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Science, Anthropology and Archaeology in The Urantia Book, Part 6

Dr. Ken Glasziou

An Index of Archaeological and Historical Information found in Part 4 of The Urantia Book


Introduction

This material is provided both as a matter of interest and to further demonstrate to readers that the Urantia Papers are a work of dedicated scholarship that, besides their theological and spiritual content, provide an enormous amount of information on a range of subjects that includes biblical and historical archaeology. This fact is utterly inconsistent with any hypothesis which asserts the Urantia Papers are the direct product of the subconscious mind of a sleeping human subject.

Index

[Statements of an archaeological, geographical, or historical nature in Part 4 of the book are indexed by page number. A Remarks section follows each item, providing relevant information gleaned from a variety of reference works. Several appendices contain further information on items of interest. Use the "find" feature of your browser to look up specific pages. All page references are to the original Urantia Foundation edition of the text.]

P. 1333. "And more than half of this caravan traffic (connecting East and West) passed through or near the little town of Nazareth in Galilee."

Remarks: Hastings' Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels2, p. 236 states that, though retired from the great highways of commerce, Nazareth was within easy reach, within sight of them. In the New Testament (NT), it was referred to as a city, not a village (Mt 2,23; Lk 1,26;2,4).

P. 1333. "Even the temple at Jerusalem possessed its ornate court of the gentiles."

Remarks: Reference 3 mentions the Court of the Gentiles at the temple in Jerusalem. There is also an oblique reference in Revelations 11:2.

P. 1338. "The renaissance of Judaism dates from the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures...Though the Hellenized Jewish beliefs were very little influenced by the teachings of the Epicureans, they were very materially affected by the philosophy of Plato and the self-abnegation doctrines of the Stoics. The great inroad of Stoicism is exemplified by the Fourth Book of the Maccabees; the penetration of both Platonic philosophy and Stoic doctrines is exhibited in the Wisdom of Solomon. The Hellenized Jews brought to the Hebrew scriptures such an allegorical interpretation that they found no difficulty in conforming Hebrew theology with their revered Aristotelian philosophy."

Remarks: The Septuagint was a translation of the Pentateuch into Greek made in about 250 B.C. by Jewish scholars in Alexandria. A later scholar, Philo, used allegory to interpret the meaning of the Jewish Scriptures and was much influenced by Homer, the Pythagoreans, Plato, and the Stoics1 .

P. 1339: "Philo taught deliverance from the doctrine of forgiveness only by the shedding of blood."

Remarks: For Philo, the Logos was the instrument through which God created all things. The Logos intercedes for the sinner but there is no need for an atonement nor a sacrifice to offer as the basis for His intercession, least of all that of Himself (ref. Edersheim,4 Bk 1, Chapter iv)

P. 1342: Luke, the physician of Antioch in Pisidia.

Remarks: There were two cities named Antioch. One was in Pisidia (in modern Turkey). (see Acts 13:14). Another Antioch was situated in Syria.

P. 1349/50. Describes geography in the neighborhood of Nazareth a high hill just north of Nazareth, the highest of all the hills of southern Galilee save the Mount Tabor range to the east and the hill of Nain which was about the same height. The road to Sepphoris passed by the base of the hill. Jesus was fond of climbing the hill that rises on the northerly side of Nazareth.

Remarks: Nazareth sits in a basin 1300 feet above sea level. Mount Tabor rises out of the great plain to the east. Three to four miles to the north of Nazareth a hill rises that, in Jesus' day, was dominated by the gentile city of Sepphoris. The village of Nazareth nestles around its pleasant spring. A ten-minute walk from the Nazareth spring to the top of the north ridge provides a magnificent vista of the valley below. (Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1992).5

P. 1350. "In the month of March, 8 B.C. Caesar Augustus decreed that all the inhabitants of the Roman Empire should be numbered...in the Palestinian kingdom of Herod...it was taken in 7 B.C., one year later."

Remarks: Augustus initiated enrolment which were "numberings" of the people according to households and had nothing to do with valuation for taxation.2 The year, 7 B.C., is currently a favored year for the birth of Jesus. ( David Hughes, BBC T.V. documentary which reviewed the evidence and favored 7 B.C.)

P. 1350/1. "Joseph and Mary set out early on August 18, 7 B.C. and reached the river Jordan just past the foothills of Mount Gilboa where they camped for the night. [between 30 and 40 miles]. They left very early on August 19 and arrived at Jericho for the night (appears to be about 50 miles)... They reached Jerusalem by noon next day and Bethlehem in mid-afternoon."

Remarks: The journey appears to be amazingly fast, as well as being incredible for a woman on the verge of giving birth. But some women (in India, for example) will work in the fields almost to the moment of birth, then cease work to give birth. Mary could have ridden on their donkey for part, even most, of the journey.

P. 1357. "[Mary] bundled up both her children and fled to the country home of her brother, several miles south of Nazareth on the Megiddo road near Sarid."

Remarks: Sarid is located where stated and has the modern name of T. Shadud.6

P.1360. "The next few years Joseph did considerable work at Cana, Bethlehem (of Galilee), Magdala, Nain, Sepphoris, Capernaum, and Endor, as well as much building in and near Nazareth. As James grew up to be old enough to help his mother with the housework and care of the younger children, Jesus made frequent trips away from home with his father to these surrounding towns and villages. Jesus was a keen observer and gained much practical knowledge from these trips away from home; he was assiduously storing up knowledge regarding man and the way he lived on earth." Also P. 1410: "Jesus left James in charge of the repair shop...while he went over to Sepphoris to work...."

Remarks: "The Joint Sepphoris Project directed by Ehud Netzer of Hebrew University and Eric and Carol Meyers from Duke University...began to excavate the site in 1985...The significance of Sepphoris...is becoming increasingly evident...In short, Jesus lived in a Galilean culture much more urban and sophisticated than previously believed. To acknowledge this fact is to see the man and his ministry from a radically different viewpoint...The construction of an influential Roman capital city so near Jesus' home in Nazareth re-defines the carpenter's occupation in central Galilee. To erect Herod Antipas' new capital, many skilled workers from surrounding towns and villages came to Sepphoris and found employment. Artisans from Nazareth would have surely been among them...whether or not he (Jesus) actually labored there, his presence in the city on various occasions can scarcely be doubted; and the fact of such contacts during the formative years of his young manhood may account for attitudes and opinions that show themselves conspicuously during his public ministry."

P. 1364. "From four directions, Jesus could observe the caravan trains as they wended their way in and out of Nazareth."

Remarks: The statement is a little ambiguous as it can be taken to mean Jesus could observe to the north, south, east, and west and see caravan trains or it can mean he could see the caravan trains which were coming from four directions. To the north, south, and west there are uninterrupted views from the Nazareth hill, but not so an easterly direction which is obscured by other hills (Mt. Tabor). However, caravans coming from the east could be seen: "The Midianite caravans could be watched for miles coming up from the fords of Jordan and the caravans from Damascus wound round the foot of the hill on which Nazareth stands." ( George Adam Smith, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land.6)

P. 1370. "Jesus had often gazed curiously upon this magnificent Greek city [Scythopolis] from the hill of Nazareth."

Remarks: Urantia Book reader, David Kantor, who has stood upon the hill, states that the ruins of Scythopolis are visible even though about 18 miles away.

P. 1378. "The Temple [Jerusalem] precincts could accommodate over 200,000 worshipers at a time."

Remarks: A map ( Josephus. The Jewish War.7 ) of the Temple shows the area of the precincts (less the area occupied by the Temple itself) to have been about 125,000 square yards. At a packing density of two persons per square yard it would accommodate 250,000 people.

P. 1411. "They journeyed to Jerusalem by way of the Decapolis and through Pella, Gerasa, Philadelphia, Heshbon, and Jericho."

Remarks: Pella was about 20 miles south of the Sea of Galilee and a couple of miles east of the Jordan; Gerasa was a further 12 miles south of Pella and about 20 miles east of the Jordan; Philadelphia was about 23 miles east of the Jordan and about the same distance NE of the Dead Sea; Heshbon is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. It was located on the Kings' Highway, east of the northern banks of the Dead Sea, and was an important city in much earlier times; Jericho was about 5 miles west of the Jordan and about 7 miles north of the Dead Sea.

P. 1419. "In January of this year, A.D. 21...he [Jesus] spent one week at Tiberias, the new city which was soon to succeed Sepphoris as the capital of Galilee."

Remarks: Herod Antipas had rebuilt Sepphoris, essentially as a Greek style city, starting about 4 A.D. Later he decided on Tiberias for his new city and dedicated it in A.D. 18. It took about 9 years to complete. Sepphoris was about 5 miles from Nazareth; Tiberias was on the west bank of the Sea of Galilee.

P. 1419/20. "He [Jesus] spent one week at Tiberias...and finding little to interest him, he passed on successively through Magdala and Bethsaida to Capernaum." "Zebedee's boat-building shops were on the lake to the south of Capernaum and his home was situated down the lake shore near the fishing headquarters of Bethsaida."

Remarks: This Bethsaida is clearly not the Bethsaida-Julias referred to in The Urantia Book which was east and slightly north of Capernaum. Magdala was about 4 miles north of Tiberias and 7-8 miles south of Capernaum. On p. 1548, referring to Andrew, "His father, now dead, had been a partner of Zebedee in the fish-drying business at Bethsaida, the fishing harbor of Capernaum." And on p.1552, the book states, "He [James Zebedee] was married, had four children, and lived near his parents in the outskirts of Capernaum, Bethsaida." Hence this "Bethsaida" was a suburb of Capernaum. MSEncarta1 indicates there were 2 villages named Bethsaida but places both in Philip's territory east of the Jordan. It locates Bethsaida-Julias near the mouth of the Jordan on the Sea of Galilee. Hastings2 p.204 indicates the major part of the evidence for Bethsaida in Galilee is from the Gospels and considers it convincing. The favored archaeological site is Ain et-Tabigha which appears to be a natural site for fishery activity and was still in use in Hastings' day (i.e. 1908). Bethsaida-Julias appears to have been east of Capernaum and a few miles inland. (see also p.1761 reference)

P. 1427. "From Jerusalem they went by way of Joppa...boat to Alexandria...sailed for Lasea in Crete...for Carthage...for Naples, stopping at Malta, Syracuse, and Messina. From Naples...went to Capua and by the Appian Way to Rome." Remarks: All locations check out to be present 2000 years ago. Lasea is mentioned in Acts 27:8. In 1853, an expedition led by a Captain Spratt to Crete located ancient ruins near Fair Havens claimed to be those of Lasea.8.

P. 1427. "From Rome...overland to Tarentum...sail for Athens, stopping at Nicopolis and Corinth...from Athens to Ephesus by way of Troas...to Cyprus putting in at Rhodes on the way...thence Antioch in Syria...to Sidon...to Damascus...by caravan to Mesopotamia passing through Thapsacus and Larissa...to Babylon, Ur, Susa, Charax."

Remarks: Historicity O.K. There was a Larisa (or Larissa) in ancient Thessaly. A Larissa was also located on the Tigris. Thapsacus was a city on the Euphrates on the route of Alexander's conquests.

P. 1429. "During the evenings Jesus and his friends strolled about on the beautiful wall which served as a promenade around the port. Ganid greatly enjoyed Jesus' explanation of the water system of the city and the technique whereby the tides were utilized to flush the city's streets and sewers. This youth of India was much impressed with the temple of Augustus, situated upon an elevation and surmounted by a colossal statue of the Roman emperor. The second afternoon of their stay the three of them attended a performance in the enormous amphitheater which could seat twenty thousand persons, and that night they went to a Greek play at the theater. These were the first exhibitions of this sort Ganid had ever witnessed, and he asked Jesus many questions about them. On the morning of the third day they paid a formal visit to the governor's palace, for Caesarea was the capital of Palestine and the residence of the Roman procurator."

Remarks: Herod the Great built the theater and amphitheater. The sewerage system is mentioned by the first-century Jewish historian Josephus. A map of Caesarea is presented in the Readers' Digest Atlas of the Bible3 (p.196/7) which conforms with the above description except that it does not mention the statue to Augustus. It cites a Joint Expedition to Caesarea led by Robert J. Bull. (for further information see Appendix 1.)

P. 1430. "...a Roman centurion, Cornelius, who became a believer through Peter's ministry." Remarks: See Acts, chapter 10.

P. 1432. "As they approached the city's harbor [Alexandria], the young man was thrilled by the great lighthouse of Pharos, located on the island which Alexander had joined by a mole to the mainland, thus creating two magnificent harbors and thereby making Alexandria the maritime commercial crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe. This great lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the world and was the forerunner of all subsequent lighthouses." Remarks: The location of Pharos on an island which was joined to the mainland by a mole, plus the formation of the two harbors is correct. A detailed account is apparently contained in Frost, H. (1975) "The Pharos Site." I.J.N.A. 4, 126-130. It would be interesting to know the dates of archaeological missions that unravelled the evidence.

P.1432 At Alexandria, "...the city's chief attractions university (museum), library,the royal mausoleum of Alexander, the palace, temple of Neptune, theater, and gymnasium...the library, greatest in the world. Here were assembled nearly a million manuscripts."

Remarks: Library and museum confirmed, also the mausoleum of Alexander. Several palaces were built by the Ptolemies. The temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea, was built by the Greeks. However the Romans identified Poseidon with Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. Possibly the temple was renamed by the Romans. The library contained almost 500,000 volumes early in the 3rd century B.C. A later figure estimated 700,000, including duplicate copies. Apparently it was housed in a number of buildings. Fire broke out in one of these during the reign of Julius Caesar.

P. 1432 "...the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek at this place."

Remarks: The early Greek translation of the Pentateuch was made by (reputedly) 70 elders of Israel living in Alexandria's Jewish community (hence called the Septuagint). It was completed by about 250 B.C.3

P. 1432...[at Alexandria] "Philo was engaged in the laudable but exceedingly difficult task of harmonizing Greek philosophy and Hebrew theology."

Remarks: Philo attempted to demonstrate the corres-pondence between the Old Testament and the Greek world view as propounded by Greek philosophers and scholars. He conceived of God as a being so exalted above the world that an intermediate class is required to establish contact between him and this world not merely "ideas" in the Platonic sense, but real active powers, the "Logos."

P. 1432. [at Crete] "One thing happened on a visit to Fair Havens which Ganid never forgot."

Remarks: Jesus, Gonod, and Ganid arrived in Crete by sea at Lasea. The visit to Crete was a holiday "to play, to walk over the island, and to climb mountains." Fair Havens was on the southern coast of Crete near Cauda.

P. 1437. [at Crete] "Could you inform me as to the best route to Phenix?"

Remarks: Phoenix was on the southern coast of Crete about 50 miles east of Cauda and Fair Havens.

P. 1444. "The Kenites of Palestine salvaged much of the teaching of Melchizedek."

Remarks: Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses was a Kenite, a nomad tribe of the land that the Lord gave to Abraham (Genesis 18:19)

P. 1450 "Suduanism [Jainism]"

Remarks: Fairly extensive accounts of Jainism make no reference to Suduanism. No reference found.

P. 1477. [at Ephesus] "They made many trips to the famous temple of Artemis of the Ephesians...famous goddess of all Asia Minor...a perpetuation of earlier mother goddess of ancient Anatolean times...The crude idol exhibited in the temple...was reputed to have fallen from heaven...the fertility goddess of Asia Minor."

Remarks: The gigantic temple of Artemis was constructed about 560 B.C. It was 115 x 55 meters, and contained a forest of marble columns. Hastings2 states, "The Ephesian goddess was represented by a rude idol which was said to have fallen from heaven." P. 1478 [Ephesus] "Paul, who resided here for more than two years...conducting lectures...chamber of school of Tyrannus."

Remarks: see Acts 19:19

P. 1480. [Antioch, Syria.] "visited everything except the grove of Daphne."

Remarks: In Greek mythology, Daphne was a nymph, the daughter of the river god, Peneus. Daphne dedicated herself to Artemis, goddess of the hunt (also fertility). The grove of Daphne is referred to in the 5 vol. edition of Hastings2 under the heading of Antioch. Original references were from Josephus Ant. XVII,ii,1; Pliny HN v.18; 2 Macc. 4:33.

P. 1485. "Jesus had stopped for several days of rest and recuperation at the old Persian city of Urmia on the western shores of Lake Urmia."

Remarks: Urmia, formerly Rezaiyeh, near Lake Urmia, is the traditional birthplace of Zoroaster.

P. 1492. "From Joppa he [Jesus] travelled inland to Jamnia, Ashdod, and Gaza, thence to Beersheba."

Remarks: Inland Jamnia was about 12 miles south of Joppa (there was also a sea port of Jamnia about 5 miles apart). Ashdod was about 20 miles north of Gaza and Beersheba was about 30 miles inland from Gaza.

P. 1492. "Jesus started on his final tour...from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north...stopped at Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Beeroth, Lebonah, Sychar, Shechem, Samaria, Geba, En-Gannim, Endor, Madon, Magdala, Capernaum, Waters of Merom, Karahta to Dan, or Caesarea Philippi...to Mount Hermon."

Remarks: Beeroth was about 4-5 miles NW of Jerusalem; Lebonah about 12 miles N of Jerusalem; Sychar about 12 miles N of Lebonah; Shechem 31 miles N of Jerusalem; Samaria 34 miles N of Jerusalem; Geba (see note below); En-Gannim (see Joshua 15:34, 19:21, 21:29) was a few miles south of Mt. Tabor6; Endor about 55 miles N of Jerusalem; Madon (see Joshua 11:1, 12:19) was 4-5 miles inland from the Sea of Galilee between Magdala and Tiberias6; Magdala on western shore of the Sea of Galilee; Capernaum on north shore of Sea of Galilee; Waters of Merom about 17 miles N of Capernaum; Karahta cannot locate; Dan about 23 miles N of Capernaum; Caesarea Philippi about 1 mile E of Dan; Mount Hermon rises about 25 miles north from the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee. [Note: Geba in the Old Testament was situated about 6 miles north of Jerusalem, hence Jesus would have had to backtrack almost 30 miles from Samaria to visit this Geba. However another Geba is mentioned in the Book of Judith in the Apocrypha (JDT 3:10) located somewhere in the neighborhood of the Jezreel Valley and is probably the place visited by Jesus on this trip. Geba is shown on a map of Palestine in Hastings'2 and located about 12 miles NW of Megiddo in Samaria.

P. 1493. "He proceeded along the Damascus road to a village sometime known as Beit Jenn."

Remarks: Beit Jenn not located.

P. 1496. "John becomes a Nazarite."

Remarks: Hastings2 states, "John the Baptist, in some respects at least, resembled the Nazarites."

P. 1496. "Engedi...the southern headquarters of the Nazarite brotherhood."

Remarks: Is there any record of the Nazarites at Engedi? (Engedi was an oasis near the western banks of the Dead Sea about 8 miles N of Masada.)

P. 1498. "He [John the Baptist] talked much with Ezda, an orphan lad of Beth-Zur.." Remarks: Beth-Zur was the location where Judas Maccabeus routed a Syrian army. It was about 16 miles south of Jerusalem on the road to Hebron.

P. 1500. "About 100 years before the days of John and Jesus, a new school of religious teachers arose in Palestine, the Apocalyptists. These new teachers...accounted for the suffering and humiliations of the Jews on the grounds that they were paying the penalty for the nation's sins."

Remarks: The Book of Similitudes is thought by some to have arisen in the Maccabean period about 95 B.C. and qualifies as Apocalyptic literature.

P. 1502/3. "John preached four months at Bethany ford."

Remarks: John's gospel put the baptism of Jesus at Bethany ford "beyond the Jordan." Some Christian tradition places this at Hajlah ford directly east of Jericho. Other tradition places the baptism at Bethabara not more than a day's journey from Cana in Galilee. A map in Hastings2 shows Bethabara on the Jordan about 5 miles north of Pella. The Urantia Papers place the baptism of Jesus as near Pella in the Decapolis. (1503) (see also P. 1869 reference)

P. 1508. "As John was working in southern Perea when arrested he was taken immediately to the prison of the fortress of Machaerus where he was incarcerated until his execution."

Remarks: The Jewish historian, Josephus, relates that John was arrested and shut up in the fortress of Machaerus because he had criticized Antipas' marriage to Herodias.

Page. 1508. "In celebration of his birthday Herod made a great feast in the Machaerian palace..."

Remarks: Machaerus was both a fortress and a palace. [Josephus BJ VII v1 1-3; Pliny Hist. nat. V. xvi, 72]

P. 1510. "The Jews had been brought up to believe in the doctrine of the Shekinah.'" Remarks: Can mean the localized presence of the Deity God's visible presence or glorious manifestation which dwells among men. In the NT it is used symbolically i.e. "the glory of the Lord shone around them" (Luke 2:9), and "a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud saying..." (Mark 9:7)

P. 1526. "And the group continued to baptize in John's name and eventually founded a sect of those who believed in John but refused to accept Jesus. A remnant of this group persists in Mesopotamia even to this day."

Remarks: Possibly refers to the Mandaean sect south of Baghdad that considers Jesus to have been a false prophet but reveres John the Baptist.1

P. 1534. "The Essenes were a true religious sect, originating during the Maccabean revolt..."

Remarks: The Essenes are referred to in the writings of Josephus, Pliny, and Philo. They came into existence in the 2nd century B.C. but disappeared in the 2nd century A.D. They were virtually unknown before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

P. 1535. "The Zealots were a group of intense Jewish patriots..."

Remarks: The Zealots came into being during the reign of Herod the Great. Some factions were extremists (the Sicarii). The movement died out at Masada with the suicide of all of its defendants in A.D. 73.

P. 1538. "Philip and Nathaniel went to Tarichea."

Remarks: see P. 1668 reference.

P. 1541. "On the morrow all nine of them went by boat over to Kheresa."

Remarks: Smith6 has Kersa [Khersa] on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. A Urantia Foundation map has it opposite Magdala. (see also PP. 1694,1723 references)

P. 1546. "The apostles carried on their personal work in Capernaum, Bethsaida-Julias, Chorazin, Gerasa, Hippos, Cana, Bethlehem of Galilee, Jotapata, Ramah, Safed, Gischala, Gadara, and Abila."

Remarks: Capernaum and Bethsaida-Julias have been checked previously. Chorazin was about 3 miles north of Capernaum; Gerasa was about 15 miles SE of Pella; Hippos (Hippus?) was close to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee; Cana--First-century Jewish historian, Josephus, said he resided for a time in a village of Galilee which is named Cana. The most favored site is about 6 miles N of Sepphoris, others place it about the same distance but to the east of Sepphoris; Bethlehem of Galilee about 6-7 miles west of Nazareth and Sepphoris. Referred to in the OT as being assigned to Zebulun (Jos.19:15); Jotapata was the Greco-Roman name for Jotbah and was about 15-16 miles NNW of Tiberias; Ramah--There was a Ramah a few miles north of Jerusalem and another in Galilee about 6 miles south of Zebulun. Referred to in the OT as being assigned to Naphthali (Jos. 19:36); Safed also known as Zefat or Safad was 12-13 miles NW of Capernaum (ref. Encyclopaedia Brittanica); Gischala was about 12 miles NW of Capernaum towards Iron; Gadara was in Gilead about 6 miles SE of where the Jordan leaves the Sea of Galilee; Abila was about 17-18 miles E and slightly S of where the Jordan leaves the Sea of Galilee.

P. 1548. Referring to Andrew, "His father, now dead, had been a partner of Zebedee in the fish-drying business at Bethsaida, the fishing harbor of Capernaum."

Remarks: Defines exactly the function and location of this Bethsaida in Galilee as distinct from Bethsaida-Julias in the territory of Philip to the east of the Jordan.

P. 1554/5/6 Re John the apostle.

Remarks: That John died at an advanced age at Ephesus where he was bishop accords with tradition (see Hastings2 p. 868, 869) including "for years his only utterance was, My little children, love one another.'" It is also tradition that John wrote the Book of Revelation while exiled on the Isle of Patmos.

P. 1557/8. Re Philip and his wife: "Their eldest daughter, Leah, continued their work, later on becoming the renowned prophetess of Hieropolis. Philip...was finally crucified for his faith and buried at Hieropolis."

Remarks: Hastings2 p.359, says: "And it was there [Hieropolis] according to Polycrates [bishop of Ephesus c. 190 A.D.] that he was buried along with his two aged virgin daughters. The same authority adds that another daughter, who lived in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, was buried at Ephesus."

P. 1589. "The Sojourn at Amathus."

Remarks: Amathus was a city of Perea situated on a tributary of the Jordan, a little more than half way from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

P. 1593 "...down the Jordan to the ford near Bethany in Perea, the place John first made pro-clamation...second week of the sojourn at Bethany beyond Jordan, Jesus took Peter, James, and John into the hills across the river and south of Jericho for a three days rest."

Remarks: It appears unlikely that Jesus and the three apostles walked from the Pella region to the hills south of Jericho (about 45-50 miles) to take a three-day rest. Hence the location of Bethany beyond the Jordan may have been much nearer Jericho, perhaps at Makhadet Hajlah, one of its traditional locations. The Urantia Book places the baptism of Jesus in the Pella region, indicating that the location given in John's gospel at Bethany beyond Jordan is an error, or else this group really did walk 50 miles to take a three-day rest.

P. 1595. "Throughout the four weeks' sojourn at Bethany beyond the Jordan, several times each week Andrew would assign apostolic couples to go up to Jericho for a day or two."

Remarks: This would appear to confirm that Bethany beyond the Jordan was within easy walking distance of Jericho, close enough to go there and back on the same day. It is possible that the name, Bethany beyond the Jordan, was a colloquialism used by Galileans for the last river ford before heading for Jericho and Bethany. This would explain why no ford or place of that name has been identified in the Jordan valley. (but see P. 1869 reference)

P. 1605. "The Master and his apostles decided to leave Jerusalem for a while and work in Bethlehem and Hebron."

Remarks: Hebron was about 10 miles south of Bethlehem which was another 4 to 5 miles south of Jerusalem.

P. 1607. "Going north into Samaria, they tarried over the Sabbath at Bethel...preached to people from Gophna and Ephraim. A group of citizens from Arimathea and Thamna...many of whom came from as far as Antipatris to hear the good news..."

Remarks: Bethel was about 12 miles north of Jerusalem; Gophna was the Hellenistic name for Ophni, a village in the hills of Samaria assigned to Benjamin (Jos 18:24). Ephraim was about 13 miles north from Jerusalem on a road that led to Jericho. Arimathea was inland from Joppa, about 5 miles west of Thamna. It is also cited as another name for Ramah, a town about 6 miles north of Jerusalem. Thamna was the Greco-Roman name for Timnath-Serah, a village in the hill country of Ephraim and the place where Joshua was buried. (Jos 19:50) Antipatris was the name of a town rebuilt by Herod the Great, and was the Roman name for Aphek, a town at the source of the Yarkon river west of the hills of Ephraim.

P.1607. "...the apostolic party made its headquarters at the Greek cities of Archelais and Phasaelis."

Remarks: Phasaelis was a town in the lower Jordan valley north of Jericho and named by Herod the Great for his deceased older brother. Archelais was about 10 miles SE of Phasaelis and 11 to 12 miles E of Ephraim.

P. 1612. "For more than six hundred years the Jews of Judea, and later on those of Galilee also, had been at enmity with the Samaritans. This ill feeling between the Jews and the Samaritans came about in this way: About seven hundred years B.C., Sargon, king of Assyria, in subduing a revolt in central Palestine, carried away and into captivity over twenty-five thousand Jews of the northern kingdom of Israel and installed in their place an almost equal number of the descendants of the Cuthites, Sepharvites, and the Hamathites. Later on, Ashurbanipal sent still other colonies to dwell in Samaria."

Remarks: "The emperor of Assyria took people from the cities of Babylon, Cuth, Ivvah, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the exiled Israelites." (2 Kings 17:24) "During the siege [of Samaria], suffering increased daily and desperation mounted by the hour, until the Assyrians finally breached the walls and took the city. The year was 721 B.C. After two centuries the northern kingdom of Israel had come to an end. In his annals Sargon boasts of taking away as booty 27,290 inhabitants of Samaria, scattering these people to Upper Mesopotamia and Media. He also brought into Israel peoples conquered elsewhere...the newcomers, in time, merged with the remaining Israelites to become the Samaritans of the New Testament."3 The Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, died in 627 B.C. He is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament. Shalmaneser was the king who commenced the siege of Samaria, but died before its capture and was succeeded by Sargon, the second. Sargon gets a mention in Isaiah 20:1, but not in relation to Samaria.

Page 1612 "...they [the Samaritans] continued this worship up to the time of the Maccabees, when John Hyrcanus destroyed their temple on Mount Gerizim."

Remarks: John Hyrcanus destroyed the cities of Shechem and Samaria. The temple at Mount Gerizim was also destroyed but that it was due to John Hyrcanus has yet to be confirmed.

Page. 1612. "The water of Jacob's well was less mineral than that from the wells of Sychar..."

Remarks: In notes to the the 4th edition of George Adam Smith's The Historical Geography of the Holy Land (1894)6 a Dr Bailey, who was a medical missionary in the region for 2 years, states that the water at Jacob's well was renowned for its purity and flavor whereas the numerous springs in the area are mostly of very hard water. He states the copious fountain at El Askar (Sychar) gushes from the very bowels of Mt Ebal (limestone) and is particularly hard.

Page. 1617. "September and October were spent in retirement at a selected camp upon the slopes of Mount Gilboa."

Remarks: Mount Gilboa was on the southern side of the Jezreel valley which separates the hills of Galilee from Samaria. The town of Jezreel was at the foot of Mount Gilboa.

P. 1626. "The twenty four worked quietly in the Greek cities of the Decapolis, chiefly in Scythopolis, Gerasa, Abila, and Gadara."

Remarks: Scythopolis was the Greco-Roman name for Beth-shan (Macc. 12:29,30) and was located within the part of the Decapolis to the west of the Jordan and about 13 miles south from the Sea of Galilee. Gerasa was on the eastern side of the Jordan on the road to Damascus about 28 miles from Scythopolis. Abila and Gadara were also east of the Jordan, in the vicinity of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.

P. 1627. "...later giving it [body of John the Baptist] burial at Sebaste, the home of Abner."

Remarks: Sebaste was Herod the Great's name for the Samaritan city of Samaria.

P. 1637. "The first public preaching tour of Galilee...preached the gospel and baptized believers in Rimmon, Jotapata, Ramah, Zebulun, Iron, Geschala, Chorazin, Madan, Cana, Nain, and Endor."

Remarks: Rimmon (alternate names were Rimmono, Dimnah, En-Rimmon) was a town in lower Galilee assigned to Zebulun (Jos. 19:13). A city named Zebulun2 existed in the region of Sepphoris. Iron is the KJ bible name for Yiron, a fortified town in N. Galilee, probable site being the modern town of Yarun8 others described previously.

P. 1637. "The small city of Rimmon had once been dedicated to the worship of the Babylonian god of the air, Ramman."

Remarks: Unconfirmed

P. 1648. "...they pitched their tents at Gethsemane and the Master would go back and forth from Bethany."

Remarks: The garden of Gethsemane was at the foot of the Mount of Olives immediately below the Temple in Jerusalem.

P. 1649. "The Pool of Bethesda." Remarks: The exact location of the pool is disputed among various authorities. It may have been near the sheep gate at the north of the temple.2

P. 1668 "...tour of Galilee...visited Ptolemais, Japhia, Dabritta, Megiddo, Jezreel, Tarichea..." (others already noted)

Remarks: Ptolemais was the seaport city about 30 miles north of Caesarea. Japhia was about 6 miles south of Sepphoris. Megiddo was about 10 miles south of Japhia and 15 miles inland from the coast. Jezreel was at the foot of Mount Gilboa. Tarichea is a problem. According to the Readers' Digest Atlas of the Bible3, Tarichea was the Greco-Roman name for Magdala supposedly situated about 3 miles north of Tiberias. IDB maps8 also place Tarichaea at the approximate location of Magdala but maps accompanying Hastings2, Smith6, and Josephus7, place it at the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee as does an 1894 map from the Palestine Exploration Society. The Urantia Book (p.1561) places it on the west bank of the Jordan where it flows out of the Sea of Galilee which would be about 6 miles south of Tiberias. In a book by H.V. Morton, In the Steps of the Master10, the author describes towns on the Sea of Galilee stating that Magdala was the site of a dyeing industry while Tarichaea in the south had an industry for the salting of fish. (Note: multiple towns/cities having the same name appear to be common Abila, for example, one being almost opposite Jericho and 7 miles E of the Jordan, the other about 10 miles SE of Gadara in the Decapolis near the sea of Galilee. IDB8 gives 3 different locations of towns named Aroer. Towns named Bethlehem were in Judea and Galilee. The two Bethsaida's are a further example.) (see Appendix 2 for more on Tarichea)

P. 1670. "... rich widow of Tyre..."

Remarks: Tyre was a Phoenician sea port about 25 miles north of Ptolemais and 20 miles south of Sidon.

P. 1694 "The Visit to Kheresa."

Remarks: May be the town Kersa mentioned by Edersheim4 as being on the shore of the Sea of Galilee opposite to Magdala. An alternative name is Gergesa6.

P. 1705. "At Gennesaret."

Remarks: Gennesaret was about 3 miles south of Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.3

P. 1723. "They rowed over to near the village of Kheresa...going from Kheresa up to Caesarea-Philippi."

Remarks: This Kheresa has to be on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (see above P.1694)

P. 1725. "Soon after landing near Kheresa...went a little way to the north, where they spent the night in a beautiful park south of Bethsaida-Julias."

Remarks: This would fit in with Edersheim's4 Kersa as being Kheresa (see P. 1694 reference)

P. 1728. "...left Caesarea-Philippi to begin their journey to the Phoenician coast. They passed around the marsh country, by way of Luz, to the point of junction with the Magdala-Mount Lebanon trail road, thence to the crossing with the road leading to Sidon...pausing for lunch under the shadow of an overhanging ledge of rock, near Luz, Jesus delivered one of the most remarkable addresses..."

Remarks: Luz, within a morning's walking distance from the location of Caesarea-Philippi, is shown on a Palestine Exploration Survey map as on the Jordan about 4 miles north-west of Dan. It should be adjacent to marsh country. Near the site of Luz, there has to be an overhanging ledge of rock large enough to shade twenty five people in mid-summer with the noonday sun almost directly overhead. Of course the rock could have been quarried in the meantime, but traces may still be present. It would be tremendous to be able to identify such an overhanging rock. (The OT in Judges 1:26 speaks of a man who went into the land of the Hittites and built a city and called it Luz which would locate it in Syria or Lebanon8)

Page. 1736. "...left Sidon, going up the coast to Porphyreon and Heldua...paying a visit to the coast city of Beirut."

Remarks: Porphyreon?? Heldua ?? Beirut was established in the 15th century B.C. also known as Bayrut and Beyrtu.

P.1737. "...returned to Sidon...departed for Tyre going south along the coast by way of Sarepta."

Remarks: Sarepta (OT city of Zarephath where Elijah was sent (Kings 17:9) was a town of the narrow rocky Phoenician coast 9 miles SW of Sidon (OT Zidon) and 17 miles N of Tyre. Mentioned in Luke 4:26.

P. 1737. "Joseph, a believer, who lived 3 or 4 miles south of Tyre not far from the tomb of Hiram who had been king of the city-state of Tyre during the times of David and Solomon."

Remarks: Hiram gets several mentions in the OT. Can find no information on the whereabouts of his tomb.

P. 1737 "...entered Tyre via Alexander's mole."

Remarks: The Phoenicians originally formed a harbor at Tyre by building a mole. Later it was completed when Alexander captured Tyre in B.C. 332. (ref. a 5 vol. version of Hastings2 under "Tyre.")

P. 1737. At Tyre "...the doors of the Melkarth temple were opened to him."

Remarks: "Ahab's wife, Jezebel, a princess of Tyre, attempted to incorporate her pagan deity, the Phoenician god, Melkarth, into the religion of Israel." (from MSEncarta1 which also tells us that each Phoenician city had its own god known as Baal. Astarte was a Baal. Presumably Melkarth was the Baal of Tyre and is referred to in the OT by that name. The name, Melkarth, does not appear in the KJ version of the OT). Herodotus states that the priests of Melkarth founded Tyre.2

Page. 1761. "At Peter's house...in Capernaum."

Remarks: Mark's gospel states Peter's house was in Capernaum whereas John's says Bethsaida. The description in The Urantia Book of the apostolic party moving through back streets to Peter's house is consistent with the hypothesis that Bethsaida was the colloquial name given to a "Fisherton" at Capernaum, "Fisherton" meaning the section of the town where the fishing industry was located.4

P. 1762. "...twelve groups labored at (among other places) Zaphon, Edrei, Philadelphia, Dium."

Remarks: Zaphon was close to the east bank of the River Jordan almost mid-way between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.3 Philadelphia was about 25 miles ENE of the northern tip of the Dead Sea; Edrei, (Palestine Exploration Survey map) was about 15 miles ENE of Capitolias; Dium was 6-7 miles north-east of Abila and was a Greek city captured by the Hasmonean kings from the Seleucids.

P. 1764. "Master, yesterday I [John] went over to Ashtaroth to see a man..." (Jesus was at Gamala)

Remarks: Ashtaroth is referred to in Joshua, "And half Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan." In Judges and Samuel, Ashtaroth is a god, the female version of Baal. Location has not been identified. An Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible map8 places Ashtaroth at about 15 miles NW of Edrei.

P. 1765. "...raised up a considerable company of believers at Kanata before going on to Mesopotamia."

Remarks: Kanata is shown on a Palestine Exploration Survey map as about 40 miles east of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.

P. 1794. "...another group marched down below Jerusalem to near Maza to cut the willow branches for the adornment of the sacrificial altar...third group formed a procession to march from the temple...out through Ophel to near Siloam...golden pitcher filled at the pool of Siloam."

Remarks: Edersheim,4 vol 2, p. 157-159 describes this scene but spells Maza with an o' (Moza), the Kolonia of the Jerusalem Talmud.' Edersheim also describes the procession through Ophel following a priest with a golden pitcher to the pool of Siloam where he fills the pitcher with water.

P. 1795. "He [Jesus] addressed the worshipers immediately after the chanting of the Hallel."

Remarks: See Edersheim4 vol 2, p.157-159 for a description of the Feast of the Tabernacle ceremony.

P. 1797. "Jesus and his associates left the city of Ephraim..."

Remarks. According to Edersheim4, it is not possible to locate the city of Ephraim. However, Readers Digest Atlas of the Bible 3 places it about 10 miles due north of Jerusalem.

Page. 1815. "Teaching in Solomon's Porch."

Remarks: The eastern portico was called Solomon's Porch. It belonged to an earlier building which tradition ascribed to Solomon2.

Page. 1817. The Perean Mission. "...and some fifty additional villages." --those not mentioned previously were: Macad, Bosora, Caspin, Mispeh, Ragaba, Succoth, Adam, Penuel, Capitolias, Dion, Hatati, Gadda, Jogbehah, Gilead, Beth-Nimrah, Tyrus, Elealah, Livias, Callirrhoe, Beth-Peor, Shittim, Sibmah, Medeba, Beth-Meon, Areopolis, Aroer. Remarks: Bosora (?Bosor was a city in Gilead 1 Macc 5.26) possibly about 50 miles east of the Jordan and about the same latitude as Scythopolis3; Caspin was a city east of the Sea of Galilee (2 Macc 12:13); Mizpeh (?Mispeh) was about 14 miles east of the Jordan and 5 miles south of the Jabbok River; Succoth was in the vicinity of where the river Jabbok enters the Jordan; Adam was close to the Jordan, about 35 miles from the Dead Sea; Penuel was on the Jabbok River about 5 miles east of the Jordan; Jogbehah was 20 miles east of the Jordan and ESE of Adam; Gilead is shown as a district but not as a town; Beth-Nimrah was on the plains of Moab near the Jordan--assigned to Gad (Jos. 13:27); Elealeh was a city in Moab, NE of Heshbon; Livias (Beth-ramatha) was about 5 miles inland east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea; Beth-Peor was a town in Moab near Mount Nebo; Shittim was on the Plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho; Sibmah was on a plateau east of the Plains of Moab, probably between Heshbon and Nebo; Medeba was on the tableland of northern Moab on the King's Highway; Beth-Meon (also called Baal-Meon) was a town in Moab assigned to Reuben (Jos. 13:17); Areor was on the King's highway opposite the mid-point of the Dead Sea. A Zondervan Atlas9 map places Ragaba about 8 miles east of the Jordan and ESE of Amathus, Capitolias about 6 miles south of Abila and 16 miles east of the Jordan; Gilead about 12 miles south-east of Capitolias; Beth-Nimrah and Tyrus east of the Jordan and between Jericho and Philadelphia; Callirrhoe close to the east bank of the Dead Sea near Machaerus, and Areopolis further south and about 10 miles east of the Dead Sea. Dion, Macad and Hatita remain unlocated.

P. 1869. "Jesus and the company...arrived at the Bethany ford of the Jordan, sometimes called Bethabara..."

Remarks: The whereabouts of Bethany ford and/or Bethabara has been a subject for dispute since the second century. Edersheim4 discusses it in vol. 1 of The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.

P. 1875. "...inasmuch as the house of Zaccheus in Jericho was very near the ornate palace of Archelaus.."

Remarks: Edersheim4 (vol.2. p.358) mentions the palace of Archelaus at Jericho.

    References
  • 1. Microsoft Encarta. (Microsoft Corporation, 1995)
  • 2. Hastings, J. Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. (T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1906)
  • 3. Reader's Digest Atlas of the Bible. (Reader's Digest Association, NY, 1981)
  • 4. Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, (Pickering & Inglis Ltd., London, 1959)
  • 5. Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June, 1992
  • 6. Smith, George Adam.The Historical Geography of the Holy Land. (Hodder and Staughton Ltd, 1894, revised 1931)
  • 7. Josephus. The Jewish Wars. (Penguin Classics)
  • 8. Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. (Abingdon, Nashville)
  • 9. Zondervan Atlas of Palestine. (out of print).
  • 10. Morton, H.V. In the Steps of the Master. (Methuen, London, 1937)

Appendix 1: Josephus on the building of Caesarea by Herod the Great
(from Antiquities of the Jews)

"This city is situated in Phoenicia in the passage by sea to Egypt, between Joppa and Dora, which are lesser maritime cities and not fit for havens on account of the impetuous south winds that beat upon them, which, rolling the sands that come from the sea upon the shores, do not admit of ships lying in their station; but the merchants are generally there forced to ride at their anchors by the sea itself. So Herod endeavored to rectify this inconvenience, and laid out such a compass towards the land as might be sufficient for a haven wherein the great ships might lie in safety; and this he effected by letting down vast stones of above fifty feet in length, not less than eighteen in breadth, and nine in depth, into twenty fathoms deep; and as some were lesser, so were others bigger than those dimensions.

This mole which he built by the seaside was two hundred feet wide, the half of which was opposed to the current of the waves, so as to keep off those waves which were to break upon them, and so was called Procyatia, or the first breaker of the waves; but the other half had upon it a wall, with several towers, the largest of which was named Drusus, and was a work of great excellence, and had its name from Drufus, the son-in-law of Caesar, who died young. There was also a great number of arches, where the mariners dwelt: there was also before them a quay which ran around the entire haven, and was a most agreeable walk to such as had a mind to that exercise; but the entrance or mouth of the port was made on the north quarter, on which side was the stillest of the winds of all in this place: and the basis of the whole circuit on the left hand, as you enter the port, supported a round turret which was made very strong, in order to resist the greatest waves; while on the right hand as you enter, stood two vast stones, and those, each of them larger than the turret, which was over against them: these stood upright and were joined together.

Now there were edifices all along the circular haven, made of the most polished stone, with a certain elevation, whereon was erected a temple, that was seen a great way off by those who were sailing for that haven, and had in it, two statues, the one of Rome, the other of Caesar. The city itself was called Caesarea, which was also itself built of fine materials, and was of a fine structure; nay, the very subterranean vaults and cellars had no less of architecture bestowed on them than had the buildings above ground. Some of these vaults carried things at even distances from the haven and to the sea; but one of them ran obliquely, and bound all the rest together, that both the rain and the filth of the citizens were together carried off with ease, and the sea itself, upon the flux of the tide from without, came into the city, and, washed it all clean. Herod also built therein a theater of stone; and on the south quarter, behind the port, an amphitheater also, capable of holding a vast number of men, and conveniently situated for a prospect to the sea."

Note: Josephus states that the statue of Caesar (Augustus) was in the temple along with the statue to Rome (goddess) whereas The Urantia Book has the statue surmounting the temple. The plan of Caesarea presented in RDAB does not accord with Josephus' description of the temple as being on an elevation and visible a great way off by those sailing to the haven.

In contrast, in George Adam Smith's The Historical Geography of the Holy Land (1894), quoting ostensibly from Josephus, Hist.ii. 78, on Caesarea, "The procurator had his seat in it, there was an Italian garrison, and on the great white temple that shone out over the harbor to the far seas, stood two statues of Augustus and of Rome."

Appendix 2. Tarichea

The word Tarichea means salting or pickling place. At one time, when the pickled fish from Galilee was known throughout the Roman Empire, the name was applied to the whole of the Sea of Galilee. It may also have been used by locals to identify the location of the pickling industry at a number of towns on the lake shores. Arguments occurring during the last few hundred years on where a place named Tarichea was located during the early part of the first century appear to have been conducted in ignorance of the fact that the exit of the Jordan from the Sea of Galilee was, in 1000 A.D., several miles north of its later outlet at a town earlier known as Senneret. It seems that the exit silted up at the end of the first millenium and moved much further south. A number of ancient harbors have been located in this area. The evidence for the first century location of Tarichea needs to be reconsidered in the light of this new information.

Appendix 3. Tin in Turkey

"Gold was the first metal to be sought by man; it is easy to work and, at first, was used only as an ornament. Copper was next employed but not extensively until it was admixed with tin to make the harder bronze. The discovery of mixing copper and tin to make bronze was made by one of the Adamsonites of Turkestan whose highland copper mine happened to be located alongside a tin deposit." (904) [Matt Neibaur contributed the following review of material originating from the University of Chicago.]

For the first time, researchers have found a local bronze-age source of tin in the Middle East, a discovery that proves that the metal that made the important alloy possible was not entirely imported from regions outside the area as had been thought, a University of Chicago archaeologist says. Assistant Professor, Aslihan Yener, in the University's Oriental Institute believes a mine and an ancient mining village she has found in the central Taurus mountains in Turkey demonstrate that tin mining was a well developed industry in the area as long ago as 2870 B.C. at the dawn of the bronze age. The site of the mine, Kestel, is about 60 miles north of Tarsus. Yener's work at the mine and at nearby Goltepe, an ancient miner's village, provides new insights into the development of the tin industry. Perhaps most important is her discovery that tin can be smelted at relatively low temperatures in crucibles. Other tin sites known to exist throughout the Mediterranean area could also have been sources of tin through the labor-intensive smelting the team recreated....

Despite the importance of bronze and the role tin played in its production, scholars have long believed that tin was not readily available in the Middle East. Cuneiform texts on clay tablets speak of sources to the distant east and researchers have believed that perhaps Afghanistan was the only likely location of tin mines. Yener's discovery shows that tin came from local as well as imported sources. Yener's work is part of a study begun in 1980 to identify sources of metals used in the production of weapons and other objects in the ancient Near East. Yener, an American of Turkish descent, began her work as a member of the faculty of Bosporus University in Istanbul. "I had not set out to find tin," she said, "When I was being trained as an archaeologist, the standard view was that tin did not come from Turkey but from elsewhere during the bronze age...."

Although the researchers had found tin ore at Kestel, some skeptics thought there was not enough tin to prove that the mine was actually a tin mine. Working last summer with tin experts from Cornwall in southwestern England, an area famous for its tin deposits, Yener discovered industrial debris at the mining village of Goltepe (near Tarsus) that provided clues about how the tin was probably smelted. Instead of evidence of only low-grade tin, one ton of tin-slagged crucibles with a 30 percent tin content was discovered at Goltepe. This establishes beyond doubt that tin-metal was being produced, and was the motivation for the mining and smelting industry.

Letter from Matthew Block
on Science and Archaeology in the Urantia Papers.

"Let me weigh in with the opinion that archaeological studies should be included with the new booklet. Sure it deals with minutiae, but it is not trivial and there must be room in the movement for microanalytic research (it's not surprising that I should be saying this!). Your booklet should be published as you originally envisaged it an investigation of a broad range of topics treated in appropriately different ways.

"We are still in the early stages of (Urantia Book) science research. My work on the human sources for the Papers will fill an important gap. But that is not enough. Our goals should be: To track down all the direct and indirect human sources of the science material. To become thoroughly familiar with the history of the science of the 20th century, decade by decade.

"Ultimately, then, we will be able to classify the science statements in a four-item typology embracing: Statements that reflect mid-30's science and are still supported by contemporary science. Statements that reflect mid-30's science that are no longer held (charting when and why science discarded the theories in question). Statements that were not held by the mid-30's science but are held today (i.e. prophetic or "about-to-be-known" facts (1109) and observations. Statements that were not supported by mid-30's science and are still not considered tenable.

"We will also be able to tag every science-related sentence and/or paragraph and/or section in the book according to whether it:

Is direct superhuman information or commentary, unmediated by humanly derived references. Is directly based on specific human source materials. Is an assemblage of humanly known information probably culled and distilled from a variety of unspecified sources. Is a composite of revealed and unrevealed information.

"I agree that the "mixed bag" nature of the book's science ("about-to-be-known" facts interspersed with obsolete statements and with surprisingly unconventional assertions) is somewhat baffling. But actually, it won't be as baffling once the Papers are subjected to a thorough comparative analysis with human sources. Patterns will probably emerge (actually are already emerging), shedding light on the intentions of the Revelators.

"For instance a recurrent motif in the first five papers of Part 111 is sudden speciation. The Revelators are so intent on emphasizing this that they expressly gloss over (ignore) contraindications of transition species cited by Chamberlin and Schuchert. As a case in point, both Chamberlin and Schuchert maintain that placental mammals derived from insectivorous non-placental mammals, and were already in evidence in the late Mesozoic. But the Revelators say no such thing, stating rather that the placentals sprang directly from an earlier line of mammal-like reptiles, emerging only at the beginning of the Cenozoic. Why the divergence? I don't know exactly...but it does tie in with the Revelators' previous statements about the life-modification experiment involving mammals. The mammals, especially the placental ones, had an unusual emergence on this planet, somehow tied in with the purposeful plans (and failed experiments) of the Life Carriers. So the Revelators' surprising statement about the emergence of the placental mammals is not so wild and unaccountable after all.

"Martin Gardner's jaundiced and harsh review of the book's science has given us an indication of what to expect from the skeptics. We'll never be able to sell agnostic scientists on the book by the science alone. (I realize that's never been your hope.) ...What we can hope to expect is that the science of the book will be respected by scientists as an important element in the whole revelatory presentation, which is primarily an attempt to portray a synthesis of science, religion, and philosophy. One must already appreciate the philosophic excellence and spiritual beauty of the Papers to give the science its proper due. Papers 41-42 and 57-61 (as well as some other science-related ones), for all their errors and obsolete information, are still beautifully written and conceived. I'm so impressed by how the Revelators distil hundreds of pages from geological textbooks into 50 scintillating pages, interweaving humanly derived observations with revelatory insights, and showing the glory of the evolutionary process in a cosmic, transplanetary context. There's really nothing like these papers in the human literature. Nevertheless, they definitely contain some little mistakes and outdated information."


Author/Editor's concluding note

I have no training or skills in either anthropology or archaeology. This material was included partially because it highlights something that is completely overlooked by Martin Gardner in his published criticism of The Urantia Book to wit that whoever the authors of Part 4 of the book may have been, its anthropological and archaeological content demonstrates that those authors were dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced scholars. Any speculation about authorship of The Urantia Book must account for the incredible amount of work required to compose the text of Part 4, not only from records already held, but also from the wide variety of human sources, more than 2000, acknowledged to have been used in its composition (p.1343).


These are still being tracked down by Matthew Block and others. My hope is that the index supplied herein will encourage interested readers to do what needs doing in this area. One purpose for such work is to help dispel from the public mind, the quite false notion being promulgated by such as Martin Gardner that this incredible book is merely the dream-state mind meanderings of a fairly nice but average human being, Wilfred Kellogg. On the contrary and regardless of its authorship, for those who are prepared to study it in a sincere, faith-driven search for knowledge of our Maker and his divine purposes, this book is a never-ending source of wonderment that no amount of study can completely exhaust. Ken Glasziou

Acknowledgments: Many thanks are due to those Urantia Book readers who read the draft manuscript and aided in its improvement and the elimination of errors. Matthew Block, in particular, did a marvellous job in both of these departments, then voluntarily undertook that dreadfully tedious copy editing task on the final manuscript. The errors that remain are my own responsibility. Thanks, Matthew, for your valuable contribution. I also owe a deep debt of gratitude to David Kantor who supplied me with copious maps, photos, and tables of data to help locate and verify the archaeological information on first century Palestine.