John XXIII and the Jews

john23

One of the better parts about being a writer is that you get learn things for a living. For example, when Carl Olson asked me to cover a lecture on Pope John XXIII and the Jews for Catholic World Report, I had only a fairly general image of Pope John. I thought he was a [Read More...]

Francis/Netanyahu Meeting Cancelled (Actually, It Was Never Even Planned)

popefra

Last week, a report began circulating in the Israeli press that President Benjamin Netanyahu would be meeting with Pope Francis when Netanyahu traveled to Rome this week. The report set off a firestorm in Israel because of rumors that a visit by the pope to Holy Land was contingent upon the return of certain holy [Read More...]

Mysterious Structure Under the Sea of Galilee

Sonar image of structure on the floor of the Sea of Galilee

I filed this one away in Evernote this summer and forgot to blog it, but it’s too cool to let pass: A huge, cone-shaped monument has been discovered by a team of Israeli archaeologists conducting a geophysical survey on the southern Sea of Galilee. According to a paper published in the International Journal of Nautical [Read More...]

Hopeful Signs? UPDATE #2: Not a Hoax

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The optimist in me says “yes.” The cynic says, “public relations ploy.” I try paying more attention to the optimist. In any case, it’s welcome. From the President of Iran: It’s worthwhile remembering that the Iranian people (particularly the young) tend to have positive feelings towards America, by and large. (They tend to despise the [Read More...]

Apostrophe to Zion: New Meaning for a Dead Sea Scroll?

psalmscroll

I’m still enjoying Slacktacular August with a reduced blogging schedule, but I thought this was a fascinating little slice of the philology world that shows how scholars grapple with ancient languages and shifting meanings. In this case, it’s the Hebrew root “taph-bet-ayin,” which has various modern meanings: “to demand,” “to investigate,” “to prosecute.” The “Apostrophe [Read More...]

Jew-Hating Has-Been Wants You To Pay Attention To Him

waters

I used to love Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. I collected everything, spent countless hours listening to them, and paid good money to see Waters solo in concert twice (Hitchhiking and Radio KAOS tours).  It’s funny, but I started listening to them less and less–particularly the later, Waters-dominated material–as I got older and recognized the [Read More...]

The Temple Mount: A Virtual Tour

3dtemple

Courtesy of the Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing and a group called The Heart of the Nation comes this virtual tour of the Temple Mount, complete with 360-degree views of various locations. It’s was released to coincide with Tisha B’av, which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples. A couple of caveats: [Read More...]

Conviction Upheld in Dead Sea Scrolls Identity Theft

golb

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...]


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