You are here

Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1998


Special Section

Questioning Masada


Masada—the very name resonates with images of bravery and freedom. In this imposing desert fortress, a greatly outnumbered band of fighters, unwilling to concede defeat during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome, held out for more than three years against a large imperial army after the fall...Read more ›

Questioning Masada

Where Masada’s Defenders Fell

A garbled passage in Josephus has obscured the location of the mass suicide

By Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Prior to Yigael Yadin’s excavations in the 1960s, most of what we knew about Herod the Great’s mountain fortress of Masada came from the first-century C.E. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. The story is well known: After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple in 70 C.E.,...Read more ›

Questioning Masada

Whose Bones?

Were they really Jewish defenders? Did Yadin deliberately obfuscate?

By Joseph Zias

On July 7, 1969, with due solemnity, the earthly remains of the last defenders of Masada were buried near the foot of the Roman ramp leading up to the site. The chief chaplain of the Israeli army, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, officiated. The dead were...Read more ›

Questioning Masada


The Judean wilderness as the last bastion of Jewish revolts

By Zeʼev Meshel

That the Judean wilderness was long a place of refuge for Jewish rebels has been well established. I believe it was more than that, however. As history and archaeology will show, these barren cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea have also served as a redoubt...Read more ›


Debunking the Shroud: Made by Human Hands

By Gary Vikan

When the Shroud of Turin went on display this spring for the first time in 20 years, it made the cover of Time magazine with the blurb “Is this Jesus?” In BAR, we summarized the controversy that has enshrouded this relic, venerated for centuries as the burial...Read more ›