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...]

Ancient Jerusalem’s Economy Powered by Animal Sacrifice

Peter_Paul_Rubens_The_Sacrifice_of_the_Old_Covenant_detail_400pg

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...]

Hopeful Signs? UPDATE #2: Not a Hoax

1175459_10151886944401341_2119671583_n

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...]

St. Augustine and the Jews

The pilleus cornutus was a pointed had which medieval Jewish men had to wear when travelling outside their ghettos.

This is a post from way back at the beginning of this blog, but it’s one of the better things I’ve published here and it wasn’t seen by too many people at the time. Since today is the feast day of St. Augustine, I decided to rerun it.  The paper was the product of a [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...]

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...]

Dead Sea Scrolls Heading to Boston Next

exhibits_dead-sea-scrolls_family-pointing-scales-weights

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...]

Wine in the Old Testament

Egyptian wine press

Bread was the ordinary food of the people, but wine was for celebration. It was a symbol of joy. It was considered so important in the ritual life of the Jews that people had the responsibility to provide wine for the poor during the feasts if the poor could not provide it for themselves. The [Read More...]

Bread in the Old Testament

Pyramid of Pepi

Bread was a staple food in ancient Palestine, made daily in every household. It was such a commonplace item that we don’t get details of types, production, and consumption in the Biblical texts. If we look to the wider documents of the Ancient Near East (ANE), we find the same constant reference to “bread,” but [Read More...]

Bread & Wine | Life & Abundance

"Bread" in the Old Testament

The moment when the Lord comes down and transforms bread and wine to become his Body and Blood cannot fail to stun, to the very core of their being, those who participate in the Eucharist by faith and prayer. When this happens, we cannot do other than fall to our knees and greet him. The [Read More...]