The Other “Philistines”

The Bible portrays the Philistines as Israel’s cruel and ruthless enemy. The two peoples engaged in a fierce struggle for control of the land in the 12th–11th centuries B.C.E. We all know the stories of Samson’s struggles against the Philistines (Judges 14–16), David’s victory over the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17), and the […]

How Babies Were Made in Jesus’ Time

Sexual intercourse in order to conceive children is such a basic human activity that we sometimes assume that all cultures have had more or less the same ideas about it as we have. So in reading accounts of procreation and conception in the Bible, it is often simply taken for granted that these people […]

“Eves” of Everyday Ancient Israel

Women are vastly underrepresented in the Hebrew Bible. Named men outnumber women by about ten to one. And the women who do appear are mostly exceptional or elite women, not the majority who were farm women. Not only are women underrepresented, but they are depicted by writers who were mostly elite urban males; built-in […]

Archaeological High Horse

Hippos-Sussita of the Decapolis: The First Twelve Seasons of Excavations (2000–2011), Vol. 1