Turkey 2016– Part 16— The Theater at Izmir(Smyrna)

Sunset over the ocean at Izmir (Smyrna). It is a beautiful seaport town with a lot of history, including a lot of Christian history. Besides the reference to the city in Revelation, there is the residence in this city of Polycarp, a martyr in the second century. Today, efforts are ongoing to unearth the ancient theater, as well as the agora dig which has been going on for years (see the next post). But the theater dig is in its very early days. Like with so many of these hilly cities, the … [Read more...]

Turkey 2016–Part 15 The Hellenistic Fortress at Lydai

Guarding the coast of the mainland of Asia Minor could not have been easy. Too many peninsula's sticking out into the water, too many coves for pirates or invaders to hide in, but it's clear that from the Hellenistic era on, if not before, the effort was made to protect the land from invasion. On the Gulet boat ride to the island of Kos we stopped in a cove over which hovered the remains of a Hellenistic fortress at Lydai, not accessible by land these days. Of course we climbed up to the top … [Read more...]

Turkey 2016 Part 14– Knidos

One of the advantages of doing the Gulet boat is you can go to places along the undulated coast of Turkey which are difficult or impossible to reach by land. One such place is the port called Knidos which St. Paul harbored off of according to Acts. 27.7. When we arrived we discovered a spectacular double port, both on the Aegean and on the Mediterranean, and it does indeed appear to be a safe haven for small boats, but also its a remote site, and there was this warning sign when it came to the … [Read more...]

Turkey 2016 Part 13— The Gulet Boat to Turtleland

Cruising down the coast in a Gulet boat with friends and great food is a blast...... and on this particular day we were entering the Dalyan river from the Aegean through a freshwater marsh jam packed with blue crabs and loggerhead turtles, that according to our guide got as big as 3 meters across.... the turtles love eating the crabs, and they lay their eggs on sandbanks in the marsh. Yep that's me on the right side of the boat, and the eager lad poking his head through the life preservers is … [Read more...]

Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait — LA Philharmonic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_814266003&feature=iv&src_vid=ahWeXfTsjuA&v=SHBKEL_VSFs … [Read more...]

Bruce Longenecker’s The Crosses of Pompeii– Part Six

BEN: As it turns out, talking about waste is not a waste of time when discussing the crosses in the streets of Pompeii. I take your point about human latrines and private toilets and the baths etc. But as you say carts pulled by animals were allowed in the streets of Pompeii, and it is unconvincing to suggest there wouldn’t be animal dung in the streets when farmers brought their produce to market in town. Yes, there may have been civic slaves with pooper scoopers of some sort, but the notion t … [Read more...]

Bruce Longenecker’s The Crosses of Pompeii– Part Five

BEN: In the streets of Ephesos, there are also things carved in the street paving stones that people walked on. Famously, there is one which seems to give directions to a brothel in town from the southern agora and port. This evidence might support the notion that things carved in paving stones were meant to be directional in character. I wonder if you have explored other ancient cities like Ephesos for such crosses? Or know of evidence of such from some other person’s scholarly w … [Read more...]

Bruce Longenecker’s The Crosses of Pompeii– Part Four

BEN: Let’s talk about apotropaic symbols, symbols meant to either ward off evil spirits and bad luck, or to encourage good luck to happen at a particular venue, or for particular people. Christians will immediately think of the blood on the lintel in the Exodus, or even the hex signs on barns in Amish country, when they think of warding off bad things. To what degree do you think devout Christians continued to carry forward such practices as they became more and more socialized into the new f … [Read more...]

Bruce Longenecker’s The Crosses of Pompeii– Part Three

BEN: Early on in your book, you have some important things to say about how apologetics can get in the way of careful accurate interpretation of historical data, including the kind of data you are focusing on in The Crosses of Pompeii. Say some more about this.BRUCE:Well, I share one particular concern with those who advocate the consensus view regarding Christianity and Pompeii – that is, archaeology should not be used as a vehicle to bolster religious agendas. This has happened far too … [Read more...]