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has always been committed to helping others understand the reliability of our New Testaments, the history of translations, the study of the text, and significant figures who have made this possible.

Beginning today, CSNTM is making a series of videos concerning New Testament manuscripts, textual criticism, history of the New Testament, and expert commentary on key verses available as a free download on iTunes U.

Featured in the videos are interviews and footage shot around the world of important people involved in the work of the Center. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace will also be featured as he explains important aspects in the study of the text of the New Testament.

CSNTM homepage is here. The direct link to the series on Biblical Criticism at iTunes U is here. Inexpensive way to get a great education. Daniel Wallace does a superb job with these presentations. Take some time to listen and study.

Dr. Wallace will debate Bart D. Ehrman at SMU in Dallas Saturday October 1 on the subject Can We Trust the Text of the New Testament? There is a charge for admission, but perhaps this material will be available later on audio/video. Info here.