Greco Roman World

A chain of whispered stories

A chain of whispered stories

The Pyrénées do not look imposing on a map. But don’t be fooled. This mountain chain between France and Spain is ancient, steep, and full of whispered stories.

He found the body

He found the body

The bishop and his men cleared away the dense vegetation and discovered something amazing, something that no eye had seen for centuries: a tomb of stone containing three bodies.

The long ball

The long ball

Cold, rugged, tribal, self-sufficient, full of hardship, and barbaric. Hispania sounds like a long ball for a church plant. It also sounds like a job for a "Thunderboy."

James goes West (part 2)

James goes West (part 2)

We know that James was beheaded in Jerusalem (See Acts 12:1-2). It makes sense that he would have been buried in the place where he was killed. Who would go the trouble to move a dead body? Especially a messy one.

Ah, but this where it gets interesting.

James goes West (part 1)

James goes West (part 1)

The story of the end of James the Great is described in the New Testament. Outside the New Testament, however, his story lives on. Part of that story is dedicated to a epic journey that the Bible is mum about, and part of that story is dedicated to a post-death appearance. Both of these accounts teeter wildly into the area of myth, but never say that to a Spaniard. It may cost you an eye.

Like a patch ripped off

Like a patch ripped off

Two kinds of cut stone doors used to close tombs in old Jerusalem. One is shaped like a flat disk. The other like a stubby plug. Both can be rolled.

Ptolemaic puzzles (part 2)

Ptolemaic puzzles (part 2)

I knew Kili was up there and quite close, its hoary head peering down. But from Stella Maris, it was impossible to discern where the giant lay. 

How do you hide a mountain? I thought. Especially the highest one in all Africa?

Ptolemaic puzzles (part 1)

Ptolemaic puzzles (part 1)

The earliest mentions of Kilimanjaro are shrouded in the mist.

Jesus trail report, 2017

Jesus trail report, 2017

Thirteen explorers from five U.S. states met at the opening of 2017 to walk the Jesus Trail. The Trail is a blazed course that passes through urban and rural regions of northern Israel-Palestine. Many sites of significance were encountered by the group; these give testimony to the deep and diverse history of the area known as Galilee.

The Woman who would be King (apologies to R. K.)

The Woman who would be King (apologies to R. K.)

For reasons I cannot fathom, people delight in scaring themselves on Halloween. It is bewildering. If I ever felt the need to recalibrate my terror-o-meter, I would simply drive to the local grocery store. Life in Central Florida is surreal enough.

Sodom apples

Sodom apples

With Sodom burning up my newsfeed right now, I can’t think of a better time to think botanical thoughts.

On Mermaids and Diodorus and Coffee

On Mermaids and Diodorus and Coffee

Once upon a time, a beautiful woman fell in love with a young man. However, this passionate exchange was not the result of natural causes as one might expect, but was the bitter inspiration of Aphrodite, a vain and often vindictive goddess of love. 

Imagining Ecce Homo

In the coming days, many of us will construct an image of Jesus standing before “the Powers.” Such constructions freight the weight of biblical passages like Isaiah 53:7, Philippians 2:6-8, or John 19:5 and are grist for personal reflection in the Easter season.