Letters Answered Online

From the January/February 2014 issue of BAR:

In two cases, exchanges between letter writers and authors were too long (and technical) to print in our letters column. Therefore we have posted them online.

One involves the Archaeological Views column titled “The Great Tekhelet Debate—Blue or Purple?” by Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman (BAR, September/October 2013), which is criticized in a letter by Professor Zvi C. Koren, director of the Edelstein Center for the Analysis of Ancient Artifacts at the Shenker College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, Israel, to which the Stermans have replied.

The other involves a letter by Bill Schlegel that is critical of Steven Collins’s article on “Where Is Sodom? The Case for Tall el-Hammam” (BAR, March/April 2013), to which Professor Collins has replied.

Finally, we post a letter from Amihai Sneh, Ram Weinberger, Eyal Shalev of the Geological Survey of Israel, critical of an article by BAR editor Hershel Shanks on Hezekiah’s Tunnel (“Will King Hezekiah Be Dislodged from His Tunnel?” BAR, September/October 2013).

In the Q&C section of the January/February 2013 issue of BAR, reader Judah Landa questioned the meaning of a lotus in the left hand in a Persian relief in Irit Ziffer’s article “Portraits of Ancient Israelite Kings?” in the September/October 2013 issue of BAR. Read Landa’s question below along with Irit Ziffer’s illuminating response here.

Posted in Archaeologists, Biblical Scholars & Works, Scholar’s Study.

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  1. Patricia says

    My question ..was Christmas celebrated after Jesus’ birth or after being crucified.

  2. Thomas says

    Could you clarify your question, Patricia? The way it is written makes me think you are asking if Christmas was celebrated while Jesus still lived which makes no sense.

  3. Eduardo says

    I´m lookink for archaeological studies about the existence of Nazareth in the time of Jesus.

  4. David says

    You are doing excellent work. Thank you.

    Where can I find a complete Bible chronology (until the year AD 100)?

  5. msina says

    I have a question. BAR issue march/april 2014 article on severed hands pg.12 it started me thinking. Islam teaches that they use right hand only for eating…the left hand only for unclean use i.e. lersonal heigene…could severing the right hand have to do with also casting the vanquished into an unclean state. The further question is , did this tradition pre -date Islam?

  6. Khonchulo says


  7. Arthur says

    Patricia’s question is quite clear. Since Christmas refers to Jesus’ birth, there is no reason, within logic, why it could not be celebrated prior to Jesus’ death.

  8. ken says

    For Christmas to be celebrated prior to Christ`s death would only involve very few who had knowledge of its significance.

  9. ken says

    The full significance of Christ`s mission would only be emerging during the formative years of Jesus – for Christmas to be celebrated many would have to have the full facts rehearsed and believed by them. The truth probably is that very few knew all the wonders of the birth and even then it was not advisable to `flaunt` the fact that The King of the Jews was moving among the people as a child and teen. Aspects of Christ`s ministry were revealed in `the fulness of time` as it were. Very unlikely that Christmas was celebrated until much later.

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