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The Doorways of Solomon’s Temple

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The Doorways of Solomon’s Temple King Solomon’s Temple was resplendent. Described in 1 Kings 6–7, the temple was divided into three parts: the forecourt (ulam), the outer sanctum (heikhal) and the inner shrine (devir), also known as the Holy of Holies. Built of stone and roofed with wooden beams, Solomon’s Temple was intricately ornamented. Its interior walls and floors were lined with wooden boards and covered in gold. It took seven years to complete the temple and its furnishings.
Despite the Biblical description and archaeological parallels, there are still some mysteries about Solomon’s Temple. For example, 1 Kings 6:31 describes the doors between the outer sanctum and the inner shrine of Solomon’s Temple as having five mezuzot (the plural form of mezuzah). What is a mezuzah? In the Bible, mezuzah is normally translated as “doorpost.” However, in the context of Solomon’s Temple, doors with five doorposts do not make sense.
Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Yosef Garfinkel explore this enigma …

Take a Photo Journey through the Bible

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The events of the Bible happened in real places, with real people. Take a virtual journey across the biblical landscape, and see the cities where Jesus and the Apostles walked, lived, and changed the world. Logos Bible Software sent photographers all over the holy land, and they assembled 400 photos, videos, infographics, and maps of biblical places to guide your studies and help bring the Bible to life.
Parthenon columns. Columns against the sky at the Parthenon in Athens.
Restored stoa, Athens. Restored stoa (covered public walkway) in the Athens Agora.
A partially restored ancient arch in Corinth
Ruined arch, Philippi. A ruined brick and stone arch at the northwestern entrance to the fifth century AD “Basilica B” in Philippi, with Philippi’s Acropolis in the right background.
Stone doorway, Philippi. A restored stone doorway leading into the fifth-century AD “Basilica B” in Philippi.
 Jail, Philippi.  A possible site of the Philippian jail where Paul and Silas led the jailor to Ch…

How December 25 Became Christmas

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On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled. Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical.
The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no menti…

Where Was Jesus Born? Jesus’ birthplace and hometown

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When the Christmas season draws near each year, the Nativity story is revisited in churches and households around the world. Passages from Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2, the infancy narratives in the Gospels, are read and sung—and even acted out in Christmas pageants.
Where was Jesus born? In the Bible, the answer seems straightforward: Bethlehem. Both Matthew 2 and Luke 2 state that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea. However, Biblical scholarship has recently called the identification of Bethlehem as Jesus’ birthplace into question: If Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem, why is he called a Nazorean and a Galilean throughout the New Testament, and why is Bethlehem not mentioned as Jesus’ birthplace outside of the infancy narratives in the Gospels? This has caused some to wonder if Jesus was actually born in Nazareth. In the November/December 2014 issue of BAR, Philip J. King addresses this question—where was Jesus born—in his Biblical Views column “Jesus’ Birthplace and Jesus’ Home.” He…

Where Did the Philistines Come From? . Iron Age Gate and Fortifications Uncovered at Philistine Gath Bible and archaeology news

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Where Did the Philistines Come From?
Horned altar from Tell es-Safi hints at the origins of the Philistines
The excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, the site of Gath of the Philistines mentioned in the Bible (e.g., 1 Samuel 6:17), have produced many fascinating finds,* and the summer of 2011 was no exception. While uncovering an impressive destruction level dating to the second half of the ninth century B.C.E., when Gath was the largest of the five cities of the Philistines and perhaps the largest city in the Land of Israel during the Iron Age, excavators found an exceptionally well preserved horned altar reminiscent of the Israelite horned altars described in the Bible (Exodus 27:1–2; 1 Kings 1:50).
Had it not been for a stroke of luck, the horned altar may never have been discovered. Like most archaeological digs, the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavation leaves unexcavated “balks” between the excavation squares, thereby allowing easier access to the squares as well as providing a profile view of t…