Child Sacrifice: Considering the Context

In our culture we sacrifice for children, but three narratives in the Hebrew Bible describe the sacrifice of children: Abraham of Isaac (Genesis 22), Jephthah of his daughter (Judges 11), and Mesha, the king of Moab, of his son (2 Kings 3). We will examine the art of the first two stories—the second is a […]

The Exodus: Story or History?

This lecture will examine the Exodus narrative (Exod 1–2, 13–14) as a historical report and examine to what extent historical and archaeological data support its historicity. We will explore offhanded references in the text may seem irrelevant to the narrative but that can be of major importance to its interpretation.

Enslaved in Egypt: What Genesis Suggests about Israelite Slavery

Nowhere in the Bible is there an explicit explanation of why the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt (Exodus 1–2). This lecture, based on ideas developed by Yair Zakovitch, will suggest that implicit reasons are provided in Genesis.

Are All Psalms Prayers?

Psalms and prayer are usually thought of in vertical terms: people calling to God and above, with the hope that God hears and heeds them. But prayer was also, in Biblical times, fundamentally a community ritual. This talk will thus examine how psalms from the Second Temple served to create communities and sub-communities. It will […]

Wine, Feasting, and Frescoes: the ongoing excavation of a Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri, Israel

Excavations and survey from 2005-2015 at the site and environs of Tel Kabri, located in the western Galilee of modern Israel, have shown that the Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace there is at least three times as large as previously thought, with much still remaining to be excavated. The palace is painted with what may […]

Sennacherib’s Campaign on Lachish: What We Have Learned from Archaeology

In B.C.E Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, invaded Judah and brought to an end the revolt against Assyria led by Hezekiah, the king of Judah. Sennacherib turned first to Lachish, conquered and destroyed it, and from there he sent an expeditionary force to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was not attacked, and Hezekiah surrendered and became an […]

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

A “perfect storm of calamities”—earthquakes, droughts and rebellions—caused the demise of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1200 B.C.). The great empires and mighty kingdoms of the ancient world—the Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots and Canaanites—all suddenly collapsed. Learn how the lessons of this amazing historical era relate to the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty […]