Tuesday, February 27, 2007

March/April Issue of Biblical Archaeology Review Received

Biblical Archaeology Review is to serious Near Eastern archaeologists was Andrew Lloyd Weber is to serious music critics. Everyone likes to make fun of it but secretly enjoys it.

The magazine is, unfortunately, the only one of its kind. It publishes articles by serious scholars, but is generally poorly edited and as a result is frequently rife with errors. Besides that, the editor-in-chief, Hershel Shanks, seems to think he's an old-fashioned muckraker. Though the interested lay reader will get information about the latest archaeological finds, which is the magazine's purpose, he'll also get Shanks's latest personal crusades and archaeologists' latest personal grudges or vendettas. Arguably, that's good; it exposes the reader to the field, warts and all. At the same time, its narrow biblical focus guarantees the reader will not get a well-rounded view of the field, though he will get perpetually interesting information.

More on this later after I've actually read it.
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