The day here at the Dominican Priory begins with Lauds (Morning Prayer) at 7:30, but still suffering from jet lag I didn’t sleep and finally woke up around 9:30. There was still some coffee and Israeli flat bread for a bit of breakfast, but after that went to the library to continue research.
The library here is world famous and has just about every known work on both Christian and Jewish biblical studies. It is beautifully designed with an efficient computerized catalogue. I have been given my own study desk, so along with about twenty other scholars scattered around the place I’ve been keeping my nose in the books. The library is clearly designed by and for my fellow bookworms.
My mission impossible is to find information on the Bethlehem Shepherds and why they were important to the story of Jesus’ birth. Because they were shepherds they were lowly and obviously not considered very important to the scholars and theologians either of the early church or later. They are taken for granted as a charming part of the story, but because lambs were so important for the Jewish sacrificial system, the shepherds (who bred and raised the lambs) must have been more important or significant than just the country bumpkins of the popular Christmas story.
So I am trying to dig up some information on them, hoping to find that there is, indeed, more to the story. In addition to the work with books I am hoping to go out to Bethlehem before too long. Father Chris Landfried has connected me with the pastor of the parish church in Bethlehem so maybe that is where I should start my investigations.
The saga of my lost laptop has not been resolved, but we were able to talk to folks at the bank and secure passwords and put our minds at ease somewhat.
The day ends with Vespers at 7:30 followed by an evening meal. While here I also planned to continue work on my second novel. The first one Renegade Priest has now been edited and I’m wondering what the best way is to distribute it. I had first planned to have it recorded and put out as a serialized podcast, but the editor thinks it is pretty good and may find a conventional publisher, so we’ll see what happens next.
One of the amazing things one can’t help feeling here in Jerusalem is the awesome amount of history present in this place. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and still a bustling, busy, passionate place to be.