History

The Conceit of Convenience

Technical fields that deal in the past - such as history and archaeology - have a necessary compression that takes place. It is an unavoidable conceit of convenience. (As far as I know, this is a new term I thought of in the car this morning.) What do I mean by conceit of convenience?  When an archaeologist… Continue reading The Conceit of Convenience

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Ancient History

Herod – the End of His Life

Herod negotiated the complex relationship of the various Jewish groups, his Roman masters and the nations surrounding him with cunning, if not with ease. Herod’s cities and Temple complex attempted to bridge the gaps among these various groups, but there were simply too many moving parts and fissures appeared, especially among the rural Jews of… Continue reading Herod – the End of His Life

Alternate History, Ancient History

Herod and Rome

Rome’s influence over the Levant began in 63 BCE when the general Pompey intervened in a feud between two factions of Hasmonean kingdom. Pompey took Jerusalem, installed one of the leaders, Hyrcanus as ethnarch and appointed one of his allies, Antipater of Idumea, as epitropos or “regent” to oversee affairs. Antipater saw the region through… Continue reading Herod and Rome

Ancient History

Herod the Great, Introduction

Herod the Great looms over the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Matthew. He is a character judged more by popular impressions than by Scriptural revelation. For generations, that brief glimpse fueled all sorts of false perceptions and fictionalized narratives about Herod and his reign. In the past half century or so, archaeological… Continue reading Herod the Great, Introduction

Ancient History, Medieval History

The Church of the Resurrection, part 4

This is part 4 of a series of posts on the history of the Church of the Resurrection. In a previous part, we saw how the Church was badly damaged during the brief period when the Sassanids controlled the city (614-622 CE) and then the period of relative peace after the Muslims took the city… Continue reading The Church of the Resurrection, part 4

Ancient History, Medieval History

The Church of the Resurrection, part 2

In my last post, I talked about the construction of the original basilica and rotunda built on the site of Jesus' burial and resurrection. Those buildings were built in 337 CE and stood unmolested until 614 CE. What happened next is probably one of the worst things you have never heard of. In 476 CE,… Continue reading The Church of the Resurrection, part 2

History, Preaching, Theology

Abusing History in Bible Teaching

As a student of history and the Bible, I often find myself telling people to learn the background and context of things before making definitive statements. As of late, however, I am discovering that the only thing more dangerous than ignorance of historical context is the abuse of incomplete knowledge of history. People who develop… Continue reading Abusing History in Bible Teaching