Roma Aeterna– Part Three

If you are going to spend all day at Pompeii (and Herculaneum), you need a break now and again, and something cold to drink. So we stop at the instant fresh orange juice machine, and Yuliya made us some juice. We also stopped at the cameo shop as well. There is a large industry in and around Napoli, making beautiful cameos out of conch shells.But where would you go in antiquity to eat in Pompeii? Well there were food stands of sorts, soup counters really built into the front of … [Read more...]

The Vatican Visit—Part Six

The Conference sponsored by the Ratzinger Foundation (i.e. Pope Benedict) was designed to focus on the historical Jesus, with more particular focus on Pope Benedict's three million selling books on Jesus of Nazareth (the last of which was on the Infancy Narratives in Lk. 1-2 and Mt. 1-2). Since I have already reviewed in detail these three books on this blog some time ago (the first book came out in 2005,but I reviewed them more recently), I will let you find and read those reviews. The reviews … [Read more...]

The Vatican Visit– Part Five (Tales from the Crypt)

One of the things we did in the afternoon before the gala dinner and tour of the Sistine Chapel was to visit the crypt where St. Peter is believed to have been buried. The entrance way to this underground grave yard or necropolis (which is largely an ancient pagan graveyard... but see my novel Roma Aeterna about the Christian parts of it) is on the outside of the far left side of St. Peter's near the high altar. Here are some shots of that side of St. Peter's (now nicely sandblasted) and the … [Read more...]

Bella Italia– Part Five (The Villa Borghese)

The largest park area in all of Rome has at its heart the famous Villa Borghese, which today is really the Galleria Borghese, home to lots and lots of art, including some famous Bernini statues. You take the Metro to the Piazza del Popolo, and then its the upward call of God for you... up the hill to the huge park, even bigger than Central Park in NY, which includes lots of mansions now turned into ristorantes and museums. It's quite the walk.Sometimes it seems every piazza has a stolen … [Read more...]

How the IAA and the Forensic Police Damaged the James Ossuary

Sunday, 10 November 2013 Scientific vandalism How the IAA and Israeli Police wrecked the James ossuaryStain of stupidity: The red smear left by the application of silicon by the Israel Police Forensics Laboratory in their fruitless attempt to prove forgery has contaminated the word "Yeshua" (Jesus) inscribed on the ossuary and destroyed much of the little patina that remainedBY MATTHEW KALMANTel AvivIt could be the earliest inscription of the word “Jesus” ever found, but we … [Read more...]

The Vatican Visit— Part Four

No matter how you cut it, the Sistine Chapel is one of the great frescoes of all time. Yes, Michelangelo nicked some ideas from Signorelli's Apocalypse Chapel in Orvieto. But still the execution of this amazing masterpiece is stunning. Imagine lying on your back for days at a time doing this one little square at a time. And if you understand the process of fresco, it's like painting on wet plaster... check that, it is painting on wet plaster of a sort. Check the Agony and the Ecstasy biopic … [Read more...]

The James Box Has been Freed!

I am happy to tell you that the James Ossuary, after a ten year battle, has finally been returned to Oded Golan, its rightful owner. Unfortunately, according to Golan, it has been allowed to deteriorate while in the hands of the IAA. It may or may not be up to more rigorous tests. We shall see. A decade has been wasted on a fruitless trial. Matthew Kalman has sent me his article which just appeared in the NY Daily News. First, here is some pictures of Golan recovering the box..... … [Read more...]

The Vatican Visit– Part Three

Why are these guys smiling? Well first let me tell you who they are-- they are some of the few Protestants invited to Pope Benedict's conference on the historical Jesus. There were, by my count, only four American Protestants invited, all Evangelicals--- from left to right you see Darrell Bock from Dallas, Eckhard Schmidt (not an American!) Paul Anderson from George Fox, and yours truly from Asbury. Of these, only Paul and I were asked to do papers (two Canadians Protestants were also asked--- … [Read more...]

Thor into the Dark World

By now the Marvel formula is clear--- a little smash and dash, a little romance, a little pathos, a little humor (actually this one has got more than a little), a cameo appearance of Stan Lee himself (this time as an inmate in Bedlam, the insane asylum in London), and of course a trailer after the first credits giving a preview of the next installment of the now burgeoning Marvel film series.Of course there is something different about the Thor stories from other Marvel tales in that … [Read more...]