Hagia Sophia in Trabzon

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On a cliff overlooking the vast Black Sea stands Hagia Sophia Church.  No not the more famous one in Istanbul, but rather its baby sister, so to speak.   One of the last things Mark Fairchild and I did before going to the Ephesus meeting and lecturing was visit this church.  You never know what to expect, but as it turns out, this church is spectacular.  Like all such churches in Turkey which are in good shape, it is a museum today.  Part of the history many will not know is that while these chur … [Read more...]

Underground Christian Cities—- Aydin Tepe

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On the road in Turkey one sees many interesting things if you keep your eyes open, including storks feeding their babies on the top of electrical poles.  But something that is never evident to the naked eye above ground is the evidence for underground Christianity in Turkey.  And there is plenty of evidence.  In blogs from last summer (see my blogs at Beliefnet) I talked about the underground cities in Capadoccia but this is not the only place they are found.  In fact there is one at the small vi … [Read more...]

More Hobbit News


My Kiwi spies have confirmed that the official titles and release dates for the two part Hobbit movie are as follows: 1)  the first movie will be out December 2012 and will be subtitled  An Unexpected Journey; and 2) the second movie will bear the name of the Tolkien book itself There and Back Again and will be out in December 2013.It has also been confirmed that Orlando Bloom will return as Legolas, and also that we are going to see the epic tale of the White Council and the battle of Dol G … [Read more...]

Christian Scholars Conference Next week at Pepperdine— June 16-18


Next week there is a large Christian Scholars Conference at Pepperdine in Malibu, where both Francis Collins and John Polkinghorne will be speaking at the sessions on faith and science, and in other sessions my textbook New Testament Rhetoric will be reviewed and critiqued by a variety of top drawer scholars.     My portion of the conference is on Thursday June 16th, morning and evening.  Ya'll come.Thomas H. Olbricht, Pepperdine University, Convener: “Major Review Session: Ben Wither … [Read more...]

A Great Christian City Abandoned— The Story of Ani

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The drive to the medieval city of Ani was along a two lane road to nowhere.  The road simply stopped when you got to the castle entrance to the city ruins.  Along the way you felt already there was something strange--- the landscape was beautifully green but there were no trees---- anywhere to be seen.    My friend Mark Fairchild assured me that this place was well worth the drive from Kars and I took his word for it.  It was a drive to the river separating Armenia and Turkey.  There is no traffi … [Read more...]

Crown in Darkness— An Early Doherty Novel


Sometimes it is a help to a writer like myself, or at least a relief, to discover that other writers also learned on the job, honed their craft over time, and became better novelists as time went on.  Crown in Darkness is an early Hugh Corbett mystery set in Scotland involving solving a mysterious regicide and it shows some of the talismans of an early novel.    Here is the description on Amazon----1286 and on a storm-ridden night King Alexander III of Scotland is riding across the Firth of … [Read more...]

Hasan—- The 'Guardian of the Ark'

Down the road and indeed across the road that heads to the Iranian border is a little site about 30 or so miles from the actual Mt. Ararat.  The sign you see to the right attests to the Turkish name of the site.Now this site became somewhat famous in the 1980s due to the claim of one American named Wyatt that the imprint of the bottom of the ark had been found at this locale.  And so much work was done, some interesting fossils were found, a little ark museum was set up, and a local resident o … [Read more...]

Down from Ararat

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Mt. Ararat is one big beautiful mountain, still snow covered at the end of May.   The Bible in fact does not tell us Noah landed precisely here.   What Gen. 8.4 in fact says is he came to rest on the mountains (plural) of Ararat, or as a better rendering would be, on the mountains of the Urartu range, which frankly range quite a ways to the south of Mt. Ararat.  Modern Ararat itself is twin peaked, and is not part of a range, as pictures will attest.   Furthermore, the high altitude of Mt. Ararat … [Read more...]

Noah's Ark Lands in the Netherlands

O.K. so I am minding my business coming home from Turkey during which time I visited many places including Mt. Ararat and the Gobeckli Tepe Temple.   And I open the International Herald Tribune and there is a picture of a life-sized ark--- already built and floating in Dordrecht in the Netherlands.   Who knew?   I thought Noah landed in the Urartu mountain ranges somewhere, but apparently not.   Or perhaps he went into the cruise lines venture after the flood, as this boat is a tourist attract … [Read more...]