Biblical Archaeology Review, Summer 2023

The Summer 2023 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is packed with stories, profiles, news, quizzes, and contests that are sure to entertain, inform, and enlighten.

In “The Rise of the Maccabees,” explore the evidence for the power politics that lay behind the rise of the Hasmonean state in the late second century BCE. In “David and Solomon’s Invisible Kingdom,” examine a bold new theory that the legendary biblical kings did, in fact, rule over a powerful kingdom, but that it was made up largely of nomads. Then, in “Jerusalem’s Temple Treasures: Where Did They Go?” uncover a little-known Hebrew text that preserves the intriguing tradition that some of the First Temple treasures were hidden away in Mesopotamia after 586 BCE. Finally, in “The Amorites and the Bible,” learn about one of the legendary peoples encountered by the Israelites when they arrived in Canaan.

The issue also brings you the latest news and developments in biblical archaeology, including a profile of new methodologies that make use of the earth’s geomagnetic field to reveal buried buildings and even the precise date of biblical battles. Analyze a short Hebrew inscription that may reveal ancient Israel’s northern border in the ninth century BCE. And visit a Crusader-era church located just outside of Jerusalem to explore its brilliant frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Jesus.

Then see how ancient texts and experimental archaeology help identify zori, the mysterious biblical resin grown in the land of Gilead that was used to treat everything from cough to indigestion. Learn what modern biblical scholarship teaches about the historical Paul, his teachings, and his relationship to Judaism. And take a closer look at the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Mesopotamian tale that influenced generations of storytellers and writers from across the biblical world.

Visit us online, at Bible History Daily, to see the latest news in biblical archaeology or to delve into additional articles, eBooks, and videos about key Bible and archaeology topics. And be sure to check out this issue’s exclusive interview with archaeologist Erez Ben-Yosef, whose excavations at Timna in southern Israel provide new insights into the nature of David and Solomon’s kingdom.

All-Access Members can explore the BAS Library, which features every article ever published in Biblical Archaeology Review, Bible Review, and Archaeology Odyssey, as well as Special Collections of articles curated by BAR editors.



The Rise of the Maccabees

Andrea M. Berlin
The Maccabees created an independent Jewish kingdom in the second century BCE. Their success was a testament to their zeal—and some significant external factors. The Book of 1 Maccabees tells the story of their rise, while archaeology places the story within a larger historical and political context. Tour the region, previously controlled by a long list of empires, that became Maccabean territory.

David and Solomon’s Invisible Kingdom

Zachary Thomas and Erez Ben-Yosef
After centuries of excavation, we still have little archaeological evidence for the kingdom of David and Solomon. This has caused some to speculate that their kingdom never existed or existed only on a small scale. Yet another explanation is possible: Their kingdom was composed of a largely nomadic population, whose archaeological remains are nearly invisible.

Jerusalem’s Temple Treasures: Where Did They Go?

Elena Dugan
According to the Book of Ezra, the looted treasures of Solomon’s Temple returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile. An enigmatic Hebrew treatise, however, suggests the precious implements never made it back. Instead, they were reportedly hidden somewhere in Babylonia, waiting to reveal themselves at the coming of the messiah. Explore what the Treatise of the Vessels says about the lost treasures of the First Temple.

The Amorites and the Bible

Aaron A. Burke
The biblical authors depict the Amorites as one of early Israel’s fiercest opponents. Although they are credited with impressive, well-fortified towns and massive monuments, the Amorites are also condemned for idolatry. Who were these legendary figures, why do they receive such pointed condemnation, and how did the landscape of Canaan influence the biblical depiction?



The People’s Church
Who Did It?
Tablets Reveal Amorite Language
Sling Bullet Uncovered at Yavneh
What Is It?
Where Sumerians Know Your Name
From Christianity to Islam in the Negev
First Fragments: Biblical Papyrus from Roman Egypt
Going, Going, Gone: Sheba on the Front Lines
Arch-Tech: Seeing into the Ground
Arch-Tech: Dating Biblical Battles
Site-Seeing: Colorful Crusader Churches
Shifting Borders? The Benyaw Inscription from Abel Beth Maacah
Book Review: Render Unto Caesar
World Wonders: Madain Saleh


Balm of Gilead
Five Myths About the Apostle Paul
Define Intervention
A Thousand Words: Maccabees
Text Treasures: Gilgamesh: A Mesopotamian Story of Longing and Loss
What’s In a Name?: Gilgamesh
Biblical Bestiary: Ibex


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Nomadic Biblical Kingdoms
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