New Call for Publication of Dead Sea Scrolls
Under the title “The Scrolls’ Hidden Message,” Newsweek featured a story last November on the failure of scholars to publish the Dead Sea Scrolls assigned to them, in some cases, more than 30 years ago. Apparently triggered by a BAR story protesting the situation (see “Jerusalem Rolls Out Red Carpet for Biblical Archaeology Congress,” BAR 10:04), Newsweek lined up several prominent scholars, who have now publicly decried the fact that “hundreds of fragments are still unavailable to any but the handful of professors to whom they were issued for editing.” Newsweek quoted James A. Sauer, president of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) as saying, “Only a very few of the research responsibilities have been met.” James H. Charlesworth, editor of the new edition of the Pseudepigrapha and a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, called the situation, “the scandal of our time.” Both scholars (as has BAR) called for prompt publication of photographs of the unpublished materials so they will be available to all scholars.
“Who can say that we have touched more than the surface layers of the bearing of archaeological data on Biblical texts and interpretation?” So asks Walter E. Rast in his opening editorial as he takes the helm at the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR). BASOR’s new editor is professor of theology at Valparaiso University in Indiana and co-director (with R. Thomas Schaub) of excavations at Bab edh-Dhra in Jordan (see “Have Sodom and Gomorrah Been Found?” BAR 06:05).
More Digs Seek Volunteers
Land Of Gerar
The Land of Gerar Expedition will hold its third season of excavations at Tel Haror, a Bronze and Iron Age site, and Gerar 100, a Chalcolithic settlement, from July 26 to August 23, 1985. The expedition investigates the settlement patterns and historical development of the Nahal Gerar region in the northern Negev.
This region has been tentatively identified as Biblical Gerar. According to the Bible, Sarah and Abraham lived in the land of Gerar. There, Sarah bore Isaac (Genesis 20, 21).
The expedition director is Eliezer Oren, head of the department of archaeology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Volunteers will live in student apartment suites with kitchens at Beersheba University. Both students and volunteers are welcome; academic credit may be arranged through Brandeis University. The cost of the dig will be $650 for four weeks, $325 for two weeks and $163 for one week. (The 1985 BAS Israel Seminar, announced on our inside front cover, will spend 12 days at Tel Haror this August.)
For additional information, write to: Martha Morrison, Academic Director, Department of Classical and Oriental Studies, Rabb 141, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254. Tel: 617–647-2638.
From the Early Bronze Age to the Crusader period, Tel Akko was a major trade crossroad of land and sea. Located on Israel’s coast, 15 miles north of Haifa, the site was a Phoenician stronghold. Akko is also mentioned in Egyptian execration texts from the 19th century B.C. and in the Amarna Letters from the 14th century B.C. The tribe of Asher tried to conquer Akko, but failed (Judges 1:31–32). Later, Akko was the Crusader capital after the fall of Jerusalem.
This summer, dig directors Moshe Dothan and Michal Artzi seek volunteers for the tenth season of excavations at Tel Akko, from June 30–August 2. The work will concentrate on the Middle Bronze II fortifications and the Late Bronze city. Volunteers will be housed in nearby dormitories and will eat in a school dining hall. The cost is $95 per week; academic credit may be arranged through the University of Haifa.
For more information, write to Moshe Dothan, Department of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.
Father Francis L. Filas 1916–1985
Father Francis L. Filas, a leading researcher on the Shroud of Turin, died on February 15 at the age of 69.
A Jesuit and professor of theology at Loyola University of Chicago, Father Filas believed the Shroud to be the true burial garment of Jesus. He received international publicity for his 1979 investigation of faint imprints on the Shroud that he believed resembled markings on coins from the time of Pontius Pilate (29–32 A.D.). Since 1951, Filas’s annual Good Friday telecast, “The Shroud,” has aired on national networks and local affiliates.
Father Filas is well-known to BAR readers because in recent years every issue of BAR has contained a full-page advertisement for his slide sets on the Shroud of Turin and on Biblical archaeology.
Filas, who taught at Loyola University since 1950, published 11 books, seven of which deal with the life of St. Joseph.
Egyptian Archaeology Struggles with Many Problems—Some Created by Its Antiquities Law
“To most Egyptians their antiquities mean nothing; history begins for them with the arrival of Islam, in the seventh century.” So says Katie Leishman in the January 1985 Atlantic Monthly in her article, “Egypt: The Future of the Past.” The current chairman of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, Dr. Ahmed Kadry, has impressed foreigners, however, with “his fairmindedness in balancing the concerns of developers and preservationists.”
One of the serious problems Kadry faces is the loss of artifacts discovered accidentally by peasants or by developers preparing a building site. The present Egyptian antiquities law, dating from Gamal Abdul Nasser’s revolution in 1952, declares “all objects made before 1850 the property of the state, and the sale, exportation, and even possession of such artifacts [is] illegal.” Leishman points out that “Nasser’s law ended an informal nationwide system of collecting antiquities, in which peasants could sell for a few piasters objects they came upon in the fields; the objects eventually turned up in marketplaces from Alexandria to Aswan.” She adds a comment about the state of affairs before Nasser’s law by Bernard Bothmer, a former curator of Egyptian art at the Brooklyn Museum: “The system was primitive, but absolutely nothing was lost—not one tiny mummy bead … Today, if a farmer finds something, he becomes nervous and just pitches it into 012the nearest canal. The loss has been incalculable for the history of Egypt.”
However, the situation for excavated objects is different. Now that foreign archaeologists can no longer carry home their finds, museum storage rooms in Egypt are jammed with countless objects found during excavations. Unfortunately, museum officials are unable to keep up with the flood of objects; artifacts are not registered and many have become essentially irretrievable. Leishman describes still another unfortunate outcome of the understandable Egyptian decision to hold on to its antiquities: “The new scarcity of Egyptian art on the international market increased its value, producing a wave of tomb and temple marauding.”
Leishman concludes that “Egyptians have an unenviable job safeguarding what archaeologists like to call the world’s patrimony … Great treasures are going to be lost. How many, and how quickly, are the only riddles being asked at Giza these days.”
Remembering Pessach Bar-Adon
We received the following note from Richard J. Scheuer, a trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research and chairman of the Board of Hebrew Union College:
“Your BARline about Pessach Bar-Adon moves me to share with you the remarks I made at the ceremony in Israel marking the end of the thirty-day mourning period following his death.
‘Just as Pessach was an untrammeled artist in words, he was a fine draftsman. His artist’s eye always informed his archaeological observations. He deserved to find and celebrate the exquisite sculptures of the Nahal Mishmar.
‘Pessach loved the Judean desert, as my mentor, Nelson Glueck, loved the desert of the Negev. Both men had a passion for building the deserts they loved. Both were sure that the successes of the distant past could point the way to the future, so Pessach was eager to research and explain the history of this beautiful but forbidding territory at Israel’s frontier: in the first Jewish Commonwealth, in the Second, and in the time of rebuilding in which he so clearly felt himself blessed to live.
‘He loved the youngsters defending that frontier in today’s encampments. He lived with them whenever he could. He rejoiced in their volunteering to help him excavate. He had great satisfaction in teaching them. They in turn loved him.
‘To his friends from overseas and their children, Pessach was the immediate embodiment of Israel as a pioneering society. He was a genuine romantic, who led us scrambling up rock chimneys and into cliff face rock caves as if we had dropped 30 years.’”
The Dangers of Going on a BAS Tour
Bill McClure, a furniture store owner from Columbus, Mississippi, had been on an archaeological tour of Israel and Jordan, led by Professor Max Miller of Emory University. His interest in Biblical archaeology thus sparked, McClure subscribed to BAR. There he read about the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Seminar at Sea, a winter cruise in the Caribbean with lectures on Biblical archaeology given by Professor Joseph Callaway, president of the W. F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and a member of BAR’s Editorial Advisory Board. McClure decided to go.
On the cruise, McClure was greatly impressed with Callaway and the exciting material he presented. And Callaway was equally impressed with McClure’s enthusiasm and interest. As a result, Callaway invited McClure to join the prestigious board of the Albright Institute. McClure accepted. We at BAR are pleased to have played some small part in this gratifying chain of events.
Pacific School of Religion Hosts Summer Workshops in the Arts
To encourage the use of the arts in worship and in religious education, the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, will present a series of four workshops on the arts this summer. The subjects of the workshops are “The Church’s Story: Telling, Hearing, Acting,” June 17–21; “Visual Arts and Biblical Faith,” July 29–August 2; “Dance and Biblical Faith,” August 5–9; and “Bringing to Life Biblical Humor,” August 12–16.
The workshops will include sessions with artists, dancers, actors, and scholars from all over the country. The topics include: Humor in Proverbs and Job, Clown Ministry in Convalescent Homes, Dancing Biblical Men and Women, Doing and Sharing Visual Arts. Research on visual arts, dance, theater, and humor in the Bible will also be presented. Concerts and performances as well as museum field trips are part of the programs.
Tuition for each workshop is $190, with housing available for $13 a night. Participants will receive two continuing education units, and graduate credit may be arranged. For more information, write to Pacific School of Religion, Summer Session, 1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, California 94709.
In Jacob Milgrom’s article,“Challenge to Sun-Worship Interpretation of Temple Scroll’s Gilded Staircase,” BAR 11:01, the references in the footnote to drawing 2 should refer to drawing 3 on the same page.
New Call for Publication of Dead Sea Scrolls