Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2017
The city of Sidon on the coast of modern Lebanon is mentioned 38 times in the Hebrew Bible. Recent excavations have exposed part of the ancient Canaanite—and later Phoenician—city, including a massive temple and depictions of deities worshiped at Sidon.
Several mikva’ot (Jewish ritual baths) have been uncovered at Machaerus, the palace-fortress on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea where Salome danced and John the Baptist was beheaded. Archaeologist Győző Vörös takes readers on a journey through past and current archaeological excavations that have resulted in the discovery of these ritual baths.
The Gospels offer a surprisingly excusatory depiction of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea directly responsible for Jesus’ death. While the contemporary sources do not mention Pilate’s fatal involvement with the itinerant rabbi from Galilee, they reveal a governor determined to promote Roman religion in Judea and to ruthlessly suppress any form of dissent.
Are so-called four-room houses an infallible sign of Israelites’ presence just because many have been found at sites identified as Israelite? If you think they are, how do you avoid the pitfall of circular argumentation, which is implied in this reasoning? Hershel Shanks argues that we might need to look for other historical evidence before we draw conclusions of ethnicity from the floor plans of early Iron Age houses in Biblical lands.