Biblical Archaeology Review 34:4, July/August 2008

Strata: In Their Own Words

In the last issue, the editor’s First Person was devoted to some recent praise for BAR. It is therefore only fair that we balance this with some recent criticism—by a leading English scholar, Lester L. Grabbe:

As an ex-fundamentalist I am rather sensitive to arguments by conservative evangelicals which use the trappings of scholarship but which in my opinion cloak fundamentalist motives. But I think John Emerton was quite right when I once heard him say that even in such cases we should answer the actual argument and not just dismiss it because of the presumed motive.

Sadly, there is a convenient catalyst for personal attacks, the magazine The Biblical Archaeology Review. When BAR first appeared in the 1970s, I welcomed it. There was and is room in the market for a well-done popular journal of archaeology. Like many I subscribe and read it regularly. But in recent years it seems to have lent itself to those wanting to make person[al] attacks on other scholars, and some have found the opportunity too tempting to ignore and ended up saying things they would not dream of saying in an academic journal.

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