July 13, 2016

The ‘new’ (not really that new) Izmir museum is in a large park complex that has several museums in it, but our interest is strictly in the one that has the antiquities in it. There are some remarkable pieces here, not least the almost entirely intact statue of Kaistros the river god whose water brought fertility…. There are also ancient winged chairs of note, but don’t try to sit in them….. One of the more hilarious artifacts is the small… Read more

July 11, 2016

Whenever you explore ancient sites in Turkey, you realize what a role earthquakes play in the way towns rise and fall, and move and develop. This was certainly part of the picture in what today is called Beyrakli, or old Smyrna, the one, according to the story that Alexander had the dream about and told the people to move. What there is to see at Beyrakli are several things, the remains of some columns, the remains of the ancient temple… Read more

July 10, 2016

There is a lot to tell when it comes to the ongoing dig at the agora at Izmir. There have been whole sessions on some of the findings, especially in regard to the graffiti, and there is no doubt at all that there is Christian graffiti at the lower level of the basilica in this agora. What is debated is the date of this graffiti with the head Turkish archaeologist saying its probably third century, but Roger Bagnall, at least… Read more

July 9, 2016

With summer comes more movies for out of school, and bored out of their minds, children. There promise to be at least three good ones this summer (the third is the final chapter of Ice Age, which comes later this month). The first two have opened to good reviews, and in some cases rave reviews. Finding Dory (Disney/Pixar) came out mid-June and is the sequel to Finding Nemo— a very hard act to follow to say the least. Actually the… Read more

July 9, 2016

The following post is by colleague Larry Hurtado. I agree with the conclusions of the article he is previewing, see my What’s in a Word? and The Living Word of God. In researching for my current project (an analysis of NT papyrus P45 as an early Christian artefact), I’ve come across Charles Hill’s doughty case that the artefactual data reflects “the presence of a ‘canonical consciousness’ among Christian scribes from at least the late second century”: “A Four-Gospel Canon the… Read more

July 8, 2016

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… Read more

July 7, 2016

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,… Read more

July 6, 2016

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… Read more

July 5, 2016

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,… Read more

July 4, 2016

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