Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Holy Land

The expression "The Holy Land" (Hebrew: ארץ הקודש) generally refers to the Land of Israel, otherwise known as the region of Palestine (sometimes including parts of Jordan, Syria and Egypt). It concerns the areas that hold significant religious importance to any or all three monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Holy Land is the territory where the Biblical stories took place, those described by the Tanakh or those by the New Testament.

The concept had its evolution in the same Scriptures. For some Biblical authors the territory was marked by the concept of Promised Land, but for others it refers to those events in any place related to the People of Israel.

The name "Holy Land" is related to a sacred concept of religiosity according with the Judeo-Christian idea.

The "Land" becomes "Holy" or "Sacred" when it comes in contact with the plan of salvation of God. In this same way, we can talk about "holy men and women" and "holy sites and objects". The origin of the Holy Land concept is found in the renaming of the Land of Canaan as the Land of Israel (e.g. Genesis 15:18-21).

The concept of the land being holy is especially prominent in the Book of Numbers. Horst Seebass argues that the book is "indeed pervaded by the theme of the holy land." The land is also considered holy in the Hebrew Bible because God's "holy people" settle there.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Ill-legalism addresses issues of theology, hermeneutics, attitudes, lifestyle, and relationship surrounding Christian legalism and fundamentalism. It provides support for recovering legalists. Ill-legalism is not anti-fundamentalist. It exists partly to address problems within fundamentalism, and problems with some of the reactions to fundamentalism.

"It's such a shame that we have left the spiritual depth of the 1950s and succumbed to the lures of the 2000's." -Pastor Gamaliel (the spiritual leader of the First Pharisee Church, is widely respected in the Pharisee denomination for his outspoken, hard-hitting commentaries on what is wrong with society at large and Christianity in particular)

Rick Presley, a former bi-vocational pastor, is currently an instructional designer with a major not-for-profit international humanitarian organization. Some of the experiences that have shaped his life include five years of teaching biology in a Christian school, serving as a technical consultant and laboratory technician in the chemical industry and church planting in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Rachel Ramer is a freelance writer whose articles and stories have appeared in several publications. She is also currently a writing instructor for junior and senior high school students. Rachel educated her children at home for eight years and, prior to that, spent seven years working for an organization that provides direct care services for the mentally handicapped. She lives in the country in eastern Indiana with her husband, Curtis, and their three boys.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


Calvinism is a system of Christian theology and an approach to Christian life and thought, articulated by John Calvin, a Protestant Reformer in the 16th century, and subsequently by successors, associates, followers and admirers of Calvin and his interpretation of Scripture. The Reformed tradition is referred to by the roughly equivalent term Calvinism.

The Reformed tradition was originally advanced by stalwarts such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and Pietro Martire Vermigli, and also influenced English reformers such as Thomas Cranmer and John Jewel. However, because of Calvin's great influence and role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the seventeenth century, this Reformed movement generally became known as Calvinism. Today, this term also refers to the doctrines and practices of the Reformed churches, of which Calvin was an early leader. Though it is often over-emphasized by its detractors, Calvinism is perhaps best known for its doctrines of predestination and election.

John Calvin's international influence on the development of the doctrine of the Protestant Reformation began at the age of 25, when he started work on his first edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1534 (published 1536). This work underwent a number of revisions in his lifetime, including an impressive French vernacular translation. Through it and together with his polemical and pastoral works, his contributions to confessional documents for use in churches, and a massive collection of commentaries on the Bible, Calvin had a direct personal influence on Protestantism. But he is only one of many, although eventually the most prominent influence, on the doctrine of the Reformed churches.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pontius Pilate

Christ before Pilate : Artist TINTORETTO, 1566-67, Oil on canvas, 515 x 380 cm, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice.Pontius Pilate (Latin: Pontius Pilatus') was the governor of the Roman Iudaea Province from 26 until 36. In modern times he is best known as the man who, according to the canonical Christian Gospels, presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion, instigating the Passion.

Pilate's biographical details before and after his appointment to Iudaea are unknown, but have been supplied by tradition, which include the detail that his wife's name was Procula (she is canonized as a saint in Orthodox Christianity) and competing legends of his birthplace.

The famous Pilate Inscription found at Caesarea Palaestina refers to Pilate as prefect, while Tacitus speaks of him as procurator of the province. The explanation of the differences in title is fairly straightforward.

In the first historical period in which the setting of the New Testament became the Roman Iudaea Province (a compound of Samaria, Judea and Idumea), from 6 to the outbreak of the Great Jewish Revolt in 66, officials of the equestrian order (the lower rank of governors) governed. They held the Roman title of prefect until Herod Agrippa I was named King of the Jews by Claudius.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai, also known as "Gebel Musa" or "Jabal Musa" by the Bedouins, is the name of a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula. It is 2,285 metres high and is located in a mountain range in the southern part of the peninsula. It is near a protruding lower bluff known as the Ras Sasafeh (Sufsafeh), and rises almost perpendicularly from the plain.

The Biblical Mount Sinai is an ambiguously located mountain at which the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. In certain biblical passages these events are described as having transpired at Horeb, but though there is a small body of opinion that Sinai and Horeb were different locations, they are generally considered to have been different names for the same place.

Judaism teaches that as soon as the Jewish people received the Bible at Mt. Sinai, they would be hated by the rest of the world for having been the ones to receive divine word (a state of affairs presented as a pun: Sinai as Seen-ah, which means hatred). The area was reached by the Hebrews in the third month after the Exodus. Here they remained encamped for about a year. The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus, together with the whole of Leviticus and Numbers ch. 1-11, contain a record of all the transactions which occurred while they were at Mount Sinai.

From Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-13) the Israelites journeyed to "the desert of Sinai," and encamped there "before the mountain." In the Bible, Mt. Sinai is also called Mt. Horeb and the "Mount of God".

Jewish scholars have long asserted that the exact location of Mount Sinai was unknown, the reason being that its location was purposefully terra incognita.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Letters of Paul

The Pauline epistles are the thirteen or fourteen letters in the New Testament of the Christian Bible traditionally believed to have been written by the apostle Paul. Among them are some of the earliest extant (still existing) Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of formative Christianity and, as part of the biblical canon of the New Testament, they have also been, and continue to be, hugely influential in Christian theology and Christian ethics.

The Letters of Paul are as follows:
  • Romans
  • Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon

The Epistle to the Romans is one of the letters of the New Testament canon of the Christian Bible. When it is clear that the Bible is being discussed, it is often referred to as simply "Romans". Romans is one of the seven currently (as of 2004) undisputed letters of Paul and even among the four letters accepted as authentically his (in German scholarship, the Hauptbriefe) by F. C. Baur and the Tübingen School of historical criticism of texts in the 19th century.

It was probably written at Corinth or possibly in nearby Cenchrea, transcribed by Tertius.
21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives 22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city's director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.


Friday, September 19, 2008

George Washington Carver

Dr George Washington Carver : Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. Rothstein, Arthur, 1915- photographer.George Washington Carver (July 12, 1864 – January 5, 1943) was an American botanical researcher and agronomy educator who worked in agricultural extension at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, teaching former slaves farming techniques for self-sufficiency.

To bring education to farmers, Carver designed a mobile school. It was called a Jesup Wagon after the New York financier, Morris Ketchum Jesup, who provided funding. In 1921, Carver spoke in favor of a peanut tariff before the House Ways and Means Committee. Given racial discrimination of the time, it was unusual for an African-American to be called as an expert. Carver's well-received testimony earned him national attention, and he became an unofficial spokesman for the peanut industry. Carver wrote 44 practical agricultural bulletins for farmers.

While George Washington Carver is most widely recognized for his scientific contributions regarding the peanut, he is also often recognized as devoted Christian. God and science were both areas of intrigue, not warring ideas in the mind of George Washington Carver. While contemporary scientific endeavors may practice methodological naturalism, an approach which believes the universe to be unguided or chaotic, Carver reasoned that the God who created the universe also created the rules by which it was governed, Biblical creationism. He was opposed to the scientific theory of evolution and believed the creation of the world to be the Biblical creation account from the book of Genesis verbatim. He would testify on many occasions that his faith in Jesus was the only mechanism by which he could effectively pursue and perform the art of science.

"When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."

"In an interview, Carver said he prayed to God and first asked God why He created the universe. God told him it was too big a question for him to ask. Carver then asked why God created man and received the same response. Finally, Carver asked why God created the peanut; he later discovered over 300 uses for the adaptable legume."


Thursday, September 18, 2008


Christology is that part of Christian theology that studies and defines who Jesus the Christ was and is. It is generally less concerned with the minor details of his life; rather it deals with who he was, the incarnation, and the major events of his life (his birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. see also Child Jesus).

Important issues in Christology include:
  • His human nature
  • His divine nature

The interrelationship between these two natures; how they interacted and affected each other Christology may also cover questions concerning the nature of God like the Trinity, Unitarianism or Binitarianism, and what, if anything, Christ accomplished for the rest of humanity. There are almost as many Christological views as there are variants of Christianity. The different Christological views of various Christian sects have led to accusations of heresy, and, infrequently, subsequent religious persecution. In many cases, a sect's unique christology is its chief distinctive feature; in these cases it is common for the sect to be known by the name given to its christology.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Talmudical Hermeneutics

Talmudical Hermeneutics refers to the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical. Since the Halakah, however, is regarded simply as an exposition and explanation of the Torah, Talmud hermeneutics includes also the rules by which the requirements of the oral law are derived from and established by the written law. These rules relate to:

grammar and exegesis
  • the interpretation of certain words and letters and superfluous words, prefixes, and suffixes in general
  • the interpretation of those letters which, in certain words, are provided with points
  • the interpretation of the letters in a word according to their numerical value (see Gematria)
  • the interpretation of a word by dividing it into two or more words (see Noṭariḳon)
  • the interpretation of a word according to its consonantal form or according to its vocalization
  • the interpretation of a word by transposing its letters or by changing its vowels
  • the logical deduction of a halakah from a Scriptural text or from another law
Compilations of such hermeneutic rules were made in the earliest times. The tannaitic tradition recognizes three such collections, namely

  1. the 7 Rules of Hillel (baraita at the beginning of Sifra; Ab. R. N. xxxvii.)
  2. the 13 Rules of R. Ishmael (baraita at the beginning of Sifra; this collection is merely an amplification of that of Hillel)
  3. the 32 Rules of R. Eliezer b. Jose ha-Gelili. These last-mentioned rules are contained in an independent baraita (Baraita on the Thirty-two Rules) which has been incorporated and preserved only in later works. They are intended for haggadic interpretation, but many of them are valid for the Halakah as well, coinciding with the rules of Hillel and Ishmael.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mendelian Inheritance

Mendelian inheritance (or Mendelian genetics or Mendelism) is a set of primary tenets relating to the transmission of hereditary characteristics from parent organisms to their children; it underlies much of genetics. They were initially derived from the work of Gregor Mendel (a Christian Augustinian monk who belived in creationism) published in 1865 and 1866 which was "re-discovered" in 1900, and were initially very controversial. When they were integrated with the chromosome theory of inheritance by Thomas Hunt Morgan in 1915, they became the core of classical genetics.

The laws of inheritance were derived by Gregor Mendel, a 19th century Moravian monk conducting plant hybridity experiments. Between 1856 and 1863, he cultivated and tested some 28,000 pea plants. His experiments brought forth two generalizations which later became known as Mendel's Laws of Heredity or Mendelian inheritance. These are described in his essay "Experiments on Plant Hybridization" that was read to the Natural History Society of Brno on February 8 and March 8, 1865, and was published in 1866.

Mendel's results were largely neglected. Though they were not completely unknown to biologists of the time, they were not seen as being important. Even Mendel himself did not see their ultimate applicability, and thought they only applied to certain categories of species. In 1900, however, the work was "re-discovered" by three European scientists, Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns, and Erich von Tschermak. The exact nature of the "re-discovery" has been somewhat debated: De Vries published first on the subject, and Correns pointed out Mendel's priority after having read De Vries's paper and realizing that he himself did not have priority, and De Vries may not have acknowledged truthfully how much of his knowledge of the laws came from his own work, or came only after reading Mendel's paper. Later scholars have accused Von Tschermak of not truly understanding the results at all.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve ApostlesThe Twelve Apostles (in Koine Greek "απόστολος" apostolos: "messenger from God, LXX 3 Ki.14.6; esp. of the Apostles, Ev.Matt.10.2, al." (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott), G652: "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders a) specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ b) in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers" (Strong's Concordance) were men that according to the Synoptic Gospels and Christian tradition (see also Oral Tradition), were chosen from among the disciples of Jesus for a mission (see also: Seventy Disciples). According to the Bauer lexicon, Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: "...Judaism had an office known as apostle (שליח)".

The Gospel of Mark states that Jesus initially sent out these twelve in pairs (Mark 6:7-13, cf. Matthew 10:5-42, Luke 9:1-6), to towns in Galilee [map].

Literal readings of the text state that their initial instructions were to heal the sick and drive out demons, but some scholars read this more metaphorically as instructions to heal the spiritually sick and thus to drive away wicked behaviour.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Golan Heights

Political map 2 of the Sea of Galilee (Golan Heights) region todayThe Golan Heights is a strategic plateau and mountainous region at the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. The geographic area lies within, or borders, the countries of Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The Golan plateau encompasses about 1,800 square kilometres (690 sq mi); it is situated south of the mountains and extends to the east. Since 1967, the term generally refers to a somewhat different 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi) area that includes the western portion of the plateau, a small portion of the Jordan River Valley in the northwest, and higher, mountainous areas in the north, which descend to the southeast from Mount Hermon. The Golan Heights are of great strategic importance in the region. The Golan Heights were undisputed Syrian territory until Israel captured the region on 9-10 June 1967 during the Six-Day War. The area has remained under Israeli occupation since then. The territory was successfully defended by Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, though a portion was later returned to Syria. In 1981 the area was unilaterally annexed by Israel, a move condemned internationally. The Golan Heights remain disputed, with an ongoing Syrian claim for the land to be returned.

The name "Golan" refers to both Biblical and historical names for the southern portion of the area. (See Etymology, below). In contemporary usage, the “Golan Heights” refers to the territory captured by Israel from Syria.

Syria maintains that the Golan Heights are within the Quneitra Governorate. Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees reported that the local population fled, whereas the Syrian government indicated that a large proportion of it was expelled. Starting in the 1970s, new Jewish settlements were established in the captured area. Israel asserts its right to retain the area under the text of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for "safe and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force".


Miller-Urey experiment

Replication of the Miller-Urey experimentThe Miller-Urey experiment (or Urey-Miller experiment) was an experiment that simulated hypothetical conditions present on the early Earth and tested for the occurrence of chemical evolution. Specifically, the experiment tested Oparin and Haldane's hypothesis that conditions on the primitive Earth favored chemical reactions that synthesized organic compounds from inorganic precursors. Considered to be the classic experiment on the origin of life, it was conducted in 1953 by Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey at the University of Chicago.

The experiment used water (H2O), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen (H2). The chemicals were all sealed inside a sterile array of glass tubes and flasks connected together in a loop, with one flask half-full of liquid water and another flask containing a pair of electrodes. The liquid water was heated to induce evaporation, sparks were fired between the electrodes to simulate lightning through the atmosphere and water vapor, and then the atmosphere was cooled again so that the water could condense and trickle back into the first flask in a continuous cycle.

In his interview with Lee Strobel, when discussing the famous Miller-Urey experiment, Jonathan wells said,
"Now, it's true that a good organic chemist can turn formaldehyde and cyanide into biological molecules. But to suggest that formaldehyde and cyanide give you the right substrate for the origin of life, Well, it's just a joke."

He let the point sink in before delivering the clincher. "Do you know what you get?" he asked. "Embalming fluid!"


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Leviathan (Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, "Twisted; coiled") was a Biblical sea monster referred to in the Old Testament (Psalm 74:13-14; Job 41; Isaiah 27:1). The word leviathan has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature. In the novel Moby-Dick it refers to great whales, and in Modern Hebrew, it means simply "whale".

The word "Leviathan" appears five places in the Bible, and the Book of Job 41 is dedicated in describing Leviathan in detail:
Book of Job 3:8 "May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan "; NIV

Book of Job 41:1-34: "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?...He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride." KJV (quoted 1 and 34 only)

Psalms 74:14: "Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness." KJV

Psalms 104:24,25: "O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts." KJV;

Isaiah 27:1: "In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." KJV

The king over the children of pride is a reference to Satan (the Accuser). Just as he is referred to in the New Testament as a red dragon in Rev.12 having seven heads, so in Psalm 74:14: "Thou didst crush the heads of the Leviathan,..."


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Moses and Shekhinah Glory - The Burning BushShekhinah (alternative transliterations Shekinah, Shechinah, Shekina, Shechina, Schechinah, sometimes spelled Shchinah in Judaism) is the English spelling of a feminine Hebrew language word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem. Shekhinah is the "gentle" or "feminine aspect" of the Divine.


Shechinah is derived from the Hebrew verb "sakan" or "shachan". In Biblical Hebrew the word means literally to settle, inhabit, or dwell, and is used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. (See e.g. Genesis 9:27, 14:13, Psalms 37:3, Jeremiah 33:16), as well as the weekly Shabbat blessing recited in the Temple in Jerusalem ("May He who causes His name to dwell [shochan] in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship"). In Mishnaic Hebrew the word is often used to refer to bird's nesting and nests. ("Every bird nests [shechinot] with its kind, and man with its like, Talmud Baba Kammah 92b.) and can also mean "neighbor" ("If a neighbor and a scholar, the scholar is preferred" Talmud Ketubot 85b). The word "Shechinah" also means "royalty" or "royal residence" ( The Greek word 'skene' - dwelling - is thought to be derived from 'shekinah' and 'sakan'. The word for Tabernacle, mishcan, is a derivative of the same root and is also used in the sense of dwelling-place in the Bible, e.g. Psalm 132:5 ("Before I find a place for God, mishcanot (dwelling-places) for the Strong One of Israel.") Accordingly, in classic Jewish thought, the Shekhina refers to a dwelling or settling in a special sense, a dwelling or settling of divine presence, to the effect that, while in proximity to the Shekhinah, the connection to God is more readily perceivable.

The Shekinah is held by many to represent the feminine attributes of the presence of God (shekhinah being a feminine word in Hebrew), based especially on readings of the Talmud.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

James Ussher

James Ussher (sometimes spelled Usher) (4 January 1581–21 March 1656) was Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625–1656. He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to time and date creation to the night preceding October 23, 4004 BC, according to the Julian calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar would be 21 September 4004 BCE.

Ussher was born in Dublin, Ireland, into a well-to-do Anglo-Irish family. His grandfather, James Stanihurst, had been speaker of the Irish parliament, and his father was a clerk in chancery. Ussher's younger, and only surviving, brother, Ambrose, became a distinguished scholar of Arabic and Hebrew. According to his chaplain and biographer, Nicholas Bernard, the elder brother was taught to read by two blind, spinster aunts.

Ussher was a gifted polyglot (one who is multilingual), entering Dublin Free School and then the newly-founded (1591) Trinity College, Dublin on 9 January 1594, at the age of thirteen (not an unusual age at the time). He had received his Bachelor of Arts degree by 1598, and was a fellow and MA by 1600 (though Bernard claims he did not gain his MA till 1601). In May of 1602, he was ordained in the Trinity College Chapel as a deacon in the Protestant, established, Church of Ireland (and possibly priest on the same day) by his uncle Henry Ussher, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.


Sunday, September 07, 2008


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 (ש"ע) יהושע (שם עברי) (A Hebrew name for Jesus, contracted in Aramaic to Yeshua), 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 (see also: West Bank).

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.


Thursday, September 04, 2008


Absalom or Avshalom (Hebrew: אַבְשָׁלוֹם "Father/Leader of/is peace", Standard Hebrew Avšalom), in the Bible, is the third son of David, king of Israel. He was deemed the handsomest man in the kingdom.

His sister Tamar had been raped by David's eldest son, Amnon, who was in love with her. Absalom, after waiting two years, revenged by sending his servants to murder Amnon at a feast to which he had invited all the king's sons (see 2 Samuel 13:23-33)

After this deed he fled to Talmai, "king" of Geshur (see Joshua 12:5 or 13:2), his maternal grandfather, and it was not until three years later that he was fully reinstated in his father's favour.

Four years after this he raised a revolt at Hebron, the former capital. Absalom was now the eldest surviving son of David, and the present position of the narratives (15-20)--after the birth of Solomon and before the struggle between Solomon and Adonijah---may represent the view that the suspicion that he was not the destined heir of his father's throne excited the impulsive youth to rebellion.

All Israel and Judah flocked to his side, and David, attended only by the Cherethites and Pelethites and some recent recruits from Gath, found it expedient to flee. The priest remained behind in Jerusalem, and their sons Jonathan and Ahimaaz served as his spies. Absalom reached the capital and took counsel with the renowned Ahitophel. The pursuit was continued and David took refuge beyond the Jordan River.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rylands Library Papyrus P52

John Rylands Library Papyrus P52, rectoThe Rylands Library Papyrus P52, also known as the St John's fragment, is a papyrus conserved at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK. The front (recto) contains lines from the Gospel of John (18:31-33), in Greek, and the back (verso) contains lines from verses (37-38).

Although Rylands P52 is generally accepted as the earliest extant New Testament canonical record, the dating of the papyrus is by no means the subject of consensus among critical scholars. The style of the script is strongly Hadrian, which would suggest a date somewhere between 125 and 160 CE. But the difficulty of fixing the date of a fragment based solely on paleographic evidence allows for a range of dates that extends from before 100 CE to well into the second half of the 2nd century.

The original translation of the work was not done until 1934 by C.H. Roberts, who published the essay “An Unpublished Fragment of the Fourth Gospel in the John Rylands Library” in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library XX, 1936, pp 45-55. Roberts found comparator hands in papyri then dated between 50 CE and 150 CE, with the closest match of Hadrianic date.


Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat, 16,940 feet, 5165 m, is the largest volcano in Turkey. Although not currently active, its most recent eruption has probably been within the last 10,000 years.Mount Ararat is the tallest peak in modern Turkey. This snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone is located in the Ağrı Province, near the northeast corner of Turkey, 16 km west of the Iranian and 32 km south of the Armenian borders.

During the time of Noah, this mountain was completely covered with water:

17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. (Genesis 7:17-20 ESV)

The name Ağrı in Turkish is said to be derived from Agir in Kurdish meaning fire, referring to Ararat being a volcano. But this derivation is uncertain, since there is no historical record of when the volcano was last active and which tribes lived in the vicinity at that time.

Technically, Ararat is a stratovolcano, formed of lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta. A smaller (3,896 m) cone, Mount "Sis", also known as "Little Ararat", rises from the same base, southeast of the main peak (Armenians sometimes call the higher peak "Masis").

The lava plateau stretches out between the two pinnacles. The last activity on the mountain was a major earthquake in July 1840 centered around the Ahora Gorge, a northeast trending chasm that drops 1,825 metres (6,000 ft) from the top of the mountain.





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