BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW
The BAR Companion: December 2, 2009
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HOW DECEMBER 25 BECAME CHRISTMAS
Andrew McGowan examines the origins of Christmas

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods–these all characterize the feast today, at least in many of the countries in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? Theological scholar Andrew McGowan examines the origins of Christmas and takes a look at how one of the Western world’s most celebrated holidays came to be. Read more. ____________________________________________________________
BREAKING NEWS
Check out the latest news in Biblical archaeology and related topics–updated daily

This week in the news, a Roman-era cemetery is discovered in Syria, while a rare bust of Julius Caesar makes its debut in Arles, France. In Greece, the discovery of a fortification walls sheds more light on the royal capital of ancient Macedonia. Read more. ____________________________________________________________
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON…BUT WHAT DID THEY PLAY ON?
A look at the musical instruments of the ancient Biblical world

What does a musical passage in the Book of Daniel: "the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick," tell us about the orchestra that Nebuchadnezzar assembled? Terence C. Mitchell, a former curator at the British Museum, examines Biblical texts and archaeology, and uses both to illuminate the instruments that created the music of the ancient Biblical world. Read more. ____________________________________________________________
THE TEMPLE MOUNT IN JERUSALEM
Free Gift Offer Until December 4

From now until December 4, receive a FREE GIFT, Dr. James Tabor’s DVD lecture "Locating the Herodian Temple: Old and New Theories in Light of Ancient Literary Evidence," when you order two books, Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by Hershel Shanks and Secrets of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer.

Shanks’s richly illustrated book takes a look at the fascinating history of the Temple Mount from before King Solomon to the golden Dome of the Rock, while the Ritmeyers’ book gives you a rare glimpse at the architectural clues and archaeological evidence that point to the location of the Temple, accompanied by helpful plans and reconstruction drawings.

This two books plus a free gift offer is only good until midnight, December 4. Read more. ____________________________________________________________
ANCIENT BABYLON IN THE CARIBBEAN
Seminar at Sea: "Visit" ancient Babylon on a Caribbean cruise this January with Dr. Alan Millard

This January, the Seminar at Sea Caribbean Cruise will combine the finest Biblical scholarship with a luxurious and unforgettable vacation, creating the perfect opportunity to invest in your most valuable asset: yourself. Follow the Caribbean sun this winter aboard Holland America’s 5-star ship MS Westerdam. You will have the opportunity to relax, revive and create unforgettable memories while learning about the enigmatic Babylonian world and its relationship to Biblical history and literature in a lecture series entitled "Exploring Babylon and the Bible: Connections and Contrasts." Renowned Biblical scholar Dr. Alan Millard will be your guide into this fascinating realm of scholarship as you experience the beauty and wonders of the Caribbean. Read more. ____________________________________________________________
CARTOON CAPTION CONTEST
Submit a caption

Write a caption for this cartoon! The author of the best caption will receive a BAS T-shirt, a Dead Sea Scroll mug and three complimentary subscriptions to give BAR to friends. Runners-up will receive a BAS T-shirt and two complimentary subscriptions.The deadline for captions is December 15, 2009. Read more.

CONTENTS
How December 25 Became Christmas
Breaking News
And the Band Played On
Temple Mount Free Gift Offer
Ancient Babylon in the Caribbean
Cartoon Caption Contest
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