Biblical Archaeology Finds to Watch

first_img(Visited 109 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Are Moses and Jesus corroborated by extra-Biblical artifacts? Here’s the good and the bad about two interesting yet controversial finds.Was Ancient Hebrew the First Language?An article on Science News, accompanied by a photo of a rock with scratch marks, is titled “Oldest alphabet identified as Hebrew.” Bruce Bower’s sub-headline states, “Controversial claim argues that ancient Israelites turned Egyptian hieroglyphics into letters.” Further down, a diagram shows the markings transliterated from one of several slabs. The “stone slabs” were found “at several Egyptian sites” not specified, and are thought to be 3,800 years old, putting them into the time of the Hebrew sojourn in Egypt before the Exodus.The meaning of the letters depends on the work of one Douglas Petrovich:Israelites living in Egypt transformed that civilization’s hieroglyphics into Hebrew 1.0 more than 3,800 years ago, at a time when the Old Testament describes Jews living in Egypt, says archaeologist and epigrapher Douglas Petrovich of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada. Hebrew speakers seeking a way to communicate in writing with other Egyptian Jews simplified the pharaohs’ complex hieroglyphic writing system into 22 alphabetic letters, Petrovich proposed on November 17 at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.The abstract of Dr. Petrovich’s upcoming paper begins on page 105 of the ASOR November 16, 2016 Paper Abstracts. Bower’s summary includes some eye-catching possibilities from Petrovich’s translation of the squiggles. Once he figured out the script, he found some Biblical names:Several biblical figures turn up in the translated inscriptions, including Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his half-brothers and then became a powerful political figure in Egypt, Joseph’s wife Asenath and Joseph’s son Manasseh, a leading figure in a turquoise-mining business that involved yearly trips to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt, is also mentioned, Petrovich says.In the comments after the article, Petrovich interacts with some critics, providing more detail and some corrections to Bower’s write-up. Petrovich is working on a book about his thesis. Other scholars are apparently taking this work seriously. The ID site Uncommon Descent mentions this article with interest. One commenter there thinks, “If this stuff holds up, it will be the final nail in the coffin for the longstanding JEDP style hypothesis.” The JEDP hypothesis (also called the documentary hypothesis) contended that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch, but that different parts were written at different times and then stitched together by redactors. Perpetrated under the evolutionary assumption Moses could not have written such sophisticated material so long ago, the JEDP hypothesis has come under fire increasingly over the last century, now that earlier sophisticated writings have been found from other cultures.Are the Lead Codices the Work of Early Christians?A set of 70 codices made of lead plates bound together like notebooks, found in a Jordanian cave in 2008, has a checkered history of interpretation. They caused a media flap in 2011 with claims they contained the first image of the face of Jesus. Now, the UK’s Daily Mail claims the tablets contain interpretations of Jesus’ ministry that run contrary to the New Testament:The tablets suggest that Christ was not starting his own religion, but restoring a thousand-year-old tradition from the time of King David. They also suggest the God he worshipped was both male and female.Todd Bolen of Bible Places Blog, a Bible scholar and professor who lived in Israel many years, is our go-to guy for evaluating sensationalist claims. On March 11, 2011, he gave his first impressions of the codices, leaving room for the possibility they were authentic, because they didn’t seem like the kind of artifact a forger would make. He took great issue, however, with the leading promoter of the codices, a certain David Elkington, who Bolen feels has no credibility as a scholar and appears highly motivated to make money off the tablets. The artifacts themselves, additionally, have doubtful archaeological provenance, Bolen thought, because they were not found by archaeologists in situ, but had been shuffled between questionable characters in Jordan, including thieves.On April 4, 2011, Bolen followed up with additional evidence of forgery. He also poured cold water on the sensational write-ups coming from the Daily Mail and The Telegraph, adding more cold water in his April 11, 2011 blog entry that criticized the yellow journalism resulting from Elkington’s questionable claims. He was glad in his April 26, 2011 blog entry that the codices were seized by Jordanian police, saying, “This should allow a more thorough and honest investigation than has been done to this point.” By May 17, 2011, he joined in Thomas S. Verenna‘s condemnation of irresponsible journalists covering the story. Yet Bolen did not dismiss the artifacts themselves. “It is not clear if these items are authentic or forged,” he said in the March 11 entry. “….Personally I am inclined to believe that this find is genuine.” He based that partly on analysis of the inscriptions by a colleague. He took issue strongly, however, with the outlandish claim that they equal the Dead Sea Scrolls in significance.This is where the story gets interesting. The lead codices have resurfaced in the media with new results of dating methods that show they date back 2,000 years. Once again, the Daily Mail is at the forefront of sensationalist coverage, giving Elkington free rein to announce his ideas about what Jesus believed and taught. That’s a separate question from the date of the artifacts, which both Science World Report and Christianity Today agree look old, if the dating methods yielded correct results. From the Science World Report article:Now, to prove if the tablet is legit, the series of tests was conducted by Professor Roger Webb and Professor Chris Jeynes at the University of Surrey’s Nodus Laboratory from the Ion Beam Center. They confirmed that the tablet is compatible with a comparative sample of ancient Roman lead coming from the excavation site in Dorset.In a press statement, the experts mentioned that the tablet they tested “does not show the radioactivity arising from polonium that is typically seen in modern lead samples, indicating that the lead of the codex was smelted over one hundred years ago.”Furthermore, the crystallization analysis points out that the tablet is between the years 1800-2000 years old. The experts shared that “this provides very strong evidence that the objects are of great age, consistent with the studies of the text and designs that suggest an age of around 2000 years.”The codices, therefore, could present the earliest extra-Biblical mention of Jesus before the Tacitus inscription. The UK Mirror (another sensationalist newspaper) repeats the claims about an alternative view of Jesus, noting that the tablets also refer to Peter, James and John.Getting the dates right is an important step. Even accepting the antiquity of the objects, thereby disproving forgery, leaves enough wiggle room between the error bars to put the codices into the first, second or third centuries AD. Many questions remain about the authors of the texts, the identity of the “face” on one tablet, and the translation and interpretation of the text, which could differ from the age of the lead plates themselves. Answers need to come from more credible scholars than Elkington.Clearly, the last word is not with us on either of these finds. While interesting, we have, as Peter said, “a more sure word of prophecy” in the Scriptures themselves. How can anyone improve on the clear, cogent writings of the eyewitnesses of Jesus, like Peter, John, Paul, Mark, Jude, and close associates of the apostles, like Luke? How can one improve on five lengthy books written by Moses about contemporary events in Egypt? Those provide the supreme canon against which other sources must be measured.The secular media gets fascinated by extra-Biblical sources about Jesus and Bible characters, especially if they allegedly differ in some way from the Bible, and most especially if they present a politically-correct Jesus they can feminize or turn into a Hindu guru or non-supernatural moral teacher. The Gnostic gospels and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code come to mind. Beware. Such claims usually rely on questionable artifacts stretched beyond what the original information can bear, sold to the gullible by hucksters seeking fame or fortune.The doctrine of inspiration (that the Bible is God’s word) includes the doctrine of preservation. The word of God does not entail secret missing portions that people needed to wait centuries later to dig up in some remote cave in Jordan or find under a hill Cumora in New York. The doctrine of inspiration includes consistency. It doesn’t allow a self-proclaimed prophet to appear six centuries late to contradict what the Lord Jesus said, or another to appear in New York with the “real” uncorrupted gospel. The doctrine of inspiration also includes the concept of perspicuity, meaning that the ordinary meaning of the text is clear. We don’t need to use the Bible like a crystal ball, looking for hidden messages or codes.We don’t re-interpret the Pentateuch based on what a rock in Egypt says. We don’t re-interpret Jesus based on what some lead tablets say. Those authors were not inspired to communicate God’s word to man. For all we know, the authors of the lead codices were members of a cult who had heard of Jesus and the disciples but made up their own ideas about them, just like Gnostics did in the second century, or like off-brand teachers do today. At best, archaeological finds confirm the historicity of the Bible and shed light on cultural and historical events of the time. These two discoveries might have value in those regards. Evaluation will require further analysis by scholars having the technical specialties in epigraphy, ancient languages and ancient customs. We share them only as developments worth watching.last_img read more

2010: signs of peaking at the right time

first_img21 November 2008South Africa’s preparations for hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup face the next hurdle with this weekend’s draw for the 2009 Confederations Cup.It’s no secret that the “Festival of Champions” – which pits continental winners against the holders (Italy) and hosts of the World Cup – is a key curtain-raiser for 2010, both on and off the field. Thanks to apartheid, South Africa missed out on decades of top-level competition. And, apart from a moment of Mandela-induced magic when Bafana Bafana won the African Cup of Nations in 1996, it is clear that the isolation has taken its toll.While the world-class talent has always been there (think Jomo Sono, Gary Bailey, Lucas Radebe, Benni McCarthy), the country has failed to make its mark in the international arena. So much so, that Bafana are currently floundering in 80th place on Fifa’s rankings.Nevertheless, the team is finally showing real signs of progress. Wednesday’s pulsating victory over west African giants Cameroon marked their fourth win in a row.Let’s not forget that unfancied 2002 World Cup co-hosts South Korea (who made it to the semi-final) proved that almost anything can happen when there’s home-ground advantage at an event of this magnitude.Irrespective, of what happens at next year’s Confederations Cup or in 2010, Bafana Bafana, their fans and the rest of the South African public are now in the international spotlight.Perhaps the Confederations Cup – the biggest international football event this continent has ever staged – will ignite the spark that will see team South Africa making a late charge.Football is a funny game – as South Korea will remind us …Urquhart is a former Fifa World Cup media officer and the current editor of Project 2010last_img read more

Eldorado Park drug crackdown

first_img22 May 2013 The police have arrested at least 116 people this week in an operation involving a special intervention team aimed at ridding the community of Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, of drugs and drug-related crime. This follows last week’s visit by President Jacob Zuma, who promised swift action in the fight against drug abuse in the area. Of the 116 arrested, 43 were for drug-related crimes, 20 for driving under the influence of alcohol, 10 for assault, while the rest were for various crimes such as burglary, theft and possession of unlicensed firearms. A total of 20 drug dens, also known as “lolly lounges”, have also been closed down. Four addicted children, including an 8-year-old, found at various “lolly lounges”, have been taken to a place of safety. Police also confiscated drugs including cat, mandrax, cocaine, rock and nyaope.Special team on the ground An integrated special intervention team, which includes a police tactical response team, members of the flying squad and provincial officers, has been dispatched to the area to increase visibility and hunt down drug dealers. Their operations include vehicle checkpoints, stop-and-searches, and visits to identified houses of alleged dealers and “lolly lounges”, and are continuing on a 24-hour basis in the area. The operation comes just days after Zuma visited the area in an answer to a plea from desperate parents, who informed the President about how drugs have run rampant in the area while some local police looked on. Briefing the media on the government’s intervention on Wednesday, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the seriousness of the problem in Eldorado Park was one which required swift action and expertise. Mokonyane, who was flanked by members of the steering committee appointed by President Zuma, said various government departments would be working in partnership with the police to tackle the widespread substance abuse in the area. “The plan is based on two key strategies, which are the Drug Master Plan, that is aimed at reducing demand, harm and supply, and the Gauteng Provincial Anti-Substance Abuse Strategy, which focuses more on prevention, early intervention, treatment and after-care and reintegration.” Outlining the strategy, Mokonyane said the plan was not only about “banging down doors to get to drug dealers”, but would also take a deeper look into the social problems besetting the area.Making schools safe for children The preliminary intervention, which aims to reduce the demand for drugs, has also seen the police carrying out raids at various schools in the area, where random drug and body searches have been conducted, and raids at the homes of suspected minor drug dealers. The druglords tend to use minors to peddle drugs, especially at schools. Mokonyane told the media they were working towards ensuring that schools were safe havens. “This will be done by regular inspection of vendors outside and inside school premises, impromptu drug searches, deploying patrollers in schools and at every strategic point.” They would also fix broken school fences, clear open spaces next to schools of shrubbery, and implement the Safer Schools strategy and the Adopt-a-Cop programme for all schools in the area, she said. Part of the schools plan will be to raise awareness by conducting door-to-door campaigns, increasing the number of learners that visit prisons, and running substance abuse prevention and social crime prevention workshops. A Youth Against Drugs forum will also be formed through the Department of Social Development to educate learners about the effects of drugs. The number of social workers available to both learners in schools and youngster in the broader community will also be increased.Increasing rehab options Part of the government’s plan, according to Mokonyane, will be looking at how children who are already addicted can be helped. The premier announced that they have teamed up with Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, which will set up a short-term (seven-day) intensive detoxification programme. Plans are also in place to increase funding of existing out-patient treatment centres, not only in the area but the province as well. “In support of the initiative, we shall enhance mobilisation through community dialogues, youth safety imbizos, Men as Safety Promoters programmes and others. We shall also establish committees of concerned parents through local anti-drug committees.” Plans are also in place to register unregistered treatment centres to ensure that they are operating within the prescribed norms and minimum standards.‘We are moving in the right direction’ In order to ensure swift justice in the area, the steering committee is also looking at opening dedicated drug courts. According to Police Minister Nathi Methethwa, these special courts would “ensure the rapid processing of drug-related cases”. Mthethwa, who applauded the community of Eldorado Park for standing up and partnering with the government to find solutions to their challenges, said the high police visibility and random searches and raids would remain in place until the criminals had been brought to book. Residents who spoke to SAnews said they were seeing the difference and were starting to feel safer. “We are impressed by the police visibility. Drugs and criminals had taken over our streets, and now we are taking them back. Enough is enough,” said resident Anton Lynch. Michelle Booysens, who said drugs had been a big component of crime in the area, said she was “seeing the light … Once again, I have hope for this community. Yes, it’s still early days, but I have hope that we are moving in the right direction. Things are changing, and united we will soldier on. “ Mokonyane said there was still more to be done to ensure that the community normalised. “It’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be in the best interests of our community.” She added that they would bring on board a number of other departments, such as Economic Development and Trade and Industry, to address the critical lack of employment opportunities and economic activities in the area. “Economic development will receive particular attention so that we are able to ensure that we develop alternative sustainable livelihoods for families in the area. This includes approaching businesses who could potentially invest in the area.” The Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation will also be roped in to initiate a number of projects geared towards youth development and social cohesion. “We will solicit support of influential individuals from disciplines such as arts, sports, music and culture to have dialogues on issues of identity, culture, diversity and a sense of belonging,” said Mokonyane. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

SA seminars for Japanese investors

first_img27 May 2013 The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is partnering with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi United Financial of Japan to host seminars in Yokohama this week to promote Japanese investment in South Africa. According to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, the seminars are a follow-up on a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) signed by the DTI and the bank in February. The DTI said in a statement on Monday that other MOUs would be signed with other institutions this week aimed at providing Japanese companies with market intelligence to help them to establish businesses in South Africa. “The business seminars will give a chance to South African businesses to have bilateral business interactions with their counterparts in Japan.” Davies said South Africa was looking to promote more value-added exports from South Africa so as to diversify the country’s trade away from traditional resource-related products. To this end, South Africa would be promoting manufactured goods in sectors such as agro-processing, automotives, clothing, leather and textiles, metals beneficiation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. He added that Japan was an important export destination for South Africa. “Japan is South Africa’s third-largest export destination, and an important traditional trading partner. “According to information from Japan External Trade Organisation, South Africa ranks either first, second or third as Japan’s source in the world for imports of preserved pears, preserved apricots, grapefruit, prepared peaches, ground nuts, motor cars of a capacity less than 1 500cc, cane sugar, oranges, rock lobster, macadamia nuts, apricots and juices.” The DTI will also participate in the African Fair 2013, the biggest business event related to Africa in Japan, taking place during the upcoming Tokyo International Conference on African Development Summit. “High-end items such as Rooibos espresso, Fairtrade wines and Wedgewood nougat will be showcased to appeal to the sharp Japanese palette,” Davies said. “Artwork from Ardmore Ceramics as well as Carrol Boyes design items, among others, will be exhibited during the Fair.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Cover Their Six (A Note to the Sales Manager)

first_imgYou ask your salespeople to accomplish a lot. What you ask of them requires much of them personally and professionally. Sometimes you ask them to walk through walls for you, for the company, and for your clients. Fair enough. With all of its challenges, the job of sales is what it is.But if you want your salespeople to deliver for you, you have to cover their six.Protection From the CompanyIt’s not enough to be a filter between management and the sales force. You have to do more than that. You have to protect the sales force from the organization.You have to protect the sales force’s time so they can do the work you ask of them. You have to protect them by ensuring they have the tools, the training, and the technology to do what you ask of them. You have to help them maneuver the politics within your company, getting them special treatment and favors when it means the difference between winning and losing.If you want your sales force to deliver for you, you have to cover their six and protect them from the sales organization.Shooting DonkeysYou also have to cover your sales force’s six by shooting donkeys.If there are obstacles that stand between the sales force and it’s objectives, you have to personally remove those obstacles for them. The more you do to remove the obstacles, the faster your sales force can move, and the sooner that can achieve the results that you have asked of them.You have to use your authority, your relationships with upper management, and your own sales skills to help ensure that the obstacles the sales force faces are shot and thrown over the bridge. You need them to cross the bridge and get moving. The sales force can’t do this alone. This is how you cover their six.Protect the sales force, cover their six, and they will accomplish what you ask of them. They’ve got your back; make sure you have theirs.QuestionsHow do you protect your sales force so they can succeed?How and why does your sales force need protection from the sales organization?What are the obstacles that your sales force faces that only you can help remove?What else do you do to cover your team’s six? Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Nowlast_img read more

TV serials should get political content vetted first: EC official

first_imgElection officials in Maharashtra have asked production houses of two Hindi TV serials accused of espousing the BJP-led government’s schemes to get ‘politically influential’ content vetted with them before it is telecast. The content telecast was a clear violation of the model election code, an official said. Maharashtra’s additional chief electoral officer Dilip Shinde, in an order issued on Monday said, “The production houses should get politically influential content checked from election officials before using it in their serials.” The Congress had taken objection to characters in the two TV serials praising government schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. The two production houses had subsequently replied to the notice.“Going by the content aired, it is evident that it is a violation of model code of conduct, he said. “We have asked the production houses to remove the content from the serials immediately,” he added. Mr. Shinde said the explanation from producers of the two serials affirms the poll officials’ opinion that the content aired intends to influence “one political party“.Election officials in Maharashtra directed producers of television serials Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai and Tujhse Hai Raabta to remove content that was deemed to benefit prospects of a political party. Last week, office of chief Electoral Officer (CEO) had served notices to Binaifer Kohli and Sanjay Kohlis Edit II Productions (Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai) and Sonali Potnis and Aamir Jaffers Full Media House (Tujhse Hai Raabta) after it received a complaint from the Congress, accusing the two shows of espousing the benefits of schemes run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.The producers had denied the allegations of promoting government schemes to propagate a political party, claiming they had no such intention. They also claimed that government schemes shown were general in nature,” the official said. The producers have also been asked to not to show any such content which may disturb the level playing field of any political party, the official said.last_img read more

Cyclone Fani: Proposal to train self-help groups

first_imgOdisha set to introspect post-disaster communication  Ganjam district has around 22,000 active WSHGs in its rural and urban areas. “Under this project selected members from each WSHG will undergo a special training by personnel of police, fire services, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and other key departments of the administration”, said Ganjam Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange. They will also be trained in basic rescue measures, first aid and proper documentation of losses. Through this training they will be ready to face floods, cyclones and earthquakes and help people of their locality.The trained volunteers will be provided two pairs of uniform to be used during natural calamities. To keep them active and ready as peer leaders during evacuation, rehabilitation and restoration during natural calamities, they will be involved in different developmental schemes of the government like MGNREGA, housing projects for poor and distribution of food materials through PDS. A control room of ‘swayamsiddha’ will operate at district headquarters Chatrapur to coordinate and manage these trained volunteers of WSHGs of Ganjam.According to Mr. Kulange, the Kerala government used WSHGs successfully in rehabilitation and restoration work after the floods it faced last year. The WSHG movement has been quite successful in Ganjam district and penetrated to the grassroots. Taking this into account, the BJD had fielded 68- year-old WSHG leader Pramila Bisoi as its candidate in the Aska parliamentary constituency of the district. Under a special project named ‘swayamsiddha’, women will be trained in evacuation, rescue, restoration and rehabilitation during natural calamities, especially cyclones, in Odisha’s Ganjam district, according to Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange.Members of Women Self-Help Groups (WSHGs) in the age group of 18 to 35 of this cyclone-prone region will be roped in.After facing Phailin, Hudhud and Titli cyclones in the past, Ganjam escaped the wrath of Fani. It has always faced cyclones in October. By that time, Ganjam will be well prepared through these trained women volunteers, a senior official said. A detailed report for this project is almost ready. According to officials involved, training of WSHG members is expected to start from June this year.Also Readlast_img read more

Hold Assembly polls in J&K: CPI(M)

first_imgSenior CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami on Friday said the Centre’s decision to extend President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for six more months had “deprived the people here of a democratically elected government for the last more than one year.”“In the absence of an elected government, uncertainty in the State is deepening day-by-day and dissatisfaction among a large section of people is increasing. Only effective response to this situation would have been to hold early Assembly polls as there is no justification to delay it, neither political nor constitutional,” said Mr. Tarigami.Rajnath’s promiseHe said not holding Assembly elections on time and not having an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir was not in the interests of the country. “Last year in December, then Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament had said that the Centre was ready to hold Assembly polls in the State. What happened to those promises?“If elections to urban local bodies, panchayats and the Lok Sabha were held, what is the logic in deferring Assembly polls which are due since last November when the Assembly was dissolved by the Governor? An elected government’s rule is any day better than Governor’s rule and bureaucratic rule,” Mr. Tarigami said.‘BJP responsible’He said the overall situation was very bad in Kashmir. “The first responsibility for this is with the BJP because they hold power in Delhi and are directly ruling the State for more than a year. They should without any further delay recommend to the Election Commission to announce Assembly polls,” he added.last_img read more