In our March/April 2011 issue we published an article entitled “The Birth & Death of Biblical Minimalism” by Israel archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel. Among those identified as minimalists was the prominent English scholar Philip Davies. We asked Davies if he would like to respond, but he declined. Subsequently, however, he published a response on the Bible and Interpretation Web site. We asked Professor Davies if he would allow us to post his response on our Scholarís Study page and he graciously agreed.
Over fifty years ago, Columbia University professor Morton Smith discovered a previously unknown letter from Clement of Alexandria, a second-century church father, which contained passages of a lost “secret” gospel of Mark. A debate over the authenticity of this document continues to this day.
The January/February 2011 issue of BAR featured a book review, written by James C. VanderKam, of King and Messiah as Son of God. We then received a letter from J. Harold Ellens, retired professor of philosophy and psychology at Calvin Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, wishing to clarify the terms and concepts used to describe the Son of Man in the ancient literature. Posted April 18, 2011.
In “Bells, Pendants, Snakes and Stones” (BAR, November/December 2010), archaeologist Yitzhak Magen revealed evidence of a Samaritan temple at Mt. Gerizim that he dated to the time of Nehemiah, the fifth century B.C.E. In response, a reader asked for clarification about the date, which conflicts with Josephus’s account of events surrounding the Samaritan temple’s construction. Yitzhak Magen replied with a detailed explanation of the temple dating and timeline of related events. Posted February 18, 2011.
In “Verbal Fisticuffs over Early Israelite Origins” (BAR July/August 2010), well-known American archaeologist William Dever was quoted as saying that prominent Israeli scholar Anson Rainey “is no archaeologist and has no first-hand acquaintance with pottery,” Dever’s specialty. Rainey responds in Scholar’s Study to demonstrate his archaeological credentials and defend his qualifications. Posted February 18, 2011.
Scholars Anson Rainey and Orly Goldwasser continue their debate as to who really invented the alphabet. Updated February 18, 2011.
Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar has reported on excavations at the vast Phoenician cemeteries of Achziv and the presence of an ancient crematorium at the site. Vassos Karageorghis, leading scholar of ancient Cypriot culture and current director of the Foundation of Anastasios G. Leventis, wrote in to tell us about other Phoenician cemeteries on Cyprus that may include crematoria similar to the one found in the Achziv cemetery in Israel. Posted December 16, 2010.
Scholars question whether “pure” garum (a popular Roman sauce that was made from various types of fish and marine life) was intended for Jews or for the followers of other Greco-Roman mystery religions that observed dietary restrictions or purity laws. Classics professor Robert I. Curtis of the University of Georgia clarifies and expands on his own interpretation of garum jars found at Pompeii and what they might suggest about the Jewish population that lived there.
BAR published a letter from Professor Boyd Seevers concerning what Israelite chariots looked like in the Assyrian period in response to an article by David Ussishkin. Professor Ussishkin’s response to Professor Seevers arrived too late for publication with Professor Seevers’s letter, so we present them both here. Posted December 16, 2010.
Professor Ron Hendel’s Biblical Views column from July/August 2010, “Farewell to SBL: Faith and Reason in Biblical Studies,” elicited a thunderous and widespread response, both in support and in opposition, and among both the academic community to which it was largely addressed and among BAR’s more scholarly readers. Posted October 18, 2010
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In the September/October 2008 issue of BAR, noted Biblical scholar Israel Knohl’s article “The Messiah Son of Joseph” generated a great deal of interest and responses. Among them was a letter from Ronald Hendel, whose comments and Professor Knohl’s abbreviated response appear in the January/February 2009 issue of BAR. However, the interest in this piece was so great that we will present Professor Knohl’s response here in its entirety, as well as some other letters that were sent to us regarding his article.
Even before it went to press, Marjo Korpel’s recent BAR article, “Fit for a Queen: Jezebel’s Royal Seal,” made a splash. Professor Korpel’s bold identification of a seal with the infamous Biblical Jezebel—a claim based on a reconstruction of the artifact—elicited a major critical furor.
Although a recently found seal apparently does not belong to the Biblical figure that excavator Eilat Mazar at first suggested, it now seems that it bears another name known from the Bible.
Claims that the family tomb of Jesus has been found in the East Talpiot section of Jerusalem have sparked bitter debate for a second time.
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