OK – so now that the official notice has been given (by Prof. Johanna Wanka, the German Minister of Education and Research at a conference at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot celebrating 50 years of relations between Israel and Germany [see here]), the full story can be told:
We have been granted a “Minerva Center” – which is a very prestigious joint Israeli/German grant program.
The center, which I will co-direct with Prof. Angelika Berlejung
from the University of Leipzig, will be comprised, primarily, of a team from Bar-Ilan University (including Esti Eshel and Yigal Levin) and the University of Leipzig (including Andreas Schueler, Michael Streck, Marco Frenschkowski and Guenther Vittmann), and will deal with the character of Aramean-Israelite relations during the biblical period (Iron Age and Persian Period). We intend to study the multi-faceted relations between these cultures with a strong emphasis on what were the character of these relations – were they interconnected or not? Did they have autonomous aspects? And how much of the autonomy and dependency is real or just socio-cultural constructs. We plan to interface this study not only with archaeology, history, philology, textual and biblical studies – but input perspectives and ideas from other fields (such as social theory, socio-linguistics, international relations, law, psychology, philosophy, etc.).
The official name of the center is:
The Construct of Autonomous Decision Making and Inter-dependencies: The Case of Israel and Aram in Biblical Times
The creation of the center will enable 6 years of joint meetings, workshops, conferences and student interchanges – and not to mention – some really nice joint research on this fascinating topic!
Truly astounding news!