The Dead Sea Scroll Monopoly Must Be Broken

“Why won’t the scholars assigned to edit the Dead Sea Scrolls allow anyone to see photographs of the unpublished manuscripts?” That is the question that almost immediately arises in any discussion of the Dead Sea Scroll scandal. We have no good answer. Indeed, we don’t think there is one. Our usual answer is, “You really ought to ask the scroll editors.”

Israeli Oversight Committee Takes Charge

A new actor has suddenly appeared on the stage of the drama known as the Dead Sea Scroll Publication Scandal—an Israeli oversight committee. Although the committee has been in existence for some time, it was largely inactive. Indeed, it never even met until last fall.a Now, however, it is taking charge.

A Visit with M. Jozef T. Milik, Dead Sea Scroll Editor

It had been almost 32 years since I last saw Jozef T. Milik. We were in Jerusalem, and we had both been working on the Dead Sea Scrolls. My work consisted of helping to prepare a concordance of the non-Biblical texts from Cave 4 by placing each word of these texts on a 4-by-5 […]

Cross and Milik Fail to Meet Deadline in New “Suggested Timetable” for Dead Sea Scroll Completion

In January 1989, the Israel Department of Antiquities released a “Suggested Timetable” for publication of all still-secret Dead Sea Scrolls. The “Suggested Timetable” called for completion of 21 categories of texts between 1989 and 1996.

Glorious Beth-Shean
Huge new excavation uncovers the largest and best-preserved Roman/Byzantine city in Israel

Archaeologically speaking, Beth-Shean refers to two major sites. The first is a tell, a magnificent mound rising from the plain: Biblical Beth-Shean on whose walls the Philistines displayed the mutilated bodies of King Saul and his sons, whom they had killed in battle at nearby Mt. Gilboa. In the shadow of the tell […]

Small Inventions? They Changed How People Lived in the Hellenistic Age

Knowledge and technology have advanced throughout history in uneven spasms. The Neolithic dawn (eighth to seventh millennia B.C.E.a) was one such time. The Italian Renaissance (14th century C.E.) was another. Between these two spikes in the graph was the Hellenistic period (336–44 B.C.E.),b in many ways greater than both. The Italian Renaissance, for […]

Epigraphy in Crisis—Dating Ancient Semitic Inscriptions

Joan Scheuer’s fascinating volunteer report in the January/February issue (“Searching for the Phoenicians in Sardinia,” BAR 16:01) was especially interesting to me as a student of paleography. She describes a very important Phoenician inscription, known as the Nora Fragment, and explains how Professor Frank Cross of Harvard is able to date the Phoenician presence […]

“Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”—What It Really Means

It is one of the fundamental commandments of the Torah (the Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses). It is exemplary of Jewish morality, and it very early characterized the Christian faith as well. For 2,000 years, however, it has been misinterpreted.


Glossary: Coffins in a Human Shape
A short history of anthropoid sarcophagi By Neil Asher Silberman