Back to the Alamo…

Things have been quiet this summer here at the blog but are already picking up quickly. I will be presenting my paper discussing the question of whether the Upper Room in Jerusalem was ever a Jewish synagogue at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio on November 19 …

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Another Season Complete!

Digging at Mount Zion in Jerusalem, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (where I teach!) has come to a close for this 2016 season. A great write-up about the dig and its associated discoveries was published July 13, 2016 in Jerusalem's Haaretz news website in an article called "Archaeologists Uncover Second Temple-era Priestly Quarter …

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Sacred Structures along the Kidron Valley and on the Mount of Olives

There are many sacred structures along the east side of Jerusalem, some dating back to before the time of King Herod (37-4 BCE). The oldest is the Tomb of the Bene-Hezir, a priestly family, from the 2nd century BCE. It can be seen to the left in the picture above. To its right is the …

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Mount Zion, Jerusalem

This photograph of the Cenacle, or Upper Room of the Last Supper, was taken from the rotunda of the Church of the Dormition. With the kind permission of Father Elias and the assistance of Lukas, a young volunteer worker from Cologne, I was able to access the top of the dome from which I could …

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The Judgment Seat of Pilate

One of the most fascinating recent discoveries in Jerusalem is the gate that once led to King Herod’s palace but was later used by the Roman prefects of Judea as their judgment seat called Gabbatha or Lithostrotos. The Gospel of John 19:13 says that Jesus stood before Pilate here as his death sentence was pronounced. …

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The Ancient Upper Room and Tomb of David

While in Jerusalem, I cannot help but to repeatedly visit the structure about which I have extensively written. The above photograph displays with amazing clarity the long history of the building we today identify as the Upper Room of the Last Supper and the Tomb of King David. That history is physically present in the …

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Jerusalem: Walking Where Jesus Walked?

Many pilgrims come to Jerusalem with the desire to tread in the footsteps of the prophets or the principal characters appearing in the New Testament. While the location on the map may be the same as that where Jesus trod, this is certainly not true for the existing topography. The photograph above shows just how …

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Jerusalem, Days 3 and 4

Yesterday, I enjoyed a wonderful Shabbat dinner in a home located in Ein Karem, the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. Ein Karem, in southwest Jerusalem, is situated in the Judean hills where supposedly John's mother hid him from Herod the Great, who had already murdered his father and was planning to murder the infant …

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Jerusalem 2016, Day 2

What any tourist should know about visiting the Old City of Jerusalem is that by rising early, one can walk the streets unimpeded by other tourists! Staging photographs is easy when no one is on the streets to get in the way of a pristine shot. Such was the case this morning at the Church …

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The Upper Room and Tomb of David: Now part of the library at SBF

I had the great privilege of meeting the Secretary and Rector for the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, a group of Catholic scholars from Rome's Pontifica Universitas Antonianum working in Jerusalem. Their school is on the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows which tradition holds Christ took on his way to crucifixion. Located between the Church of the Flagellation and …

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