Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman, West Semitic Research/The Moussaieff Collection, London

ON THE COVER: “Lay not your hand upon the lad,” commands the angel of God as Abraham prepares to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). The binding of Isaac is represented on this 1-inch-high pendant owned by collector Shlomo Moussaieff. As a test of Abraham’s faith, God orders him to sacrifice his son; when Abraham proves his willingness to obey, God tells him to spare Isaac, and Abraham sacrifices a ram instead. God then promises Abraham that he will have numerous descendents. Abraham, Isaac, the sacrificial altar and the hand of God are depicted on this onyx pendant, inscribed on its obverse side in an unusual form of Byzantine Aramaic. In “Magnificent Obsession,” Hershel Shanks provides a portrait of Shlomo Moussaieff, exploring the shadowy world of antiquities collectors—in whose private “museums” lie thousands of unpublished, uncataloged relics from the ancient world.