Why Professor Qimron’s Lawsuit Is a Threat to Intellectual Freedom

In the last issue, we printed a letter from Professor Elisha Qimron of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev regarding the lawsuit he has brought against BAR and its editor (“Letters on the Qimron Lawsuit Against BAS,” BAR 18:04). Professor Qimron is claiming over $200,000 in damages because we printed a photocopy of a page […]

Beatitudes Found Among Dead Sea Scrolls

A recently published fragment among the Dead Sea Scrolls contains beatitudes with some striking similarities to the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–12) and in the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20–23)—and also some important differences. The fragment was published in 1991 by Emile Puech,a my colleague at the École Biblique […]

Preserve the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been liberated. The time has now come to preserve the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A Thousand Years of History in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter
A walking tour reveals Jerusalem flourishing, destroyed and splendidly rebuilt. By Nitza Rosovsky

War—or rather two wars—made possible the current golden age of discovery in Jerusalem, at the City of David, at the Temple Mount and in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. In 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence, the occupants of the Jewish Quarter surrendered to the Arab Legion following a long siege. Some houses […]

Locating the Original Temple Mount

Somewhere on Jerusalem’s majestic Temple Mount—the largest man-made platform in the ancient world, the size of 24 football fields, nearly 145 acres—Herod the Great (37–4 B.C.) built a new Temple to the Israelite God Yahweh,a doubtless on the very spot where the exiles returning from Babylonia more than 500 years earlier had rebuilt […]

Bits & Pieces

Correction on Annenberg Research Institute

The Dead Sea Scrolls Are Now Available to All!

On November 19, 1991, the Biblical Archaeology Society, publisher of Biblical Archaeology Review, published a two-volume set of photographs of the previously unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls.

Did Jesus Really Die on the Cross?

Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Unlocking the Secrets of His Life Story Barbara Thiering (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992) 451 pp., $24.00

Against All Odds: Elie Borowski Builds His Museum
Neither inflation, nor intifada, nor the unwillingness of others to share his dream could stop this man. By Suzanne F. Singer

Elie Borowski impatiently thrusts aside questions about the cost of the Jerusalem Bible Lands Museum that will open on May 10, 1992. “It is unholy to the mission to speak about money. Just say it is nes min hashamayim (a miracle from heaven). Right away, from its opening, it will be one of the […]

Burial Cave of the Caiaphas Family

The history of archaeology is filled with accidental discoveries. With all our scientific tools and methodologies, chance continues to be a major component of our success. So it was that we discovered the final resting place of the Caiaphas family, one of whose priestly members presided at the trial of Jesus. Whether we have […]

Not So Up-to-Date in Kansas City

I am old enough to remember when you had to ask the reservation clerk at the hotel if the room had a private bath. Sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes it had no telephone, either. I don’t ask those questions anymore. So I failed to ask the clerk at the Radisson Suite Hotel in Kansas City […]

What the Monopolists Have Done Right

In what may seem like BAR’s unrelieved criticism of the Israel Antiquities Authority, its scroll advisory committee and the international team of Dead Sea Scroll editors, we may have neglected to emphasize what they have done right and done well. It is time to correct this omission.

The Pomegranate Scepter Head—From the Temple of the Lord or from a Temple of Asherah?

In 988 the Israel Museum paid $550,000 for a small ivory pomegranate in the belief that it was once the head of a scepter that had been used by the priests in Solomon’s Temple.a In so doing, the museum relied heavily on the authentication and judgment of one of Israel’s most highly respected senior […]

Caiaphas Name Inscribed on Bone Boxes

Very few of the hundreds of people who walk through the pages of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament have been attested in archaeological finds.a Now, to that small list, we may add, in all probability, the high priest who presided at Jesus’ trial—or at least a member of his family. A form […]

Reconstructing the Scrolls Byte by Byte

Biblical scholarship entered the computer age more than 20 years ago, when the computerized analysis of texts began. Only more recently have computers been used on the Dead Sea Scrolls. This kind of computer use may have reached its zenith in the work of Ben Zion Wachholder and Martin G. Abegg, both of Hebrew […]

Nahman Avigad: In Memoriam

Nahman Avigad was born in the Galician town of Zawalow (then in Austria, now in the Ukraine), on September 25, 1905, the son of Isak and Perl Reiss. He died at age 86 in Jerusalem on January 28, 1992. His childhood and schooling took place in Brno, Czechoslovakia, where his family had moved, and […]

BAS Publishes Fascicle Two of DSS Transcripts

The Biblical Archaeology Society has recently published Fascicle Two of A Preliminary Edition of the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls The Hebrew and Aramaic Texts from Cave Four reconstructed and edited by Ben Zion Wacholder and Martin G. Abegg, both of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. Like Fascicle One, published last year,a the volume […]

Bits & Pieces

Dead Sea Scrolls Coming to U.S. The Dead Sea Scrolls are coming to the United States, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority. An exhibit of fragmentary scrolls will be shown at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., at the New York Public Library, and in a San Francisco museum. The first stop will be Washington, D.C. in April 1993. After a three-month stay in Washington, the show will move to New York in October.

Jewish Funerary Inscriptions—Most Are in Greek

No less than 1,600 Jewish epitaphs—funerary inscriptions—are extant from ancient Palestine and the Diaspora dating to the Hellenistic and Roman-Byzantine periods (300 B.C.E.–500 C.E.a). They tell us a great deal about the life and ideas of Jews living almost all over the then-known world. This, in turn, sheds considerable light on problems of Jewish […]

The Baptism of Jesus and a New Dead Sea Scroll

Photographs of several previously unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments appeared in “A Messianic Vision,” BAR 17:06, including one entitled “A Messianic Vision” (translated by Robert Eisenman). A clearer picture of this fragment may be seen in plate 1551 in A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls, published last November by the Biblical Archaeology […]

Gamla: Portrait of a Rebellion

Rarely do literary sources and archaeology supplement one another so beautifully as in the case of Gamla. This is all the more exciting because Gamla is immensely rich both historically and now, after 14 years of excavation, archaeologically.1 Long before the actual site was identified, Gamla was well known from the writings of the […]

Nahman Avigad, 1905–1992

Nahman Avigad is dead. He died of cancer on January 28, 1992, at age 86. For much of his professional life he lived in the shadow of E. L. Sukenik, Yigael Yadin’s father, whom he served as assistant in such excavations as Beth Alpha and Hammat Gader. Sukenik, from all reports, was a demanding, […]

BAS Facsimile Edition Helps NYU Students

The Biblical Archaeology Society’s advocacy of open access to the Dead Sea Scrolls and its publication last November of A Facsimile Edition of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls continue to bear fruit,a this time by advancing the education of a new generation of Dead Sea Scroll scholars. Thirteen graduate students in New York University’s […]

Did Jesus Speak Greek?

That Jesus spoke Aramaic there is no doubt.

Sepphoris—An Urban Portrait of Jesus
Only an hour’s walk from Nazareth, this ancient capital of Galilee may have influenced Jesus’ life and teachings By Richard A. Batey

“A city set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14). Words spoken by Jesus almost 2,000 years ago spring to mind as I stand on a ridge at the edge of modern Nazareth. The hill, three miles north and 700 feet below, was the site of ancient Sepphoris. This beautiful Greco-Roman metropolis, […]

A Pierced or Piercing Messiah?—The Verdict Is Still Out

Despite the unanimous and confident conclusion of Geza Vermes’ Oxford Forum that the so-called Pierced Messiah text (4Q285) actually celebrates the triumph of a piercing Messiah who slays his enemies,a things are not so clear. Vermes’ bald conclusion, “The fragment does not speak of a slain messiah,” surely goes beyond the evidence. It also […]

How Bible Translations Differ

To the uninitiated, the Bible is the Bible. To get one, you go to a bookstore and ask for a Bible. Readers of BAR know better. The English-speaking student of the Bible is blessed with dozens of translations in hundreds of editions. What distinguishes them one from another?

The Dangers of Dividing Disciplines

I have had a long-standing public disagreement with my friend Bill Dever, one of the United States’ leading archaeologists, concerning the term “Biblical archaeology.” Some years ago Bill argued that Biblical archaeology was not an academic discipline at all and therefore the term should simply be abandoned.a More recently, he has somewhat modified his […]

DSS Catalogue Now Available

Over the last 45 years, scholars have had to rediscover the Dead Sea Scrolls hundreds of times—almost every time they tried to find a particular fragment among the thousands stored between glass plates in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. Some scholars have reported that the search sometimes took several days. But the recent publication of a preliminary catalogue of the scrolls may now put an end—at least in part—to such time-wasting searches.

The Messiah at Qumran

Among the most intriguing of the newly released Dead Sea Scrolls is a fragment that was originally called “On Resurrection.” It was assigned for publication to Abbe Jean Starcky, who died in 1988 without publishing it. After Starcky’s death, it was given to Father Emile Puech of the École Biblique in Jerusalem, who is […]

Another View of the “Dead Sea Scrolls Scandal”

Pondering the events and images surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls in the past year, one cannot help but marvel at the rapidity of change and the degree of public interest in the usually sleepy hollow of the academic study of ancient texts. The “scandal of the scrolls” captured the imagination of the American people. […]

Letters on the Qimron Lawsuit Against BAS

Ben Gurion University and Elisha Qimron Respond

Excavating an Ancient Merchantman
The Ma’agan Micha’el shipwreck By Elisha Linder

A chance discovery of a 2,400-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Kibbutz Ma’agan Micha’el, 20 miles south of Haifa, has been yielding a storehouse of new insights into ancient seafaring and the shipwright’s art. Thanks to recent geomorphological changes—fluctuations in the sea level, sediment movements and shifts in local faults—along Israel’s seacoast, investigators are […]

BAS Legal Defense Fund Report

The lawsuit brought against BAR in a Jerusalem court by Ben-Gurion University professor Elisha Qimron has been extremely draining financially. Qimron’s suit is based on our publication of a photocopy of a Hebrew transcript of the 120-line text known as MMT that originally appeared in a Polish Journal, The Qumran Chronicle. The photocopy was […]

1992 Excavation Opportunities: A Spirit of Discovery

In 492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but in 1992 you can embark on a historic journey of your very own. By joining a dig as a volunteer, you’ll be doing some things very differently than Columbus did—you’ll be heading for the Old World instead of the New, for one thing, and you will […]

Strugnell Considering Legal Action Against BAR

Ben-Gurion University professor Elisha Qimron, who is suing BAR in a Jerusalem court, is not the only scholar turning to the law for legal redress in connection with the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to the Washington Post, the recently deposed chief editor of the scrolls, John Strugnell, now on administrative leave from Harvard University, […]

Volunteer for Life: “Termite” Catches the Bug

Gary “Termite” Lindstrom is a dig director’s dream. Lindstrom owns and operates a termite and pest control company in Oakland, California, and his profession requires him to inspect the dirt under buildings. But each June for the past 22 years, Gary has kissed his family goodbye and headed for Israel to dig in a […]

Dead Sea Scroll Research Burgeoning

Dead Sea Scroll research is growing by leaps and bounds. Two new organizations have recently been formed—in addition to BAS’s own Dead Sea Scrolls Research Council (formerly the Institute for Dead Sea Scroll Studies)—to support and undertake research on the scrolls.

Puzzling Public Buildings
Scholars struggle to interpret them By John D. Currid

A barracks or a bazaar? Could it be a temple? Or maybe a stable? Perhaps a storehouse?

New Mosaic Art from Sepphoris

BAR readers know Sepphoris well. In the BAR 14:01 issue the mosaic known as the Mona Lisa of the Galilee appeared on the cover and was the prize find of the 1987 season.a More recently, in the BAR 18:03 issue, Sepphoris was the chief exhibit for a scholar’s contention that Jesus knew urban culture […]

What We Should Do Next Time Great Manuscripts Are Discovered

The mismanagement that has characterized the official publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls raises the question of how future manuscript discoveries should be handled—for future discoveries there surely will be.

How Did the Philistines Enter Canaan? A Rejoinder

The following rejoinder does not make easy reading; but a careful study of it will be well repaid. Both the original article by Bryant Wood and this rejoinder by Itamar Singer attempt to assess a large mass of archaeological and textual evidence to determine a major historical event–the Philistine entry and occupation of Canaan. […]

The “Pierced Messiah” Text—An Interpretation Evaporates

Not long after the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls became accessible last autumn, Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University, Long Beach, disclosed that he had discovered among the hitherto secret manuscripts a small, five-line fragment that has since become known as the Pierced Messiah text.

The World’s Oldest Poorbox

I believe I may have discovered the world’s earliest poorbox—a tangible expression of Israel’s ancient concern for the needy among its people. On one of my frequent visits to Jerusalem’s Rockefeller Museum, I noticed an object that I had seen many times before in one of the cases: a pottery bowl with an inscription. […]

The Bible Scholar Who Became an Undercover Agent

It was about noon, Thursday, July 1, 1954. My wife and I had just seen our two sons off for their summer in Vermont. Our car was packed for a fortnight’s trip to Toronto, my wife was already seated in the car and I was locking the door when the telephone rang. We looked […]

Rediscovered! The Land of Geshur

Not without some justification did Absalom arrange the murder of his half-brother Amnon. Amnon had raped Absalom’s sister Tamar. Nonetheless, fratricide among King David’s sons was not to be countenanced. After Amnon’s murder, Absalom fled—to the land of Geshur (2 Samuel 13:20–38), where he knew he would be safe. His mother Maacah was […]

Mystery Circles
Newly discovered walls in the Golan puzzle archeologists By Yonathan Mizrachi

The mysterious site of Rogem Hiri (Rujm el-Hiri, in Arabica) was unknown to professional archaeology until after the Six-Day War in 1967 when the Golan Heights became accessible to Israeli archaeologists. It was discovered during the 1967–1968 archaeological survey of the lower Golan Heights. This unique site consists of five concentric stone circles, the […]

Masada: Arms and the Man

Sometimes we make discoveries not by digging in the ground, but by digging in the records of past excavations. So it is with Masada, Herod’s nearly impregnable palace-fortress in the Judean wilderness, occupied and defended by Jewish Zealots during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. Masada was excavated in the 1960s by Israel’s most […]