Tag Archives: Bible

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Upgraded & Expanded

A portion of the Isaiah Scroll, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A portion of the Isaiah Scroll, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. The upgraded version provides 10,000 additional high resolution images as well as more supplementary texts to allow users to understand the material in context.

The new website also provides better search features, better explanations, additional translations in German and Russian, and more. The website continues to get updates and will become more robust as it progresses. If you would like to check it out, be sure to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. To learn more about the new features, check out the Israel Antiquities Press Release.

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Free Tel Aviv University MOOC: The Fall & Rise of Jerusalem

This Fall, Tel Aviv University will be offering a free MOOC about the period of Juda under Babylonian rule (the period of exile) during the 6th century. The course will be taught by Professors Oded Lipschits, Ph.D. and Ido Koch, Ph.D. The course description is as follows:

The period of the demise of the Kingdom of Judah at the end of the sixth century B.C.E., the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, the exile of the elite to Babylon, and the reshaping of the territory of the new province of Judah, culminating at the end of the century with the first return of exiles – all have been subjects of intense scrutiny in modern scholarship. This course takes into account the biblical textual evidence, the results of archaeological research, and the reports of the Babylonian and Egyptian sources and provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the evidence for the history of this 100-year-long era. The course includes a detailed discussion by Prof. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University, with guest lectures by leading scholars dealing with the archaeological and biblical aspects of this debated topic.

You can also see a video course description here:

As a MOOC, the course is offered entirely free of charge. To enroll in the course, please check out the Coursera page here. You can also learn more about the course and the professors leading it on this article by Biblical Archaeology Review.

Ossuary Find Could Prove to be Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Christianity

A recent find by archaeologists during a tomb exploration in Jerusalem uncovered what could be the earliest archaeological evidence for Christianity in Jerusalem. One ossuary, an object similar to a coffin or sarcophagus, contains a four line Greek Inscription that refers to God “raising up” someone. An ossuary next to it depicts an inscription of an individual in the mouth of a large fish – perhaps a reference to the Biblical figure Jonah, akin to other examples of early Christian art.

The ossuaries have been sent to the Israeli State Collection and are waiting authentication. If the ossuaries prove to be authentic (there are many fakes, most famous the Jesus Ossuary and the James Brother of Jesus Ossuary), then they would represent (by centuries) the earliest evidence for Christianity. The objects would predate the gospels by centuries.

To read more about the discovery, see the article in Science Daily or on Discovery News.

Google Makes Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

Internet giant Google has enabled scholars to post a chunk of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the most important documents to Biblical scholars aside from the Old and New testaments. The announcement has generated a great deal of excitement amongst professional and lay scholars alike – providing ready access to the materials to the public for free.

Google has been making a number of forays into the educational world – most specifically with the Google Art Project. To see the available material of the Dead Sea Scrolls, see the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.

To learn more about the project, see these articles on the BBC, LA Times, Fox News, and ABC News.

Ossuary Could Identify Final Resting Place of the Family of Caiaphas

Biblical scholarship and archaeology is all a twitter (literally and figuratively) over a new ossuary authentication as belonging to the family of Caiaphas. The full inscription reads: “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”

Ossuary forgeries are common place in Israel and, especially with the recent high profile case of the “Ossuary of James,” professional antiquities dealers, collectors, and scholars are often hesitant to identify historically relevant boxes. Still, Profesor Goren of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology feels confident of its identity.

To learn more about this finding, read the full article at Science Daily.