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Caesarea Maritima

Many apologies to any- and everyone who has grown accustomed to me posting virtually every day on the blog. I left NC for Israel on Tuesday, flew overnight to Tel Aviv, and have been on the run ever since with scarcely a free minute to call my own. Today is … Saturday (I think), so it must be Tiberias….

I am hoping that from now on I’ll be able to squeeze in some time to do a daily post – but I can make no promises. I am on a tour group with for the UNC General Alumni Association. There are 25 of us; I’m giving a few lectures; and we are hitting some of the real highlights of Israel. We spent a couple of nights in Tel Aviv; spent last night on a kibbutz on the Golan Heights, within view of Lebanon and Syria, and now are in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for two nights. It would take a long time indeed to talk about the highlights of the trip so far, but I will talk about several over the course of the next few days.

Tel Aviv was terrifically interesting – I’ve never been there before, except in and out of the airport a few times. It was the least “religious” of our destinations, in that there are no traditional holy places there. It is a commercial and cultural center, a secular, lively place. But, on the whole, not hugely relevant to the blog.

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Capernaum and the “Jesus Boat”
Off to Israel

24

Comments

  1. Avatar
    toddfrederick  May 4, 2013

    Is the Pilot inscription now located in Caesarea? I was there in 1962 and don’t recall seeing it…I will check my photos…but do recall seeing a photo of it in a publination (probably BAR). Many people seem to be under the illusion that Jesus was a hugely popular religious figure during his own time when in fact that he spent most of his life in Galilee and was not known by many people at all…scripture tends to exagurate considerably. Enjoy your trip.

  2. Avatar
    Adam0685  May 4, 2013

    Have any cool pictures you can post?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2013

      I’m afraid I’m technoligically inept and not able to! (I’m actually not taking that many photos since I’ve been here before and will be here again….) Wish I could though….

      • Avatar
        billgraham1961  May 12, 2013

        If you invite me along for your next trip, I’ll be happy to take photos and post them for you.

  3. Avatar
    Yentyl  May 4, 2013

    Awesome. Did you hear the war planes going over to attack Syria?

  4. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  May 4, 2013

    It’s lucky we know much of anything about what really happened 2,000 years ago which was way before the printing press, etc. and it’s hard to imagine that anyone can really be “certain” about much of any of it. Have a good trip. You have blogged more than enough during the past year, much more than what similar bloggers write. The information about there being no real history of Pilate is helpful and confirms my above point.

  5. Robertus
    Robertus  May 4, 2013

    Both Philo and Josephus mention Pilate, both wrote in Greek, Josephus writing in Rome. I’m sure you know this, of course, but I’ve noted a number of people misinterpreting your point about official Roman historians and believing that until the discovery of the Pilate inscription there had been no extra-biblical for Pontius Pilate.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2013

      Yes, by Greek and Roman I mean non-Jewish and non-Christian. When I write about this in my books, I do try to explain this fairly carefully, but one cannot control readers!

  6. Avatar
    maxhirez  May 4, 2013

    “…apologies to any- and everyone who has grown accustomed to me posting virtually every day on the blog.”

    For goodness sake Doc, enjoy yourself! Don’t worry about us. We can wait a few days between posts. (Okay, not many, but a few! 😉

  7. Avatar
    hschick  May 5, 2013

    Prof. Ehrman this is a bit off the present subject but have you ever heard of an organization named “Apologia Academy”? They posted this on Face Book.
    “How do we know we have an accurate copy of the original New Testament?

    One piece of evidence is that we have more original manuscripts that were written within just 25 years of events actually happening. Other ancient writings have much wider gaps – the New Testament has the smallest gap between the events happening and the NT manuscript. Some scholars say Corinthians may have been written within 10 to 15 years of the events happening.” Larry Blythe, Director of the Apologia Academy, speaking at The Teach Them Diligently Convention.

    • Avatar
      hschick  May 5, 2013

      I wrote the following comment. “Mr. Blythe is misinformed. Even the conservative biblical scholar, Dr. Daniel Wallace of the of the Dallas Theological Seminary, stated in Feb. 2012, “These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first.” This is from http://www.dts.edu/read/wallace-new-testament-manscript-first-century/ Dr. Wallace was referring to “fragments” found and not whole books. He goes on to say, “Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. ” This is totally at odds with Mr. Blythe’s comment. Perhaps Mr. Blythe needs to concentrate less on enthusiasm and more on accuracy if he is engaged in “teaching”.
      In the Wallace article, he refers to one unnamed paleographer saying the fragment was certainly first century. Is this normally consider sufficient authentication?
      My apologies if you have dealt with this before.

      • Bart Ehrman
        Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2013

        Yes, I’ve dealt with it several times on the blog. We all await with great anticipation the publication of the fragments that Dan Wallace has announced!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2013

      Yikes. I’d say Larry and I do not see eye to eye! What does the date of 1 Corinthians have to do with anything? After *what* events???

  8. Avatar
    Pat Ferguson  May 5, 2013

    Try to relax and enjoy your trip. I don’t think anyone on this side of the planet expects you post every day. Post when you can and, P L E A S E be careful!

    (You do know what an incoming rocket sounds like, right? 😀 )

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2013

      Not really. And I’m not too eager to find out! But really, my drive to the airport in NC was more dangerous!

  9. Avatar
    dennis  May 5, 2013

    That bit about Jesus probably never having seen a single Roman soldier in his life prior to the last week of it was a shocker to me . I had imagined that the ” Evil Age ” the immanent Apocalypse was supposed to end was felt most keenly in daily abrasive contact with arrogant and abusive Roman soldiers . Who , then , were the Children of Darkness who were going to get their comeuppance and thus allow the New Age to blossom ?

  10. Avatar
    tooronga  May 17, 2013

    Your description of Caesarea Maritima makes it an unlikely destination for Peter after his miraculous escape from prison. Did the author of Acts probably mean Caesarea Philippi, up north?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 19, 2013

      What makes it unlikely? (I’ts a genuine question!) My sense — I haven’t thought about this much — is that if the NT mentions Caesarea without specifying further, that it probably means “the” Caesarea (maritima).

      • Avatar
        tooronga  May 19, 2013

        I gather from Acts that King Herod (Herod Agrippa 1) was very unhappy about Peter’s escape to the extent that 4 squads of soldiers (16 men?) were ordered to be executed. This Herod was a childhood and helpful friend of Emperor Claudius, who had extended Herod’s rule to include Judea and Samaria.
        Despite Peter having been summoned to Caesarea by Cornelius and apparently accepting Gentiles to baptism in the name of Jesus, (the historical truth of which I find problematic), I feel it more probable that as an escapee on the run, Peter would not go to a pagan/Gentile predominant city, which Herod visited. I feel that Peter more probably went north to familiar territory, close to the border, where he was less obvious with his Galillean accent.
        Acts tells us that Peter had addressed and converted residents from Mesopotamia. If he went there he would have been beyond the reach of Herod and the Romans. I believe that there were plenty of Jews in the land of Babylon for Peter to evangelize.
        THANK YOU for asking me to explain my assumption. As a result, in formulating this response, I have learned that NRSV version of Acts 12:19 is open to question. The Greek manuscripts I have accessed courtesy of the Uni. of Munster Institute do not indicate a name – no Peter. I have also learnt that many other bibles have either “he” or “Herod” instead of Peter. If it was Herod who went to Caesarea, then it seems even less likely that Peter would have stayed there
        As to “another place”, I still prefer Peter being beyond Roman rule, and with those whose language and religion are familiar. This perhaps argues against the two Caesareas in Asia Minor, although one of those may fit with the addressees of 1 Peter.

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