I am staying overnight at the lovely Mt Zion hotel, overlooking the Hinnom Valley south of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is one of my favorite places in the world. I have stayed here a half dozen times over the years, both when we have been excavating at our Mt Zion archaeological site, and other times I have come to work on special research projects. Our dig site is just a 10 minute walk northeast across the valley. The lobby area, bar, and restaurant, offer one of the most spectacular views of the southern end of ancient Jerusalem through huge picture windows, including the Mount of Olives and the Judean desert in the background.
This evening as Shabbat ended I was thinking of my visit here in March 2008. That year we excavated our Mt Zion site in the Spring as well as the Summer. I stayed in the Mt Zion hotel. I had been thinking through the idea of writing a book on Paul as a kind of sequel or followup to my book The Jesus Dynasty, that had been published in April 2006–just two years earlier. I just remembered that I sat down on my birthday, March 2, 2008, and spent the morning at the little desk in my room and wrote a single page beginning to that book. That very room is just a few doors down the hallway from the one I am in now. I wanted to begin the writing that week while I was in Jerusalem. At that time I was calling the book, The Paul Dynasty. As many of you know, it subsequently was published in 2012 as Paul and Jesus.
Tonight I decided to search my computer and see if I could find that original modest beginning of the Paul book. I was not sure I ever saved it because it ended up getting rewritten and edited extensively. To my surprise, I just found it on my laptop! I want to share that fledgling single page with my blog readers here. I think those of you who have read Paul and Jesus will find it of particular interest. I was sitting here in my room at the Mount Zion hotel and thinking back on the past decade. So much has transpired. I wrote my original Ph.D. dissertation on Paul and his mission and message back in the early 1980s. This means I have been thinking about these things intensely now for over 35 years. If any of you have not yet read the Paul book I think you might find it both interesting and thought provoking.
The main thing I wanted to share in this blog post from Jerusalem, other than these nostalgic thoughts of time and place, is my intention, beginning February 1st, to initiate a kind of “new beginning” or this blog. This will include posting a backlog of materials and articles as well as regular publication of new articles, book reviews, news items, and other related materials. My goal in 2017 is to publish at least three new items per week. If you want regular notifications of these posts please sign up for the TaborBlog mailing list in the right sidebar on this page. I have some really significant and exciting new things to share with all of you and I am excited about what lies ahead.