Hidden in private collections are some extraordinary, often unique, artifacts that reveal new aspects of ancient life.

BAR readers are accustomed to departures from custom in the pages of this unusual magazine. But two book reviews of the same book? Surely an explanation is called for, especially because neither review attacks the book nor questions its importance. The reason for two reviews is simply this: When I showed Kyle McCarter (the William F. Albright Professor at Johns Hopkins University) my review so he could cleanse it of error, he naturally wanted to see the book as well. He found it as fascinating as I did and then suggested he write an additional review. We then worked together to avoid repetition.

Fingerprint of Jeremiah’s Scribe

Why do we seek to retrace the footsteps of Moses and Jesus? Why do we look for the places they lived?

Pieces of the Puzzle

I sometimes think of Biblical studies as a vast jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing. The book just published by Robert Deutsch and Michael Heltzer gives us 40 new pieces of that puzzle. In comparison with the slow pace at which inscriptions like these ordinarily turn up, this is an extraordinary number […]

“God Knows Their Names”
Mass Christian grave revealed in Jerusalem By Ronny Reich

How many thousands of Christians were massacred when the Persians conquered Jerusalem in 614 C.E. is unknown, but if surviving historical records are at all reliable, the number was huge. We now have the first archaeological evidence that may be related to this tragic chapter in Jerusalem’s history—a mass grave of Christians at the […]

In Search of the Jewish Diaspora
A first-century synagogue in Crimea? By Robert S. MacLennan

We have been looking for an ancient Roman Period synagogue, dating from the first to third century C.E., in the former Soviet Union. Sound crazy? If your answer is “yes,” you won’t be the first to be surprised that a thriving, diverse Jewish community lived in the Crimea when this area was part of […]

“Annual Miracle” Visits Philadelphia
Historical Jesus and Jewish roots of Christianity draw overflow audiences By Hershel Shanks

If it were up to me, I would change the name of the Annual Meeting (the joint annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion and the American Schools of Oriental Research [ASOR]) to the Annual Miracle. It simply blows my mind to see 8,000 Bible scholars and archaeologists […]

Magic Carpets

The Mosaics of Jordan


Ugarit (Ras Shamra, Syria)