Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

A fragment of Isaiah from Cave 1, Qumran

In a giant upgrade to The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, the Israel Antiquities Authority is making 10,000 multispectral images available to all via the web. The entire site has better searching, browsing and indexing. You can search by keywords, or browse by language, location (including cave-by-cave), or content. The scrolls are being [Read More...]

Ancient Settlement Uncovered in Israel

Aerial shot of the settlement (photo by IAA)

A 2,300 year old village dating to the Seleucid Dynasty (or perhaps earlier) has been uncovered during work on a natural gas pipeline. The settlement reached its peak in the 3rd century BC, and by the time of Herod (1st Century BC) was abandoned. The settlement was found not far from Mitzpe Harel in the [Read More...]

Biblical Archaeology Dig Reports for 2013

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This one is just for the Biblical Archaeology wonks: a listing of all the dig activity conducted in Israel for 2013, with reports on what was uncovered. I covered most of the marquee finds throughout the year, but this listing provides detailed information on everything from Afula to Zippori. [Read more...]

Sirach: An Online Manuscript Collection

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The Book of Sirach (Latin: Ecclesiasticus) is a beautiful wisdom work that blends Greek and Hebrew thought. It’s the last of the Old Testament books composed, and was probably written only two centuries before the first of the New Testament texts, providing an important glimpse into the development of faith and philosophy between the OT [Read More...]

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

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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...]

Ancient Jerusalem’s Economy Powered by Animal Sacrifice

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The Journal of Archaeological Science had published a study of animal remains uncovered around the Temple complex in Jerusalem, suggesting that animals raised and traded for temple sacrifice drove a large portion of Jerusalem economy: An analysis of bones found in an ancient dump in the city dating back 2,000 years revealed that animals sacrificed at [Read More...]

Spinoza’s Excommunication from the People of Israel

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Humanities has a good article analyzing the causes for the uniquely vicious writ of excommunication pronounced upon the philosopher Baruch Spinoza by the leaders of the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. The text is notable for its eye-popping condemnations, curses, and vitriol, particularly since it was written before Spinoza had published any controversial opinions. Let’s [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...]


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