Herod’s Roman Temple

For King Solomon’s Temple, the Phoenician king, Hiram of Tyre, supplied not only construction materials and masons (1 Kings 5:1–12) but apparently the architectural plan as well. The structure, as it is described in the Bible, is clearly a Syro-Phoenician building, for which archaeology has found several parallels in that cultural sphere.a Solomon made […]

Herod’s Horrid Death

Physicians have long debated what caused King Herod’s death, but there is no doubt (or disagreement) that his demise was a horrid one. Many would say it was also well-deserved. We know the king’s symptoms in some detail from the first-century Jewish historian Josephus. Josephus actually wrote two accounts, the first in his […]

Dancing in Denver
From one scholarly meeting to another By Hershel Shanks

I didn’t realize how big Denver is. I learned when trying to cover three (or four) meetings at the same time last November in two locations in downtown Denver and nearby Boulder. Together the meetings included about 8,000 people—Bible teachers, religion teachers, archaeologists and interested laypersons who came to hear some world-class scholarship. […]

Of Fathers, Kings and the Deity
The nested households of ancient Israel By Philip J. King, Lawrence E. Stager

043 Ancient Israelite society was structured in a way that few of us in modern times experience. Its focus was on family and kin groups organized around agrarian activities. Family and kin groups, in turn, generated the symbols by which the higher levels of the social structure—the political and the divine—were understood and […]

Biblical Detective Work Identifies the Eunuch

In the preceding article Phil King and Larry Stager explain that the Hebrew term ‘ebed, literally “servant,” can designate anything from a slave or household servant to a high royal official, a servant of the king. The same is true in English of terms like “secretary,” which can mean anything from someone who assists […]

They Are Ritual Baths
Immerse yourself in the ongoing Sepphoris mikveh debate By Ronny Reich

050 Scholars have been arguing for some time about the purpose of several plaster-clad stepped pools in the ancient Galilean settlement of Sepphoris, just 4 miles northwest of Nazareth. Not long ago, BAR published the opposing views of two prominent scholars. Duke University professor Eric Meyers, who has extensively excavated at Sepphoris, insisted […]


First Person: Publishing Every Last Fragment
The Dead Sea Scrolls editors don’t want us to miss a word By Hershel Shanks
Nessana, Israel