02 January 2008

The "real" Bethlehem and copyrighted pyramids

Happy new year everyone! Back from a very relaxing and enjoyable time with my parents and ready to begin a new year of archaeological news. Of all the backlogged stories, these two caught my eye:

Sky News interviewed Aviram Oshri, an Israeli archaeologist who claims that the modern town of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem is not the Bethlehem in which Jesus was born. He instead thinks that another Bethlehem, in the Galilee region, is the actual place. As evidence he cites an impressive city wall and large church with a cave underneath similar to that found in the other Bethlehem (near Jerusalem).

So how did the connection with this Bethlehem and Jesus' birth get disconnected? Oshri controversially claims it was a deliberate act on the part of the early Christian church. According to the Hebrew bible, the Messiah was to be born in Judea, not in the Galilee. Naturally church officials and bibl
ical scholars disagree with his claims.

When it comes down to it, who cares whether or not we have found the exact place of Jesus' birth? People seem to hinge on the possibility that Mary carved into the cave wall, "Jesus was born here" thus proving the bible true. This completely flies in the face of faith, a key element that Christianity, and most religions, are based upon!

This second story is for Changston and completely laughable:

The Guardian reports that Egypt is planning to pass a law that would essentially copyright the pyramids and any other ancient monuments or works of art from that country in order to claim royalties from anyone who makes "full-scale, precise copies of any museum object or 'commercial use' of ancient monuments." This law will even apply to private use copies. Zahi Hawass says the monies raised will help pay for the upkeep of Egypt's most precious sites. The biggest offender that Hawass is after? The Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

Is this a joke? Seriously, how can you make a copyright law in your country and expect it to apply to the world? Granted, I'm not up on my copyright law, but this seems ridiculous. Hawass says more people visit the Luxor Hotel in Vegas than Luxor in Egypt. Maybe because Vegas is a hell of a lot easier to get to for most people?

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