hey, i would like to share with you about my passion for the Old Testament (OT). my students call me 'rabbi' or 'reb' for short.
the reb's passion in life (apart from God and wife and family) is the OT.
you might have guessed by now - the reb teaches the OT in a seminary. he also does a lot of weekend teaching and preaching in churches.
The bust of Queen Nefertiti. Photo: Philip Pikart’s image is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Has the ancient Egyptian artist who created the famous bust of Nefertiti been identified? French Egyptologist Alain Zivie certainly thinks so. In a recent article in Arts & Cultures,1 the annual publication of the Musée Barbier-Müller, Zivie demonstrates that we have very good reasons to believe that a 14th-century B.C. Egyptian artist named Thutmose was the skilled artisan who memorialized Nefertiti’s visage in stone and plaster.
Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten, pharaoh of Egypt in the mid-14th century B.C. In the fifth year of his reign, Akhenaten moved the capital from Memphis to Akhetaten (modern Tell el-Amarna), a new city he established on the east side of the Nile River. During Akhenaten’s reign, new styles of Egyptian art were adopted—with one of the most iconic pieces of art from this period being the bust of Nefertiti. It is debated whether the famous bust idealized the queen’s beauty.
This ancient clay tablet was acquired along with other Babylonian antiquities in 2011 by the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq. Researchers discovered that the tablet contained passages from the Gilgamesh Epic. Photo: “Tablet V of the Epic of Gligamesh” by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP (Glasg). Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.
Tablet V of the ancient Mesopotamian Gilgamesh Epic tells the story of the heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu as they combat Humbaba, the monstrous guardian of the Cedar Forest. Two ancient clay tablets securely represent the story that unfolds in Tablet V: a Neo-Assyrian tablet fromNineveh and a Late Babylonian tablet from Uruk. Now, an ancient clay tablet acquired in recent years by the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraqoffers new insights into the adventures of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu.
The earliest known texts of the Gilgamesh Epic were written by the Sumerians, the first literate civilization inMesopotamia, in the third millennium B.C.E. By the end of the second millennium B.C.E., the epic story developed into an 11-tablet text. Assyrian scribes added an additional tablet describing Gilgamesh’s preparations for death and journey to the underworld in the eighth century B.C.E.
The Sulaymaniyah Museum tablet is a copy of Tablet V of the so-called Standard Babylonian version of the Gilgamesh Epic. Assyriologists Farouk Al-Rawi and Andrew George, both of SOAS, University of London, studied the tablet together over five days in the Sulaymaniyah Museum and published their findings in 2014.1 Inscribed by hand incuneiform, the writing system of “wedge-shaped” signs used throughout the Near East in the first four millennia B.C.E., the partially broken tablet measures 4.3 by 3.7 inches and is 1.2 inches thick.
While the provenance of the Gilgamesh tablet is unknown, the researchers state in their paper that it’s “highly probable that [the tablet] was unearthed at a Babylonian site.”
“The only evidence for the time of writing of an undated cuneiform tablet is paleography,” Andrew George told Bible History Daily. “In my opinion, having read many tablets of Old Babylonian and Neo-Babylonian date, the script of the Sulaymaniyah Gilgamesh tablet […] is a typical Neo-Babylonian script, probably—and here things are more subjective—not later than the sixth century B.C.E.”
The unassuming slab of limestone doesn’t look like much. It’s crudely fractured and chipped on the sides, pockmarked with age, and is perched not too prominently on a shelf at the Israel Museum. But its smoothly hewn face and crisply etched Greek letters still bearing faint traces of red paint belie monumental significance.
“If we talk about the closest thing to the Temple we have,” said David Mevorach, senior curator of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Archaeology, “on the Temple Mount, this was closest.”
Two millennia ago, the block served as one of several Do Not Enter signs in the Second Temple in Jerusalem, delineating a section of the 37-acre complex which was off-limits for the ritually impure — Jews and non-Jews alike. Written in Greek (no Latin versions have survived), they warned: “No foreigner may enter within the balustrade around the sanctuary and the enclosure. Whoever is caught, on himself shall he put blame for the death which will ensue.”
There are actually two extant copies of the warning notices — a partial one here in Jerusalem at the Israel Museum, and a second, complete, one in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum — and they are among a small handful of artifacts conclusively belonging to the shrine built by Herod toward the end of the first century CE. Contemporary accounts mentioned their existence, and 1,800 years after the Temple’s destruction, a French archaeologist found a complete copy that had been incorporated into the wall of a Muslim school in Jerusalem’s Old City.
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GREEK GOD PAN. The Pan mask unearthed at Hippos, Israel, depicts a youth with horns, pointed ears and strands of a goat beard. Photo: M. Eisenberg
In November 2014, the team at Antiochia Hippos, Israel, uncovered an extraordinary artifact—a large bronze mask of the Greek god Pan (or Faunus in the Roman pantheon). The mask depicts a young man with small horns on his head, a forelock, long pointed ears and strands of a goat beard. With glazed, furious eyes and a gaping mouth, the Pan mask appears to watch the passing world.
Michael Eisenberg, Director of the Hippos-Sussita Excavations, details this new discovery in “Pan at Hippos—Face of Greek God Unearthed,”published in the November/December 2015 issue ofBiblical Archaeology Review. Weighing more than 11 pounds and measuring nearly 12 inches tall, the Pan maskis made of well-cast bronze. It was discovered outside the walled city of Hippos, Israel—in a basalt tower with 6.5-foot-wide exterior walls.
Dr. Alexander Iermolin, the head conservator at the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at Haifa University, uncovered the Pan mask above a first-century C.E. floor while operating a metal detector in the basalt tower. Although the mask was not found in situ on the floor, it should also be dated to the first–second centuries C.E.
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in May 2011. It has been updated.—Ed.
In 2004, the stepped remains of the ancient Siloam Pool, long thought to be located elsewhere, were uncovered near the City of David. According to the Gospel of John, it was at this sacred Christian site that Jesus healed the blind man. Photo: Todd Bolen/BiblePlaces.com.
The Siloam Pool has long been considered a sacred Christian site, even if the correct identification of the site itself was uncertain. According to the Gospel of John, it was at the Siloam Pool whereJesus healed the blind man (John 9:1–11).
Traditionally, the Christian site of the Siloam Pool was the pool and church that were built by the Byzantine empress Eudocia (c. 400–460 A.D.) to commemorate the miracle recounted in the New Testament. However, the exact location of the original pool as it existed during the time of Jesus remained a mystery until June 2004.
During construction work to repair a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at the southern end of the ridge known as the City of David, archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron identified two ancient stone steps. Further excavation revealed that they were part of a monumental pool from the Second Temple period, the period in which Jesus lived. The structure Reich and Shukron discovered was 225 feet long, with corners that are slightly greater than 90 degrees, indicating a trapezoidal shape, with the widening end oriented toward Tyropoeon valley.
The Siloam Pool is adjacent to the area in the ancient City of David known as the King’s Garden and is just southeast of the remains of the fifth-century church and pool traditionally believed to be the sacred Christian site.
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