Biblical Archaeology Review 26:2, March/April 2000

Abraham’s Ur—Is the Pope Going to the Wrong Place?

By Hershel Shanks

We inadvertently printed an incorrect draft of this article in our January/February 2000 issue. The correct text follows:

Pope John Paul II is planning a millennium pilgrimage in 2000 that will take him to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Sinai—and Iraq! Why Iraq? Because that is where the patriarch Abraham was born—at Ur.

But wait a minute. The Pope may be going to the wrong Ur. Perhaps he should be going to Turkey.

More than 40 years ago, Cyrus Gordon, the eminent Biblical scholar and Near Eastern polymath who recently celebrated his 91st birthday, argued that the commonly designated Ur, on the west bank of the Euphrates River in southern Iraq, is not the Ur where Abraham was born.1

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