Scaling Ivory Towers

By Alan Millard

To see yourself as others see you can be helpful, instructive, revealing, disconcerting, and even irritating! Hershel styles himself “an archaeology outsider” in his autobiography. Although his first candid comments on archaeologists and their practices and his attempts to play one off against another riled many professionals, through the past 40 years, each has learned to value the other and benefited greatly. Hershel’s generous spirit has created a worldwide circle of friends happy to share their knowledge. It’s a pleasure to be one of them. When my wife answers the phone and calls out, “It’s Hershel,” his cheerful voice brings encouragement—and requests!

BAR embodies the joyful energy, initiative, and enthusiasm of this “archaeology outsider,” who brought academics and their research from their ivory towers down to the street where he has made the relevance of their work for biblical studies known.

Alan Millard

Alan Millard is the Rankin Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool and author of Eponyms of the Assyrian Empire (Eisenbrauns, 1994), Discoveries from Bible Times (Lion Publishing, 1997) and Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus (Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), among others.


The Biblical Archaeology Society remembers the life and achievements of Biblical Archaeology Review’s founder and Editor Emeritus, Hershel Shanks, who passed away February 5, 2021 at the age of 90. Across more than four decades, beginning in 1974 until his retirement in 2017, Hershel transformed BAR from a relatively modest publication reflecting his deep personal interest in the biblical past into the world’s best-selling and most widely read biblical archaeology magazine, enjoyed by millions. 

We have collected reflections on Hershel’s legacy from some of his colleagues and dear friends. Many of these originally appeared in Festschrift: A Celebration of Hershel Shanks, the special double issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, published in 2018. Please enjoy these memories and celebrate Hershel’s contributions to the fields of biblical archaeology and biblical studies.

In Memory of Hershel Shanks Main Page

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