Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 10 Summary

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22:

Golden mask of Agamemnon

The golden mask of Agamemnon from Mycenae, Greece

Today was our last day here in Athens. Once again we had fantastic weather, with sun and temps around 65-70.

This morning was a morning of leisure. Some slept in and enjoyed a late breakfast while others got up and wondered out into the city on their own. Some went to the National Archaeological Museum while others walked to the Plaka once again for some shopping and another taste of good Greek culture. In the museum we saw the famous golden masks of Agamemnon from Mycenae (just south of Corinth) as well as many other artifacts (i.e. Poseidon) on display. It was quite impressive.

Parthenon on Acropolis

The Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece

At noon we all met back at the hotel. Boarding Christos’ bus and greeting Aliki our guide, we drove to the world-renowned Acropolis (it was closed on Monday due to a strike). Climbing this ancient hill, we saw all the famous monuments still standing – the Propylea, the Erechtheum and of course the massive Parthenon/Temple of Athena. The building was officially called the Temple of Athena the Virgin (“Parthenon” comes from the Greek word parthenos, “virgin”). The building of the Parthenon began in 447 BC in order to replace an existing temple that was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. It was completed in 438 BC. Measured at the top step, the dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are about 210 x 90 feet. It has a total of 46 outer Doric pillars and 19 inner pillars, for a total of 65. In the middle of the Temple stood a 40 foot statue of Athena. Like most other temples, it was built on a “4 x 9” ratio. From the acropolis we also could look down to the agora in one direction, and to the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch in the other.

Erechtheum Athens

The Erechtheum on the Acropolis, Athens-Greece

To end the day, we drove about an hour to Cape Sounion. The drive was beautiful as the road winds around the coastline of the Aegean Sea. Once we arrived we saw the impressive Temple of Poseidon, the god of the Sea and protector of sailors. The temple is located right on the edge of the coastline. There are 15 standing pillars of 38 pillars that once stood here. The temple took four years to build (444-440 BC). The Apostle Paul would have sailed past this temple en route to Athens (from Berea, Acts 16). Nearby we also enjoyed a time one last time of quite reflection, worship, and reflection. We read from Psalm 91, perhaps a psalm that offered great comfort and encouragement for Paul on all his journeys.

Temple of Poseidon

The Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion, Greece

We drove back to the hotel for dinner. On the way, we stopped briefly by the beach for a marvelous sunset. At the hotel we said goodbye to Aliki. She has been an excellent guide and we enjoyed her very much! Following dinner, most in the group retired early since we all have an early wake-up tomorrow for our flight either back home to the States or to Rome for the optional extension.

It has been a wonderful trip with a wonderful group of people God brought together!

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23: FLIGHT HOME OR FLIGHT TO ROME FOR OPTIONAL EXTENSION

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 9 Summary

DAY 9 – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21:

Hydra Greece

Hydra Island, Greece. 4,000 people live on this island. No cars or motorbikes are permitted.

Today was another spectacular weather day here in Greece, making our visit to three Greek islands absolutely perfect! The high temp was in the mid 60s. It as a wonderful relaxing day out on the Aegean Sea!

Following an early breakfast, we drove to one of the ports of Athens for a day-long ferry ride. Sailing on the Aegean Sea about two hours, we arrived at the first island, Hydra. This island in particular provided a picturesque port. We had about an 75 minutes to explore the island. About 4,000 live on Hydra. After boarding back on the ship, we enjoyed lunch provided to us by the ferry.

Poros Island

Poros Island, Greece

The second island was Poros. After docking, most in the group hiked up to the city tower. This island is used by the Greek Navy in training their young sailers.

The third island, Aegina, was a largest of the three we visited. Known for the growing of pistachios here, many bought goodies. A few in the group explored the Temple of Apollo that once stood here in the 5th century BC. It was quite impressive. An early city was established here back in the Middle Bronze Periods (e.g. 2,000 BC). This island also had many of the shops open for coffee and shopping.

Aegina Greece

The group on Aegina Island, Greece

The sunset on the way back to Athens was very nice. We also enjoyed some “Greek dancing” (especially Sue!) before we arrived back at port. Christos picked us up here. We drove back to the hotel for a late dinner.

The beauty of these Greek islands was simply breathtaking!

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22: FREE MORNING IN ATHENS, CAPE SOUNION/TEMPLE OF POSEIDON

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 8 Summary

DAY 8 – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20: 

Mars Hill

Mars Hill / Rock of Areopagus – where Paul addressed the Athenians (Acts 17)

Today was our first day in Athens. We enjoyed sunny skies and warm temps around 70! After breakfast we started with a bus tour of the city. We saw and stopped at the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (where we saw the “changing of the guards”), the remaining pillars of the Temple of Zeus, the Hadrian’s Arch, and the Old Olympic Stadium (renovated in 1896 for the first modern Olympic Games). We also saw many of the neoclassical buildings of Athens.

Lycabetus

Lycabetus Athens – the highest mountain in Athens (1,000 feet)

Because the security guards at all the public sites went on “strike” today, we could not visit the Acropolis & Parthenon (we will visit this on Wednesday). We still got some good “first looks” from a distance of the Acropolis. However, we did walk to the top of Mars Hill (“Aeropagus”). From here we could see the various temples, the Stoa, and the Agora (the “marketplace” and ancient center of the economic and public life of the city where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians). We also read from Acts 17 about Paul sharing the message of Christ on top of this hill. Praise God for the several who accepted the message that day (Dionysus and Damaris).

Towards noon, we visited the highest mountain in Athens (1,000 feet vs. the 510 feet high Acropolis) – Lycabetus. Six in the group hiked to the top while the others took the cable car/incline to the top. The view was spectacular from the top. Almost the entire city of Athens could be seen (4. 5 million residents). Even the Aegean Sea and the Port of Piraeus could be clearly seen!

Acropolis from lycabetus

The view of the Acropolis of Athens from Lycabetus

From here most in the group enjoyed the afternoon in the Plaka (“old city”) of Athens. Some had a traditional Greek lunch while others shopped a bit. It was fun to experience a little traditional Greek life here and the “sights and sounds” of every-day Athens!

We all returned to the hotel for dinner and a free evening.

DAY 9 – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21: DAY CRUISE TO AEGINA, POROS, AND HYDRA

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 7 Summary

DAY 7 – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19:

Agamemnon

Tomb of Agamemnon, Mycenae, Greece

Today was our first day with some light showers in the morning while driving, but the afternoon was overcast yet rain-free. The temps were in the high 50s.

Once again the day started with a drive of about 3.5 hours. The bus experienced a hose leak of some kind but Christos our driver was able to fix it. Following a quick snack stop on the way, we arrived at Mycenae.

Mycenae is a remarkable site. It dates to around 1400 BC (about the time of Joshua in Israel), but excavations have revealed a city existed here a few hundred years prior. Upon arriving at the site, we entered the city through the famous Lion’s Gate. We climbed to the fortress-citadel on top, seeing the circular burial chambers on the way. It was here where 12 pounds of gold objects were found, including the six golden masks. They are displayed in the archaeological museum in Athens. We also visited the Tomb of Agamemnon (the “Treasury of Atreus”). This is also called the Bee Hive cave. He was the king known for attacking the people in Troy in the “Trojan Horse.”

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo, Corinth, Greece

From here we continued about 40 minutes to Corinth. The Apostle Paul spent 1.5 years here during his 2nd missionary journey. We saw many things here, including the Temple of Apollo, the agora (market place), the bema (where Paul would have taught and stood before Gallio whose inscription was found at Delphi), and Roman Forum (which was larger than the one in Rome), and the Roman street that connected the one of two harbors to the city. There were 14 temples here, including temples dedicated to Athena, Asclepius, and Aphrodite (located on the acropolis). We read from Acts 18 and 2 Corinthians 9. Before leaving Corinth, we also walked down to the theater. Here the Inscription of Erastus is displayed. We read from Romans 16 that mentions this man who served in “public works” here. Perhaps Erastus was a primary supporter of Paul and his ministry.

On the way to Athens we crossed the Corinthian Canal. This connects the Adriatic and Aegean Seas together. The canal was built in 1882 and finished 11 years later in 1893. It is 4 miles long, 80 feet wide, and 280 feet high. The water level is 26 feet. It is really an amazing engineering feat!

Word of hope

Paul’s word of hope for the Corinthian Church!

Arriving in Athens about an hour later, we checked into our hotel. Following dinner, most in the group enjoyed a walk to Constitution Square, the downtown area of Athens, the capital of Greece. We even had our first glimpse of the famous Acropolis all lit up at night! We are looking forward to spending the next days here and the first of four nights.

DAY 8 – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20: ATHENS – ACROPOLIS, HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, TOMB OF UNKNOWN SOLDIER, OLD OLYMPIC STADIUM, MARS HILL

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 6 Summary

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18:

Temple of Zeus Olympia

The ruins of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece

Today was a partly sunny day, with sun the morning, and a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon. The temps were warmer, with highs in the low 60s.

We checked out of our hotel in Delphi after breakfast and began our drive west and then south. The drive along the Adriatic Sea (also called the Ionian Sea) was very scenic. After driving along the coastline for about 2 hours, we stopped for wonderful snacks just before we crossed Greece’s suspended bridge called the Rio Antirrio. It was built in 1997 ahead of the Greece Olympic games shortly after. It connects the Continental province with the Peloponnese province to the south.

Olympia stadium

The stadium in Olympia, Greece

Driving another 2 hours we arrived at Olympia. What a remarkable archaeological site this is! Located along the Alpheios River, ancient Olympia was where the first Olympic Games were held in 776 BC. The Games symbolized national unity.

As we walked through the archaeological site, we saw many impressive ruins. These included the gymnasium and palestra (dates to the 2nd century BC), the Temple of Hera (dates to the about 600 BC. Hera was the mythological wife of Zeus), and the workshop of a sculptor named Pheidias who made the 40 foot high statute of Zeus. This building was later turned into a church in the 3rd century AD.

The highlight/prize of the ruins is the Temple of Zeus (it dates to the 5th century BC). It had columns that were 33 feet high and about 12 feet wide. The statue of Zeus was positioned in the middle of the temple. Today only a few of the columns are reconstructed.

greek mask

The mask of the Greek general who sent the boy to Athens from Marathon to proclaim the news of victory

We ended the tour of the site at the stadium. It could hold 45,000 people and was used for foot races. The runners ran naked a distance of 365 feet. It dates to the 4th century BC. Here we read from Acts 13 (about Paul and Silas being identified at Lystra and Derbe as “Zeus” and “Hermes/Mercury”) as well as from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Paul encourages us to “run with perseverance for the prize…” It was fun to run or walk the distance of the stadium.

From the site we walked to the very impressive museum. Displayed in the museum are many amazing discoveries from excavations of Olympia that began in 1875.

statue of Zeus Olympia

A statue of Zeus from the Temple in Olympia

Before driving up the hill to our hotel, we enjoyed walking around (and shopping) in modern-day Olympia. Although it is “off-season,” a few of the stores were open. After checking into our hotel, we enjoyed some free time before a group gathering at 6:30 and a buffet dinner at 7. It was another great day in Greece!

DAY 7 – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19: MYCANAE, CORINTH, ATHENS

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 5 Summary

DAY 5 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17:

Leonadis

Leonadis at Thermopylae. He was the leader of 300 Spartans against the Persians

Once again, we were blessed with a brilliantly sunny day, with highs a little warmer in the mid 50s. Upon leaving, we opened the day with a devotional from I Corinthians 3 about being the temple of God.

Departing Kalambaka, we drove about 3 hours to Thermopylae (Thermopolis) where the famous battle between the 300 Spartans and Xerxes & the Persians took place. The battle scene that took place in 480 BC was a small narrow pass between the mountain range and the Aegean Sea (today the sea has receded about a mile. In the story, Leonidas and 300 fighting men (along with another 700 Thespian fighters) tried to hold off Xerxes at this pass. The Persians prevailed against Leonidas as a traitor informed Xerxes of a secret pathway that led to the surrounding of these courageous Spartans. However a year later, the Persians met their defeat at the sea Battle of Salamis. All there is to see today is a monument of Leonidas along with two other men symbolically representing the Spartan mountains and river.

Temple of Apollo Delphi

Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Entering the Parnassus mountain range, we drove towards Delphi. The windy road up and down the mountains provided spectacular views. We passed through the town of Arahova, the primary ski resort village here in Greece.

Following lunch, we arrive at the archaeological / classical site of Delphi. In classic Greek mythology, Delphi was considered the navel of the world. Today, next to Athens and Olympia (that we’ll visit tomorrow), Delphi is the leading classical site in all of Greece. The site of Delphi was simply amazing! Although the path to the stadium was closed for renovation, we saw many things in this site built on the edge of the mountain. This included the Treasury, the theater, and the Temple of Apollo. The oracles of the gods took place in an inner / underneath area of the temple itself. Across the road on the lower part of the city is the gymnasium and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. All of these ruins date primarily between the 7th (the first Temple of Apollo) and the 4th century BC (what is seen today). Although Delphi is not mentioned in the Book of Acts, it is hard not to believe that Paul was here or at the very least familiar with the city.

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Following the visit of the site, we entered the Museum of Delphi. Here we saw many amazing artifacts from the site of Delphi. This included various reliefs of the gods (Zeus, Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite) as well as Hercules. The gold horde found near the temple was also displayed. The face of Apollo is pictured here. Other artifacts included the horses from the pedement of the Treasury, figurines, a large bronze “chariot man” dating to 476 BC (given to Apolllo as a present), and the famous Inscription of Gallio. The inscription describes Claudius writing about of receiving advice from a procounsul named Gallio. He was the Roman senator who dismissed the charge brought by the Jews against Paul in Acts. Thus, the inscription serves as an important archaeological marker in reconstructing the chronology of Paul’s life and helps date Paul’s presence in Corinth to about 50-52 AD.

Sunset Adriatic Sea

Sunset on the Adriatic Sea

After the museum closed (4 p.m.) we drove into the modern city of Delphi just 5 minutes away. After checking in, many walked back to town, enjoying some free time and shopping. The view of the Adriatic Sea to the west at sunset was amazing.

Following dinner at 7, we gathered once again for a brief meeting of singing and sharing.

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18: DELPHI, OLYMPIA

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 4

DAY 4 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16:

February 2017 Greece Tour Group at Berea

The group standing by the monument dedicated to Paul at Berea (Acts 16)

Today was another beautiful and sunny day, with highs in the 50s. We checked out of our hotel in Thessaloniki after breakfast and began our drive towards the south.

Leaving the hotel we read from 2 Thessalonians 3, hearing Paul’s words of encouragement to the early church he founded here. Our first stop was Berea, about an hour away. Although there was no archaeology to see here, we read from Acts 17 about how the believers “searched the Scriptures daily…” There is a monument here in memory of Paul’s ministry here during his second missionary journey. Walking through the town, we also saw the Jewish synagogue. During WWII, about 4,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis here, leaving only about a 100 or so. Here we also met an evangelical pastor named Nicolas. It was a delight to hear about his ministry. Even though he spoke no English, we felt a kindred spirit with him. We sang a few songs with him in his small chapel.

Phillip Tomb at Vergina

Tomb of Phillip II at Vergina (discovered in 1977)

Driving about 20 minutes, Vergina was our next stop. This was once the ancient capital of the Macedonians. This was where the famous Philip II, the father of Alexandria the Great, was buried. His tomb, as well as a few others, were discovered in 1977. We walked through the museum here, seeing not only the tomb but the very impressive items found in the tombs. This included mass amount of gold, armor, and other personal items. This discovery truly rivals the finds of some of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs!

Meteora, Greece

The monasteries at Meteora, Greece

Leaving Macedonia, we drove south to Kalambaka. This is the area of the snow-capped Pendos mountain range, the heart of Greece’s inland area. Along the way we made a brief stop for a bite to eat. Arriving at Meteora, we saw the six famous Byzantine – Greek Orthodox monasteries located here. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliff-side caves. Then they fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, which were later transformed into monasteries. There are all perched high on “stand-alone” unique rock formations. We visited one of them, the St. Stephen’s Monastery/convent. The view from the top was spectacular! We learned about the Greek Orthodox religion. Leaving St. Stephen’s, we made several other stops for different “panoramic” views of this amazing and unique place here in the central part of Greece!

Nearby was our hotel in Kalambaka. After checking in, we enjoyed dinner together followed by a brief time of devotion and singing.

 

DAY 5 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17: THERMOPYLAE, DELPHI

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Biblical Greece Tour, February 2017 – Day 3 Summary

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15:

Philippi theater

The February 2017 Greece Tour group in theater at Philippi

Today was our first full day here in Greece, and it was a great one! While temps were cool with a high about 50, we enjoyed full sun and clear visibilities all day long!

Leaving the hotel shortly after 8 a.m. and reading 1 Thessalonians 1, we first bussed around Thessalonica. We saw the White Castle, a structure that dates to the Byzantine Period (4-6th centuries AD). Driving to the top (acropolis) of the city provided us a wonderful panoramic view of the harbor and city below. Even Mt. Olympus, a 9,500 foot mountain, could be seen in the far distance.

Via Egnatia

The “Via Egnatia” road in Philippi

From here we drove north in ancient Macedonia to Philippi. It was about a to hour drive. We stopped on the way for bathrooms, coffee and our first taste of baklava. The ancient city of Philippi was named after Philip II in 356 BC. The city was used as a garrison for Roman soldiers when Paul visited here on his second missionary journey. We read from Acts 16 near the suggested “prison” where Paul and Silas were bound. Of the impressive ruins of this ancient city that we saw included the theater, the forum, the bema, public latrines, mosaics, and two Byzantine basilicas / churches. The city was located on the Via Engatia, the main Roman road that ran about 700 miles from Istanbul towards the west.

Nearby we stopped at the Zygaktis River where Lydia was befriended by Paul. She converted to Christ and was baptized in the river. We enjoyed seeing the Greek Orthodox chapel here built in her honor as well as a time of singing and Scripture (Acts 16) by this small river.

Kavala - Neapolis

Kavala (Neapolis), Greece

Kavala was our next site. This was a port city built on the Mediterranean Sea. In biblical times it was called Neapolis. Paul sailed into this port city following his Macedonian vision he had at Troas. We first enjoyed a panoramic view of the city (and the Island of Thassos in the distance, known for the marble extracted here) before walking down along this picturesque harbor. It was humbling to think that Paul himself sailed into this port back 2,000 ears ago! A beautiful mosaic on the side of a church preserves Paul’s entrance into Europe here.

Around 5, we drove back to Thessaloniki to our hotel for a late dinner. It was a great first day here in Greece!

DAY 4 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16: BEREA, VERGINA, METEORA, KALAMBAKA

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Silver Shekel Coin

Ancient shekel coin

Ancient silver shekel coin found in the drainage channel in Jerusalem in 2008. This was probably minted in Tyre. It weighs 13 grams and was minted in 22 AD.

How many of you keep lose change in your pocket?  For me, it’s usually annoying. I especially don’t like pennies, although I do have a few large jars of them under my bed somewhere. I suppose I should see how much these jars are worth one of these days! But in today’s culture of debit cards, some people don’t deal with cash and lose change in their pockets at all. However, times were different in the days of the Bible. Having coins in one’s pocket or pouch was common. If you were a Jew going to the Temple in Jerusalem in the days of Jesus, it was important to have a possession of coins, especially one kind of coin … the half shekel coin!

According to the Bible in the days of Moses, “Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves.” (Exodus 30:15).

The major weight of metal mentioned in the Bible was the shekel, as its name, which means simply “weight,” testifies. Since the shekel was the definite weight, an expression such as “1,000 silver” (Genesis 20:16) can be explained as 1,000 shekels of silver, and the name of the weight is omitted since it is self-explanatory. The fundamental nature of the shekel can also be seen in the fact that all weights which the Bible explains are explained only in terms of the shekel. Thus in the days of the Old Testament, the shekel was used as a bartering material, not a minted coin. Jeremiah bought a plot of land and weighed his payment (silver) on scales (Jeremiah 32:9).

However eventually the shekel was minted as a coin as early as the Persian period. Hundred of years later during the time of the Hasmoneans (137 BC), the Jews minted their own coins. By the time of Herod the Great (37-4 BC) and later his sons (Herod Archelaus – 4 BC – 6 AD; Herod Antipas -4 BC – 39 AD; and Herod Philip I – 4 BC – 34 AD), coins were in wide use.

According to the Talmud, the collection of the half shekel coin occurred every year on the first day of the month of Adar when the “heralding of the shekelim” took place, that is to say the beginning of the collection of the money and it ended on the first day of the month of Nissan, when there was new budget in the temple and the purchase of public sacrifices was renewed.

It was most likely a shekel minted in Tyre that Jesus and Peter used to pay the Temple head tax (a half shekel each, see Matthew 17:27). Moreover, 30 Tyrian silver coins probably were given as payment to Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26:15). This annual half shekel head-tax was donated in shekels and half shekels from the Tyre mint where they were struck from the year 125 BCE until the outbreak of the Great Revolt in 66 CE. Incidentally, one of these coins was found in the Herodian drainage channel in Jerusalem in March, 2018. It must have been dropped by someone walking on the street above and fell through either a crack in the street or through one of many man holes discovered (go HERE for the full article of this discovery).

half shekel coin

Newly minted half-shekel coin. To date, over 200,000 coins have been purchased as donations in building the 3rd Temple.

This brings us up to today. According to Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz (in a Breaking Israel News article), “While the Temple was standing, every Jewish man was required to give one half-shekel weight of silver, approximately eight grams of silver (worth about $4 today), as a mandatory tax to support the Temple. Each man was obligated to give the same amount, regardless of his economic condition. The coins, once deposited in the Temple courtyard, were hekdesh (sanctified) and not permitted to be used for any other purpose.”  The giving of this coin towards the expense and upkeep of the Tabernacle (and eventually Temple in Jerusalem) was considered a mitvah (command).” This command was instituted from before the First Temple Period all the way through the days of Hadrian in the 2nd century AD despite the Temple being destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.

However, a special 1/2 shekel coin has been minted in preparation for the building of the 3rd Temple. This coin is different than the common 1/2 shekel coin in circulation today (worth only about 12.5 cents). But through the vision of Reuven Prager, this mitzvah is being reinstated. To date, 200,000 coins have been purchased. They are deposited into the Otzar Hamikdash (“Treasury of the Temple”), an organization established to oversee the financing of the new Temple.

Follow this link to the full article:  HERE

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Cave 12 Found at Qumran

Cave 12 Qumran

Fragments of six jars, parchment, and papyrus was found in Cave 12 (photo credit: Dr. Randall Price)

The whole world of biblical scholarship changed in 1947 when the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found at Qumran. Before these 2,000 year old texts of Scripture were found, the oldest Hebrew Bible texts scholars had dated to only around 1,000 AD. Yet God miraculously preserved these texts for the world to see and study them.

Between 1947 and 1956, 11 caves were found in this area of Qumran. Between 750 – 950 texts (depending on how you count them) were found. About 25% of the texts of copies of Hebrew Scriptures, all 39 books of the OT except for Esther. About 27% of the scrolls were common Judaism texts. About 38% were sectarian documents of the community of Essene community. And about 11% of the scrolls were too fragmentary to place in a category.

Qumran Cave 12

The opening to Cave 12 (photo credit: Dr. Randall Price)

Seven scrolls were found in Cave 1 – Two Isaiah Scrolls, the Thanksgiving Scroll, the War Scroll, the text of the Community Rules, and a commentary on Habakkuk (the Pesher Habakkuk). I always provide an option to hike to this famous “Cave 1” on all the trip I lead.

However, it was just announced that a twelfth cave was just found. This “Cave 12” is located high on the western cliffs overlooking the archaeological site of Qumran. This is quite exciting!

Inside this cave, pieces of six 2000 year-old jars were found. Also small fragments of parchment and papyrus were discovered as well as at least one linen used for wrapping scrolls. The jars are identical to those found in other caves. Apparently the cave was looted in the 1950s, with pick-axe heads found inside the cave.

Randall Price in Cave 12

Dr. Randall Price in Cave 12 (photo credit: Dr. Randall Price)

Dr. Randall Price, professor at Liberty University, is one of a few who led this latest expedition. Another archaeologist who was part of the dig was Oren Gutfield of Hebrew University. His comments reflect the significance of this discovery, “This exciting excavation is the closest we’ve come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave.”

Several articles were written about this latest discovery of Cave 12.  Stay tuned…. more to come I’m sure!

The Logos Academic Blog

Fox Science News

 

 

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