Biblical Archaeology Review 34:6, November/December 2008

Strata: The Bible in the News

By Leonard J. Greenspoon

The other day I was working—as I am wont to do—on the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Book of Joshua. “Wouldn’t a phrase from Joshua make a good column?” I wondered. I suppose it’s up to you, the reader, to answer that question, but meanwhile, I’ll turn to a favorite from that book, the walls of Jericho.

Sometimes, it’s the very word “Jericho” that attracts attention in the popular press. This is most clearly the case with the ups and downs of the television show “Jericho.” Its impending cancellation caused a furor among fans in mid-2007. As reported in The Montreal Gazette, the CBS network promised to bring the show back, “but fans have been warned: If the numbers don’t pick up from last season, the walls will come tumbling down for good.” Not content with a single Biblical allusion, the writer observes that “‘Jericho’ ... was raised from the dead last month after fans protested en masse.” Similar language is found in the headline of another Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail: “Enraged Fans Raise ‘Jericho’ from the Dead.” Alas, as the New York Daily News reported, this was only a temporary resuscitation. In a story, headlined “Nuts! ‘Jericho’ Can’t Overcome Wall of Resistance,” we read, “The walls of ‘Jericho’ crumble again tonight, and this time it’s a good bet they ain’t comin’ back.”

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