Did baby Jesus did spend that first Christmas with Mary and Joseph alone in the barn of a public building there in Bethlehem or in a domestic stable surrounded by family?Read More
It is a dramatic and gruesome account recorded in two of the Gospels of the New Testament. Herod Antipas, son of King Herod the Great, had John the Baptist executed after promising to grant any request of a woman who had pleased him with her dance. She asked for the head of John.
According to Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100) these events took place in AD 29 at Herod’s mountaintop citadel of Machaerus. The remains of Machaerus sit above the Dead Sea’s east shore in modern Jordan. Now, a Hungarian Franciscan team of archaeologists headed by excavation director Győző Vörös think they have discovered the pavilion at Machaerus where the deadly dance of Salome, the daughter of Herodias, elicited the fatal pronouncement.
The Bible does not say what the literacy rate was in ancient Israel, but it does indicate that it was not rare. Now evidence shows that in ancient Israel literacy was not the exclusive domain of a handful of royal scribes, so there is no need to doubt the biblical accounts on these matters. As was the case in last week’s Update on architecture, this emphasis on writing and education came centuries prior to the classical Greeks. We look forward to hearing about more discoveries in the future that will continue to impact this subject