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April 16, 2013

CONTACT: Dorothy D. Resig
The Biblical Archaeology Society
Phone: 1.800.221.4644 ext 242
Fax: 202-364-2636
E-mail: dresig@bib-arch.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 16, 2013)— As a result of earthquakes, Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount had to be dismantled and reconstructed in the 1930s and 1940s. Massive Cedar of Lebanon and cypress beams were reused, and others were simply removed. Some of these beams are significantly older than the mosque itself. Archaeologist Peretz Reuven asks in Wooden Beams from Herod’s Temple Mount: Do They Still Exist? were these timbers from Al-Aqsa once part of Herod’s Temple Mount architecture?

David’s Palace and Solomon’s Temple—two of the most famous structures in the Bible—were also built with Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) provided by the Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre. Dendroarchaeologist Nili Liphschitz explains in Cedars of Lebanon: Exploring the Roots that dendroarchaeology, the archaeology of trees and wood, shows why Cedrus libani was so treasured and so widely used in antiquity.

Speaking of treasures, scholars Armin Lange and Esther Eshel look at a unique one in “The Lord Is One”: How Its Meaning Changed. A 1-inch rectangular gold leaf inscribed with the Shema‘ Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”) served as a protective amulet for a Jewish baby’s body in Roman-era Austria. The declaration that “The Lord is One” in this incantation reveals that the Israelite deity Yahweh was more than just the only God of the Jews, he was the only God. Period

From Austria to Jordan. According to fourth-century church historian Eusebius, on the eve of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D., Jesus’ followers miraculously escaped the city and fled to Pella of the Decapolis in Jordan. After decades of excavation, have archaeologists been able to sift through more than 8,000 years of occupation history to find remains of these early Christian refugees? Excavator Stephen Bourke examines the evidence in The Christian Flight to Pella: True or Tale?

In First Person, BAR editor Hershel Shanks weighs new technology against old methods of historical dating. Leonard Greenspoon promotes his new BAS eBook by looking at popular uses of the Biblical phrase “of the making of books there is no end” in The Bible in the News. Boyd Seevers and Joanna Klein study the genetic link to Biblical lefties in Biblical Views. And in Archaeological Views, Norma Franklin and Jennie Ebeling tell us why they’re heading back to excavate at Jezreel.

Featured online at Bible History Daily is a special technology section, a series of Bart Ehrman’s popular lecture videos and a collection of the late Victor Hurowitz’s articles.