First Person: Introducing the New BAR

As published in BAR, January/February 2020

By now you may have noticed we’ve made some changes to this first issue of 2020. In addition to some of the policy changes we’ve implemented over the past two years, including no longer publishing unprovenanced objects that have come to light since 1970, we’ve also welcomed our first redesign in 14 years. We’ve worked on this redesign for more than a year with our wonderful design team at AURAS Design, and we’re excited about the result. Let me walk you through these changes and highlight a few new features.

First, you’ll notice that we’ve eliminated the border around the edge of the cover. This allows us to print a larger, visually stunning cover photo. We’ve also removed some of the text from the cover, eliminating additional distractions from the cover image.

Second, you’ll notice that our Table of Contents is now spread over three pages. The first page highlights our featured articles. On the second page, we list all of the other content in the magazine. On the third page, you’ll find web resources that will allow you to find more information online about the things you’ve read in BAR.

You’ll find old favorites like the Editor’s First Person commentary right up front. We’ve enhanced our reader-favorite Queries & Comments (Q&C) department, where we publish your letters to the editor and questions to BAR authors. If you don’t see the letter you wrote to the editor, check our website! There we have an expanded Q&C section, where we publish even more letters, along with our responses.

We’ve retained our popular Strata section, where you’ll find news and information, infographics, and brain-stumping archaeological trivia. And, because so many of you have asked for more biblical scholarship—the kind we used to feature in our magazine Bible Review—we’ve created a new section called Epistles, where we offer content focused on the Bible and other ancient texts in the form of essays, facts, quick language lessons, and interpretations from the best biblical and textual scholars on earth.

Finally, we’ve moved our popular Caption Contest to the back page. We’ve also added to our website more of your captions, so you can read the captions that didn’t make the top three and read staff captions as well.

As Editor, I want you to know that we’ve listened to your suggestions and complaints. In response to this, we’ve changed our typeface, making the text crisper, clearer, and easier to read. We’ve also made our color photos—for which we are famous—even larger and more central to our magazine. And, due to overwhelming demand, we’ve eliminated “jumps” from all BAR articles. Never again will you have to “continue” reading an article “on page 56,” to see the conclusion to a story.

We want BAR to be modern, beautiful, credible, and fun. That was our goal with this redesign. I also want to introduce you to the next generation of archaeologists digging in the lands of the Bible, while still bringing you the latest scholarship from your favorite BAR authors. I want you to learn about new technologies being used to unearth the latest discoveries, while offering tidbits of information that you can use in your Bible studies, sermons, book clubs, classrooms, and discussions with families and friends.

We’ve also created opportunities for reader feedback. If you have a trivia question or a contribution you think we should publish, I want to hear from you. The same goes for our redesign. If you like—or don’t like—something, please let us know. We will consider your suggestions and may even publish your letter in Q&C.

For the past year, we’ve worked hard on this new version of BAR. We hope it is a faithful combination of the best of what BAR has always been and some reader-driven improvements that allow us to modernize. Or, to put it as a wise man once did: a combination of new treasures as well as old (Matthew 13:52).—Bob Cargill, Editor

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Previous First Person Columns:

First Person: From Shalem to Jerusalem

First Person: Misogyny in the Bible

First Person: The Gender Divide

First Person: Who Owns History?

First Person: A Little Jot on a Jerusalem Column

First Person: The American Bible Society’s Electronic Inquisition

First Person: Festschrift: A Celebration of Hershel Shanks

First Person: A New Chapter

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