Queries & Comments
Drop the Jumps!
Hi! I am a long-time reader of BAR. It is a great magazine. I only have one complaint. You conclude articles on a page way in the back of the magazine, but it takes time to locate and breaks my train of thought. It’s almost like the last paragraphs are unimportant and don’t need to be read. I think it is very poor editing. You never see “cont. on page xx” in TIME magazine, Reader’s Digest, or National Geographic. You read them straight through like a book. I wish you could do the same with BAR.
Hackensack, New Jersey
Coming from an academic journal setting, where articles run uninterrupted, I share your critique, Peter. Here’s what I’ve learned upon becoming Editor of BAR. These “jump lines” or “jumps” are actually quite typical for newspapers and many magazines, and it’s both an editing and publishing decision. Some believe the practice originated from publishers wanting to force readers to look at their ads, akin to drug stores always putting milk in the back of the store hoping that customers pick up more goodies while strolling through the aisles. But this is not the case. It has to do with effective use of space in magazines that include short news items, long feature articles, advertisements, editorials, book reviews, etc., as opposed to academic journals, which are typically feature articles from cover to cover. Many magazines seek to fill fixed columns and in doing so force content to fit templated space. However, we at BAR value content over layout. The information we provide—including texts, photos, charts, and maps—is more important to us than forcing our scholar-authors to fit predetermined column limits. So when an article ends on a full page, there is no jump; when it doesn’t, we “jump” the conclusion of an article and its notes to the back so that the next article can start on a full page, favoring substance over style. That said, we may consider eliminating jumps altogether in future redesigns. Thanks for the feedback.—B.C.
LIBERTY AND CENSORSHIP
What a dramatic editorial title: “The American Bible Society’s Electronic Inquisition” (BAR, July/August 2018). It sounds as if bloodshed by the ABS is just around the corner—very misleading, inappropriate, and unfair.
I congratulate the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers for delegating the oversight of the .BIBLE domain to the American Bible Society. I congratulate ABS for their policies of honoring the Bible and the faiths it represents. I’m glad that ABS has a stipulation that doesn’t allow a registrant of a .BIBLE domain to be disrespectful to the Bible or the Bible community and doesn’t allow any content that communicates disrespect for the Jewish faith or the orthodox Christian faith, or advocates belief in any religious or faith tradition other than those two religions. I’m glad that a registrant of .BIBLE may not disrespect the God of the Bible, doctrines, symbols, or principles of faith derived from the Bible.
BAR’s promulgated philosophy is to help others “understand the world of the Bible” and to “present the latest discoveries and controversies in archaeology.” Great. That is why I subscribed to the magazine. So, BAR, keep up the good work you have chosen to do, but don’t try to subject others to your opinions. And, thank you, American Bible Society, for insisting that the Bible and the Jewish and Christian faiths are given the respect they deserve.
Liberty Hill, Texas
Teresa, my concern stems from the fact that ABS sneaked the confessional requirements into the Acceptable Use Policy after they were awarded oversight of the domain. As a result, ABS is requiring theological conformity for mere ownership of a top-level domain (TLD). It’s010 one thing if a confessional group wants to ban members of another confessional group from participating on its website. It’s a different matter altogether to ban a confessional group from owning their own .BIBLE website simply because ABS disagrees with their theology. Furthermore, ABS is saying that nonbelievers cannot even own a .BIBLE website. This is government-endorsed censorship on the grounds of religious belief, pure and simple. Not only will this prove to be unconstitutional, but one near-term result will be that any organization with a .BIBLE website will now be perceived by many as lacking scholarly credibility and integrity simply because ABS bans any such academic criticism.—B.C.
Fight the Obscurants
Dear Dr. Cargill, thank you so much for your incisive and insightful column on the ABS. I can’t thank you enough for your careful research and wording. We’re doing what we can here as a neighbor in the historical district of Philly to protest the ABS’s proposed “Faith and Liberty” center for Independence Mall. Especially in light of both their handling of .BIBLE and the recent revelation of the required statement to be signed by employees; the irony and scale of it boggle the mind.
Assistant Minister, Christ Church Philadelphia
Thank you, Rev. Dr. Richardson, for your letter. Our readers can read more about the aforementioned “required statement to be signed” in the June 4, 2018, article “How the American Bible Society Became Evangelical,” by Messiah College Professor John Fea (http://theconversation.com/how-the-american-bible-society-became-evangelical-97525).—B.C.
Just unsubscribed to all your accounts on the basis that you obviously deny the virgin birth and divinity of Jesus. If what you say is true, there is no need for you to exist anymore. So you have no purpose. God bless.
Archaeology of Egypt and Canaan
It’s interesting that Hawkins and Ben-Shlomo, in their very informative article about the likely early Israelite settlement (“Khirbet el-Mastarah,” BAR, July/August 2018), state that “the site was founded in the Middle Bronze Age II, (but) functioned mostly during the Iron Age.” Then they mention, “In the Late Bronze Age, the Jordan Valley was almost completely uninhabited.” Have they any preliminary theories that could explain the general abandonment of the area or of Khirbet el-Mastarah specifically?
Ralph K. Hawkins Responds: The territory of eastern Manasseh has an average rainfall of about 300 mm in the Jordan Valley, which is just under a foot. This rainfall is divided unequally over seasons and years, resulting in irregular sowing. These climatic conditions make agricultural cultivation difficult, so that no more than 10–20 percent of the area is cultivated, even today. During the Middle Bronze Age II, Iron Age II, and Byzantine period, settlements were growing—also in the hill country to the west. These periods may have witnessed higher rain-fall, yet the rise in population may have been caused by political reasons, such as the emergence of regional states (at least during the Middle Bronze Age and Iron Age II), causing people to “stretch” the local subsistence conditions further in this region. The same favorable conditions might not have existed in the Late Bronze Age.
Joseph—a Father to Pharaoh
The intersection of two paths of monotheism suggested in Alain Zivie’s article “Pharaoh’s Man, ‘Abdiel” (BAR, July/August 2018) makes the speculations about the connection to Joseph inevitable. I have heard two theories on the way the Israelite and Egyptian cultures could have influenced each other. First, Joseph’s faith in one god could have caused a shift in the personal beliefs of Amenhotep III toward his concept of Aten, which his son Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten took further by making it the state religion. Second, the concept of Aten as the universal creator god refined and transformed the tribal god of the Hebrews through Joseph. Of course, neither can be proved, just as there is no061 way to prove the existence of Joseph or that Amenhotep III was the pharaoh of the Bible.
‘Abdiel’s title “Father of the God (King)” is intriguing. I was startled to find the same title in the Genesis story of Joseph and his brothers, translated by Stephen Mitchell, that I happened to read at around the same time: “Don’t be troubled now, and don’t blame yourselves for selling me, because God sent me ahead of you to save lives … and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and master of all his household, and ruler over all Egypt.” [Italics supplied.]
It now seems more plausible to me that ‘Abdiel was the basis for the Biblical Joseph. Although I do not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, I have often thought that the stories had some historical basis, which is why I read BAR.
Los Angeles, California
BAD DESIGN Drop the Jumps! Hi! I am a long-time reader of BAR. It is a great magazine. I only have one complaint. You conclude articles on a page way in the back of the magazine, but it takes time to locate and breaks my train of thought. It’s almost like the last paragraphs are unimportant and don’t need to be read. I think it is very poor editing. You never see “cont. on page xx” in TIME magazine, Reader’s Digest, or National Geographic. You read them straight through like a book. I wish you could do the same […]