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balks (balks) or baulks. These are the catwalks between grid squares which serve both as a way to get into the squares as well as a continuing record of the stratigraphy of the site. Usually, they are composed of the outer 0.50 meter strip of each edge of each square. 

bama (BA·ma) or bamah, pl. bamot or bamoth. A cult place or special kind of altar often translated as high place. A bama consisted of an altar and related on-site improvements serving as the venue for sacrificial and worship ceremonies to pagan deities.

band (band). The least complex and the predominant form of social organization for most of  prehistory. More Information.

baptism (bap·TIZE). Ritual immersion in water.

barter (BAR·ter). The direct exchange of goods or services in trade. Barter involves no medium of exchange, e.g., money.

basalt (ba·SALT). A dark, almost black, dense igneous rock from a lava flow or other intrusion.

basilica (ba·SIL·i·ca). Originally an oblong Roman building, used as a hall of justice and public meeting palace, with double colonnades and semi-circular end. Later a Christian meeting hall built to a similar plan with a nave, two or four isles, one or more semicircular vaulted apses, and an open timber roof.

Basilica of St. Pudentiana (ba·SIL·i·ca of St. pu-DEN-ti-A-na). Located at 160 Via Urbana in Rome the Basilica of St. Pudentiana, presumably built over the house of Roman senator Rufus Pudens (sometimes thought to be the Rufus of Romans 16:13 and Pudens of II Timothy 4:21), dates to the middle of the second century. Attribution of its original construction is to Roman bishop Pius I (ca. 140–154). Roman bishop Siricius (384-399) had the basilica rebuilt in the late fourth century (Finegan 1992:235). The site is about 600 meters north and 300 meters east of the Coliseum. The mosaic in the great apse shows major Jerusalem landmarks ca. 400. Visitors can visit the excavations under the basilica which reportedly are the remains of the Pudens family house. The Pudens family cemetery lies on the Ostian Way. The interment of the apostle Paul was likely in this cemetery.

BCE (BCE). An abbreviation for "before the Christian era" or "before the common era." BCE replaces the designation BC as some object to BC (before Christ) on historical, political, and religious grounds.

beliefs (be·LIEFS). Specific cultural conventions concerning true or false assumptions shared by a particular group held as factual or true. People make sense of their world through their belief systems. Their beliefs consist of the conclusions, evaluations, interpretations, and predictions about the world that people hold as factual and true (Chaffee 1991:187). By forming and reforming their beliefs they seek to know, to understand, and to explain their world and why it is the way it is. A belief becomes a fact when there is conclusive evidence that the belief is accurate. Ideally people would seek to develop beliefs that are as accurate as possible, but unfortunately, the constraining quality of culture mitigates against their doing so. The problem in developing accurate beliefs is one of epistemology—what can be known and how can it be known? This is an important, controversial, and divisive matter in biblical study.

bema (BE·ma). Originally in ancient Greece a raised platform for official use in the agora (see Acts 18:12).

biblical anthropology (BIB·li·cal AN·thro·POL·o·gy). The study of the anthropology of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament to learn more about the nature, diversity and similarity of biblical peoples.

biblical archaeology  (BIB·li·cal AR·chae·ol·o·gy). A specialty in archaeology relating to the study of the archaeology of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. A procedural definition of biblical archaeology emphasizes the systematic recovery of the surviving remains of ancient civilizations in the Bible lands.

bilateral descent (bi·LAT·er·al de·SCENT). A descent system that traces descendants through both the maternal and paternal sides of a family.

biological anthropology (BI·o·LOG·i·cal AN·thro·POL·o·gy) also physical anthropology. A core subfield in anthropology dealing with the issues of human evolution (see Human Origins) and human variation.

biological evolution (BI-o-LOG-i-cal  EV-o-LU-tion). The process of change in the genetic make-up (allelic frequencies) in a population over time. The population is the unit of biological evolution. Individuals cannot evolve. Biological evolution is not a theory - evolution happens all around us, every day. Whether or not natural selection is the driving force behind the origin of new species (as Charles Darwin claimed) or whether other evolutionary forces are also important, remains a matter of great debate.

bisexuality (BI·sex·u·AL·i·ty). Sexual desire, feeling, or behavior toward persons of either sex.

bishop (BISH·op). An English equivalent of èpískopos (ep·IS·ko·pos) meaning overseer the usual translation for the leader of a Christian congregation. Derived from epí meaning "upon" and skopos meaning "to look" as one who watches over and directs the work of others. As the apostles did not refer to the qehal'el as a "synagogue" they chose the word èpískopos, lit., "overseer," rather than archisunagogos meaning "synagogue ruler." An archisunagogos was an èpískopos but as used by the apostles the former referred to synagogue leaders of the Jews and the latter to congregational leaders of Church of God.

Boëthusians (boe·THUS·ians). The Boëthusian priestly family is traceable to Boethus of Alexandria whose son Simon ben Boëthus was made high priest under Herod the Great ca. 24 BCE (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XV.1.1; 9.3; XVIII 1.1; Wars II.8). The Boëthusians "maintained that the Omer (Babylonian Talmud Menahot 10:3) had to be offered on the first Sunday after Passover, and not on the morrow of the first day and, as a result, differed as to the date of Shavuoth which according to them must always fall on a Sunday (Babylonian Talmud Hog 24)" (Encyclopaedia Judaica 1972:1170 see Babylonian Talmud Hog 24).

Bordeaux Pilgrim (). A traveler from Bordeaux, possibly a Judeo-Christian native of the region of Bordeaux, who journeyed from France to Jerusalem by way of Milan in CE 333. More Information.

BP (bp). The "before the present" international dating convention using 1950 as the base year. An object dated 350 BP would be 400 years old in CE 2000 (1950 + 50).

bridewealth (BRIDE·wealth). Wealth in the form of money, property, or work transferred from the decent group of the groom to that of the bride at marriage.

burial customs (BUR·i·al CUS·toms). More Information.

Page last edited: 02/18/07 09:50 PM

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