Friday, November 4, 2011

Using Technology to Piece the Past Together

This is an interesting article detailing how thousands of fragments of ancient scrolls are spread out across the globe, and how a computer program can virtually "glue" the pieces back together  even though the pieces belong to different museums and storage facilities and never physically meet up again.

Too cool.
The researchers are now applying the … technology to fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of hundreds of text found along the Dead Sea in the 1950s, as well as other scrolls.

"It's a more complicated challenge," Wolf said, referring to the Dead Sea Scrolls. "The fragments are for the most part much smaller, and many of the texts are very unique. These texts shed light on the beginnings of Christianity."
Technology…..a curse at times, but such a blessing , too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paul's Secretary

My mom was a marathon letter and journal writer.  I can still see her seated at our kitchen table each morning writing, writing, writing.  Even after Dear Sister gave her a computer, Mother continued to scribble away in her spiral notebooks she always seemed to have on hand.  I have to agree with her.  There is something about moving a pen across a clean page of paper and making it all your own.

Mother created the most interesting letters regarding what was going on in our lives, pondering current events of the day, or relating some little anecdote from her past. 

When I meet up with one of her dear friends they all tell me the same thing - I miss her letters so much.  I know how they feel.  I LONG for one myself. 

Mother didn't just love to write letters.  She loved to read them as well.  Paul was her favorite letter writer with his letter to the Romans as a particular favorite.

While Mother did all of her letter writing at a kitchen table Paul would have followed the custom of the day and would have sat with his writing perched in his lap or on his knees.   Yes, I know there are very famous paintings of Paul sitting at a desk with an oil light, but it just isn't an accurate picture regarding most of the letters.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

13 Things Regarding the Sinai Peninsula

The Search For The Real Mt. Sinai
1. The Sinai Peninsula is an important region to readers of the Bible and also serves as a land bridge between Africa and Asia.  Notice on the map the region appears to be an upside down triangle. 

2. Three significant events occurred there regarding the Israelites.   First the Peninsula is the location where Mount Sinai is located…the place where God appeared to Moses more than once.  Moses interacted with God for the first time while he was on the mountain herding sheep for Jethro.   The second time Moses was there God established his covenant with the Israelites at the foot of the mountain after their exodus from Egypt. Sinai is also the place where Moses ascended the mountain and God gave him the Ten Commandments.
3. Mount Sinai is referred to as “the mountain”…. Exodus 19:2; “the mountain of God”… Exodus 3:1; “the mountain of the Lord”…Numbers Numbers 10:33; and “Horeb”…Exodus 3:1.

There are five areas mentioned in the Bible in relationship to the mountain.
4. The Wilderness of Shur is the location on the northern border of Egypt where the Israelites found themselves after crossing the Red Sea.   This place was between the Red Sea and Marah where the people complained because there was no water…. Exodus 15: 22-24.

5. The wilderness of Sin is a region between Elim and Sinai where God provided food for the Israelites…Exodus 16:1.
6. The Wilderness of Paran is where the Israelites camped after they left Mount Sinai, and is the location where they were sent out to explore the land.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where Can I Find a Urim and Thummim?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just go to God and ask Him to lay it all out for us regarding the directions we need go when we reach a crossroad?

What subjects to study in school?   Which jobs to take?   How to discipline and advise our children?    When we should take action or just sit back and observe our surroundings?
Sometimes we know the right thing to do, but the actions of others….justified or not….keep us from acting.   Sometimes our own wants….our selfishness… takes over preventing us from hearing God.  Sometimes as the background noise in our lives becomes louder and louder it becomes more difficult to hear God.

Why can’t the path be clear instead of clear as mud?
Reading through the Bible it seems the ancients had several opportunities to hear God when they needed guidance, and the Pentateuch was very clear on what NOT to do when seeking answers.

Deuteronomy 18: 10-13 provides a list of things that were detestable including interpreting omens, witchcraft, casting spells, and consulting the dead.    These practices were so detestable they were punishable by death per Leviticus 20:6.
The people of Babylon practiced divination so well they are the go-to culture when researching various ways the ancients used to contact the gods.   They used astrology, analyzed cloud formations, the peculiar actions of animals and pouring liquid into basins to read the bubbles that were formed.   There were even specially trained priests who read the livers of sacrificed animals.   To the ancients it appeared the liver was the source of blood in the body and therefore must be the seat of life.

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