Reconstructing the Second Temple’s Samaritan Rival

Feb. 10 2021

In the 5th century BCE, after the Persians destroyed the Babylonian empire, Jews returned from exile in Mesopotamia—led by Ezra and Nehemiah—and set about building a new temple in Jerusalem. They soon found themselves opposed by a local group, known as Samaritans, who maintained certain pre-exilic Jewish traditions and through the Roman period made up a large segment of the population of the Land of Israel. Leen Ritmeyer discusses evidence that they even built a temple of their own on Mount Gerizim as an alternative to that in Jerusalem:

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Read more at Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

More about: Archaeology, Nehemiah, Samaritans, Second Temple

Iran’s Elections Could Complicate U.S. Plans to Renew the Nuclear Deal

June 11 2021

This week, after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced its suspicions that the Islamic Republic is hiding nuclear materials from its inspectors, the White House decided to lift some sanctions on Iranian oil, and still plans to forge ahead with nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran will hold its presidential elections next week. The exercise is not particularly democratic—the supreme leader approves the candidates in advance, and his minions have from time to time fixed the results—but neither is it entirely meaningless. While there are important differences among the candidates, not one can be dubbed a moderate, even by the standards of this brutal Islamist theocracy. Reuel Marc Gerecht explains why this matters:

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Ali Khamenei, Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden