The little skit by the minions above and the Gobeckli Tepe Temple both raise questions about what it means to be human. Are we all just hunter-gatherers moving through life driven by our urges and needs?   Or are we something much more than that?  What does it really mean to be human?   The Bible suggests that begin created in God’s image provides some sort of answer or clue.   Some scholars have thought being created in the image of God had… Read more

When we begin to think of how exactly 20 circles with monoliths weighing tons could have been put in place by ancients in 10,000 B.C.  and then we have a hard look at some of the columns themselves and see what artisans these stone masons were, carving recognizable figures of animals both in three D (way before 3 D glasses 🙂 and in simple relief, the mind begins to boggle. We are not talking here about stick figures painted on… Read more

Monasteries tend to be in out of the way and high places, for example check out the monasteries on bluffs in Meteora in Greece.  But Turkey has its own high altitude monastery which gives new meaning to the phrase high church.  Hanging off a high Turkish mountain and far from the madding crowd is the famous Sumela monastery which  Mark and I visited.   Here are two signs which explain the story of this monastery.  Like many such tales, this is… Read more

As I said in the previous post, the essence of ancient religion of was priests, temples, and sacrifices. If there is one way I would fault professor Schmidt it is that he is not taking into account the ancient literary evidence about the origins of humanity and its religion.  He is basing everything on archaeology of material remains.    Not merely the Bible but various other ancient sources like the Babylonian Genesis tales have something to say on the matter.  The… Read more

High up in the Turkish alps (as I like to call them) is a fortress that hangs above the medium sized town of Bayburt.  The fortress was in fact first built by Romans, but it was recycled and added to by many others thereafter including the Turks.  Today it is simple a museum and a favorite place for the amorous to picnic and for picture takers to have a field day taking pictures of the city below and the mountains… Read more

It took a while to get it done, but the beginning of my High Def journey with Jesus through Israel is now out— and the color and clarity is grand.  Don’t just buy the little guide book, buy the DVD.   This is intended as Bible study or Sunday school literature, but it has a variety of possible uses.   It’s fun for family devotions  retreats and youth groups as well.   ENJOY!    I am working on Part Two as we speak. Read more

In eastern Turkey about eight miles northeast of the city of Shanli-Urfa  ( aka ancient Edessa) is a high place.  The Bible has a lot to say about high places, and Gobeckli Tepe (which means pot-bellied hill) is one of them.  On a clear day, like the day I was there, you can see a hundred miles in most any direction from the top of Gobeckli.   Here are two pictures to give you a sense of the elevation of… Read more

In the age of wonder when Stephen Spielberg was weaving his magic, there were a whole series of sci fi thrillers which became classics almost instantly— including of course E.T. and Closer Encounters of the Third Kind. These movies were almost instant classics because there was a sense of wonder to them,  the aliens were approachable— shoot they were even lonely and wanted to phone home, and the kids who liked the aliens stole the show of course.   These were not… Read more

On the road back from Aydin Tepe coming down the mountains, or on the road up the mountains heading for Trabzon, one passes a small archaeological site off the main road, and hardly noticeable.  But my alert colleague Mark knew about this site and while we missed it on the first pass, we found it on the second on the other side of a small town.   Sometimes finding a site like this is half the battle.  But when we got… Read more

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… Read more

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