John Beck is a guest on Our Daily Bread: Exploring the Land of the Story: Unlocking Biblical Geography. Beck’s Discovery House Bible Atlas has just been released. Beck is interviewed about his atlas on the Good Book Blog.

The Museum of the Bible is hosting a series of lectures in Oklahoma City twice a month through July. The final event is a first-century meal.

Here’s an impressive collection of photographs of medieval stained glass illustrating the Bible.

The Palestine Exploration Fund shares some photos of field books that belonged to Charles Wilson.

There’s a new website for the Sardis Expedition.

The Israel Post has issued a stamp featuring the Cyrus Cylinder.

Juan Manuel Tebes has a lengthy summary of the debate over David and Solomon on the ASOR Blog.

Gabriel Barkay will be lecturing in Kentucky on April 30.

Hershel Shanks is on The Book and the Spade discussing the 2015 excavation season.

HT: Steven Anderson, Agade, Charles Savelle

Heidelberg Colloquium on the Subject of Aram and Israel: Cultural Interaction, Political Borders and Construction of Identity during the Early Iron Age (12th–8th Centuries BCE)

IWH Symposium, September 1-4, 2014

IWH Hauptstrasse 242, Heidelberg

Organisation: Prof. Manfred Oeming, Dr. Omer Sergi, Dr. Izaak de Hulster

Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

14:00-14:30: Introduction

14:00-14:10: Peter Comba, Manfred Oeming, Greetings

14:10-14:30: Omer Sergi and Izaak de Hulster, Historical Outline for Aram and Israel

First Session: Jordan Valley between Aram and Israel: Archaeological Perspectives
Chair: Izaak de Hulster

14:30-15:15: Amihai Mazar, Looking for Aramaean Impact in the Beth-Shean Valley in Light of the Excavations at Tel Beth Shean and Tel Rehov

15:15-16:00: Stefan Münger, Who, When, and Why–Investigating Cultural Footprints at Early Iron Age Tel Kinrot

16:30-17:15: Nava Panitz-Cohen, Aram-Maacah? Aramaeans and Israelites on the Border: Excavations at Tel Abil al-Qameh (Abel Beth Maacah) in Northern Israel

17:15-18:00: Yifat Thareani, Enemy at the Gates? The Archaeological Visibility of the Aramaeans at Dan

18:00-18:30: Discussion

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Second Session: Aspects of Material Culture between Aram and Israel
Chair: Omer Sergi

9:00-9:45: Izaak de Hulster, The Aram–Israel Border Zone: Two Comparative Iconographic Case Studies

9:45-10:30: Benjamin Sass, Aram and Israel during the Early Iron Age (12th-8th Centuries BCE): The Alphabet

11:00-11:45: Assaf Kleiman, Dating the Aramaean Campaigns to the Southern Levant: A Gradual Process of Destructions?

11:45-12:30: Aren Maeir, The Aramaean Involvement in the Southern Levant: Case Studies for Identifying the Archaeological Evidence

12:30-13:00: Discussion

Third Session: Aramaean Identity in Changing Cultural Contexts
Chair: Jan Christian Gertz

14:30-15:15: Christoph Uehlinger, What are We Looking for when dealing with ‘Identity’ and the ‘Construction of Identity’ in Levantine Societies of the Iron Age? (with an Excursus on the Bethsaida Stela)

15:15-16:00: Guy Bunnens, Tradition, Innovation and Cultural Borders in Aramaean Syria

16:30-17:15: Stefania Mazzoni, Identity and Multiculturality in the Northern Levant of the 9th-7th century B.C. with a Case Study on Tell Afis

17:15-18:00: Herbert Niehr, The Power of Language:, Language Situation and Language Politics in Sam’ al

18:00-18:30: Discussion

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

Fourth Session: The Border Zone between Aram and Israel: Historical Reflections
Chair: Juha Pakkala

9:00-9:45: Israel Finkelstein, Aram and Israel: Some Cultural and Historical Reflections

9:45-10:30: Erhard Blum, The ‘Borders’ between Israel and Aram-Damascus in the 9th-8th Centuries BCE according to Biblical and Epigraphical Sources

11:00-11:45: Omer Sergi, Gilead between Aram and Israel: Some Historical and Historiographical Considerations

11:45-12:30: Jutta Häser, Tell Zira’a in the Iron Age

12:30-13:00: Discussion

Fifth Session: Historical Memory of Aram in Israel’s Bible
Chair: Dorothea Erbele-Küster

14:30-15:15: Manfred Oeming, “And the King of Aram was at War with Israel”– The Construction of the Aramaean as an Enemy in the Elisha Cycle 2 King 2-13.

15:15-16:00: Matthias Köckert, Jacob Cycle and the Aramaean Identity of Israel

16:30-17:15: Angelika Berlejung, Family Ties: Constructed Memories about Aram and the Aramaeans in the Old Testament – “God’s People Network”

17:15-18:00: Nili Wazana, “My Father was a Wandering Aramaean”: The Implications for Israelite Identity

18:00-18:30: Discussion

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014

Concluding Session: Israel among the Aramaeans
Chair: Manfred Oeming

9:00-10:30: Concluding discussion

The Colloquium is supported by: Heidelberg University, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

The program is available in pdf format here.

Another topic that seems relevant to this conference: Textual Witnesses to the Aramean Oppression of Israel in the Late Ninth Century. And another: Archaeological Evidence for the Aramean Route to Philistine Gath. I’ve written on both in my dissertation.

HT: Jack Sasson

Tel Chinnereth from north, tb102702025
Tell Chinnereth (Tel Kinrot) and the Sea of Galilee
Photo from volume 1

Luke Chandler reports on the first week of excavations at Lachish. They made some significant finds in his square on each of the first three days.

They had a fantastic third week of excavations at Tel Burna.

A Roman theater (or amphitheater?) has been discovered in ancient Smyrna as the municipality demolishes a poor neighborhood. This may have been the place where Polycarp was martyred.

Beit Guvrin National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wayne Stiles captures the beauty and historic significance of Nahal Zin with photos, a video, and Google Street View.

“The truth about Jesus’ tomb, romance and the Holocaust” is a rather flashy title for an update of Simcha Jacobovici’s lawsuit against Joe Zias.

ABR has created a new video series, Is It Time To Throw Away Your Bible? They have now shared a couple of free episodes: King David and Solomon: Men or Myths? Part One and Part Two. The video set is on sale for only $20.

Robert Cargill reflects on the passing of Yuval Peleg.

Bet Guvrin cave with view to sky, tb022807541
Cave at Beit Guvrin National Park
Photo from Judah and the Dead Sea

How do recent archaeological discoveries relate to the Bible? Michael Grisanti addresses this issue in a detailed article published last year in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society and now available online. He begins with a statement from a critical scholar and then explains his own approach.

The archaeological evidence cited below and in any similar study never provides certifiable proof that a given individual lived or that a certain event took place. Our confidence in the accuracy and historicity of the people and events referred to in God’s Word draws on other evidence, primarily theological statements the Bible makes about itself. Regardless, one should recognize that the archaeological evidence does not rule out the people or events described in the Bible. As a matter of fact, archaeology provides a “picture” that points to the feasibility or plausibility that the people and events described in the Bible lived and occurred just as they are described.
Out of all the areas that could have received attention, I have narrowed my focus on two chronological periods: the Conquest of Canaan and the United Monarchy. For both I summarize the consensus of critical scholars and then consider the evidence that has been found. With regard to the Conquest of Canaan, the paper considers the recent discussion of an Egyptian pedestal with three name rings on it as well as the destruction of Jericho and the location and destruction of Ai. After surveying the heated debated concerning the United Monarchy with a focus on David and Solomon, the paper considers key archaeological discoveries found at Jerusalem, Khirbet Qeiyafa and the copper mines in southern Jordan. With each example I argue that the discoveries made at least allow for the historicity and accuracy of the biblical narratives describing those people and events.

Read it all here.

Jericho, Tell es-Sultan from west panorama, tb05110685p
Jericho from the west
Photo from Samaria and the Center

Though the lectures are in Hebrew and in Haifa, the subject matter merits re-posting this conference schedule from the Agade list.

UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA / FACULTY OF HUMANITIES Department of Biblical Studies and 
Jewish History. Hecht Auditorium.
2013 Annual Meeting, Monday, December 2nd 2013
(All lectures will be presented in Hebrew)

Greetings: Prof. Reuven Snir, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Haifa

Opening Remarks: Prof. Gershon Galil, Head of the MA Program “The Bible and its World”, University of Haifa

0900-1050 1st Session: THE ARABAH, THE NEGEV HIGHLAND AND THE NORTH. Presiding: Prof. Sariel Shalev, University of Haifa

09:00-09:20 Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef, Tel Aviv University, Transparent Archaeology and Biased Interpretations in the Study of the United Monarchy: Methodological Insights from the Ancient Copper Mines of the Arabah

09:20-09:40 Dr. Moti Heiman, Israel Antiquities Authority and Bar-Ilan University, The Iron Age II in the Negev Highland: Material Culture, Economy and Population in A Desert Environment

09:40-10:15 Prof. David Ussishkin, Tel Aviv University, “Solomon’s Gate” at Megiddo: A Debate of Fifty Years

10:15-10:35 Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hazor in the Iron Age IIA: The Stratigraphical and Chronological setting of the First Fortified Town

10:35-10:50 DISCUSSION
10:50-11:00 BREAK

11:00-13:00 2ND SESSION: EPIGRAPHY, BIBLE AND ARCHAEOLOGY. Presiding: Prof. Shmuel Ahituv, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

11:00-11:20 Dr. Haggai Misgav, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The 10th Century BCE Inscriptions Reconsidered

11:20-12:00 Prof. Amihai Mazar, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Kingdom of David and Solomon and the Archaeological Research: An Ongoing Story

12:00-12:40 Prof. Gershon Galil, University of Haifa, Israel and Palistin in the 11th-9th Centuries BCE in Light of New Epigraphic and Archaeological Data

12:40-13:00 DISCUSSION
13:00-14:00 LUNCH

14:00-16:00 3RD SESSION: THE COAST, THE SHEPHELAH AND PHILISTIA. Presiding: Prof. David Ussishkin, Tel Aviv University

14:00-14:20 Dr. Ayelet Gilboa, University of Haifa and Prof. Ilan Sharon, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Capital of Solomon’s Fourth District? Israelite Dor

14:20-14:40 Mr. Saar Ganor, Israel Antiquities Authority, Seven Seasons of Excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa

14:40-15:00 Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, New Light on Solomon’s Palace and Temple and on the Second Temple in View of the Shrine Model from Khirbet Qeiyafa

15: 00-15:30 Prof. Avraham Faust, Bar-Ilan University, Between Judah and Philistia: Settlement Dynamics and Changes in Material Culture in the 10th Century BCE

15:30-16:00 DISCUSSION

A new study by a team from Tel Aviv University concludes that the copper mines at Timna, near Eilat, were in operation during the reign of Solomon. The new dating is based upon Carbon-14 studies which shift the peak of copper production down three centuries from the 13th century to the 10th.

Because of close similarities between the mines at Timna and those at Feinan (biblical Punon) further north, the scholars believe that the Timna mines were operated by the Edomites but not by Solomon.

Perhaps this is correct. Another possibility is that Solomon controlled both. The biblical texts do not identify either site as Solomonic, but the Israelite king did control territory as far south as Eilat.

1 Kings 9:26–28 (NIV) “King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. And Hiram sent his men—sailors who knew the sea—to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.”

During David and Solomon’s reigns, the Edomites were subject to Israel (2 Sam 8:11-14; 1 Kgs 11:14). Perhaps they operated the mines to pay the annual tribute.

If I had time, it would be interesting to go back through the literature and review the statements of those who used the absence of evidence at Timna from Solomon’s time as evidence against the biblical account. Once again we see why we should hold to the assured results of archaeological research lightly.

The full BASOR journal article is online as is a summary in Haaretz. A video from this year’s excavations is posted at YouTube.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Timna Solomon's Pillars, tb010612876
Solomon’s Pillars near the copper mines of Timna
Photo from Negev and the Wilderness