In the last few days, I’ve been visiting beautiful Utah! On Friday, I gave a lecture on the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath at Brigham Young University (as already mentioned here). The lecture went very well – and before the lecture I had the opportunity to meet with some of the excellent students of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at BYU.
Following the lecture, Jeff Chadwick, my host at BYU, myself and our significant others, drove down to Moab, Utah for a great weekend. Today, we visited the absolutely fascinating and astonishingly beautiful Arches National Park.
Needless to say, when we visited the park, we of course went to visit Double Arch, where the first scene of Indiana Jones and Last Crusade was filmed!
And yes, as I was in Moab, and I had just recently read the Book of Ruth on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot – I was looking all over for Ruth or Naomi – but could not find them in Moab… :-)
As previously mentioned, a book edited by Ann Killebrew and Gunnar Lehmann on the Philsitines and Sea Peoples has just appeared. The volume includes many VERY interesting studies, dealing with a wide range of topics related to the study of the Philistines and the Sea Peoples. Today, Ann kindly sent me the pdf of my article in this volume – I’m eagerly awaiting to see my copy of the entire volume!
It should be noted that the article was written in, and is updated for, 2003, and despite the editors’ heroic efforts, the volume in which it was meant to be published only appeared a decade later. Needless to say, since then, on the basis of newer finds and fresh understandings, much of what is discussed in this article is outdated (and these more updated publications have been noted in the blog). Nevertheless, it does present interesting materials and a summary updated for 2003.
The full reference is:
Maeir, A. M. 2013. Philistia Transforming: Fresh Evidence from Tell es-Sâfi/Gath on the Transformational Trajectory of the Philistine Culture. Pp. 191–242 in The Philistines and Other “Sea Peoples” in Text and Archaeology, eds. A. Killebrew and G. Lehmann. Archaeology and Biblical Studies 15. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.
A very interesting site has been put online recently - thetorah.com – in which modern biblical scholarship is viewed through traditional Jewish perspectives There are quite a few very interesting articles, by various biblical scholars – as well as even a few archaeologists (such as yours truly…).
Check out what I wrote on an archaeological perspective on Shavuot – but look at the other very interesting materials on this site as well.
Once again, in order to give a sufficient “heads up” for upcoming lectures (who says I don’t learn from critics?), I will be giving a talk for the Jewish Studies Program at UCSD on May 29th.
Here are the details:
Wednesday, May 29th 2013, TBA, TBA
Aren Maeir, Bar Ilan University in Israel; UCSD Visiting Professor
“Who are you calling a Philistine? Archaeology and the Bible at Tell es-Safi – biblical Gath of the Philistines”
Summary: The biblical Philistines, arch-enemies of the Israelites, have for many centuries suffered from “bad PR” – due to the biblical texts negative attitude towards them. Archaeological excavations over the last century have slowly changed this perception, demonstrating that the Philistines had an extremely complex, diverse and developed culture – particularly in comparison to the contemporaneous Israelites. Recent finds from Philistia, and in particular from Tell es-Safi/Gath (biblical Gath of the Philistines – home town of Goliath), now show that not only are previous understandings of the biblical Philistines somewhat monolithic in nature, but that a thorough reassessment of the relationship between the biblical texts about the Philistines and the archaeological remains are called for. This can serve as an excellent case study for the modern interface between Bible and Archaeology – a long-debated and contested topic. In this lecture, Prof. Aren Maeir, of Bar-Ilan University (Ramat-Gan, Israel), will discuss these and other issues, with particular emphasis on the results of the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, a project which he directs.
The details of the location of the talk on the UCSD campus will be published later.
In addition, look at the Jewish Studies Program events page – for this and other interesting upcoming events – including the VERY interesting conference on Exodus – for which I have the honor to have been invited to present a paper (note – this conference is a closed conference – only for invited speakers – although there will be a public lecture by Bill Propp on the exodus – and a very interesting digital exhibition – curated by Tom Levy). See details on the events page.
As previously mentioned, I will be giving a lecture on May 17th at BYU.
The event poster is now out (courtesy of Jeff Chadwick [aka Achish Melekh Gath]) – all of you can print it out in and hang it on the inside of your bedroom door…
A short, but very nice article on the excavations at Safi has just appeared in the Canadian Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Tribune. Haskel and I were interviewed for this article during my recent trip to Winnipeg.
Check it out!
The new “Journal of Ancient History” which is put out by de Gruyter has put online the first issue of what appears to be an excellent journal. As of now (and I doubt this will last for long…), the articles in the first issue can be accessed for free online!
This first issue includes an excellent paper by Mark Van de Mieroop (Columbia), in which he surveys his understanding of the current state of Ancient Near Eastern historical studies (“Recent Trends in the Study of Ancient Near Eastern History: Some Reflections”) - with a particular emphasis on the study of Mesopotamian history.
Well worth reading – check it out!
Since there have been some complaints from the blog readers that I have not given enough prior notifications on lectures that I’m giving, please find here information on a lecture at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah (just outside of Salt Lake City) on Friday, May 17, 2013, at 11am.
The lectured is entitled: ”New Light on the Biblical Philistines in Light of the Excavations at Philistine Gath (Tell es-Safi, Israel)”.
See here the flyer:
Hope to see you there!
Today (and in fact yesterday as well), I had the pleasure of hearing Prof. James Kugel, of Bar-Ilan University, who gave the Burke Lecture on Religion and Society. Jim lectured on trends in the interpretation of the Bible in the 2nd Temple Period, with particular emphasis on how interpreters very often completely changed the “original” meaning of the text by adding and supplementing “new” understandings. Jim has written about this topic extensively in his books, but as always, his lectures are both chock-full of insight, learning and his great sense of humor!
And to think that I had to travel all the way to San Diego to hear someone who sits in an office down the hall from me back home… :-)
Here he is giving the lecture tonight:
Today, May 1st, is a very important day! Besides the ancient, mainly pagan-originating traditions of May Day that are celebrated in many cultures and countries, and in addition to this, the relatively more recent International Workers Day, that is also marked throughout the world in this day, there is a very important thing happening today:
Today, May 1st, is the official deadline for signing up for the 2013 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath!
If you wish to join the team this summer – NOW is the time to do this – otherwise – you may lose out on this opportunity!
Be there – or be square!