June 24, 2011

See anyone you recognize in this picture??  And why is that guy in the middle wearing Red Sox gear at a Reds vs. Yanks game. Read more

June 24, 2011

They are everywhere in the Mediterranean world.  In famous places and obscure places. In high places and low places. In easy to get to places and in hard to imagine places.  The remains of the Roman world— aqueducts, tombs, roads, bridges forts, cities.  You name it, they are still hanging around in ruined form, and in some cases (like bridges) they are still being used.  Here are some of the more interesting items I have found in museums in Turkey… Read more

June 23, 2011

If you’ve never been to Paris, in some ways the most romantic and right-brained of all Western cities, you have missed a lot.   I have to say, it has a lot of charm, though some would say ‘Paris is only spoilt by its being inhabited by snobby Parisians’. Well,  like all caricatures,  there is some truth in that, but there are also some very nice Parisians who don’t hate Americans on first sight.   This movie is a mere bagatelle, or… Read more

June 23, 2011

If you ask Muslims what’s the main reason to take a trip to far eastern Turkey in the vicinity of Mt. Ararat they will not immediately say— ‘let’s go find the ark’.   In fact, they may be far more likely to say, let’s go see the Pasha’s Palace which is in the same neighborhood. They have a passion for the Pasha, so to speak.   The Pasha’s Palace is an Ottoman palace which was still being constructed up to about 1738. … Read more

June 21, 2011

It is hard to describe just how beautiful Turkey is in May.  The air is crisp, the temp usually in the 70s, the lack of pollution noticeable, the sky Carolina blue, and the flowers and snow capped mountains gorgeous. What’s not to like.   This picture and the next one were taken next to the site of an archaeological dig at Altin Tepe a site that has both an ancient Urartu fortress and a much more recent Byzantine Church ruins with… Read more

June 20, 2011

My elves in Hobbiton have been busy, and so has Peter Jackson.  First of all Evangeline Lilly (aka Kate from LOST fame) has been cast to play a sylvan elf, though Jackson has warned there will be no romantic twist with Legolas (aka Orlando Bloom)— darn!    Secondly the much praised Benedict Cumberbatch  (you have to be good with a name like that) who plays Sherlock Holmes on the new Sherlock series on the BBC, has been cast as…….wait for it……… Read more

June 20, 2011

The little skit by the minions above and the Gobeckli Tepe Temple both raise questions about what it means to be human. Are we all just hunter-gatherers moving through life driven by our urges and needs?   Or are we something much more than that?  What does it really mean to be human?   The Bible suggests that begin created in God’s image provides some sort of answer or clue.   Some scholars have thought being created in the image of God had… Read more

June 19, 2011

When we begin to think of how exactly 20 circles with monoliths weighing tons could have been put in place by ancients in 10,000 B.C.  and then we have a hard look at some of the columns themselves and see what artisans these stone masons were, carving recognizable figures of animals both in three D (way before 3 D glasses 🙂 and in simple relief, the mind begins to boggle. We are not talking here about stick figures painted on… Read more

June 17, 2011

Monasteries tend to be in out of the way and high places, for example check out the monasteries on bluffs in Meteora in Greece.  But Turkey has its own high altitude monastery which gives new meaning to the phrase high church.  Hanging off a high Turkish mountain and far from the madding crowd is the famous Sumela monastery which  Mark and I visited.   Here are two signs which explain the story of this monastery.  Like many such tales, this is… Read more

June 16, 2011

As I said in the previous post, the essence of ancient religion of was priests, temples, and sacrifices. If there is one way I would fault professor Schmidt it is that he is not taking into account the ancient literary evidence about the origins of humanity and its religion.  He is basing everything on archaeology of material remains.    Not merely the Bible but various other ancient sources like the Babylonian Genesis tales have something to say on the matter.  The… Read more

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