The BAR Companion: November 5, 2008

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Supporters of James Ossuary Inscription’s Authenticity Vindicated

This past week has been an exciting one in the world of Biblical
archaeology, where the latest developments have sparked furious debates
that have jumped beyond the scholarly world and into the mainstream
media. Most notably, the judge presiding over the Israel Antiquities
Authority’s case against alleged forger Oded Golan has advised the
prosecutor to consider dropping its charges based on lack of evidence.
This may clear the way for a renewed debate over the authenticity of
the famous James Ossuary inscription, which reads "James, son of
Joseph, brother of Jesus." BAR editor Hershel Shanks has posted a special article this week on the latest developments in the case.

Read Hershel Shanks’s special report

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

Also in the news this week: The period of King David has been
highlighted with some remarkable discoveries. New finds include a
tenth-century water tunnel under the site in Jerusalem that is believed
by some to be his palace, as well as a fortified city where possibly
the oldest existing Hebrew inscription was recently discovered. An
ancient copper mine in Jordan sheds new light on the age of King
Solomon, and the science of modern DNA analysis illuminates the genetic
legacy of ancient Phoenicians.

Read more Breaking News

Help us chose the cover photo for the January/February 2009 issue of BAR!

As Americans lined up this week to cast their votes in the general election, the editorial staff here at BAR
would like to continue the democratic tradition by asking our readers
to help us choose the cover of our next issue. We are already getting
excited about publishing our ever-popular Digs issue for 2009, and we’d
like your help deciding on the cover image. Simply take a look at the
three possibilities we’ve posted, and vote for your favorite by
November 19. The winning photo will be the cover of our
January/February issue, in which we’ll announce excavation projects
that are looking for volunteers next summer. Many loyal BAR
readers have had the trip of a lifetime by participating in these
excavations. Please vote and let us know which photo would make the
best cover of BAR. We look forward to hearing from you!

Cast your vote now

An examination of the sexual political metaphor in the ancient world

It has long been known that the image of the phallus was a symbol of
political and military strength in the ancient world. In the current
issue of BAR,
Biblical scholar Mary Joan Winn Leith of Stonehill College notes that
it had a particularly charged significance in relations between the
Israelites and the Philistines. Leith expands on Aren Maeir’s
suggestion that the five golden ‘opalim mentioned in 1 Samuel 6:4 were in fact five golden phallic situlae,
or cultic vessels. She points out certain Biblical passages that either
insinuate or directly refer to a sexual metaphor for political or
military supremacy, reminding us that understanding the social and
historical context of the Bible is an important component of
appreciating its text.

Read Mary Joan Winn Leith’s intriguing column

There’s still time to register!

Boston, MA
November 21-23, 2008

us at our most popular program! Our annual Bible & Archaeology
Fests draw more participants than any other event. And for good reason:
You can choose from concurrent sessions as 20 of the world’s leading
scholars bring you the latest insights into early Christianity, the
Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Israel, Biblical
archaeology and much, much more. While the scholars are the main reason
people love Bible Fest, many tell us that their fellow participants are
also an important factor in their decision to attend (and many
participants come year after year). There’s no greater excitement than
in meeting fellow enthusiasts who are as eager as you are to learn the
latest in these fascinating fields.

Join us for our premier event, and enjoy one of America’s most popular
cities while engaging with some of the world’s most eminent Biblical
and archaeological scholars.

View complete information and register now

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 December 15, 2008.

Submit your caption

BAR’s editors want to hear from our readership

As we prepare to celebrate the 200th issue of BAR
next summer, the editors 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?

Send your story by email to and it may appear in print in our 200th issue.

Readers who complete the survey will receive a $5.00 coupon for BAS merchandise.

Complete our Survey and receive your $5.00 coupon


Forgery Case in Shambles
Breaking News
Cover Photo Contest
Of Philistines and Phalluses
Bible & Archaeology Fest
Cartoon Caption Contest
Subscriber Survey


» Just Published!

Jesus, Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Explore the site where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered as we take you on a tour of Qumran in our exciting new DVD.


View information here




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