These three extraordinary articles began when we read a technical paper in the obscure scholarly journal Numen. Titled “The Disappearance of the God-Fearers,” the paper was written by A. Thomas Kraabel, dean of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Kraabel is one of the most prominent specialists in Hellenistic Judaism and an expert in the archaeology of ancient synagogues.

The God-Fearers: A Literary and Theological Invention

New testament scholars, both Jewish and Christian, have for years accepted the existence of a group of gentiles known as God-fearers. They were thought to be closely associated with the synagogue in the Book of Acts. Although they did not convert to Judaism, they were an integral part of the synagogue and provided […]

Jews and God-Fearers in the Holy City of Aphrodite

A quiet, fertile valley folded into the Mediterranean hills, clear streams, tall poplars, ancient ruins more than 1,400 years old—a picture of pastoral quiet. Twenty-five years ago Kenan T. Erim, archaeologist and art historian at New York University, decided that the site of the ancient Roman city of Aphrodisias had more to offer […]

The Omnipresence of the God-Fearers

Reverend MacLennan and Dean Kraabel have performed a real service by questioning the view, so commonly held, that in antiquity there was a large class of gentiles, the so-called God-fearers, who stood somewhere between paganism and Judaism.1 What we call God-fearers, as MacLennan and Kraabel recognize, actually refers to several Greek terms. In […]

Rabbi Nelson Glueck: An Archaeologist’s Secret Life in the Service of the OSS

According to Winston Churchill, and few historians would dispute him, the turning point in World War II was the battle of El Alamein in the North African desert. Until then, the news had been almost all bad for Britain and her allies. It was to the battle at El Alamein that Churchill referred in […]

Where Is Ezion-Geber? A Reappraisal of the Site Archaeologist Nelson Glueck Identified as King Solomon’s Red Sea Port

King Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion-Geber which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom … and they went to Ophir and brought from there gold … and they brought it to King Solomon” (1 Kings 9:26; see 2 Chronicles 8:11–18 for parallel passage). […]

The Search for Roots—Israel’s Biblical Landscape Reserve

If archaeology is the search for roots, so is Neot Kedumim, The Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel. The one is figurative; the other is literal—for Neot Kedumim literally searches for the roots of the Bible in the realities of Israel’s nature landscape. The patriarchs, the judges, the kings and prophets of Israel, Jesus and […]