On Friday, Hershel Shanks, the founder and long-time editor of the Biblical Archaeological Review, died at the age of ninety. A lawyer by training, Shanks since 1974 devoted himself to promoting the study of ancient Israel and making the latest scholarship accessible to the general public, earning the respect of many leading academics. His persistent efforts are largely responsible for freeing the Dead Sea Scrolls from the jealous guardianship of a small group of scholars, and their eventual publication. A moving tribute to Shanks by Christopher Rollston, an expert on ancient Hebrew inscriptions, can be found here.
Remembering the Man Who Liberated the Dead Sea Scrolls and Popularized Knowledge of Ancient Israel
Hamas and Fatah Compete by Shedding Jewish Blood
During the past four weeks, there has been a rash of violent attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank. These are not a response to any Israeli actions, nor are they spontaneous outbursts. Rather, as Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch explain, the violence is the result of deliberate incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which began when its president, Mahmoud Abbas, realized he was unlikely to win the upcoming national elections. The violence, write Marcus and Hirsch, was originally a way to win votes, and is now a way to maintain popularity after Abbas’s decision to postpone the elections in definitely: