Thursday, 22 December 2011

turin shroud - uv light?

Scientists say Turin Shroud image created by ultraviolet lasers

The Turin Shroud
The exact origins of the Turin Shroud remain a great mystery, butscientists are now disputing the long-held belief that the religious artifact is a medieval forgery.
Italian researchers at the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development say they believe the image was created by an ultraviolet "flash of light." However, if that theory is true, it remains a mystery as to exactly how that technology could have been implemented at the time of the Shroud's creation. While the technology is readily available in present day, it was far beyond the means of anyone around pre-20th Century.
The Turin Shroud is said to be the burial cloth of Jesus, but has long been believed to be a fake, created during medieval times. It is currently kept in a climate-controlled case in Turin cathedral. Scientists at the Italian agency have reportedly spent years attempting to recreate the Shroud's imagery. 'The results show a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,' the scientists said.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

ancient texts

A trove of newly translated texts from the ancient Middle East are revealing accounts of war, the building of pyramidlike structures called ziggurats and even the people's use of beer tabs at local taverns.
The 107 cuneiform texts, most of them previously unpublished, are from the collection of Martin Schøyen, a businessman from Norway who has a collection of antiquities.
The texts date from the dawn of written history, about 5,000 years ago, to a time about 2,400 years ago when the Achaemenid Empire (based in Persia) ruled much of the Middle East.
The team's work appears in the newly published book "Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection" (CDL Press, 2011). [Photos of the ancient texts]
Nebuchadnezzar's tower
Among the finds is a haunting, albeit partly lost, inscription in the words of King Nebuchadnezzar II, a ruler of Babylon who built a great ziggurat — massive pyramidlike towers built in ancient Mesopotamia — dedicated to the god Marduk about 2,500 years ago.
The inscription was carved onto a stele, a stone slab used for engraving. It includes a drawing of the ziggurat and King Nebuchadnezzar II himself.
Some scholars have argued that the structure inspired the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. In the inscription, Nebuchadnezzar talks about how he got people from all over the world to build the Marduk tower and a second ziggurat at Borsippa.
for the rest of the article, read below:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

jewish menorah

Understanding the Jewish Menorah

Does this ancient menorah graffito show the Temple menorah?

Understanding the Jewish Menorah
Does this recently excavated ancient menorah graffito show us what the Temple menorah looked like?
The Jewish menorah—especially the Temple menorah, a seven-branched candelabra that stood in the Temple—is the most enduring and iconic Jewish symbol. But what did the Temple menorah actually look like?
In early August, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) issued a press release announcing the discovery of “an engraving of the Temple menorah on a stone object” in a 2,000-year-old drainage channel near the City of David, which is being excavated by Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron. (An unusually well preserved iron sword in its leather scabbard, which presumably belonged to a Roman soldier, was also found there.) The IAA release went on to say that “a passerby who saw the [Temple] menorah with his own eyes … incised his impressions on a stone.” The excavators were quoted as saying that this graffito “clarifies [that] the base of the original [ancient] menorah … was apparently tripod shaped.”
But does it?
Depictions of the Jewish menorah with a tripod, or three-legged, base were indeed quite popular in late antique Judaism (fourth–sixth centuries C.E.). This can be seen clearly on the mosaic floors of several synagogues (Hammath Tiberias, Beth-Shean, Beth Alpha and Nirim), not to mention inscribed plaques, oil lamps and even a tiny gold ring from the fifth century.
Although there is thus later artistic support for a tripod-based Jewish menorah, the evidence from the late Second Temple period, when the ancient menorah was still standing in the Temple, is rather different. The handful of contemporaneous depictions we have seem to show the Jewish menorah with a solid, usually triangular base. These include the fragmentary ancient menorah graffito discovered by the late Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad in his excavation of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, multiple coins of the last Hasmonean king Mattathias Antigonus (40–37 B.C.E.) and the decorated stone table recently discovered at Magdala. (The Temple menorah pictured on the Arch of Titus in Rome has an unusual octagonal tiered base that is usually rejected as unrealistic.) Therefore this newly discovered crude drawing of a Jewish menorah hardly settles the question of what the Temple menorah’s base looked like.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

jerusalem markings

Experts stumped by ancient Jerusalem markings

JERUSALEM (AP) — Mysterious stone carvings made thousands of years ago and recently uncovered in an excavation underneathJerusalem have archaeologists stumped.
Israeli diggers who uncovered a complex of rooms carved into the bedrock in the oldest section of the city recently found the markings: Three "V'' shapes cut next to each other into the limestone floor of one of the rooms, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep and 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. There were no finds to offer any clues pointing to the identity of who made them or what purpose they served.
The archaeologists in charge of the dig know so little that they have been unable even to posit a theory about their nature, said Eli Shukron, one of the two directors of the dig.
"The markings are very strange, and very intriguing. I've never seen anything like them," Shukron said.
The shapes were found in a dig known as the City of David, a politically sensitive excavation conducted by Israeli government archaeologists and funded by a nationalist Jewish group under the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem. The rooms were unearthed as part of the excavation of fortifications around the ancient city's only natural water source, the Gihon spring.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

israel museum remodelled and expanded

The Collections of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Archaeology in Israel is brought to life in a new book on the collections of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Collections of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
A dedicatory inscription from the Rehov synagogue is one of the treasures of Israel archaeology that is published for the first time in the Israel Museum’s new book.
The recent expansion and remodeling of the Israel Museum (Jerusalem) features a lavish new installation of archaeological treasures collected from decades of excavations, donations and acquisitions. While the museum collections contain artifacts from civilizations around the world, Israel archaeology is the primary emphasis of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Celebrating this collection is the publication of the beautifully illustrated, full-color Chronicles of the Land: Archaeology in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Archaeology in Israel is the focus of this compendium of the Israel Museum’s collections, edited by Michal Dayagi-Mendels and Silvia Rozenberg. Reviewed by Steven Fine of Yeshiva University, the text is more than just a beautiful coffee table book or tourist souvenir. Fine points out that the book also serves as a guide to Israel archaeology for the knowledgeable layperson. He also commends the editors for including lesser-known treasures brought to light by recent archaeology in Israel, such as the Heliodorus inscription, while still highlighting the more famous jewels of Israel archaeology, like the Tel Dan stela.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

the jewish annotated new testament - a review

Jews Reading the New Testament

    Is that just another way of saying, “Jews behaving badly”? Not according to Amy-Jill Levine, the co-editor, along with Marc Zvi Brettler, of The Jewish Annotated New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). “The more I study New Testament,” Dr. Levine told the New York Times, “the better Jew I become.”
    Why is it the case that Jews plumb the depths of their own faith even as they read the New Testament? Writing from the perspective of Jewish scholars, Levine and Brettler put it thusly in their preface (xii-xiii): “there is much in the New Testament that we find both meaningful and compelling.” ‘[M]any of the passages in the New Testament provide an excellent encapsulation of basic, ongoing, Jewish values.” There are even passages in the New Testament Jews will find “deeply compelling” to the point of eliciting what the editors call – borrowing a phrase from Krister Stendahl – “holy envy.” The example given: Paul’s unsurpassed description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.1 
    The Jewish Annotated New Testament, hereafter JANT in this review, is meant to meet the needs of discrete (and occasionally overlapping) sets of readers: (1) Jews, (2) Christians, and (3) readers who approach the New Testament without any intention to appropriate what they learn within the framework of a Jewish or Christian metanarrative. JANT annotates the New Testament without attempting to persuade the reader to embrace a non-Christian perspective on the text. At the same time, it models a critical, empathetic, non-Christian reading of the New Testament at every turn.

Monday, 28 November 2011

wooden ramp to al-alqsa mosue

we were there last month and saw the wooden ramp. still packed with people going up.
if they need to replace it, stop politicizing the issue. until the bridge falls down and someone dies, they will blame the israelis.

church of nativity needs new roof

if it needs repair, it needs. but disagreements over the centuries have allowed some beautiful mosaics to ebbadly affected.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

did herod build the wailing wall?

New find sheds light on ancient site in Jerusalem

The man usually credited with building the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary is Herod, a Jewish ruler who died in 4 B.C. Herod's monumental compound replaced and expanded a much older Jewish temple complex on the same site.
But archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority now say diggers have found coins underneath the massive foundation stones of the compound's Western Wall that were stamped by a Roman proconsul 20 years after Herod's death. That indicates that Herod did not build the wall — part of which is venerated as Judaism's holiest prayer site — and that construction was not close to being complete when he died.
"The find changes the way we see the construction, and shows it lasted for longer than we originally thought," said the dig's co-director, Eli Shukron.
The four bronze coins were stamped around 17 A.D. by the Roman official Valerius Gratus. He preceded Pontius Pilate of the New Testament story as Rome's representative in Jerusalem, according to Ronny Reich of Haifa University, one of the two archaeologists in charge of the dig.

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