Saturday, December 30, 2006


Aerial view of the pyramids at MeroëCush (כּוּשׁ "Dark,") was the eldest son of Ham, brother of Canaan and the father of Nimrod, mentioned in the "Table of Nations" in the Genesis 10:6 and in I Chronicles 1:8. It is usually considered to be the eponym of the people of Kush. Six Arabian tribes are also sons of Cush.
In Genesis, Cush was the father of the Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. He is also the father of Nimrod.

Another person named Cush in the Bible is a Benjamite (see Tribe of Benjamin) who is mentioned only in Psalm 7 and is believed to be a follower of Saul.

Cush is first mentioned in Genesis 2:12-14,

12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.


Friday, December 29, 2006


Legend of the True Cross - the Queen of Sheba Meeting with Solomon; (c. 1452-66, Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy)Solomon (Latin name) or Shlomo (Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה, Arabic: سليمان, Sulayman; "peace") was Israel's third king, son of King David, who's "...wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt." -1 Kings 4:30

The names "Shlomo" and "Solomon" are usually associated with the Biblical account of his life.

The First Temple
Solomon's Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Beit HaMikdash), also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot (see korban) in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

seven churches of Asia

The Seven Churches of AsiaThe seven churches of Asia (properly Asia Minor) are seven major churches of the early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation. All sites are in modern-day Turkey. In Revelation, Jesus Christ instructs 'Saint John the Evangelist' to:

Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. (Revelation 1:11)

It should be understood that "churches" in this context refers to the community of Christians living in each city, and not merely to the building or buildings in which they gathered for worship.

The seven churches are located in:

  1. Ephesus
  2. Smyrna, modern day Izmir
  3. Pergamum, modern-day Bergama
  4. Thyateira, modern-day Akhisar
  5. Sardis
  6. Philadelphia, modern-day Alasehir
  7. Laodicea, near modern-day Denizli


Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Moses and Aaron before Pharoah by Gustov DoréPharaoh is a title used to refer to any ruler, usually male, of the Egyptian kingdom in the pre-Christian, pre-Islamic period. An absolute, all powerful, all providing ruler. Such rulers were believed to be the reincarnation of Horus.
From the Twelfth Dynasty onwards the word appears in a wish formula 'Great House, may it live, prosper and be in health', but only with reference to the buildings of the court rather than the king himself.

10So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. - Exodus 7:10


Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Tertullian ca. 160 ACQuintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicized as Tertullian, (ca. 155–230) was a church leader and prolific author during the early years of Christianity. He was born, lived, and died in Carthage, in what is today Tunisia.

Tertullian denounced Christian doctrines he considered heretical, but later in life adopted views that came to be regarded as heretical themselves. He was the first great writer of Latin Christianity, thus sometimes known as the "father of the Latin Church".

He introduced the term Trinity, as the Latin trinitas, to the Christian vocabulary and also probably of the formula "three Persons, one Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una Substantia" (itself from the Koine Greek "treis Hypostases, Homoousios") and also the terms vetus testamentum ("old testament") and novum testamentum ("new testament").


Sunday, December 24, 2006


Wise Men visiting Jesus on Twelfth<br />Night after his birth on ChristmasChristmas (literally, the Mass of Christ) is a traditional holiday commonly observed on 25 December. In most Eastern Orthodox Churches, even where the civil calendar used is the Gregorian, the event is observed according to the Julian calendar, which coincides with the predominant reckoning of 7 January. It is celebrated by most Christians to mark the birth of Jesus, which is believed to have occurred in Bethlehem in the Roman Province of Judea between 6 BC and AD 6. Christ's birth, or nativity, was said by his followers to fulfill the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin. Efforts to decide upon a date on which to celebrate his birth began some centuries later.

The word Christmas is a contraction of Christ's Mass, derived from the Old English Cristes mæsse.

It is sometimes abbreviated Xmas, probably because X resembles the Greek letter Χ (chi) which has often historically been used as an abbreviation for Christ (Χριστός in Greek).


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mary, mother of Jesus

Gabriel delivering the Annunciation to Mary. Painting by El Greco (1575)According to the New Testament, Mary was the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, who at the time of his conception was the betrothed wife of Saint Joseph (cf. Matt 1:18-20, Luke 1:35). According to non-canonical works, her parents were Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. A theory says that her father's name was Heli, mentioned in the lineage of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38. According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary, being a virgin at time, learned from the angel Gabriel, a divine messenger sent by God, that she would conceive Jesus, "the Son of God", through a miracle of the Holy Spirit.

Mary is the subject of much veneration due to Luke 1:48 ("for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed") in the Christian faith, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, and is also highly regarded by Muslims. The area of Christian theology concerning her is Mariology.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Childhood of Jesus

Madonna and Child Blessing depicts the infant Jesus in the act of blessing the viewer, Jacopo BelliniThe Child Jesus is a religious symbol based on the activities of Jesus as an infant up to the age of twelve that recurs throughout history, starting from around the third or fourth century. It includes religious figurines and icons of the infant Jesus, usually with his mother, Mary, and his legal father Joseph.

Holy Family
This "original nuclear family" symbolized the Holy Trinity to many early Christian believers. They solidified the family unit with such deep spiritual significance that the Holy Family eventually became an integral part of Roman Catholic religious dogma.

The Scriptures and many apocryphal works were passed down either by word of mouth or through song, and later in works of art. The symbolism of the Child Jesus in art reached its apex during the Renaissance: the holy family was a central theme in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and many other masters.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Magi

The Wise Men’s number is unknown as it was never stated in the Bible; only that there were three gifts---the supposition that this implied three givers is speculation.The Magi (singular Magus, from Latin, via Greek μάγος ; Old English: Mage; from Old Persian maguš) was a tribe from ancient Media, who - prior to the absorption of the Medes into the Persian Empire in 550 BC - were responsible for religious and funerary practices. Later they accepted the Zoroastrian religion (Zoroastrianism), however, not without changing the original message of its founder, Zarathustra (Zoroaster), to what is today known as "Zurvanism", which would become the predominant form of Zoroastrianism during the Sassanid era (AD 226–650). No traces of Zurvanism exist beyond the 10th century.

The best known Magi are the "Wise Men from the East" in the Bible, whose graves Marco Polo claimed to have seen in what is today the district of Saveh, in Tehran, Iran. In English, the term may refer to a shaman, sorcerer, or wizard; it is the origin of the English words magic and magician.

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." -Matthew 2:1-3


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Map of Lebanon from the CIA Factbook. Tyre is near the <br />southern border

Tyre (Hebrew צור Tzor, Greek Τύρος Týros) is a city in the South Governorate of Lebanon. With 117,100 inhabitants (it is reported only 10% of the population is left because of the Israel-Lebanon conflict), Tyre juts out from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, about 23 miles north of Acre, and 20 miles south of Sidon. The name of the city means "rock".

Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city. Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the nation's major ports. Tyre is a popular destination for tourists.

The city has many ancient sites, including its Roman Hippodrome which was reportedly used for the film Ben-Hur, and was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1979 (Resolution 459).

Tyre is near the southern border."The location of the city of Tyre is not in doubt, for it exists to this day on the same spot and is known as Sur." (Katzenstein, H.J., The History of Tyre, 1973, p9) Tyre originally consisted of two distinct urban centers, one on an island and the other on the adjacent coast (approximately 30 stadia apart or 3.5 miles according to Strabo in his Geography xvi, 2), before Alexander the Great connected the island to the coast during his siege of the city. One was a heavily fortified island city amidst the sea and the latter, originally called Ushu (later, Palaetyrus, by the Greeks) was actually more like a line of suburbs than any one city and was used primarily as a source of water and timber for the main island city. Flavius Josephus even records them fighting against each other, although most of the time they supported one another due to the island city’s wealth from maritime trade and the mainland area’s source of timber, water and burial grounds.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jewish history

1759 map of the tribal allotments of IsraelJewish history is the history of the Jewish people, faith (Judaism) and culture. Since Jewish history encompasses nearly six thousand years and hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes. Additional information can be found in the main articles listed below, and in the specific country histories listed in this article.

Ancient Jewish History (through 150 CE)
Ancient Israelites

For the first two periods the history of the Jews is mainly that of the Fertile Crescent. It begins among those peoples which occupied the area lying between the Nile river on the one side and the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers on the other. Surrounded by ancient seats of culture in Egypt and Babylonia, by the deserts of Arabia, and by the highlands of Asia Minor, the land of Canaan (later known as Israel, then at various times Judah, Coele-Syria, Judea, Palestine, the Levant, and finally Israel again) was a meeting place of civilizations. The land was traversed by old-established trade routes and possessed important harbors on the Gulf of Akaba and on the Mediterranean coast, the latter exposing it to the influence of other cultures of the Fertile Crescent.


Monday, December 18, 2006

the First Temple

A Dutch engraver’s depiction of Solomon’s Temple. Solomon brought in masons and architects from Tyre to build the temple, which took seven years to complete.Solomon's Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Beit HaMikdash), also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

Before his death King David had provided materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chronicles 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chronicles 3:1), where he had purchased a threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:21 et seq.), on which he offered sacrifice.

The Bible states that in the beginning of his reign, King Solomon of the united Kingdom of Israel, set about giving effect to the ideas of his father, and prepared additional materials for the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders.


Sunday, December 17, 2006


M 17 Omega Nebula, © NASA / HubbleHope is one of the three theological virtues in Christian tradition (Faith, Hope and Love or Charity).

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:13
Hope being a combination of the desire for something and expectation of receiving it, the virtue is hoping for Divine union and thus eternal happiness. Like all virtues, it arises from the will, not the passions.

  • Christian Hope comes from God
  • Directed toward God
  • Directed toward Christ


Saturday, December 16, 2006


Gabriel delivering the Annunciation. Painting by El Greco (1575)

An Archangel is a superior or higher-ranking angel. They are to be found in a number of religious traditions, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The word archangel derives from the Greek αρχαγγελος archangelos = αρχ- arch- ("first, primary") and αγγελος angelos ("messenger").

In Judaism
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Indeed even angels are uncommon except in later works like Daniel. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental period (e.g. 4 Esdras 4.36).

It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels was learned during the Babylonian exile. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 CE), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and some modern commentators would argue that the details of the angelic hierarchy were largely Zoroastrian in origin.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Alexander the Great

Map of Alexander the Great's empireAlexander the Great (in Greek Μέγας Αλέξανδρος, transliterated Megas Alexandros) (Alexander III of Macedon) was born in Pella, Macedon, in July, 356 BC, died in Babylon, on June 10, 323 BC, King of Macedon 336–323 BC, is considered one of the most successful military commanders in world history (if not the greatest), conquering most of the known world before his death.

Alexander is also known in the Zoroastrian Middle Persian work Arda Wiraz Namag as "the accursed Alexander" due to his conquest of the Persian Empire and the destruction of its capital Persepolis.

Alexander the Great fighting Persian king Darius III (not in frame) Alexander Mosaic from Pompeii, from a 3rd century BC original Greek painting, now lostHe is also known in Middle Eastern traditions as Dhul-Qarnayn in Arabic and Dul-Qarnayim in Hebrew and Aramaic (the two-horned one), apparently due to an image on coins minted during his rule that seemingly depicted him with the two ram's horns of the Egyptian god Ammon.

He is known as Sikandar in Hindi; in fact in India, the term Sikandar is used as a synonym for "expert" or "extremely skilled"; in the Malay Language he is known as Iskandar Zulkarnain.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

lineage of Jesus

The infant Jesus in Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van HonthorstThe lineage of Jesus is recorded in two places in the bible:

1) Matthew 1:1-17, and
2) Luke 3:23-38 (in addition to several other new testament references: Mark 10:47, Luke 1:32, Acts 2:29-30, Rev. 5:5, 22:16).

The Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 accounts differ because, Luke follows Mary's lineage (Jesus' blood mother), through David's son Nathan (Luke's genealogy focused on Jesus' descent from God through the virgin birth. It placed no emphasis on Jesus being the descendant of king David) and the Matthew genealogy follows Joseph's line (Joseph being the legal father of Jesus, see below) through David's son Solomon. God's promise to David (see: Davidic Covenant) was fulfilled because mary was the biological parent of Jesus.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Queen of Sheba

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; bronze door ‘Gates of Paradise‘ of Baptistry; Florence, ItalyThe Queen of Sheba, referred to in the Bible books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, the New Testament, the Qur'an, and Ethiopian history, was the ruler of Sheba, an ancient kingdom which modern archaeology speculates was located in present-day Ethiopia or Yemen.

1 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. 2 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built... -2 Chronicles 9:1-3

Unnamed in the biblical text, she is called Makeda (possibly meaning "not this way/not thus") in the Ethiopian tradition, and in Islamic tradition her name is Bilqis. Alternative names given for her have been Nikaule or Nicaula.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kalam cosmological argument

M 17 Omega Nebula, © NASA / HubbleThe Kalam cosmological argument is a version of the cosmological argument derived from the Islamic Kalam form of dialectical argument. It attempts to prove the existence of God by appealing to the principle of universal cause. Similar arguments are found in the theologies of Judaism (for example, in the work of Maimonides) and Christianity (for example in Thomas Aquinas), where it is known as the "uncaused cause" or "first cause" argument.

The origin of the word "kalam" (علم الكلم) is Islamic and is one of the 'religious sciences' of Islam. In Arabic the word means "discussion", and refers to the Islamic tradition of seeking theological principles through dialectic. A scholar of kalam is referred to as a mutakallam (Muslim theologian; plural mutakallamin).

The original scholars of kalam were recruited by Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (d. 873) for the House of Wisdom under the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. They collected, translated, and synthesised everything that the genius of other cultures had accumulated before undertaking to augment and expand it. From their translations of Greek, Iranian, and Indian works, they formed thebasis of Muslim falsafa (philosophy) in the 9th and 10th centuries.


Monday, December 11, 2006


God is the Creator of all things and He has revealed himself through nature (Rom. 1:20). The bible contains no definition of God, but contains many allusions to His being and attributes.


Friday, December 08, 2006


The lamb is one of the animals that was used as a sacrificial animal prior to 70 CE.Korban (קרבן) (plural: Korbanot קרבנות) is a Jewish practice of sacrificing an animal or of making an offering at the Temple. It is known as a Korban in Hebrew because its Hebrew root K [a] R [o] V (קרב) means to "[come] Close (or Draw Near) [to God]", which the English words "sacrifice" or "offering" do not fully convey.

There were many different types of korbanot. Once performed as part of the religious ritual in the Temple in Jerusalem in Ancient Israel, the practice was stopped in 70 CE, after the destruction of the Second Temple.

A Korban was usually an animal sacrifice, such as a lamb or a bull that was ritually slaughtered, and (usually) cooked and eaten by the offerer, with parts given to the Kohanim (priests) and parts burned on an altar. Korbanot could also consist of turtle-doves or pigeons, grain, incense, fruit, and a variety of other offerings.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Second Temple

The Second Temple plan drawn by the 19th century French architect and Bible scholar Charles Chipiez.The Second Temple was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem which stood between 515 BCE and 70 CE. During this time, it was the center of Jewish worship, which focused on the sacrifices known as the korbanot. Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was destroyed in 586 BCE when the Jews were exiled into the Babylonian Captivity. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its Second Temple circa 70 CE, ending the Great Jewish Revolt that began in 66 CE.

Nation reorganized
After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel and the high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to reorganize the desolated Kingdom of Judah after its demise seventy years earlier. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360 including children, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by rebuilding their destroyed temple and reinstituting the sacrificial rituals known as the korbanot ("sacrifices" in Hebrew).


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the old city of Jerusalem

Jerusalem Tower Of DavidJerusalem is the holiest city of Judaism (since the 10th century BCE) and some denominations of Christianity (since the 5th century CE) and, after Mecca and Medina, the third holiest city of Islam (since the 7th century CE). A heterogeneous city, Jerusalem represents a wide range of national, religious, and socioeconomic groups. The section called the "Old City" is surrounded by walls and consists of four quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. The status of the united Jerusalem as Israel's capital is not widely recognised by the international community and Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem is particularly controversial.

Jerusalem's Old City Wall encompasses an area of barely 1km². The existing wall was built in the 16th century (1535-1538) by the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Turks. The 4,018 meter long wall incorporates older parts from the Second Temple, Roman, Byzantine and Medieval periods.

Before King David's conquest of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:6-10) in the 10th century BC the city was known as Jebus and the home of the Jebusites. The Bible describes the city as heavily fortified with a strong city wall but not much is known about it.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Justin Martyr

Justin MartyrSaint Justin Martyr (Justin the Martyr a.k.a Justin of Caesarea) (100 – 165) was an early Christian apologist (see apologetics). His works represent the earliest surviving Christian apologies of notable size.

Most of what is known about the life of Justin Martyr comes from his own writings. He was born at Flavia Neapolis (modern Nablus) in Palestine. The city had been founded by Vespasian in the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Justin suffered martyrdom at Rome under Marcus Aurelius when Rusticus was prefect of the city (between 162 and 168). He calls himself a Samaritan, but his father and grandfather were probably Greek or Roman, and he was brought up a pagan. It seems that he had property, studied philosophy, converted to Christianity, and devoted the rest of his life to teaching what he considered the true philosophy, still wearing his philosopher's gown to indicate that he had attained to the truth. He probably travelled widely and ultimately settled in Rome as a Christian teacher.


Joseph of Nazareth

The Dream of Saint Joseph, Philippe de Champaigne 1636

Joseph of Nazareth, also called Joseph the Betrothed and Saint Joseph, was the legal father of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23) and the husband of Mary. However, according to the bible, he is not the biological father of Jesus. According to Christian tradition Mary conceived of Jesus through divine means and not through human effort. Not much is known of Joseph except that he was "of the House of David" and lived in the town of Nazareth. His date of death is unknown, though he was still living when Jesus was 12 years old. In the Roman Catholic tradition (see Catholicism), he is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days.

Spiritual Significance of Luke 3:23
The spitirtual significance of the comment in Luke 3:23 "as was supposed" (in some translations "so it was thought") (of Joseph's fatherhood) is in the fact that God is letting us know that Jewish society did NOT understand the real paternity of Jesus... that of the Holy Spirit... thus was incapable of understanding His ministry... as was certainly exhibited by the actions and attitudes of the scribes, Pharisees, lawyers, etc. to whom parentage and ancestry had become a cumbersome and burdensome legalism that blighted New Testament Judaism. They completely missed the Messianic note in the lists of both Matthew and Luke... except for a very small minority like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, eventually...or Simeon or Anna of Luke 2.


Monday, December 04, 2006


The Taking of Jericho, by Jean Fouquet

Jericho (Arabic أريحا , Hebrew יְרִיחוֹ ) - Holy echo is a town in the West Bank, Palestine near the Jordan River. Jericho has a population of approximately 19,000. It is believed by some to be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the world. The current mayor of Jericho is Hassan Saleh.

Recent history
The present city was captured by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. It was the first city handed over to Palestinian Authority control in 1994, in accordance with the Oslo accords. After a period of Israeli readministration, it was returned to the Palestinian Authority on 16 March 2005.

Jericho prison incident
On March 14, 2006, the Israel Defense Forces took captive six inmates from a Jericho prison following a 10-hour siege. The IDF said the reason for taking the prisoners, who were wanted for participation in the assassination of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi, was to keep them from being released. Both sides of the siege were armed and at least two people were killed and 35 wounded in the incident.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cuneiform script

Cuneiform tablet from the Kirkor Minassian collection in the US Library of Congress, ca. 24th century

The cuneiform script is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Created by the Sumerians from ca. the 34th century BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs. Over time, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract.

Cuneiforms were written on clay tablets, on which symbols were drawn with a blunt reed called a stylus. The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform ("wedge shaped").

The Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Akkadian, Elamite, Hittite (and Luwian), Hurrian (and Urartian) languages, and it inspired the Old Persian and Ugaritic national alphabets.

Originally, pictograms were drawn on clay tablets in vertical columns with a pen made from a sharpened reed stylus, or incised in stone. This early style was still lacking the characteristic wedge-shape of the strokes.

From about 2900 BC, the pictographs began to lose their original function, and a given sign could have various meanings depending on context. The sign inventory was reduced from some 1,500 signs to some 600 signs, and writing became increasingly phonological. Determinative signs were re-introduced to avoid ambiguity. This process is directly parallel to, and probably not independent of, the development of Egyptian hieroglyphic orthography.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Eusebius of Caesarea

Eusebius of Caesarea, church historianEusebius of Caesarea (c. 275 – May 30, 339) (often called Eusebius Pamphili, "Eusebius [the friend] of Pamphilus") was a bishop of Caesarea in Palestine and is often referred to as the father of church history because of his work in recording the history of the early Christian church. An earlier history by Hegesippus that he referred to has not survived.

His exact date and place of birth are unknown, and little is known of his youth. He became acquainted with the presbyter Dorotheus in Antioch and probably received exegetical instruction from him. In 296 he was in Palestine and saw Constantine who visited the country with Diocletian.

He was in Caesarea when Agapius was bishop and became friendly with Pamphilus of Caesarea, with whom he seems to have studied the text of the Bible, with the aid of Origen's Hexapla and commentaries collected by Pamphilus, in an attempt to prepare a correct version.





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