Biblical Archaeology Review 29:5, September/October 2003


Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel

Hillel Halkin (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002) 400 pp., $28

My friend Hillel Halkin recently wrote a book entitled Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel, in which he claims to have identified descendants of the lost tribe of Manasseh in northeastern India, near the Burmese border. He is an excellent writer, and the book has received rave reviews in such publications as the New York Times (which pronounced it “a book that has many delights”), The New Republic and the Wall Street Journal.

Yet Hillel was not satisfied. He wrote me that “no ordinary reviewer can do justice to my book as a serious scholarly investigation (as opposed to literary entertainment, which it also is).” For this reason, he asked me to consider a review in BAR. The book, he explained, “makes a serious and considered case that should be judged by a professional Bible scholar in a serious and considered way. There’s no better or more natural place for this than BAR.”

I wrote back: “You are taking a risk. Do you know what a Biblical scholar would say?”

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