Phoenix Data Systems (Neal and Joel Bierling)

The remains of Mari (Tell Hariri), in southeastern Syria, look modest today after centuries of neglect and erosion. In the late third to early second millennium B.C., however, Mari was a prosperous center of commerce on the main trade route between Babylon and Palestine. In the accompanying interview, Austrian-born scholar Avraham Malamat, the world’s foremost expert on the texts and culture of Mari, speaks of the many similarities between the practices and languages of Mari and ancient Israel.