Biblical Archaeology Review 29:3, May/June 2003

Critique: Review Damns BAS’s Ancient Israel

What do you think? If the great Albright still “lives,” is that a compliment or a criticism?

By Alexander H. Joffe

Biblical Archaeology Review

In 1988, the Biblical Archaeology Society published (with Prentice-Hall) Ancient Israel, subtitled From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple. Its eight authors (in eight chapters) were among the leading scholars in their fields: Kyle McCarter, Nahum Sarna, André Lemaire, Siegried Horn, James Purvis, Lee Levine and Shaye Cohen. Ancient Israel proved to be one of the most popular texts in colleges, universities and seminaries across the country. After more than a decade, however, it needed updating. A second edition was published in 1999, with each of the eight chapters either revised by the original author or by a new contributor. The new authors included Ronald Hendel, Max Miller, Eric Meyers, Michael Satlow—and me (Hershel Shanks). This revised edition was reviewed in the highly regarded Journal of Near Eastern Studies in the April 2002 issue by Alexander H. Joffe, now at Purchase College, State University of New York. It is a damning review.

We print it below for several reasons. First, our readers should know when we are criticized as well as when we are praised.

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