Each year, on an almost daily basis, archaeological discoveries help us better understand the Bible and affirm its details about people, events, and culture.
Below are the top excavation findings reported in 2017 which have increased our knowledge of the biblical world and the early history of Christianity.
10) Pagan center discovered at Hippos/Sussita
A theater and bath house complex discovered at Hippos/Sussita, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, was part of a pagan cult site. As part of the Decapolis—the pagan Roman cities mentioned in the gospels—Hippos/Sussita was not a focus of Jesus’ ministry, but many of its people were likely a part of his audiences (Matthew 4:25). The existence of this cultic center was first suggested by the discovery of a mask of the Roman god Pan in 2015.
9) Byzantine church mosaics found
Mosaic inscriptions found in the remains of churches excavated at the site of Byzantine villages in the Galilee give new evidence for the spread of Christianity in the region after the religion’s formal adoption by the Byzantine Empire in A.D. 380. The mosaics date to the fourth and fifth centuries. One includes the mention of a woman who was a donor to the church construction—clear evidence for the prominent role of women in the history of the early church. Then just last week, the discovery of another was announced, drawing more attention to how Christianity spread.
8) Augustus temple altar at Caesarea
Recent excavations at Caesarea Maritima found the base of an altar that stood near the entrance of a temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar that was built by King Herod. The historian Josephus reported that the temple, built high to overlook the harbor, contained a gigantic statue of Augustus and a statue of Roma. Beneath the level of the altar, archaeologists found two large halls and the remains of a large staircase similar in construction to the architecture around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A church was later built on the site of the temple during the Byzantine period. (Archaeologists are re-excavating the entrance area to Caesarea as part of a large renovation to make it into a much larger attraction, including the restoration of its 2,000-year-old synagogue.)
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Source: Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2017 | News & Reporting | Christianity Today
Morgan Evenson was walking home in downtown Minneapolis on the evening of Dec. 13 when a black man got out of his car, chased her down, tackled her and repeatedly thrust a 3-4-inch blade into her flailing body. The 26-year-old computer-store clerk frantically fought back, kicking, scratching and screaming for help. At some point, neighbors […]
Source: U.S. woman stabbed 14 times by Somali migrant, media go dark
(REUTERS) — WASHINGTON — Federal agents discovered four preserved fetuses in the Detroit warehouse of a man who sold human body parts, confidential photographs reviewed by Reuters show. The fetuses were found during a December 2013 raid of businessman Arthur Rathburn’s warehouse. The fetuses, which appear to have been in their second trimester, were submerged in […]
Source: Feds found unborn babies in body broker’s warehouse
There are things that are so creepy and just plain disgusting one can’t help but shudder and utter “Ewww.” It’s even worse when you find it on Christmas morning. Through the course of perusing the news as usual, one particular story stood out as creepy and disgusting. Since it is the season for gift giving …
Source: Shocking: Human Leather Products Now Being Sold Online » Sons of Liberty Media
A report from the Senate showed that about 40 percent of births in the United States happen out of wedlock.
Source: Report: 40 Percent of Births in U.S. Occur out of Wedlock – Christian News Headlines
In Britain, for instance, the All Saints Church in Kingston upon Thames recently held a joint birthday celebration for Jesus and Mohammed. The “Milad, Advent and Christmas Celebration” on December 3 was aimed at “marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed and looking forward to the birthday of Jesus.” The hour-long service included time for Islamic prayer and was followed by the cutting of a birthday cake.
The prominent Christian blog “Archbishop Cranmer” rebuked the church for its lack of discernment:
“Note how this event is ‘Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed,’ but not looking forward to the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mohammed gets his prophethood, while Jesus gets neither his prophethood nor his priesthood; neither his kingship nor his messiahship. It’s the exalted Prophet Mohammed along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of his claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims (if they hadn’t already been alienated by the haram [forbidden by Islam] celebration), which wouldn’t have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?”
Source: Europe: The Islamization of Christmas
Class ‘destabilizes long held assumptions’ about what’s in the Bible; university refuses to comment
Swarthmore College is offering a course next year that will survey “queer and trans* readings of biblical texts” by using “queer and trans* theoretical approaches,” with faculty staying silent on the specifics of the course material.
“Queering the Bible” is set to launch next fall and will be instructed by Gwynn Kessler, an associate professor of religion, according to Swarthmore’s course catalog.
The course, which is being offered through Swarthmore’s Religion Department, promises to “[introduce] students to the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times.”
Source: College course teaches students about ‘queering the Bible’ – The College Fix
A school in Germany has decided to restrict its Christmas celebrations and stop performing music that contains Christian lyrics after a Muslim student complained that carols are incompatible with Islam.
Source: School Restricts Christmas Celebrations After Muslim Student Says It’s Not Compatible With Islam
Teenage volunteers in Israel are helping archaeologists uncover the incredible remains of a Byzantine monastery and church.
Impressive mosaic floors have been found at the site in Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem. Over 1,000 teenagers are participating in the excavation, which is being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“We were surprised by the wonderful state of preservation of the ancient remains, and the richness of the finds being uncovered,” said Benyamin Storchan, director of the excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a statement. “The artifacts found in the large building, which seems to be a monastic compound, may indicate that the site was important and perhaps a center for ancient pilgrims in the Judean Shephelah region.”
Source: Amazing Christian discovery in Israel: Remains of 1,500 year-old monastery and church found | Fox News
TRUTH BOMBS: Pennsylvania was once a Christian puritian colony….my how far we have fallen. Shame on Governor Wolf.
ARTICLE: Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have banned late-term dismemberment abortion, calling the ban “extreme” and “restrictive” for women.
Source: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Vetoes Dismemberment Abortion Ban: ‘Extreme Anti-Choice’ – Breitbart