Here’s another archaeology lecture series of interest, this time for those in the Chicago area. This is the 51st annual lecture series of Wheaton College, this year entitled “Greeks in the Holy Land.” Note the lecture title by Kletter gives away the “startling new discoveries” that were to be revealed in his lecture in Los Angeles. Kudos to John Monson and the guys at Wheaton for making all of the lectures free! Here are the details:

There is a long history of interaction between the peoples of the Aegean and the Holy Land. This year’s lecture series will emphasize the key points of intersection between these cultures and the impact that their interaction had upon the history, culture, and religion of ancient Israelites, Jews, and Christians. The lectures are free to the public and will be on select Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm in the Billy Graham Center, Room 140.

Tuesday, September 26
David Chapman, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Archaeology, Curator of the W.H. Mare Institute for Biblical and Archaeological Studies, Covenant Theological Seminary
Marriage and family in the Jewish/Greek world

Tuesday, October 3
Assaf Yasur-Landau, Researcher, Institute of Archaeology, Tel-Aviv University
How the Philistines reached the Holy Land

Tuesday, October10
John McRay, Professor of archaeology emeritus, Wheaton College
Archaeology and the life of Paul

Tuesday, October 24
Gene Green, Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
The Gospel and the Thessalonians in their cultural context

Tuesday, October 31
James Jeffers, Professor and Coordinator of Humanities MA, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Greeks, Romans, and religion in the Holy Land

Tuesday, November 7
Raz Kletter, Excavations and Surveys Department, Israel Antiquities Authority
What to do with a Hundred Cultic Stands–the Finds From Yavneh of the Philistines

Tuesday, Nov 28
Michael Graves, Visiting Professor, Wheaton College
A Roman in Greek Palestine: Jerome and the development of Near Eastern studies


The University of Judaism has announced their fall lecture series on Archaeology and the Bible. This year the series is entitled, “Archaeology and the Bible: New Discoveries, New Methods, New Interpretations, New Insights.” As in previous years, the cost to attend individual lectures is $25. Or if you register by October 6, the cost for all is $125. More information is available at the UoJ website

The UoJ campus is in Los Angeles, not far from the Getty Museum off the 405. The scheduled lectures are:

Christopher A. Rollston, “Fakers, Forgers, and Con Artists: How Forged Artifacts and Inscriptions Corrupt Biblical History” (Oct. 23)

Raz Kletter, “Philistine Cult and Religion: The Startling New Discoveries from Yavneh” (Oct. 30)

Tessa Rajak, “Melting Pot or Market Place? Jews, Christians and Pagans in the Cities of the Roman Empire” (Nov. 6)

Eveline van der Steen, “Bedouins and the Bible” (Nov. 13)

Avi Faust, “Biblical Archaeology, the Prophets of Israel and the Poor” (Nov. 20)

William Schniedewind, “The First Scribes in Ancient Israel and the Beginnings of Biblical Literature” (Nov. 27)

Marvin Meyer, “The Recently Published Gospel of Judas, Gnosticism, and the Jewish Connection” (Dec. 4)

Christoph Uehlinger, “Insights from Images: What Do Assyrian Sculptures Tell Us About the History of Religion in Ancient Israel?” (Dec. 11)

I think if my budget or time were limited, my first two choices would be the lectures by Faust and Schniedewind.


The Guardian has an article ostensibly about Jerusalem, but which seems to have been the result of a tour with archaeologist Gabriel Barkay. This is one of those articles that reminds you not to believe everything that you read. Among the errors in the first two paragraphs, Barkay worked in Silwan (not the City of David) in 1968-1970 (not in the 1970s) conducting a survey (not an excavation).

The author writes, “In the 1970s, he led a group of school children on a tour of first Temple tombs above the Valley of Hinnom….” The year was 1979 and he was conducting an archaeological excavation, not leading a tour. Some school children did join the excavation as volunteers, but I can hardly imagine Barkay leading some tour when “one of the pupils started hammering at a stone slab which suddenly gave way” – yikes! Not exactly how one should do archaeology, but, of course, it didn’t happen that way at all. Instead of this sloppy journalism, I recommend an article on Barkay that was published last year in Haaretz starting here and continuing here.

Gabriel Barkay and Michael Avi-Yonah, 1968
Unpublished photo from a forthcoming BiblePlaces.com photo CD

Statistics may be boring to many, but a survey conducted by Dr. Maya Hoshen relating to the history of the population of the historic Old City of Jerusalem revealed that in 2004 the residents within the main part of the walls numbered 131,400 – “out of whom 16,200 were Jewish (12%), 115,200 Arabs (88%). 93% of the Arab population was Muslim, the rest Christian” (Kol Ha’Ir, August 11). In other words, of the Arab population of the Old City, only 7% were Christians.
Source: Caspari Center Media Review

UPDATE (9/12): The above numbers are incorrect. According to data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics from 2003 (as cited in a Peace Now report), the Old City population is 35,372 people, not 131,000! The Muslim percentage is about 77%. The report gives other interesting statistics of the population of each quarter.

With 35,372 residents and a total area of about 900 dunams, Jerusalem’s Old City is one of the most densely populated areas in Israel, and the Muslim Quarter is the most densely populated area of the Old City. Population density varies dramatically within the Old City; details for each quarter, and for Jerusalem as a whole, are as follows:

Jerusalem: Jerusalem (not including the Old City) is about 125,398 dunams in size, with 657,845 residents, for a population density of about 5 persons per dunam.

The Jewish Quarter: The Jewish Quarter is 122 dunams in size and has 2,387 inhabitants, for a population density of around 20 persons per dunam. Of these residents, 1,811 are Jewish, 560 are Muslim, 12 are Christian, and 4 are “unclassified.” According to a 2002 report by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel studies, the Muslim population is composed of around 100 families living mainly on the edge of the Quarter, in homes that were designated for expropriation after 1967, but never actually taken from their owners.

The Christian Quarter: The Christian Quarter is 192 dunams in size and has 5,276 residents, for a population density of around 28 persons per dunam. Of these residents, 3888 are Christian, 1,242 are Muslim, 143 are Jewish, and 3 are “unclassified.”

The Armenian Quarter: The Armenian Quarter is 126 dunams in size and has 2,461 residents, for a population density of around 20 persons per dunam. Of these residents, 1205 are Christian, 748 are Jewish, 504 are Muslims, and 4 are “unclassified.”

The Muslim Quarter: The Muslim Quarter has a population of 25,248 residents and is 461 dunams in size, of which about 142 dunams is taken up by the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif – an area not available for residence. This yields an overall population density (for the habitable 319 dunams) of about 79 persons per dunam. Of these residents, 23,461 are Muslim, 431 are Jewish, 1354 are Christian, and 2 are “unclassified.”

HT: Carl Rasmussen of Holy Land Photos for catching the error.


A gunman opened fire in the Roman theater of Amman, Jordan on Monday, killing one and wounding six other tourists. Attacks on tourists in moderate Arab nations are usually motivated by a desire to hurt the government and economy by scaring tourists away. A similar episode, but larger in scale, was the terrorist take-over of the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt in 1997.

Amman was the capital of the biblical Ammonites and was known as Rabbath-Ammon. The Bible describes David’s capture of the city during the time of his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:16-17). Uriah was killed when he came too close to the walls. By the New Testament period, the site was known as Philadelphia, and it was a large and impressive city of the Decapolis.

Roman theater in Amman

According to National Geographic, there was little or no damage to Lebanese antiquities from the recent war with Israel. The NG photo gallery gives 6 photos of sites including Baalbek, Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, with some explanation about their historical significance and the lack of damage to the archaeological remains. For more photographs of these sites from a long time ago, see Baalbek, Beirut, Sidon, Tripoli, and Tyre at our sister site, LifeintheHolyLand.com.

Tyre in the 1890s