The date was November 5, 1921, and the place was St. Louis, Missouri, at the final night of the contest to find the most beautiful girl in the United States. Nervous girls and family members held their breath as the judges announced that they had unanimously selected a 19-year-old Pine Bluff, Arkansas, schoolteacher, Edith Mae Patterson.
A remarkable collaboration between institutions in the UK, Germany, Egypt, and Russia has succeeded in reuniting virtually more than 800 pages and fragments from the world's oldest surviving Christian bible, Codex Sinaiticus.
Born only a few months after the beginning of the Civil War, Rauschenbusch was raised by his German-immigrant parents, August (a fifth-generation Lutheran pastor who later became a Baptist) and Caroline, within a tradition of strict piety. After graduating from Rochester Theological Seminary, he spent eleven years as pastor of an impoverished German-immigrant church in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City. The experience of living in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city served as Rauschenbusch’s single biggest influence.
Reflecting on his ministry years later, he recalled the anguish he felt over the poverty in his church, and the pain he felt officiating at the funerals of little children who died from contagious diseases. “Oh, the children’s funerals! They gripped my heart—that was one of the things I always went away thinking about—why did the children have to die?”
By the early 1890s, Rauschenbusch became an advocate for municipal reform, including the building of public parks, and government legislation that would protect workers from exploitation in the nation’s growing “sweatshops.” He preached that Christians needed to do all in their power to work toward the improvement of social conditions on earth, noting “the best way to get the self ready for Heaven… is to get this world ready for God.”
After years of poor health, including becoming almost totally deaf, Rauschenbusch turned to full-time teaching. From 1897 until his death in 1918, he served on the faculty of Rochester Theological Seminary, where he taught church history and wrote several influential books exploring the relationship between Christianity and contemporary social problems. Rauschenbusch’s 1907 work, Christianity and the Social Crisis, was one of the biggest selling non-fiction books on religion in the early 20th century, and had a major influence upon subsequent developments in American Christianity.
Rauschenbusch possessed a powerful Christian faith, rooted in prayer and spiritual discernment. He never renounced the Christian piety that had long been part of his family heritage, and was never afraid to speak openly about his love for Jesus. Early in his career, he collaborated with Ira Sankey, the partner of Dwight L. Moody, in translating Sankey’s gospel hymns into German. While Rauschenbusch worried that Christian piety was no guarantee of a relevant ministry, social action alone was a poor substitute for a God-centered faith. During his lifetime, Rauschenbusch was accused by his critics of dismissing the key tenets of Christian belief, a criticism that continues to be leveled against him by some today. Yet even a cursory reading of his writings reveals the depth of his faith, and an awareness that the quest for justice was inseparable from a vibrant piety.
Did the Bible’s King David and his son Solomon control the copper industry in present-day southern Jordan? Though that remains an open question, the possibility is raised once again by research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Industrial copper slag mound excavated at Khirbat en-Nahas. The building and layers above it date to the mid-9th century BCE; slag deposits below the building date to the 10th century BCE.
Watch a digital video of Levy discussing the evidence of Pharaoh Sheshonq’s military campaign through Khirbat en-Nahas.Led by Thomas Levy of UC San Diego and Mohammad Najjar of Jordan’s Friends of Archaeology, an international team of archaeologists has excavated an ancient copper-production center at Khirbat en-Nahas down to virgin soil, through more than 20 feet of industrial smelting debris, or slag. The 2006 dig has brought up new artifacts and with them a new suite of radiocarbon dates placing the bulk of industrial-scale production at Khirbat en-Nahas in the 10th century BCE – in line with biblical narrative on the legendary rule of David and Solomon. The new data pushes back the archaeological chronology some three centuries earlier than the current scholarly consensus.
The research also documents a spike in metallurgic activity at the site during the 9th century BCE, which may also support the history of the Edomites as related by the Bible.
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