A Nine-Year-Old Boy Discovers a Bead from the Era of the First Temple in Jerusalem

The Temple Mount Sifting Project allows non-specialists of all ages to aid archaeologists in the gargantuan task of sorting through large piles of soil displaced from the area of Judaism’s holiest site. After suspending operations for some time due to the coronavirus, it recently resumed, which led a Jerusalem schoolboy named Binyamin Milt to discover a gold bead that the experts at first dismissed as a modern object. Later, it was shown to Gabriel Barkay, one of the project’s directors:

When [Barkay] held the bead, his first response was: “I recognize this type of bead!” and he recalled that he found several similar items when excavating burial systems from the First Temple period in Katef Hinom [in Jerusalem]. There the beads were made of silver, but were identical in shape and in their manufacturing method, called granulation. Beads of this type were also found in several other sites over the country, and the layers in which they were found were dated to various periods, from the 13th century BCE [the putative era of the Exodus] up to the 4th century BCE [the early Second Temple period], with the overwhelming majority dating to the Iron Age (12th-6th centuries BCE). Several similar beads made of gold were also found [at other Iron Age sites in Israel].

The bead is roughly cylindrical, with a hole at its center. Its diameter measures 6mm and its height 4mm, and it is built of four layers each made of tiny gold balls adhered one to another in a flower shape. Gold being a precious metal which does not tarnish or rust, the bead’s state of preservation is excellent, and it looks as if it had been manufactured just yesterday.

The archaeologists believe the bead might have been used as some sort of amulet—or been a decoration on a priestly vestment.

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Read more at Temple Mount Sifting Project

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, First Temple, Temple Mount

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter