The Pope in the Bible

Tomorrow, Pope Benedict XVI will step down as the head of the Rombenedictan Catholic Church, the first pope to step down in hundreds of years. For Roman Catholics, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of this event. Does it herald in a new era when popes will retire gracefully, rather than die in office? Will March bring in a pope that isn’t European? The possibilities are endless, though most likely the cardinals will select another pope not too unlike the previous 200+ of them.

I was raised Roman Catholic and while these events no longer impact my faith directly, it has inspired me to look back and relearn the biblical origins of the papacy. While Protestants and Orthodox Christians disagree, Roman Catholics trace the office of the pontiff all the way back to St. Peter, on the explicit instruction of Jesus himself. And did you know there is not just one, but two popes mentioned in the bible? Read on for more.

Continue reading The Pope in the Bible

Tel Aviv (Jaffa) in the Bible

City of Jaffa (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I work in Israel a few times each year and when I do, I stay in Herzliya, a small suburb city just north of Tel Aviv. Herzliya has some fascinating history– it may have been the site of a Crusader town called Apollonia-Arsuf– but sadly no biblical history. Fortunately, nearby Tel Aviv does. Before coming to Israel, I had no idea that Tel Aviv was near the site of the ancient and biblical city of Jaffa. Originally, Tel Aviv was a Jewish community adjacent to a larger majority Arab port city, but now the former has largely absorbed the latter, though not without bloodshed. I only knew of Jaffa from the history books, namely its conquest by King Richard the Lionhearted during the 12th century, and to a lesser extent from an an extremely old episode of Doctor Who

But Jaffa’s history goes back much farther, even before the bible. Read on for more.

Continue reading Tel Aviv (Jaffa) in the Bible