As I’m wrapping up my last week here in Israel, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. I am so privileged and so fortunate to … Continue reading That’s a wrap
I’m a bit late sharing this, but I simply have to talk about the Bet Guvrin National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site (yes, Mr. President it IS … Continue reading Caves, Caves… and pigeon poop
The Rise of the Hasmonean Monarchy Many of us know the legend of Chanukah and its essential plot points. How after the death of his father, Mattathias, Judah Maccabeus assumed leadership of the Jewish rebels and (through pure military talent … Continue reading Game of Crowns: Judas Maccabeus
Queer Theorist, Feminist, & Anti-Zionist Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about Boyarin’s scholarship is how he consistently puts Talmudic ‘culture’ and ideas in conversation with modern ones. Specifically, Boyarin is fascinated with the interrelated areas of feminism, gay … Continue reading A Snapshot of Daniel Boyarin: Part III
FRED S. NAIDEN received his Ph.D. in classical philology at Harvard in 2000, and wrote his dissertation on Greek Supplication. While his main interests lie with Greek law, religion, and warfare in the Archaic and classical periods, he has also … Continue reading Smoke Signals | Review
This semester I was introduced to the work of the philosopher Richard Kearny, and his imagining of God left me breathless and intrigued. According to Richard Kearney, God cannot be God unless humanity enables him to be God. In his … Continue reading The God Who May Be: Richard Kearney’s Possible God
Juliana Claassens’ book Mourner Mother Midwife is a breath of fresh air. Claassens liberates her readers from limiting language about God, which she argues has molded society in unhealthy ways. She offers several alternative, biblical images for talking about God … Continue reading Mourner Mother Midwife: A Book Review
Great truths cannot be suppressed…they are like the sun.” Imagine growing up in a world that hated everything about you, where being stoned as a child was commonplace, and where Christians were the face of racism and injustice. This was … Continue reading Spotlight on Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstien
I have a bit of catching up to do, and I apologize dear readers. For the last month I’ve been soaking up the last rays … Continue reading So it begins
Then the whole congregation of the sons of Israel assembled themselves at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them. (Jos 18:1 NAS)
Tel Shiloh or Khirbet Sielun is the fabled spot where the biblical Tabernacle once stood, at least until its destruction in days of Samuel. In modern times, the site is located in the West Bank and, with the discovery of the Tel, has become something of a pawn in the political struggle over this area.
Of course, searching for evidence of a 3,000 year-old tabernacle , or even guessing where it might have stood, is in essence a game of speculation. This isn’t an Indiana Jones movie. Archeology and science can’t fully confirm the biblical story, but these disciplines can give us some tantalizing clues. Excavations of the site have revealed that the area was initially settled in the Middle Bronze period (around 1650 BC) and expanded gradually until its destruction by the Philistines [according to the biblical account] around 1050 BC. Evidence suggests the city was rebuilt during the era of the Israelite monarchy, and also later occupied in the Roman, Byzantine, and Muslim periods. In the 1980s, Israeli archeologist Finkelstein uncovered the remains of burned bones, suggesting a sacrificial cultic system was in place at the site.
One of the Byzantine churches found on the site contained a mosaic inscription that reads:
Our Lord J.C. [Jesus Christ] have pity on Shiloh and its inhabitants. Amen.”
Archeologists have suggested several possibilities for the location of the Tabernacle, including the etched bedrock of the Northern Plateau. Still, we’ll never know for sure.
I even got to peak in the remains of a muslim structure that was built from and on the ruins of older religious buildings.
Khirbet Sielun has become a major attraction for evangelical visitors from the around the world ( I ran into one such group). In recent years, tourism has been really encouraged, hence the new shop, eating area, and plethora of informative (and not so informative) signs. The Migdal Ha-Ro’eh or “the Tower of the Seeing Prophet” was also recently erected on the site (*winces painfully*), complete with a movie reenacting the biblical account for eager viewers. As with many such highly politicized, heavily government-funded archeological projects, the interesting stuff seems to get a bit lost in the rush to push a specific narrative.
Still, this off-the-beaten path site is definitely worth seeing.
Tucked into the Jewish quarter is an unremarkable entrance to a really remarkable museum preserving a glimpse into what the lap of luxury looked like just … Continue reading The Priestly Mansion
שלום חברים (Shalom Friends)! I’m checking in from Nachlaot, Jerusalem after a day of getting my ducks in a row (i.e. figuring out the busses around Jerusalem and checking out Hebrew University). I had been salivating over getting another … Continue reading Detour to a tomb
When I was a kid, my parents took me to an exhibit that was showcasing some fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I remember thinking that … Continue reading Wait…I’m a Fulbright Fellow?