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Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1980


Special Section

Elba Update

The Known, the Unknown and the Debatable

BAR recaps the Ebla story

With all the twists and turns, the claims and denials, the arguments and the counter-arguments, is there anything we can be certain about in the Ebla story? Virtually everyone agrees that the cache of cuneiform tablets uncovered at Tell Mardikh in northern Syria is a spectacular find...Read more ›

Elba Update

Interview with David Noel Freedman

By Hershel Shanks

The following interview with Professor David Noel Freedman was conducted by BAR Editor Hershel Shanks on November 25, 1979. Professor Freedman has been more influential than anyone else in the United States in publicizing the Ebla tablets. In early 1976, Freedman flew to Rome to talk to...Read more ›

Elba Update

New Ebla Epigrapher Attacks Conclusion of Ousted Ebla Scholar

Professor Archi disagrees with Professor Pettinato’s Biblical connections.

Dr. Alfonso Archi of the University of Rome’s Institute of Near Eastern Studies and the new chief epigrapher of the Italian Mission to Ebla, has vigorously disputed the conclusions of his predecessor, Dr. Giovanni Pettinato, linking the Ebla tablets to the Bible. Following a bitter personal and...Read more ›

Elba Update

The Raw Material

The full texts of 24 Ebla tablets have been published—this is what scholars must start with.

By Paul C. Maloney

When scholars speak of a document’s having been fully and formally published, they usually mean that the publication includes a readable photograph, a complete transliteration of the text, perhaps a hand copy of the text, and possibly a commentary on the readings.a By this definition, I am...Read more ›


A Rare Look at the Jewish Catacombs of Rome

By Letizia Pitigliani

No one seems to know why it is so difficult to see the Jewish catacombs of Rome. But it is. The 1929 Concordat between the Italian Fascist government and the Vatican gave the Vatican control over all the catacombs of Italy—Christian, Jewish, and pagan. A recent report...Read more ›

Using Quintilian to Interpret Mark

By Helmut Koester

The passage from Mark which follows, has always been a puzzle: If your hand offends you, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled, than with both hands to depart for hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot offends you,...Read more ›