Category Archives: History

Bethlehem to the Temple

Tonight at church services we watched the first episode of Following the Messiah from Appian Media.

I promised some friends to share a few of my pictures from the same locations, so here they are.

You can also watch the episode by visiting the Appian Media website. There is a link to the video on the first page.

Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem - Birthplace of Jesus - Christmas EveThe Church of the Nativity is an interesting structure as it contains different sections for the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics. They both share sections of the Grotto of the Nativity, a cave that is the traditional location where Jesus was born.

Church of the Nativity - Grotto of the Nativity - Birthplace of Jesus - Bethlehem - Christmas Eve - 14 Point StarOne of the places shown in the video is the traditional spot of the birth of Jesus which is marked with a silver star with fourteen points which represent the generations in the genealogy of Jesus.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:17 ESV)

The star is shown in the video, but here is a picture that shows the entire star.

Bethlehem Manger, O Little Town, Away in a Manger, Traditional location of mangerJust a few meters away from the traditional birth location is the traditional location of the manger where Jesus was laid. If you look closely you can see a painting behind the screen that shows Jesus laying in a manger.

Mangers were sometimes carved out of natural rock formations, which may have happened for the original. The manger here is made from marble, but of course was constructed much later.

There was a lady with the group of tourists just ahead of us who had a little baby doll that she laid in the manger before praying over it.

Shepherd, Turkey, Hattusha, Hittite CapitalThe video also had a section showing shepherds in the field. This picture is not from Israel, but from Turkey, but does show a shepherd watching part of his flock.

 warning inscription tGentiles, Court of Women, trumpet, SabbathThe narrators talk about Joseph and Mary bringing Jesus to the Temple on the eighth day. They share information while standing on the Roman road that passed under the large arched stairway that is in the middle of this illustration.

The road is damaged from the large stones that were thrown down during the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.

After the video I shared additional information and answered questions that others had. One of the things I shared was about these stones.

One of the stones is shown on the right in the picture above. It has an inscription on it that indicates it is where the priest would stand to blow the trumpet at the start of sabbath each week.

There is a replica of this stone in the place where it ended up on the road after being pushed from the top of the Temple Mount.

We really enjoyed watching the episode, especially as some of us are going to Israel later this year and will see some of the same places.


It’s all Greek to Me

Last week at the library book sale I picked up some books about the Ancient Greeks.

I know that at some point I will want to find out more about different ancient cultures, so pick up books when I can find them at a good bargain. The books I will share tonight will be tucked away for future reference.

I also like to have different levels of detail about history of different cultures and also works that have been written in different times. It is sometimes interesting to see the progression of what is known about the history of a culture.

pelican history of Greece, A. R. Burn, Greek HistoryThe first is The Pelican History of Greece by A. R. Burn. This book was originally published as Traveller’s History of Greece in 1965.

The book follows the history of Greece from Prehistory  to about 30 B.C.

Penguin, The Greeks, H.D. F. Kitto, Greek HistoryThe Greeks by H. D. F. Kitto was first published in 1951. The approach for this book is a bit different than the previous one as it is less of a sequential history and more of a study of the culture in different eras.

The Portable Greek Historians: The Essence of Herodutus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, M. I. FinleyThe Portable Greek Historians: The Essence of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon and Polybius is edited by M. I. Finley. The book has selections from these four Greek historians. I of course have more complete works of some of them in my stacks.

Greek Society, Frank J. Frost, Greek CultureGreek Society by Frank J. Frost was published in 1971. This book follows Greek society a bit further up to the 5th century A.D. and also benefits from additional years of archaeological exploration and historical research.

One interesting note is that H. D. F. Kitto reviewed most of the manuscript before it was published. At that time he was in his 70’s.

Myths, Legends, Greeks, Nicola Ann SissonsI shared this book before in my post Historic Book Acquisitions IV.

Myths and Legends of the Greeks compiled by Nicola Ann Sissons is a collection of classic Greek tales. The book is for intermediate readers and has nice illustrations by Rafaello Busoni.

The books are now tucked away for later reading, but not before browsing through them looking at maps, illustrations and chapter listings.

Do you have a favorite event in Greek History?