The stories of famous biblical characters like Abraham, Moses, and King David loom large in our collective cultural consciousness, but less well known is the archaeology of the biblical world. Who were the ancient Canaanites, Israelites, and Philistines? What was daily life like for these ancient cultures?
In this four-session seminar, we’ll examine the archaeology of the cultures that lived in the Near East from the Bronze Age to the Roman Period mentioned in the Bible. By unearthing material and textual evidence, we’ll explore how scholars approach the study of ancient history, especially when archaeological evidence tells a different story than Biblical narratives.
This seminar is divided into four sessions:
- Methodology: How do archaeologists interpret ancient artifacts? What questions can archaeology answer? In this session, we’ll contextualize the Bible through its material worlds and lay the groundwork for future sessions.
- Israelite Origins: The Hebrew Bible stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses become complicated with the earliest evidence of Israelites in the Levant. We will examine the archaeological evidence and Canaanite culture during the late Bronze and early Iron ages.
- The Israelite Kingdom: This session explores the archaeological evidence of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, starting with King David through the fall of the Kingdom of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. We will highlight inscriptions that mention Israelite and Judahite kings, as well as archaeological sites that demonstrate the strength of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel during the Iron Age.
- Roman Judaea: This session situates Jesus in his historic moment, examining the archaeology of the Galilee region and Roman-era Jerusalem starting with the reign of Herod the Great. Topics will include the building projects of Herod the Great and Jerusalem during the first century CE.
Sign up for this seminar and see Biblical stories from the perspective of an archaeologist or religious studies scholar.