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Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1984


Special Section



No one knows where they came from. They produced the world’s first great civilization, yet they vanished from the annals of history for more than 3,000 years. Although they were conquered by foreign invaders, their language and literature survived for centuries. We call them Sumerians, and the...Read more ›


Woolley’s Ur Revisited

By Richard L. Zettler

Sir Leonard Woolley was, perhaps, the most famous archaeologist of his day. He was a man of enormous energy and a prodigious worker. Between 1907 and 1949 Woolley not only directed five major excavations in Egypt and Nubia, Syria and Iraq, but published the results quickly and...Read more ›


The New Sumerian Dictionary

By William McPherson

One of the more eye-catching quotations from The New York Times reads like this: It’s a word I had been heretofore unfamiliar with, and doubt that I’ll find many occasions to use, at least in that particular form, since I find it quite unpronounceable. Nonetheless, I’m glad...Read more ›


Inanna—The Quintessential Femme Fatale

By Tikva Frymer-Kensky

Diane Wolkstein’s Inanna–Queen of Heaven and Eartha is a retelling, with commentary, of one of the major texts about the Sumerian goddess Inanna. This is a difficult book for me to review. I could not possibly be more in sympathy with its aims. As a historian of...Read more ›


Sumerian “Firsts”

For thousands of years, the Sumerians were a forgotten people. No book recorded their achievements; no spade unearthed their treasures. The Sumerians had passed out of history, until, in the mid-19th century, linguists studying Assyrian cuneiform writing discovered cuneiform tablets written in another language. Linguists and archaeologists...Read more ›


Yigael Yadin 1917–1984

By Hershel Shanks

Israel’s most celebrated Biblical archaeologist, Yigael Yadin, died of a heart attack on June 28 at the age of 67. The world of Biblical archaeology has been impoverished. Yadin was struck down at his weekend home in Michmoret on the Mediterranean Sea, suddenly and without warning. All...Read more ›

The Temple Scroll—The Longest and Most Recently Discovered Dead Sea Scroll

How it affects our understanding of the New Testament and early Christianity

By Yigael Yadin

On August 1, 1960, I received a letter from a man who identified himself as a Virginia clergyman. The letter stated that the writer was in a position to negotiate the sale of “important, authentic discoveries of Dead Sea Scrolls.” Obviously, he contacted me because of my...Read more ›

The Case of the Gilded Staircase

Did the Dead Sea Scroll sect worship the sun?

By Morton Smith

Yigael Yadin’s magnificent edition of the Temple Scroll1—the latest-to-be-published and the longest of all the Dead Sea Scrolls—has been available to scholars in Hebrew for over four years and last year became available in a three-volume English edition. (See “The Temple Scroll—The Longest and Most Recently Discovered...Read more ›

The Biblical Oryx—A New Name for an Ancient Animal

Soon it will again roam the wilderness of the Holy Land as it roams the pages of the Bible

By Bill Clark

In the King James Version of the Bible, it’s translated unicorn. But that’s not what re’em means. Re’em is the Hebrew name for Oryx leucoryx or oryx for short. This animal is also called the Arabian oryx, the White oryx and the Beatrix oryx because it used...Read more ›

1984 BAS Publication Awards

Biblical Archaeology Society is please to announce the winners of the 1984 Publication Awards in Seven Categories: 1. Best Popular Book on Archaeology Discovering Jerusalem: Recent Archaeological Excavations in the Upper City Nahman Avigad, Hebrew University (Nelson) “A masterpiece. This book should set...Read more ›