Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 15 January 2021

New Testament archaeological sites revealed

The online site LifeScience recently had two reports about archaeological discoveries in the Holy Land that relate to two very specific New Testament events.

The first concerns what is thought to be the site of Salome’s dance that so entranced King Herod Antipas with fatal consequences for St John the Baptist. This is in the palace complex at Machaerus. As the article makes clear it cannot be ascertained with certainty but the case is well made. In any case it is part of the opening out and understanding of Herod’s palace and a significant insight into the world the king and his followers inhabited. The illustrated post can be read at Dance floor where John the Baptist was condemned to death discovered, archaeologist says

Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, Andrea Solario (Italian, Milan ca. 1465–1524 Milan), Oil on wood


Andrea Solario  Salome with the Head of John the Baptist  1507-9

Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The second report is about further discoveries in the Garden of Gethsemane. I knew evidence of buildings had been found there associated with the cultivation of olives - the name of the garden means oil press. This latest discovery is a mikveh, a ritual bath for those who worked there. In addition there are the remains of a Byzantine pilgrimage church that clearly predates the Muslim conquest. The report about this discovery can be seen at Ritual bath unearthed at site where Judas betrayed Jesus

Giotto  The Kiss of Judas - detail from the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua 1304-6

Image: Emmock’s Blog

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