Saul as Sacrifice
The tragedy of Israel’s first monarch By L. Daniel Hawk

Few figures in biblical literature provoke as many questions as King Saul. Was he a man of noble aspirations brought down by some tragic flaw (impulsiveness, ineptitude, irresolution?) or an arrogant tyrant infatuated with power? Was he a pitiable pantywaist, easily swayed by the dictates of others, or a hero, dignified by his struggle […]

Bible Hype
The saga of the Yonan Codex By Bruce M. Metzger

A friend recently sent me an ad that had been prominently displayed in the April 7th issue of the New York Times Book Review. It proclaimed that the book Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence About the Origin of the Gospels (New York: Doubleday, 1996) held “material proof…of a discovery that rivals […]

The Geography of Faith
Tracing the Via Dolorosa By Jerome Murphy-O’Connor

The Latin words Via Dolorosa mean the “Sorrowful Way.” They were first used by the Franciscan Boniface of Ragusa in the second half of the 16th century as the name of the devotional walk through the streets of Jerusalem that retraced the route followed by Jesus as he carried his cross to Golgotha. It […]

Michelangelo’s Masterpiece Reclaimed

The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration ed. by Pierluigi De Vecchi (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994), 271 pp., 312 illus., $75.00 Spanning a void, two index fingers stretch toward each other, not yet touching, yet implying in the space between them God’s creative power. Incontestably the most famous image in Christian art, Michelangelo’s […]


The Water Libation in the Festival of Booths
Nonbiblical rites, though originating in popular worship and rooted in magical practice, were ultimately assimilated into Israel’s official monotheism. By Jacob Milgrom
The Fundamentals of Fundamentalism
Americans appear to want definitive answers, and the claim of infallibility—either for the pope or for the Bible—seems to suit that need. By Bruce Chilton