Thanks for “What Brings You Here?” (First Person,BAR 39:04). After reflecting on what brings me back to BAR with each issue, I fall into the category of the “struggler.” Biblical archaeology illuminates many questions but fails to provide many solid answers.
We live in a fascinating time when people have access to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi codices—even the Bible. Through BAR, we are fortunate to have a “meeting place” of scholarly opinions.
I like to strategically place a copy of BAR on the lunchroom table at work. I always enjoy the range of reactions. One of my coworkers reads the magazine hoping to affirm his faith in the Bible. Another is more interested in having the Bible “disproved.” I take the middle road.
Thank you for delivering such an informative, challenging, occasionally humorous and always enjoyable magazine.
Rob Gretsinger Kamloops, British Columbia Canada
Unabashed Fan Note
I’m an atheist, however I am a huge fan of BAR. I generally save it to read when I’m clear of work, ringing phones, distractions, etc.
Joe Salimando Fredericksburg, Virginia
It’s Arabic, Not Hebrew
Responding to a reader’s letter in which he defends his location of Sodom (Q&C, “Geographically Puzzled,” BAR 39:04), Steven Collins states that Lisan (the peninsula extending into the Dead Sea) “means tongue in Hebrew.” It does not. Lisan means tongue in Arabic. The Hebrew is lashon.
Gideon Weiss Boulder, Colorado
I am a professional archaeologist, although I work in the Great Basin of the United States, not the Near East. I am curious about the (obviously paid) advertisement on page 64 (BAR 39:04) titled “Cater-Pillaging the Stratigraphy of Tel Socoh.”
In some situations the use of backhoes is perfectly appropriate, while not in others; it all depends on the research design.
This ad is obviously a slam at Dr. Yuval Goren who is pictured in the ad, but there is no explanation of the issue of the use of the backhoe. I am no big fan of Dr. Goren, but it seems to me that fairness demands an explanation.
Alexander Rogers, MA, MS Registered Professional Archaeologist Ridgecrest, California
Professor Goren has declined to respond.—Ed.
When I opened the July/August 2013 issue of BAR and saw the cover, my first thought was, “Why did Hershel put Marge Simpson on the cover?”