Revelations of the
The study of archeology, papyrology, epigrahpy, and numerous
other scientific disciplines will be the main focus of this archive.
purpose is to display the early roots of the "Christian Preterist" view of bible
prophecy -- which sees the "Apocalypse of the Book of Revelation" as
being applied to first
century events. There are a number of exciting recent discoveries that have lent a great deal of
support to this increasingly popular view of the Bible.
1. Looking at the
Dead Sea Scrolls,
and other early papyrus finds, it is clear that the Pret view of the
"Roman-Judean" apocalypse held currency in Palestine since at least 63 B.C.,
when the Romans first came upon the scene in Jerusalem. (The historical
Christian flight from Jerusalem also
plays a part in this area of study.)
2. At Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, a papyrus scrap pile has yielded the earliest known
fragment of the book of Revelation. The text is
Revelation 13:18, which holds
the infamous "Mark of the Beast" passage. Instead of the traditionally held
number of "666", this fragment makes the number "616". This is significant for
the reason that it seems to confirm the identification of the
Beast as Nero.
3. Heraculaneaum's "Villa of the Papyri" is an ancient Roman library that was
preserved intact by the Volcanic blow of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Among other
important new discoveries there, it is possible that an early copy of Josephus'
"Wars of the Jews" is contained in this cache. The book was very fashionable to
own when it came out, being personally endorsed by Emperor Titus himself. If
found, it would be the earliest known version of the work to exist, and would
serve to answer many questions about redactions and additions to the text which
portrays the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.70 as the end of the age. There were also
numerous other works on this war which have not as of yet been discovered and
may be found there.
These are just three examples of exciting discoveries which shed light on early
Jewish and Christian views of Bible eschatology. Information will be added as
time allows, and as breaking news develops. Thanks for reading!
Curator of PreteristArchive.com
Ancient Syrian Manuscripts Found In Egyptian Monastery
the library was probably established soon after the monastery’s foundation
in the 6th century, it was enlarged after a visit by abbot Moses of
Nisibis to Baghdad in 927, when he returned with hundreds of early
Syriac manuscripts. "
Ancient Manuscripts Found In Egyptian Monastery
The Monastery of Deir al-Surian
A cache of manuscripts up to 1,500 years old
has been discovered in a Coptic monastery in the Western Desert of
Egypt. The find was made at Deir al-Surian, the Monastery of the
Syrians, which already has one of the richest ancient libraries in
Christendom. Set in the desert sands and virtually cut off from the
outside world until recently, Deir al-Surian traces its roots back to
the earliest period of Christian monasticism. Established in the 6th
century, it was soon occupied by monks from Syria and Mesopotamia and is
currently home to 200 Egyptian Copts.
Deir al-Surian is in what was once called the
Holy Desert of Scetis, in Wadi al-Natrun, a valley 60 miles south of
Alexandria. Approaching it across the sands, the 40-foot-high walled
complex, with its buildings and tower, appears like a ship--and hence
the tradition that its architecture is based on the design of Noah's
Ark. Inside, the monastery is centered on the Church of the Holy Virgin,
built in the 7th century.
A fragment of a manuscript
A single completed manuscript and hundreds of
fragments were found when reconstruction work was undertaken on the
ancient tower, which is probably well over a millennium old. The library
had originally been established there, since it was the most protected
part of the monastery, but the first floor collapsed around five
centuries ago, and a new wooden floor was simply inserted above.
Recently the rubble of the earlier floor was removed during renovations,
and curator Father Bigoul found a complete manuscript, embedded in a
section of disused water pipe. (It is unclear if it was hidden there for
safekeeping or got there by accident.) The parchment text has now been
identified by Professor Lucas van Rompay of Duke University as a
9th-century Book of the Holy Hierothos.
A painstaking sifting of the rubble removed
from the ancient tower also led to the discovery of around 600 fragments
of early manuscripts. The earliest one identified, from around 500 A.D.,
is a single page from a hagiographical text, and this has now been
linked with a manuscript in Russia. The main part of the Deir al-Surian
manuscript had been acquired in 1851 by Auguste Pacho, an agent
working for the British Museum, but he sold it to the Imperial Library
in St. Petersburg.
The fragments found in the rubble of the tower
are in very poor condition and will now require considerable
conservation. For instance, the remains of a 9th-century ascetical text
were found in the form of a half-inch-thick block of stuck papyri. When
this was recently separated, it ended up as 83 fragments. These have not
yet been "reassembled," and the task has been likened to completing a
double-sided jigsaw puzzle with hundreds of missing pieces. br>
The monastery under its scaffolding
Deir al-Surian's manuscripts have never been
properly catalogued or studied by Western scholars, and until a
conservation project was initiated three years ago, its literary
treasures had been inaccessible to outsiders. Although the library was
probably established soon after the monastery's foundation in the 6th
century, it was enlarged after a visit by abbot Moses of Nisibis
to Baghdad in 927, when he returned with hundreds of early Syriac
From the 11th century, Coptic, Christian-Arabic
and Ethiopic texts were added. As early as the 17th century, Deir al-Surian
attracted the attention of European bibliophiles, and from then onwards
there were numerous attempts to purchase manuscripts from the monks,
sometimes above board and often by subterfuge. By the early 20th
century, around 1,000 manuscripts had been removed, most of which ended
up in the British Library, as well as in the Vatican Library, the
Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and the St. Petersburg Library. The
monks then closed the door to scholars, locking away the remaining
texts. Until two years ago, the 40 most important ancient Syriac texts
were stored in a box in the personal cell of the bishop. Despite the
losses, what remains at Deir al-Surian is an astonishing collection,
comprising 1,000 manuscripts and a further 2,000 or so fragments.
Deir al-Surian's library was moved from the
ancient tower to a new building in 1970. Conditions in the library
fluctuate wildly, with temperatures inside the third-floor room ranging
from 5 to 35 degrees Celcius and relative humidity from 30% to 80%.
There is a kitchen on the ground floor, which obviously poses an
additional fire risk, and smoke alarms were only fitted two years ago.
London paper conservator Elizabeth
Sobczynski has visited Deir al-Surian to advise, and she is the
first outsider to have examined the entire library. She is very
disturbed at what she found: "Paper has become brittle and is suffering
from discoloration and mechanical damage. Parchment has been damaged
from mishandling and bad environmental conditions. Iron and copper based
inks have degraded, and there are many instances of ink suffering from
flaking and lifting. Exposure to moisture has resulted in corrosion and
caused very serious perforations to parchment and paper. Silverfish,
mice and other pests have caused further damage."
Bishop Mattaos, the abbot, has now
decided that urgent action must be taken to introduce modern
conservation techniques and improve environmental conditions. The first
manuscript to be treated was a 10th-century Syriac text of the Homilies
of Jacob of Sarug, which consists of 155 loose folios on very brittle
paper. Five other manuscripts, from the 6th to 8th centuries have also
been selected for urgent conservation treatment.
Sobczynski, together with Professor van Rompay,
has now set up the Deir al-Surian Conservation Project, with support
from the U.K.'s Institute of Paper Conservation and three universities
(Leiden, Louvain and Duke). She is now establishing a charitable
foundation to raise funds. Plans are being made to send teams of
conservators to work with Father Bigoul on a regular basis. The first
priorities are to improve storage conditions and undertake conservation
work on the most vulnerable manuscripts. Installing air-conditioning is
also vital, but building a dedicated library is the long-term goal.
Earlier this year Father Bigoul visited
the U.K. for two months, to gain experience by working at the Royal
Library at Windsor, the Wellcome Institute and the British Library.
While at the British Library, he had the opportunity to examine many of
the manuscripts that his monastery had lost in the 19th century. Father
Bigoul is reconciled to the losses, believing that the most important
thing is for them to be well cared for. As he told The Art Newspaper:
"When I saw the Deir al-Surian manuscripts at the British Library, I was
so happy to touch books which had been written by our saintly fathers. I
felt that I was meeting the people who wrote them, and it was like being
reunited with my family."
Unearthing history in the heart of Rome "Next, to the joy of
Carandini’s little army of helpers, there surfaced bits of the original
boundary wall around the sanctuary of Vesta itself, a perimeter
enclosing the living quarters of Rome’s first kings. Thus, announced
Carandini with some satisfaction, he had brought to a conclusion a
painstaking, 20-year-long dig in the forums aimed at finding where and
how and in what shape Rome had begun. The finds concluded with the
September discovery of the very origin of Rome, which turned out to be a
sacred defended enclave of some 10,000 sqm, the initial heart of the
The Once and Future City - "The first major
archeological digs in Jerusalem since the 1980s have uncovered some of
the most significant - and the most highly controversial - finds ever
discovered in the area known by most, and revered by many, as Ir David -
"The City of David."
Boys find Second Temple burial cave near Beit Shemesh "In a scene out of the Hollywood
Indiana Jones, three Israeli children
stumbled upon an ancient Second Temple cave in the Beit Shemesh area filled with
skeletons and ossuaries, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.
The boys, ages 11-13, who discovered the heretofore unknown cave during a
scout's cave-hunt, were awarded a certificate of recognition for reporting their
finds to the Antiquities Authority."
Church of Apostles found on
A Lost Scrap of Tobit from the Schoyen Collection - From Tobit 14
"Indeed, everything that was spoken by the prophets of Israel, whom God
sent, will occur. None of all their words will fail, but all will come true
at their appointed times. So it will be safer in Media than in Assyria and
Babylon. For I know and believe that whatever God has said will be fulfilled
and will come true; not a single word of the prophecies will fail. All of
our kindred, inhabitants of the land of Israel, will be scattered and taken
as captives from the good land; and the whole land of Israel will be
Move the prison, save the church, archeologists say - "The Israeli
Prison System said the experience of helping to excavate the site had
gone a long way toward rehabilitating some of the prisoners. More than
60 prisoners (none of them Palestinian security prisoners) worked on the
excavations and a few of them were so happy with the work, they have
asked for jobs with the Israel Antiquities Authority, when they complete
their prison sentence, said IPS spokeswoman Stelser. "If this is not
rehabilitation, you tell me what is," Stelser said.
Early Christian Church Found in Jail Compound
| IsraCast - "Biblical Armageddon - where St John the
Divine (Revelation 16:16) prophesied the war to end all wars, is now the
high-security prison of Megiddo, where the Israelis send the hardest
Palestinian cases. A mosaic floor, inscribed with an ornate
Greek dedication to "the God Jesus Christ," was discovered during
ground-clearing for a new wing. " They found three other
inscriptions and a medallion decorated with a pair of fish. One
inscription was dedicated to Gaianus, a Roman officer who paid for the
mosaics out of his own pocket. A second commemorated four women,
Primilia, Kiraka, Dorothea and Crista; while a third praised
"God-loving" Akeftos, who donated the table as a memorial to Jesus."
Archaeologists Discover Ancient Church (Yahoo) - The dig took place over the
past 18 months at the Megiddo prison in northern
Israel, with the most significant discoveries taking place in
the past two weeks, Tepper said. Scholars believe Megiddo to be the New
Testament's Armageddon, the site of a final war between good and evil."Normally we have from this period in our region historical evidence
from literature, not archaeological evidence," he said. "There is no
structure you can compare it to, it is a very unique find." Channel Two said there is speculation that Israel may move the prison
and open a tourist attraction in its place. "If it's between a prison
and a church, I would like a church," Zias said. "You can put a prison
After 100 Years,
Acient Papyrus Returns to UC Berkeley - "The papyri, which come
primarily from mummy wrappings in the Egyptian city of Tebtunis,
span a period of nearly 600 years when the Egyptian empire was ruled by
the Greeks and later the Romans, Faulhaber said. "
Cremona Dig Confirms Tacitus - "Excavations in Cremona have confirmed a
legendary description of the city's destruction in December 69 AD by the
Latin historian Tacitus . "Such was the end
of Cremona, 286 years after its foundation," he concluded . The sack of
Cremona occurred in the "Year of the Four Emperors", the period of civil war
that followed Nero's forced suicide in 68 AD."
Biblical Pool of Siloam Discovered - "This pool was destroyed in 586 BC
by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, but rebuilt in the 1st century BC before
being destroyed again in 70 AD by Titus, the man who would become the Roman
emperor. When the workmen crafted the steps centuries ago, they buried four
coins in the plaster, all of which date from 103 to 76 BC. In addition, in
the soil in one corner of the pool, the archaeologists found a dozen coins
that date from 66 to 70 AD, indicating that the pool was being filled in at
Revelations - Philip St. Vincent Brennan:
Sancta Sindone: Shroud of Turin - Holiest of Relics or Hoariest of Hoaxes
Megiddo Christian Church
Scientific Summary of the Authority's excavation at the Megiddo Prison
and its recommendation for moving the prison - "The Antiquities
Authority recommends moving the prison and places utmost importance on
preservation of the archeological assemblage uncovered in the
excavations. This preference stems from the magnitude of these finds and
their significance for culture and heritage not only of Israel, but for
the whole world, and will enable the preservation and display of the
site and the mosaic floor, in their original context, integrated with
their environs. "
Find could be one of the earliest churches in the
THE WASHINGTON POST
Monday, November 7, 2005
MEGIDDO, Israel -- Israeli state archaeologists have discovered mosaics,
pottery and other remains of a Roman-era Christian building on the grounds of a
high-security prison and say the site could be the oldest public place of
Christian worship ever uncovered in Israel and perhaps one of the earliest such
sites in the world.
The mosaic floor of the structure was discovered last week by an Israeli
prisoner working on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The agency has been excavating the Megiddo compound for more than a year to
ensure that nothing of historic value is lost during an ongoing renovation.
At a news conference Sunday, Yardena Alexandre, a spokeswoman for the
authority, called the discovery "one of the most important finds for the history
of early Christianity."
State archaeologists said that judging by the age of broken pottery
discovered on the floor, the distinctive mosaic style, inscriptions citing Jesus
and the apparent pre-Byzantine design of the building, the structure was most
likely a public place of Christian worship that dates to the mid-third or early
If that's true, the find would join the early third-century Christian
gathering place at Dura Europus in Syria as one of the oldest of its kind.
At that time, near the end of the Roman Empire, Christianity was an outlawed
religion practiced in the Holy Land in the clandestine chapels of private homes.
Archaeologists involved in the excavation were reluctant to describe the
remains as a church because the term was not used during that period. But they
said its inscribed dedications to community figures, mosaics of fish and
specific mention of "the God Jesus Christ" were proof that it was a public
building used in Christian worship, the sort of structure archaeologists had
read about in historical texts but had never uncovered.
"The most important thing about this is that it is the oldest Christian
building we have found in archaeological form," said Yotam Tepper, the
archaeologist in charge of the excavation. "The problem is that we didn't have
churches at that time."
Some archaeologists not involved in the project said the conclusions, though
tantalizing, might be premature given that only 10 percent of the site has been
excavated. Workers have yet to turn up a dated inscription or other evidence
that firmly establishes the year the structure was built.
Zeev Weiss, an archaeology professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem who
runs the largest excavation project in the Galilee region, said: "There is no
question that what they have found is connected to Christianity. The only
questions concern the design of the structure, the use of the structure and the
date. To my mind, they don't really know what they have."
The Israeli army built the Megiddo prison in 1982, and the compound now holds
1,200 high-security Palestinian inmates. Earlier this year, the army turned over
the collection of tent encampments to the national prison authority, which has
been replacing the tents with hardened cellblocks.
Archaeologists were well aware of the rich history of Megiddo, also known as
Armageddon, the place where the Bible says the ultimate battle of good and evil
will be waged. Because of that history, archaeological excavation has preceded
each phase of the prison's expansion.
Israeli prisoners, the only inmates allowed to work inside the grounds, began
about six weeks ago surveying the area where the mosaic floor was found. It was
scheduled to be cleared for construction two days after the discovery was made.
Covered by scaffolding and a black tarp, the site is roughly the size of a
tennis court, with fragile mosaics covering approximately half of it.
Tepper said the building does not follow the basilica plan,
characterized by colonnades along a central nave leading to a rounded apse. He
said the simple design suggests that it predates Christianity's legalization.
The oldest definitively dated church in Israel is in Ramle, where,
inscriptions say, the structure was built in 376.
Some archaeologists believe that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in
Jerusalem, which tradition says marks the spot where Jesus was crucified and
entombed, was built in 330 by Constantine's mother. This site would predate
those by decades.
The base of a column is visible along the low ruins of one wall.
Archaeologists say it arched over the floor to support a stone roof, indicating
that the building was probably among the grandest in the area.
The intricacy of the mosaic floors also suggests that it was more than a
private home, archaeologists say, although some of the region's wealthy
residents might have had such design flourishes in their houses.
In the coming weeks, Israeli officials will determine what to do with the
site. The options include digging up the area and moving it or separating it
from the rest of the prison and making it the centerpiece of a small museum.
Date: 07 Sep 2007
Mt. Vesuvius in post 70 A.D? What would the Vesuvious eruption look like
from Patmos Greece? Could the darkened skies, the earthquakes and the
the rumblings refer to Vesuvious?
Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen
from the sky to the earth. It was given the key for the passage to the
It opened the passage to the abyss, and smoke came up out of the passage
like smoke from a huge furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the
smoke from the passage.
Date: 27 Oct 2007
On the Jerusalem escape tunnel, see historian Norman Golb's article in
the Forward, at http://www.forward.com/articles/11873/.
It appears this was only one of many such tunnels; others were found
during the 19th century.