News Update: Major Discovery for Christian History

Thought I would share this.. I found it on Yahoo News today. It is very exciting and interesting.

Could lead codices prove ‘the major discovery of Christian history’?

By Chris Lehmann

British archaeologists are seeking to authenticate what could be a landmark discovery in the documentation of early Christianity: a trove of 70 lead codices that appear to date from the 1st century CE, which may include key clues to the last days of Jesus’ life. As UK Daily Mail reporter Fiona Macrae writes, some researchers are suggesting this could be the most significant find in Christian archeology since the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947.

The codices turned up five years ago in a remote cave in eastern Jordan—a region where early Christian believers may have fled after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. The codices are made up of wirebound individual pages, each roughly the size of a credit card. They contain a number of images and textual allusions to the Messiah, as well as some possible references to the crucifixion and resurrection. Some of the codices were sealed, prompting yet more breathless speculation that they could include the sealed book, shown only to the Messiah, mentioned in the Book of Revelation. One of the few sentences translated thus far from the texts, according to the BBC, reads, “I shall walk uprightly”–a phrase that also appears in Revelation. “While it could be simply a sentiment common in Judaism,” BBC writer Robert Pigott notes, “it could here be designed to refer to the resurrection.”

But the field of biblical archaeology is also prey to plenty of hoaxes and enterprising fraudsters, so investigators are proceeding with due empirical caution. Initial metallurgical research indicates that the codices are about 2,000 years old–based on the manner of corrosion they have undergone, which, as Macrae writes, “experts believe would be impossible to achieve artificially.”

Beyond the initial dating tests, however, little is confirmed about the codices or what they contain. And the saga of their discovery has already touched off a battle over ownership rights between Israel and Jordan. As the BBC’s Pigott recounts, the cache surfaced when a Jordanian Bedouin saw a menorah—the Jewish religious candleabra—exposed in the wake of a flash flood. But the codices somehow passed into the ownership of an Israeli Bedouin named Hassam Saeda, who claims that they have been in his family’s possession for the past 100 years. The Jordanian government has pledged to “exert all efforts at every level” to get the potentially priceless relics returned, Pigott reports.

Meanwhile, biblical scholars who have examined the codices point to significant textual evidence suggesting their early Christian origin. Philip Davies, emeritus professor of Old Testament Studies at Sheffield University, told Pigott he was “dumbstruck” at the sight of plates representing a picture map of ancient Jerusalem. “There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city,” Davies explained. “There are walls depicted on other pages of these books, too, and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem.”

David Elkington, an ancient religion scholar who heads the British research team investigating the find, has likewise pronounced this nothing less than “the major discovery of Christian history.” Elkington told the Daily Mail that “it is a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church.”

Still, other students of early Christian history are urging caution, citing precedents such as the debunked discovery of an ossuary said to contain Jesus’ bones. New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado observes that since these codices are miniature, they were likely intended for private, rather than liturgical, use. This would likely place their date of origin closer to the 3rd century CE. But only further research and full translation of the codices can fully confirm the nature of the find. The larger lesson here is likely that of Ecclesiastes 3:1—be patient, since “to everything there is a season.”

(David Elkington/Rex Features/Rex USA)

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You thoughts?

What is Lent?

Good evening everyone! I hope everyone is doing well this evening! I have been thinking of some blog topics, and will get to them shortly, but tonight I wanted to share something I found on another blog.

Lent starts tomorrow, so I thought I would share something in regards to that. What am I giving up for lent? I have not clue. Really I have never “celebrated” Lent. I know I probably should, being a Christian and all, but I really don’t.

Anyway.. Enjoy the following post. It is from Damien Parks.

What is LENT?

Since the earliest days of the Christian church LENT has been a season of searching, repentance, and reflection. This forty day period (excluding Sundays) imitates the forty day period spent in the ark by Noah, the period of time spent in the wilderness by Israel and it is through this period an individual also imitates the time Jesus spent in isolation in the wilderness.

These forty days are an invitation to renewal. LENT is not simply a time to give up a vice or make a simple diet change but rather a call to preparation as we approach the celebration of resurrection. It is on Easter that one experiences renewal but through this season of preparation an individual experiences the giving up of everything. This season can take on many forms, social, personal, internal, external. For it is through this forty-day season we are called to truly experience what the human struggle is all about. Throughout the course of this time spent time each and everyday focusing on a few of the following:

– Time of solitude each day.
– Keep a journal reflecting on some of the things you are reading, learning, etc.
– Read a book for inner reflection and growth.
– Focus on the other instead of the personal ask in prayer.
– Make a list of people what you need to be reconciled with.
– Forgive
– Let go of a grudge
– Say “no” to something that is a waste of money, time, etc.
– Find and be a voice for those that have no voice
– Ask others to join you in this season.
– Love.

Are you ready to enter into a season of renewal? What are the next steps for you?

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Until next time readers, God Bless!

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God Bless You!

Good evening readers! I hope you all are doing well tonight. I apologize that I haven’t written anything in a while.

I was thinking about this topic on the way home from work this evening. With the flu and other viruses going around right now, I have been hearing a lot of  “God Bless You”‘s lately. Why do people say that, and do they really mean it?

The answer to the second question is probably not, but I still want to look into the reason we say that after someone sneezes.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Bless you, or God bless you, is a common English expression addressed to a person after they sneeze. The origin of the custom and its original purpose are unknown.
An alternative response to sneezing is the German and Yiddish word Gesundheit.

Origins and legends

Several possible origins are commonly given. The practice of blessing a sneeze, dating as far back as at least AD 77, however, is far older than most specific explanations can account for.

One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of chanters through the streets. At the time, sneezing was thought to be an early symptom of the plague. The blessing (“God bless you!”) became a common effort to halt the disease.

A variant of the Pope Gregory I story places it with Pope Gregory VII, then tells the common story of “Ring Around the Rosey” being connected to the same plague.

A legend holds that it was believed that the heart stops beating and the phrase “bless you” is meant to ensure the return of life or to encourage your heart to continue beating.

Another version says that people used to believe that your soul can be thrown from your body when you sneeze, that sneezing otherwise opened your body to invasion by the Devil or evil spirits, or that sneezing was your body’s effort to force out an invading evil spirit. Thus, “bless you” or “God bless you” is used as a sort of shield against evil.

Alternatively, it may be possible that the phrase began simply as a response for an event that was not well understood at the time.

Another belief is that people used to see sneezing as a sign that God would answer your prayers or an omen of good fortune or good luck. In this case, “Bless you” would be in recognition of that luck.

Tibetan Buddhists believe a sneeze (like meditation, falling asleep, preparing to die) can provide a moment of “clear consciousness,” when people are opened to greater understanding.

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Interesting information here. I don’t know about you, but looking back to older meanings of phrases interests me. So maybe after knowing what the God Bless You signifies, the next time you say it you will remember what it means.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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