Top 10 Posts of 2014

Posted in: Archaeology, ASOR, Outreach
Tags: A New Look at Baptism, American Schools of Oriental Research, Archaeology, ASOR, ASOR Blog, Has Archaeology Gone Overboard in Throwing out the Bible, jordan, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, New Explorations in the Heart of Assyria: Cities and Landscapes on the Erbil Plain, New Years, Passover as Jesus Knew it, Psychedelics and the Ancient Near East, Remembering King David, The Lost Link: The Alphabet in the Hands of the Early Israelites, top 10, Top 10 Posts of 2014, What’s New with Ezra-Nehemiah, Who Really Built the Water System at Megiddo, Words in the Sand: Discovering A New Monumental Latin Inscription at ‘Ayn Gharandal (Ancient Arieldela)
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As we begin 2015, we’d like to thank all of our Friends of ASOR (and lurkers) who come back to the ASOR Blog to read post after post. Keep reading to see the top 10 posts of 2014! We hope that 2014 was as amazing for all of you as it was for us. Here’s to 2015 being even better than last year.

1. Passover as Jesus Knew it

James Tissot, Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod, painted between 1886 and 1894.

James Tissot, Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod, painted between 1886 and 1894.

Jerusalem in the 30s CE was in a frequent state of heightened political and religious tension, no time more so than at the great religious festivals. Passover was particularly hazardous, with tens of thousands of pilgrims flocking to the holy city not only from Palestine but from all over the Jewish diaspora. READ MORE…

2. Psychedelics and the Ancient Near East

BM 128852: an Achaemenid period stamp seal (4th cent. BC) © Trustees of the British Museum. My thanks to C.B.F. Walker for drawing my attention to this unpublished seal.

BM 128852: an Achaemenid period stamp seal (4th cent. BC) © Trustees of the British Museum. My thanks to C.B.F. Walker for drawing my attention to this unpublished seal.

As courts today debate whether to legalize or regulate the use of drugs like cannabis, it is interesting to look at the history of man’s relationship with mind-altering substances. Several books, exhibits and catalogues have recently explored the topic. Yet, despite the consensus that “every society on earth is a high society,” the Ancient Near East is omitted from these surveys. READ MORE…

3. New Explorations in the Heart of Assyria: Cities and Landscapes on the Erbil Plain, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

The citadel at the center of the city of Erbil.

The citadel at the center of the city of Erbil.

After over 150 years of archaeological exploration, one might think that there are no great discoveries left to make in the Ancient Near East. All lost cities found, no more civilizations unaccounted for. This is not the case. READ MORE…

4. Has Archaeology Gone Overboard in Throwing out the Bible? 

Tall el-Hammam’s Bronze Age southern fortifications. Photo courtesy Steven Collins.

Tall el-Hammam’s Bronze Age southern fortifications. Photo courtesy Steven Collins.

The relationship between archaeology and the Bible has been a much-debated topic over the last 25 years. The terms ‘minimalists’ and ‘maximalists’ are now as frequent as ‘exodus’ and ‘epigraphy’. READ MORE…

5. Remembering King David

James Tissot, David Sees Bathsheba Bathing.

James Tissot, David Sees Bathsheba Bathing.

Why didn’t the biblical authors present a more flattering image of King David, and why did they make his stories so complex In his 1943 biography of King David, the British diplomat Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich, insisted that the biblical account of this figure must be factual. Why? READ MORE…

6. A New Look at Baptism

Dome of the Baptistery of Neon from Ravenna showing baptism at center surrounded by the procession of disciples. (All figures courtesy of Robin Jensen).

Countless Christians are familiar with the rite of baptism. But Christian baptism was one of the most complicated of ancient initiation rituals insofar as it served many and varied objectives. More than representing a simple rite of passage—from outsider to insider—Christians believed that baptism accomplished a variety of transformations in the individuals who received it. READ MORE…

Drawing of the QW bowl (BEC)

Drawing of the QW bowl (BEC)

I have just made a surprising discovery about the way the alphabet was used by the Israelites in their early period of settlement in the Promised Land, that is, the time of the Judges (including Samuel) or, archaeologically speaking, Iron Age I (c. 1200 to 1000 BCE). READ MORE…

8. Who Really Built the Water System at Megiddo? 

The area of the water system before excavation in 1927 Oriental Institute.

The area of the water system before excavation in 1927 Oriental Institute.

Visitors to Megiddo thrill to the long descent into the famous water system, first climbing down the many steps that surround the gaping chasm dug deep into the tell and then the rock cut shaft followed by a long tunnel cut into the bedrock. READ MORE…

9. Words in the Sand: Discovering A New Monumental Latin Inscription at ‘Ayn Gharandal (Ancient Arieldela), Jordan

The ‘Ayn Gharandal inscription being lifted

The ‘Ayn Gharandal inscription being lifted

“The stone was huge, well over 500 pounds. It was quite a thing to witness. It was face down in the dirt, and using lots of muscle the workmen were able to stand it up. I looked at it and all I saw on its face was packed sand. For a split second I was very disappointed, thinking that we were wrong and there was no inscription carved on it.  READ MORE…

10. What’s New with Ezra-Nehemiah

Panoramic view of Persepolis

Panoramic view of Persepolis

What’s new with Ezra-Nehemiah? This might not be the most exciting discussion on the Bible you can think of, but give me the chance to convince you otherwise. Granted, the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple after the Babylonian Exile has not been the stuff of great biblical epic or Hollywood blockbusters. READ MORE…

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