What if the Earth is the Sphere?


I published a new version of my article at https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Opinion/29106

This is my maiden article from a new project. The proposed title of my second book is The Enchanting Encounter with the East. The current extract is taken from Unit I titled “THE MIRACULOUS REVIVAL OR THE PAINFUL RECOVERY”.

Every intellectual in the Middle Ages featured the earth as the sphere immovably placed at the heart of the Universe like a diamond set between the breasts. Western scholars featured the globe in a number of images: as an apple, a ball, or the yolk of an egg. On the other hand, the earth was believed to be immovable which was “proved” experimentally.

The article is supplemented with four illustrations, a table, and endnotes. This is one of the images.

File:John Gower world Vox Clamantis.jpg


Bethany Beyond the Jordan


In the article penned by Rami Khouri, Where John Baptised, published in the book “Exploring Jordan: the Other Biblical Land” (BAR, 2008), the archaeologist journalist cites the data conforming the location of the baptism site on the eastern bank of Jordan. In both cases, when this location is mentioned in the Gospel of John (1:26-28 and 10:40), we encounter visitors from Jerusalem. Facing from the “holy city”, the site is indeed beyond the Jordan. On this spot, along the Wadi el-Khurra, Helena, the mother empress of the Roman Empire set up the church of St. John the Baptist in the early IV century CE. Later, here rose a monastery complex containing several churches, the caravanserai to accomodate pilgrims on their way to Mount Nebo, and a cave of John the Baptist.

The alternative site is depicted on the Madaba map of the VI centiry CE where it is placed on the western side of the Jordan. The legend runs that it is Beth Abara (Hebrew: “House of Crossing”), “the place of the baptism of St. John.” The artist was likely facing the site from Madaba and might misunderstood the meaning of “beyond the Jordan”.

The further research, in my view, should be devoted to the bedrock of the Jordan. The author refers to the fact that the river shifted its course many times and that until the mid-20th century it would expand, when flooded, to nearly a mile in width. The bare statement is not covered by the data necessary for the evaluation of this statement. The counter argument says that both sites could function in different times according to the shift of the river. A new challenge for explorers.

Chalcolithic Settlement


An ancient settlement has been found within the municipal area of Jerusalem. It dates from the Chalcolothic period, about the fifth millennium BCE. The dig is rich in findings of life in the thriving settlement whose dwellers engaged in agriculture. Sickle blades for harvesting cereal crops and grinding tools were discovered as well as the bones of sheep and goats. A carnelian bead hints on foreign exchange. As far as I know, the precious stone can be traced to India. Further research should estimate whether this piece of jewellry was locally produced or imported.

For further details see http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.il/2016/02/7000-year-old-settlement-found-in.html#.VsdNIbQrKUl

Sailing Rings of the Western Indian Ocean


Over a year, I have been following Julian Whitewright, a maritime archeologist from University of Southampton, UK. I used his comparison of the efficiency of square and fore-and-aft sails while navigating in the Mediterranean in my own paper-still unpublished-which is devoted to medieval sailing. His research focuses on the Indo-Roman trade throughout the first two centuries CE. The author asserts that the whole assortment of the sailing rig rather than only the shape of a sail should be taken into consideration. He concludes that initially Indian sailors used the square rig which started to give in to a lateen rig from the 9th century CE. This happened under the influence of the Muslim traders who transferred this rig from the Mediteranean. The lateen rig started prevailing in the Mediterranean from the 5-6 centuries CE.

Mesha the Dibonite


I have edited another article based on the Biblical narative. The title is “Mesha the Debonite Recovers His Voice”. The paper tells the story of Mesha, the son of Kemoshyat, king of Dibon who embarks on building the kingdom of Moab and the Moabite nation. He takes advantange of favorable political circumstances, i.e. demise of the House of Omri, the Israelite royal dynasty, in the war with Hazael, king of Aram-Damascus.

The article is published at https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Opinion/27980

Besides the two illustrations, (which I was unable to upload in this version; they could be viewed at https://www.academia.edu/8460457/Mesha_the_Dibonite_Recovers_His_Voice ) I changed the endnotes, putting an emphasis on book sources, and added several paragraphs.

The paper delves into several topics of the Mesha Stele, the king’s memorandum. The author agrees with A. Lemaire, who restores the battered line as the “House of David”, making it the earliest reference to the Judaite royal house and its founder.