ASOR 2008 and Biblical Archaeology

The annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) was held last November, but with 287 papers being presented, it is likely that you didn’t catch everything that went on, whether you were present or not. 

Brian Janeway has posted a summary of some key presentations related to biblical archaeology.  He notes:

Though the term ‘biblical archaeology’ has gone out of fashion, scholars are still preoccupied with correlating their finds with the biblical text. The fact that the vast majority of the sponsoring institutions are secular should encourage Christian believers of all stripes.

He reviews presentations about Jericho, Gath, the Philistines, Khirbet en-Nahas, LMLK seals, Qumran, and the “cave of John the Baptist.”  Janeway concludes:

This review of biblical papers delivered at the 2008 ASOR meetings clearly shows that biblical archaeology is anything but dead, even if scholars are uncomfortable with the term itself. Indeed, it illustrates the central role that the Bible continues to play in the history and archaeology of the region; a source unmatched and unrivaled in its rich detail and description of life in antiquity.

Information about the 2009 annual meeting is given at the ASOR website.  A schedule of the presentations may be downloaded here.


One thought on “ASOR 2008 and Biblical Archaeology

  1. Todd,

    Thank you for the link to the interesting summary by Brian Janeway. The summary mentions Tell Ta’yinat and the term ‘Sea Person’. It appears to me that the Pereset or Peleset in the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu were Persians, not Philistines. Many scholars, assuming the Pereset/Peleset to be Philistines, have chosen to spell the Egyptian word for them as Peleset, i.e., with an ‘l’ instead of an ‘r’. However, the more appropriate spelling seems to be Pereset. In ‘Peoples of the Sea’, Immanuel Velikovsky presented overwhelming evidence that Ramses III should be identified with the fourth century BC king Nectanebis who defended Egypt against a sea and land invasion by Persian soldiers and Greek mercenaries in approximately 374-373 BC. Thus the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu appear to be about Persian soldiers and Greek mercenaries of the 4th century BC, not Philistines and other “Sea Peoples” of the 12th century BC. When Ramses III referred to his enemies as Those of the Sea (literally ‘those of the deep green’), he seems to have been referring to enemies whose leadership (e.g. the old satrap/general Pharnabazus) had come from the area of the Persian satrapy in Asia Minor called Those of the Sea (Tyaiy Drayahya in Persian). This seems to be what Ramses III meant by ‘Those of the Sea’ – not hordes of enigmatic “Sea Peoples” in the 12th century BC.

    I am not an archaeologist or professional historian. However, for more than 15 years I have studied ancient history and archaeology as a layperson and have tried to help archaeologists and professional scholars understand that some ideas of Velikovsky deserve serious consideration. It is important to remember that many advances in the history of science and technology have been made by laypersons – people who were not recognized experts in the fields to which they contributed. I urge professional scholars to read ‘Peoples of the Sea’ by Velikovsky. Also I suggest reading my comments on Tell Ta’yinat and Velikovsky, which I submitted to the blog of Dr. Claude Mariottini, at the below links.

    Adam Stuart
    Jacksonville, Florida



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