What’s New In Religion?

It is the weekend and a Sunday so what better time to post on religion?

There is always news about religion….sad part is that much of it is hoaxes or fake……and then there are those mental midgets that call themselves Christian and yet they lie, name call, accuse, show NO compassion or tolerance…..sounds like a complete disregard of the teachings of their deity………

Anyway there have been some discoveries that need to be mentioned……

Ancients apparently used various papyrus documents to create mummy masks—including what may be the earliest known fragment of a New Testament gospel, LiveScience reports. Confirming information that leaked in 2012, professor Craig Evans says he’s among the researchers who peeled apart the glued layers of a mummy mask and discovered a Gospel of Mark fragment dating to 90AD or earlier. That’s at least a decade older than any known gospel copy, so the fragment could potentially show how the gospel was changed over time. The find will be published this year, but Evans won’t say more because he’s signed a non-disclosure agreement. In fact, he says, he’s only talking now because another researcher already blabbed about it. “[We] have to honor the [privacy] request of the museums, universities, private owners, so forth,” says Evans.

Other scholars are fuming over the practice of ungluing the ancient papyri, saying it destroys bona fide mummy masks. Evans is “totally oblivious to the destruction of archaeological material,” writes an archaeologist in what LiveScience calls a “scathing blog post.” (But Evans says the masks are just ordinary people’s “low-end,” papyrus-and-glue fare—not the Pharaohs’ magnificent gold versions.) Another blogger contends that Josh McDowell, “a Christian evangelical apologist with no scholarly credentials,” is part of the project and admits in a video “that he doesn’t know what he is doing.” Evans, however, says the team will recover hundreds “if not thousands” of papyri from the first three centuries AD, including Christian documents, “classical Greek texts, business papers … personal letters” and copies of stories by Homer.

There is more many……….

Some ancient Egyptians apparently used a tiny “gospel,” believing it could tell their future—even though its oracles were rather vague. Princeton University professor Marie Luijendijk discovered a 1,500-year-old book called the “Gospel of the Lots of Mary” and figured it would tell Jesus’ life story or collect his sayings, LiveScience reports. Then she read its 37 oracles, a few of which mention Jesus, and realized “gospel” was used in the original sense of “good news.” And like other “lot books,” it was designed to predict the future. The book’s title “is very significant,” says Luijendijk. It indicates the importance of predictions “being [seen] as good news. Nobody who wants to know the future wants to hear bad news in a sense.” She says the book’s owner randomly selected oracles and interpreted them to predict the future.

The text is inspired by Mary, “the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, she to whom Gabriel the Archangel brought the good news,” the book says. Written in the Egyptian language of Coptic, the oracles include material from Matthew, Luke, Proverbs, Job, and Psalms, and are “Christian in nature,” the Daily Mail reports. They include advice like, “If you are patient a little, the matter will prosper through the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and “Go forward immediately. This is a thing from God.” Remarkably, the book is just 3 inches by 2.7 inches, possibly to conceal it from church leaders who frowned on divination. The book was also inexpensive to produce, New Historian notes, and appears much used, with ancient fingerprints still in the margins.

People are running all over the Middle East trying to find historical fact to make their points…….

Curious to see the possible site of Jesus’ trial? The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem has begun offering tours to the suspected remains of Herod’s palace, where some say Jesus was tried and sentenced to death, the Washington Post reports. “There is, of course, no inscription stating it happened here, but everything—archaeological, historical, and gospel accounts—all falls into place and makes sense,” says a US archaeology professor. The Gospel of John, for example, describes the trial as occurring on uneven stone pavement close to a gate, details that jibe with earlier discoveries near the tower. A minister who runs a nearby Anglican congregation (including heritage center and guesthouse) says the discovery confirms “what everyone expected all along.” The tour costs about $11.40 for adults and $8.90 for students, the International Business Times reports.

The finding began 15 years ago with a plan to expand the Tower of David Museum, and started digging under the floor in an adjacent building that had been a prison under the Ottoman Turks and British rule. Archaeologists found suspected remains of Herod’s palace, where some believe Jesus stood trial. Others debate the location, which is described in the Gospels as Pontius Pilate’s “praetorium,” a Latin word meaning a general’s tent in a Roman camp. Whether Pontius had his praetorium in a military barracks or Herod’s palace seems open to dispute. So will the old prison become a new Christian holy site? “I don’t think that will happen anytime soon,” says the Anglican minister, who adds that places only become holy after people “have gone there for hundreds of years, prayed, cried, and even celebrated there.” (Archaeologists may also have recently found a site where Jesus preached.)

On stolen land the Israelis have possibly found where Jesus preached…….in a historical sweep of the land before settlements are built……..

Israel requires that archaeologists perform a sweep of any historically significant land where construction is planned, and they were surprised to find a 20-acre parcel of land along the western side of the Sea of Galilee may have ties to Jesus. Haaretz revisits a story that has the Rev. Juan Solana at its root. The Catholic priest set out a decade ago to purchase four plots near the Israeli town of Migdal. Solana’s goal: to build a resort for Christian pilgrims there. In anticipation of that, in 2009 architects with the Israel Antiquities Authority began to dig, expecting to find nothing of note. Instead, they found the remnants of a synagogue that experts believe was originally constructed in the year 1AD. The Wall Street Journal earlier this year described it as the only known one from the period in Galilee; the Bible describes Jesus as “teaching in [Galilee’s] synagogues, preaching the good news.”

In terms of its location, Migdal was named for the ancient town of Magdala, where Mary Magdalene is believed to have hailed from, and the dig revealed the site in question “was not just near Magdala; this was Magdala,” as the Journal puts it. In Haaretz’s telling, experts say it’s probable that Jesus preached there. Dina Gorni, one of the archaeologists who worked on the dig, was a bit more cautious in a 2012 interview with the Global Mail. Gorni notes the synagogue was likely built to hold 120, though thousands lived in Magdala. “We believe, we suggest, that this was a special community, not large, that put itself at the edge of the main Jewish village,” said Gorni. “They may be connected to Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We know that Jesus was not involved in the main Jewish community and preferred to live aside. Perhaps he was the leader around whom this synagogue was built.”

A tour of the religious news of the year so far……….just in case you were interested…..keep in mind that there is a wealth of hoaxes coming out of Israel……Biblical artifacts are big business……..