Israel Slideshow - Round 1

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Slide 1

In Caesarea Maritime, we have the location of where the apostle Paul was probably held in jail before being transported to Rome and executed. This would have been at the governors house, so not in an actual jail cell. You can read this in Acts 23:23-26:32.

Caesarea Maritime (on the west coast of Israel) also had this amphitheater. Since Herod had a rule of one seat per ten residents, we know this town was quite large. Once Christianity became established as a religion, this amphitheater would have been used for gladiator battles and Christian martyrdoms, where Christians would either be forced to fight themselves, other warriors, or wild beasts. As you can see, some of this amphitheater (mainly the seats) are reconstructed, although the shape and the rocks in the foreground are original.

The Church of the Beatitudes stands on Mount Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee. This is a traditional site, not a historical one. By this, I mean that this is not the site that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, but it was probably on the hillside somewhere. Since no one knows for sure where the teaching took place, Catholics placed a church down and consecrated the location. This is a very common occurrence around Israel. See Matthew 5:3-12 in the New Testament for the sermon this church is designed particularly to commemorate.

Many stories of Jesus take place on the Sea of Galilee. Its actually a lake, however, and is also known as Lake Tiberias. The New Testament gives numerous stories of Jesus crossing and fishing on the Sea. It is also said that he performed several miracles on the Sea of Galilee, including walking on water and helping his friends catch 153 fish when they could not catch any. Most meaningful to me was the miracle of calming the sea, since a storm arose while we were sailing across. In the New Testament, see Matthew 8:23-27 for that story.

Here is another example of a traditional site rather than a historical one. The Mensa Christi (Table of Christ) is meant to commemorate post-resurrection Jesus asking Peter three times if he loves him. Jesus cooked Peter a meal of fish, supposedly on this rock/mensa. Of course, there is no possible way to know which rock Jesus cooked a meal on, yet Christians placed a church on the Sea of Galilee/Lake of Tiberias and deemed a rock to be the Table of Christ. See John 21:1-14 in the New Testament.

One of the coolest things to see is the different racial representations of Jesus and the Holy Family. This slide and the following two will show that well. For my REL 160 class, we will discuss this a lot more when I get back.

REL 160 Look at this representation of the Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus) from Thailand and notice the similarities to the Hindu goddesses we looked at. The picture angle isnt stellar, but its good enough to see the similarities.

As opposed to the Church of the Beatitudes, the Basilica of the Annunciation is believed to exist on historical ground. The rock house seen in the center is believed to be the house of the Virgin Mary later in life, and could have possibly been the house of Jesus. Its located in Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus. One of the main reasons we think its authentic and historical is because a Christian synagogue was built across the street in the 1st century, meaning that early Christians (who were still Jewish) very quickly placed a worship site at Marys house (and maybe Jesuss house). This is coupled with numerous first-century inscriptions mentioning Mary. The current church was built in 1969 over the remains of four earlier churches. The next picture is also from here.

An altar was placed inside the house itself, meaning that the roof and back wall are original to Marys house, as best as we can tell.

This has nothing to do with anything weve studied, since these are 2-3rd century Roman ruins. However, this is an amazing picture that you all need to see.

Moving back to the Hebrew Bible, these are ruins from the city of Hazor, which was once controlled by Solomon. Solomon was King Davids son and built the temple for the Israelites. This is important for two reasons: 1) this used to be a Canaanite town that was destroyed by Joshua (Joshua 11:10-13) following the Israelite Exodus from Egypt. You can see the early Canaanite temple in the bottom right; the wood stick represents the phallic-centric religious worship of the Canaanites (there would have been a phallic altar placed there). 2) We see archeological layers clearly here, with Israelite layers on the top and Canaanite ones on the bottom. After destroying a city, conquering civilizations would just rebuild on top, meaning there are layers and layers of cities.

We still have some remarkably preserved places. This is an old Temple of Pan in Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus spent a lot of time. Pan is the Greek god of shepherds and the wild. This location (but not these alcoves) also held temples to Zeus and to Caesar Augustus. It was probably in front of this temple where some say Jesus proclaimed that he was the Messiah via Peter. See Matthew 16:13-20 in the New Testament.

Who doesnt want to try some new Israeli beer?!