Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2018

This holiday season, journey with us to save the language of Jesus, visit the church where the Council of Nicea may have been held, learn about the lives of ancient children, and explore the palaces of the Hasmonean kings—of Hanukkah fame! All this and more appears in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Further, explore Nimrod Fortress, the development of codices, and the appearance of camels in the Biblical text.

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 selection of important menorah depictions from antiquity. 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, including a special collection about the birth of Jesus. Also, check out the free eBook The First Christmas: The Story of Jesus’ Birth in History and Tradition to learn more about the Christmas story.



Saving the Aramaic of Jesus and the Jews

By Yona Sabar

Once spoken across most of the ancient Near East, Aramaic was most likely the mother tongue of Jesus. A considerable volume of Jewish literature is written in Aramaic, including parts of the Bible, Talmud, and Dead Sea Scrolls. Yona Sabar, a scholar and one of the last living native speakers of Aramaic, gives an account of the language and one of its peoples, the bygone Jews of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Nicea’s Underwater Basilica

By Mustafa Şahin and Mark R. Fairchild

Off the shores of Nicea, archaeologists have uncovered a basilica, which stands over what appears to be an earlier church. Could this church be where the famous Council of Nicea first met in 325 C.E.?

Children in the Ancient Near East

By Kristine Henriksen Garroway

What was it like to be a child in the ancient Near East? What role did they play in the household? How were they treated? Through texts and archaeological remains, we can reconstruct a picture of ancient children’s lives.

The Hasmonean Kings: Jewish or Hellenistic?

By Eyal Regev

The Jewish dynasty of Hasmoneans ruled Judea for more than a century in the Late Hellenistic period. Their palaces, excavated in Jericho, reveal a great deal about how they lived. But what do the palace architecture and pottery tell us about the delicate balance the Hasmonean rulers tried to strike when projecting the power, wealth, and authority—both secular and religious—of their independent Jewish state to their Jewish subjects and foreign dignitaries?


First Person: Political v. Partisan

By Robert R. Cargill

Site-Seeing: Nimrod: A Golan Fortress Fit for a Giant

By Jonathan Klawans

Biblical Views: Did Abraham Ride a Camel?

By Mark W. Chavalas

Archaeological Views: Early Christian Dilemma: Codex or Scroll?

By Larry W. Hurtado


Israelite Spies in Huqoq Mosaic
Precious Torah Manuscript
Concealed Cross
Milestones: Ada Yardeni (1937–2018)
Where Is It?
Fragment of Homer’s Odyssey Unearthed at Olympia
How Many? By Natan Slifkin
Guardian of the Date Palms
Exhibit Watch: Armenia!
Cartoon Caption Contest


Fashioning a New Bible: Why and How?
Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Gary A. Rendsburg

Queries & Comments