Special Collections

Hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors

While the BAS Library is completely searchable by topic, author, title and keyword, we have also put together a number of Special Collections that allow you to browse a selection of relevant articles on popular topics in one place. Take this opportunity to access excellent scholarship on specific topics, easily and quickly.

The Gospels that Didn’t Make the Cut

The New Testament recognized by most Christians today comprises 27 books accepted as authoritative, or canon. But what made some writings canonical and others not? It took time, centuries in fact, for the early church to determine which texts should be added to the Jewish Tanakh to form the...Read more ›

83 Real Bible People

Lawrence Mykytiuk’s popular BAR feature “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” describes 50 Hebrew Bible figures that have been identified archaeologically. His subsequent follow-up articles have increased the number of figures that can be identified archaeologically to...Read more ›

Ancient Israel’s Neighbors—The Transjordanian Kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and Edom

When the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah came to rule over the former lands of Canaan, their neighbors east of the Jordan River were the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites. The Hebrew Bible offers a wealth of information on the Iron Age kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and Edom. But how does the...Read more ›

Meet the Maccabees

Who were the Maccabees? More than Hanukkah heroes, the Maccabees were a family of Jewish priests who overthrew Seleucid rule and established an independent Jewish dynasty in the Holy Land during the second and first centuries BCE. According to the books of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees, zeal for...Read more ›

Khirbet Qeiyafa

King Herod the Great


King Herod the Great, originally appointed by the Roman Senate, ruled Judea for decades from 37 B.C.E. until his death in 4 C.E. Though he spawned a dynasty, including four descendants who appeared in the New Testament of the Bible, his greatest personal impact may have been the...Read more ›

Philip J. King

Philip J. King


The late Philip J. King was a scholar of not only the Hebrew Bible, but also the archaeology of the ancient Near East. Over his long career, he excavated at several archaeological sites of biblical importance. He published extensively; his books delved into the wisdom of the Bible...Read more ›

Machaerus: Site of John the Baptists’ Beheading

During his reign, Herod the Great built or renovated several palace fortresses, including Masada, Herodium, and Machaerus. Each of these sites is famous for its own reasons, but the palace at Machaerus holds a special place as the location of Salome’s infamous dance, which led to the beheading...Read more ›


Bible Interpretation

For as long as there have been Biblical texts, there have been Biblical hermeneutics, or Biblical interpretations. The lens through which we read the Bible affects the way we understand the scriptures.Read more ›

Khirbet Qeiyafa

Khirbet Qeiyafa


Some of the most interesting archaeology of the Biblical world has been happening at Khirbet Qeiyafa over the past decade. Thanks to the excavations of this Judahite city, our understanding of the Kingdom of Israel in the tenth century B.C.E. has deepened.

In this BAS...Read more ›


Where Jesus Walked

The man who would become the central figure in Christianity lived in Galilee in the first century C.E. Follow in Jesus’ footsteps and learn about the places he resided and visited during his life and ministry. Explore Nazareth, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Jerusalem, and more as you read about the archaeological sites that are bringing the Gospels to life with startling discoveries. Walk where Jesus walked!Read more ›

The Birth of Jesus

The birth of Jesus—from where he was born to which star led the magi to this “king of the Jews” to even how he was conceived—has long been analyzed by Biblical scholars. BAS editors have selected a special collection of Bible Review and Biblical Archaeology Review articles to guide BAS Library members through this fascinating topic.Read more ›

The Three Magi

Bearing gifts for the infant Jesus, the three wise men from the east traversed afar to reach Bethlehem. What do we really know about the magi, who are so central to the traditional telling of the Christmas story?Read more ›


The Patriarch Abraham and Family

Before there was a Promised Land, before there was a people known as Israel, there was a man named Abraham, who was called by God to leave his home and his country and head for an unknown place. Turmoil and tragedy, deception and violence, passion and desire, love and reconciliation—they are all found in the patriarchal narratives from Genesis.Read more ›


The Biblical Moses

Moses’ story is told in the Book of Exodus, but it starts in Genesis with the story of Abraham and his family with whom God makes a covenant. Generations later, the Biblical Moses draws the extended family together in the form of a nation with a structure and code of law, given to him on Mount Sinai.Read more ›


Who Were the Phoenicians?

The Bible records that the Phoenicians had a close relationship with the Israelites: Their royalty married each other; they traded with each other; and, significantly, they never went to war with each other. Who were the Phoenicians? Where did they come from?Read more ›


Examine who Satan really is and where he appears in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.Read more ›


Adam and Eve

According to the Bible’s creation account, after making the heavens and the earth, God created humankind. The Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2 states that God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground, and then Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs. But was it really his rib?Read more ›


Masada: History and Archaeology

Discover what archaeology can tell us about Masada—Herod’s fortress-palace, the Roman siege, and the Jewish rebels’ final moments.Read more ›

Women in the Bible

Although the Bible is largely a product of the male-dominated societies of ancient Israel and the first-century C.E. Roman world, some of its most fascinating, evocative and inspiring characters are women. BAS editors have compiled a special collection of articles from Bible Review about various women in the Bible, from Esther and Judith to Mary Magdalene, who helped shape Biblical history and the message of the scriptures.Read more ›

Where Did the Early Israelites Come From?

How did ancient Israel come to be? Did the early Israelites enter Canaan as the books of Joshua and Judges recount, or were they already there as part of the indigenous population?Read more ›

Bible History on the Nile

Egypt stirs in us an enduring fascination: the haunting splendor of the world’s most vivid ancient civilization, the timeless eloquence of its monuments, the beauty and serenity of the Nile culture, and, in Cairo, the exhilarating vitality of one of the world’s greatest cities. In this special collection of articles hand-selected by BAS editors for members of the BAS Library, expand your understanding of Egyptian history and its relationship with the Bible and Biblical history.Read more ›

Egypt, Canaan, and Israel

Throughout its long history, the land of ancient Canaan and Israel was often inseparably linked with the customs, traditions and military ambitions of its powerful neighbor to the west, Egypt. These articles highlight not only the grandeur and might of pharaonic Egypt, but also the varied ways in which Egyptian records and monuments allow us to better understand the peoples and personalities of the Biblical lands.Read more ›

Paul’s Journeys

The apostle Paul traveled extensively throughout the Roman Empire to spread the teachings of Jesus. He spread the gospel for seven years across thousands of miles. What does archaeology tell us about the places he visited? Why did he stay in Corinth and Ephesus? Why did he take a treacherous route through Anatolia? What was travel like in Paul’s time? Why did Paul travel so far west–and did he also evangelize east in Arabia? BAS editors have compiled BAR and Bible Review articles that explore the cities, roads and peoples Paul encountered on his journey through the first-century Mediterranean.Read more ›

Noah and the Genesis Flood

The flood story is one of the best-known Biblical narratives. The Book of Genesis describes God’s call to Noah to build an ark for his family and two of every animal. In time, the earth would be flooded and the world would begin anew. Questions surrounding the historicity of the Biblical narrative, however, have plagued historians and archaeologists. What do textual and archaeological sources actually tell us about Noah and the flood story?Read more ›

The Philistines

The Philistines have a three-millennia-old reputation for being a society of warlike pagans, devoid of aesthetic or intellectual values. What does the archaeological evidence say? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles on the Philistines exploring their origins, cities, Biblical ailments and even their status as modern fashion icons.Read more ›

Remembering Three Archaeological Giants

Three significant scholars—who shaped and influenced the field of Biblical archaeology—passed away in the winter of 2017–2018, but their legacies live on. The impact of Lawrence E. Stager, Ephraim Stern, and James F. Strange will be felt for generations to come.Read more ›

Dead Sea Scrolls

Everyone has heard of the Scrolls, but what do they actually say? These selected articles focus on the Scrolls themselves, how they’ve affected several scholars who have dedicated their professional lives to studying them, the nature of the site near which they were found, and what they teach us about early Christianity.Read more ›

The Canonical Gospels

The four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John narrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Biblical Archaeology Society editors have hand-selected articles from the BAS Library that cast each of the canonical Gospels in a new light. Explore the earliest-known versions and authors of the canonical Gospels in this BAS Library Special Collection.Read more ›


It’s the most dramatic event in the Hebrew Bible—the flight of the Israelites from Egypt and their miraculous escape across the Red Sea. The articles we’ve selected here address several key issues: How much history is contained in the Biblical account? What was life like in ancient Egypt? What is the story of the Ten Plagues trying to convey? And much more.Read more ›


Galilee is one of the most evocative locales in the New Testament—the area where Jesus was raised, where many of the Apostles came from, and where Jesus first began to preach.Read more ›

The Miracles of Jesus

That Jesus was a miracle worker is central to the Christology of the New Testament Gospels and Acts. Biblical scholars and archaeologists working in Israel have explored archaeological sites and historical records to provide context for the Biblical text. How are we to understand the miracles Jesus performs, as related in the New Testament?Read more ›

Isaiah the Prophet

Isaiah is arguably the most popular of all the Hebrew prophets who wrote their oracles. His writings are cited more than any other Hebrew text in the New Testament, and there are more copies of Isaiah than all the other prophetic texts combined among the Dead Sea Scrolls.Read more ›

Jewish Revolts

Throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Jewish revolts against the imperial powers of the day helped shape Jewish history, culture and identity. What evidence do we have of these revolts? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles from Biblical Archaeology Review exploring the textual and archaeological evidence for these dramatic attempts on the part of the ancient Jews to preserve their culture and achieve independence.Read more ›

Messianic Figures in the Bible

“Christ” is probably the most frequently used—and least understood—word in the Bible. The term “Christ” (Greek christos) is equivalent to “messiah” (Hebrew mashiah), which literally means “anointed.” It was first used for a reigning monarch: David, for example, spoke of King Saul as “Yahweh’s messiah.” Eventually the term came to refer to God’s agent who would liberate the oppressed and introduce a new era, the Reign of God. What does archaeology tell us about ancient Jewish understanding of messianic figures? And how would a “messiah” be received by contemporaneous people?Read more ›

Temple Mount

Considered sacred ground even before Biblical times and bitterly contested in our own day, the Temple Mount is one of the most fascinating and important places on earth. We’ve selected several articles that highlight the Temple Mount’s role in the three great Western religions and focus on a key archaeological issue: Just where was the ancient Jewish Temple located?Read more ›

Easter and the Death of Jesus

Explore Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, his trial, passion, death and burial, and the disciples’ astonishment and confusion as they encounter the resurrected Jesus. Why did the Romans arrest Jesus? What happened at Gethsemane? Which route did Jesus follow to Golgotha? How did the earliest Christians interpret his passion? Where was Jesus buried?Read more ›

Writing and Literacy in the Biblical World

Reading and writing are integral parts of our everyday lives, but this was not true for everyone in the Biblical era. How did the alphabet develop in the Holy Land, and who could read it? Inscriptions teach us about the culture, economy and literary traditions of the ancient occupants of archaeological sites. What role did texts play in their contemporaneous societies? Who could read them? What is the likelihood that eyewitness records of Jesus’ deeds could have been recorded?Read more ›

Ancient Art of the Biblical World

Art provides an unparalleled record of purposeful expression in the ancient world. Hellenistic and Roman-era art from the Biblical world shines a spotlight on Judean identity and cultural influences during a formative period in the region’s history. From the fourth century B.C.E., when Alexander the Great conquered Judea, through the Roman occupation in the first century B.C.E. and onward, Jews were exposed to Greco-Roman culture. Much of the population adopted western ways of life to elevate their political and social standing in the eyes of their rulers. Hellenistic and Roman-era art is an expression of the reconciliation of Biblical and Greco-Roman culture.Read more ›

Sex and Conception—What the Ancients Thought

In the November/December 2014 issue of BAR, Andrew Lincoln examines New Testament accounts of Jesus’ birth. The idea that Jesus was born of a virgin is firmly established in Christian creeds and the subject of many Nativity plays and Christmas carols. How did ancient peoples understand the nature of conception? Did their understanding conflict with the idea of a virgin birth? BAS editors have compiled a special collection of Bible Review articles exploring virgin birth stories, early Christian views about Jesus’ birth and seminal emission in the Hebrew Bible.Read more ›

53 People in the BAS Library

Lawrence Mykytiuk’s popular BAR feature “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” describes 50 Hebrew Bible figures that have been identified archaeologically. His follow-up article, “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People,” adds another three people to the list. In this BAS Library Special Collection, BAR editors have arranged an extensive list of Biblical Archaeology ReviewBible Review and Archaeology Odyssey that provide additional context for each figure.Read more ›

Ancient Inscriptions

What are the most important inscriptions that have confirmed or reshaped our understanding of the Biblical past? BAS editors have compiled a special collection of Biblical Archaeology Review articles exploring the oldest references to the Israelites, the House of David and the text of the Hebrew Bible along with a series of contemporaneous inscriptions mentioning New Testament figures, from King Herod and his royal family to Pontius Pilate.Read more ›

The Historical Jesus

Is it possible to identify the first-century man named Jesus behind the many stories and traditions about him that developed over 2,000 years in the Gospels and church teachings? These articles, hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library, attempt to answer this thought-proving question and grapple with the critical archaeological and Biblical issues that surround the search for the historical Jesus.Read more ›

Christian Pilgrimages

Generations after the reign of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, the Byzantine phenomenon of traveling to sites associated with Jesus, his apostles and Christian saints and martyrs grew into a popular practice. Followers traveled in increasing numbers from all over the Mediterranean to visit sites where major Biblical events were purported to have occurred and to witness holy relics. While many sites were located in Byzantine Palestine, pilgrims also ventured to Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece and Syria. Popular travel destinations included places associated with the life, miracles and passion of Jesus. The Byzantine practice of Christian-motivated travel was disrupted in the first half of the seventh century with the Arab conquest of the eastern Mediterranean.Read more ›

Feeding the Biblical World

Astounding stories of kings, battles and palaces can captivate our imaginations when we picture the Biblical world. While grand, these stories don’t teach us much about actual lives that most people lived in the Biblical world. Archaeology provides insights into daily life—and what could be more important on a daily level than food? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles from the Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review exploring farming and dining in the Biblical world. What do organic remains teach us about ancient agriculture? Why do so many decisive moments in the New Testament occur around the dinner table? And why does Jewish law prevent mixing milk and meat? Find out in this BAS Library Special Collection.Read more ›

Celebrating Nimrud

Reports showed that in recent years the Islamic State (referred to as ISIS or ISIL) destroyed the ninth-century B.C.E. North-West Palace of King Ashurnasirpal II at the ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud. As Assyriologist Eckart Frahm told YaleNews, any major destruction at Nimrud or other ancient Assyrian cities in Iraq “would be one of the worst cultural heritage disasters of all times.” BAS editors have compiled a special collection of articles from Biblical Archaeology ReviewBible Review and Archaeology Odyssey to commemorate the once-dazzling city of Nimrud. We seek to make known what Nimrud was in antiquity as well as what it means in modern times, to remember whatever may have been irreparably lost, and to inspire future excavation—whenever that should become possible again.Read more ›

Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Many scholars believe the Dead Sea Scrolls were either written or collected by a sect of Jews called Essenes, who are described by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo. However, the scrolls themselves make no explicit reference to the Essenes. Scholars infer the connection because of the congruence of Essene philosophy and doctrine as reflected in the scrolls and as described in Josephus and Philo.Read more ›

David and Solomon’s Jerusalem

We present several articles on Jerusalem in the exciting period of the tenth century B.C.E. to highlight the archaeological evidence for the city in the time of David and Solomon.Read more ›

Israel and the Empires of the Near East

Ancient Israel did not develop in isolation in the ancient Near East. Much of Israelite history took place within and alongside the great Mesopotamian empires that left behind an abundant archaeological and textual record. The Hebrew Bible characterizes Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians in various lights ranging from evil conquerors to messianic saviors.Read more ›

Warfare in the Biblical World

Biblical societies grew, flourished and fell within an ancient world torn by warfare and defined by power struggles. What do we know of warfare in the ancient world? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles on, military perspectives in the Bible and Biblical world, ancient siege techniques and individual sites whose varied histories highlight the many sides of warfare.Read more ›

Ancient Israelite Religion

The Bible makes it clear that the official state religion of Israel was the sole worship of the God Yahweh, centered at the Jerusalem Temple. Archaeological remains, however, demonstrate that popular Israelite religion was in fact quite diverse. In these articles, hand-selected by the Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library, you’ll learn that some Israelites believed Yahweh had a wife, Asherah, while many sought the aid of Yahweh through idolatrous figurines, cult stands and standing stones.Read more ›

Archaeological Digs

Many people have told us that it has been their lifetime dream to work on an excavation. With numerous digs being conducted every year, you can make that dream come true—but not before you read the articles below, which we’ve selected to help you select a dig and to let you know what you can expect when you participate in one.Read more ›

Biblical Archaeology’s Biggest Digs

Megiddo, Hazor, Dan, Gezer, Ashkelon. In many ways, these sites have come to define the field of Biblical archaeology. On the one hand, they are the massive, imposing mounds of stratified remains that give archaeologists material insight into the ancient past. On the other, they are Biblical cities, associated with some of the Bible’s most famous events and figures, from the conquests of Joshua to the building programs of King Solomon. In these articles, hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library, you’ll learn why these impressive sites are so important for Biblical archaeology.Read more ›

Alan D. Crown

Alan D. Crown, emeritus professor of Semitic studies at the University of Sydney (Australia), was a renowned scholar of Samaritan studies. His work made him one of the foremost experts on the Abisha Scroll, a copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch that was supposedly penned by Aaron’s great-grandson Abisha, and he received a grant to produce a critical edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch.Read more ›

Avraham Biran

From Petrie and Albright to the 21st century, this prolific excavator had a profound impact on Israeli archaeology.Read more ›

David Noel Freedman

The great Bible scholar provides a wealth of insights into the Hebrew Scriptures and the ancient world.Read more ›

Ehud Netzer

Herod was the ancient world’s builder par excellence. And it could be said that Herod’s architectural achievements were Ehud Netzer’s obsession.Read more ›

Famous Biblical Archaeologists

BAR readers have long enjoyed learning about the Biblical world’s most important and exciting finds from the actual archaeologists who excavate and study them—legendary archaeologists and Biblical scholars like Yigael Yadin, William F. Albright and William Dever. Now, in these articles and interviews, hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library, you can learn even more about the intriguing life stories and professional accomplishments of these brilliant scholars.Read more ›

Shroud of Turin

Is the Shroud of Turin the burial cloth of Jesus? Many scientists are convinced that the shroud is a medieval forgery, yet many others have presented evidence supporting the shroud’s authenticity. Over the years, we’ve printed several full-length articles on the Shroud of Turin—from the results of radiocarbon dating tests to pollen analysis—and they are all available here in this special collection.Read more ›

The Forgery Trial of the Century

After five years, the “forgery trial of the century” concluded in a Jerusalem courtroom and defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch were acquitted of all major charges against them. In this collection of BAR articles, learn about the infamous James Ossuary and other alleged forgeries.Read more ›

Victor Hurowitz

Victor Hurowitz

Recently deceased, Victor Hurowitz was a professor of Bible, archaeology and ancient Near Eastern studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and will be remembered as a scholar who shaped our understanding of religion in the ancient Near East. In commemoration of his illustrious career, Biblical Archaeology Society editors have put together a collection of his most popular articles from BAR and Bible Review exclusively for BAS Library members.Read more ›