Word Play: The Power of the Written Word in Ancient Israel
Written words, and the act of writing itself, were believed to have the power to invoke powerful magic both for good and evil.
In the modern world the written word is often taken for granted. We are so removed from the origins of writing that when we write something, whether on a piece of paper, on a sign or on the Internet, we don’t even think about the physical act of creating words. But 3,000 years ago, when alphabetic writing had begun to spread across the peoples of the ancient Near East, written words were far more than idle marks meant simply to be read. Words were repositories of power, physical vessels that gave material reality to one’s innermost thoughts and even the soul itself. So it was in ancient Israel. In an exclusive e-feature, BAR assistant editor Joey Corbett explores the power and even magical properties of the written word in antiquity and the belief that the act of writing could bring blessings–and curses–to life.
Visit BAR online to explore the magic and power of the written word in ancient Israel
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF PAUL IN TURKEY
with scholar-guide Mark Wilson
Explore the culture, archaeology and stunning monuments of the Other Holy Land
September 21-October 3, 2009
After Israel, Turkey has more Biblical sites than any other country. Many people are unaware of Turkey’s unique role in the Bible because this strategic peninsula–bounded by the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas–is usually called Asia Minor or Anatolia. Turkey is especially important in understanding the background of the New Testament because approximately two-thirds of its books were written either to or from churches in Turkey. The three major apostles–Peter, Paul and John–either ministered or lived in Turkey.
Your guide is scholar Mark Wilson, the director of the Asia Minor Research Center in Izmir, Turkey. Dr Wilson, who has served as a consultant for "The First Christians" in the History Channel’s "Lost Worlds" series, is currently Visiting Professor of Early Christianity at Regent University and leads field studies in Turkey for several universities and seminaries. His expertise will illuminate the ancient sites and rich history of this legendary land.
View pricing and complete itinerary and reserve your spot
Check the latest news in Biblical archaeology and
related topics–updated daily
This week in the news, discoveries in Egypt dominate the headlines of the archaeological world, beginning with the discovery by maintenance workers of an ancient life-sized statute near the Giza pyramids in Egypt. Also near the Giza plateau, a Japanese archaeological team uncovers 2,600-year-old coffins and canopic jars. Near Luxor, a colossal statue of Amenhotep is once again standing tall and gazing across the Nile Valley. Elsewhere, a building that dates to the First and Second Temple eras has been identified in southern Jerusalem, while archaeologists have shed some light on the mysterious "desert kites" in the Negev and Arava regions of Israel.
Read more Breaking News
HOW ARCHAEOLOGY ILLUMINATES THE BIBLE
A once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn from the "Dean of Biblical archaeology"
Did the Israelites escape slavery in a mass exodus from Egypt? Was there a King David who established the United Monarchy in Jerusalem? What was everyday life like in ancient Israel? World-renowned archaeologist William G. Dever examines these important topics and others in How Archaeology Illuminates the Bible, an eight-part DVD lecture series he created exclusively for the Biblical Archaeology Society.
Professor Dever’s engaging lecture style and extensive knowledge make this series not only fascinating for the beginner but packed with insight for the more advanced student of Biblical archaeology. From the legendary patriarchs to the simple "man on the street" in ancient Israel, you’ll learn the established theories and the latest trends in Biblical archaeology–in a variety of fascinating topics–all from a top expert.
Learn more about this exciting opportunity
CARTOON CAPTION CONTEST
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 April 15, 2009.
Submit your caption