The Garden of Gethsemane: Not the Place of Jesus’ Arrest

When visitors to Jerusalem are shown a large cave called “Gethsemane” on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, they usually give a perfunctory look and hurry on to the famous Garden of Gethsemane, the small garden of olive trees adjacent to the Church of All Nations. Here pilgrims can sit and reflect […]

Cherubim: God’s Throne?

Abstract or metaphysical thinking was alien to the world of the ancient Near East. Philosophy as we know it was introduced by the Greeks in an unprecedented flowering in the fifth century B.C.E. Although ancient man understood concepts like omnipotence and omniscience, he did not express them in philosophical terms. Instead, he did so […]

Of Cherubim and Gospel Symbols

The lion, eagle, ox and man of Ezekiel’s vision re-emerge in early Christian art as the standard symbols of the authors of the four New Testament Gospels. In his famous vision, the prophet Ezekiel describes four cherubim, each with four faces—of a human being, a lion, an ox and an eagle; each with four […]

From Camels to Computers: A Short History of Archaeological Method

Professional archaeologists are often amused by the popular image many people have of us as fearless adventurers, dashing from one exciting escapade to another like Indiana Jones. Little do they know that our work is often conducted in dusty, out-of-the-way places that hold little interest to anyone but us. Until very recently, our […]

Finding Historical Memories in the Patriarchal Narratives

The search for the historical patriarchs of Genesis has taken some dizzying turns in the last half-century. From the 1940s through the 1960s, scholars proclaimed that the patriarchal age of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph had been found among the mass of new archaeological data recovered from the second millennium B.C.E. In the […]

Did a Letter to BAR End a Cornell Graduate Student’s Career?

A letter to the editor of BAR is now at the center of a controversy at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. At issue is whether the letter led to the dismissal of a graduate student because it was considered inappropriate. “I told him not to send it,” admits Professor David I. Owen, chairman […]

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