Religion & Beliefs

Tomb Raider: Herod Redux

Okay… I don't mean to go on too long about Herod, but after my post the other day I got a weird email from my friend John, who also happens to be a religion writer and the editor of SoMA … Read More

By / May 10, 2007

Okay… I don't mean to go on too long about Herod, but after my post the other day I got a weird email from my friend John, who also happens to be a religion writer and the editor of SoMA Review.  It seems that he was in Israel 3 weeks ago, doing some research for a book, and just happened to "stumble" onto the  royal tomb in question. 

So he wrote this little piece for Beliefnet about the experience, and I thought I'd follow up our Herod conversation by linking the story, which goes a little something like this:

That’s when we noticed, off to the right, the Israeli Antiquity Authorities’ tape marking a new excavation. Brian said that it must have been a very recent dig, because it hadn't been there the last time he visited. We ducked under the tape and climbed the hill till we reached the dig.

Now, John… I love you dearly, and think you're the bee's knees.  But I'm going to question your definition of "stumble" now.  In the name of Faithhacking and curiousity.

Because it makes me feel better to do so.  Since I myself, late one night, "stumbled" into Petra in a similar manner, and had one of the coolest experiences of my life.

And revisiting that night, as I read your story, makes me wonder how many other religiously-curious travelers have broken into sacred sites (not that I'm a Nabataean or anything– but Petra is pretty clearly a sacred space!) with an eye for a personal experience.  Something off the beaten path.

And I wonder too if this has something to do with the way we experience religious places when we travel.  If, after plodding through a sacred site with an enormous tour group full of snot-nosed kids begging their parents for ice cream, one doesn't feel the desire for a more personal experience in a sacred site?  One doesn't feel some need to sit in a silent ancient space and touch something real… reach back in time, or into the silence, and explore faith. 

Is it possible there are all kinds of people who've broken into sacred space?

Which leads me to this… I want to know if any of our other Jewcy readers have done things like this.  If so,  I want  to know what their experiences were like… 

I'm not advocating anyone go breaking into the Temple Mount  in the name of "practical spirituality".   Of course I'm not. 

But for those of you who have, can you tell us about it?  Jewcy minds want to know!