The Bible Odyssey website provides four videos in which the late Professor Emeritus Philip Davies (1945-2018) discussed the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Judaism and biblical scholarship, and the non-historicity of Kings David and Solomon.
On January 17, 2017, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) was interviewed by Dan Snow (BBC) on the History Hit podcast. The topic is “The Historical Reliability of the Bible“, and Professor Stavrakopoulou provides a summary of mainstream scholarship on the historicity of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament.
The interview is available in mp3 audio format (28:56).
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).
Zoologist Dr Richard Dawkins (New College, Oxford) converses with Professor John Huddlestun (College of Charleston) about the non-historicity of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
Professor James Kugel (Harvard University) delivered one of the papers at the 2013 Limmud Conference, “Modern Biblical scholarship and traditional Jewish belief”.
Did Moses really write the Torah? Is there any archaeological evidence that the Exodus took place? Did the Israelites really conquer Canaan and settle there? Most biblical scholars in universities tend to answer all these questions with a ‘No.’ What then is a religious Jew to make of all this? A different way of approaching the question.
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.
Professor Oded Lipschits and Ido Koch of Tel Aviv University are to present a 6-week Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the archaeology and history of Jerusalem: “The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem”.
The course will begin on October 26, 2014, and enrolments are now open.
About the CourseThe period of the demise of the Kingdom of Judah at the end of the sixth century B.C.E., the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, the exile of the elite to Babylon, and the reshaping of the territory of the new province of Judah, culminating at the end of the century with the first return of exiles – all have been subjects of intense scrutiny in modern scholarship. This course takes into account the biblical textual evidence, the results of archaeological research, and the reports of the Babylonian and Egyptian sources and provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the evidence for the history of this 100-year-long era. The course includes a detailed discussion by Prof. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University, with guest lectures by leading scholars dealing with the archaeological and biblical aspects of this debated topic.
Introduction to geopolitics and geography of the Ancient Near East
The turmoil of the seventh century BCE
Judah under Babylonian rule
The days of the destruction of Jerusalem
Archaeology of the sixth century BCE
The restoration of Jerusalem in the early Persian Period and Summary
Professor Oded Lipschits delivers the inaugural Dr. David A. Kipper Ancient Israel Lecture at The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, entitled “The Myth of the Empty Land and The Myth of the Mass Return: A New Look on the History of Judah under Babylonian and Persian Rule”, April 29, 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eric H. Cline is Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University.
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:
Lectures from Dr Robert R. Cargill’s course “Jerusalem: The Holy City: A History of Jerusalem from Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel” (University of California, Los Angeles; Spring 2010) are freely available for viewing on iTunes. The course consists of 18 lectures, on 27 videos, and is accompanied by a syllabus.
This course surveys the religious, political, and cultural history of Jerusalem over three millennia as a symbolic focus of three faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course content will focus on the transformation of sacred space as reflected by literary and archaeological evidence by examining the testimony of artifacts, architecture, and iconography in relation to the written word. We will study the creation of mythic Jerusalem through event and experience. Course requirements will focus on developing advanced writing skills.
|1||Syllabus for Spring 2010 ANNEA 10W: Jerusalem, the Holy City (CARGILL)||—||4/20/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|2||VideoLecture 1.1: Jerusalem as Sacred Space (Part 1) (4/1/2010)||—||4/2/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|3||VideoLecture 1.2: Jerusalem as Sacred Space (Part 2) (4/6/2010)||—||4/7/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|4||VideoLecture 2: Canaanite Jerusalem (4/8/2010)||—||4/8/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|5||VideoLecture 3.1: David’s Jerusalem (Part 1) (4/8/2010)||—||4/8/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|6||VideoLecture 3.2: David’s Jerusalem (Part 2) (4/13/2010)||—||4/13/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|7||VideoLecture 4.1: Solomon’s Jerusalem (Part 1) (4/13/2010)||—||4/13/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|8||VideoLecture 4.2: Solomon’s Jerusalem (Part 2) (4/15/2010)||—||4/15/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|9||VideoLecture 5.1: Hezekiah’s Jerusalem (Part 1) (4/15/2010)||—||4/15/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|10||VideoLecture 5.2: Hezekiah’s Jerusalem (Part 2) (4/20/2010)||—||4/21/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|11||VideoLecture 6.1: Josiah’s Jerusalem (Part 1) (4/20/2010)||—||4/20/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|12||VideoLecture 6.2: Josiah’s Jerusalem (Part 2) (4/22/2010)||—||4/22/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|13||VideoLecture 7.1: Exilic Jerusalem (Part 1) (4/22/2010)||—||4/22/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|14||VideoLecture 7.2: Exilic Jerusalem (Part 2) (4/27/2010)||—||4/27/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|15||VideoLecture 8: Persian Jerusalem (5/4/2010)||—||5/4/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|16||VideoLecture 9: Hellenistic Jerusalem (5/6/2010)||—||5/7/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|17||VideoLecture 10.1: Hasmonean Jerusalem (Part 1) (5/6/2010)||—||5/7/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|18||VideoLecture 10.2: Hasmonean Jerusalem (Part 2) (5/11/2010)||—||5/11/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|19||VideoLecture 11: Herodian Jerusalem (5/11/2010)||—||5/11/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|20||VideoLecture 12: Jerusalem in Revolt (5/13/2010)||—||5/14/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|21||VideoLecture 13: Byzantine Jerusalem (5/18/2010)||—||5/18/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|22||VideoLecture 14: Islamic Jerusalem (5/20/2010)||—||6/7/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|23||VideoLecture 15: Crusader Jerusalem (5/25/2010)||—||5/25/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|24||VideoLecture 16: Mamluk and Ottoman Jerusalem (5/27/2010)||—||5/31/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|25||VideoLecture 17.1: 20th Century Jerusalem (Part 1) (6/1/2010)||—||6/1/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|26||VideoLecture 17.2: 20th Century Jerusalem (Part 2) (6/3/2010)||—||6/5/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|27||VideoLecture 18: 21st Century Jerusalem (6/3/2010)||—||6/5/10||Free||View In iTunes|
|28||VideoRandom Questions for/about Dr. Cargill (6/3/10)||—||6/5/10||Free||View In iTunes|
John J. Collins interviews Joel Baden about his recently published book The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero (HarperCollins, 2013). Baden follows a prevalent North American approach in claiming to be able to detect an extensive “historical kernel” in the biblical David traditions, originally written within the lifetime of those who knew David. The interview was recorded on January 28, 2014 at Yale Divinity School, and concludes with a Q&A session.
The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero offers a controversial look at the history of King David, the founder of the nation of Israel whose bloodline leads to Jesus, challenging prevailing popular beliefs about his legend. Baden makes clear that the biblical account of David is an attempt to shape the events of his life politically and theologically. Going beyond the biblical bias, he explores the events that lie behind the David story, events that are grounded in the context of the ancient Near East and continue to inform modern Israel.
Two lectures on Ancient Israelite/Palestinian archaeology delivered by Prof. Gershon Galil (University of Haifa) are available on YouTube. They are:
“Israel and Palestine in the 11th-9th Centuries BCE” (ישראל ופלשתין במאות האחת עשרה והעשירית לפני הספירה), The Kingdom of David and Solomon in Light of New Epigraphic and Archaeological Data Conference, University of Haifa, December 2, 2013
“‘Cheap Wine’: The Earliest Hebrew Inscription Uncovered in Jerusalem” (יין חלק, הכתובת העברית הקדומה ביותר שנחשפה בירושלים), December 2013
Yet given the fragmentary nature of the inscription, its translation is highly uncertain, and it provides no sound basis for drawing meaningful conclusions about biblical literature or its contents.
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.
Videos are available on YouTube from the three-part BBC production The Bible’s Buried Secrets (2011), hosted by Francesca Stavrakopoulou of the University of Exeter. Stavrakopoulou discusses the existence of David, the development of Jewish monotheism, and the historical background giving rise to the Garden of Eden myth.
Episode 1: Did King David’s Empire Exist?
A national hero and icon for the Jewish people, and a divine king for Christians, David is best known as the boy-warrior who defeated the Philistine giant Goliath. As king, he united the tribes of Israel. But did he really rule over a vast Israelite kingdom? Did he even exist?
Episode 2: Did God Have a Wife?
When submitted to rigorous analysis, the biblical texts actually reveal quite another story. I think that the evidence now shows that the people of the Bible believed in many gods. And the scribes who composed the Bible did their best to conceal this – but not altogether successfully.
– Francesca Stavrakopoulou
Episode 3: The Real Garden of Eden
If humankind didn’t fall away from God in the first place, we wouldn’t need a redeemer.
– A priest, Episode 3