The Mystery of the Copper Scroll

“In the cistern which is under the wall on the eastern side, at the sharp edge of the rock: six silver bars; its entrance is under the large paving-stone.” Thus reads line eleven in column II of the most famous Dead Sea Scroll: the enigmatic Copper Scroll. It has two major features that make it…

Burial in Ancient Israel: The Earliest Evidence

Death, dying, and burial loomed large in the minds of ancients. Their art, poetry, rituals, religion, and traditions frequently focused on some aspect of mortality, and the region of ancient Palestine that gave birth to Judaism and Christianity are no exception. Given the extremely complex theological issues bound up in life, death, and sin, the way ancient Jews and Christians consigned their dead to the earth can tell us something about what they thought and felt.

Ghosts in the Bible: New Testament

There are no ghosts in the New Testament. We do, however, find the language of spirits and references to death that can illuminate the subject. When we read passages such as Matthew 8:22 (”Let the dead bury the dead”) and 22:32 (”God is not the God of the dead but of the living”) we may…

Ghosts in the Bible: The Old Testament

Ghosts posed a problem for the early Church because they seemed to reflect a holdover of pagan belief and superstition. Yet reliable witnesses continued to report encounters with what to appeared to be spirits, and witnesses were not so easily dismissed as they are now. As we head into Halloween, I hope to do a…