Inside BAR

November/December 2017

Explore the origins of the Santa Claus tradition, the date of Jesus’ birth and much more in the November/December 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Learn about archaeological discoveries in Israel—from Jerusalem’s Te’omim Cave to Naboth’s vineyard at Jezreel and a special toilet at Lachish. Then meet the Phoenicians, ancient Israel’s closest ally, and join us on a survey of ancient Israelite architecture.

The Te’omim Cave—on the outskirts of Jerusalem—served as a refuge for Jewish rebels during the Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132–136 C.E.) and later as a pagan cultic site in the second–fourth centuries C.E. See why this extraordinary cave was chosen for both of these purposes in “Roman Cult, Jewish Rebels Share Jerusalem Cave Site” by Boaz Zissu, Eitan Klein, Roi Porat, Boaz Langford and Amos Frumkin.

With a commercial empire that lasted a millennium, the Phoenicians were major players in the ancient Mediterranean world. Spreading their culture and goods, they came into contact with many different groups, but their relationship with the Israelites was distinct. In “Phoenicia and Its Special Relationship with Israel,” join Ephraim Stern as he explores the Phoenicians’ identity and interactions with their close neighbor and ally, Israel.

The Biblical story of Naboth and his vineyard have come to life in a recent excavation at Jezreel, where archaeologists excavated an Iron Age winery at the foot of Tel Jezreel. In “Have We Found Naboth’s Vineyard at Jezreel?” Norma Franklin, Jennie Ebeling, Philippe Guillaume and Deborah Appler describe their discovery and explain why they believe that they have located the famed vineyard of Naboth.

An ancient stone toilet recently unearthed at Lachish may provide archaeological evidence of King Hezekiah’s religious reforms throughout Judah in the eighth century B.C.E. The toilet had been placed in what is interpreted to be a gate-shrine within the largest ancient city gate found in Israel. Learn more about this discovery in “Going to the Bathroom at Lachish” by Saar Ganor and Igor Kreimerman.

Also included in this issue are the First Person column “My Final ‘First Person’” by Hershel Shanks; the Site-Seeing column “The Hometown of Santa Claus” by Mark Wilson; the Biblical Views column “The Turn of the Christian Era: The Tale of Dionysius Exiguus” by Ben Witherington III; the Archaeological Views column “Archaeology, Israelite Cosmology and the Bible” by Avraham Faust; and a review by Mary Joan Winn Leith of The Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology (Eerdmans, 2016) edited by Paul Corby Finney.

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 an exclusive post by University of Oxford professor Josephine Quinn about the Phoenicians’ alphabet and texts and a post by Mark Wilson, the director of the Asia Minor Research Center, about the texts and traditions related to St. Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop of Myra, Turkey, who inspired the Santa Claus legend. To read free articles about Jesus this Christmas season, visit the Historical Jesus study page in Bible History Daily. 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. Plus 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.

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