While I appreciate many of N.T. Wright’s contributions to theology, there are some things he says that baffle me to no end. For example, on September 15 he wrote a short piece for the Washington Post titled “American Christians and the death penalty.” He claims that
you can’t reconcile being pro-life on abortion and pro-death on the death penalty. Almost all the early Christian Fathers were opposed to the death penalty, even though it was of course standard practice across the ancient world. As far as they were concerned, their stance went along with the traditional ancient Jewish and Christian belief in life as a gift from God, which is why (for instance) they refused to follow the ubiquitous pagan practice of ‘exposing’ baby girls (i.e. leaving them out for the wolves or for slave-traders to pick up).
Ex 28:31-35 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear. 33 On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, 34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. 35 And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die. (ESV, see also Ex 39:26).
On July 24, 2011 it was announced that a 2000 year old golden bell was discovered in an ancient sewer inside the Old City walls of Jerusalem (a few paces from the Temple Mount) last week. It is only one half inch in size. It contains a small loop on the top so it can be sewn onto a garment. Given the requirement for golden bells to be attached to the high priest’s robe, it is quite possible that this bell was once attached to the robe of one of the high priests.
Interestingly the bell still makes a sound!