A conversation moderated by Glenn Corbett with Eric Cline, Melissa Cradic, and Jodi Magness about bridging the scholarly-popular divide.
Hershel Shanks founded the Biblical Archaeology Society in 1974 and published his first issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) in 1975. From the beginning, his aim was “to make available in understandable language the current insights of professional archaeology as they relate to the Bible.” This founding mission has guided the society since that time.
During a Zoom call in April 2021, BAR Editor Glenn J. Corbett interviewed three leading scholars who share the same commitment to engaging public interest in biblical archaeology: Eric H. Cline of the George Washington University who directs excavations at Tel Kabri, Melissa Cradic of the Badè Museum in Berkeley, California, and Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who directs excavations at Huqoq. They regularly share their research with the public through lectures, seminars, exhibits, articles, and books, including Cline’s 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed and Magness’s Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth.
In their recorded Zoom conversation (fully accessible below), which appears in adapted form in the Fall 2021 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, they discuss the importance of public scholarship, new efforts to reach broader audiences, and the critical role BAR plays in bridging the gap between scholars and a public eager to know more.
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Re Glenn J. Corbett’s interviews with Eric Cline, Melissa Cradic & Jodi Magness in BAR (Fall 2021): Glenn’s interviews were quite good with the 3 professionals; however, the slight towards journalism to get archaeology messages out to the general public, as opposed to using the BAR media exclusively, is a bit wanting. For example, how else would we non-professionals learn of, through Jodi Magness’ uncovering of a stone carving of Alexander the Great by her group, which showed the shield mark of a leader in Israel?