Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

From the archives

1592-1593 Keith Schoville – Remembering Menahem Mansoor

Professor Menahem Mansoor and Professor Keith Schoville

Professor Menahem Mansoor and Professor Keith Schoville

Due to the celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society this week, we are remembering the formative role of the scholar who not only began the society, but also founded the University of Wisconsin Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, and indirectly helped start The Book & The Spade radio program. Professor Menahem Mansoor was the mentor to my longtime co-host, professor Keith Schoville and a distinguished scholar with many important publications. May his memory be a blessing.

In the second program, also from our archives, professor Mansoor offered some of his thoughts about the significance of biblical archaeology.


1576 The Dead Sea Scrolls Documentary


Dead Sea Scroll scholars and archaeologists (clockwise from upper left) Yigael Yadin, William F. Albright, Roland DeVaux, and John Trever.

Twenty years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I produced a 14-minute documentary featuring audio I had collected for my radio program from presentations and interviews.

I also included audio from a series of public radio programs produced by University of Wisconsin professor Menahem Mansoor, from tape recordings which he bequeathed to me. These recordings included observations from William F. Albright (whom he had studied under), Yigael Yadin, and Roland DeVaux–key figures in the discovery and excavation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran community.

I am presenting this program from The Book & The Spade archives to mark the 70th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

1296-1298 again, with Thomas Oden

3933Five years ago we interviewed theologian Thomas Oden about his new InterVarsity Press book, The African Memory of Mark. It was an intriguing new perspective on the author of the shortest Gospel.

Thomas Oden died December 8, 2016. He was 85. We are rebroadcasting these programs in his memory.

Oden has an interesting story about his theological journey, as reported in Christianity Today and other publications. Terry Mattingly also had a column on Thomas Oden.


1529-1530 Kenneth Bailey – Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes

2568Kenneth Bailey died recently. He had spent 40 years living and teaching in the Middle East and his book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes was a real eye-opener for understanding the parables and gospel accounts of Jesus ministry. We talked with Kenneth Bailey back in 2013 and we are presenting these two programs once again in his memory.

1254-1255 Remembering Ehud Netzer

Ehud Netzer

Ehud Netzer

In 1993 I was in Israel interviewing archaeologists for The Book & The Spade radio program, courtesy of the Israel Tourism Ministry. I talked with a number of archaeologists about their latest excavations. I visited Adam Zertal at his kibbutz. Two of the archaeologists invited me to their home to do the interview, Zvi Maoz and Ehud Netzer. I don’t remember a whole lot about the interviews, although each of the archaeologists was a gracious host, and I greatly enjoyed our conversations. Because of the recent death of Ehud Netzer I’ve gone back and retrieved the two programs that I did with him. One program was on his excavations of the palaces of King Herod, including Herodium, where he eventually found the tomb of Herod. The other program was on what was then the newest archaeological park in Israel, the site of Sepphoris, just over the hill from Nazareth.

I greatly enjoyed watching the NOVA program on PBS this week on The Search for King Solomon’s Mines. The program covered several recent discoveries that we’ve discussed on The Book & The Spade, such as the copper mines at Khirbet en-Nahas in Jordan, and the Elah Fortress discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa in Israel. Archaeologists Thomas Levy and Yosef Garfinkel have both been on The Book & The Spade, as well as several other scholars who appeared the NOVA program, such as Eric Cline, William Schniedewind, and Greg Bearman. Graham Townsley, who produced the NOVA program, has a behind-the-scenes blog with more on the production.

We still have some slots to fill on our 2011 Book & The Spade tour to Egypt, Jordan and Israel. For more information, go to our tour website.

#1239-1241 Egypt in Bible History

Prof. Charles Aling

Prof. Charles Aling

This series of interviews with prof. Charles Aling from TB&TS archives dates back to 1986. And it’s based on a 1981 book by Prof. Aling titled Egypt in Bible History. The book is still available, used, through Amazon. And it has also been licensed to certain publishers in other countries, as I recount in program #1240.  I highly recommend the book.

We’ll be visiting Egypt for a few days in our upcoming 2011 Archaeological Study Tour next February, so these conversations provide good background.

I was going over some notes from my 1978 experience as a volunteer for the excavations at Tel Aphek and observed that on the last Saturday of our time in Israel (in early August) we did some sightseeing at nearby sites, such as Gezer and Ramle. Our guide for the archaeological part of our tour was a young graduate student from Tel Aviv University who was working on our dig. His name was Israel Finkelstein. I remember our conversation about the American English pronunciation of the Aijalon Valley, which you can see from Gezer.

We make frequent reference to the Israel Antiquities Authority and have had various members of their staff featured on our program. Archaeology magazine has published a special online feature about the IAA that you will no doubt find of interest.