Argeoloog vasgekeer vir vervalsing van artefakte wat Jesus se kruisiging toon

Argeoloog vasgekeer vir vervalsing van artefakte wat Jesus se kruisiging toon


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Argeoloë staan ​​tereg en word daarvan beskuldig dat hulle 'n versameling heilige artefakte vervals het, insluitend die vroegste uitbeelding van die kruisiging van Christus.

Argeoloog Eliseo Gil, geoloog Óscar Escribano, en materiaalontleder Rubén Cerdán verskyn hierdie week in 'n strafhof in Vitoria-Gasteiz, die hoofstad van Spanje in Baskenland. Hulle word daarvan beskuldig dat hulle ou graffiti op die gesigte van honderde antieke artefakte gesmee het.

The Telegraph berig dat die drie mans daarvan beskuldig word dat hulle godsdienstige beelde op aardewerk, glas en baksteen gekrap het wat daarna in die Romeinse ruïnes by Iruña-Veleia, ongeveer 10 kilometer wes van Vitoria-Gasteiz, gevind is. Gil het met vrymoedigheid beweer dat die graffiti wat op die artefakte gevind word, vroeë bande tussen die Romeinse nedersetting in Spanje en die Baskiese taal toon, en hy beweer dat drie 'kruise' wat op 'n fragment van antieke erdewerk gekrap is, die vroegste bekende voorstelling is van die kruisiging van Jesus Christus.

Opgrawing by Iruña-Veleia. (Jabi Zabala / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Ander argeoloë het egter daarop gewys dat sommige van die graffiti in die moderne tyd gemaak is.

Probeer ten minste om die tydperk reg te kry

In 2008 het 'n wetenskaplike kommissie van die provinsiale regering beslis dat "476 van die artefakte gemanipuleer of vals is" en verklaar dat Gil en sy kollegas ''n uitgebreide bedrog gepleeg het'. Ten tyde van die kommissie se verslag is Gil en sy onderneming gestop vir die opgrawing by Iruña-Veleia en aangekla.

Rodríguez Temiño werk in Sevilla vir die provinsiale regering van Andalucía en in 2017 publiseer hy 'n artikel in die argeologiese tydskrif Zephyrus wat bewys lewer dat die artefakte uit Iruña-Veleia hoaxes was. Die verhoor het nou begin.

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Argeoloog Eliseo Gil word daarvan beskuldig dat hy Iruña-Veleia-artefakte vervals het. Bron: Noticias de 5 Minutos / YouTube.

Gil het in 2006 die media-aandag in die Baskeland van Spanje ingehaal toe volgens die argeoloë honderde gebreekte keramiekstukke bekend as "ostraca" met Egiptiese hiërogliewe en tekeninge en frases in Latyn, Grieks en Baskies op die Iruña-Veleia-terrein opgegrawe is. Maar die alarmklokkies begin lui toe sekere frases in Latyn "uit die verkeerde tydperk" is.

Honderde jare uit…

Die graffiti op sommige van die artefakte het blykbaar die naam van die ou Egiptiese koningin Nefertiti in hiërogliewe uitgebeeld, maar sy sou onbekend gewees het totdat haar graf in die 20ste eeu ontdek is. Om nie eers te praat nie, een van die stukke aardewerk het 'n Latynse leuse wat omstreeks 1913 geskep is vir 'n internasionale hof in Den Haag, in Nederland.

Ander argeoloë wys ook daarop dat geskrifte oor die artefakte woorde en spelling bevat van honderde jare later, insluitend moderne kommas en die gemengde gebruik van hoof- en kleinletters wat eers in die 18de eeu voorgekom het. Kenners het ook oorweeg dat die uitbeelding van die kruisiging wat op die bekendste artefak uitgebeeld word, eintlik 'honderde jare later as beweer' geskep is.

Hoof- en kleinletters is op die artefakte van Iruña-Veleia gebruik. ( Zephyrus)

Maar Gil en Escribano het vyf en 'n half jaar gevangenisstraf opgelê as hulle skuldig bevind word aan die beskadiging van erfenisvoorwerpe en bedrog, terwyl Cerdán twee en 'n half jaar tronkstraf opgelê word van die opstel van bedrieglike dokumente wat die egtheid bevestig van die artefakte.

Daar is altyd 'n element van twyfel

Ignacio Rodríguez Temiño, doktor in geskiedenis, spesialiteit Argeologie en antieke wetenskappe, het in 'n e-pos aan WordsSideKick.com gesê dat hy 'geen twyfel het oor hul valsheid nie' en dat daar geen geskil is oor die saak Iruña-Veleia in die akademiese wêreld nie. Die vervolging eis meer as $ 313,000 (285,000 euro) vir skadevergoeding aan outentieke artefakte van Iruña-Veleia en hulle het die hof gevra om Gil en sy medewerkers in die tronk te sit, hulle te beboet en hulle te diskwalifiseer om by enige meer argeologiese werke te werk. webwerwe.

Maar sonder genoegsame bewyse om Gil by die misdaad te bind, sê sommige argeoloë dat hulle nie weet of Gil en sy medewerkers direk verantwoordelik was vir die skepping van die graffiti nie. En tydens 'n nuuskonferensie het Gil gesê dat sy afsydigheid uit die argeologiese wêreld 'soos gemartel' was en dat hy onskuldig was en gesê het 'daar is geen wetenskaplike bewyse dat die artefakte vals is nie'.

Ja, Gil het dit eintlik gesê, wat my na my mening in 'n verduisterde sosiale koninkryk werp, bevolk met mense soos 'holocaust -ontkenners', wat ook daarop wys dat daar ook geen wetenskaplike bewyse is dat Hitler ses miljoen Jode vermoor het nie. Ook in hierdie kategorie is godsdienstige yweraars wat beweer dat daar geen bewyse is dat God nie bestaan ​​nie, en dit lyk asof dit ook die laaste kategorie mense is wat die argeoloog 'gespeel' het.

Herskryf die geskiedenis vir diegene sonder 'n God

Oor die moontlike redes vir hierdie argeologiese misleiding, het hy in die koerant van Rodríguez Temiño se 2017 gesê dat Baskiese openbare ondernemings en regeringsliggame Gil en sy medewerkers 'miljoene dollars' borg vir hul werk by Iruña-Veleia, wat beteken dat die bedrogspul op een vlak was 'n bedrog van 'n miljoen dollar. Maar daar word ook vermoed dat Gil en sy groepe die valse artefakte geskep het, nie net om ryk te word nie, maar ook om 'Baskiese nasionalisme' te versterk deur die vroeë gebruik van hul taal en die kerstening van die Baskenland aan te toon, wat volgens dr. Temiño twee verhale "wat 'n sekere deel van die Baskiese samelewing graag wil hoor".

Ostracon met teks in Baskies op een van die Iruña-Veleia-artefakte. ( Zephyrus)


Ons was hierdie jaar getuie van 'n paar Bybelse ontdekkings wat in baie geskiedenisse waar was, soos die wagtoring van die 8ste eeu, die kerk van die 5de eeu, 'n nedersetting wat onder andere verband hou met die kruisiging van Jesus.

Die geleerdes was nietemin verbaas toe argeoloë 'n byna soortgelyke teks as die Dooie See -boek ontdek het.

Jesus is gebore in 4 nC en gekruisig, word gesê, deur kruisiging iewers tussen 30 nC en 33 nC en deur opstanding drie dae later. deur die opstanding kom hy terug. Maar 'n ontdekking in die 21ste eeu het hierdie oortuiging afgeskud.

Die Dooie See -boekrolle dateer meer as 2 000 jaar terug

'N Span argeoloë het Gabriel -steen ontdek, 'n tablet met 87 reëls Hebreeuse teks uit die Dooie See, wat ook omstrede profesieë bevat.

Die Bybelondersoeker Simcha Jacobovici het onlangs hierdie tekste verduidelik wat uit die 1ste eeu vC dateer.

Die kenners het gesê dat “Perea aan die Jordaanse kant van die Dooie See geleë is, dit is hier waar die bekendste geskrifte ooit opgegrawe is. Die meer as 2 000 jaar oue dokumente wat in 1948 ontdek is, is die oudste Bybelse tekste wat ooit gevind is. ”

Daar moet op gelet word dat na die ontdekking van die Gabriel -inskripsies argeoloë verstom was en toe geleerdes dit ontsyfer, het hulle geskrik dat hulle na die Dooie See -boekrol op 'n klip kyk, het Jacobovici gesê.

Kerk

Onlangs tydens Amazon Prime ’s “Decoding the Ancients ” -reeks, het Jacobovici genoem dat die ooreenkomste tussen die Gabriel -inskripsies en die boekrolle indrukwekkend is, aangesien albei in ink geskryf is, beide die tekste is in twee kolomme geskryf en die Hebreeuse letters opgeskort uit die boonste riglyne.

Jacobovici het gesê dat dit daarop dui dat die klip, net soos die boekrolle, afkomstig is van die oewer van die Dooie See.

So op soek na 'n Gabriel-agtige klip in die omgewing van Perea, reis Simcha hierheen om 'n ontmoeting te vind met die argeoloog Konstantinos Politis, wat al 20 jaar in hierdie gebied grawe.

Onder die artefakte wat deur Politis opgegrawe is, word Simcha getref deur die ou Joodse en Christelike grafstene wat herinner aan die Gabriel -inskripsie. En Politis het nog baie meer sulke artefakte, het die kenner gesê.

Die ontdekking van die inskripsie van Gabriel ’ het kontroversie veroorsaak weens die konteks daarvan. 'N Kenner van Talmudiese en Bybelse taal aan die Hebreeuse Universiteit van Jerusalem, Israel Knohl, vertaal reël 80 uit die inskripsie wat sê: "In drie dae, leef, beveel ek Gabriel u."

Volgens sy interpretasie was dit 'n opdrag van die engel Gabriël wat (iemand) gevra het om na drie dae uit die dood op te staan. Maar hy het ook verstaan ​​dat die ontvanger van hierdie opdrag Simon van Peraea was, 'n Joodse rebel wat in die 4de eeu vC deur die Romeine vermoor is.

Later het 'n Bybelse kenner Ada Yardeni ingestem tot die interpretasie van Knohl, terwyl ander geleerdes die lees van Knohl verwerp het.

Later in 2011 aanvaar Knohl egter dat “sign ” meer relevant is as “live ”, maar laasgenoemde is 'n moontlike lesing. Geen wonder nie, die jaar 2019 het 'n paar Bybelse bevindinge gesien wat dit weer relevant en omstrede maak.


Die Institute for Creation Research

Skeptici het dikwels daarop gewys dat geen argeologiese bewyse vir die bestaan ​​van Jesus Christus ontdek is nie. En hulle is korrek, ten minste tot op hede. 'N Onlangse ongelooflike ontdekking kan die kritiek laat rus.

'N Sekondêre kwessie moet eers oorweeg word. Is dit redelik om sulke artefakte of inskripsies te verwag? Die man Jesus was immers nie 'n prominente regeringsleier nie. Hy was in wese 'n rondreisende prediker, met min besittings, en het uiteindelik die dood van 'n gemeenskaplike outlaw gely. Sou die Romeine sy lewe of dood opgeteken het met 'n opskrif of standbeeld? Beslis nie.

Die Joodse argeologiese bewyse van die hele tydperk is eintlik taamlik yl. Daar is die oorblyfsels van groot en uitgebreide Romeinse stede, en voldoende inskripsies van leiers, waaronder Herodes, Pilatus en Festus. Daar is ook invloedryke Jode soos Kajafas, maar byna niks kan gevind word wat die lewens van gewone individue opteken nie. En onthou dat in 70 nC Jerusalem heeltemal vernietig is deur Titus. Wat nog kan bestaan, word begrawe onder die bloeiende moderne stad. Die kans is beslis teen die voortbestaan ​​van 'n artefak.

Die skaarste aan argeologiese artefakte kan egter in kontras staan ​​met die rykdom aan historiese bewyse vir Christus. Binnekort het die apostels briewe geskryf waarin die lewe en leerstellings van Christus uiteengesit is, gevolg deur die geskrifte van Paulus wat wyd gekopieer en versprei is binne die leeftyd van ooggetuies. Die Romeinse historikus Josephus het Christus verskeie kere genoem terwyl hy noemenswaardige burgerlike gebeurtenisse vertel het, insluitend die teregstelling van een met die naam James, die broer van Jesus wat die Christus/Messias genoem is, en verwys duidelik na Jesus ' broer James, leier van die vroeë kerk en skrywer van die Nuwe -Testamentiese boek met sy naam.

Die nuwe artefak is 'n ossuarium, 'n mediumgrootte boks waarin menslike bene geplaas is vir permanente begrawe nadat die vlees heeltemal verval het. Hierdie praktyk is slegs vir 'n kort tydperk vanaf ongeveer v.C. 20 tot 70 n.C. Die boks is gemaak van 'n sagte, kalkagtige kalksteen wat algemeen in die gebied voorkom. Die inhoud het lankal verdwyn.

Die opvallendste is dat 'n inskripsie in die sykant ingegraveer is wat lui: "James, seun van Josef, broer van Jesus" in die Aramees van die tyd. Noukeurige studies, insluitend ondersoek onder 'n elektronmikroskoop, toon dat die opskrif eg is. Die patina, of geoksideerde oppervlak, dek beide die boks en die binnekant van die geëtste letters. Die erkende deskundige oor sulke aangeleenthede, dr. Andre Lemaire, kom tot die gevolgtrekking: & quot Ek is verheug om te rapporteer dat dit myns insiens werklik oud is en nie 'n valsheid nie. & Quot

Al drie die gebruikte name was algemeen in daardie era, maar die broer van die oorledene is selde genoem, tensy die broer opmerklik was. Om al drie in die regte Bybelse verhouding te laat lys, ondersteun beslis die moontlikheid dat dit die ossuarium van die Bybelse Jakobus is.

Met of sonder die ossuarium of ander argeologiese bewyse, kan ons steeds vertrou dat die gebeure waar is. Die Christelike geloof is 'n redelike geloof, goed gegrond op die feite van die geskiedenis, en die Bybel is 'n heeltemal akkurate dokument. Op sy leerstellings kan ons ons lewens en ewige bestemming baseer.


Argeoloog is vasgekeer vir die vervalsing van artefakte wat Jesus se kruisiging toon

(OUD -OORSPRONG) Argeoloë staan ​​tereg en word daarvan beskuldig dat hulle 'n versameling heilige artefakte vervals het, insluitend die vroegste uitbeelding van die kruisiging van Christus.

Argeoloog Eliseo Gil, geoloog Óscar Escribano, en materiaalontleder Rubén Cerdán verskyn hierdie week in 'n strafhof in Vitoria-Gasteiz, die hoofstad van Spanje in Baskenland. Hulle word daarvan beskuldig dat hulle ou graffiti op die gesigte van honderde antieke artefakte gesmee het.

The Telegraph berig dat die drie mans daarvan beskuldig word dat hulle godsdienstige beelde op aardewerk, glas en baksteen gekrap het wat daarna in die Romeinse ruïnes by Iruña-Veleia, ongeveer 10 kilometer wes van Vitoria-Gasteiz, gevind is. Gil het met vrymoedigheid beweer dat die graffiti wat op die artefakte gevind is, vroeë bande tussen die Romeinse nedersetting in Spanje en die Baskiese taal toon, en hy beweer dat drie 'kruise' wat op 'n fragment van antieke aardewerk gekrap is, die vroegste bekende voorstelling van die kruisiging van Jesus Christus was.


Watter argeologie vertel ons van die ware Jesus

Gelowiges noem hom die Seun van God. Skeptici maak hom af as legende. Nou, navorsers wat in die Heilige Land delf, is besig om feite uit fiksie te skei.

Hierdie storie verskyn in die Desember 2017 -uitgawe van National Geographic tydskrif.

Kyk op National Geographic: Moderne wetenskaplikes ondersoek antieke tradisies in Geheime van die graf van Christus, 'n uur spesiale Explorer Special wat op 9/8c uitgesaai word op Sondag 3 Desember.

Die kantoor van Eugenio Alliata in Jerusalem lyk die tuiste van enige argeoloog wat liewer in die veld wil wees wat sy hande vuil maak as om binnenshuis dinge op te ruim. 'N Tuimel stowwerige, afgedankte rekenaartoerusting sit in die een hoek, en opgrawingsverslae deel oorvol rakke met meetrolle en ander gereedskap uit die handel. Dit voel soos die kantoor van elke argeoloog wat ek in die Midde -Ooste ontmoet het, behalwe dat Alliata die sjokoladebruin gewoonte van 'n Franciskaanse monnik dra en sy hoofkwartier in die klooster van die flagellasie is. Volgens die kerklike tradisie is die klooster die plek waar Jesus Christus, wat ter dood veroordeel is, deur Romeinse soldate gésel en met dorings bekroon is.

'Tradisie' is 'n woord wat u baie hoor in hierdie uithoek van die wêreld, waar menigtes toeriste en pelgrims na tientalle plekke trek wat volgens oorlewering die stene van die lewe van Christus is - van sy geboorteplek in Bethlehem tot sy begraafplaas in Jerusalem.

Vir 'n argeoloog het soos ek 'n joernalis geword, en altyd in gedagte dat die hele kultuur opgestaan ​​en geval het en 'n paar spore van hul tyd op aarde gelaat het, voel dit soos 'n dwaas, soos om 'n spook na 'n ou landskap te soek. En as die spook niemand anders is as Jesus Christus nie, wat deur meer as twee biljoen van die wêreld se mense geglo word die Seun van God te wees, die versoeking lok 'n mens om goddelike leiding te soek.

Daarom kom ek by my herhaalde besoeke aan Jerusalem steeds terug na die klooster van die flagellasie, waar Vader Alliata my en my vrae altyd met verwarde geduld verwelkom. As professor in Christelike argeologie en direkteur van die Studium Biblicum Franciscanum-museum, is hy deel van 'n 700-jarige Franciskaanse missie om antieke godsdienstige plekke in die Heilige Land op te pas en te beskerm-en dit sedert die 19de eeu op te grawe volgens na wetenskaplike beginsels.

As 'n gelowige lyk dit asof Vader Alliata vrede het met wat argeologie oor die sentrale figuur van die Christendom kan en nie kan onthul nie. 'Dit sal iets skaars, vreemd wees om argeologiese bewyse vir ['n spesifieke persoon] 2000 jaar gelede te hê,' gee hy toe, leun terug in sy stoel en vou sy arms oor sy kledingstukke. 'Maar u kan nie sê dat Jesus nie 'n spoor in die geskiedenis het nie.

Verreweg die belangrikste - en moontlik die mees gedebatteerde - van die spore is die tekste van die Nuwe Testament, veral die eerste vier boeke: die Evangelies van Matteus, Markus, Lukas en Johannes. Maar hoe hou die ou tekste, wat in die tweede helfte van die eerste eeu geskryf is, en die tradisies wat dit geïnspireer het, verband met die werk van 'n argeoloog?

"Tradisie gee argeologie meer lewe, en argeologie gee tradisie meer lewe," antwoord vader Alliata. 'Soms pas dit goed by mekaar, soms nie,' hou hy stil en glimlag, 'wat interessanter is.'

En so met die seën van Vader Alliata, Ek het my voorgeneem om in die voetspore van Jesus te gaan, sy verhaal terug te vind soos dit deur die Evangelieskrywers vertel is en deur geslagte geleerdes geïnterpreteer te word. Onderweg hoop ek om te ontdek hoe Christelike tekste en tradisies teen die ontdekkings van argeoloë stap wat die sand van die Heilige Land ongeveer 150 jaar gelede ernstig begin sif het.

Maar voordat ek my pelgrimstog begin, moet ek 'n plofbare vraag ondersoek wat in die skaduwees van historiese Jesus -studies skuil: is dit moontlik dat Jesus Christus nooit eens bestaan ​​het nie, dat die hele gebrandskilderde glas 'n suiwer uitvinding is? Dit is 'n bewering wat deur sommige uitgesproke skeptici bepleit word - maar nie, het ek ontdek, deur geleerdes, veral argeoloë, wie se werk geneig is om fantasieë letterlik na die aarde te bring.

"Ek ken nie 'n hoofwetenskaplike wat twyfel aan die historisiteit van Jesus nie," sê Eric Meyers, 'n argeoloog en emeritus -professor in Judaïese studies aan die Duke Universiteit. 'Die besonderhede word al eeue lank gedebatteer, maar niemand wat ernstig twyfel dat hy 'n historiese figuur is nie.'

Ek het baie dieselfde gehoor van Byron McCane, 'n argeoloog en professor in geskiedenis aan die Florida Atlantic University. 'Ek kan aan geen ander voorbeeld dink wat so goed in hul tyd en plek pas nie, maar mense sê nie bestaan ​​nie,' het hy gesê.

Selfs John Dominic Crossan, 'n voormalige priester en medevoorsitter van die Jesus Seminar, 'n omstrede wetenskaplike forum, meen die radikale skeptici gaan te ver. Dit is moeilik vir die moderne gees om verhale oor Christus se wonderdade - genesing van siekes met sy woorde, voeding van 'n menigte met 'n paar stukkies brood en vis, selfs die lewe van 'n lyk van vier dae dood - te herstel. Maar dit is geen rede om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat Jesus van Nasaret 'n godsdienstige fabel was nie.

'Nou kan u sê dat hy op die water loop en niemand kan dit doen nie, daarom bestaan ​​hy nie. Dit is iets anders, ”het Crossan vir my gesê toe ons telefonies gepraat het. 'Die algemene feit dat hy sekere dinge in Galilea gedoen het, dat hy sekere dinge in Jerusalem gedoen het, dat hy self tereggestel is - dit dink ek pas perfek in 'n sekere scenario.

Geleerdes wat Jesus bestudeer, verdeel in twee opponerende kampe wat deur 'n baie duidelike lyn geskei is: diegene wat glo dat die wonderwerkende Jesus van die Evangelies die ware Jesus is, en diegene wat dink dat die ware Jesus-die man wat die mite geïnspireer het-skuil onder die oppervlak van die Evangelies en moet onthul word deur historiese navorsing en literêre analise. Beide kampe beweer argeologie as hul bondgenoot, wat lei tot onstuimige debatte en vreemde bedmaats.

Ervaar die graf van Christus soos nog nooit tevore nie

Wie ook al Jesus Christus was of is - God, die mens of die grootste literêre hoax in die geskiedenis - die diversiteit en toewyding van sy moderne dissipels is op 'n kleurryke parade as ek in Bethlehem aankom, die ou stad wat tradisioneel as sy geboorteplek geïdentifiseer is. Die toerbusse wat die kontrolepunt van Jerusalem na die Wes -oewer oorsteek, dra 'n virtuele pelgrims -Verenigde Nasies. Een vir een parkeer die busse en ontslaan hul passasiers, wat in die skitterende son knipoog: Indiese vroue in spetterende saris, Spanjaarde in rugsakke met die logo van hul plaaslike gemeente, Ethiopiërs in sneeuwit gewaad met indigo-kruisigings wat op hul voorkop getatoeëer is .

Ek haal 'n groep Nigeriese pelgrims in op Manger Square en volg hulle deur die lae ingang van die Geboortekerk. Die stygende gange van die basiliek is gehul met seile en steierwerk. 'N Bewaringspan is besig om eeue se kersroet skoon te maak uit die vergulde mosaïek uit die 12de eeu wat aan die boonste mure flank, bo uitgebreide gesnyde sederbalke wat in die sesde eeu opgerig is. Ons sirkel versigtig 'n stuk vloer wat oopgemaak is om die vroegste inkarnasie van die kerk, wat in die 330's gebou is, te openbaar op bevel van Rome se eerste Christelike keiser, Konstantyn.

Nog 'n reeks stappe neem ons af in 'n lamp-verligte grot en 'n klein marmeren nis. Hier is 'n silwer ster die plek waar, volgens oorlewering, Jesus Christus gebore is. Die pelgrims lê op hul knieë om die ster te soen en druk hul handpalms teen die koel, gepoleerde klip. Binnekort smeek 'n kerklike amptenaar hulle om saam te kom en ander 'n kans te gee om die heilige rots aan te raak - en, deur geloof, die Heilige Kind.

Die Geboortekerk is die oudste Christelike kerk wat nog daagliks gebruik word, maar nie alle geleerdes is daarvan oortuig dat Jesus van Nasaret in Bethlehem gebore is nie. Slegs twee van die vier Evangelies noem sy geboorte, en hulle gee uiteenlopende verslae: die tradisionele krip en herders in Lukas, die wyse manne, bloedbad van kinders en vlug na Egipte in Matteus. Sommige vermoed dat die Evangelieskrywers Jesus se geboorte in Bethlehem gevind het om die Galilese boer aan die stad Juda te bind, wat in die Ou Testament geprofeteer is as die geboorteplek van die Messias.

Argeologie is grootliks stil oor die saak. Immers, wat is die kans dat daar enige bewyse is van 'n boervrou se vlugtige besoek twee millennia gelede? Opgrawings by en om die Geboortekerk het tot dusver geen artefakte wat uit die tyd van Christus dateer nie, en geen teken dat vroeë Christene die terrein as heilig beskou het nie. Die eerste duidelike bewys van verering kom uit die derde eeu, toe die teoloog Origenes van Alexandrië Palestina besoek het en opgemerk het: "In Bethlehem word die grot gewys waar [Jesus] gebore is." Vroeg in die vierde eeu het die keiser Konstantyn 'n keiserlike afvaardiging na die Heilige Land gestuur om plekke te identifiseer wat verband hou met die lewe van Christus en dit te heilig met kerke en heiligdomme. Nadat die afgevaardigdes die plek van die geboortegrot gevind het, het hulle 'n uitgebreide kerk opgerig, die voorloper van die huidige basiliek.

Baie van die geleerdes met wie ek gepraat het, is neutraal oor die geboorteplek van Christus, aangesien die fisiese bewyse te ontwykend is om 'n oproep te maak. Die ou gesegde wat ek in Argeologie 101 geleer het - “afwesigheid van bewyse is geen bewys van afwesigheid nie” - is vir hulle van toepassing hier.

As die roete As die ware Jesus in Bethlehem koud geword het, word dit 65 kilometer noordwaarts in Galilea, die golwende heuwel in die noorde van Israel. Soos die name "Jesus van Nasaret" en "Jesus die Nasarener" suggereer, is Jesus opgewek in Nasaret, 'n klein landboudorpie in die suide van Galilea. Geleerdes wat hom in streng menslike terme verstaan-as 'n godsdienstige hervormer, of 'n sosiale rewolusionêr, of 'n apokaliptiese profeet, of selfs 'n Joodse jihadis-laat die politieke, ekonomiese en sosiale strominge van die eerste-eeuse Galilea ontdek om die kragte te ontdek staan ​​op na die man en sy missie.

Verreweg die magtigste krag in die tyd wat die lewe in Galilea gevorm het, was die Romeinse Ryk, wat Palestina ongeveer 60 jaar voor Jesus se geboorte onderwerp het. Byna alle Jode het gekap onder Rome se ysterhand, met sy onderdrukkende belasting en afgodiese godsdiens, en baie geleerdes meen dat hierdie sosiale onrus die weg gebaan het vir die Joodse oproerige wat op die toneel verskyn en die rykes en magtiges veroordeel en seëninge uitgespreek het aan armes en gemarginaliseerdes.

Ander verbeel hulle die aanslag van die Grieks-Romeinse kultuur wat Jesus tot 'n minder Joodse, meer kosmopolitiese kampioen van sosiale geregtigheid vorm. In 1991 publiseer John Dominic Crossan 'n bom van 'n boek, Die historiese Jesus,waarin hy die teorie voorgehou het dat die ware Jesus 'n dwalende wyse was, wie se teenkulturele lewenstyl en subversiewe uitsprake opvallende parallelle met die sinici het. Hierdie peripatetiese filosowe van die antieke Griekeland, hoewel hulle nie sinies was in die moderne sin van die woord nie, het hul ongewaste neuse toegeduik vir sosiale konvensies soos netheid en die strewe na rykdom en status.

Crossan se onortodokse proefskrif is deels geïnspireer deur argeologiese ontdekkings wat toon dat Galilea - wat lank gedink het 'n plattelandse agtergrond en 'n geïsoleerde Joodse enklave was - gedurende Jesus se tyd in werklikheid meer verstedelik en geromaniseer is as wat geleerdes ooit gedink het, en deels deur die feit dat Jesus se kinderhuis was net drie kilometer van Sepphoris, die Romeinse provinsiale hoofstad, af. Alhoewel die stad nie in die Evangelies genoem word nie, sou 'n ambisieuse bouveldtog wat deur die heerser van Galilea, Herodes Antipas, aangevuur is, geskoolde werkers uit al die omliggende dorpe lok. Baie geleerdes dink dat dit redelik is om hulle voor te stel dat Jesus, 'n jong vakman in die omgewing woon, by Sepphoris werk - en, soos 'n eerstejaarsstudent, die grense van sy godsdienstige opvoeding toets.

Op 'n briljante lentedag nadat reën die heuwels van Galilea oorstroom het met veldblomme, stap ek om die ruïnes van Sepphoris met Eric en Carol Meyers, die argeoloë van die Duke -universiteit wat ek aan die begin van my odyssey geraadpleeg het. Die man-en-vrou-span het 33 jaar lank die uitgestrekte terrein opgegrawe, wat die skakel geword het van 'n hewige akademiese debat oor die Joodsheid van Galilea en, in uitbreiding, van Jesus self. Eric Meyers, slank en wit hare, hou stil voor 'n hoop kolomme. 'Dit was redelik ernstig', sê hy en herinner hom aan die dekades lange geskil oor die invloed van 'n verhelderende stad op 'n jong Joodse boer. Hy stop bo -op 'n heuwel en waai met sy hande oor 'n uitgestrekte netjies opgegrawe mure. 'Ons moes deur 'n bivak uit die oorlog van 1948, insluitend 'n lewende Siriese dop, grawe om by hierdie huise uit te kom,' verduidelik hy. 'En onder het ons die mikvaot!”

Ten minste 30 mikvahs, of Joodse rituele baddens, is geleë in die woonbuurt Sepphoris - die grootste huishoudelike konsentrasie wat ooit deur argeoloë gevind is. Saam met seremoniële steenhouers en 'n opvallende afwesigheid van varkbene (varkvleis wat deur kosher-houende Jode vermy word), bied hulle duidelike bewyse dat selfs hierdie keiserlike Romeinse stad gedurende Jesus se vormingsjare 'n baie Joodse plek gebly het.

Hierdie en ander insigte wat uit opgrawings regoor Galilea verkry is, het gelei tot 'n beduidende verskuiwing in die wetenskaplike mening, sê Craig Evans, professor in Christelike oorsprong aan die School of Christian Thought aan die Houston Baptist University. "Danksy argeologie is daar 'n groot verandering in denke - van Jesus die kosmopolitiese Hellenis tot Jesus die oplettende Jood."

Toe Jesus was ongeveer 30 jaar oud, het hy saam met die Joodse brandmerk Johannes die Doper die Jordaanrivier binnegedring en volgens die Nuwe-Testamentiese verslae 'n lewensveranderende ervaring ondergaan. Opstaan ​​uit die water, sien hy hoe die Gees van God op hom neerdaal "soos 'n duif" en hoor hoe die stem van God uitroep: "Dit is my geliefde Seun, by wie ek 'n welbehae het." Die goddelike ontmoeting het Jesus geloods op 'n predikings- en genesingsmissie wat in Galilea begin het en drie jaar later geëindig het met sy teregstelling in Jerusalem.

Een van sy eerste stopplekke was Capernaum, 'n vissersdorp aan die noordwestelike oewer van 'n groot varswatermeer, wat verwarrend die See van Galilea genoem het. Hier ontmoet Jesus die vissers wat sy eerste volgelinge geword het - Petrus en Andrew wat nette gooi, Jakobus en Johannes wat hulle s'n regmaak - en stel sy eerste werkswyse vas.

Op die Christelike toerroete word die pelgrimstog van Kapernaum vandag deur die Franciskane besit en omring deur 'n hoë metaalheining. 'N Bord by die hek maak duidelik wat nie binne mag nie: honde, gewere, sigarette en kort rompe. Direk anderkant die hek is 'n ongerymd moderne kerk gemonteer op agt pilare wat lyk soos 'n ruimteskip wat bo 'n puinhoop hang. Dit is die Sint -Pietersgedenkteken, wat in 1990 ingewy is oor een van die grootste ontdekkings wat gedurende die 20ste eeu gemaak is deur argeoloë wat die historiese Jesus ondersoek het.

Vanuit sy vreemde sitplek bied die kerk 'n asemrowende uitsig op die meer, maar alle oë word gevestig op die middel van die gebou, waar besoekers oor 'n reling loer en deur 'n glasvloer na die ruïnes van 'n agtkantige kerk wat ongeveer 1500 jaar gelede gebou is. Toe Fransiskaanse argeoloë in 1968 onder die struktuur opgegrawe het, het hulle ontdek dat dit op die oorblyfsels van 'n eerste-eeuse huis gebou is. Daar was bewyse dat hierdie privaat huis binne 'n kort tydjie in 'n openbare ontmoetingsplek omskep is.

Teen die tweede helfte van die eerste eeu - net 'n paar dekades na die kruisiging van Jesus - is die ruwe klipmure van die huis oorgetrek en huishoudelike kombuisartikels vervang met olielampe, kenmerkend van 'n gemeentelike bymekaarkomplek. Gedurende die daaropvolgende eeue is smekinge tot Christus in die mure geët, en teen die tyd dat die Christendom in die vierde eeu die amptelike godsdiens van die Romeinse Ryk geword het, is die woning uitgebrei tot 'n uiters versierde aanbiddingshuis. Sedertdien staan ​​die struktuur algemeen bekend as Petrus se huis, en hoewel dit onmoontlik is om vas te stel of die dissipel werklik in die huis gewoon het, sê baie geleerdes dat dit moontlik is.

Die Evangelies sê dat Jesus Petrus se skoonmoeder, koorsig, by haar huis in Kapernaum genees het. Die woord van die wonder het vinnig versprei, en teen die aand het 'n lydende skare by haar deur gekom. Jesus het siekes genees en mense wat deur demone besit is, bevry.

Verslae van groot menigtes wat na Jesus gekom het om te genees, stem ooreen met wat argeologie onthul het oor die eerste-eeuse Palestina, waar siektes soos melaatsheid en tuberkulose voorkom. Volgens 'n studie van die begrafnisse in Romeinse Palestina deur die argeoloog Byron McCane, het tussen twee-derdes en driekwart van die grafte wat ondervra is, die oorskot van kinders en adolessente gehou. Oorleef die gevaarlike kinderjare, en u kanse om tot op ouderdom te leef, het aansienlik toegeneem, sê McCane. 'Tydens Jesus se tyd was dit waarskynlik die truuk om verby 15 te wees.

Van Kapernaum Ek ry suidwaarts langs die See van Galilea na 'n kibboets ('n gemeenskaplike plaas) wat in 1986 die plek van groot opwinding was - en 'n noodopgrawing. A severe drought had drastically lowered the lake’s water level, and as two brothers from the community hunted for ancient coins in the mud of the exposed lake bed, they spotted the faint outline of a boat. Archaeologists who examined the vessel found artifacts dating to the Roman era inside and next to the hull. Carbon 14 testing later confirmed the boat’s age: It was from roughly the lifetime of Jesus.

Efforts to keep the discovery under wraps soon failed, and news of the “Jesus boat” sent a stampede of relic hunters scouring the lakeshore, threatening the fragile artifact. Just then the rains returned, and the lake level began to rise.

The round-the-clock “rescue excavation” that ensued was an archaeological feat for the record books. A project that normally would take months to plan and execute was completed, start to finish, in just 11 days. Once exposed to air, the boat’s waterlogged timbers would quickly disintegrate. So archaeologists supported the remains with a fiberglass frame and polyurethane foam and floated it to safety.

Today the treasured boat has pride of place in a museum on the kibbutz, near the spot where it was discovered. Measuring seven and a half feet wide and 27 feet long, it could have accommodated 13 men—although there’s no evidence that Jesus and his Twelve Apostles used this very vessel. To be candid, it’s not much to look at: a skeleton of planks repeatedly patched and repaired until it was finally stripped and scuttled.

“They had to nurse this boat along until they couldn’t nurse it any longer,” says Crossan, who likens the vessel to “some of those cars you see in Havana.” But its value to historians is incalculable, he says. Seeing “how hard they had to work to keep that boat afloat tells me a lot about the economics of the Sea of Galilee and the fishing at the time of Jesus.”

Another dramatic discovery occurred just over a mile south of the Jesus boat, at the site of ancient Magdala, the hometown of Mary Magdalene, a devoted follower of Jesus. Franciscan archaeologists began excavating part of the town during the 1970s, but the northern half lay under a defunct lakeside resort called Hawaii Beach.

Enter Father Juan Solana, a papal appointee charged with overseeing a pilgrimage guesthouse in Jerusalem. In 2004 Solana “felt the leading of Christ” to build a pilgrims’ retreat in Galilee, so he set about raising millions of dollars and buying up parcels of waterfront land, including the failed resort. As construction was about to begin in 2009, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority showed up to survey the site, as required by law. After a few weeks of probing the rocky soil, they were startled to discover the buried ruins of a synagogue from the time of Jesus—the first such structure unearthed in Galilee.

The find was especially significant because it put to rest an argument made by skeptics that no synagogues existed in Galilee until decades after Jesus’ death. If those skeptics were right, their claim would shred the Gospels’ portrait of Jesus as a faithful synagogue-goer who often proclaimed his message and performed miracles in these Jewish meeting places.

As archaeologists excavated the ruins, they uncovered walls lined with benches—indicating that this was a synagogue—and a mosaic floor. At the center of the room they were astounded to find a stone about the size of a footlocker that showed the most sacred elements of the Temple in Jerusalem carved in relief. The discovery of the Magdala Stone, as the artifact has come to be called, struck a death blow to the once fashionable notion that Galileans were impious hillbillies detached from Israel’s religious center.

As archaeologists continued to dig, they discovered an entire town buried less than a foot below the surface. The ruins were so well preserved that some began calling Magdala the “Israeli Pompeii.”

Archaeologist Dina Avshalom-Gorni walks me through the site, pointing out the remains of storerooms, ritual baths, and an industrial area where fish may have been processed and sold. “I can just imagine women buying fish in the market right there,” she says, nodding toward the foundations of stone stalls. And who knows? Maybe those women included the town’s famous native daughter, Mary of Magdala.

Father Solana comes over to greet us, and I ask him what he tells visitors who want to know whether Jesus ever walked these streets. “We can’t expect to answer that,” he admits, “but we see the number of times that the Gospels mention Jesus in a Galilee synagogue.” Considering the fact that the synagogue was active during his ministry and just a brief sail from Capernaum, Solana concludes, “we have no reason to deny or doubt that Jesus was here.”

At each stop on my journey through Galilee, Jesus’ faint footprints seemed to grow a bit more distinct, a shade more discernible. But it’s not until I return to Jerusalem that they finally come into vivid focus. In the New Testament, the ancient city is the setting for many of his miracles and most dramatic moments: his triumphal entry, his cleansing of the Temple, his healing miracles at the Pools of Bethesda and Siloam—both of which have been uncovered by archaeologists—his clashes with the religious authorities, his last Passover meal, his agonized prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, his trial and execution, his burial and Resurrection.

Unlike the disparate stories of Jesus’ birth, the four Gospels reach much closer agreement in their account of his death. Following his arrival in Jerusalem for Passover, Jesus is brought before the high priest Caiaphas and charged with blasphemy and threats against the Temple. Condemned to death by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, he’s crucified on a hill outside the city walls and buried in a rock-cut tomb nearby.

The traditional location of that tomb, in what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is considered the holiest site in Christianity. It’s also the place that sparked my quest for the real Jesus. In 2016 I made several trips to the church to document the historic restoration of the Edicule, the shrine that houses the reputed tomb of Jesus. Now, during Easter week, I return to see it in all its soot-scrubbed, reinforced glory.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with holiday pilgrims waiting to enter the tiny shrine, I recall the nights spent inside the empty church with the conservation team, coming upon darkened nooks etched with centuries of graffiti and burials of crusader kings. I marvel at the many archaeological discoveries made in Jerusalem and elsewhere over the years that lend credibility to the Scriptures and traditions surrounding the death of Jesus, including an ornate ossuary that may contain the bones of Caiaphas, an inscription attesting to the rule of Pontius Pilate, and a heel bone driven through with an iron crucifixion nail, found in the Jerusalem burial of a Jewish man named Yehohanan.

I’m also struck by the many lines of evidence that converge on this ancient church. Just yards from the tomb of Christ are other rock-hewn tombs of the period, affirming that this church, destroyed and rebuilt twice, was indeed constructed over a Jewish burial ground. I recall being alone inside the tomb after its marble cladding was briefly removed, overwhelmed that I was looking at one of the world’s most important monuments—a simple limestone shelf that people have revered for millennia, a sight that hadn’t been seen for possibly a thousand years. I was overwhelmed by all the questions of history I hoped this brief and spectacular moment of exposure would eventually answer.


Archaeologist Busted for Faking Artifacts Showing Jesus Crucifixion - History

“And the bodies of them [ the Two Witnesses]
(will lay) upon the Great City’s Plateia,
which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where our LORD —
was indeed — crucified.” Revelation 11:8, Translation mine

n locating the Plateia (or “street of Egypt”) in Jerusalem, “where our LORD was crucified”, we revisit Matthew 13:22 with Jeremiah 46:7-8, and surmise that “Egypt” in Jerusalem deals with the Kidron Valley.

We are required (by Scripture) to first locate this geography of Jerusalem that is called “Egypt” and then to intersect that location with the geography called “Sodom”. The manner in which the location of “the street of Sodom”, in Jerusalem, is identified as the Hinom valley — is quickly dispatched with the fact that the Hebrew Ge-Hinom (“Valley of Hinom”) is transliterated in the Greek as Ge-henna (“the Valley of Burning Fires”).

This part of the valley of Hinom to which we are most concerned, is directly SOUTH of the Temple, and runs in an east-west direction. Therefore, we need only to find the next intersection point: the Hinom valley representing Revelation 11:8’s “Sodom”, which Scripture describes as a place associated with “fire, brimstone (sulfur)… and great smoke as from a furnace” (Genesis 19:24,28). That intersect with the Kidron Valley, a Wadi in the First Century A.D., and formerly much deeper and with bridges that spanned the Kidron between Olivet and the Temple Mount were clearly obviously there, from Gethsemane to the Temple Mount and from just south of the Water gate over to Olivet’s third peak base.
There are other indicators. King Josiah took the idols brought into the House of YHVeH, took them East into the Kidron Valley, and burned them in the “fields of the Kidron” (2 Kings 23:4). He broke down all the altars and idols of Jerusalem, and beat them to dust. For Josiah, as a type of Christ and forerunner of Messiah, he was also the keeper of the greatest Passover Israel had ever seen from the days of the Judges to those times after him (2 Kings 23:21-23). Christ was the greatest and eternal Passover Sacrifice upon which all humanity in the theology of the Bible is judged by, past, present, future.

Gematriac insights to Azal [actually, the relationship of Azal in prophecy to its forthcoming valley that shall be created through Olivet’s third peak to the East at the end of the Great Tribulation for Israel’s last few thousand Jews on earth to flee to and through] and the Cross

“And you shall flee into the Valley of My Mountains,
for the Valley of My Mountains shall reach unto Azal.” (Zechariah 14:5a)

That secret concerns an “unripe” (or aphiyl ),
“pressed or urged” (alats Alef-Lamed-Tzaddai),
“Oak of the king” (allom melek Alef-Lamed-Mem-Lamed-Kaf)
that is “slender like a lotus tree” (a tse’el Tzaddai-Alef-Lamed).

The Cross also is unripe and slender like the lotus, upon which a King was hung, which also acts as a shade tree of sorts to which all the nations press upon (cf. the Cross with Lamentations 4:20). And yet, the Cross, the slender and unripe oak of the King, (revealed by Scripture as the acacia,) which is pressed, and holds a remarkable and wonderful secret.

Through Gematria, in the word Azal, we see that Messiah is given to us by GOD, through His Holy Word, a value through the descent of YH (being a yod י of 10) as Ya’ala (Yod-Ayin-Lamed-Alef), which divided means “the wild goat (Yod-Ayin-Lamed) of GOD (א).” This is the sacrifice of the Scapegoat, whose life is to be given for the sins of all Israel (cf. Leviticus 16:20-22 John 11:49-53). This activity directly links with the Torah’s example of the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, in which a ram (or wild goat prophetically) was provided in his place. From this “base” to the non-believer, but “pedestal” to them that believe (the mekownah Mem-Kaf-Vav-Nun-He), there rested Nineveh (Nun-Yod-Nun-Vav-He, “the one of offense”), who in Gematria is “The Son”, i.e., “the perpetuation” (Nun-Yod-Nun) “of VeH” (וה) – the Spirit of GOD.

It was from the west-most portion of this valley of Azal, at the gate of Siloam, in which the “bereaved” Messiah was “discarded and forsaken” (alman (Alef-Lamed-Mem-Nun), and to which the bride of Jerusalem, by way of a few corrupt rulers forced “widowhood and bereavement” (almon – Alef-Lamed-Mem-Nun) upon the nation of Israel. The Cross is a hammenek (He-Mem-Vav-Nun-Kaf), it is “a necklace or ornament ” of faith to the believer, but a chain of bondage to the unbeliever.

The word Azal indeed holds a pil’ly or “wonderful secret”, for it is the combination of the Hebrew letter Alef (א), and the word for “shade” in Hebrew, being “Zal” or “Tsal” (צל). Therefore, GOD’s “shade”, or the “Shade of the Right Hand” as told by Psalm 121:5, is directly and prophetically linked to this passage from Zechariah 14:5.

And what is the “wonderful secret”? “Zal” or “Tsal” is the shortest form of “Tselah” (צלעה ): “a rib”, or “the side” of a person. This refers to Adam, to which Christ is the “Second Adam”, whose “rib” (as it were) is to be His Church.
It is through this Valley of the mount of Olives that the river of YHVeH shall flow until it reaches the Jordan, and then will flow both north and south from there (Ezekiel 47:1-8). This river from in origin from the Throne of YHVeH: from the throne of YHVeH Father and YHVeH the Lamb (Revelation 22:1). Jesus tells us that it shall flow forth from the innermost part of His being (John 7:38). The waters that flow out of the city of Jerusalem will teach us to trust in the Salvation (literally “Yeshua” or “Jesus” in Psalm 78:22) of GOD: Psalm 78:20,22. To not acknowledge Jesus as the True Messiah, IN THAT DAY, will be to provoke the immediate wrath of GOD (Psalm 78:21).

“And as they led (Christ) away, they [the Roman guards] laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and they laid the cross on him, that he might bear (it), following behind Jesus.”
(Luke 23:26) KJV

The combined accounts of Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:20c-21, and Luke 23:26, in the Literal Greek to English Translation would read as thus:

“And brings out and leads Him so that He may be crucified
and after having searched, found a man returning from the wild fields,
a certain Simon,
–who by name and reputation is the father of Alexander and Rufus —
this one they beat about with the knees violently,
in order that he would take up, raise the Cross, and bear it
which he did take up, bear, and endure
behind the back of Jesus.” (Translation mine)

The emphasis in this verse is where Simon was coming from: the “country”. The word for “country” in the Greek, is the anarthous noun αγρου, “agrou” or literally, “a field”. When this usage is examined in relation to Jerusalem, it is directly used of that region which lies south of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the Passover rituals clean-ups are happening in and about Jerusalem….

And what was Simon the Cyrenian doing? It is all but a certainty, on the day of Pesach, that Simon the Cyrenian was carting ashes from the Temple Altar from out of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (lest they defile the Temple) earlier in the day. Simon was coming north on the Dung Gate road as Jesus was heading east on the Siloam Gate Road, when Simon was kicked about with the knees by the Romans and pressed into service to carry the Cross. Another indicator Golgotha had to be to the EAST.

There are many other passages in prophecy and in Hebrew words and Hebrew tradition that indicate East and south and east of the Temple Mount. The location being just north of the well of Rogel, on Olivet. Anyone who thinks Jesus was crucified NORTH of the Temple is either Biblically illiterate on this subject, or an intentional LIAR. It is time that the Church Universal know the truth that the Bible is fully accurate, and there is a conspiracy of unbelief in every generation and at every quarter to deny the Scriptures for whatever nefarious reasons of sin on the part of those in denial.

In 2006 I copyrighted the information I am sharing, but never published outside free sharing of my work product on the internet. If the world ever realizes the true location of the Cross and the empowerment of the Faith to eternal salvation, Jerusalem will be such an overnight burdensome stone of contention, that the whole world system will have economic ramifications that will nearly fully alter the state of peaceful profit the West enjoys now…another reason why the unbelieving world that controls religious topic magazines and so many religious discussions fears the truth of the matter on this topic.

For the dedicated alcoholic/traveler: Weekend at Golgotha. Sorry, but I cannot resist. Life is for the living.


Ancient 'bone box' may be earliest link to Jesus

A carving on a newly found artifact refers to Jesus, James, and Joseph. But is it authentic?

A newly discovered ancient limestone box with a flowing Aramaic inscription could include the earliest mention of Jesus outside the Bible – and may turn out to be the most-dazzling archaeological discovery in decades.

The rough-hewn object – about the size of a big toolbox – appears to be a "bone box" used in 1st century burial rituals in Jerusalem. Letters etched into its side read, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

Whether it's truly from about A.D. 63 – and whether it really refers to three of history's most famous family members – is likely to be widely debated. But if so, it would be the first extraBiblical mention of Jesus or his relatives created shortly after their lifetimes.

If authentic, "it's high on the list – probably No. 1" of the most important Jesus related artifacts, says John Dominic Crossan, cauthor of "Excavating Jesus." It is "the closest we come archeologically to Jesus."

Other than this box, a papyrus scrap from 100 years after the crucifixion is the earliest mention of Jesus outside the Bible.

While potentially rife with import for archeology, the bone box won't necessarily transform mainstream views of Jesus: Religious tradition has long connected him to James and Joseph. And for many Christians, archaeological finds don't create epiphanies of faith.

Ultimately, the box's biggest impact may be to stoke interest in James and his relationship to Jesus – and to remind millions that Jesus is more than the abstract icon so often pictured high above a pulpit. "Sometimes Jesus just drifts off into the clouds," says Dr. Crossan. But "we're not just dealing with mythical characters who are being theologically assessed. These were real people in real situations."

Indeed, bone boxes or ossuaries were used between the 1st century BC and AD 70.

A year after a person's burial in a tomb, family members would collect the bones into an ossuary. It was a ritual driven by necessity: Tombs, which were often carved into rocks, were expensive – and thus were reused.

For the ossuary in question – announced in "Biblical Archaeology Review" – there's first the question of authenticity.

The biggest red flag is that it comes from an anonymous collector in Jerusalem who is mum on its history. Observers worry it could be a fake from the sometimes shady antiquities market. There is a long history of archeological forgery. The largely discredited "Shroud of Turin" – supposedly placed on Jesus after the crucifixion – is one example.

The article's author, a well-known epigrapher from the Sorbonne in Paris, scrutinized this ossuary carefully. Scans by electron microscopes show no trace of modern tools – and full evidence of layers of a patina that could have developed only over many centuries. The inscription's grammar and script also appear to fit normal usage in the decades leading up to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Then there's the question of whether the inscription refers to Jesus of Nazareth. The three names it mentions are as common as Jim, Jack, and John today. In tackling this riddle, the author turns to statistics. Of the 40,000 men living in Jerusalem at the time, he figures about 20 people could fit the description "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." But the mention of a brother is highly unusual on ossuaries. This could hint that the Jesus mentioned here is particularly famous – thus perhaps Jesus of Nazareth.

Experts already disagree about the authenticity. Crossan figures it's most likely credible. But Robert Eisenman, author of "James the Brother of Jesus" worries the inscription is too good to be true. "It's too pat," he says. "Why add 'Jesus' to the inscription? It's like someone wanted us to be sure."

If the box is viewed as credible, the impact could be enormous. "It would perhaps rival the Dead Sea Scrolls," says Dr. Eisenman.

First, it would add to the scant extrabiblical evidence of Jesus' existence – though few today doubt such a man trod the Earth.

Second, it would renew a theologically charged debate about James's relationship to Jesus. The traditional Roman Catholic view is that Jesus is the only son of Mary. If Mary was always a virgin, the argument goes, then James must actually be a cousin or half-brother or step-brother. The ossuary may be "the nail in the coffin of the 'cousin' argument," says John Meier, a New Testament professor at Notre Dame University.

Third, it would perhaps renew interest in the man who has been called "James the Just." A reputed vegetarian who dressed in simple linen, he had little political power but used his enormous moral suasion to broker compromises between Christian factions.

Most broadly, it would remind people of the humanity of Jesus. "For the first time," says Mr. Meier, "you can actually put your hands on something connected to Jesus."

Biggest archaeological finds related to the life and times of Jesus – besides the new "James ossuary."

1. Ossuary of high priest Joseph Caiaphas, who's mentioned in the Bible as helping interrogate Jesus before the crucifixion. Found in Jerusalem in 1990.

2. Inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who approved Jesus' crucifixion. Found in 1962 near the Mediterranean Sea.

3. The apostle Peter's house. Found in 1906 – but not confirmed until the 1980s – in Capernaum beneath the remains of a 5th-century church.

4. The Galilee Boat. A 1st-century, 8-by-26-foot fishing boat. Found in the mud of the Sea of Galilee in 1986.

5. The Crucified Man. Remains, including a bone heel pierced by a large nail. Discovered in burial caves near Jerusalem in 1968.


The Holy Foreskin

Jesus was circumcised as an infant and it was believed by many that the skin cut from the infant was preserved. There was some reference to the foreskin being preserved by an old Hebrew woman in an alabaster box of old oil of spikenard. However, the foreskin largely disappeared after that, with no real mention of it again until the Middle Ages.

On December 25, 800, Charlemagne was purported to have given it to Pope Leo III in gratitude for crowning him Emperor. When asked where he got the holy foreskin, Charlemagne responded that it had been brought to him by an angel as he was praying at the Holy Sepulchre. Another report claims that it was given to him as a wedding present by Empress Irene. Pope Leo III then took the foreskin and placed it Sancta Sanctorum and there it remained until Rome was sacked in 1527.

A German soldier stole the foreskin during the attack and took it to Calcata where he was captured. The soldier managed to hide the relic in his cell and there it stayed until it was found in 1557. From then on, the foreskin remained in Calcata and had several miracles attributed to it. The story and the miracles were enough to have the Catholic Church approve the authenticity of the skin in Calcata over the numerous other claims of holy foreskin.

In 1900, the Church grew tired of the celebration of the foreskin. So the Vatican issued a warning that anyone who so much as talked about the Holy Prepuce would be excommunicated. This did little to deter the people of Calcata ,who were proud of their sacred relic and would march it through the streets every year on the Feast of the Circumcision. However, the practice stopped when the relic was stolen in 1983. Some believe that it was stolen by or sold to the Vatican in order to get people to stop talking about the foreskin. It has not been seen since.


Fake News In Biblical Archaeology

In a world of fake news and internet hoaxes it’s important to carefully check your sources before you inadvertently spread misinformation. The world of archaeology is no exception to sensationalistic stories and purported “discoveries” that turn out to be flat-out false. This is especially true in the world of biblical archaeology, which has seen its fair share of fake finds. Unfortunately, this sometimes takes in undiscerning Christians and occasionally even “experts” who are overly invested in the news. So, to help clarify things and to put an end to the urban myths I continually hear touted by well-meaning people, here are five archaeological discoveries that are simply not true.

1) Egyptian Chariot Wheels in the Red Sea

Photo Credit: Wyatt Archaeological Research NOTE: Wyatt “Archaeological Research” does not carry out reputable “archaeological” research

This is probably the “discovery” I hear people repeat most often. Maybe you’ve heard it to: “Archaeologists have discovered Egyptian chariot wheels and bones in the Red Sea, which proves the story of the Exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea in the Bible.” This claim seems to have originated in 1993 through a newsletter put out by the “Wyatt Archaeological Research,” 1 which sounds impressive until you learn that:

a) Ron Wyatt was not an archaeologist (he was a nurse anesthetist). This, in and of itself does not mean that he could not make a discovery. It means that he had no training to interpret that discovery. One archaeologist has said archaeology is 10% excavation and 90% interpretation.

b) Ron Wyatt was never carried out a systematic excavation that was licensed by the Israeli government. Joe Zias, the former Curator of Archaeology and Anthropology for the Israel Antiquities Authority said, “Mr. Ron Wyatt is neither an archaeologist nor has he ever carried out a legally licensed excavation in Israel or Jerusalem…We are aware of his claims which border on the absurd as they have no scientific basis whatsoever nor have they ever been published in a professional journal. They fall into the category of trash which one finds in tabloids such as the National Enquirer, Sun etc. It’s amazing that anyone would believe them.” 2

c) Ron Wyatt never published any of his supposed finds in a peer-reviewed archaeological journal. Publishing something in your own newsletter or on your own website does not pass the checks-and-balances peer-review. Dr. Scott Stripling, the Director of Excavations at Shiloh, led by the Associates for Biblical Research, says that the goal of archaeology is not excavation, but publication.

d) Ron Wyatt never made any of his supposed discoveries available for trained archaeologists to examine.

e) Ron Wyatt never adequately addressed inconsistencies in some of his stories, such as how he discovered the supposed chariot wheels at a depth of 200 feet using scuba equipment designed for depths of 125-130 feet.

Despite these serious deficiencies, those who uncritically follow Ron Wyatt continue to promote his almost 100 biblically-related “discoveries,” (all of which were made within a decade! Clearly these people don’t know how archaeological excavations are conducted in the real world.). These alleged discoveries include:

  • Noah’s Ark
  • the fire and brimstone balls from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • The tower of Babel
  • The Ark of the Covenant
  • The original 10 commandment tablets
  • Goliath’s sword
  • The site of Jesus’ crucifixion, including the blood Jesus in an “earthquake crack” beneath the crucifixion site that he claims he had analyzed and showed it only contained 24 chromosomes instead of 46.

The list of fantastical discoveries should, in and of itself, raise questions about enige discovery Ron Wyatt claimed to have made. This didn’t stop his “discovery” of chariot wheels spreading. It has been repeated in articles and books and documentaries though. In actual fact, Ron Wyatt’s work has universally debunked by respected archaeologists and scholars. In fact, even two ministers in his own denomination (Seven Day Adventist) wrote an entire book called, “Holy Relics or Revelation: Examining the claims of Ron Wyatt” to show his work was largely a hoax. 3

The Egyptian chariot wheel story gained new a new life when it appeared in an online article in World News Daily, which claimed, “Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced this morning that a team of underwater archaeologists had discovered that remains of a large Egyptian army from the 14th century BC, at the bottom of the Gulf of Suez, 1.5 kilometers offshore from the modern city of Ras Gharib.” 4 Those who were taken in by this hoax obviously didn’t read the disclaimer at the bottom of the article which read, “World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content.”

To be clear, no chariot wheels from the Egyptian army that drowned chasing Moses and the children of Israel as described in Exodus 14 have ever been found.

In contrast to hoaxes like this, there is good research being done by respected scholars and archaeologists that has confirmed numerous details of the biblical account of Israel in Egypt 5 , identified the likely Pharaoh of the Exodus 6 , and highlighted evidence for the actual date of the Exodus. 7 8 9 Ron Wyatt supporters will often claim that his discoveries were suppressed because of professional jealousy. The reality is that the Associates for Biblical Research (www.BibleArchaeology.org) , a group of Christian archaeologists and scholars who are dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of Scripture, often promote the findings of other archaeologists who have made legitimate discoveries in a controlled archaeological excavation. The reason they do not promote Ron Wyatt’s work has nothing to do with professional jealousy it has everything to do his unsubstantiated, unscholarly, and, quite possibly, fraudulent claims.

2) The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

The “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is a credit-card sized papyrus which has been shown to be fraudulent. Photo Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, Harvard University professor, Karen King, announced the discovery of a papyrus that was written in Coptic (an ancient Egyptian language) that read, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…” and may have referred to Mary Magdalene. King provocatively named it the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and dated it to the fourth century AD, maintaining that it might have been copied from a second-century AD “gospel.” 10

Almost immediately, scholars began to suspect it was a modern-day forgery, as one pointed out that the text and line breaks appeared to be copied from another papyrus that had been published in a 1924 book. Eventually Ariel Sabar, an investigative journalist from Die Atlantiese Oseaan did an expose that tracked town the true original owner of the papyrus, a former Egyptology student named Walter Fritz who had at one time run an art website that sold pieces that looked like ancient manuscripts. Fritz eventually admitted to being the owner of the papyrus. While he never admitted to forging it, he did stress that he had never once claimed the papyrus was authentic. 11

Karen King eventually conceded that the papyrus is likely a forgery and that its owner had lied to her about its provenance. Sadly, as is all too common in cases like this, the original announcement was met with great interest and picked up by news networks around the world, while the retraction generated little interest and coverage.

People interested in following the discovery of new manuscripts related to the Bible would be better off following an expert organization, such as the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts at www.csntm.org or the Current Events updates at www.BibleArchaeology.org.

Goliath’s Skeleton – In the Bible, Goliath is the great Philistine warrior who is described as being over nine feet tall (1 Sa 17:4). In February 2018, a news story made its way around social media proclaiming that Goliath’s skeleton had been discovered. The sensationalistic claim went on to declare:

“Diggers in Israel believe they’ve made a giant discovery. For they’re convinced they’ve come across Goliath’s skull! And what’s more, they say, the stone from David’s slingshot is still embedded in the forehead.”

Archaeologist Dr. Richard Martin says: “We found the skull in the Valley of Elah, in the foothills of the Judean Mountains, where David’s battle with Goliath took place. The skull is huge and clearly belongs to a man of enormous stature.” 12

Some of the photos which accompanied the fake “Goliath Skeleton” story. Photo Credit: Snopes.com

The story is essentially recycled from a 1993 article that appeared in the tabloid Weekly World News. Some of the accompanying pictures were actually taken from a 2008 photoshop contest from the website Worth 1000, called “Archaeological Anomalies 12,” in which participants submitted pictures that were intended to “create and archaeological hoax.” One of the pictures was an actual photograph, but it was of a sculpture done by Italian artist Gino De Domonicis called “Calamita Cosmica” (“Cosmic Magnet”), which is in the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo in Rome. 13

Rather than being taken in by obvious tabloid trash, there is real research being done by actual archaeologists on the Philistine people. The recent discovery at the Philistine city of Gath of a proto-semitic inscription dating to the 10 th century BC with a name that etymologically very close to Goliath, demonstrates that names like this were common at the time the Bible says they are. 14 In 2016, a cemetery was excavated at the city of Ashkelon, which demonstrated that Philistine burial practices were different than their Canaanite and Israelite neighbors. 15 To date, no giant skeletons have been found there.

Fake news is nothing new, and hoaxes are not unknown in the world of biblical archaeology. There are many reputable archaeologists doing good field work in the lands of the Bible. The work of the Associates for Biblical Research (www.BibleArchaeology.org) is one such group whose announcements and discoveries can be trusted. So check the source your information before your share it.

FINAL WORD: Fake news and archaeological hoaxes are different than different interpretations of archaeological discoveries. As the old saying goes: ask two archaeologists and you’ll get at least three opinions. Some have estimated that real archaeology is 10% digging and 90% interpretation. So healthy debate surrounding archaeological discoveries will always be present. For this blog, I’ve chosen to focus on “discoveries” that were patently false.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a staff member and writer for the Associates for Biblical Research.


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