Biblical Archaeology Review 41:5, September/October 2015

First Person: Is “Bible” a Dirty Word?

By Hershel Shanks

Does Near Eastern politics affect archaeology? Unfortunately, yes.

I was reminded of this during a recent interview I had with two leading American archaeologists, Eric and Carol Meyers.a From them, I learned that one of America’s premier archaeological organizations, ASOR (the American Schools of Oriental Research), changed the name of its popular magazine Biblical Archaeologist to Near Eastern Archaeology over the objection of its members because this was the only way they could get articles about archaeology being conducted in Arab countries; these sources apparently objected to anything “Biblical,” as in the name Biblical Archaeologist.

Similarly Oxford University Press, I learned from the Meyerses, changed the name of its new archaeological encyclopedia from The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Archaeology to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East to enable the editors to obtain entries about archaeology in Arab countries.

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