I’m still in Atlanta at the ASOR and SBL meetings. On Friday, I did not get to any of the lectures, since I participated in the meeting of the editorial board of the “Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception” (EBR), where I serve as the editor for Bronze and Iron Age archaeology.
On Saturday, I went mostly to the ASOR meeting and went to several sessions and heard a few great, a few mediocre and few horrible papers.
Among the excellent papers (in my humble opinion) I can note a paper by Erez Ben-Yosef et al. on the evidence of 10th-9th cent. copper production at Timna in the Arava; a related paper by Uzi Avner who demonstrates that in fact most of the copper production activities at Timna are not related to the Egyptian New Kingdom (as opposed the accepted “narrative” nowadays);
In the later afternoon I went to the SBL session on honor of David Ussishkin and the soon-to-appear book in his honor (in which I have an article as well). This was a double session with 12 papers, some excellent and some in fact quite poor (and for the sake of “lashon harah” [forked tongue…) – I won’t say more). The session was so packed that for most of it I sat on the floor.
Right after that I went to the final ASOR session which was Jerusalem in the Iron Age and was also a mixed lot as far as paper quality.
Having gone from the Ussishkin session to the Jerusalem session, one mainly “Tel Aviv School” (which is not a real school, but you know what I mean) and the other more “traditional” in the views of the papers that were given, one got the feeling that you were dealing with two parallel universes that will never meet…
After the Jerusalem session Louise and I went out for supper, to talk about some of our joint research plans (and other stuff) for the coming year.
Today I will be giving a lecture in the early afternoon on Gath in the late Iron I and Iron Age IIA in the session, which should be very interesting, “Biblical Land and Peoples in Archaeology and Text” (chaired by Ann Killebrew; SBL S21-206, Hyatt Regency – Regency VI, 1:00-3:30 pm).
See you there!