Category Archives: New Testament

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos # 11

We have had the opportunity to see numerous fishermen demonstrate casting a net in the Sea of Galilee, but this was the best. Looking at this photo it is easy to recall Jesus’ selection of Peter and Andrew to become “fishers of men.”

Fisherman casting net on the Sea of Galilee. FerrellJenkins.blog.

This fisherman on one of the tourist boats is demonstrating casting a net near the warm waters near the Church of the Primacy on Galilee’s northern shore. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18 ESV)

For more information about fishing and fishermen on the Sea of Galilee see these links: the ports; the fish; Tabgha (Heptapegon); and fishing the Sea of Galilee.

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos # 9

In December 2009 I took my first photographic flight over Jerusalem. With the photos I made I can find almost any of the significant historical buildings. I really liked the view I am showing today. In it you can see the Temple Mount, the site believed to be the Mount Moriah of the Bible, the location of the Temple of Solomon and the location of the Temple built by Herod the Great. The area underwent a number of changes after the destruction of the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70

Since the late 7th century A.D. the site has been occupied by Moslem shrines, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque.

But this photo has more. Just above the middle of the photo is the Ophel which was originally built by King Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:3).  In the bottom half of the picture is the City of David. It is bounded on the right (East) by the Kidron Valley, and on the left (West) by a road. It is shaped somewhat like a vase or bottle.

Aerial view of the Temple Mount, the Ophel, and the City of David. Photo: FerrellJenkins.blog.

Aerial view of the Temple Mount, the Ophel, and the City of David. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

To make this clear I am including the same photo with the areas I mentioned identified. The Mount of Olives is in the upper right hand corner of the photo.

Aerial photo of the Temple Mount, the Ophel, and the City of David with identification. Photo: FerrellJenkins.blog.

Aerial photo of the Temple Mount, the Ophel, and the City of David with identification. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It was an exciting day when I captured all of that in the same photo. You may be able to use it in your study and teaching. For more info see here.

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos #6

The Greek island of Patmos is mentioned only once in the New Testament.

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9 ESV)

The island of Patmos. FerrellJenkins.blog.

A view of the island of Patmos from Chora. Ships and other boats dock at the port of Scala. John the Apostle was exiled to this island in the last decade of the first century A.D. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For more information about Patmos and John’s banishment to the island see here.

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos #3

It was quite a thrill when I first found and walked on this nice stretch of Roman Road near the Turkish village of Saglikli about 12 miles north of Tarsus of Cilicia. Tarsus served as one of the great crossroads of history. It was the home of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul who described it as “no insignificant city” (Acts 21:39; 9:11; 22:3).

Roman road north of Tarsus in Cilicia. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Roman Road near the Turkish village of Saglikli, about 12 miles north of Tarsus in Cilicia. Home of Saul of Tarsus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This road that was constructed about A.D. 200 during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Did Paul and Silas follow this same route on an earlier road during the second journey?

Ring or no ring, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate

By this time many people have heard the report on the news or read one of the numerous   articles stating that a ring possibly belonging to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect or procurator who condemned Jesus to be crucified, has been found.

The scholarly article on which the reports have been based has been published in Israel Exploration Journal 68:2 (2018). The popular article in The Times of Israel (here) includes a black and white photo of the area in the Herodium where the ring was found. I searched my photos and discovered a color picture I made of the same area in 2011. Even then some reconstructive work was underway.

Photo of the Herodium made from the garden where the ring was discovered. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Photo of the Herodium made from the garden where the ring was discovered. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in 2011.

Our aerial photo below shows the Herodium in December, 2009. Additional excavations continue to be made on the north side of the artificial mound. The ancient fortress was hidden in the “cone” of the mound.

This aerial photo of the Herodium was made in 2009. The ring was found in the garden inside the fortress built by Herod the Great. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This aerial photo of the Herodium was made in 2009. The ring was found in the garden inside the fortress built by Herod the Great. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This ring was found by Hebrew University professor Gideon Foerster during an excavation at the Herodium in 1968-9. Only now have scholars at Hebrew University been able to use modern photographic technology to read the inscription on the ring. The thin ring made of copper-alloy shows a krater with a Greek inscription around it. It reminds one of an ancient coin set in a ring. The krater was often used for mixing wine.

Views and cross section of the ring discovered at Herodium. Drawing: J. Rodman; photo: C. Amit, IAA Photographic Department.

Views and cross section of the ring discovered at Herodium. Drawing: J. Rodman; photo: C. Amit, IAA Photographic Department.

I am not trained in things of this sort, but I immediately wondered about the spelling of the name Pilate. On the ring the Greek inscription is written as PILATO. I wondered why.

Now comes the Bible History Daily written by Robert Cargill, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review.

The ring discovered at Herodium is inscribed in Greek. And while Pilate minted several coins in Greek, he never placed his name on his coins, opting yet again to honor his benefactor, Tiberius, with the Greek inscription ΤΙΒΕΡΙΟΥ ΚΑΙϹΑΡΟϹ (Tiberiou Kaisaros; “of Tiberius Caesar”). Here, Pilate inscribes Tiberius’s name using the Greek genitive, or possessive case, to indicate that the coin was minted during the rule and under the authority of the emperor Tiberius.

Cargill wonders “why” Pilate would inscribe a ring with the name ΠΙΛΑΤΟ (PILATO) in Greek letters. He cites some reasonable info. He suggests one solution offered by Cate Bonesho, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at UCLA. She says,

…ΠΙΛΑΤΟ may be a Greek transliteration of the Latin dative form of the name Pilatus.

You should be able to access Cargill’s article here. Prior to seeing his article I had already prepared a photo of the Pilate inscription discovered at Caesarea Maritima in 1961.

Pilate inscription discovered at Caesarea in 1961. Photo of the original in the Israel Museum. FerrellJenkins.blog.

Pilate inscription discovered at Caesarea in 1961. Photo of the original in the Israel Museum. FerrellJenkins.blog.

More than seven years ago I wrote about the discovery of this stone and the meaning of the inscription here and here.

I like the suggestion made by editor Cargill, and his mention of sources of information we already have.

…the Pilate Stone, hundreds of coins, Josephus, and the Bible itself—there really was a Roman governor in Judea at the time of Jesus named Pilate.

To his list we should add Tacitus and other ancient sources. The most lengthy biblical account is in John 18:29–19:38, but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul also make reference to the event.

Be careful about jumping to conclusions after hearing or reading a brief report about discoveries like this. We have waited this long and we can wait a little longer while those trained in various fields evaluate the evidence.

Was Philip martyred at Hierapolis/Pamukkale?

A recent article by an Italian journalist Giuseppe Mancini in al-Monitor caught my attention earlier this week. He says,

Hierapolis is the most popular archaelogical site in Turkey, with its peak of 2 million tourists in 2014 and a comparable number anticipated for 2018. In fact, most of them — largely Russians on day trips from Antalya — see only the natural features of the place: the white cascades of travertine created by thermal waters flowing downhill. The venue is better known in Turkish as Pamukkale, literally the “cotton castle,” whose light blue natural pools are featured in every tourism brochure.

Mancini discusses the archaeological work done by Italian scholars. In 2011 they were convinced that they had located the tomb of Philip the Apostle (Matthew 10:3). He laments that most of the tourists visit only a limited area of Pamukkale.

Few tourists walk the paved roads among the ruins or sit in the well-preserved theater. Fewer still are adventurous enough to climb the steep hill overlooking Pamukkale and Hierapolis — guides apparently advise against going there — where the Christian St. Philip the Apostle was killed, buried and venerated for many centuries.

I have observed the same thing and understand the reasons. (1) The tomb of Philip is an archaeological site. (2) It is a relatively long distance from the cascades, pools, and shops. (3) Tour groups are limited in time and (4) the greater number of tour members would not take time to visit a site like this. Let me show you.

You will be able to see the buildings dedicated to Philip right of the center of the photo on the top of the hill. First you get to walk on ruins of an ancient road.

After walking a rather long distance to the approach to the Martyrium of Philip, we come to this road. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

After walking a rather long distance to the approach to the Martyrium of Philip, we pass through the Byzantine walls of Hierapolis. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

But that is not all. Next you must climb these steps to a plateau near the tomb and complex of buildings.

Tradition associates this with Philip the Apostle, but some scholars think the reference is to Philip the Evangelist. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tradition associates these steps with the Martyrium of Philip the Apostle. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

When you think you have almost arrived, you see steep steps that must be climbed to the plateau where the Martyrium is located.

The final steps leading to the Martyrium of Philip. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The final steps leading to the Martyrium of Philip. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Then you come to the ruins of the church where pilgrims came to honor Philip.

The tomb of Philip is said to have been in this building. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Pilgrims came to this building to honor Philip. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

There is another building of significance at the site. It is an octagonal building said to have been where Philip was martyred. Only the strongest portions of the building stand.

The Martyrium of Philip was built in the early 5th century A.D. on the site thought to be where Philip was martyred. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Martyrium of Philip was constructed in the early 5th century A.D. on the site thought to be where Philip was martyred. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Fant and Reddish say,

The martyrium was apparently used neither as a church (no altar has been found) nor as a burial site (no tomb has been found) but rather served as a place for processions and special services in honor of the saint. (A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, p. 215).

According to Fatih Cimok these building were destroyed by fire in the 6th century and never rebuilt (Biblical Anatolia, p 160).

A number of crosses are found at the site engraved on various stones. Cimok says,

Inscriptions speak of “the people of the Jews,” “the settlement of the Jews who dwell in Hierapolis,” and “The archives of the Jews.” (Ibid.)

Crosses on column bases in the Martyrium of Philip at Hierapolis. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Crosses on column bases in the Martyrium of Philip at Hierapolis. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

There is much more to see at Hierapolis, including a small but nice museum. Perhaps at a later time I will show you the Hellenistic Theater, the street and arch dedicated to Emperor Domitian, and some of the elaborate tombs. In fact, some have been discussed before. You may locate the posts by typing Hierapolis or Pamukkale in the Search Box.

Resources: In addition to sources cited here, I cited Mark Wilson’s Biblical Turkey in the previous post. These are wonderful resources to use in preparation for a trip to Turkey.

Visit Hierapolis at modern Pamukkale, Turkey

The city of Hierapolis (“holy city”) is one of the three cities of the Lycus River valley named in the New Testament.

For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:13 ESV).

Today Hierapolis is known as Pamukkale, Turkey. The name Pamukkale means “cotton castle” or “cotton fortress,” a name derived from the limestone formation at the site. Mellink describes the formation. He says the city,

… is famous for its continuing geological transformation. Hot mineral springs issue from the rock in the city, and the waters streaming down the cliffs have deposited limestone in large formations, the surface of which is made a gleaming white ‘frozen cascades’ (IDB II:601).

A view of the travertine formation that has formed as a result of the warm water running over the hillside. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A view of the limestone cascade that has formed as a result of the warm water running over the hillside. The spring water at the source is a constant 30º celsus (95º for the rest of us). Click the photo for a larger image. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Hierapolis was the home of Papias (c. A.D. 60 to c. A.D. 130), a disciple of the apostle John and a companion of Polycarp. Some traditions associate Philip with the city. All of the information at the site identify this as Philip, one of the apostles of Jesus (Matthew 10:3). Some scholars suggest the association was with Philip the evangelist (Acts 6:5; 8:5; 21:8). Wilson briefly sorts through the confusion and concludes the better evidence indicates the apostle Philip (Biblical Turkey, 245).

In the 5th century A.D. a monument called the Martyrium of Philip was built to remember the disciple of the Lord from Palestine. In the next post we will show some photographs of the ruins of the monument.