Biblical Archaeology Review 16:5, September/October 1990


Biblical Archaeology Review

Help Us Decide—Cast Your Vote!

Our January/February issue will feature a report on the major excavation of Ashkelon—surely one of the most important current excavations in Israel, led by Harvard’s Larry Stager.

The unusual finds include some so-called erotic lamps found in what may be an ancient bordello. Erotic lamps are oil lamps with a clay disk in the center explicitly depicting the sex act.

Should we print them? Please let us know your view. Simply drop us a note or a postcard with a number on it to tell us which of the three numbered positions below most nearly represents your view.

1. No. Don’t print them. It’s enough to describe them generally in words. BAR is seen by children. It is used in Sunday schools. Pictures of erotic lamps could add nothing to our knowledge, but would simply satisfy a prurient interest.

2. Yes. Print them. We count on BAR to inform us of what is found in current excavations. If this was part of life in ancient times, we are entitled to know about it. A picture conveys an impression and impact that cannot be achieved by words alone. That is why BAR prints pictures of things like fertility figurines, idols and altars, instead of just describing them. Don’t reduce BAR to the level of a children’s magazine.

3. Yes, but print them on a page with a perforation so that, without injuring the rest of the magazine, they can be torn out by anyone who doesn’t want them in their copy of BAR.

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