Monthly Archives: November 2009

Bible Mapper — Version 4 now available

Several times, including here, I have called attention to David Barrett’s Bible Mapper program. Version 3 remains a free program, but Barrett has now published version 4. The cost is $37. The web site describes Bible Mapper in these words,

Bible Mapper is a fully interactive, highly accurate Bible mapping system that helps you quickly and easily create customized maps of the Holy Lands or study a particular period and aspect of Bible history.

Based on my limited use of Version 3 I will say that the learning curve is fairly high, but the result can be gratifying. I have made several maps to teach specific portions of scripture, or the movement of certain characters.

There are many new features in version 4, including a gallery of 35 ready made maps. Take a look at the gallery when you check the web page. Complete information is available here. The map below is a reduced one from the gallery. The sample maps in the gallery are full size, but they all have the word SAMPLE on them — until you buy the registration key and unlock them on your computer. The 35 maps, even without the program, is worth the $37 it will cost you.

The Battle at Mount Gilboa. Bible Mapper.com.

The Battle at Mount Gilboa. Bible Mapper.com.

The maps in the ESV Study Bible were made with Bible Mapper.

HT: Todd Bolen, Bible Places Blog.

Another aerial view of Tel Dor

This view of Tel Dor and the Mediterranean coast was made in 2000 by the well-known photographer Zev Radovan. Look through almost any Bible Dictionary or other well illustrated book on Bible subjects and you will see some photos credited to Zev. Back in 2000, when I was still teaching at Florida College I approached Zev about making some photos for our use in teaching.

It took a couple of months before he had a good day to make these photos. Several times he sent Emails to let me know he was ready and had the helicopter reserved when the weather was good. I think this was made in May.

Aerial view of Tel Dor and the Mediterranean coast. Photo by Zev Radovan.

Aerial view of Tel Dor and the Mediterranean coast. Photo by Zev Radovan.

The photo we published here on November 16 was made looking north. This one is made looking south-east. Even though the tel is not shown as large in this photo, you will see that considerable archaeological work has been done in the past 9 years. You know that in those days photos were still being made in 35mm slide format.

An impressive location, indeed.

Take a look at Zev Radovan’s Bible Land Pictures Photo Archives here. Zev told me an interesting story back in 2000. He said that years earlier he could go out into the countryside and easily find a man plowing with a wooden plow pulled by a donkey. Now, in 2000, he said he would go out and find a man plowing, but with a cell phone on his belt. It has become difficult to find the biblical-type scenes as the country has become more mechanized.

Ephesus: “Turkey’s ancient splendour”

A recent article in stuff.co.nz calls Ephesus “Turkey’s ancient splendour.” Here a few excerpts from the article by Brenda Webb of the Marlborough Express.

The ruins of Ephesus on Turkey’s west coast are among the best preserved and most impressive in the Mediterranean.

Imagine 250,000 people living in an area roughly the size of Picton township [a New Zealand town of about 3000 population].

Throw in an amphitheatre that seats 25,000 people, a massive three-story library, several temples, an agora (market place), a brothel, Roman baths complex, a gymnasium and various basilicas, temples and fountains.

This gives some idea of the size and complexity of the amazing ancient city of Ephesus, one of the 12 cities of the Ionian League and a once thriving Mediterranean port where skillful artisans and rich merchants gathered.

Today it’s a frantically busy historical site, so it’s best to visit early morning or late afternoon and avoid peak holiday season of July and August.

Half an hour inland from the Turkish coastal city of Kusadasi, Ephesus retains much of its former grandeur thanks to sensitive excavation and preservation that began around 100 years ago and continues today, with only 20 per cent of the site uncovered.

It certainly is a work in progress – the day we visited a huge crane was removing rubble from yet another new excavation site beside the magnificent amphitheatre that took 60 years to build.

In was here that gladiatorial combats were said to be held during Roman times as well as less brutal concerts and theatrical performances.

The acoustics in the amphitheatre are fantastic. We watched and listened in awe as an Italian tourist recited poetry on the stage, his words clearly reaching us some distance away.

Ephesus was first inhabited as long ago as 6000 BC but reached its peak in Roman times and most of the remains you see today date from then.

Despite its age and years of plundering, Ephesus remains surprisingly intact, especially its marble streets, the much photographed library and massive amphitheatre.

Some of the best-preserved artefacts, statues and tools have been taken to the nearby Ephesus Museum in Selcuk but some amazing structures remain and it is its completeness that gives it the edge over other historical sites in the Mediterranean.

Read the rest of the article here.

The Arcadian Way - Ephesus

The Arcadian Way runs from the Theater (to our back) and the harbor (now silted up). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Luke describes some of the work of Paul at Ephesus in these words:

And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:8-10 NAU)

For the full account of Paul’s work in Ephesus read Acts 18-20.

HT: Biblical Paths.

An aerial view of Tel Dor

Earlier we wrote about the excavation at Tel Dor here. Dr. Ayelet Gilboa, chair of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, and the co-director of the Tel Dor Excavation Project, was kind enough to provide us with one of the wonderful aerial photos of Tel Dor.

Aerial view of Tel Dor looking northeast. Photo courtesy: Dr. Ayelet Gilboa.

Aerial view of Tel Dor looking northeast. Photo courtesy: Dr. Ayelet Gilboa.

Click on the image for a photo suitable for use in a PowerPoint presentation.

Dor has a long history extending from the Canaanite period around the 20th century B.C. It was also controlled by the Phoenicians, the Sea People, the Israelites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. Dor was abandoned in the third century A.D. (Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov./Dec. 2002).

Dor is mentioned only a few times in the Old Testament Scriptures.

  • When Jabin, king of Hazor, heard of the victories of Joshua and the Israelites he put together a confederacy of armies including the king of the “heights of Dor on the west” (Joshua 11:2).
  • Joshua conquered “the king of Dor in the heights of Dor” (Joshua 12:32).
  • Dor was allotted to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11). The writer of Joshua quickly acknowledges that Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, “because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land” (Joshua 17:12; see Judges 1:27).
  • Solomon appointed his son-in-law Ben-abinadad over the height of Dor (1 Kings 4:11).
  • Ephraim’s territory extended to the border of Manasseh, including “Dor with its towns” (1 Chronicles 7:29).

For more information about the 2010 excavation season at Tel Dor check the official web site here.

Moussaieff called “The genuine article”

The Jerusalem Post Online Edition Magazine ran a feature article November 12 here about Shlomo Moussaieff here. Moussaieff, 86, is known for many things. He is a billionaire, but he is also a collector of archaeological artifacts, Torah scrolls, cuneiform inscriptions, and other significant items.

Shlomo Moussaieff

Shlomo Moussaieff

Moussaieff has received renewed attention in connection with the recent law suit accusing antiquities experts of forgery. Here are a few comments by Lauren Gelfond Feldinger, author of the magazine feature.

His stories, like his collections, are often considered controversial. In the antiquities world, he is especially renowned for often turning his nose up at the accepted logic that artifacts should be documented in situ by archeologists to make the most of their historical meaning. Moussaieff bah-humbugs traditional thinking, arguing, like his old friend Moshe Dayan, that so-called looters are also salvaging history by bringing it into the light and keeping it out of the dusty cellars of antiquities authorities.

In court I showed them how to know if the clay is genuine – I lick it. I know the taste. After so many years in the business, just looking, you also know. Everyone who is jealous says that I have some fakes. I spend a lot of money to double-check, and so far in four years of court cases they haven’t been able to prove any one of them is a fake. I have been collecting for 65 years and have 60,000 items in my collection. It is possible I have made a mistake, but if I have made a mistake, nobody can prove it. (Laughs.)

When asked why he snubs Israel’s antiquities laws, Moussaieff said,

These are ridiculous laws from the time of the Turks. The Antiquities Authority should be teaching and not torturing. They should ignite history. Instead, they find Arab shepherds and beat them and take what they have. What do they have, broken clay pieces? Bravo. All day they sit with a telescope to see who is going in the field to look for something, it’s ridiculous. For a 500-millimeter piece of parchment, they will put a man in jail.

If you build a building, you have to stop work, you have to pay for the excavation – not them. This is torture. The laws don’t make any sense. This is what they do with their budget? The law should allow more freedom, let anybody display anything in his house, and not make a coin collection worth $10 illegal. They have 600,000 coins in storage, what do they display? A few pieces.

I have artifacts from the time of Abraham. I have artifacts from the second our people were born. They call me a looter. They call me an antiquities thief. Nobody wanted to publish my things [that were not found in situ]. But the museums could only pray to have such a collection as I have. Now that they realize that how much I have and that it is not fake, they all love me, they all want my collections.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

Fisherman in Egypt

A fisherman brings in a large catch of fish in a lake on the outskirts of Alexandria, Egypt.

Fisherman Near Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Fisherman Near Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The wise writer of Ecclesiastes likened the unfortunate things that happen in life to fish being caught in a net.

Surely, no one knows his appointed time! Like fish that are caught in a deadly net, and like birds that are caught in a snare– just like them, all people are ensnared at an unfortunate time that falls upon them suddenly. (Ecclesiastes 9:12 NET)

This photo was made in the street fish market along the pier in Alexandria.

The Fish Market at Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Fish Market at Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The prophet Isaiah (about 725 B.C.) spoke of a time that was coming upon Egypt in these words.

The fishermen will mourn and lament, all those who cast a fishhook into the river, and those who spread out a net on the water’s surface will grieve. (Isaiah 19:8 NET)

Temple Mount coins exhibit

The Israel National News reports here on a new exhibit at the Davidson Center in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden in Jerusalem.

A very special exhibition opens next week in Jerusalem, revealing to the public for the first time all of the ancient coins uncovered in excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount.

Coin of Yehonatan - Alexander Jannaeus. Photo: IAI

Alexander Jannaeus coin. Photo: IAA

The article includes some nice photos of the exhibit and a couple of the coins. One is labeled Lily King Yehonatan. In most English sources I have used on the period between the Testaments this ruler is called Alexander Jannaeus. He was the Hasmonean ruler recognized as King of Judea from 103 to 76 B.C.

Hendin, Guide to Biblical Coins,  shows a similar coin with the obverse (head) showing a lily surrounded by a Hebrew inscription (Yehonatan the king). The reverse (tail) shows an anchor with the inscription “of Alexander the king.”

HT: Joseph I. Lauer