Biblical Archaeology Society 2017 Publication Awards Winners

profile pic_lampThese prestigious awards for books about archaeology and the Bible have been made possible by grants from Eugene and Emily Grant, the Rohr Family in Memory of Sami Rohr, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, and Samuel D. Turner and Elizabeth Goss.

Best Popular Book on Archaeology

fragments-of-colosaeFragments of Colossae: Sifting Through the Traces
By Alan H. Cadwallader
(Hindmarsh, South Australia: ATF Press, 2015)

Academic in quality yet popular in readability, this lavishly illustrated volume presents the historical background, cultural setting and material culture of the well-known New Testament city admonished by Paul in his epistle to the Colossians. As Colossae still lies buried by the sands of time, Cadwallader looks to artifacts scattered in various museum collections, a few finds in situ and information gleaned from the diaries and journals of explorers in library archives. Cadwallader assembles a fascinating description of Colossae without even putting a spade into it.

Best Scholarly Book on Archaeology

younger-arameansA Political History of the Arameans: From Their Origins to the End of Their Polities
By K. Lawson Younger, Jr.
(Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016)

The incredible diversity of the Arameans and the origins of their civilization have been shrouded in mystery despite their significant impact on the Iron Age population of Israel and Judah. This 867-page book marshals the latest archaeological and textual data and combines them with anthropological considerations of tribal structures, migration trends and linguistic analyses. This technical work, which features some 100 maps, illustrations and tables, is designed mainly for specialists in the field, although educated and enthusiastic laypeople will certainly find it interesting.


Matthew J. Adams
Dorot Director
W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research

Jennie Ebeling
Associate Professor of Archaeology
University of Evansville

Robert A. Mullins
Chair and Professor
Dept. of Biblical and Religious Studies
Azusa Pacific University

Best Book Relating to the Hebrew Bible

These books tied—both are extremely high quality, yet vary in their approaches.

ulrich-dssThe Dead Sea Scrolls and the Developmental Composition of the Bible
By Eugene Ulrich
(Leiden: Brill, 2015)

Eugene Ulrich’s experience studying “Biblical” manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and his expertise on the full range of Biblical texts shines in every chapter. Scholars interested in the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, the Biblical text in the Second Temple period, and the canonical process in Judaism and early Christianity will benefit from this volume.

house-of-the-motherThe House of the Mother: The Social Roles of Maternal Kin in Biblical Hebrew Narrative and Poetry
By Cynthia R. Chapman
(New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2016)

Cynthia Chapman innovatively combines textual scholarship, gender studies and anthropology. She examines in detail the Biblical passages that mention “the house of the mother” or related expressions. Although society in ancient Israel was patriarchal and patrilineal, Chapman’s research allows us to see that maternal descent and maternal relationships were also important identity markers.


Shaye J.D. Cohen
Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy
Harvard University

Sidnie White Crawford
Willa Cather Professor of Classics and Religious Studies
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Archaeology
William Jessup University

Best Book Relating to the New Testament

man-attestedA Man Attested by God: The Human Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels
By J.R. Daniel Kirk
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016)

This in-depth, thoughtful and easy-to-read book provides a new and valuable perspective on the full humanity of Jesus Christ in conversation with the early “high Christology” debates in the field. The author’s focus is not on the historical figure of Jesus, but rather on his depictions in the Synoptic Gospels. This is truly a groundbreaking book that is timely and important for specialists and non-specialists alike.


John Byron
Professor of New Testament
Ashland Theological Seminary

Carolyn Osiek
Emerita Charles Fischer Catholic Professor of New Testament
Brite Divinity School

James D. Tabor
Professor of Christian Origins and Ancient Judaism
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The biennial BAS Publication Awards have been presented since 1985. Our best to these winners!

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