Fifty-seven years ago today Yigael Yadin announced the discovery of letters written by Bar Kochba, the leader of the third Judaean rebellion against Rome (from 132-134 C.E.). These letters reveal that his real name was Shimon Bar Koseba. Tradition holds that the name Bar Kokhba was given to him by Rabbi Akiva, who believed that the rebel leader might be the Messiah. Bar Kochba means “son of a star” and alludes to a portion of Numbers 24:17as a Messianic prophecy: “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Continue reading
The disciples of John the Baptist came to him and said, “We were sent by John to ask you, ‘Are you the One? Or should we look for another?'” Continue reading →
Sometimes the scripture has these often brief, but revealing, almost tongue-in-cheek elements (that I love) in which it feels like the reader is sort of let in on a joke or a story where everything may not quite be what it seems.
In the Book of Judges, the people come to Gideon and say, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Continue reading →
Our first afternoon in Mafraq, John Hollon, two other volunteers, and I had the opportunity to go on a home visit. These are visits where we accompanied one of the local full time servants who provide on-going care and have relationships with Syrian refugees who have moved into the area. For us, this servant was Egab, a man with a huge smile and a humorous joy that seems unending. On our way we make a stop to pick up some diapers, formula, and a few other supplies. These are for a new baby in the family.
Purim is a holiday celebrated by Jewish people for centuries to commemorate the defeat of Haman, who had plotted to have all the Jews massacred in the kingdom of the Xerxes, king of Persia. This sinister plot is revealed and ultimately stopped due to the boldness of Esther and her uncle Mordecai. You can read all about this in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. Continue reading →
Henry Rousso, a Jewish Holocaust historian and Egyptian-born French citizen, was detained by U.S. officials for ten hours after his eleven hour flight from France and was about to be returned to Paris before faculty at Texas A&M University, where he was scheduled to speak, intervened. Continue reading →
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This is a guest post by my good friend, musician and author, Callen Clarke:
When I was a kid, I asked my mom what Jesus looked like. This is the picture she showed me.
The dynamics of conflict and peace, enmity and friendship in the realities of Israeli and Palestinian relationships are far more complex and nuanced than is frequently depicted in U.S. media and rhetoric. Continue reading →
Most often there is no one “biblical position” on a topic, especially modern ones. Continue reading →