How to Identify and Excavate an Archaeological Site – An Excerpt from the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology

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archThe Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology is a reference resource for anyone interested in archaeology and its relevance to biblical, theological, and apologetic studies. Illustrated with full-color photos, charts, and maps, this handbook provides readers with a wealth of information that complements and supplements the historical context of the Bible.

In today’s excerpt, author Randall Price explains how archaeological digs are found and excavated.

Identifying an Archaeological Site

The remains of an ancient site are called a tel, “mound” (Hebrew tel, Arabic tell or tall), because it resembles a small hill as a result of successive habitation layers deposited through destruction. This is related to an older Arabic term khirbet (“ruin”). These archaeological mounds were formed through time as cities became ruins due to natural…

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Longman and Dillard on the book of Samuel in the Septuagint and Masoretic Text

ZA Blog on 6 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

An Introduction to the Old TestamentHow different is the book of Samuel in the Septuagint compared to the Masoretic Text? Turns out, they are quite different indeed – and Louis at Baker Church Connection has been studying these differences with the help of Longman and Dillard’s An Introduction to the Old Testament.

There is a great discussion of this in An Introduction to the Old Testament by Tremper Longman III and Raymond Dillard from Zondervan. The following is taken from them along with the charts provided. 

“Scholars have long suspected that the Masoretic Text of Samuel, though comparatively intact, is nevertheless among the least well transmitted…

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Wednesday Giveaway – Old Testament Today

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Old Testament Today The Old Testament is fascinating, but how can we understand what the significance is of these ancient texts today, when we are separated by thousands of years?

In this week’s giveaway, Old Testament Today, John Walton and Andrew Hill continue the tradition of the NIV Application Commentary series by providing a bridge from the original meaning to our contemporary context.

The books of the Old Testament are studied by their genre, and each section is supplemented by a wide array of sidebars, callouts, and full color pictures. 

There is one copy of Old Testament Today available, and this giveaway will run through Thursday. 

To enter simply comment below with your answer to this question:…

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Wednesday Giveaway – The Essential Companion to Life in Bible Times

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ECTLBC When we open the pages of the Bible we are stepping into a world far removed from our own. While we bring our own contextual biases to the text, the stories we read are in fact shaped by a very different experience of life. The meanings of these stories are wrapped up in ancient realities of family and government, of work and worship.

This week's giveaway, The Essential Companion to Life in Bible Times by Moises Silva, was written to give insight into that world and help us better understand the text as a result. 

Drawing on a wealth of material from the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary, this…

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Wednesday Giveaway – Zondervan Atlas of the Bible

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

The Biblical stories are deeply contextualized, and so understanding them thousands of years later requires us to study ancient times and places.

Today's giveaway The Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, is perfectly suited for that task. Filled with historical and cultural data, beautiful maps, and pictures of biblical artifacts, this atlas is a valuable companion as you work through the text.

Pages-2a Pages-2

To enter today's giveaway please comment below with your answer to this question: If you could spend a week anywhere in the ancient world where would it be, and why?

Good luck!

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The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible: It’s In There (Magi Edition)

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Magi - Three Wise Men Kings That the Magi most likely didn’t arrive until long after the manger scene is old news to most of us, as is the fact that it is never said that there were three Magi.

But these are simply corrections to popular images of the nativity. More important for our understanding of the text is another question, who exactly were the Magi anyway? 

Turning to The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible entry on Magi I found a number of interesting details about these elusive men from the East. 

Did you know that Magi were originally a Median tribe who gained great religious power and became an important hereditary priesthood in the…

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In the Steps of Jesus – Review and Giveaway!

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

In the steps of Paul

Looking for a resource that brings to life the first century world? Richly illustrated and historically illuminating, the two "In the Steps of" books (In the Steps of Jesus, and In the Steps of Paul) play this role quite well for those of us engaging the New Testament.

Even better, we are giving away a copy of each!

Just comment below answering this question – What was the first city Paul visited in continental Europe?

Entries will be accepted through the end of Thursday.

Good luck!

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Stairway to Heaven by Daniel B. Wallace

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Meteora is one of the most stunningly beautiful and other-worldly places on earth. Over a millennium ago, monks traveled throughout Greece in search of a place where they could get away from it all. Ultimately, six monasteries were established there, all but one perched atop stone pillars rising hundreds of feet above the plain below.

Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, ‘suspended rocks,’ ‘suspended in the air’ or ‘in the heavens above’) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

OK, I confess. The previous paragraph is lifted verbatim out of Wikipedia. But it’s a decent geographical description of the place. Photographs do not do this site justice, but below are a couple that at least give you a glimpse of what these natural monuments are like:

 06192008-Meteora_Greece-019sm copy 2

one of the smaller monastaries of Meteora 


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“The Codex Sinaiticus: Pages from the World’s Oldest Bible Reunited” by Karen H. Jobes

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

The ancient codex meets modern technology with the Codex Sinaiticus project that went online this month. Because Sinaiticus, the world’s oldest Bible, was originally acquired in parts during the 19th-century, for more than a century it pages have been secured away from easy access in four institutions: the British Library, the University Library in Leipzig, the National Library of Russia, and St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt.

On July 6, 2009, a partnership agreement by these four institutions culminated in the reunion of the entire Bible in digital form online. All known leaves of Codex Sinaiticus have been digitally photographed and assembled at, where the manuscript can be viewed, along with a transcription of its Greek text and translations into English, modern Greek, German, and Russian. Never before have scholars and the general…

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Digitally Preserving the Word of God — Daniel B. Wallace

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My sabbatical from teaching duties at Dallas Seminary began officially on July 1, 2008, but it actually got started on May 23. I’ve had the privilege of traveling all over the globe in search of Greek New Testament manuscripts. And I’ve been digitally photographing them as well.

Under the auspices of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), an institute I founded in 2002, we have been digitally preserving ancient handwritten copies of the New Testament. To date, we have photographed more than 100,000 unique pages. In 2008, we went to Tirana, Albania; Patmos, Kozani, Athens, and Mytilene, Greece; Muenster, Germany; Cambridge, Leicester, Arundel, and Oxford, England; Glasgow, St Andrews, and Edinburgh, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Orlando, Florida.


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The Pool of Siloam and the Gospel of John — By Gary Burge

ZA Blog on 10 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Frequent visitors to Jerusalem know well the Pool of Siloam located at the south end of the city of David. However the pool so often viewed at the far end of Hezekiah’s tunnel is something rebuilt entirely in the 5th century by Byzantine architects eager to reshape Jerusalem into a city welcoming Christian pilgrims. In the 19th century it was given another facelift and this has been a traditional spot for Christian visitors to retell the story of John 9.

However in the fall of 2004, Israeli excavators working on a sewer line began hitting cut stone a bit further south from the traditional pool. Archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron were brought in and since then digging has been ongoing. A remarkable picture of the pool has emerged (see Todd Bolen’s excellent collection of photos) and this has begun a discussion concerning the real nature of the pool itself. Was it used for water collection? Was it a ritual bath before entry to the Temple? We can expect the scholarly interpretations to be vigorous for some years to come.

The interesting exegetical feature of this subject connects with John 9, the only NT passage to refer to the pool (but see Lk 13:4; cf. Neh. 3:15).

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A Dead Sea Scroll in Stone — Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

ZA Blog on 10 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Quite a stir has been fomented in recent weeks over what is being nick-named “A Dead Sea Scroll in Stone.” This three-foot-tall tablet of 87 lines in Hebrew has raised more than eyebrows because it appears to speak of a Messiah who will suffer and rise from the dead after three days. Even more startling is the fact that it purports to come the decades just before Jesus’ time on earth.

According to press reports, it is written in ink (not engraved) in two neat columns, but the stone is broken and a portion of the text has faded, leaving a good deal of what it contains open to debate. Moreover, though this stone apparently had been around for 60 years since the Scrolls were uncovered, the authenticity of this stone has not faced the stiff challenges it can probably expect both with regard to its authenticity and interpretation.

But there is no doubt that one of the key debates in the days ahead will be the concept of a Suffering Messiah. Was this a real part of the TENAK (=Old Testament), or is this concept of a Suffering Anointed One and his Resurrection a Christian imposition or is it a reinterpretation of the TENAK?

Both in my The Messiah in the Old Testament and in the most recent The Promise-Plan of God (Zondervan), I have argued that both Messiah’s suffering and his resurrection are an endemic part of the earlier writings of the TENAK.

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