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Lecture to focus on 'stunning' find about King David


Yesterday's Religion Notes column included an incorrect telephone number provided by Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson for information about Lenten services. The correct number is 823-3588.

The Sun regrets the error.

An Israeli archaeologist's discovery of a fragment of a stone monument near the Syrian border with northern Israel last summer excited scholars of biblical history around the world.

"Phenomenal," "stunning" and "sensational" were some of the words used to describe it.

The reason for the excitement was that inscriptions on the stone are the only known references outside the Bible to King David and the ruling dynasty he is believed to have founded, the House of David. The inscriptions are considered important evidence of the dynasty's influence on the development of Judaism and Christianity.

Avraham Biran, the man who made the discovery, will be discussing its implications at 3 p.m. Sunday at Baltimore Hebrew University, 5800 Park Heights Ave. The free lecture, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the Orlinsky Institute of Biblical and Archaeological Studies at the university.

Barry M. Gittlen, a professor there, said of the subject of the lecture, "It's probably the most important archaeological discovery in Israel in the past decade, maybe the past 50 years." Only the Dead Sea Scrolls would seem more significant, he said.

The broken monument, or stele, was found in the ruins of a wall at the site of the ancient city of Tel Dan. Dr. Biran, director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, has been in charge of the excavations at Tel Dan since 1966.

Scholars say the monument probably was erected in the first quarter of the ninth century B.C. by the king of Damascus.

Despite many gaps in the Aramaic text, Dr. Biran said at the time of the discovery, "The writing is very clear, a joy to behold."

& Information: 578-6900.

Lent in Towson:

For the 27th year, a group of Towson churches of several Christian denominations will sponsor brief community Lenten services weekly at 12:10 p.m. beginning next Thursday and continuing each Thursday through March 24.

To be led by visiting clergy, the 20-minute ecumenical services are all scheduled at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. They will include hymns, prayers, Bible readings and meditations.

A buffet lunch prepared by members of Trinity's congregation will be served in the adjacent Parish House at 12:30 p.m. on each of the Thursdays. The Rev. Kingsley Smith, rector of the church, said that "priority on the buffet line will be given to those on lunch breaks from offices and shops."

He said offerings will be taken for the hunger programs of the Towson Churches Assistance Center and the Maryland Food Committee.

At 11:30 a.m., before the ecumenical services, Trinity Church will also offer a celebration of the Eucharist. Information: 832-3588.

The 118th year:

Northeast Baltimore's Emmanuel Reformed Episcopal congregation will celebrate its 118th anniversary Sunday with an 11 a.m. Morning Prayer service followed by a dinner at the church, Harford Road at Kentucky Avenue.

The minister, the Rev. William A. Jenkins Sr., said Emmanuel began at Eden and Hoffman streets in East Baltimore, where the congregation worshiped first in a simple frame chapel, later replaced by a stone church on the site. The move to the current location in 1926 followed a merger with another congregation.

The small Reformed Episcopal denomination was founded in New York in 1873 by Bishop George D. Cummins and other evangelical, "low church" Episcopalians who were alarmed by the interest of the "high church" wing in returning to Roman Catholic doctrines, vestments and rituals.

& Information: 893-7251.

Novena services:

A solemn novena in honor of St. Jude, a series of weekly services continuing for nine weeks, will be conducted at 7:45 a.m., noon, 5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Sundays at Baltimore's Roman Catholic Shrine of St. Jude, Paca and Saratoga streets.

The Wednesday series began yesterday. The other series will start Sunday. Brother James Beamesderfer said the novenas will be broadcast for shut-ins on Sunday mornings over Baltimore radio stations, at 6:05 a.m. on WCBM-AM and at 10 a.m. on WBGR-AM, the latter in connection with a Mass broadcast from Mercy Medical Center.

& Information: 685-6026.

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