Archaeologist Says the Bible’s King Hezekiah Is Real

An interesting read for those whose study of the Bible includes the archeology of the ancient world, modern archeological science and methods, and current politics. Read the entire essay as you “keep learning”

From the Daily Beast, 12/03/15:

A recent find from Israel
A clay imprint, known as a bulla, which was unearthed from excavations near Jerusalem’s Old City

Israeli archeologists have discovered a mark from a seal of the biblical King Hezekiah—and the discovery is being touted in some circles as proof of the authenticity of the biblical record.

The small circular inscription was found as part of excavations of a refuse dump at the foot of the southern wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City. The clay imprint, known to archeologists as a bulla, contains ancient Hebrew script and a symbol of a two-winged sun.

In the end, the discovery of the bulla may tell us as much about the politics of the present as it does the archeology of the past.

According to the Bible, Hezekiah ruled around 700 B.C. and, along with King Josiah, was one of the few good kings dedicated to eliminating idolatry. 2 Kings 18:5 implies that he was without equal: “there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”

Read the entire essay here


Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany in the Episcopal Church. Often we read the account of the Magi offering the baby Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There is a long history of exploring the meaning of these gifts. The link (below) will give you one insight.

“Were the gifts of the magi meant to save Jesus from the pain of arthritis? It’s possible, according to researchers at Cardiff University in Wales who have been studying the medical uses of frankincense.”

Find out. Read more:  Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh? – Biblical Archaeology Society

A Bible Study Opportunity

Here is yet another way to join a group Bible Study

The Archbishop of Canterbury was joined by thousands of Christians around the world today [5/19/2016] for his first live Bible study on Facebook. Archbishop Justin Welby discussed John 1:35-42 with the Revd Chris Russell, the archbishop’s advisor for evengalism and witness, and answered questions from viewers.

Read the entire post on Anglican Communion News Service

Maybe this is just what you were looking for.

Image: ACNS


What do hear?


Catholic scholars drive a new wave on the New Testament (via Crux)

A new generation of scholars—many of them Catholic—are at last coming at the subject of New Testament scholarship with some humility and common sense.

The turning point in the scholarship has been the increased understanding of the relevance of the first century Jewish context  of the New Testament. As scholars and archeologists have uncovered an increasing amount of information about first century Jewish culture, beliefs and writings, they have come to understand more deeply the meaning and historicity of the gospels.

Put simply, a deeper understanding of first century Judaism has illuminated the New Testament, not only revealing new depths of meaning, but also affirming its early date and historical authenticity.

I encourage you to read the whole post on the Crux website. Let it inspire you to continue to do your own research and decision-making as you keep learning. ~Dan

Image: Page from Codex Vaticanus; ending of 2 Thes and beginning of Heb on Wikipedia

On the Way: 12/06/15

2015 Year of Mercy Logo x289Our weekly newsletter is now available.

Grace and Peace to you.

Two shooters bring death and destruction into a festive gathering just down the road from us. The media whether in print, online, or on the air, seems to need a daily dose of violence and evil to report and dissect in order to sell the products of their sponsors. The Church in its Lectionary readings features texts about the end of time and God’s judgement. Pope Francis will open an “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” (a Holy Year of Mercy) on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 in Rome.

“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” (From the Pope’s proclamation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy)

What shall be our Way? Pay attention. Prepare to receive the Divine Mercy. Pay attention. Prepare to share the Divine Mercy you know in Jesus Christ.

View the entire Newsletter

Biblical Archeology: Keep Learning

Judean Pillar Figurines
Judean Pillar Figurines

Were you aware that the Biblical Archeology Society has a website? If yes, I hope you use it often. If no, then a visit is in order:

Among other pages you will find a page for Free eBooks. Also, you will have the opportunity to create an account (for free) in order to receive their daily or weekly emails exploring the world of biblical archeology.

Judean Pillar Figurines is one of their current stories (8/21/14). Check it out.

Wind Chimes: 12 August 2013

“Jesus said, ‘Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.’” 

The Gospel of Thomas (c. 60-175 A.D.)
in A New New Testament

The Four Evangelists by Jordaens Lovre
Four Evangelists, Jordaens Louvre (c. 1625-1630)

Are you ready to be stretched a little? A lot? Is it possible that other ancient texts can lead to a deeper understanding of the ‘official’ biblical texts used by Christians of various denominations? A council of scholars and teachers came together under the leadership of Hal Taussig to produce A New New Testament:

Is the New Testament missing a few books? In a move that may seem heretical to some Christians, a group of scholars and religious leaders has added 10 new texts to the Christian canon.

The work, A New New Testament, was released nationwide in March in an attempt to add a different historical and spiritual context to the Christian scripture.

Some of the 10 additional texts—which have come to light over the past century—date back to the earliest days of Christianity and include some works that were rejected by the early church.

The 19-member council that compiled the texts consisted of biblical scholars, leaders in several Christian denominations—Episcopal, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, United Church of Christ and Lutheran—two rabbis and an expert in Eastern religions and yoga.

Read the Religion News Service introduction to this effort. The article (dated March 28, 2013) includes the names of those who helped in the project.

The article points out that “not surprisingly not everyone admires the project.” Read the article, read all (or parts) of A New New Testament and let us know what you think. Continue the conversation here.

DivLine360x12There’s a restless, searching, rhythm in the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Grateful for scholars

Geza Vermes
Geza Vermes was known for his skillful translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were first discovered in 1947 and contain the earliest known versions of the Hebrew Bible. (David Levenson / Getty Images / April 22, 1992)

Most of us who study the Bible depend on scholars like Geza Vermes.

All of us who have taken up Bible Study after 1947 (the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) have benefitted from the scholarship (and advocacy) of Dr. Vermes.

Geza Vermes died on May 15, 2013. You can read more about the man in the LA Times: Geza Vermes.

Throughout his life’s work Vermes advocated for wider access to the Dead Sea Scrolls. And this has come about in the ‘digital age.’

The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Project allows “users to examine and explore these most ancient manuscripts from Second Temple times at a level of detail never before possible.”

Go to The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Project

A new* study resource introduced

In the Sunday Forum I introduced folks to a new (to us) study resource: The New English Translation of the Bible (NET Bible or NET in abbreviation) was begun in 1995 and published in 2005.

The NET Bible on

From the Preface to the NET Bible:

The NET Bible (New English Translation) is a completely new translation of the Bible, not a revision or an update of a previous English version. It is being completed by more than twenty biblical scholars who are working directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The translation project originally started as an attempt to provide an electronic version of a modern translation for electronic distribution over the Internet and on CD-Rom. Anyone anywhere in the world with an Internet connection will be able to use and print out the NET Bible without cost for personal study. In addition, anyone who wants to share the Bible with others can print unlimited copies and give them away free to others.

You can find this resource on You can choose to become a registered user or not. The process to become a registered uset is Free and easily done. Registering opens up other ways to use this resource. Even if you don’t become a registered user the NET Bible will be a useful addition for your personal study. I agree with Wikipedia: “The translation is most notable for an immense number of lengthy footnotes (which often explain its textual translation decision), its open translation process, [and] its availability on the Internet ….” Good stuff. ~dan

Check out this resource for yourself:

*That is, new to us in the Sunday Morning Forum (the NET Bible has been online since 2005).

Where is Joppa? Well, we have an app for that.

Preview Map from Bible Geocoding for Acts 9On Sunday (4/21/13) we listened to a reading from Acts 9 (verses 36-43). In the reading we learned that Peter was in Lydda when he was summoned to Joppa. In Joppa he raised Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead and restored her to the community.

Setting aside the discussion about the historical accuracy of this account (or of Acts in general) and setting aside the discussion of miracles (for now), a 21st century American studying this account may wonder where these two towns were/are located. Fortunately, we live in an age where we “have an app for that.”

In this case we have a website and an app to help us locate Lydda and Joppa (well, modern cities overlaying an ancient landscape really).

If you already have Google Earth try out Bible Geocoding. If you do not have Google Earth, no problem: click on “preview” when seeking to locate a place named in the Bible and you will get plenty of information. For example, here is the “preview” of all the places listed in Acts 9.

We (the authors and editors of this blog) are working to build a Resources Page for your use. Our goal is to have the page active by the end of April. If you have an internet resource you would like to share, please share it via the Comments section. Let us help each other.

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