Blogging Israel with an iPad

Although getting access to the Internet while in Israel was not always straightforward, that was largely a result of my decision to not go overboard with the 3G option. While I had it, it seemed to work fine, and the key will presumably be to get a larger data refill right away and then be [Read More...]

Hitting Your Head Means You’re A Sinner

My last day in Israel (which I decided to write about separately from my account of the airport, where my time in Israel ended) included a visit to a some 3,000-year-old Phoenician fortress, and seeing a tomb belonging to one Jehoshua of Sachnin. Local Muslims, as well as Jews and Christians, come to the tomb [Read More...]

Where Jesus May Have Walked

Today’s touring focused on sites connected with Jesus – and one strikingly unconnected. We began in Nazareth, whose Church of the Annunciation is the key location. I may have more to say on a later occasion about why I sought permission of the priest in charge to get access to a locked stairwell, and what [Read More...]

Archaeological Puzzles: Can You Identify These Objects?

A question for anyone interested, but in particular those of you with some archaeological experience: What do you think this might be? It is the same object from three different angles. What about this one? Or this one, which I assume are three pieces of one archaeological “puzzle”? [Read more...]

Blessed are Those who do not Vandalize Ancient Tombs

Today’s touring and exploring started at the Mount of Beatitudes. The beatitudes are, as typically in Christian tradition, presented in the Matthean version around the church and site, and so the contrast between Luke’s “Blessed are you who are poor” and the relatively rich site is not felt as strongly as it might be. We [Read More...]

Galilee vs. Jerusalem

I have only been here less than 24 hours, but I already feel that Galilee makes a different sort of impression, at least on a modern Christian of the liberal and/or Protestant variety. Jerusalem exemplifies the overlay of subsequent history in the very layer upon layer of city, stone, and soil. Its churches cover over [Read More...]

To Galilee by way of Armageddon

I was excited when I saw that the route to Tiberias, and to Afula where I would be meeting Eldad Keynan who kindly agreed to show me around the Galilee, was by way of Megiddo, even though not all services stop there. The bus took me straight through the plain of Megiddo. It seems more [Read More...]

On the Holiness of the Temple Mount

I have been reflecting on the notion that the Temple Mount is holy from a Jewish perspective, and thought I would offer some thoughts on the subject, as someone who visited the site yesterday in spite of the rabbinic warning I mentioned in my previous post. Even from an insider’s Jewish theological perspective, it seems [Read More...]

Last Full Day in Jerusalem

Today was my last full day in Jerusalem, and I managed to squeeze into it the things that I was still hoping to do. I went first to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. The horror of what was done is communicated personally (survivors’ testimonies in video form), poignantly (shoes, photos, personal effects) and graphically (video [Read More...]

The Dead Sea

What can one do when in Jerusalem on the Sabbath, assuming that one is not observing the sabbath oneself (or at least not strictly)? A trip to the Dead Sea is an option. I took a tour through Mike’s Center, which I had already heard of and was considering, and just happened across yesterday when [Read More...]

Quote of the Day (Jerome Murphy-O’Connor)

“One expects the central shrine of Christendom to stand out in majestic isolation, but anonymous buildings cling to it like barnacles. One looks for numinous light, but it is dark and cramped. One hopes for peace, but the ear is assailed by a cacophony of warring chants. One desires holiness, only to encounter a jealous [Read More...]


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