Inside BAR

March/April 2017


From the earliest depictions of the Virgin Mary to a new Herodian banqueting complex by Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the March/April 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has it all! Travel with us as we explore the latest archaeological discoveries throughout the Mediterranean world.

The current issue of BAR takes readers on a journey to Laodicea, a wealthy city in western Turkey that flourished for centuries. The Book of Revelation calls the Laodicean church “lukewarm”—neither hot nor cold. In “Laodicea’s ‘Lukewarm’ Legacy: Conflicts of Prosperity in an Ancient Christian City,” Mark R. Fairchild examines recent excavations at the site and historical sources that shed light on why the Christian community at Laodicea was called “lukewarm.”

Then travel to eastern Syria with Mary Joan Winn Leith as she explores the earliest surviving representation of the Virgin Mary in “Earliest Depictions of the Virgin Mary.” A third-century portrait of a woman drawing water from a well was uncovered at a church in Dura-Europos, Syria. While this was originally interpreted as the Biblical scene of the Samaritan woman who speaks with Jesus, further analysis suggests that it portrays the Annunciation—making this painting the earliest depiction of the Virgin Mary. However, there are other candidates. Leith’s investigation takes readers from Dura-Europos to Egypt to the catacombs of Rome.

Explore a banqueting complex beside Jerusalem’s Temple Mount with Joseph Patrich and Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah in “Old, New Banquet Hall by the Temple Mount.” Dating to the time of King Herod, this recently identified banquet hall projects the grandeur and comfort enjoyed by royal guests. With its two dining halls and a fountain room in between, this composite triclinium is probably the most splendid Herodian building that has survived the 70 C.E. Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

Journey north—and back in time—to the Canaanite site of Hazor, the largest and most important city in the southern Levant during the second millennium B.C.E. Excavations at Hazor have brought to light impressive architecture and unique objects. But, one major discovery remains elusive: Where are Hazor’s cuneiform archives? Shlomit Bechar suggests a location in “How to Find the Hazor Archives (I Think).”

Also included in this issue are the First Person column “Misogyny in the Bible” by Hershel Shanks; the Classical Corner column “The Antonine Plague and the Spread of Christianity” by Sarah K. Yeomans; the Biblical Views column “From Supper to Sacrament: How the Last Supper Evolved” by Steven Shisley; the Archaeological Views column “Digital Archaeology’s New Frontiers” by Todd R. Hanneken; and a review by William G. Dever of Hazor: Canaanite Metropolis, Israelite City (Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeology Society, 2016) by Amnon Ben-Tor.

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, including a Bible History Daily guest blog post by Tim Whitmarsh about the ancient roots of atheism. Additionally, this Easter, discover what Biblical scholars and archaeologists can teach us about the resurrection in a free BAS eBook. Visit our new BAS Streaming Video Site to stream or download lectures about the Bible and archaeology by world experts from the comfort of your home, office or classroom. 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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