Gate to Hell Discovered

And it’s in New Jersey! (Audio link.) Nah, just kidding. It’s actually in Turkey.  The Plutonium was believed to be the portal to the underworld in the ancient world, and it was known for its lethal properties, provided courtesy of carbon dioxide. It was long believed to be at the Phrygian city of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale). Strabo wrote [Read More...]

Some Thoughts on Richard III, History, and Catholicism

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Everyone by now has heard the big news: the bones of King Richard III–last king of the House of York, villain of one of Shakespeare’s most masterful historical plays, and a man long long regarded as a psychopath twisted in both body and mind–have been found under a parking lot in Leicester, England. DNA testing has confirmed [Read More...]

Islamists Destroy Manuscripts of Timbuktu UPDATED

Islamist militants fleeing from Timbuktu in the war-torn nation of Mali have destroyed a vast cache of documents dating back to the 12th century. The documents were torched by extremists along with a mosque, the Ahmed Baba Institute, and other Muslim structures. (Islam in Mali is moderate, and mostly Sunni or Sufi. The country is [Read More...]

Conviction Upheld in Dead Sea Scrolls Identity Theft

In yesterday’s news about the final stop for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, I mentioned some of the controversy surrounding scroll scholarship. One of the more bizarre sideshows in the world of the DSS is The Sorry Saga of the Golbs. Raphael Golb is the son of scroll scholar Norman Golb, a man who has [Read More...]

Dead Sea Scrolls Heading to Boston Next

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I wrote about the Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times exhibit when it visited Philadelphia last year. The scrolls still fascinate because they’re a kind of missing link between the closing of the Old Testament and the opening of the New, giving us a picture of some elements of Judaism as it [Read More...]

Millions of Mummified Dogs…

… discovered at Saqqara, the ancient Egyptian city of the dead. During routine excavations at the dog catacomb in Saqqara necropolis, an excavation team led by Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo (AUC), and an international team of researchers led by Paul Nicholson of Cardiff University have uncovered almost 8 [Read More...]

Ancient Temple Shows Signs of Conflict, Desecration

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Excavations at an 11th century temple complex outside of Jerusalem show evidence of the tensions among the Israelites, Canaanites and Philistines. On the floor of the temple… … excavators found shards of painted chalices and goblets — not the type of containers that would have been used for daily household activities. They also found animal [Read More...]

Jesus’s Wife: Textual Fingerprints of a Forger

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Mark Goodacre continues to post outstanding coverage on the “Jesus’s Wife” fragment. His blog has become the main clearing house for news on the forgery, and now he has a new scoop. There’s an error in the fragment that is reproduced from an online version of the Gospel of Thomas. You should read Goodacre’s whole piece, as well [Read More...]


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