Who Lives Like This?

And what is the matter with them?

Two broken people get together, spend $72 on liquor, $3 on food, talk about meaningless things, have meaningless sex, and act shocked when their emotions are shredded like a cheap tissue. And then, she totals up her expenses for this evening of self-abuse passing as sexual liberation:

Date night:
$37, bottle of vodka that was used in flask
$35, beers
$3, pizza
$6, condoms

Morning after:
$1, apple I gave him so he wouldn’t be hungry
$50, plan B
$20, lost cemetery tour ticket
$3, egg and cheese sandwich
$2, artisanal ginger ale
$12.49, box of oxyclean for blood stains
$8, laundry
$25, dinner with best friend to analyze why he wasn’t calling
$12, book he recommended that I was now curious about
$2, box of tissues to cry about his disappearance
$10, pregnancy test
$50, STD test

Total cost: $276.49, my dignity, my optimism

Blood stains? STD test? Abortifacients? Oh ho-hum and ha-ha just another night in the life of the Girls-watching heirs of Sex and the City.

And WTF is “artisanal ginger ale”?

Even young, I didn’t act like this. More than drugs, more than war, more than economic turmoil, and certainly more than religion, the most destructive force of the last 100 years was the sexual revolution. Severing sex from love and marriage and procreation, commodifying it, and changing it primarily (rather than incidentally) to a recreational activity has destroyed the family, damaged our psyches, and killed our spirit. This sad little bleat is just one snapshot out of billions of moments and incidents and lives that make up a ruined and fallen world.

We can’t keep doing it. Human dignity demands more, and only L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle can ever provide the answer.

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

A fragment of Isaiah from Cave 1, Qumran

In a giant upgrade to The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, the Israel Antiquities Authority is making 10,000 multispectral images available to all via the web.

The entire site has better searching, browsing and indexing. You can search by keywords, or browse by language, location (including cave-by-cave), or content.

The scrolls are being specially photographed using a state-of-the-art system developed by NASA, and the results are eye-popping. The multispectral imaging captures 12 wavelengths (7 visible, 5 invisible), revealing depths of detail in both text and material that would otherwise be unseen by the naked eye. This allows us to peel away layers and recover lost or obscured text. Infrared photos from the 1950s are also included.

The site is very responsive, with fast load times and the ability to zoom in close for each image.

The IAA intends to place every scroll and fragment on the internet. I remember when simply looking at a photograph of a scroll was considered an illicit activity, so this is big news.

Ancient Settlement Uncovered in Israel

A 2,300 year old village dating to the Seleucid Dynasty (or perhaps earlier) has been uncovered during work on a natural gas pipeline. The settlement reached its peak in the 3rd century BC, and by the time of Herod (1st Century BC) was abandoned.

The settlement was found not far from Mitzpe Harel in the Jerusalem hills. It will be excavated and the pipeline routed around it.

From the Israel Antiquities Authority:

The excavations, which covered about 750 square meters, revealed a small rural settlement with a few stone houses and a network of narrow alleys. Each building, which probably housed a single nuclear family, consisted of several rooms and an open courtyard. According to Irina Zilberbod, excavation director on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, “The rooms generally served as residential and storage rooms, while domestic tasks were carried out in the courtyards.”

The site, whose name has not survived, is nestled at the top of a spur 280 meters above sea level, with commanding views of the surrounding countryside. These large tracts of land were used as they are today to cultivate orchards and vineyards, which were the economic mainstay of the region’s early settlers.

The excavations have shown that the site reached the height of its development in the Hellenistic period (during the third century BCE), when Judea was ruled by the Seleucid monarchy following Alexander the Great, and that it was abandoned at the end of the Hasmonean dynasty.

The excavations yielded numerous and varied finds from all occupation periods, including basalt and limestone grinding and milling tools for domestic use, pottery cooking pots, jars for storing liquids (oil and wine,) pottery oil lamps for domestic use, and over sixty coins, including coins from the reigns of the Seleucid King Antiochus III and the Hasmonean King Alexander Jannaeus.

It’s not unusual to find villages that were abandoned between the Hasmonean Dynasty and the reign of Herod the Great. Herod’s massive building projects likely drew residents from these small villages to more steady work on the Temple Mount.