(Warning to readers: This article discusses subject matter which is necessarily unpleasant.)
Crucifixion is the most famous method of execution in history. Yet what was crucifixion exactly? How was it performed? Two archeological finds (one very recent) as well as contemporary historical accounts will illuminate the matter.
The Romans did not invent crucifixion. It seems they adopted a practise that was common in Persia. The Phoneticians were known to execute prisoners using crucifixion. Continue reading
(This is the last of three articles on the ancient city of Capernaum, Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1). The first article considered the question of why Jesus choose Capernaum as his base of operations for the first part of his ministry. The second article explored the fascinating results of over 100 years of archeological investigation into the ancient city, particularly its beautiful white synagogue. This final article examines what many claim to be the personal home of Peter the Apostle.)
Writing in the fourth century (circa 380 C.E), a wealthy woman named Egeria (or Etheria) from France or possibly Spain (opinions vary) visited the Bible lands on a religious pilgrimage. Upon visiting Capernaum, Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1), she wrote,
“And in Capernaum, what is more, the house of the prince of the Apostles has been transformed into a church, with its original walls still standing. Here the Lord healed the paralytic.” (Travels of Egeria)
(This is the second of three articles on the ancient city of Capernaum, Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1). The first article examined the question of why Jesus choose Capernaum as his base of operations for the first part of his ministry. This article and the next will explore the fascinating results of over 100 years of archeological investigation into the ancient city.)
In 1894 when the Franciscan friars who purchased the site of ancient Capernaum walked through their new property, evidence of former habitation was everywhere (See photo above). Right up until the purchase, the Bedouin people had set their tents among the ruins. The remains of white limestone columns and elaborate Corinthian capitals gave silent testimony that a monumental structure had once stood there. But what structure? Would it prove to be a building known from the 4 Gospel books? In fact, it would! Continue reading
(This is the first of three articles on Capernaum, Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1). The first article will delve into Jesus’ possible connections to the city as well as the reasons why he left his residence in Nazareth to move there. The next two articles will examine what exciting things modern archeology has revealed about this most significant city in Jesus’ life and ministry.)
On a gentle hillside on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee stood the ancient city of Capernaum. The city was of modest size (by some estimates it’s first century population was between 1500 to 3000) and it did not survive down to modern times. Yet for a brief moment in the first century, this humble fishing community was the centre of the world. Continue reading
Note from the editor: I am delighted to introduce to our readers an article by a special guest contributor! Jay Grande is a friend of the website, an avid Roman history enthusiast and a Biblical numismatist (specialist in the study of coins). Enjoy this in-depth look at the most famous coin in the Bible!
Next they sent to him some of the Pharisees and of the party followers of Herod in order to catch him in his speech. On arriving, these said to him: “Teacher, we know you are truthful and you do not seek anyone’s favor, for you do not look at the outward appearance of people, but you teach the way of God in line with truth. Is it lawful to pay head tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay, or should we not pay?” Detecting their hypocrisy, he said to them: “Why do you put me to the test? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one, and he said to them: “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to him: “Caesar’s.” Jesus then said: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” (Mark 12:13-17)
There has been much debate amongst numismatists and historians about the above passage. There are many theories about which Caesar’s image was on the coin and also which denomination of coin was brought to Jesus. What’s all the fuss about? Let’s look a little closer and examine the evidence. Continue reading
Top Photo: Zachi Evenor (CC BY-SA 3.0) Wikimedia Commons. Other photo’s by author.
Post 31 – As many as 7 of Jesus 12 apostles were fishermen who plied their trade on the Sea of Galilee. Many of the most memorable accounts in the 4 gospel books take place on or near that body of water. The Sea of Galilee, is actually a freshwater lake about 21 km long and 13 km wide (it is also called “the Lake of Gennesaret” at Luke 5:1). The lake is fed by the underground springs but primarily by the upper Jordan River, whose headwaters are found in Mount Hermon (the Golan Heights). The lake is the one significant body of water that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan all rely on for fresh water and agriculture.
By the winter of 1986, Israel, already a dry country, had experienced several years of drought. The drought had drastically dropped the water level and as a consequence, the shoreline had receded further than any local fisherman could remember. Two fishermen Continue reading