The BAR Companion: September 10, 2008

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Columnist explains how reliefs came to Dartmouth

In the mid-19th century six wall reliefs from the palace in ancient Nimrud of the Assyrian ruler Ashurnasirpal II were given to Dartmouth College. What were these massive Near Eastern artifacts doing in rural New England? As guest columnist (and Dartmouth alumna) Susan Ackerman explains, the reliefs were donated at a time of high interest in the then-new area of Near Eastern archaeology, a period of major discoveries that were seen as proving the accuracy of the Bible. Though attitudes about the Bible and archaeology have changed greatly since those times, one thing hasn’t, as Ackerman notes: Dartmouth is still producing archaeologists and Bible scholars of high caliber.

Read about the Near Eastern reliefs at Dartmouth ____________________________________________________________

BAR article examines important new text

Visit our Web site to read an article in the September/October issue of BAR that is sure to generate much discussion: Professor Israel Knohl’s "The Messiah Son of Joseph." Knohl examines a text–called a "Dead Sea Scroll in stone"–that has only recently come to light and reaches a dramatic conclusion: the text refers to a messianic figure who will be resurrected after three days. Knohl then adds a key insight: the text helps us understand that ancient Jews expected not one but two very different messiahs–and that Jesus thought of himself not as the Messiah son of David but as the Messiah son of Joseph.

Read more about the Risen Messiah text

How did two teams of diggers meet in the middle?

Thirty-five years ago BAR editor Hershel Shanks, up to his hips in water, literally journeyed through Jerusalem’s underworld. Shanks was wading through a tunnel over 1,700 feet long, built by savvy engineers who lived almost 2,800 years ago. Called "Hezekiah’s Tunnel" for the Judean ruler who built it, the subterranean passageway was constructed in order to bring fresh water from the Gihon Spring into the city as a necessary precaution against the siege of the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib. Scholars know that the tunnel was built by two crews, each starting at opposite ends and meeting in the middle, but the question of how they were able to join the two separate tunnels has remained unanswered–until now. For two weeks only you can access an article in the latest issue of BAR online that lays out an exciting new theory explaining a millennia-old engineering mystery.

Read more about Hezekiah’s tunnel

Check the latest news in Biblical archaeology and
related topics–updated daily

Visit our recently expanded news section for details on the stories you’re interested in. The newest entries include details on Israel’s just-unveiled "Pilgrim’s Route," which will take visitors to the traditional site of the New Testament’s Good Samaritan story, the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and the site along the western shore of the Jordan River where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus. We also report on how German Christian students and Jewish Israelis are working together at the archaeological site of Ramat Rachel, just south of Jerusalem; and on a dispatch from the Nazareth hills, where excavators have uncovered a prehistoric religious and burial site.

Read more News ____________________________________________________________

BAR’s editors want to hear from our readership

As we prepare to celebrate the 200th issue of BAR next summer, the editors here at BAR want to hear from our readers. We want to know about you, and what you like or don’t like about our magazine. We’d like to hear your stories too: When did you first discover BAR and how have you seen it change over the years? Have you volunteered on one of our sponsored digs? How was your experience, and how did it affect your life? Readers who complete the survey will receive a $5.00 coupon for BAS merchandise and a chance to see their story in print in our 200th issue.
Send us your stories by email to

Complete our Survey and receive your $5.00 coupon

Buy from and help BAS

Our online Reviews section is constantly expanding, containing both reviews from BAR as well as those written especially for our Web site. If a book interests you, you can order it from with just a click. When you visit from our site, everything you buy benefits the Biblical Archaeology Society.

Read more Book Reviews ____________________________________________________________

Submit a caption

Write a caption for this cartoon! The author of the best caption will receive a BAS T-shirt, a Dead Sea Scroll mug and three complimentary subscriptions to give BAR to friends. Runners-up will receive a BAS T-shirt and two complimentary subscriptions.The deadline for captions is October 15, 2008.

Submit your caption ____________________________________________________________

Let your voice be heard!

Check out our lively Debates section and Online Exclusives, where you can follow scholars’ latest claims and counter-claims and read a fascinating collection of articles available only on our Web site. Add your thoughts to these and other articles by using the Talkback feature throughout our site.

Read more Debates     Read more Online Exclusives ____________________________________________________________

with Darrell L. Bock and James K. Hoffmeier

Sheraton Dallas Hotel
September 26-27, 2008

Jesus and All Those Gospels

King Tut, Egypt and the Bible

Come to Dallas, the top visitor destination in Texas, and learn from two master teachers. Darrell Bock, a leading New Testament scholar, explores the literature of early Christianity, both the canonical gospels and those writings that were not accepted as sacred, to help you better understand the world of the first Christians and to explore a key question about the historical Jesus. And, with the fabulous King Tut exhibit coming to Dallas, eminent Egyptologist James Hoffmeier will introduce you to the Boy King and his world and examine the important connections between ancient Egypt and central events in the Hebrew Bible.

Save $100–Early bird pricing extended until September 12 ____________________________________________________________

with scholar-guide Dr. Chahinda Karim

Enjoy a 2-week tour of Egypt that you will never forget!
February 13 – 27, 2009

Follow our brilliant scholar-guide Dr. Chahinda Karim through the amazing sites of one the world’s greatest civilizations–tombs, temples, and museums in Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and the Nile River.

You’ll also learn from additional lectures by distinguished scholars and experts and enjoy the thrill of private access opportunities chosen especially to enhance your experience and make it truly unique.

We offer expertly designed itineraries, distinguished scholars and experts, fine hotels, excellent dining, and well-chosen private experiences.
Read a firsthand account of the 2008 tour

If you have any questions, please contact Temma Ecker at 708-383-8739 or

View pricing and complete itinerary and reserve your spot

Bringing Mesopotamia to New Hampshire
A Risen Messiah Before Jesus?
Hezekiah’s Tunnel
BAR Readership Survey
Great Books
Cartoon Caption Contest
Debates & Online Exclusives
Dallas Seminar 2008
Exclusively Egypt


» Photo Archive CD-ROM

Mesopotamian Archaeology in Pictures CD-ROM

Includes images of the Nimrud Ivories

$49.95 (140 images)

View information here

» New by Hershel Shanks

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

For the "armchair archaeologist," this is as
close as you can get to
this site without a shovel.


View information here



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