Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (Vol. 3)By Eric M. Meyers and Mark A. Chancey (New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 2012), xv + 392 pp., $40 (hardcover)
This book bears a heavy weight. Not only is it the third volume in the highly regarded Yale University series Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, it also covers an unusual amount of material—from the advent of Hellenism to the Byzantine period—and all this in 300 pages. To lift such a boulder out of the trench, two distinguished scholars have joined forces. Eric Meyers is a seasoned archaeologist and a leader in the field; Mark Chancey is a historian and theologian with a number of acclaimed publications behind him.
In the introduction, the authors make two important points clear. First, they aim at a “broad audience” including scholars, students and the general public. Second, they have chosen to present the material chronologically rather than by category. That is, instead of outlining developments within architecture, pottery and so on, they advance mainly through historical periods beginning with the Persian period and covering the Greek kingdoms, the Hasmonean period, Herodian rule, the revolts and onward to the emergence of Christianity.