Hershel Shanks at work
When I interviewed him in 2005, Hershel Shanks was president of the Biblical Archaeological Society, which he helped to found, and editor-in-chief of its print magazine, “Biblical Archaeology Review.”
I’ve been a BAR subscriber for many years, and it was a kick for me to interview the man who launched it and served as editor until his retirement last year. BAR has been notable for its coverage of all the liveliest controversies in the field of Biblical archaeology–most of which spilled over into the “Letters” column.
Two of the controversies covered in this interview were “Biblical minimalism” (he didn’t support it) and the purportedly ancient ossuary (bone box) that bore the inscription “James, brother of Jesus”–which the Israeli authorities had branded a modern forgery, but which Mr. Shanks felt ought to be studied further, and more deeply, by an international team of experts.
There is, unfortunately, a great deal of material in BAR by “reputable Bible scholars” who don’t believe a single word of Scripture. Readers have to learn to ignore them.
One thing Mr. Shanks did as editor, though–he kept things lively. I haven’t seen that, so far, from his successor.