Hershel Shanks, BAR’s founder and Editor Emeritus, always had a clear vision of BAR’s mission, which he laid out in the very first issue and which is reprinted below.a There have been style and design changes throughout the years—for example, “The” is no longer a part of BAR’s title—but the core mission of the magazine is as true now as it was then.
The aim of The Biblical Archaeology Review is to make available in understandable language the current insights of professional archaeology as they relate to the Bible. No other publication is presently devoted to this task.
While on occasion we may make an original contribution to knowledge, that will be unusual. Our primary function will be reportorial. However, we hope that we will often say things better and more understandably than they have been said before. And that in itself is a contribution.
Our readers vary. Many are professional archaeologists themselves. Others are casual Bible-readers with almost no background in archaeology. We hope to have something to say to both—and to those in between. The professional may find himself skipping over unnecessary explanations. The beginner may find that after a few issues he knows more than he thought.