Saturday, September 29, 2007

Koine Greek

Luke 2:1-9, in the original Koine GreekKoine Greek refers to the forms of the Greek language used in post-classical antiquity (c.300 BC – AD 300). Other names are Alexandrian, Hellenistic, Common, or New Testament Greek. Koine Greek is important not only to the history of the Greeks for being their first common dialect and main ancestor of Demotic Greek, but it is also significant for its impact on Western Civilization as a lingua franca (a common language used by speakers of different languages; "Koine is a dialect of ancient Greek that was the lingua franca of the empire of Alexander the Great and was widely spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Roman times" for the Mediterranean.

John 1 beginning fragment in the original Koine Greek

Koine Greek: "In [The]Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. This one was in [The]Beginning with God all things through Him came to be, and without Him came to be not one thing. That which came into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light" [in the darkness shines and the darkness did not grasp it.]
English: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light [shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.] -John 1:1-5

Koine also was the original language of the New Testament of the Christian Bible as well as the medium for the teaching and spreading of Christianity. Koine Greek was unofficially a first or second language in the Roman Empire.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Son of Man

depiction of Christ being nailed to the crossIn the bible, Jesus (Greek: Ίησους (Iēsous), itself a Hellenization of the Hebrew יהושע (Yehoshua) or Aramaic ישוע (Yeshua) often refers to Himself as the Son of Man.
32They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33"We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." -Mark 10:32-34

Christian interpretation

The phrase son of man took on Messianic significance within the Christian movement primarily due to the Jewish eschatology during the time of its early conception. Originating in the book of Daniel, in a vision, one like a son of man is described coming upon the clouds of the sky to unite the world. As a result, some Christians believe that in the body of the New Testament, son of man is used forty-three times as a distinctive title of Jesus within this Messianic context. Other Christians interpret it as Jesus showing humility, avoiding using titles like Messiah and Son of God. Still other Christians believe the title is meant to signify Jesus upholding his identification with his humanity and fellowship with mankind, perhaps also conveying the idea that Jesus is the man par excellence. In this last context it serves as putting humans and Jesus on the same level.


Thursday, September 27, 2007


Paul and Barnabas at Lystra. 1650 Oil on canvas. Musée d’Art, Saint-EtienneBarnabas was an early Christian mentioned in the New Testament. His Hellenic Jewish parents called him Joseph, (although the Byzantine text-type calls him Joses, the Aramaic version of Joseph, see also: Aramaic of Jesus) but when he sold all his goods and gave the money to the apostles in Jerusalem, they gave him a new name: Barnabas, which means huios parakleseos (Greek: υιος παρακλήσεως) "son of exhortation," or 'man of encouragement.' see Acts 11:23) and connotes a prophet in the primitive Christian sense of the word (see Acts 13:1; 15:32). His feast day is June 11. In many English translations of the Bible, including the New International Version (NIV), King James Version (KJV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB), Barnabas is called an apostle. In Acts 14:14 of these translations, he is listed ahead of Paul, "Barnabas and Paul," instead of "Paul and Barnabas;" both men being described as apostles. Whether Barnabas was an apostle became an important political issue, which was debated in the Middle Ages.
8-10There was a man in Lystra who couldn't walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God's work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, "Up on your feet!" The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he'd been walking all his life.

11-13When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, "The gods have come down! These men are gods!" They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes" (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.

14-15When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods! We are men just like you, and we're here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don't make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them. -Acts 14:10-15 (The Message)


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

documentary hypothesis

A relational diagram describing the various versions postulated by the biblical documentary hypothesis. The documentary hypothesis (DH) proposes that the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, known collectively as the Torah or Pentateuch), represent a combination of documents from four originally independent texts dating from various periods between the early 8th and late 5th centuries BCE. The hypothetical texts are:

  • the J, or Yahwist, text

  • the E, or Elohist, text (edited with J to form a combined JE text)

  • the P, or Priestly, text

  • the D, or Deuteronomist, text (which had a further major edit, resulting in sub-texts known as Dtr1 and Dtr2).
The texts were combined into their current form in the post-Exilic period (late 5th century BC) by an editor known as R (for Redactor, see Torah redactor), who also made small additions to harmonise discrepencies between his sources.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Lord's Day

The Scotish Church - view from Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem (photo © Deror avi) The "Lord's Day" is used by the Apostle John in Revelation 1:10, when John starts receiving his Revelations on the Jewish Sabbath. He is clearly quoting Jesus in Matt. 12:8 where he says: "I'm the LORD OF THE SABBATH."

The name Lord's Day


The first appearance of the term kyriake hemera is in the New Testament, in the Book of Revelation, which was written in the latter decades of the first century.

In Rev. 1:10, the author writes, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day." Most Christian commentators interpret Rev. 1:10 as a reference to Sunday, however this interpretation lacks contextual force since nothing in the passage implies he's talking about the first day of the week, Sunday. Also, the argument that the Lord's Day in Revelation 1:10 refers to the eschatological day of the Lord lacks contextual force as well since nothing in the adjacent passage implies the Second Coming or the Day of Judgment. Based on Jesus assertion that he was the "Lord of the Sabbath" (cf. Matt. 12:8), the "Lord's Day" of Revelation can only refer to the Jewish Sabbath, observed by Jesus and his Apostles.


Monday, September 24, 2007


Tree of Life, MedievalExegesis (from the Greek ἐξηγεῖσθαι 'to lead out') involves an extensive and critical interpretation of a text, especially of a holy scripture, such as of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Qur'an, etc. An exegete is a practitioner of this science, and the adjectival form is exegetic.

The word exegesis means "to draw the meaning out of" a given text. Exegesis may be contrasted with eisegesis, which means to read one's own interpretation into a given text. In general, exegesis presumes an attempt to view the text objectively, while eisegesis implies more subjectivity.

One may encounter the terms exegesis and hermeneutics used interchangeably; however, there remains a distinction. Exegesis is the practical application of hermeneutics, which is the interpretation and understanding of a text on the basis of the text itself.

Traditional exegesis requires the following: analysis of significant words in the text in regard to translation; examination of the general historical and cultural context, confirmation of the limits of the passage, and lastly, examination of the context within the text.

Although the most widely-known exegeses concern themselves with Christian, Jewish and Islamic books, analyses also exist of books of other religions.


Friday, September 21, 2007

The parables of Jesus

The Good Samaritan, Rembrandt Harmensz. van RijnThe parables of Jesus, found in the Synoptic Gospels, embody much of Jesus' teaching. Jesus' parables are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to leaven (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus' parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man's neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus' death.

His parables are sometimes interpreted as allegories in the gospels themselves and in Christian tradition. In such an allegory, each element corresponds metaphorically to a class of people (e.g., false Christians), a heavenly reward, or some other topic. The gospel of John includes allegories but no parables. Parables are attributed to Jesus in the three synoptic gospels of the New Testament and the noncanonical Gospel of Thomas. According to some interpretations, the Gospel of John also contains a parable.


New Testament view on the life of Jesus

Jesus Christ being nailed to the cross The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the main sources of information for the traditional Christian narrative of Jesus' life.

The Gospels give two accounts of Jesus' genealogy: one in the male line through his legal father Joseph of Nazareth (Matt 1:2–16 and one through his mother, Mary, while referencing his supposed father; Luke 3:23–38). Both accounts trace his line back to King David and from there to Abraham. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ between David and Joseph. Matthew starts with Solomon and proceeds through the kings of Judah to the last king, Jeconiah. After Jeconiah the line of kings terminated when Babylon conquered Judah. Thus, Matthew shows that Jesus is the legal heir to the throne of Israel. Luke's genealogy is longer than Matthew's; it goes back to Adam and provides more names between David and Jesus, thus giving us direct descendants from Adam to Jesus through Mary.

Joseph of Nazareth appears only in descriptions of Jesus' childhood. With Jesus commending Mary into the care of the beloved disciple during his crucifixion (John 19:25–27), it is likely that he had died by the time of Jesus' ministry. Both Matthew 13:55–56 and Mark 6:3 tell of Jesus' relatives. Mark 6:3 reports that those hearing Jesus asked, "Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, mentions at 1:19 that "I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother." The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also describes James the Just as "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ" (translation of William Whiston), though this passage has been suggested as an interpolation (see Josephus on Jesus). Additionally, the Christian historian Eusebius (who wrote in the 4th century but quoted earlier sources that are now lost) refers to James the Just as Jesus' brother (see Desposyni). However, Epiphanius argued that they were "Joseph's children by his (unrecorded) first wife", while Jerome argued that they were "Jesus' cousins". The Greek word adelphos in these verses is often translated as brother in many Bible translations. However, the word can refer to any familial relation, and Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, along with certain other Christians, cite later revelations concerning the perpetual virginity of Mary, contend the correct translation of adelphos is kinsman or cousin.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

miracles of Jesus

Resurrection of Lazarus by Juan de Flandes, around 1500.According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus performed many miracles in the course of His ministry. The majority of them are various cures, although there are a large number of exorcisms, three instances of raising the dead, and various other miracles that do not fit into these categories.

Power over deathThe Gospels report three cases where Jesus calls a dead person back to life. In one, the daughter of Jairus had just died, and Jesus says she was only sleeping and wakes her with a word. Another case involves a young man being brought out for burial. When Jesus sees his widowed mother, he has pity and raises him from the dead. The third case involves a close friend of Jesus, Lazarus (right), who has been four days in the tomb.

Expelling demonsBelief in supernatural creatures was very common in the first century Judea, as it was nearly everywhere in the world.

According to a literal reading of the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus was present at multiple examples of demonic possession, while these incidents are not mentioned by the Gospel of John.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Josephus on Jesus

A woodcut of Flavius Josephus by John C. Winston.In 93, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus published his work Antiquities of the Jews. The extant copies of this work, which all derive from Christian sources, even the recently recovered Arabic version, contain two passages about Jesus. The one directly concerning Jesus has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum, and its authenticity has been disputed since the 17th century. The other passage concerns James the brother of Jesus.

Testimonium Flavianum

Greek version

The passage appears in Antiquities of the Jews xviii 3.3, which, in the translation of William Whiston, reads:

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as
receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and
many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of
the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved
him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the
third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other
wonderful things concerning him.

And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

As usual with ancient texts, the surviving sources for this passage are Greek manuscripts, all minuscules, the oldest of which dates from the 9th century. It is likely that these all derive from a single exemplar written in uncial, as is the case with most other ancient Greek texts transmitted to the present in medieval copies, and have come down through the hands of the church. The text of Antiquities appears to have been transmitted in two halves — books 1–10 and books 11–20. But other ad hoc copies of this passage also exist. However, other manuscripts existed which did not contain this passage, and one such was known to Isaac Vossius.

There are also citations in other writers of antiquity.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

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 was fulfilled because mary was the biological parent of Jesus.

The virgin birth also addressed the curse God had pronounced upon Jehoiakim. Kingship was an inherited right. By Joseph, Jesus inherited a legal claim to the throne of David. However, he was exempt from the curse of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:1-32, i.e. Joseph's offspring could not claim David's throne because of the curse) because Joseph was not the genetic father of Jesus.


Monday, September 17, 2007

historicity of Jesus

Jesus, aged 12, teaching the doctors of the faithThe historicity of Jesus (i.e., his existence as an actual historical figure), is accepted as a theological axiom by three world religions, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith, based on their respective scriptures.

The earliest known sources are Christian writings - the New Testament - which, according to modern historians, were written several decades after he is said to have died.

However, while Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith also consider Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and Son of God, and Islam views him as a prophet, secular historians and followers of most other world religions (including Judaism) tend to regard him as an ordinary human.

Most scholars, however, agree that Jesus was an historical figure regardless of their perspectives on His teaching, His message of salvation, or statements about Himself.


Saturday, September 15, 2007


From Palestine and Syria. Handbook for Travellers by Karl Baedeker, 5th Edition, 1912Jerusalem 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.

37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." -יהושע Yehoshua, Matthew 23:37-39
The status of the united Jerusalem as Israel's capital is not widely recognized by the international community, and Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem is particularly controversial.

Jerusalem has long been embedded into the religious consciousness of the Jewish people. Jews have always studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms. Many of King David's yearnings about Jerusalem have been adapted into popular prayers and songs.


Friday, September 14, 2007


The Roman Forum was the central area around which ancient Rome developedAncient Rome was a civilization that grew out of the city-state of Rome, founded on the Italian peninsula around 800 BC. During its twelve-century existence, the Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an oligarchic republic to a vast empire. It came to dominate Western Europe and the entire area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea through conquest and assimilation.

The western half of the empire, including Hispania, Gaul, and Italia, eventually succumbed to a number of factors and broke into independent kingdoms in the 5th century (see The Roman Empire). The eastern empire, governed from Constantinople, is referred to as the Byzantine Empire after 476 AD.

The city of Rome grew from settlements around a ford on the river Tiber, a crossroads of traffic and trade.

According to archaeological evidence, the village of Rome was probably founded sometime in the 9th century BC by members of two central Italian tribes, the Latins and the Sabines, on the Palatine, Capitoline, and Quirinal Hills.

The Etruscans, who had previously settled to the north in Etruria, seem to have integrated into the region by the late 9th century BC and formed the aristocratic and monarchial elite. The Etruscans apparently lost power in the area by the late 6th century BC, and at this point, the original Latin and Sabine tribes reinvented their government by creating a republic, with much greater restraints on the ability of rulers to exercise power.


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Location of Tarsus in TurkeyTarsus (Greek Ταρσός) is a city and a large district in Mersin Province, Turkey, 25 km from the city of Mersin and near (40 km) to the city of Adana.

With a history going back 5,000 years Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders to the Orient, a focal point of many civilisations including the Ancient Romans when Tarsus was capital of the province of Cilicia, scene of the romance between Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and birthplace of Saint Paul.

Because of its critical and strategic location, invulnerable from the Tarus Mountains, from the north, and the Mediterranean, on the south, the city was a treasure for many peoples. After the Roman Empire Tarsus wasted away to a small city in the aftermath of hostilities between differing Christian and Muslim empires.

In about 170 BC Tarsus became a free city, leaving it open to Greek culture and Education. By the time of Christ, Tarsus was on a cultural parallel with great cities such as Athens and Alexandria, being a pedagogical center of the world.

Paul Speaks to the Crowd


37As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, "May I say something to you?"

"Do you speak Greek?" he replied. 38"Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?"

39Paul answered, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people."

40Having received the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic:


1"Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." 2When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. -Paul of Tarsus (Acts 21:37-22:11)


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The Taking of Jericho, by Jean FouquetJericho (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.


Three separate settlements have existed at or near the current location for more than 11,000 years. The position is on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea.

The first archaeological excavations of the site were made by Charles Warren in 1868. Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger excavated Tell es-Sultan and Tulul Abu el-'Alayiq between 1907-1909 and in 1911. John Garstang excavated between 1930 and 1936. Extensive investigations using more modern techniques were made by Kathleen Kenyon between 1952 and 1958. Lorenzo Nigro and Nicolo Marchetti conducted a limited excavation in 1997. Later that same year, Dr. Bryant Wood also made a visit to the site to verify the findings of the earlier 1997 team.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Wall of the New Testament period (called Bab Kisan) in Damascus where Paul escaped to begin his ministry.Damascus (Arabic: دمشق‎) is the capital and largest city of Syria, with close ties to Israel. Founded approximately 2500 BCE, it is thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, before Al Fayyum, and Gaziantep. Its current population is estimated at about 4.5 million.


In Arabic, the city is called دمشق الشام Dimashq ash-Shām.

Although this is often shortened to Dimashq by many, the citizens of Damascus, and of Syria and some other Arab neighbors, colloquially call the city ash-Shām. Ash-Shām is an Arabic term for North and for Syria. (Syria — particularly historical Greater Syria — is called Bilād ash-Shām — بلاد الشام, 'country of the north' — in Arabic.) The English name for Damascus is taken from the Greek Δαμασκός, via Latin. This comes from the old Aramaic (see also: Aramaic of Jesus) name for the city — דרמשק Darmeśeq, which means "a well-watered place". However, pre-Aramaic tablets unearthed at Ebla refer to a city to the south of Ebla named Damaski. It is possible that the name 'Damascus' pre-dates the Aramaic era of the city. Damascus is designated as having been part of the ancient province of Amurru in the Hyksos Kingdom, from 1720 to 1570 BC. (MacMillan, pp. 30-31).


Monday, September 10, 2007


cave of MachpelahHebron (Al-Khalil) (Arabic الخليل, Hebrew חֶבְרוֹן derived from the word "friend") is a town in the Southern Judea region of the West Bank of around 130,000 Palestinians and 500 Israeli settlers. It lies 3,050 feet (930 m) above sea level.

Geographic coordinates : 31°32' N, 35°6' E

Hebron is located 30km south of Jerusalem. Its elevation from sea level is about 1000m. Hebron is famous for its grapes, limestones, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories. It is also home of the nationally famous Al-Juneidi factory for dairy products.

The old city of Hebron is characterized by its narrow and winding streets, the flat-roofed stone houses, and the old bazaars. It is the home of Hebron University and Palestine Polytechnic University.


Saturday, September 08, 2007


Engraving of the Prophet Amos (1891)The Book of Amos is one of the books of the Nevi'im and of the Old Testament.


Amos was a prophet during the reign of Jeroboam ben Joash (Jeroboam II), ruler of Israel from 753 BCE to 793 BCE, and the reign of Uzziah, King of Judah, at a time when both kingdoms (Israel in the North and Judah in the South) were peaking in prosperity. He was a contemporary of the prophet Hosea, but likely preceded him. Many of the earlier accounts of prophets found in the Old Testament are found within the context of other accounts of Israel's history. Amos, however, is the first prophet whose name also serves as the title of the corresponding biblical book in which his story is found.

Time When Written

Most scholars believe that Amos gave his message in the autumn of 750 BC or 749 BC. It is generally understood that his preaching at Bethel lasted only a single day at the least and a few days at the most. Leading up to this time, Assyrian armies battled against Damascus for a number of years, which greatly diminished Syria's threat to Israel. As a result of the fighting amongst its neighbors, Israel had the benefit of increasing its borders almost to those of the time of kings David and Solomon.


Friday, September 07, 2007


Zechariah as depicted on Michelangelo's ceiling of the Sistine ChapelZechariah or Zecharya (Hebrew: זְכַרְיָה, "Renowned/Remembered of/is the Lord") was a person in the Bible Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh. He was the author of the Book of Zechariah.

It is a theophoric name, the ending -iah being a short Hebrew form for the Tetragrammaton, which was very commonly in its times in association with people & places names.

He was a prophet of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, and the eleventh of the minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (Zechariah 1:1) as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from their Babylonian exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).

Although there is an indication inTargum Lamentations that "Zechariah son of Iddo" was killed in the Temple, scholars generally understand this as a reference to the death of a much earlier figure, Zechariah Ben Jehoiada.

On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, his feast day is February 8. He is commemorated with the other Minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.


Thursday, September 06, 2007


The prophet Daniel from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceilingDaniel (Hebrew: דָּנִיֵּאל, Arabic: دانيال, Danyal) is a figure appearing in the Hebrew Bible and the central protagonist of the Book of Daniel. The name "Daniel" means "God is my judge" or "God's judge."

Daniel was a young man of the upper crust of Jewish society who was taken captive by Nebudchadnezzar, king of Babylon and the Chaldean dynasty. Nebudchadnezzar endeavored to remove all traces of Daniel's nationality and religion. For this reason they strove to change Daniel's name to Belteshazzar: (Dan. 1:7; 2:26; 4:8-9, 18-19; 5:12; 10:1).

At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar II (the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century before at the hands of the Assyrians), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and three other noble youths named Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego were among the Jewish young nobility carried off to Babylon (probably as hostages to ensure the loyalty of Judah's king and advisors), along with some of the vessels of the temple. Daniel and his three Jewish companions were subsequently evaluated and chosen for their intellect and beauty, to be trained as Chaldeans, who constituted the ranks of the advisors to the Babylonian court.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The figure of Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, <br />by Michelangelo.Jeremiah or Yirmiyáhu (יִרְמְיָהוּ) His writings are collected in the book of Jeremiah, and the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is considered by some modern scholars (as well as some Ancient Rabbis) to have written, or redacted much of the Old Testament, as we have it today. His language in "Jeremiah" and "Lamentations" is quite similar to that in Deuteronomy and the "Deuteronomic history" of Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings. Jeremiah is also famous as "the broken-hearted prophet" (who wrote or dictated a "broken book", which has been difficult for scholars to put into chronological order), whose heart-rending life, and true prophecies of dire warning went largely-unheeded by the people of Judah. YHWH told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you".

According to the Book of Jeremiah, he was called to the prophetical office when still young; in the thirteenth year of Josiah (628 BC). He left his native place, Anatoth, (where Jeremiah was perhaps a member of the priesthood) and went to reside in Jerusalem; where he assisted Josiah in his work of reformation.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007


The prophet Ezekiel, Sistine Chapel The book of Ezekiel is a book of the Jewish Hebrew bible as well as the Christian Old Testament, attributed to the prophet Ezekiel (Hebrew: יחזקאל, Yehezkel). He is commemorated as a saint in the Calendar of saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church on July 21 and of the Armenian Apostolic Church on August 28.

According to the Book of Ezekiel

The Book of Ezekiel gives little detail about Ezekiel's life. In it, he is mentioned only twice by name: 1:3 and 24:24. Ezekiel is a priest, the son of Buzi (my contempt), and his name means "God will strengthen". He was one of the Israelite exiles, who settled at a place called Tel-abib, on the banks of the Chebar, "in the land of the Chaldeans." The place is thus not identical to the modern city Tel Aviv, which is, however, named after it. He was probably carried away captive with Jehoiachin (1:2; 2 Kings 24:14-16) about 597 BC.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Book of Revelation

John the Apostle on the Island of PatmosThe Book of Revelation, also called Revelation to John or Apocalypse of John is the canonical book of the New Testament commonly placed last in the Bible. It is the only biblical book that is wholly composed of apocalyptic literature.

The book is frequently called "Book of Revelation" or simply "Revelation"; however, the title found on some of the earliest manuscripts is "The Apocalypse/Revelation of John" (ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ), and the most common title found on later manuscripts is "The Apocalypse/Revelation of the theologian" (ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΛΟΓΟΥ). Many mistake The Book of Revelation for the plural revelations, which is false; there was only one known revelation recorded in the author's manuscript. The first sentence of the book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ ... unto his servant John, is also sometimes used as a title.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mount of Olives

The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Old CityThe Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: Har HaZeitim הר הזיתים, sometimes Jebel et-Tur, "Mount of the Summit," or Jebel ez-Zeitun, "Mount of Olives") is a mountain ridge to the east of Jerusalem. It is named from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed. Jesus entered Jerusalem, gave his final teaching, and ascended to heaven from the Mount. It is the site of many important Biblical events.

In the Book of Zechariah the Mount of Olives is identified as the place from which God will begin to redeem the dead at the end of days.

For this reason, Jews have always sought to be buried on the mountain, and from Biblical times to the present day the mountain has been used as a cemetery for the Jews of Jerusalem.





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