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WHAT DID THEY DRINK ON THE TITANIC?

More than a 100 years after the Titanic hit that fateful iceberg, we’re still fascinated with the legendary steamship—as much because of its glamour as its tragic ending. The pride of the White Star Line and the largest passenger ship in its day, it was modeled after the Ritz Hotel in London, with a gymnasium, Turkish baths, a squash court, four restaurants and 416 first-class staterooms.

titanicThe Titanic was 882.5 feet long, or about the length of four city blocks. At the time of its launch, it was the largest passenger ship in the world.GETTY

Now Titanic expert Veronica Hinke has gone back in time with The Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining and StylePart cookbook, part first-person narrative, part anthropolical study, it uses cuisine, cocktails, dress decor and other cultural threads to dive into our obsession with the ill-fated ship and the Edwardian era as a whole.

Bartenders in the dining car saloon would have been whipping up cocktails like the Rob Roy, the Robert Burns and the Bronx to tony travelers like John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim. Some 850 bottles of spirits were brought onboard, and the ship’s wine cellar was stocked with 1,000 bottles—including a lot of Champagne and Bordeaux, apparently.

0831_Titanic_lunch_menu_03An original lunch menu saved by a passenger aboard the Titanic, just hours before it began to sink, will be up for auction on September 30, Lion Heart Autographs.LION HEART AUTOGRAPHS
Lavish 10-course meals were the norm for first-class passengers—chilled spring pea soup, chicken in cream sauce, Oysters à la Russe—and each dish was paired with a glass of wine.

“It’s absolutely incredible that we have menus that Titanic passengers and crew tucked away in their pockets and letters they wrote home describing their meals,” Hinke tells Newsweek. “These letters and menus provide rare and precious glimpses at life and food aboard the Titanic, and also throughout the world in the early 20th century.”

Her recipes, curated in narrative form, include dishes served on the ship as well as Hinke’s moden adaptations. She filled in the gaps by looking at menus from other steamships of the day, as well as from bars and restaurants that were au courant when the Titanic went down—like the Waldorf Astoria and Knickerbocker Hotels and Delmonico’s restaurant (where Hinke had her book launch this week).

“By seeing what someone like John Jacob Astor IV might have eaten while dining out in New York City, we can imagine what he likely would have eaten while on a steamship like the Titanic,” she says.

One drink we know for sure that was served on the Titanic is Punch à la Romaine, a shaved-ice concoction popularized by famed French chef (and spiked slushie fan) Georges Auguste Escoffier. Made with rum and Champagne, it was served as a palate cleanser between courses. Light, refreshing and citrusy, it can easily stand on it own.

Below, try out the recipe for Punch à la Romainé included in The Last Night on the Titanic

1 egg white
1 oz. white rum
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
Crushed ice—enough to fill the glass
Twist of orange peel, for garnish

Add the egg whites to an empty cocktail shaker and shake until frothy. To the cocktail shaker add rum, simple syrup, lemon juice, and orange juice and shake vigorously. Mound crushed ice in a coupe glass and pour mixture around it, being careful to leave enough room for the Champagne.

Top with Champagne and garnish with orange peel. The cocktail should be liquid and frothy enough to drink without a spoon.

Punch à la Romaine

Punch à la Romaine

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The Honda Mean Mower 2

Honda-Mean-Mower-Mk-2-01-1087x725

The Insane 134MPH Mower

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about going fast, it’s the folks at Top Gear. And that doesn’t just mean in cars – as was evidenced when they set a Guinness World Record for building the world’s fastest lawnmower with Honda back in 2014. Unfortunately, they were dethroned shortly thereafter. Now, however, they’re looking to ascend again with the Honda Mean Mower Mk. 2.

To be driven in the world-record attempt by stunt driver, Jess Hawkins, this second iteration grass-cutter features some major improvements over the original. For instance, the output has been nearly doubled – that means 190+ bhp from the new 999cc SP1 Fireblade engine onboard. The team building it is also shooting toward a dry weight of only about 440 lbs, which means – when paired with the engine output – this lawnmower may be able to do 0-60 in under 3 seconds. Whether or not they shatter the record remains to be seen, but by all accounts this is promising to be an impressive machine.

 

 

 

The Battle of the Little Big Horn, A First for Custer Firearms

Top-selling-lot-at-High-Noon-was-this-1874-Sharps-that-has-been-forensically-linked-to-the-Battle-of-the-Little-Big-Horn

A cartridge case discovery leads up to an auction sale of the first firearm forensically proven to have been used at the 1876 battle site.

The “first firearm forensically proven to have been used” at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, as the auction catalog noted, hammered down for a quarter of a million dollars at Brian Lebel’s High Noon in Mesa, Arizona, on January 27.

Collectors of artifacts tied to George Custer-—who history best remembers for his decisive defeat in June 1876 that led to the deaths of him and a detachment of 7th Cavalry troops—first widely learned about this Sharps 1874 rifle in a 1988 article written for Man at Arms Magazine by historical archaeologists Douglas D. Scott and Dick Harmon. They discussed not only the supporting forensic evidence, but also the pitfalls of verifying Custer battle guns in general.

custer's last fight poster
Another lot tied to the 1876 battle is this film poster for the 1912 silent short, Custer’s Last Fight, which a collector got for a winning bid of $2,750.

An accidental range fire in 1983 paved the path for a 1984 survey of the Montana fight site. Southeast of Lt. James Calhoun’s position and also on Greasy Grass Ridge, archaeologists recovered empty .50-70 caliber cartridge cases, among cases from other firearms, on known Indian warrior positions. The ballistic comparisons of two Martin-primed cartridge cases provided near-certain proof that the 1874 Sharps sold at the auction was fired on Custer’s battlefield. 

Further evidence of the rifle’s strong provenance is the unbroken family chain of custody. The rifle, bearing serial C54586, was shipped on April 23, 1875, to Schuyler, Hartley and Graham, one of Sharps’s largest agents who shipped many early rifles west for the buffalo hide hunting trade. It was found on the Little Big Horn battlefield in 1883 by rancher Willis Spear and stayed with the family until it was sold at the auction.

Western movie actor Tom Mix’s personal batwing chaps and framed carnival cards topped the celebrity lots at the auction, with a $17,000 bid.
Western movie actor Tom Mix’s personal batwing chaps and framed carnival cards topped the celebrity lots at the auction, with a $17,000 bid.

If any doubt could be raised on this being a Custer battle gun, it is the fact that the rifle was not found closer to the battle date. Some could speculate that it was fired in 1883 or even afterward, since access to the battlefield was unrestricted, says C. Lee Noyes, a retired U.S. Customs officer and former editor of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association quarterly newsletter.

“And there is at least one known and photographed instance of a military firing demonstration there, in 1886, during the 10th anniversary of the Custer battle. In addition, Capt. Edward S. Luce, a 7th Cavalry veteran and long-time park superintendent, reportedly ‘salted’ the battlefield with cartridge cases and other ‘relics’ for tourists to find,” he adds.

Other Custer battlefield guns before this one, however, had shakier provenance, as they relied solely on historical documentation. As Scott and Harmon wrote, the combination of modern crime laboratory firearms identification procedures with archaeological evidence allowed for this 1874 Sharps to become the “first gun in history that has been scientifically proven to ‘have been there.’”

Collectors who lost out on the chance to bid for a Custer battle gun have another opportunity—at the James D. Julia Auction this April 11-13. A Model 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, serial 5773, is one of three that 7th Cavalry Capt. Frederick W. Benteen reported unserviceable after the 1876 battle. This revolver has a “pure Little Big Horn pedigree,” Noyes says.

Collectors earned more than $1.25 million for their Old West artifacts.

 

The Lost Art of Cassette Design

Steve Vistaunet’s Pinterest is a treasure-trove of photos of exuberant cassette spine designs from the gilded age of the mix-tape, ranging from the hand-drawn to early desktop publishing experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Ulfberht Swords, The All-Powerful Viking Swords

The all-powerful Ulfberht swords with blades so strong that it still baffles experts today.

Ulfberht Swords

When you think of medieval warfare, we think of swords. In the age before gunpowder, the best way to kill your enemy was usually just to stab him with a big hunk of steel.

But if you think that everyone was using swords, you might be a little off-base. Even if you tried to equip an entire army with swords, you would have quickly run into the biggest problem associated with warfare no matter the era: money.

Swords were incredibly expensive. Depending on where you lived, a good sword could cost about £1,200 to £24,000 in today’s money. Of course, it’s hard to directly translate the cost between the medieval period and today, simply because the economy worked so differently. But the bottom line is if you wanted a good sword, it wasn’t cheap.

But what if you wanted a really good sword? A sword that was so much better than everything else of its era that it was almost mythical? Then you needed an Ulfberht. And you had better bring some serious cash.

The Ulfberht swords, largely associated with Vikings, were basically like the Ferraris of their time. They were a symbol of wealth, status, and they would perform better than what most other people were using.

We don’t know much about who made the Ulfberht swords, but we do know that they were probably made in the Kingdom of Francia (around modern-day France and Germany). This was traditionally where the best swords were made, and the Ulfberht “brand” might have made the best swords in Francia.

These swords were said to have been sharper, stronger, and more flexible than anyone else’s. That gave the user a huge advantage in battle. You could block an enemy’s sword and trust that your blade wouldn’t shatter, which was a constant concern. And in an era where the best warriors wore mail coats, an Ulfberht sword would slice through that protection better than other swords.

It was the closest thing to a lightsaber in medieval Europe. And that’s actually a better comparison than you might think. That’s because the process used to make Ulfberht swords was centuries ahead of the competition. In fact, it wouldn’t be possible to replicate it on a large scale until the industrial revolution.

Viking Swords

The secret to Ulfberht swords was the distribution of carbon in the blade. Steel swords were made by mixing iron and carbon to produce steel. Add too much carbon and the sword becomes brittle and breaks. Add too little, and it will just bend. The Ulfberht swords used the perfect amount to produce blades that were sharper and more durable than anyone else’s.

But we’re still not entirely sure how the makers did that, though it may have involved borrowing some the techniques used by Arab smiths to produce the famous “Damascus Steel.”

The process involved using trace amounts of other minerals and heating them together with iron and carbon in a crucible to produce first-rate steel. And getting these materials from as far as India involved a global trade network you don’t usually associate with the period.

Were the makers of the Ulfberht swords using the same techniques? Possibly. If not, then they somehow produced something very similar to Damascus Steel on their own, with almost no impurities in the metal. And they quickly became famous, and probably rich, for it.

Most likely, steel was shipped up from the Arab empires or India through the rivers of Eastern Europe by traders. There, they were turned into swords in what is now Germany. Then they were sold to Norse and Frankish nobles who wanted a quality blade to use against their enemies. It’s hard to say exactly what an Ulfberht cost, but it was probably something only the richest noblemen could afford.

Ulfberht Sword Picture

There are about 170 true Ulfberht swords that have survived to the present day. They’re all in the traditional “Viking” style with a long, double-edged blade and a straight crossbar over the grip and all of them have the name “Ulfberht” stamped into the blade. Whoever was making the swords clearly understood the importance of branding.

But like any modern brand, the Ulfberht brand was quickly beset with imitators. Because Ulfberht swords were so famous, other people soon realized they could sell their swords for more by stamping the Ulfberht name on the blade, even if they didn’t use the same techniques. And since the people who bought these swords were relying on them for battle, this had deadly consequences.

Ulfberht is itself a Frankish personal name. That might imply that the original inventor was a man named Ulfberht. But since the swords were made for about 200 years, he certainly wasn’t the only one producing them.

And because there are so many imitation swords out there, figuring out who originally created the mythic Ulfberht swords or where they did it has baffled archeologists for decades, and will likely long remain a mystery.

Ever Wondered How To Identify The Ford Pickup Models.. From 1948 to 1996

The Ford Motor Company (commonly referred to simply as Ford) is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand.

The Ford F-Series is a series of light-duty trucks and medium-duty trucks (Class 2-7) that have been marketed and manufactured by Ford Motor Company since 1948. While most variants of the F-Series trucks are full-size pickup trucks, the F-Series also includes chassis cab trucks and commercial vehicles. The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States since 1981 and the best-selling pickup since 1977. It is also the best selling vehicle in Canada.

We have many ways to identify generations of Ford trucks, and here is an interesting guide based on their hoods.

Ford Truck Identification Guide

 

1948-1960

 

1961-1966

 

1967-1972

 

Who Wrote The Bible?

Set aside what religious tradition says, and discover who wrote the Bible according to the scholars who have examined the actual evidence.

Who Wrote The Bible

HOLY BOOKS HAVE A REACH that goes far beyond what virtually all works of literature can ever accomplish. Unlike, say, The Great Gatsby, the Bible is a text upon which millions and millions of people have based their entire lives.

That fact can be good or bad, and it’s often been both over the many centuries throughout which Christians have been reading the Bible and Jews have been reading the Torah. But given its immense reach and cultural influence, it’s a bit surprising how little we really know about the Bible’s origins. In other words, who wrote the Bible? Of all the mysteries surrounding the Bible, that one may be the most fascinating.

We’re not completely ignorant, of course. Some books of the Bible were written in the clear light of history, and their authorship isn’t terribly controversial. Other books can be reliably dated to a given period by either internal clues — sort of the way no books written in the 1700s mention airplanes, for instance — and by their literary style, which develops over time.

Religious doctrine, of course, holds that God himself is the author of or at least the inspiration for the entirety of the Bible, which was transcribed by a series of humble vessels. About the best that can be said for that notion is that if God really did “write” the Bible through a millennium-long sequence of various authors, he was certainly doing it the hard way.

As for the actual historical evidence regarding who wrote the Bible, that’s a longer story.

Who Wrote The Bible: The First Five Books

Painting Of Moses

According to both Jewish and Christian Dogma, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the first five books of the Bible and the entirety of the Torah) were all written by Moses in about 1,300 B.C. There are a few issues with this, however, such as the lack of evidence that Moses ever existed and the fact that the end of Deuteronomy describes the “author” dying and being buried.

Scholars have developed their own take on who wrote the Bible’s first five books, mainly by using internal clues and writing style. Just as English speakers can roughly date a book that uses a lot of “thee’s” and “thou’s,” Bible scholars can contrast the styles of these early books to create profiles of the different authors.

In each case, these writers are talked about as if they were a single person, but each author could just as easily be an entire school of people writing in a single style. These biblical “authors” include:

  • E: “E” stands for Elohist, the name given to the author(s) who referred to God as “Elohim.” In addition to a fair bit of Exodus and a little bit of Numbers, the “E” author(s) are believed to be the ones who wrote the Bible’s first creation account in Genesis chapter one.Interestingly, however, “Elohim” is plural, so chapter one originally stated that “Gods created the heavens and earth.” It’s believed that this hearkens back to a time when proto-Judaism was polytheistic, though it was almost certainly a one-deity religion by the 900s B.C., when “E” would have lived.
  • J: “J” is believed to be the second author(s) of the first five books (much of Genesis and some of Exodus), including the creation account in Genesis chapter two (the detailed one where Adam is created first and there’s a serpent). This name comes from “Jahwe,” the German translation of “YHWH” or “Yahweh,” the name this author used for God.At one time, J was thought to have lived close to the time of E, but there’s just no way that could be true. Some of the literary devices and turns of phrase that J uses could only have been picked up sometime after 600 B.C., during the Jewish captivity in Babylon.

    For example, “Eve” first appears in J’s text when she is made from the rib of Adam. “Rib” is “ti” in Babylonian, and it’s associated with the goddess Tiamat, the mother deity. A lot of Babylonian mythology and astrology (including the stuff about Lucifer, the Morning Star) snuck into the Bible in this way via the captivity.

Destruction Of Jerusalem

  • P: “P” stands for “Priestly,” and it almost certainly refers to a whole school of writers living in and around Jerusalem in the late sixth century B.C., immediately after the Babylonian captivity ended. These writers were effectively reinventing their peoples’ religion from fragmentary texts now lost.P writers drafted almost all of the dietary and other kosher laws, emphasized the holiness of the Sabbath, wrote endlessly about Moses’ brother Aaron (the first priest in Jewish tradition) to the exclusion of Moses himself, and so on.

    P seems to have written just a few verses of Genesis and Exodus, but virtually all of Leviticus and Numbers. P authors are distinguished from the other writers by their use of quite a lot of Aramaic words, mostly borrowed into Hebrew. In addition, some of the rules attributed to P are known to have been common among the Chaldeans of modern-day Iraq, whom the Hebrews must have known during their exile in Babylon, suggesting that the P texts were written after that period.

King Josiah

  • D: “D” is for “Deuteronomist,” which means: “guy who wrote Deuteronomy.” D was also, like the other four, originally attributed to Moses, but that’s only possible if Moses liked to write in the third person, could see the future, used language no one in his own time would have used, and knew where his own tomb would be (clearly, Moses was not who wrote the Bible at all).D also takes little asides to indicate just how much time has passed between the events described and the time of his writing about them — “there were Canaanites in the land then,” “Israel has not had such a great prophet [as Moses] down to this very day” — once again disproving any notions that Moses was the one who wrote the Bible in any way.

    Deuteronomy was actually written much later. The text first came to light in the tenth year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah, which was roughly 640 B.C. Josiah had inherited the throne from his father at age eight and ruled through the Prophet Jeremiah until he was of age.

    Around 18, the King decided to seize full control of Judah, so he dispatched Jeremiah to the Assyrians with a mission to fetch home the remaining diaspora Hebrews. Then, he ordered a renovation of the Temple of Solomon, where Deuteronomy was supposedly found under the floor — or so Josiah’s story goes.

    Purporting to be a book by Moses himself, this text was a near-perfect match for the cultural revolution that Josiah was leading at the time, suggesting that Josiah orchestrated this “discovery” to serve his own political and cultural ends.

    This is roughly the equivalent of President Trump fishing around in the Liberty Bell and claiming to find an amendment to the Constitution written by Thomas Jefferson that requires presidents to build border walls — even though the supposed amendment uses modern words such as “email” and “cellphone.”

Histories

Joshua Makes The Sun Stand Still

The next answers to the question of who wrote the Bible come from the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, generally believed to have been written during the Babylonian captivity in the middle of the sixth century B.C. Traditionally believed to have been written by Joshua and Samuel themselves, they’re now often lumped in with Deuteronomy due to their similar style and language.

Nevertheless, there is a substantial gap between the “discovery” of Deuteronomy under Josiah in about 640 B.C. and the middle of the Babylonian captivity somewhere around 550 B.C. However, it’s possible that some of the youngest priests who were alive in the time of Josiah were still alive when Babylon hauled off the whole country as captives.

Whether it was these priests of the Deuteronomy era or their successors that wrote Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, these texts represent a highly mythologized history of their newly dispossessed people thanks to the Babylonian captivity.

Who Wrote The Bible Egypt

This history opens with the Hebrews getting a commission from God to leave their Egyptian captivity (which probably resonated with the contemporary readers who had the Babylonian captivity on their minds) and utterly dominate the Holy Land.

The next section covers the age of the great prophets, who were believed to be in daily contact with God, and who routinely humiliated the Canaanites’ deities with feats of strength and miracles.

Finally, the two books of Kings cover the “Golden Age” of Israel, under the kings Saul, David, and Solomon, centered around the tenth century B.C.

The intent of the authors here isn’t hard to parse: Throughout the books of Kings, the reader is assailed with endless warnings not to worship strange gods, or to take up the strangers’ ways — especially relevant for a people in the middle of the Babylonian captivity, freshly plunged into a foreign country and without a clear national identity of their own.

Who Wrote The Bible: Prophets

Prophet Isaiah

The next texts to examine when investigating who wrote the Bible are those of the biblical prophets, an eclectic group who mostly traveled around the various Jewish communities to admonish people and lay curses and sometimes preach sermons about everybody’s shortcomings.

Some prophets lived way back before the “Golden Age” while others did their work during and after the Babylonian captivity. Later, many of books of the Bible attributed to these prophets were largely written by others and were fictionalized to the level of Aesop’s Fables by people living centuries after the events in the books were supposed to have happened, for example:

  • Isaiah: Isaiah was one of the greater prophets of Israel, and the book of the Bible attributed to him is agreed to have been written in basically three parts: early, middle, and late.Early, or “proto-” Isaiah texts may have been written close to the time when the man himself really lived, around the eighth century B.C., about the time when the Greeks were first writing down Homer’s stories. These writings run from chapters one to 39, and they’re all doom and judgment for sinful Israel.

    When Israel actually did fall with the Babylonian conquest and captivity, the works attributed to Isaiah were dusted off and expanded into what’s now known as chapters 40-55 by the same people who wrote Deuteronomy and the historical texts. This part of the book is frankly the ravings of an outraged patriot about how all the lousy, savage foreigners will someday be made to pay for what they’ve done to Israel. This section is where the terms “voice in the wilderness” and “swords into ploughshares” come from.

    Finally, the third part of the book of Isaiah was clearly written after the Babylonian captivity ended in 539 B.C. when the invading Persians permitted the Jews to return home. It’s not surprising then that his section of Isaiah is a burbling tribute to the Persian Cyrus the Great, who is identified as the Messiah himself for letting the Jews return to their home.

Jeremiah The Prophet

  • Jeremiah: Jeremiah lived a century or so after Isaiah, immediately before the Babylonian captivity. The authorship of his book remains relatively unclear, even compared with other discussions as to who wrote the Bible.He may have been one of the Deuteronomist writers, or he may have been one of the earliest “J” authors. His own book may have been written by him, or by a man named Baruch ben Neriah, whom he mentions as one of his scribes. Either way, the book of Jeremiah has a very similar style to Kings, and so it’s possible that either Jeremiah or Baruch simply wrote them all.
  • Ezekiel: Ezekiel ben-Buzi was a priesthood member living in Babylon itself during the captivity.There’s no way he wrote the whole book of Ezekiel himself, given the stylistic differences from one part to the next, but he may have written some. His students/acolytes/junior assistants may have written the rest. These also might have been the writers who survived Ezekiel to draft the P texts after the captivity.

Wisdom Literature

Who Wrote The Bible Job

The next section of the Bible — and the next investigation into who wrote the Bible — deals with what’s known as the wisdom literature. These books are the finished product of nearly a thousand years of development and heavy editing.

Unlike the histories, which are theoretically non-fiction accounts of stuff that happened, wisdom literature has been redacted over the centuries with an extremely casual attitude that has made it hard to pin down any single book to any single author. Some patterns, however, have emerged:

  • Job: The book of Job is actually two scripts. In the middle, it’s a very ancient epic poem, like the E text. These two texts may be the oldest writings in the Bible.On either side of that epic poem in the middle of Job are much more recent writings. It’s as if Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales were to be reissued today with an introduction and epilogue by Stephen King as if the whole thing were one long text.

    Section one of Job contains a very modern narrative of setup and exposition, which was typical of the Western tradition and indicates that this part was written after Alexander the Great swept over Judah in 332 B.C. The happy ending of Job is also very much in this tradition.

    Between these two sections, the list of misfortunes that Job endures, and his tumultuous confrontation with God, are written in a style that would have been around eight or nine centuries old when the beginning and ending were written.

  • Psalms/Proverbs: Like Job, Psalms and Proverbs are also cobbled together from both older and newer sources. For example, some Psalms are written as if there’s a reigning king on the throne in Jerusalem, while others directly mention the Babylonian captivity, during which time there was of course no king on the throne of Jerusalem. Proverbs was likewise continuously updated until about the mid-second century B.C.

Battle Of Issus

  • Ptolemaic Period: The Ptolemaic period began with the Greek conquest of Persia in the late fourth century B.C. Before then, the Jewish people had been doing very well under the Persians, and they were not happy about the Greek takeover.Their main objection seems to have been cultural: Within a few decades of the conquest, Jewish men were flagrantly adopting Greek culture by dressing in togas and drinking wine in public places. Women were even teaching Greek to their children and donations were way down at temple.

    The writings from this time are of a high technical quality, partly thanks to the hated Greek influence, but they also tend to be melancholy, likewise due to the hated Greek influence. Books from this period include Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes.

Who Wrote The Bible: The New Testament

Jesus Delivering Sermon

Finally, the question of who wrote the Bible turns to the texts dealing with Jesus and beyond.

In the second century B.C. with the Greeks still in power, Jerusalem was run by fully Hellenized kings who considered it their mission to erase Jewish identity with full assimilation.

To that end, King Antiochus Epiphanes had a Greek gymnasium built across the street from the Second Temple and made it a legal requirement for Jerusalem’s men to visit it at least once. The thought of stripping nude in a public place blew the minds of Jerusalem’s faithful Jews, and they rose in bloody revolt to stop it.

In time, Hellenistic rule fell apart in the area and was replaced by the Romans. It was during this time, early in the first century A.D., that one of the Jews from Nazareth inspired a new religion, one that saw itself as a continuation of Jewish tradition, but with scriptures of its own:

  • Gospels: The four Gospels in the King James Bible — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — tell the story of Jesus’ life and death (and what came after that). These books are named after Jesus’ apostles, although these books’ actual authors may have just been using those names for street cred.The first Gospel to be written may have been Mark, which then inspired Matthew and Luke (John differs from the others). Alternatively, all three may have been based on a now-lost older book known to scholars as Q. Whatever the case, evidence suggests that Acts seems to have been written at the same time (the end of the first century A.D.) and by the same author as Mark.

Paul The Apostle

  • Epistles: The Epistles are a series of letters, written to various early congregations in the eastern Mediterranean, by a single individual. Saul of Tarsus famously converted after an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, after which he changed his name to Paul and became the single most enthusiastic missionary of the new religion. Along the way to his eventual martyrdom, Paul wrote Epistles of James, Peter, Johns, and Jude.
  • Apocalypse: The book of Revelation has traditionally been attributed to the Apostle John.Unlike the other traditional attributions, this one wasn’t very far off in terms of actual historical authenticity, though this book was written a little late for someone who claimed to know Jesus personally. John, of Revelation fame, seems to have been a converted Jew who wrote his vision of the End Times on the Greek island of Patmos about 100 years after Jesus’ death.

While the writings attributed to John actually do show some congruity between who wrote the Bible according to tradition and who wrote the Bible according to historical evidence, the question of Biblical authorship remains thorny, complex, and contested.

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