Daily Archives: May 17, 2008

Santorini and the Minoan Civilization

Last Thursday we visited Santorini on the way from Crete to Athens. Ships anchor (not dock) at Santorini while tender boats ferry the passengers back and forth to the island city built on the half-moon rim of the crater. Some writers hold that Santorini is the ancient island of Atlantis. Santorini is not mentioned in the Bible, but several writers have tried to connect it to biblical events. It has been suggested that one of the several volcanic eruptions at Santorini is to be connected with the drying up of the Red Sea when the Israelites crossed. This is highly speculative, and there are chronological difficulties.

Items from Akrotiri, Santorini, a city covered by volcanic ash about 1600 B.C. are part of the collection of the National Archaeology Museum in Athens. It is good to see these things in Athens because the ruins at Akrotiri are closed for reconstruction. These artifacts from Akrotiri provide a good look at the Minoan civilization.

This photo was made from our ship which was anchored in the crater. The city is built along the rim of the crater. We are able to look into the heart of the volcano.

Athens – Intellectual capital of the ancient world

We arrived at the port of Athens early yesterday morning and was met by our tour operator and guide. Morning sightseeing included highlight of the ancient and modern capital of Greece. This included the Royal Palace, the Stadium and Temple of Zeus, the Theater of Dionysius, Mars Hill (the Areopagus), the Acropolis with the famous Parthenon, the Agora (mar­ket place) and Socrates’ prison (Acts 17:15-34).

Both Athens and Corinth are in biblical Achaia.

I always find the visit to the National Archaeological Museum enjoyable. I have prepared several photos to upload, but have decided to so with the one below.

When speaking about archaeology, I am asked often about how people in the ancient world built those marvelous structures that now amaze us. I think I have finally figured out the answer for the Parthenon which was constructed about 2500 years ago. This photo might help you to understand. You have heard the saying, “Pictures don’t lie.” This photo is not retouched.

Paul and his companions stopped in Rhodes

I thought I posted this article yesterday, but see that I left it as a draft. Anyway, here goes. After a three day cruise we are now in Athens, Greece. Due to the expensive time on board the ship, and lack of time to seek other arrangements, I was unable to post since Patmos. I will try to catch up over the next few days. Below is the post on Rhodes.


Paul and his companions stopped at Rhodes on the return portion of the third journey, but nothing is said in Luke’s historical account about any activities on the island.

When we had parted from them [the Ephesian elders at Miletus] and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there to Patara; and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. (Acts 21:1-2)

Our ship docked at the harbor of the city of Rhodes, capital of the island of Rhodes. Here, in ancient days, stood the colossus of Rhodes — one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The statue fell during an earthquake in 226 B.C., but remains of it were seen as late as the 7th century A.D. Assuming that Paul’s ship docked here, he would have seen ruins of the famous monument. Considering the course of travel mentioned in the text (Cos, Rhodes, and Patara) this appears more likely.

Another tradition has it that Paul’s contact with the island was at Lindos, one of the three ancient cities of the island. It is located about 34 miles from the town of Rhodes. A small Greek Orthodox chapel commemorates the landing and preaching of the apostle. In this photo showing St. Paul’s harbor you can see the chapel on the right. The acropolis with ruins of the Temple of Athena are on the left. Fant and Reddish, A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, say that “The harbor was once the location of the fleet of Lindos and the only natural harbor on the island of Rhodes” (114).

Rhodes is not mentioned in most English translations of the Old Testament. Ezekiel 27:15, in translating the Masoretic Text, mentions the “men of Dedan” or the Dedanites. The Greek version (LXX, Septuagint) uses words that mean “men of Rhodes.” I note that the New American Bible, the NIV, and the NRS, follow the Greek in their trasnlation. Rhodes is also mentioned in 1 Maccabees 15:23. Dedan is identified as “an important settlement located at one of the major oases in NW Arabia (Gen. 10:7; Gen. 25:3)” (Anchor Dictionary of the Bible, 123). For now, this remains a problem.