This week began with some unseasonal rain, including thunder and lightning through much of Saturday here in Tiberias. The drop in temperatures was enough to send me searching for the ancient electric radiator, much to the delight of Fifi, my canine companion. He promptly settled down in front of the heater with a satisfied expression on his face. The rain continued through Sunday, while the cold weather lasted until Monday. By Tuesday things were beginning to warm up again.
I left for Jerusalem early on Sunday morning, with hopes of attending the 9.30am Arabic service at St George’s Cathedral. However, the traffic was exceptionally bad and what should have been a 2.5 hour trip took me over 4.5 hours. It seems to have been the result of road closures on Highway 1 during a visit by the US Secretary for Defence, exacerbated by wet weather and the usual Sunday morning traffic peak. Happily the traffic was much better when I returned home on Tuesday afternoon, and I was also able to break my journey for brief visits with Yuval Hollander (Director for the Bethsaida DVD last year), and Hanan Shafir (the dig photographer).
My three days at the IAA Coin Department were very productive. By Tuesday afternoon I had completed the first draft of the detailed numismatic descriptions for most of the coins between 2012 and 2001. The remaining 45 coins need some additional work by Donald Ariel before I can prepare their descriptions. The annual coin reports for seasons up until 2000 already have such descriptions, but these had not previously been compiled for the last 12 seasons. This should make the coins much more accessible to other researchers, and in the process I have learned a great deal about the study of coins. There remains a great deal yet to learn, but working closely with the head of the IAA Coin Department has been a fantastic introduction to the field.
After returning from Jerusalem I switched back to the book project, and by Friday morning I had another chapter completed: ch 10, Easter people. This explores the relevance of the resurrection of Jesus for Christians today, and was by far the most challenging for me of the chapters done so far. Overnight Thursday I also received the contract from Polebridge Press for the book, so that has now been signed and returned!
I am hoping to get one more chapter completed before Eve arrives next Wednesday evening, as I doubt there will be much time for writing during the next three weeks!