One of the subjects we are asked about most frequently is Ebla, so we are pleased to respond by publishing Alan Millard’s “Ebla and the Bible—What’s Left (If Anything)?” A sensational archaeological discovery of the 1970s, the 16,500 inscribed tablets and tablet fragments found at the site of the ancient city of Ebla, in Syria, captured world attention not only because of the exceptional size of the archive, but because of what the tablets seemed to say. Their early translation yielded tantalizing suggestions of the names of such biblical cities as Hazor, Megiddo and Sodom and Gomorrah; the name of the Israelite God Yahweh; and even a fragment of a creation story similar to Genesis. When scholars took a closer look, however, these early identifications turned out to be a mirage of mistranslation. Nevertheless, what’s left, as Millard shows, is a record of an opulent city of the third millennium and early second millennium B.C. that provides insights on life in biblical times.
A highly respected scholar of ancient West Semitic languages, Millard participated in the recovery and translation of a major Babylonian epic poem, which was published, in collaboration with W. G. Lambert, as Atrahasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood (Clarendon, 1969). Today Millard serves as the Rankin Reader in Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, England. An equally capable popular writer, Millard has produced two successful volumes for general readers, Treasures from Bible Times (Lion, 1985) and Discoveries from the Time of Jesus (Lion, 1990), as well as several articles in BR, most recently “King Og’s Iron Bed—Fact or Fancy,” BR 06:02. Also an experienced archaeologist, he has excavated in Syria (Arpad and Qadesh), Jordan (Petra) and Iraq (Nimrod).
Even the squeamish should be able to read “Biblical Leprosy—Is It Really?” without checking their forehead (a common location for leprosy), because authors Kenneth V. Mull and Carolyn Sandquist Mull write with a rare combination of sensitivity and scholarly rigor. Although the subject can be distasteful, it plays too important a role in both the Hebrew Bible. and the New Testament for readers to ignore it. The Mulls examine all of the Bible’s principal occurrences of “leprosy” and also look at the original meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words that lie behind the modern mistranslation “leprosy.”
This is the first joint publication for Carolyn and Kenneth Mull, although both publish separately. Carolyn has a B.A. in anthropology and Ph.D. in nursing and is now an associate professor of nursing at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois. Kenneth has a Ph.D. from Northwestern and is professor of religion and archaeology at Aurora University. During the 1980s he served on the staff at the Tel Miqne-Ekron excavation in Israel. Since meeting at the Tel Gezer excavation in the late 1960s, they have enjoyed camping in 26 countries as well as throughout the United States.
Is it possible to read the most familiar psalm in the world with fresh eyes? Yes, says Larry G. Herr in “An Off-Duty Archaeologist Looks at Psalm 23.” His work in Jordan has brought him in contact with ways of life maintained today by desert tribes and villagers that illuminate the ancient images of shepherd and of hospitality used by the psalmist.
Herr received his Ph.D. from Harvard and is now professor of religious studies at Canadian Union College in Alberta. Director of the Tell el-Umeiri excavation, part of the Madaba Plains Project in Jordan, he enjoys backpacking and wilderness activities.
Bookstore browsers confronting shelves of Bibles may be bewildered. In “How to Buy a Bible,” frequent BR contributor Harvey Minkoff explains how contents, background texts and religious orientations vary among different versions and suggests additional references to aid your choice.
Minkoff, associate professor of English linguistics at Hunter College in New York City, is the author of six books on language and writing. He speaks—among other languages—French, Spanish, Hebrew, Latin and Yiddish. Minkoff’s most recent contribution to BR was “The Aleppo Codex—Ancient Bible from the Ashes,” BR 07:04.
One of the subjects we are asked about most frequently is Ebla, so we are pleased to respond by publishing Alan Millard’s “Ebla and the Bible—What’s Left (If Anything)?” A sensational archaeological discovery of the 1970s, the 16,500 inscribed tablets and tablet fragments found at the site of the ancient city of Ebla, in Syria, captured world attention not only because of the exceptional size of the archive, but because of what the tablets seemed to say. Their early translation yielded tantalizing suggestions of the names of such biblical cities as Hazor, Megiddo and Sodom and Gomorrah; the name […]