Because of the badly preserved state of the painting and its height further up along one of the church’s apses, it had been relatively easy for archaeologists to miss the traces of red paint.
Site of newly-discovered Jesus image at the Byzantine site of Shivta. (photo credit: HAIFA UNIVERSITY)
A previously unknown painting of Jesus’s face found at the Byzantine site of Shivta, in the Negev Desert highlands, reveals a possibly new depiction of his baptism in the eyes of the era’s Christian worshipers.
Early Christian imagery is rare to find in the Holy Land, despite the religion’s origins in Byzantine Palestine, and all the more so in the little-traversed Negev region. Another painting long noted by explorers and academics was found in the southern church of the Shivta town, which depicted the famous transfiguration narrative of Jesus, often noted in Christian teachings as a key moment when humankind is bridged with God in a sacrosanct interaction.
But the new painting – discovered by Dr. Emma Maayan-Fanar, Dr. Ravit Linn, Dr. Yotam Tepper and Dr. Guy Bar-Oz as part of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology of the University of Haifa’s ongoing excavations in the Negev region – offers an original portrayal of Jesus’s baptism and his youthful countenance. The findings were published in the archaeological journal Antiquity in August.
Because of the badly preserved state of the painting and its height further up along one of the church’s apses, it had been relatively easy for most explorers and archaeologists to miss the traces of red paint left, Maayan-Fanar said.
Maayan-Fanar was able to identify a pair of eyes, presumed to be those of the younger Jesus, on the apse of the baptistery adjoining the northern church. Upon further inspection, she and Linn were able to detect more traces of paint, leading to the identification of two figures.
Under high resolution and particular lighting, the team was able to capture the figure’s short curly hair, an elongated nose, large eyes and long face. To the left of the Jesus figure is another figure, supposedly that of John the Baptist. The larger face is surrounded by a halo, and the rest of the paint traces suggest that a full scene was painted, which may have included other figures. Given the painting’s location in the baptistery, the two researchers have suggested that it would have been a baptism scene.
It would be the only in situ scene of Jesus’s baptism recorded to date in the pre-iconoclastic Byzantine Palestine.
The northern church in Shivta is noted for its grand size on the northern edge of the town and several flanking rooms that may have served as part of a monastery.
The University of Haifa’s ongoing work in recent years has helped reopen the case of Byzantine Christianity in the Negev, as well as the daily life of towns in the little-known region. Shivta was one of a handful of towns known to archaeologists that formed the peak of the Negev’s economy and population during the Roman and Byzantine eras.
While the population of Shivta has only been estimated by scholars, the town contained a total of three churches, which likely served pilgrims and travelers on their way to and from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert. The town’s population peak was during the fourth to seventh centuries, but was eventually abandoned by the eighth and ninth centuries, after the Islamic conquest took over the region starting in 636 CE.
Although the region’s eventual abandonment – still mostly obscure to scholars and historians – likewise led to the decline of Christianity in the Negev, the area was nonetheless a crucial piece of the Byzantine Empire’s outer limits and a gateway for economic and religious traffic in the period.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
Spurred by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s resignation and the realization that elections will likely be moved to early 2019, the leaders of the Druze community are determined to fight against the Nationality Law.
Leaders from the Druze minority and others take part in a rally to protest the Jewish nation-state law in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 4, 2018
It certainly seems like Israel is headed toward early elections. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who resigned Nov. 14, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett were both part of the current right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, competing over which of them was its most right-wing member
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)