Special Collections

Hand-selected by the Biblical Archaeology Review editors

While the BAS Library is completely searchable by topic, author, title and keyword, we have also put together a number of “Special Collections” that allow you to browse a selection of relevant articles on popular topics in one place. Take this opportunity to access excellent scholarship on specific topics, easily and quickly.


Dead Sea Scrolls

Everyone has heard of the Scrolls, but what do they actually say? These selected articles focus on the Scrolls themselves, how they’ve affected several scholars who have dedicated their professional lives to studying them, the nature of the site near which they were found, and what they teach us...Read more ›

Celebrating Nimrud

Recent reports show that the Islamic State (referred to as ISIS or ISIL) has destroyed the ninth-century B.C.E. North-West Palace of King Ashurnasirpal II at the ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud. As Assyriologist Eckart Frahm told YaleNews, any major destruction at Nimrud or other ancient Assyrian cities in Iraq “would be one of the worst cultural heritage disasters of all times.” BAS editors have compiled a special collection of articles from Biblical Archaeology ReviewBible Review and Archaeology Odyssey to commemorate the once-dazzling city of Nimrud. We seek to make known what Nimrud was in antiquity as well as what it means in modern times, to remember whatever may have been irreparably lost, and to inspire future excavation—whenever that should become possible again.Read more ›

Easter

Explore Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, his trial, passion, death and burial, and the disciples’ astonishment and confusion as they encounter the resurrected Jesus. Why did the Romans arrest Jesus? What happened at Gethsemane? Which route did Jesus follow to Golgatha? How did the earliest Christians interpret his passion? Where was Jesus buried?Read more ›

Sex and Conception—What the Ancients Thought

In the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Andrew Lincoln examines New Testament accounts of Jesus’ birth. The idea that Jesus was born of a virgin is firmly established in Christian creeds and the subject of many Nativity plays and Christmas carols. How did ancient peoples understand the nature of conception? Did their understanding conflict with the idea of a virgin birth? BAS editors have compiled a special collection of Bible Review articles exploring virgin birth stories, early Christian views about Jesus’ birth and seminal emission in the Hebrew Bible.Read more ›

The Philistines

The Philistines have a three-millennia-old reputation for being a society of warlike pagans, devoid of aesthetic or intellectual values. What does the archaeological evidence say? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles on the Philistines exploring their origins, cities, Biblical ailments and even their status as modern fashion icons.Read more ›

Noah and the Genesis Flood

The flood story is one of the best-known Biblical narratives. The Book of Genesis describes God’s call to Noah to build an ark for his family and two of every animal. In time, the earth would be flooded and the world would begin anew. Questions surrounding the historicity of the Biblical narrative, however, have plagued historians and archaeologists. What do textual and archaeological sources actually tell us about Noah and the flood story? In this BAS Library Special Collection, BAS editors have hand-selected articles from Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review that examine the Genesis flood, its interpretations and what the similar Babylonian flood stories can teach us.Read more ›

50 People in the BAS Library

Lawrence Mykytiuk’s popular BAR feature “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” describes 50 Hebrew Bible figures that have been identified archaeologically. In this BAS Library Special Collection, BAR editors have arranged an extensive list of Biblical Archaeology ReviewBible Review and Archaeology Odyssey that provide additional context for each figure.Read more ›

Ancient Inscriptions

In the March/April 2013 issue of BAR,Lawrence Mykytiuk examines inscriptions that confirm Biblical figures archaeologically. What are the most important inscriptions that have confirmed or reshaped our understanding of the Biblical past? BAS editors have compiled a special collection of Biblical Archaeology Review articles exploring the oldest references to the Israelites, the House of David and the text of the Hebrew Bible along with a series of contemporaneous inscriptions mentioning New Testament figures from Pontius Pilate to Caiaphas.Read more ›

Paul’s Journeys

The apostle Paul traveled extensively throughout the Roman Empire to spread the teachings of Jesus. He spread the gospel for seven years across thousands of miles. What does archaeology tell us about the places he visited? Why did he stay in Corinth and Ephesus? Why did he take a treacherous route through Anatolia? What was travel like in Paul’s time? Why did Paul travel so far west–and did he also evangelize east in Arabia? BAS editors have compiled BAR and Bible Review articles that explore the cities, roads and peoples Paul encountered on his journey through the first-century Mediterranean.Read more ›

The Miracles of Jesus

That Jesus was a miracle worker is central to the Christology of the New Testament Gospels and Acts. Biblical scholars and archaeologists working in Israel have explored archaeological sites and historical records to provide context for the Biblical text. How are we to understand the miracles Jesus performs, as related in the New Testament?Read more ›

Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Many scholars believe the Dead Sea Scrolls were either written or collected by a sect of Jews called Essenes, who are described by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo. However, the scrolls themselves make no explicit reference to the Essenes. Scholars infer the connection because of the congruence of Essene philosophy and doctrine as reflected in the scrolls and as described in Josephus and Philo.Read more ›

Jewish Revolts

Throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Jewish revolts against the imperial powers of the day helped shape Jewish history, culture and identity. What evidence do we have of these revolts? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles from Biblical Archaeology Review exploring the textual and archaeological evidence for these dramatic attempts on the part of the ancient Jews to preserve their culture and achieve independence.Read more ›

Christian Pilgrimages

Generations after the reign of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, the Byzantine phenomenon of traveling to sites associated with Jesus, his apostles and Christian saints and martyrs grew into a popular practice. Followers traveled in increasing numbers from all over the Mediterranean to visit sites where major Biblical events were purported to have occurred and to witness holy relics. While many sites were located in Byzantine Palestine, pilgrims also ventured to Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece and Syria. Popular travel destinations included places associated with the life, miracles and passion of Jesus. The Byzantine practice of Christian-motivated travel was disrupted in the first half of the seventh century with the Arab conquest of the eastern Mediterranean.Read more ›

Feeding the Biblical World

Astounding stories of kings, battles and palaces can captivate our imaginations when we picture the Biblical world. While grand, these stories don’t teach us much about actual lives that most people lived in the Biblical world. Archaeology provides insights into daily life—and what could be more important on a daily level than food? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles from the Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review exploring farming and dining in the Biblical world. What do organic remains teach us about ancient agriculture? Why do so many decisive moments in the New Testament occur around the dinner table? And why does Jewish law prevent mixing milk and meat? Find out in this BAS Library Special Collection.Read more ›

Writing and Literacy in the Biblical World

Reading and writing are integral parts of our everyday lives, but this was not true for everyone in the Biblical era. How did the alphabet develop in the Holy Land, and who could read it? Inscriptions teach us about the culture, economy and literary traditions of the ancient occupants of archaeological sites. What role did texts play in their contemporaneous societies? Who could read them? What is the likelihood that eyewitness records of Jesus’ deeds could have been recorded?Biblical Archaeology Review editors have arranged a special collection of articles from the BAS Library exploring writing and literacy in the Biblical world, from Early Bronze Age Canaanites to the authors of the New Testament.Read more ›

Ancient Art of the Biblical World

Art provides an unparalleled record of purposeful expression in the ancient world. Hellenistic and Roman-era art from the Biblical world shines a spotlight on Judean identity and cultural influences during a formative period in the region’s history. From the fourth century B.C.E., when Alexander the Great conquered Judea, through the Roman occupation in the first century B.C.E. and onward, Jews were exposed to Greco-Roman culture. Much of the population adopted western ways of life to elevate their political and social standing in the eyes of their rulers. Hellenistic and Roman-era art is an expression of the reconciliation of Biblical and Greco-Roman culture. BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles on ancient art in and of the Biblical world in a BAS Library Special Collection.Read more ›

The Canonical Gospels

The four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John narrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Biblical Archaeology Review editors have hand-selected articles from the BAS Library that cast each of the canonical Gospels in a new light. Explore the earliest-known versions and authors of the canonical Gospels in this BAS Library Special Collection.Read more ›

Victor Hurowitz

Recently deceased, Victor Hurowitz was a professor of Bible, archaeology and ancient Near Eastern studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and will be remembered as a scholar who shaped our understanding of religion in the ancient Near East. In commemoration of his illustrious career, BAR editors have put together a collection of his most popular articles from BAR and Bible Review exclusively for BAS Library Members.Read more ›

Messianic Figures in the Bible

“Christ” is probably the most frequently used—and least understood—word in the Bible. The term “Christ” (Greek christos) is equivalent to “messiah” (Hebrew mashiah), which literally means “anointed.” It was first used for a reigning monarch: David, for example, spoke of King Saul as “Yahweh’s messiah.” Eventually the term came to refer to God’s agent who would liberate the oppressed and introduce a new era, the Reign of God. What does archaeology tell us about ancient Jewish understanding of messianic figures? And how would a “messiah” be received by contemporaneous people?Read more ›

Ehud Netzer

Herod was the ancient world’s builder par excellence. And it could be said that Herod’s architectural achievements were Ehud Netzer’s obsession.Read more ›

Galilee

Explore the area where Jesus was raised, where many of the Apostles came from, and where Jesus first began to preach.Read more ›

Warfare in the Biblical World

Biblical societies grew, flourished and fell within an ancient world torn by warfare and defined by power struggles. What do we know of warfare in the ancient world? BAS editors have arranged a special collection of articles on, military perspectives in the Bible and Biblical world, ancient siege techniques and individual sites whose varied histories highlight the many sides of warfare.Read more ›

Israel and the Empires of the Near East

Ancient Israel did not develop in isolation in the ancient Near East. Much of Israelite history took place within and alongside the great Mesopotamian empires that left behind an abundant archaeological and textual record. The Hebrew Bible characterizes Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians in...Read more ›

David and Solomon’s Jerusalem

“Among the most controversial issues in both Biblical archaeology and Biblical studies is the nature of Jerusalem in the tenth century B.C.E. Why the tenth century? Because in the Bible that is the time of Israel’s glory, the time of King David and King Solomon, the time of the...Read more ›

Biblical Archaeology’s Biggest Digs

Megiddo, Hazor, Dan, Gezer, Ashkelon. In many ways, these sites have come to define the field of Biblical archaeology. On the one hand, they are the massive, imposing mounds of stratified remains that give archaeologists material insight into the ancient past. On the other, they are Biblical...Read more ›

Ancient Israelite Religion

The Bible makes it clear that the official state religion of Israel was the sole worship of the God Yahweh, centered at the Jerusalem Temple. Archaeological remains, however, demonstrate that popular Israelite religion was in fact quite diverse. In these articles, hand-selected by the ...Read more ›

Women in the Bible

Although the Bible is largely a product of the patriarchal, male-dominated societies of ancient Israel and the first-century C.E. Roman world, some of its most fascinating, evocative and inspiring characters are women. In these Bible Review articles, hand-selected by the Biblical...Read more ›

Famous Biblical Archaeologists

BAR readers have long enjoyed learning about the Biblical world’s most important and exciting finds from the actual archaeologists who excavate and study them—legendary archaeologists and Biblical scholars like Yigael Yadin, William F. Albright and William Dever. Now, in these...Read more ›

The Historical Jesus

Is it possible to identify the first-century man named Jesus behind the many stories and traditions about him that developed over 2,000 years in the Gospels and church teachings? These articles, hand-selected by the Biblical Archaeology Review editors especially for members of the BAS...Read more ›

The Forgery Trial of the Century

The James Ossuary Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus BAR 28:06, Nov/Dec 2002 By André Lemaire Brother of Jesus Ossuary BAR 29:04, Jul/Aug 2003 By Edward J. Keall Summary report of the Examining Committees for the James Ossuary and Yehoash...Read more ›

Egypt, Canaan and Israel

Throughout its long history, the land of ancient Canaan and Israel was often inseparably linked with the customs, traditions and military ambitions of its powerful neighbor to the west, Egypt. These articles highlight not only the grandeur and might of pharaonic Egypt, but also the varied ways...Read more ›

Exodus/Egypt

It’s the most dramatic event in the Hebrew Bible—the flight of the Israelites from Egypt and their miraculous escape across the Red Sea. The articles we’ve selected here address several key issues: How much history is contained in the Biblical account? What was life like in...Read more ›

Temple Mount

Considered sacred ground even before Biblical times and bitterly contested in our own day, the Temple Mount is one of the most fascinating and important places on earth. We’ve selected several articles that highlight the Temple Mount’s role in the three great Western religions and...Read more ›

Archaeological Digs

Many people have told us that it has been their lifetime dream to work on an excavation. With numerous digs being conducted every year, you can make that dream come true—but not before you read the articles below, which we’ve selected to help you select a dig and to let you know what...Read more ›

Alan D. Crown

Alan D. Crown, emeritus professor of Semitic studies at the University of Sydney (Australia), was a renowned scholar of Samaritan studies. His work made him one of the foremost experts on the Abisha Scroll, a copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch that was supposedly penned by Aaron’s great-...Read more ›

Avraham Biran

From Petrie and Albright to the 21st century, this prolific excavator had a profound impact on Israeli archaeology.Read more ›

David Noel Freedman

The great Bible scholar provides a wealth of insights into the Hebrew Scriptures and the ancient world.Read more ›

Shroud of Turin

Is the Shroud of Turin the burial cloth of Jesus Christ? Many scientists are convinced that the shroud is a medeival forgery, yet many others have presented evidence supporting the shroud’s authenticity.

How can you sort through the news reports, the scientific evidence and the...Read more ›