Biblical Archaeology Review 40:6, November/December 2014

First Person: A New Target

By Hershel Shanks

Regular readers of this column will hardly be surprised to learn that this edition of “First Person” deals with an archaeological controversy. It is also true that I can be critical of any scholar whom I feel is clearly on the wrong side.

But I do not make scholarly judgments. I am not a paleographer. I can make judgments, however, about the reasoning of scholars. When I feel a scholar is making a wrong call based on the scholarly record, I can be harsh—or at least some would say so.

In these circumstances, it would seem that I should be even harsher on a non-scholar who makes a wrong call on the evidence. That is the case here. It is time for a new target for my wrath. This column focuses on an errant call by a non-scholar—namely by the author himself! At this point, it is not quite so clear as I had thought (and argued) that the inscription on the famous ivory pomegranate is authentic.

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