Reverend MacLennan and Dean Kraabel have performed a real service by questioning the view, so commonly held, that in antiquity there was a large class of gentiles, the so-called God-fearers, who stood somewhere between paganism and Judaism.(1) What we call God-fearers, as MacLennan and Kraabel recognize, actually refers to several Greek terms. In the Book […]
Archive for March, 2016
Robert F. Tannenbaum. “Jews and God-Fearers in the Holy City of Aphrodite.” Biblical Archaeology Review 12, 5 (1986).
A quiet, fertile valley folded into the Mediterranean hills, clear streams, tall poplars, ancient ruins more than 1,400 years old—a picture of pastoral quiet. Twenty-five years ago Kenan T. Erim, archaeologist and art historian at New York University, decided that the site of the ancient Roman city of Aphrodisias had more to offer than that. […]
Letizia Pitigliani. “A Rare Look at the Jewish Catacombs of Rome.” Biblical Archaeology Review 6, 3 (1980).
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 in Commentary magazine described the process of gaining […]
Archaeologists have discovered a tomb they believe was the burial place of Ramesses II’s sons, in the Valley of the Kings, the necropolis at Karnak some 300 miles south of Cairo. The huge tomb complex, dubbed Tomb 5, is many times larger than any other tomb so far discovered and the only one known to […]
According to the Book of Exodus, after the miracle at the Red Sea—the Israelites have passed through dry-shod and the Egyptians have drowned—Moses and the Israelites sing a victory hymn (Exodus 15:1–19). Immediately following the Song of the Sea, as it is called,a is the Song of Miriam: “Then Miriam the prophet, the sister of […]
We have been looking for an ancient Roman Period synagogue, dating from the first to third century C.E., in the former Soviet Union. Sound crazy? If your answer is “yes,” you won’t be the first to be surprised that a thriving, diverse Jewish community lived in the Crimea when this area was part of the […]
BAR recently published a beautifully carved ivory pomegranate with an important inscription on it. As partially reconstructed, the engraved inscription around the neck of the pomegranate reads as follows: “Belonging to the House of Yahweh, Holy to the Priests.” Based on this reading, many scholars have concluded that the ivory pomegranate originally came from the Jerusalem Temple […]
Christian anti-Semitism in the Byzantine period (312–1453 C.E.) is well documented—in legal codes, in religious and secular literature, and in iconographic depictions.(1) The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium describes the situation: [Jews] lived among a triumphant, arrogant, and multi-ethnic Christian population whose literature, religion, liturgy, and art derived in part from Jewish sources. [Jews] experienced anti-Semitism […]
Pharaoh’s Workers- How the Israelites Lived in Egypt, Leonard and Barbara Lesko, BAR 25-01, Jan-Feb 1999.
Whatever doubts scholars may entertain about the historicity of the Exodus, memories of an Israelite sojourn in Egypt seem too sharply etched to dismiss out of hand. The Biblical account simply contains too many accurate details and bears too many correspondences with Egyptian records to ignore. And although in our current state of knowledge we […]
Rabbi Akiva met a tanna in Babylonia, Nehemiah of Bet Deli, who had been a student of Rabban Gamliel I in the Land of Israel. He was still able to transmit traditions from his teacher that were not known in the Land of Israel. Rabbi Akiva said, “When I went down to Nehardea (133) to […]