happy 62nd anniversary (kinda) dead sea scrolls

Qumran Inkwell Party Hat

A Qumran inkwell celebrates the 62nd anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (I chose the inkwell because, you know, inkwells were discovered at Qumran ;-).

Ferrell Jenkins has an excellent summary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls over at his Travel Blog. The “discoveries” were made beginning 62 years ago this week, and scholars have been fighting ever since. Of course, Qumran had a long history of visitors well before the discovery of the scrolls, but it was the scrolls that have been all the rage ever since.

I’ve been doing my part to honor the scrolls over the past couple of years. I gave the site of Qumran a makeover a few years back, wrote a book about them, and hosted a documentary on the writing of the scrolls last year, which you can watch here.

So happy anniversary to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. You have brought me nothing but pain suffering headaches Charles Gadda court appearances trials tribulations joy ever since I’ve known you. :)

no, no you didn’t identify mary’s great grandmother

Ismeria

The Ortenberg Altarpiece c1410-20 Centre panel: Virgin and Child surrounded by Saints, Anne, Elizabeth, Mary Cleophae, Mary Salome, Agnes (with Lamb) Barbara (with Castle) Dorothy (with Roses) Ismeria. Children are Christ's cousins. St Servatius, Ismeria © Image Asset Management Ltd. / SuperStock

You have got to be absolutely kidding me.

Jim West has the story of Discovery’s article about the supposed grandmother of Mary.

At one point, the Discovery article says:

“Mary herself is mentioned very little in the Bible,” added Lawless, a lecturer in history at the University of Limerick. “The huge Marian cult that has evolved over centuries has very few scriptural sources.”

Simply because something is mentioned very little doesn’t mean you get to make things up to fill in the gaps.

Check out the post if you need a laugh/cry.


Here’s Jim’s take:

Oh boy… this headline takes the prize for most rambunctiously unsupported historically – JESUS’ GREAT GRANDMOTHER IDENTIFIED. What? When? Where? How? (Why?????) The great grandmother of Jesus was a woman named Ismeria, according to Florentine medieval manuscripts analyzed by a historian. The legend of St. Ismeria, presented in the current Journal of Medieval History, sheds light on both the Biblical Virgin Mary’s family and also on religious an … Read More

via Zwinglius Redivivus

nothing to do jan 3? watch ‘blood for the gods’ on discovery

there are no bowl games scheduled for jan 3, 2010. so what are nerds, biblical scholars, history junkies, and intellectuals supposed to watch on a sunday night? how about a short series about the history of human sacrifice on discovery channel called blood for the gods. the first two episodes are ‘sex & death‘ and ‘blood & power.’ the episodes debut back-to-back on sunday, january 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm.

the teaser for ‘sex & death‘ says:

To some ancient people, sex and death go hand in hand in fertility sacrifices meant to promote life…through gruesome rituals of death. But are the legends of fertility sacrifices true? Did Aztecs really cut out the hearts of thousands of victims?

the teaser for ‘blood & power‘ says:

Human Sacrifice in some cases is all about power – power over life and death, power in this world, and power in the next world. We’ll learn the price of power in grisly practices ranging from Egyptian pharaohs to Chinese rituals.

tune in. a couple of the experts interviewed are ancient near eastern scholars you may know.

the archaeology of qumran on discovery canada

Dr. Robert R. Cargill (UCLA) appears on Discovery Canada's 'Daily Planet' program to discuss Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Dr. Robert R. Cargill (UCLA) appears on Discovery Canada's 'Daily Planet' program to discuss Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

the daily planet program on discovery canada has not one, but two segments on qumran and the origin of the dead sea scrolls. the first segment pits archaeologists jodi magness and yuval peleg against one another in an on-site tour and explanation of the site. the two scholars are interviewed separately and both give their scholarly interpretation of the site. magness argues that the site was the home of a sectarian jewish community responsible for the dead sea scrolls. peleg argues that the site was a pottery production plant and that the scrolls have nothing to do with the site. (for those keeping score at home, dr. magness wins this round ;-)

then, after a segment on the recently named 2009 nobel prize winners for physics (british-american charles k. kao, canadian-american willard s. boyle and american george e. smith for breakthroughs in fiber optics and the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit), the show highlights my graduate research at ucla, the qumran visualization project, presenting it as a new, collaborative, third option that could possibly bring the two warring sides together and resolve at least some of the interpretative issues regarding qumran. using video clips generated by the qumran digital model, the show pieced together an interview i did a few months ago to present my position on qumran, which understands the remains to be those of a hasmonean fort that was abandoned, and then recoccupied and expanded by jewish sectarians. these conclusions are detailed in my book, qumran through (real) time (gorgias press).

at the end, the show’s hosts, jay ingram and ziya tong discuss my approach. they conclude that while i attempt to bring all of the data together in an objective manner, archaeologists like magness and peleg will probably remain unconvinced, and will consider my approach to be simply one more subjective offering into the mix. of course, i disagree, but they’re the hosts; they get to say what they want. besides, i’ll do my responding in new orleans at this year’s 2009 sbl annual meeting ;-)

(n.b. qumran commentator and defender of the so-called ‘jerusalem theory,’ ‘charles gadda,’ was not interviewed for this segment.)

ucla’s kara cooney to star in discovery’s new archaeology show, “out of egypt”

Kara Cooney, star of  Discoverys Out of Egypt

Kara Cooney, star of Discovery's "Out of Egypt"

updating a previous item on this site, ucla’s kara cooney will star in the upcoming discovery show, out of egypt. the la times says:

Using Egypt as a starting point, Cooney embarks on a journey to find links between the social, cultural and religious practices of several ancient civilizations. She discovers that despite being completely disassociated from one another, the societies had striking similarities in behaviors, traditions and beliefs.

you cannot miss this show!!

check out dr. cooney on craig ferguson just this past week:

‘out of egypt’ starring ucla’s kara cooney premiers on discovery august 24, 2009

Kara Cooney hosts Discoverys new show, Out of Egypt

Kara Cooney hosts Discovery's new show, 'Out of Egypt'

mark your calendars! ucla egyptologist kara cooney’s new show, out of egypt, is premiering on discovery august 24, 2009 at 9:00 pm.  dr. cooney is brilliant, funny, and well spoken. in fact, i’m not the only one saying so:

Cooney’s perspective appears to be a winning one. The June 5 issue of Entertainment Weekly counted “Out of Egypt” among the “14 TV shows we can’t wait to see.” It has also gotten a thumbs-up from Daily Variety.

if you’re looking for factual information on ancient egypt, debunking, and a glimpse into the fascinating beauty of the ancient world, don’t miss ‘out of egypt’ starring kara cooney on discovery this fall.

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