The Biblical Archaeology Society 2011 Publication Awards Winners

The 2011 Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Awards recognize the best books published in 2009 and 2010. The biennial BAS Publication Awards for books about archaeology and the Bible have been presented since 1985. These prestigious awards are made possible by a grant from the Leopold and Clara M. Fellner Charitable Foundation, through its trustee Frederick L. Simmons. Winning authors receive an award of $1,000.00 and an honorary certificate. BAS congratulates the recipients of the 2011 Publication Awards and extends heartfelt thanks to the panel of judges.

Best Scholarly Book on Archaeology [a tie]

Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future
edited by THOMAS E. LEVY
London; Oakville, CT: Equinox, 2010

Thomas E. Levy has assembled essays written by more than 20 noted archaeologists and Biblical scholars reflecting on the fundamental paradigm shift that science-based dating methods, geographic information systems, anthropological models, and computer-based technology have brought to Biblical archaeology. These essays also provide a model for researchers in other regions of the world investigating the relationship between ancient texts and the archaeological record.
Khirbat Iskandar: Final Report on the Early Bronze IV Area C “Gateway” and Cemeteries
Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2010

This volume is the first in a planned series of final reports on the Archaeological Expedition to Khirbat Iskandar, Jordan, begun in 1981 by principal investigator, Suzanne Richard. Due to its extensive stratified Early Bronze IV (c. 2300—2000 B.C.E.) occupation, Khirbat Iskandar is a seminal site for a period otherwise known for unstratified sites and isolated cemeteries.

Best Popular Book on Archaeology

Biblical Archaeology A Very Short Introduction
New York: Oxford University Press, 2009

Eric Cline’s book is a well-written, accessible beginner’s guide to Biblical archaeology presented in two parts: “The Evolution of the Discipline” and “Archaeology and the Bible” The first part focuses on important excavations, significant finds and influential archaeologists. The second part focuses on tensions caused by desires to prove or disprove Biblical events. Here Cline calmly describes what archaeology can and cannot prove about key events from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament such as Noah and the Flood, Joshua and the Israelites, David and Solomon, Herod the Great, and Jesus of Nazareth. Cline concludes with problems posed by potential forgeries, prospects for future research and a list of publications for further reading.


AVRAHAM FAUST Bar-Ilan University
JANE CAHILL WEST The Hebrew University City of David Archaeological Project
ANDREW VAUGHN American Schools of Oriental Research

Best Book Relating to the Hebrew Bible

Qumran Cave 1. II: The Isaiah Scrolls (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert XXXII)
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2010; Part 1: Plates and Transcription; Part 2: Introductions, Commentary, and Textual Variants

This pair of volumes offers a magisterial edition of two of the earliest published and most famous of the Dead Sea Scrolls—the Biblical book of Isaiah. These two scrolls are fundamental to the scholarly study of that supremely important prophetic book and the ways in which it was conserved and appreciated in the period of ancient Judaism and earliest Christianity. Although the two scrolls were published and studied previously, the present edition replaces all of its predecessors, with its meticulous retranscription of the scrolls, including a number of new fragments. Not only are the scrolls newly transcribed, correcting earlier efforts; they are also treated to a range of detailed technical studies, concerning the history of their discovery, how the scribes copied them; the ways in which their words are spelled, and how they compare in their readings with other ancient texts of the Book of Isaiah. Of particular signifi cance is a well-nigh-exhaustive analysis of the linguistic features of the two Isaiah scrolls, authored by Martin Abegg. These volumes, the judges concur, offer an outstanding model for how ancient texts should be edited; and, as the last volumes in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series, they serve as a fitting culmination to the 55-year history of publication of that, the primary series of editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls.


PHILIP KING Professor Emeritus, Boston College
PETER MACHINIST Harvard University
JACK M. SASSON Vanderbilt University

Special Citation

The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism
Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2010

The judges for the “Best Book Relating to the Hebrew Bible” category (listed above) cite this single volume for its rich contribution to Scriptural studies. Beyond addressing issues that are raised in the history of Judaism in Late Antiquity, this attractive and crisply edited publication off ers balanced judgments on themes and interpretations that are basic to the study of the Hebrew Bible. There are essays on most books (especially prophetic and wisdom texts, not to say also Apocrypha literature that is canonical in the Catholic Church), but also major entries on early interpreters of Biblical writings, such as Josephus, Philo, the New Testament and members of the Qumran community. Carried forward are many subjects with a life beyond the Hebrew Bible such as monotheism, sacrifice, messianism, temple worship and architecture, the afterlife, burial practices, circumcision, marriage and divorce. Biblical personalities acquire interesting treatments in midrashic and pseudepigraphic lore, objects from daily life (amulets, ossuaries, phylacteries) are given sharper contexts, and archeological observations enrich our knowledge of sites. The volume’s 270 learned contributors come from many nations and cut across faith traditions. Appended to the articles are brief bibliographies. It is a must for all those who recognize the power and meaning of Hebrew Scripture to transcend its periods of creation.

Best Book Relating to the New Testament

Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010

The judges have unanimously chosen Dale Allison’s fourth and last book on the historical Jesus. Rejecting methods used by scholars for more than a century, Allison develops his own method of assessing the evidence. With a thorough examination of all relevant texts from Jewish and early Christian sources, Allison situates Jesus firmly within first-century Judaism and presents a convincing interpretation of his life, teachings and death.


BIRGER A. PEARSON, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara
JANE SCHABERG Professor Emeritus, University of Detroit Mercy
JAMES STRANGE University of South Florida

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