Rewriting the Exodus: Susan Docherty’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture

On May 23, 2016, Professor Susan Docherty (Newman University, Birmingham) delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture, “Rewriting The Exodus”.

The biblical account of the Exodus has always been significant for Jews in constructing their history, identity and theology. The story of how God acted through Moses to free the Israelite slaves from their suffering in Egypt is, not surprisingly, retold in numerous Jewish writings throughout the centuries.

In Graeco-Roman times, the large number of Jews living outside of Palestine in cities and towns throughout the Empire particularly enjoyed celebrating Moses as a Hebrew hero who triumphed over hostile foreign powers. One of the most interesting of these retellings, known as the Exagoge, takes the form of a Greek Tragedy. I will discuss the interpretation given to the Exodus in this play, and how this compares to that found in other early Jewish sources and the New Testament.

This text raises questions which are still relevant today, including how far religion can be assimilated to different cultures, and how free theologians should feel to adapt authoritative sacred texts to respond to new circumstances.

The lecture is available for viewing on Panopto:

 

Ron Hendel: “The Exodus as Cultural Memory”

Professor Ron Hendel (University of California at Berkeley) delivered a lecture at the Arizona Centre for Judaic Centre on March 9, 2015, on the subject of “The Exodus as Cultural Memory”.

The Exodus is a central event in biblical and Jewish memory. But according to the archaeological and historical record, it is unclear what it is a memory of.  I propose that it is, in part, a transformed memory of the demise of the Egyptian Empire in Canaan, which facilitated the emergence of Israel as an independent people.  The story served as an engine of a distinctive cultural identity, a function that it continues to perform today.

The lecture begins at 5:30.

A version of the lecture was published in Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, edited by Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H.C. Propp (Springer, 2015).

The Quest for the Historical Israel: Israel Finkelstein vs. Amihai Mazar

colloquium-05

In October 2005, the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism invited Israel Finkelstein and Amihai Mazar to speak on the historicity of ancient Israel. The proceedings of Colloquium ’05 were published by the Society of Biblical Literature as The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel.

Videos of the lectures have now been made available on YouTube.

“Archaeology and the Bible” Israel Finkelstein

“Archaeology and the Bible” Amihai Mazar

“When Did the Jewish People Begin?” Israel Finkelstein

“When Did the Jewish People Begin?” Amihai Mazar

Colloquium Panel Response: When Did the Jewish People Begin?

“The Truth About Solomon’s Temple” Israel Finkelstein

“The Truth About Solomon’s Temple” Amihai Mazar

Colloquium Panel Response: Truth About Solomon’s Temple

“The Kingdoms of Israel And Judah” Israel Finkelstein

“The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah” Amihai Mazar

Colloquium Panel Response: Israel And Judah

“Patriarchs, Exodus, Conquest: Fact or Fiction?” Israel Finkelstein

“Patriarchs, Exodus, Conquest: Fact or Fiction?” Amihai Mazar

Colloquium Panel Response: Patriarchs, Exodus, Conquest

Colloquium Panel Response: Implications

Israel Finkelstein – Jacob M. Alkow Chair in the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University, author of The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts.

Amihai Mazar – Eleazar Sukenic Chair in the Archaeology of Israel ad Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Author ofArchaeology and the Land of the Bible.

Brian Schmidt (moderator) – Professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. Author of Israel’s Beneficent Dead.

Harry Cook (panel) – Episcopal minister and journalist, former columnist for the Detroit Free Press, author of Christianity Beyond Creeds and Sermons of a Devoted Heretic.

Yaakov Malkin (panel) – Professor of aesthetics and rhetoric at Tel Aviv University, author of many works including Judaism Without God – Judaism as Culture, The Bible as Literature.

Paula McNutt (panel) – Professor of Religious Studies and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Rabbi Sherwin Wine (panel) – founding rabbi of the Birmingham Temple and Humanistic Judaism, author of Judaism Beyond God and Staying Sane in a Crazy World.

Genesis: Origins of the Universe and Humankind

The program title for the 73rd meeting of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was “Genesis: Origins of the Universe and Humankind”. The meeting involved professors from various disciplines within the university, including the following offerings from biblical scholarship:

Sunday June 6, 2010

Prof. Yair Zakovitch – From Creation to History (1:19:55)
Prof. Rachel Elior – Mystical Perspectives on Creation (1:50:20)

Tuesday June 8, 2010

Prof. Nili Wazana – Forever Outsiders: The Origins of Israel According to the Bible (1:08:05)

 

Eric H. Cline: “The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel” – On Archaeology and the Bible

eric-cline

Professor Eric H. Cline delivers four lectures on the current state of archaeological contributions to the understanding of the Hebrew Bible. The lectures are available as mp3s and on iTunes. The lectures were originally delivered in February 2010 to the Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat.

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part I

Part one discusses the account of the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan.

mp3 iTunes

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part II

Part two discusses David and Solomon. Both kings have been the subject of controversies and debates. A reference to the “House of David” was found in 1993 on an inscription in the north of Israel — the first extra-biblical mention of David yet discovered — allowing us to reconsider the evidence for David and Solomon.

mp3 iTunes

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part III

Part three discusses how the expansionist ambitions of the Neo-Assyrians from Mesopotamia in the eighth century BCE spelled an end to the kingdom of Israel and gave rise to the tradition of the Ten Lost Tribes. The question of where the exiled members of these tribes ended up continues to be debated.

mp3 iTunes

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part IV

Part four discusses how Nebuchadnezzar and the Neo-Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem not once but twice, burned the Temple of Solomon to the ground, and exiled the leading citizens of Jerusalem and Judah to the far-away city of Babylon. It also provides an in-depth look at Jewish history during the Babylonian period.

mp3 iTunes

Eric H. Cline is Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University.

Israel Finkelstein’s Website: Including eBook, Articles, Videos, and Lectures

Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, Tel Aviv University, has a very useful personal website containing resources on the Bible and Archaeology.

The site includes his eBook:

The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel, Ancient Near East Monographs 5 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013).

a number of his journal articles and book chapters, for example:

The Historical Reality behind the Genealogical Lists in 1 Chronicles“, Journal of Biblical Literature 131 (2012): 65-83.

A Great United Monarchy? Archaeological and Historical Perspectives“, in: R.G. Kratz and H. Spieckermann eds. 2010. One God – One Cult – One Nation: Archaeological and Biblical Perspectives. Berlin (2010): 3-28.

and a number of videos and lectures, including:

The Wilderness Itineraries: Who, How and When did Biblical Authors Know About the Southern Deserts

h/t:`Jim West

Daniel Fleming – “Ancient Israel”: An Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

Professor Daniel Fleming, of New York University, presents an introductory course on the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible called “Ancient Israel“, which is available to view on 27 videos (on YouTube).

For additional class materials, see the course page at New York University.

Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference

Videos of almost all of the papers presented at the Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference (May 31 – Jun 3, 2013, Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego) are available on the Conference website and on YouTube.

The transdisciplinary conference featured Egyptologists, Archaeologists, Biblical Scholars, Historians, and Geo-scientists, discussing various aspects of the account of the exodus from Egypt, which is recorded in the book of Exodus.