Inside BAR

September/October 2016

september-october-2016

As summer draws to a close, some cling to every last moment of the season’s warmth and opportunities—traveling, barbecuing, visiting the pool and the like. Others look forward to the approaching autumn with its cooler temperatures and new beginnings—the start of a new school year and new relationships. Whichever way you gravitate, there’s something for you in the September/October 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, which has its fair share of travels and new beginnings!

The lead article “Where Is the Land of Sheba—Arabia or Africa?” by Bar Kribus describes a trip of Biblical proportions: the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Jerusalem in the days of King Solomon. Bringing exquisite gifts, the Queen of Sheba came from an exotic land—but where exactly? Ethiopians claim the Queen of Sheba as part of their heritage, but archaeological and historical sources document a Kingdom of Saba (Sheba) during Biblical times in modern-day Yemen. Who has the rightful claim to the Queen of Sheba?

Sometimes languages have new beginnings, too. In “How Biblical Hebrew Changed,” Avi Hurvitz looks at how the language of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)—Biblical Hebrew—evolved over time. Hurvitz argues there are three distinct forms of Biblical Hebrew, each of which corresponds to certain parts of the Bible and other ancient texts.

Apocryphal gospels—ancient Christian texts, oftentimes heretical, which were excluded from the New Testament—have been getting a lot of press in recent years. Surely this can be seen as a new beginning for texts that were rejected, suppressed and destroyed for millennia. Not so fast, says Tony Burke. In “‘Lost Gospels’—Lost No More,” Burke questions whether these texts were truly rejected, suppressed and destroyed. Many early Christians regarded these apocryphal texts as sacred.

The final voyage chronicled in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is probably one of the best known in the world: the deportation of the Judahites to Babylon and their forced exile there. This is a far cry from the voluntary journey made by the Queen of Sheba. Laurie E. Pearce examines what life was like for the Judahite exiles in Babylon in her article “How Bad Was the Babylonian Exile?” Was there really weeping from the exiles by the rivers of Babylon—as recorded in Psalm 137? New archaeological evidence suggests that life was actually pretty good for some Judahite deportees and their successors.

Also included in this issue are the First Person column BAR Gives Away $50,000” by Hershel Shanks; the Bible in the News column “From the Mouth of Animals” by Leonard J. Greenspoon; the Biblical Views column “Reading the Bible Through Ancient Eyes” by Richard L. Rohrbaugh; and the Archaeological Views column “Pottery in the Computer Age” by Andrea Berlin. Two reviews are featured as well: Rehav (Buni) Rubin reviews The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible (New York: Ecco/Harper Collins, 2016) by Chanan Tigay; and Judith M. Hadley reviews Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture and Geoscience (Cham: Springer, 2015) edited by Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider and William H.C. Propp.

Visit us online at Bible History Daily to see the latest news in Biblical archaeology, as well as additional articles and videos about key Bible and archaeology topics. Bar Kribus’s article “Where Is the Land of Sheba—Arabia or Africa?” pictures one of Ethiopia’s famous subterranean churches at the pilgrimage site of Lalibela. Explore more of Lalibela’s spectacular churches in a web-exclusive slideshow. Apocryphal gospels are at the center of Tony Burke’s article “‘Lost Gospels’—Lost No More” in this issue. Learn about the texts that inspired the modern Christmas nativity scene in a guest blog post by Burke. If you haven’t tried the BAR Tablet Edition yet, check it out by downloading our highly-rated app, available on iPad, Android and Kindle Fire tablets. And be sure to explore the BAS Library, which features every article ever published in BAR, Bible Review and Archaeology Odyssey, all footnoted articles in BAR Notables and Special Collections of articles curated by BAS editors.

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