Three significant scholars—who shaped and influenced the field of Biblical archaeology—passed away in the winter of 2017–2018, but their legacies live on. As detailed in the article “‘The Nobles of the People Dug It’: Remembering Three Archaeological Giants” in the July/August 2018 issue of BAR, the impact of Lawrence E. Stager, Ephraim Stern, and James F. Strange will be felt for generations to come. Revisit some of their noteworthy BAR articles—covering the Philistine marketplace at Ashkelon, pagan Yahwism, and archaeological finds at Capernaum—in a BAS Library special collection of articles handpicked by BAS editors.

James F. Strange

Video: The Archaeology of “Jewish Christianity”


The Song of Deborah—Why Some Tribes Answered the Call and Others Did Not
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1989 By Lawrence E. Stager

The Song of Deborah (Judges 5) is one of the most powerful pieces of poetry in the entire Bible. A prose version repeats the same story, with many variations, in Judges 4. The account tells of the deliverer (Judge) Deborah and her reluctant general Barak, who do battle against an alliance of Canaanite kings. […]

The Fury of Babylon: Ashkelon and the Archaeology of Destruction
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1996 By Lawrence E. Stager

In 86 B.C.E. Nebuchadrezzar (also known as Nebuchadnezzar II), king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple and burned the city. This of course is the focal point of the Biblical story. For Nebuchadrezzar, however, Jerusalem was only one of many prizes, part of a major military operation in the West extending over many […]

Buy Low, Sell High: The Marketplace at Ashkelon
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2014 By Daniel M. Master , Lawrence E. Stager

Ashkelon—an ancient city whose name comes from the same root as shekel—was indeed a city of buying and selling. If archaeologists were to design a place to examine the economy of the ancient world, they could hardly pick a better site than Ashkelon. At the end of the South 037 Arabian overland spice routes, […]

Pagan Yahwism: The Folk Religion of Ancient Israel
Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2001 By Ephraim Stern

The Bible imagines the religion of ancient Israel as purely monotheistic. And doubtless there were Israelites, particularly those associated with the Jerusalem Temple, who were strict monotheists. But the archaeological evidence (and the Bible, too, if you read it closely enough) suggests that the monotheism of many Israelites was far from pure. For them, […]

The Other “Philistines”
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2014 By Ephraim Stern

The Bible portrays the Philistines as Israel’s cruel and ruthless enemy. The two peoples engaged in a fierce struggle for control of the land in the 12th–11th centuries B.C.E. We all know the stories of Samson’s struggles against the Philistines (Judges 14–16), David’s victory over the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17), and the […]

Phoenicia and Its Special Relationship with Israel
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2017 By Ephraim Stern

With a commercial empire that lasted a millennium, the Phoenicians were major players in the ancient Mediterranean world. Spreading their culture and goods, they came into contact with many different groups, but their relationship with the Israelites was distinct. Join Ephraim Stern as he explores the Phoenicians’ identity and interactions with their close neighbor and ally, Israel.

Synagogue Where Jesus Preached Found at Capernaum
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1983 By James F. Strange , Hershel Shanks

The first-century Capernaum synagogue in which Jesus preached has probably been found. Because more than one synagogue may have existed in Capernaum at this time, we cannot be sure that this new find was Jesus’ synagogue. But this recently discovered first-century building is certainly a likely candidate.a At the moment, the synagogue is not a […]

Strange’s Laws of Archaeological Excavation
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1985 By James F. Strange

Laws In Tell Archaeology 1. No matter where you sink the first square,a you will find a Turkish toilet. 2. If three Ph.D.s with 39 years of field experience among them lay out the grid, it will later turn out to be irretrievably in error. Corollary: The error will not be found until the […]