Current Events

Keep up to date on the latest developments in the world of Biblical Archaeology and related apologetic topics. In this section, you will find links to news reports, articles and staff commentary on the most recent discoveries, reports, and controversies in Biblical Archaeology. Enjoy!

Note: The views and comments made in materials from sources outside of the Associates for Biblical Research are not necessarily those of ABR. Such materials are included only insofar as they relate to the subject of archaeology and related apologetic subjects, and are provided for your information only.

First-Century Synagogue Unearthed in Galilee posted by Bryan Windle

A synagogue, predating the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, has been discovered at Tel Rechesh in Galilee. The synagogue was unearthed at the site of an ancient Jewish farm. The estate was identified as Jewish by the ritual stone jars that were found and the lack of pig bones. The synagogue itself measures 26 feet by 29.5 feet and its walls are lined with the remains of limestone benches. Excavators also found one of the pillars which would have supported the synagogue's roof. This discovery marks the eighth synagogue found in Israel which predates 70 AD, but the first found in a rural rather than an urban setting. The Bible says that "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people" (Mt. 4:23).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4841308,00.html
- http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.736752
- http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2016/8/15/second-temple-era-synagogue-unearthed-in-northern-israel

Biblical Manuscripts From Greek Library Digitized posted by Bryan Windle

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has announced the completion of their project to digitize all of the New Testament manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG). The collection at the NLG is one of the largest in the world, and will now be available online for scholars to study in detail. Over 150,000 pages from more than 300 manuscripts were digitized, including 21 manuscripts that were previously unknown to the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Muenster, Germany. According to the CSNTM, these manuscripts will be freely available to all and "will increase our fund of knowledge about the transmission of the NT text and add some important 'discoveries' especially of manuscripts with patristic commentary."

Off-site Links:
- http://csntm.org/Blog/Archive/2016/8/3/MissionAccomplished
- http://csntm.org/Manuscript

Egyptian Statue Discovered at Hazor posted by Bryan Windle

Part of an Egyptian statue was recently uncovered at Tel-Hazor. The lower part of the limestone statue depicts a foot on a square base with a few lines of Egyptian hieroglyphics inscribed on it. It is estimated that the complete statue was that of a life-sized man. This is not the first Egyptian statue to be discovered in Hazor; three years ago, a fragment of a sphinx was discovered in the same building. In fact, over the past 30 years, 18 different Egyptian statues have been discovered in excavations at Tel-Hazor. It seems that all of the statues were already "antiques" at the time they arrived in Israel, as they all predate the city's existence. Hazor is the largest biblical site being excavated in Israel. It is one of the cities that Joshua conquered and burned (Joshua 11:11).

Off-site Links:
- http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/31994
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Historic-archeological-discovery-of-Egyptian-statue-unearthed-in-Tel-Hazor-462312

Bible and Spade magazine news! posted by Rick Lanser MDiv

Dear friends,

It is always a blessing to know when one's labor is appreciated, and we at ABR find out about this in different ways. Usually it takes the form of a casual comment to a staffer at a conference, or a brief "Atta boy, keep up the good work!" email. Other times, particularly when an issue of Bible and Spade has been delayed for some reason, it takes the form of letting us know we have been missed. The latter has recently happened; the Spring issue of Bible and Spade has been delayed, and many of you did let us know!

If you are a subscriber to Bible and Spade, please know that we encountered some unavoidable production delays with the Spring 2016 issue. As a result, we have decided to create a longer Spring/Summer combined issue, which we expect to go to the printer in the next couple of weeks. We have on occasion put out combined issues in the past, but it has been a fair number of years since this was last done, so this situation probably took some by surprise and may have caused concern. We hope you will agree the wait was worth it.

By the way, if you are NOT an ABR member or subscriber to the magazine, may we encourage you to consider signing up for it? After the combined Spring/Summer issue goes out, we plan to return to our normal quarterly schedule beginning with the Fall issue. Just go to http://www.biblearchaeology.org/publications/bibleandspade.aspx to become a member of ABR, which includes a subscription to the magazine, or a subscriber.

Thank you for your support and prayers as we strive to make the magazine the best it can be with a very small staff.

In His service,

Rick Lanser, MDiv
Editor, Bible and Spade Magazine

2200-Year-Old Mosaic Found on Cyprus posted by Bryan Windle

A Roman mosaic depicting the Labors of Hercules was recently discovered on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It was uncovered during work on a sewage system in the city of Larnaca. The mosaic is over 60 feet long and over 20 feet wide, and only a part of it has been uncovered thus far. Larnaca is built upon the ruins of the ancient city of Kition, and the antiquities ministry believes the find will provide evidence of the role it played in establishing Roman culture in Cyprus. Cyprus is mentioned frequently in the book of Acts. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus, and it was the first place he and Saul (the Apostle Paul) visited when the Holy Spirit set them apart for the work to which He had called them (Acts 13:1-5).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/rare-roman-mosaic-uncovered-in-cyprus/7631368

Possible Priestly Quarters Excavated in Jerusalem posted by Bryan Windle

Ancient houses have been unearthed in the old city of Jerusalem, immediately southeast of the palace of Herod the Great, and close to the home of the high priest Caiaphas. Archaeologists theorize that the 2000-year-old luxury neighborhood was inhabited by members of the societal elite, probably the priestly ruling class. A rare bathtub, vaulted ceilings, and a ritual stone cup with a priestly inscription have all been found. The high priests in the first century were notorious for being corrupt and greedy. Josephus describes Ananias as a "hoarder of money" (Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.2-4).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.730486

Philistine Cemetery Unearthed in Ashkelon posted by Bryan Windle

An unprecedented 3000-year-old Philistine cemetery was recently discovered outside of the city of Ashkelon. The find demonstrates that the Philistines held very different burial practices than their Canaanite and Israelite neighbors. Researchers hope that the discovery will help answer the question of the origins of the Philistines, who seem to have settled along the coast of Israel sometime in the 12th or 13th century BC, ruling from the five cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath and Gaza. An international team of researchers will be conducting DNA tests and biological studies to determine the origins of those buried in the Ashkelon cemetery. In the Bible, the Philistines are described as the oft-times enemies of the Israelites, with infamous people like Delilah and Goliath being of Philistine heritage.

Off-site Links:
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/bible-philistine-israelite-israel-ashkelon-discovery-burial-archaeology-sea-peoples/
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/philistine-cemetery-find-offers-glimpse-of-deaths-and-lives-of-biblical-enemy/
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Bones-unearthed-in-Ashkelon-at-only-known-Philistine-cemetery-may-reveal-ancient-mystery-459973

Possible Water Shaft Detected at Lachish posted by Bryan Windle

A geophysical survey, including ground penetrating radar, has revealed an underground shaft at the site of Tel Lachish. The excavators believe this could be an ancient water shaft similar to those found in Jerusalem, Gibeon and Hazor. The shaft itself appears to be up to 33 feet (10 meters) wide and 66 feet (20 meters) deep. It's possible that a king of Judah (or a prior Canaanite king) built the the underground tunnel to bring water from outside the city walls to the residents inside the city. According to the Bible, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, fortified Lachish (2 Chr. 11:5-7).

Off-site Link:
- https://lukechandler.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/tests-indicate-underground-shaft-at-tel-lachish-possible-water-system/

Exciting Volunteer Opportunity posted by Henry B Smith Jr MA MAR

Individuals who are interested in this opportunity should thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the brief description of required tasks listed below.

Bible and Spade Pre-publication Editing Assistant Volunteer

Estimated work: 15-20 hours per month.

Duties include:

1. Collect articles already reviewed and approved by ABR staff and set up a basic structure and outline, putting the material into the format that the editor can use. Perform an initial read-through and preparation, adjusting fonts, italics, pagination, Scripture citations, etc. The volunteer does not need knowledge of the subject matter.

2. Identify prospective pictures from reading the article, find them in the ABR archive, on the web, and other sources, and write captions for the pictures.

3. Learn to use the ABR picture database and other sources for pictures.

4. Communicate with graphics designer and B&S committee on titles and magazine cover, and then disseminate artwork for committee review.

5. The ideal candidate would reside in the Lancaster County, PA region.

All interested parties should contact the ABR office by sending a cover letter and resume to comments@biblearchaeology.org

2150-Year-Old Silver Coins Discovered in Israel posted by Bryan Windle

A small cache of 16 Hasmonean-era (second-first century BC) coins were found in a crevice in the rock wall of a large agricultural estate being excavated in Modiin, Israel. The coins – shekels and half-shekels – were minted in the city of Tyre. In addition, a number of bronze coins were also discovered at the site. The cache contained two coins from every year between 135 and 126 BC. Other coins bear the date, "Year Two" of the first revolt against the Romans, which began in 66 AD. Some have suggested the owner was a coin collector, while others have proposed he took part in the Bar Kochba uprising.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/cache-of-hasmonean-era-silver-coins-uncovered-in-modiin/
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.723643

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