Biblical Archaeology Review, Winter 2021

The Winter 2021 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is packed with insightful, thought-provoking articles sure to promote enjoyable discussion during the holidays. Our cover story “Who Built the Tomb of the Kings?” presents new evidence that one of Jerusalem’s largest and best-known monuments was initially built not for a foreign queen, as has long been supposed, but for Herod Agrippa I, the last of the Herod dynasty to rule over Judea. We then present two opposing views on the infamous Shapira Scrolls, the now lost manuscripts that surfaced on the antiquities market more than 150 years ago, proclaimed by seller Moses Shapira to be an early version of the Book of Deuteronomy. One article argues the texts are clever forgeries, while the other presents new evidence that the scrolls are indeed genuine manuscripts. Returning to a topic on which all can agree, our article “Why We Dig” explores our shared fascination with archaeology and the field’s unique ability to uncover past lives.

In Strata, take a tour of the Izal plateau in southeastern Turkey, where local vineyards are reviving the region’s ancient wine-making tradition. We also examine how funerary rituals and commemorative feasts were used to affirm familial, communal, and even national ties in ancient Israel. In Epistles, we explore the apostle Paul’s brief but puzzling visit to Arabia at the outset of his ministry, and we also take a look at how Greek translators of the Hebrew Bible tried to preserve different forms of Hebrew wordplay. Finally, on a more reflective note, we examine how the peoples of the Bible personified the devastating impact of plagues and disease through the attributes and personalities of various gods and demons.

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. For this issue, read or watch a special online interview with Matthew Adams, director of the W.F. Albright Institute in Jerusalem and co-director of the Megiddo Expedition, as he discusses his journey from volunteer to director.

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

Not a BAS Library or All-Access Member yet? Join today.



Who Built the Tomb of the Kings?

Andrew Lawler
Since its discovery, most scholars have argued that Jerusalem’s Tomb of the Kings belonged to Queen Helena of Adiabene. But was she the original commissioner of the tomb? Our author presents new archaeological clues that suggest the ownership history of this impressive monument is far more complex than originally thought.

The Shapira Scrolls: The Case for Forgery

Ronald S. Hendel and Matthieu Richelle
In 1883, antiquities dealer Moses Shapira presented to the watching world several scroll fragments that he claimed were an ancient biblical manuscript. Yet the manuscript was quickly decried as a forgery. Although its authenticity has been reappraised recently, biblical scholars Ronald S. Hendel and Matthieu Richelle argue—with old and new evidence—that the Shapira Scrolls are forgeries.

The Shapira Scrolls: The Case for Authenticity

Idan Dershowitz and James D. Tabor
The Shapira Scrolls have long been viewed as clever forgeries. But are they? Earlier this year, biblical scholar Idan Dershowitz gained international attention as he argued that these scroll fragments preserve an early version of the Book of Deuteronomy. Here he summarizes that research, and archaeologist James D. Tabor analyzes the scrolls’ origin story. From their investigations, they contend that the Shapira Scrolls are authentic.

Biblical Archaeology 101: Why We Dig: The Aims of Archaeology

Carol Meyers
Archaeological remains, whether grand or mundane, fill us with a sense of wonder. Does this interest come from the artifacts themselves or from wanting to understand those who made and used them? As our author explains, archaeology is much more than towering monuments and buried treasure.



Missing Jerusalem Wall—Found!
King Uzziah’s Earthquake
What Is It?
Nero’s Aesthetics in the Renaissance
Where Is It?
Papal Accolades to Machaerus Excavator
Site-Seeing: The Wine of Izal
Caring for the Dead in Ancient Israel
Book Review: Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?
Archaeology Argot: Cropmarks
Test Kitchen: Surprising Samosas


A Tale of Two Plague Gods
Clip Art
Biblical Profile: Paul of Arabia? The Apostle’s Early Adventures
Not Lost in Translation: Hebrew Wordplay in Greek
Biblical Bestiary: Cattle


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