Various articles posted at the Bible and Interpretation in the last month have drawn my eye. Some I hoped to interact with here, but as time passes, I realize it may just be best to point you directly to them.
Why the fishing town Bethsaida is not found along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Fred Strickert explains that the reason why et-Tell (aka “Bethsaida”) is today distant from the Sea of Galilee is silting by the Jordan River. He also wonders if the site may have been elevated by seismic activity since biblical times. El-Araj is not a viable candidate for Bethsaida, he says, because the site was not settled in the first century.
From the Seal of a Seer to an Inscribed Game Board: A Catalog of Eleven Early Alphabetic Inscriptions Recently Discovered in Egypt and Palestine. This article by Gordon J. Hamilton considers three new inscriptions from the Middle Bronze, one from the Late Bronze, and seven from the Early Iron Age (including inscriptions from Gath, Tel Zayit, Tel Rehov, Beth Shemesh, and Kh. Qeiyafa). The bibliographic data alone is very useful. With regard to the Gath ostracon, note Maeir’s response.
On Archaeology, Forgeries and Public Awareness: The “James Brother of Jesus” Ossuary in Retrospect. Gideon Avni believes that the obviously forged inscriptions of the James Ossuary and Jehoash Tablet will be regarded as little more than a footnote in history books. Since a number of scholars consider the case to still be open, this article unfairly denigrates other conclusions by acting as if they don’t exist.
Zedekiah Cave or the Quarries of King Solomon in Jerusalem: A Subsurface Stone Quarry for Building the Second Temple by King Herod. Zeev Lewy of the Geological Survey of Israel has written a fascinating report suggesting reasons why Herod’s engineers selected a certain type of stone for use in the Temple Mount. This also explains why the massive quarry was accessed through a single small entrance.