Queries & Comments
Did She or Didn’t She Know?
I’m 11 years old, and I was reading your magazine when I saw the “Dead Sea Scroll Predictions for 1993” (“Bits & Pieces,” BAR 19:02). You didn’t say anything against, making me believe it was true. Please be more cautious.
Ballston Lake, New York
Even your letter sounds as if you knew deep down it was just a spoof, although the super-market tabloid wants you to believe it’s true. It sound to us as if you’re too smart to believe this nonsense. Thanks for writing.—Ed.
So Many Huge Egos and Small Minds
Several years ago I got a couple of copies of BAR because I heard that the magazine carried interesting archaeological information. I read the two issues but never subscribed because it seemed to me at that time the major issue in each magazine was “scientists” carping at each other over who had the correct interpretation.
Recently I received another offer to subscribe and sent for the magazine, hoping that it had improved. I believe it is worse than before. I have never seen gathered together so many huge egos and small minds (except, perhaps, in Congress).
Kenneth M. Claar
Time Capsule Recommended
I will come directly to the point: It is my intention to persuade you to make a time capsule for the benefit of people living during the millennial reign of Christ. Because the Beast and Antichrist will have their short reign on earth, Christian materials of all kinds will be confiscated and destroyed. By making a time capsule, you may be able to preserve a portion of our Christian heritage for future Christians to enjoy.
A time capsule may be constructed from a plastic thermos or ice chest sealed shut with plumbers “goop,” and wrapped in several layers of nonbiodegradable plastic bags (trash compactor bags) tied tightly shut.
In reference to the question of what the kernos was used for (“Cabul—A Royal Gift Found,” BAR 19:02), this kernos looks remarkably like a water pipe I once used in my college years—for medicinal purposes only, of course. Is it possible that the Philistines and Phoenicians used the kernos for “medicinal herbs and tars”?
Hubert T. Spence, D.Th.
Foundations Bible College
Dunn, North Carolina
High on This Idea
Concerning the use of the kernos illustrated in “Cabul—A Royal Gift Found,” BAR 19:02: This is very much like the bongs of the hippie era, used to smoke marijuana and other drugs. One would suck from the bull’s mouth and manipulate thumbs over the vents in the pomegranates to control air flow. The bowl would hold the drug.
Yankton, South Dakota
Associate Professor Oded Borowski of Emory University replies:
The consensus of opinion among archaeologists is that kernoi were used for libations, probably mostly of wine. The large number of openings often four, six or eight—do not favor their use for smoking. No kernos has been found with soot in it.
Concerning the article “Cabul—A Royal Gift Found,” BAR 19:02) the author stated that the name of the ancient city “Cabul” or “Kabul” had an unknown meaning. The meaning of this name is easily understood from the circumstances surrounding its origin and by the morphology of the word. King Hiram was displeased with the cities given to him by Solomon. “Cabul” is probably kbl, which would mean something like “as nothing” or “I have nothing.”
The first consonant, kaph, indicates a grasping hand. Used as a preposition, it 010usually means “as or like something” (to grasp or understand something, therefore to be able to act according to the understanding, hence, to resemble). In many words, however, it retains the original verbal impact of physically grasping something.
The latter consonants, beyt and lamed, are used in conjunction to mean “nothing,” as in the adverb bal, which means “nothing.” The form of these consonants in kbl is in the passive state. Therefore, a closer rendition would be “as being nothing” or “I received nothing.
Darrell H. Smith, Director
Sceptre of Judah Christian Education Ministries
Another Suggested Decipherment
In his article, “Cabul—A Royal Gift Found,” BAR 19:02, Zvi Gal observes, “No one seems to know what ‘Cabul’ means or why the name was appropriate to express Hiram’s dissatisfaction” when he used that name at 1 Kings 9:10–14 to refer to the land given to him by Solomon for his services in the construction of the Temple.
Zvi Gal is mistaken. In Riddles in History (New York: Crown, 1974), Cyrus Gordon proposes an intriguing solution to the puzzle.
The scribes of the Hebrews, as well as of other ancient peoples, would frequently insert encoded material into their literary creations. The coding was generally a game, a form of wordplay consisting of transparently structured codes intended to be broken. The Hebrew version of the game, known as atbash, very often employed a decoding key that used the Hebrew alphabet backwards placed beneath the Hebrew alphabet forwards (i.e., the last Hebrew letter would be substituted for the first letter, and so on).
Gordon noticed that if one used that particular key to decode Cabul, transliterated—kbwl—one obtained lspk, the 011Hebrew term meaning “for the rubbish heap!” In other words, the reference to “Cabul” is cryptographic humor. Since the Hebrew alphabet is the key to decoding “Cabul,” the joke is lost in translation.
Peter J. Dawson
Magnolia, New Jersey
Professor P. Kyle McCarter, Jr. of Johns Hopkins University replies:
All this suggests that
The two explanations offered by readers are interesting, but in my opinion they only underscore the correctness of Zvi Gal’s admission that we are not sure what “Cabul” means in 1 Kings 9:13. Darrell H. Smith’s interpretation of
Peter J. Dawson reminds us of Cyrus Gordon’s ingenious interpretation of “Cabul” as a rare Biblical example of ‘
So I think Zvi Gal is wise to acknowledge our uncertain” about the meaning of “Cabul.” Having said that, however, let me suggest a direction that seems worth exploring. As I have noted, Arabic kabala means ‘fetter,” but it is also used as a legal term referring to certain transactions having to do specifically with the transfer of land that is adjacent to other properties held by the parties involved in the transaction. This seems especially pertinent when we recall that “the land of Cabul” given to Hiram by Solomon was located in the Galilee (1 Kings 9:11) and, assuming with most scholars that it was the region surrounding the frontier town of Cabul in the territory of Asher mentioned in Joshua 19.27 (probably the modern village of Kabul), it was a border district abutting territories controlled by 60th Israel and Phoenicia.
I have never consulted an expert on Arabaic law about the pertinent details, but let me explain them as I understand them. Arabic kabala or
While there is no reason to assume that these particular rules were in use in the time of Solomon (or of the author of 1 Kings 9), the Arabic development does suggest the possibility that
Dead Sea Scrolls
Ancient Scroll Discoveries
The extract below is from Eusebius’ History of the Church, which was written perhaps about 325 C.E. It indicates that more than 1,700 years ago Origen may have found a Dead Sea Scroll—a translation of the Book of Psalms.
“In his Sixfold Edition of the Psalms [the Hexapla, of which only a fragment survives], after the four familiar versions he placed in parallel columns not only a fifth but a sixth and seventh [sic] translation; in the case of one, he has added a note that it was found at Jericho in a jar during the reign of Antoninus, the son of Severus.”
Has any scroll expert gone more deeply into investigating this?
Michael M. Shurman
Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University replies:
Mr. Shurman is correct in pointing to the interesting report of Euseblus (260–339 C.E.), probably written in 324, to the effect, 012that the church father Origen (184–253 C.E.) found an ancient translation of the Book of Psalms in a jar near Jericho. In fact, this is only one of several reports of the finding of scrolls near the Dead Sea in premodern times, which scholars have indeed focused on since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
At the beginning of the ninth century, a Syrian churchman named Timotheus relates that he heard that an Arab shepherd had found scrolls in a cave while grazing his sheep near Jericho. He told some Jews from Jerusalem who went and removed a large number of scrolls of Biblical and other works.
Moses Taku, a 13th-century European rabbinic scholar, relates that he had learned from his teachers that the early Karaites hid texts in the ground and then claimed to have found ancient books. This account may be dependent on correct historical information about such discoveries that the Rabbanites discounted because of their polemic against Karaite teachings.
Further, medieval Muslim and Karaite authors in the tenth to twelfth centuries spoke of a “cave-sect,” the “Magarians” (Maghariya), the writings of which were supposedly discovered in a cave, which may indicate medieval awareness of the existence of the Qumran sect in late antiquity. In this connection we should remember that the Zadokite Fragments (Damascus Document), later found at Qumran, were first discovered in two medieval manuscripts dating to the tenth and twelfth centuries in the Cairo genizaha (a genizah is a storehouse for no-longer-usable holy books). Medieval Karaism, moreover, shows certain similarities to some teachings of the Qumran texts, although these similarities should not be overestimated.
The modern discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, then, may not be the first such discovery in history. We should thank Mr. Shurman forgiving us the opportunity to call the attention of BAR readers to this interesting fact.
The legal updates in “Lawsuit Diary,” BAR 19:03, were the most shocking to date. The lawyers are absolutely raping the legal systems of both Israel and America over the MMT document that is now available to anyone who can read either Hebrew or English (MMT is printed in The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, by Robert Eisenman and Robert Wise, Element Press, 1992, pp. 180–200). The threats hanging over the scroll scholars Ben Zion Wacholder and Martin Abegg are outrageous. Elisha Qimron should be ashamed of himself. Qimron did not discover any of the scrolls. He did not write them. He does not own them. Yet an Israeli court granted Qimron a lifetime copyright plus 50 years. How can the world’s Biblical scholars remain silent on this issue?
Alan Albert Snow, Director-Minister
Independent Humanist Ministries
Balboa Island, California
I tend to agree with you that the whole lawsuit brought by Professor Qimron is to punish you for smoking out the scrolls (“Qimron Defends His Lawsuit,” BAR 19:02), but that is not what kept me awake in the middle of the night. I would appreciate having you phrase the following question to the readers: When I, and practically every other scientist I know, submit a paper to a technical journal, it normally comes back quite heavily edited, sometimes with whole lines if not paragraphs added by reviewers, which, if you want your paper to be published, you accept and incorporate into your paper. Because my technical paper as published with these additions is copyrighted to me alone, is it not possible that a reviewer, like Qimron, with the help of a very good lawyer, would be able to successfully invalidate my copyright or else sue me for including other people’s work (the reviewer’s)? Man! Look at what Qimron’s lawyers could do with that!
Keep up the fight, Hershel. Most scientists I know agree with you and applaud your efforts and success in opening up the scrolls.
Dr. C. L. Sainsbury, President
Air Samplex Corporation
Appalled by Academic Mudslinging
I was appalled when I read how 18 individuals accused Eisenman and Wise of “unethical,” “fraudulent,” “offensive,” “extremely lax,” “laughable” and “manifestly dishonest” methods in the production of The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (“Blood on the Floor at New York Dead Sea Scroll Conference,” BAR 19:02). Such a potentially libelous ad hominem assault on two scholars’ efforts at interpreting truth as they see it is an extremely sad commentary on those participating in the attack. I am sure Eisenman and Wise can now empathize with the agonizing words of the Teacher of Righteousness: “The valiant have pitched their camps against me … [and] spoke evil of me with a perverse tongue.”
Isn’t it about time that all this ignoble bickering about who “owns” what material ceases? Quite obviously, since the Huntington Library made the photos of the Qumran fragments available to the public, every person has a right to his or her own transcription and interpretation of them. And those individuals who exercise this right should not become victims of academic mudslinging.
Without The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, I could not have finished my recently published book, Light Consciousness, which compares the symbolic sayings of Jesus to the poetic words written by the Teacher of Righteousness. Personally speaking, therefore, I applaud the efforts of Eisenman and Wise because I believe that a very small group of men has been allowed to “stop the thirsty from drinking the liquor of Knowledge” (Teacher of Righteousness) for too long a time. Yes, indeed, 40-plus years of dehydration is enough! Thank you Professor Eisenman and Professor Wise for sating our thirst and letting the beautiful words about “the fountain of living water” flow into and inspire the minds of a curious public.
Dwight K. Kalita, Ph.D.
Enough Legalities, More Archaeology!
I am in full agreement with the philosophy that the Dead Sea Scrolls need to be 014published. Your efforts in this regard are laudable. The whole world has benefited. However, we who love archaeology want to read about it. You have kept us abreast of all the legal proceedings. Enough already! It’s time to stop using precious space in BAR for nonarchaeological material. Please give us archaeology. You do that best!
Pr. Steven R. Woita
St. John’s Church
Why Must We Pay to Volunteer?
For the first time ever, at 58 years of age, I find myself writing a letter to a magazine. I have resisted writing this letter for over two years but must finally succumb after checking the “1993 Excavation Opportunities,” BAR 19:01, and being disappointed once again. I hope you will print my letter and address my specific complaint.
The problem is the widespread and generally accepted practice in the fields of archaeology, paleontology, etc. wherein “volunteers” are requested, but when you actually check, especially overseas, these “volunteers” are required to pay a stipend of from $20 to $100 a day to “volunteer” their help. Perhaps I am egocentric, but I don’t feel it is correct to have to pay to donate my “free” help. I can see that one should be charged if given educational credits, but how about those of us who just want to volunteer our efforts and time to further the knowledge in the areas we volunteer in. I realize that these projects can probably use financial assistance from their paid volunteers, but some of us who are willing to help cannot afford to pay such fees after paying the travel expenses to get to the project.
Dale E. Willoughby
The fees generally cover the cost of room and board, which you would pay on a vacation anyway. Unfortunately, the financial reality of excavation necessitates these fees. For a funding-cost breakdown of a typical expedition, see Kenneth G. Holum, “From the Director’s Chair: Starting a New Dig,” BAR 17:01.—Ed.
Christianity and Druidism
This is in answer to James T. Brewster from Spokane, Washington (Queries & Comments, BAR 19:02), who wrote that Christians practice Druidism by using Christmas trees at Christmas. The Christmas tree is only a decoration, not an affirmation of pagan faith. Brother, what things people pick on.
The Sun as a Christian Symbol
It never ceases to amaze me what one religion believes about another. The comments of James Brewster (Queries & Comments, BAR 19:02) about Christians practicing Druidism because they decorate an evergreen tree for Christmas is ridiculous. Every religion uses symbols of some kind. The Christmas tree symbolizes the eternity of God because of its very nature—ever green.
To say that we deify the sun—really! When the early followers of Jesus finally separated themselves from the Temple, they chose to keep holy the day on which our savior rose from the dead, which happened to be Sunday. Speaking of the sun and symbols, what better symbol than the sun, which rises gloriously every day in the east as a symbol for our savior. Even our Hebrew brothers and sisters look to the east for the coming of the Messiah over the Mount of Olives for that very reason. Shalom! Salaam! Peace!
Sister Rose Christopher
Sisters of St. Francis
Delran, New Jersey
Faith And Tolerance
Where Does Salvation Lie?
I have watched the “supersessionism” debate for some time. All religions are supersessionist by what is taught in their schools, preached in their houses of worship and believed by the majority of the faithful. All religions teach of their messiah or teacher who fulfilled prophecy and restored the true faith to the faithful and superseded all previous spiritual beliefs and laws. Most have prophecies and traditions of a promised messiah who will restore their faith, vanquish the unholy and supersede their present religion or faith.
I disagree with Mr. Willis and Mr. Schiffman (Queries & Comments, BAR 18:03 and Queries & Comments, BAR 18:06) that the root of persecution is caused by misinterpretation of scripture, the fault of fallen man and other dubious scapegoats. The truth is that not all belief systems have had adherents who twisted teachings to meet their own bigoted or racist ends. Buddhism, Unitarianism and Baha’i have never waged war in the name of religion nor brutally persecuted others, as have most other religions.
Religious systems cause persecution by how they define their sense of community or salvation. The standards that define a belief system have been most difficult for BAR letter writers to be honest about. Schiffman’s assertion that religious self definition and separation are separate is an illusion, because all of the statements by Schiffman and others on how people are saved outside their religious community are by their own religious self-definition.
Mr. Butler’s assertion that “Not Only Christians Can Be Saved” (Queries & Comments, BAR 19:02) is based on a careful selection of quotations from the doctrine of the Roman Church. The quotations (“that have not received the gospel” and “through no fault of their own do not know the gospel … ”) which define salvation outside the church are for those who have not been exposed to the gospel of the Roman Church. These quotes are not relevant in a world where virtually everyone on the planet, from the most ancient of faiths to the modern versions, is distinctly aware of the presence of others The true view of salvation from the point of view of the Roman Church is reflected in the following quote:
“Nevertheless, our separate brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on all those whom He regenerated and vivified into one body and newness of life—that unity which the holy Scriptures and the revered tradition of the church proclaim. For, it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the all-embracing means of salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained” ( The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbott, S.J., and Very Rev. Msgr. Joseph Gallagher [American Press, 1966], p. 346).
Billions of souls have suffered and died under the oppressive force of those that have found the truth. My plea is for more tolerance and understanding from those that claim to have found the only truth. When one finds the one and only truth, the first virtue lost is humility.
It may not be what we believe and call sacred that will determine our salvation, but how we relate to chose who believe differently.
Frank A. Doonan
Durham, North Carolina
Truth with a Capital “T”
I have been receiving your magazine for only a few months now, but I find it an excellent addition to my life. The articles and reviews are opening up a whole new area of knowledge to me.
I have been intrigued by the letters to the editor. Often they elucidate even further the various archaeological and linguistic issues. 078Much of the time, though, I feel like I’m listening to emotionally charged arguments at some university pub. It’s wonderful entertainment!
I want to comment on the letter by Dr. Fessel of San Francisco (Queries & Comments, BAR 19:01), p. 68). He criticizes an International Bible Society advertisement that characterizes Muslims as lacking “the true freedom that is in Jesus.” Dr. Fessel calls this “religious intolerance … responsible for the sad tribalism” of the world.
Certainly, Dr. Fessel’s call to be tolerant of people with other beliefs is appropriate. The tribalism he mentions, however, is an attitude that views anyone outside of one’s own group as not only alien but also subhuman. As Jesus (following the Mosaic Law) taught, we ought to love our neighbor. The tribalism of mankind that we see instead is a constant witness to the flawed nature of our souls.
But such tolerance does not require that one abandon the possibility of real truth. Dr. Fessel and many others completely misunderstood this point. The evangelical Christian is convinced that true freedom is found only in Jesus. That conviction does not cause him to “slaughter” those who disagree. Rather, the belief moves him to devote his life and resources to spreading the knowledge of that “good news.” He is compelled to go even to those whom his countrymen would normally consider subhuman. To do otherwise would be truly unloving and tribal.
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Enough Religion to Hate
The article “Faith and Archaeology—A Brief History to the Present,” by Thomas W. Davis, in the BAR 19:02 issue is worth a year’s subscription. It is so sad that so many have just enough religion to hate one another.
Newell, South Dakota
The Old Testament Viewed as Irrelevant
I have grown old in mainline Protestant churches, and I find that your article, “The Dangers of Dividing Disciplines,” BAR 18:05, points directly to the decline of intellectual interest in the Bible.
You state, “Most New Testament scholars make little use of the Dead Sea Scrolls in elucidating early Christianity. It is almost as if they were never discovered.”
Modern clerics seem to regard the Old Testament as irrelevant because it promotes male chauvinism and its twin evil, militarism.
Examples: Eve is portrayed as devious and stupid. Miriam’s superiority in leadership is subverted by a male conspiracy led by her brothers. Joshua, insensitive to ethnic diversity, practiced genocide. David not only sexually harassed Bathsheba, but slew tens of thousands. Ezra, lacking the ecumenical spirit, forbade interracial marriage. The Law is insensitive to alternative lifestyles in condemning adultery, sodomy and cross-dressing. Circumcision exalts men over women by making the phallus the emblem of the covenant. As for Paul—Paul is the enemy of feminism; he is to be avoided; he is quoted only to be derided, etc.
All this has created an intellectual desert in mainline churches: The doctrines are as empty as the churches. In such an atmosphere the Dead Sea Scrolls are curious antiquities, composed by monastic males, and irrelevant to the modern church.
The whole program is utterly boring, and members have left by the millions.
Thanks for your stimulating magazines BAR and Bible Review. They provide food for the mind for those of us who find scarcely a crumb in the modern church.
Jamesburg, New Jersey
How Could Jesus Not Know Greek?
My friend and colleague, Amnon Wallenstein, is overzealous in his attempt to defend the Hebrew tongue against those who claim Greek was extensively used in Eretz Israel in the New Testament period (Queries & Comments, “A Pox on All Your Houses,” BAR 19:02). Greek language and culture were dominant throughout the eastern Mediterranean from the Alexandrian conquest (c. 330 B.C.E., if not before) until the Arab conquest (c. 630 C.E., and even after). Its influence can be roughly compared to that of American culture and language in many parts of the world today, including Israel. Greek was the second language of anyone with cultural pretensions. Our own Jewish sources confirm this. Within a generation or two of the Hasmonean victory over the Hellenizers, the victorious ruling family bears names like Aristobulus and Hyrcanus; Mishnaic rabbis have names like Avtalyon and Talmi (Ptolemy). Bar-Kokhba, the leader of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome, wrote letters in Greek, and Flavius Josephus, the first-century C.E. Jewish historian, composed his stories in what was then the international language of knowledge and culture. Even the supreme Jewish legislative body was known by the Greek appellation, Sanhedrin.
Jesus spent an unknown number of years as a child in Egypt, where the dominant language was Greek. His ministry was centered in Capernaum on the Via Maris, the international highway that connected Hellenist Egypt with Hellenist Syria. He traveled through the Decapolis, the league of Greek-speaking cities that stretched from the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee southward along the route to Jerusalem, preaching and teaching. How could he not know Greek?
Amnon equates being Hellenized with being “Alienated and estranged from his people’s culture.” Not necessarily. Jews have always participated in other cultures. We have contributed to them and borrowed from them, enriching everyone along the way. I can think of no better argument against his position than Amnon Wallenstein himself. Although he is fluent, even eloquent, in English and is educated in the culture of the gentiles, Amnon is a committed Jew with a deep broad knowledge of Jewish sources and an envied talent to communicate to others his love of his faith, his land and his people. Why couldn’t Jesus and many other Jews of that period have been equally multicultural?
Inappropriate Commercialization of Sacred Texts
I was troubled to see the advertisement in your BAR 19:01 issue for “handwritten Hebrew fragments from Hebrew scrolls” offered for sale.
If they are very old, they should be properly conserved and researched at a suitable institute of learning. If, as seems more likely, they are modern Torah scrolls coming out of Eastern Europe, it is nothing short of scandalous (let alone sacrilegious) that dealers should be cutting them up and selling them.
The matter must surely be one that deserves to be aired, and I hope that you yourself will be able to apply your usual enthusiasm for uncovering the truth to what appears to be a somewhat sordid set of transactions.
Dr. Stefan C. Reifma
Director & Senior Under-Librarian
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
University of Cambridge
We will not carry this ad again. The advertiser maintains that it did not cut up these fragments, but that they were purchased at a Sotheby’s auction in this condition. Nevertheless, we agree that this ad was an inappropriate commercialization of sacred texts, and we will not publish it again.—Ed.
In the BAR 19:03, reference is made to my review of the Robert Eisenman-Michael Wise book entitled The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (see “Bits & Pieces,” BAR 19:03). In your remarks you state that the Jerusalem Post’s lawyers “required deletions and changes.” This is a blatant untruth. If any lawyers went over the review, they did so without my knowledge. Any changes were normal editorial changes for the purpose of shortening the review to fit to the page size. There was no consultation about this, and none was needed since no essential change was made. Among the items deleted was a list of competent paleographers, which included “Frank Cross, Josef Milik, Joseph Naveh, Emile Puech, Elisha Qimron, Hartmut Stegemann, John Strugnell, Eugene Ulrich, and Ada Yardeni.”
It would also have been in place to quote my full remark about “charlatan, knave or fool.” I first quoted Eisenman’s introduction: “For example instead of a John Allegro, a John Strugnell; instead of a Robert Eisenman, a Frank Moore Cross; instead of a Michael Wise, an Emile Puech.” Then I noted, “Now the second party in each equation is a highly completent scholar, while the first is either a charlatan, knave or fool, but that did not prevent Allegro and Eisenman to [sic] publish their interpretations. Suffice it to say that no one has taken either of them seriously.” You have distorted my words by omitting their context.
Jonas C. Greenfield, Ph.D
Caspar Levias Professor of Ancient Semitic Languages
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
A Sticky Point
Finally in an article, “A Death at Dor,” BAR 19:02, a caption identified a red-and-white stick as a meter stick (3 ft., 3 in.). What about the black-and-white stick in the same issue? These sticks are to help viewers determine size, but without knowledge of the sticks’ lengths, they are no help. Can you describe all such stick lengths for me?
Such sticks are almost always meter sticks. For small objects, however, a stick marked in centimeters is usually used.—Ed.
A Bad Reference
In “How Bad Was Ahab?” BAR 19:02, the scriptural reference for the statement “The well-known contest between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal took place on Mt. Carmel only a few miles from Dor … ” is incorrect. The correct reference is 1 Kings 18:19–40.
Aside from this, I found the article fascinating reading and look forward to part three.
Huntington, New York
Thank you for the correction. We do check all Biblical references in the magazine, but somehow we missed this one.—Ed.
Help Save ’Ain Ghazal
coverof BAR 13:02 featured two extraordinary statues approximately 9,000 years old, which had been excavated at a site called ’Ain Ghazal, near Amman, Jordan. Ain Ghazal is one of the most important Neolithic sites ever discovered. The 30 acre site reveals a far more sophisticated, developed and intricate Neolithic society than was hitherto suspected. Six seasons of excavation have revealed a major population center, supported in part by long-distance trade and advanced technological processes. Human burials reveal the inhabitants’ fascinating religious and spiritual life.
’Ain Ghazal is now about to be sold for development, even before the site has been fully excavated, as explained in the following desperate letter we received from dig director Gary Rollefson. BAR readers fan be very effective in supporting the effort to save ’Ain Ghazal. We urge you to lend your voice and give your dollars to this worthy effort.—Ed.
I’ve just returned from a disturbing trip to Jordan, and I would like to ask for your help in preventing what could be a disaster for Neolithic archaeology in the Levant.
The site of ’Ain Ghazal, near the capital of Amman, is one of the largest Neolithic sites in the Near East. Six seasons of excavation since 1982 (and a seventh that will begin in June 1993) have demonstrated how crucial this site is for understanding Neolithic developments over more than 2,000 years of continuous habitation (c. 7200–5000 B.C.).
’Ain Ghazal is now for sale, and the real estate market in Jordan is bristling with prospective investment. The site is located on private holdings in an area of rapidly developing commercial and housing activity. The demand for property development is enormous, and unless strong measures are taken immediately, the 30+-acre site will be destroyed in the very near future.
Antiquities laws in Jordan can hinder, but not prevent, the sale of privately owned archaeological property. In essence, the Jordan Department of Antiquities can take up to five years to raise money to purchase all or part of the property; what is not purchased must then be released for private sale.
The antiquities laws have been invoked by the Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Antiquities, but according to information I received, there is strong pressure to override these barriers to the sale of the property. The matter is now “temporarily” in limbo, and a strong campaign of encouragement must be raised for the efforts of the Minister of Tourism and the Director-General of the Department of Antiquities. The position of these two government officials could be strengthened by the demonstration of strong support from the international community.
Another element in this problem is the cost of the land in the ’Ain Ghazal area. Since ’Ain Ghazal is located between the capital and Zarqa, the industrial center of Jordan, land prices are very high. According to the head of the Department of Antiquities, the ’Ain Ghazal property is 30,000 Jordanian dinars per dunum (100 m2), which is roughly $178,000 per acre. More than $5.5 million would be necessary to purchase the entire site, and even a 30 percent purchase in the “site core area” would require more than $1.5 million. The budget of the Department of Antiquities could provide for the purchase of only 5 to 7 dunums—only about 2 percent of the site.
Therefore, I’m also appealing for funds to help the Department of Antiquities purchase as much of ’Ain Ghazal as possible, as soon as possible. I am setting up a tax-deductible fund here in Germany (Freunde von ’Ain Ghazal/Friends of ’Ain Ghazal) to receive donations. I hope that we can raise a minimum of $1.5 million in the next year.
With the support of BAS, it should be possible to achieve both goals of this campaign. The publication of this appeal through the Biblical Archaeology Review would reach a large audience in a relatively short time.
Letters of encouragement should be sent immediately to both of the following people:
H. E. Tanal Hikmat
Minister of Tourism
P.O. Box 224
Dr. Safwan Tell
Department of Antiquities
P.O. Box 88
Checks made out to “Friends of ’Ain Ghazal” should be sent to me at the address below. Thank you for your help.
Dr. Gary O. Rollefson
64372 Ober-Ramstadt, GERMANY
A Note on Style
B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era), used by some of our authors, are the alternative designations for B.C. and A.D. often used in scholarly literature.
Did She or Didn’t She Know?