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Introduction to Biblical Archaeology

Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies 241/Jewish Studies 241

Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies 241, or Jewish Studies 241, meets on Thursday night between
6:30 and 9:15 pm in Room 2080 Grainger. Jeffrey A. Blakely is the instructor for the class. Office hours
are Thursday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:00 pm at Caf Espresso Royale (next to Einstein Bagels on State
Street) and Thursday evening from 5:15 to 6:15 pm in the classroom should it be available, or, failing that,
outside and in front of the classroom. Other times can be arranged by calling my home number, 238-2227
(before 9 pm). I can also be reached by EMAIL at I can usually guarantee a response
within 24 hours.

Each class consists of a 120-minute lecture, a 10-minute break, and a 30-minute discussion covering the
lecture, the assigned readings, and, if desired, optional readings. The sequence of lecture and discussion may
vary. Grading for the course is based on two in-class map quizzes, (totaling 15%), a short book review
(10%), an annotated bibliography (20%), a take home mid-term (20%) and a take home final exam (35%).
The final exam will be distributed during the final class period and will be due via email before 9:25 pm
Thursday 22 December or that evening between 7:25 and 9:25 pm in Room 144 Van Hise. Those auditing
the course will be required neither to take exams nor to prepare papers, but will be expected to complete the
readings and participate in class discussion.

Students needing special accommodations to ensure full participation in this course should contact me as
early as possible. All information will remain confidential. You also may contact the McBurney Disability
Resource Center ( regarding questions about campus policies/services.

I wish to fully include persons with special challenges in this course. Please let me know if you need any
special accommodations in the curriculum, instruction, or assessments for this course to enable you to fully
participate. Every effort will be made to maintain the confidentiality of the information you share with me.
You may also contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center, 702 W. Johnson St, (608) 263-2741, if you
have questions about campus policies and services.

One textbook is required. It is available to order on-line from Amazon, Abe, Barnes and Noble, or similar
venues often for a dollar or less plus shipping:

Silberman, Neil A.
1982 Digging for God and Country. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Two textbooks are optional/recommended and also are available to order on-line Amazon, Abe, Barnes
and Noble, or similar venues:

King, Philip J., and Lawrence E. Stager

2002 Life in Biblical Israel. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press.

Rainey, Anson F. and R. Stephen Notley

2005 Sacred Bridge: Cartas Atlas of the Biblical World. Jerusalem: Carta. [Note: there is a
newer slightly improved second edition. It is nice. It is more expensive.]

The following textbooks are not assigned, but the relevant pages are listed as optional readings in case a
different view of the material is desired. These are relevant after the fourth week.

Ben-Tor, Amnon, ed.

1992 The Archaeology of Ancient Israel. New Haven: Yale University Press. DS111 A2 M3513.

Levy, Thomas Evan, ed.

1995 The Archaeology of Society in the Holy Land. New York: Facts On File. DS112 A73 1994.

Mazar, Amihai
1990 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000 - 586 B.C.E. Garden City: Doubleday. BS621 M39

Meyers, Eric M., and Mark A. Chancey

2012 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: Alexander to Constantine. New Haven: Yale University
Press. DS111 M394 2012 and electronic version

Stern, Ephraim
2001 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732-332
B.C.E). Garden City: Doubleday. BS621 S785 2001

The syllabus and readings for the course are as follows:

Week 1 (8 September) - Introduction to the Course; and the History of Biblical Archaeology, part 1, and the
Geography of the Region

Required Reading: Order the textbook Digging for God and Country.

Week 2 (15 September) - History of Biblical Archaeology, part 2, and Going on a Dig

Required Readings: Read Digging for God and Country. Seek book reviews or comparable
books/articles and examine them.

Look at maps showing archaeological sites and the geography of modern Israel and Jordan

Week 3 (22 September) - History of Biblical Archaeology, part 3, and What Archaeology Can and Cannot

Required Readings: Read Digging for God and Country. Seek book reviews or comparable
books/articles and examine them.

Look at maps showing archaeological sites and the geography of modern Israel and Jordan

Week 4 (29 September) - The Kingdom of Solomon, the Kingdom of David, and the Kingdom of Saul (first
map quiz)

Required Reading: Larry G. Herr (1997), The Iron II Period: Emerging Nations, Biblical
Archaeologist 60 (3): 114-132. Electronic on-line

John Monson (2000) The New Ain Dara Temple: Closest Solomonic Parallel,
Biblical Archaeology Review 26 (3): 20-35, 67.

Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Yosef Garfinkel (2015), The Puzzling Doorways of Solomons
Temple, Biblical Archaeology Review 41 (4): 34-41.

Eilat Mazar (2006), Did I Find Davids Palace? Biblical Archaeology Review 32 (1): 16-
27, 70.

Avraham Faust (2012), Did Eilat Mazar Find Davids Palace, Biblical Archaeology
Review 38 (5): 47-52, 70.

Nadav Naaman (2014) The Interchange Between Bible & Archaeology, Biblical
Archaeology Review 40 (1): 57-61, 68-69.

Optional Readings for this section: Rainey and Notley, pp. 157-89

Mazar, pp. 368-402

Ben-Tor, pp. 302-73

Levy, pp. 368-98

Week 5 (6 October) - More on the Kingdoms of David and Solomon, Pharaoh Shishak, and Destruction
(book review due at 6:30 pm)

Required Reading: Yigal Levin (2012), Did Pharaoh Shishak Attack Jerusalem, Biblical
Archaeology Review 38 (4): 42-52, 66.

Kenneth Kitchen (1989), Where Did Solomons Gold Go? and Biblical Archaeology
Review 15 (3): 30, 32-33.

Jeffrey R. Zorn (2012), Is T1 Davids Tomb, Biblical Archaeology Review 38 (6): 44-52,

Hershel Shanks, ed., (2011), Jerusalem Roundup, Biblical Archaeology Review 37 (2):
35-45, 78.

Hershel Shanks, ed., (1999), Has David Been Found in Egypt? Biblical Archaeology
Review 25 (1): 34-35, or,
Kenneth Kitchen (1997), A Possible Mention of David in the Tenth Century BCE, and Deity
*Dod as Dead as a Dodo, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 76: 29-44.

Week 6 (13 October) - Those Who Say, Not So Fast. Other Chronologies.

Required Reading: Thomas L. Thompson (1999), The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the
Myth of Israel. London: Basic Books, pp. xi-xvi, 200-10.

Israel Finkelstein (1996), The Archaeology of the United Monarchy: An Alternative View.
Levant 28: 177-87.

N.A. Silberman and Israel Finkelstein (2001), The Bible Unearthed. NY: Free Press, pp.
123-45, 340-45.

Yosef Garfinkel (2011), The Birth and Death of Biblical Minimalism, Biblical
Archaeology Review 37 (3): 46-53, 78.

Philip Davies, The End of Biblical Minimalism.

Christa Case Bryant (2013), Fact-Checking the Bible with Spades, Christian Science
Monitor, October 14, 2013, pp. 27-32.

Week 7 (20 October) - The Syro-Ephraimite War and the Coming of Assyria (mid-term exam passed out)

Required Reading: Larry G. Herr (1997), The Iron II Period: Emerging Nations, Biblical
Archaeologist 60 (3): 132-183.

Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager (2002), Life in Biblical Israel, pp. 21-35, 85-122.

Lidar Sapir-Hen (2016), Pigs as an Ethnic Marker? You Are What You Eat. Biblical
Archaeology Review 42 (6): 41-43,70.

Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira (2016), Relics in Rubble: The Temple Mount Sifting
Project,Biblical Archaeology Review 42 (6): 44-55, 64.

Optional Readings for this section: Rainey and Notley, pp. 225-53

Mazar, pp. 403-62

Stern, pp. 3-41

Ben-Tor, pp. 302-73

Levy, pp. 416-31

Week 8 (27 October) - The Death of Sargon II of Assyria and the Development of Hezekiahs Judah (mid-
term exam due at 6:30 pm)

Required Reading: Irene Winter (1981), "Royal Rhetoric and the Development of Historical Narrative
in Neo-Assyrian Reliefs," Studies in Visual Communication 7 (2) 2-38.

Irit Ziffer (2013), Portraits of Ancient Israelite Kings, Biblical Archaeology Review 39 (5):

41-51, 78.

Shlomo Bunimovitz and Avraham Faust (2002), Ideology in Stone: Understanding the Four-
Room House, Biblical Archaeology Review 28 (4): 32-41, 59-60.

Hillel Geva (2016), Ancient Jerusalem: The Village, the Town, the City, Biblical
Archaeology Review 42 (3): 51-53.

Joel S. Burnett, Ammon, Moab and Edom: Gods and Kingdoms East of the Jordan, Biblical
Archaeology Review 42 (6): 26-40, 66-67.

Robert Deutsch (2002),Lasting Impressions: New Bullae Reveal Egyptian-Style Emblems

on Judahs Royal Seals, Biblical Archaeology Review 28 (4): 42-51, 60.

Week 9 (3 November) - Sennacheribs Wrath and the Destruction of Hezekiahs Judah

Required Reading: Oded Borowski (1995): Hezekihs Reform and the Revolt Against Assyria,
Biblical Archaeologist 58 (3): 148-55.

Oded Borowski (2005), Tel Halif: In the Path of Sennacherib, Biblical Archaeology Review 31
(3): 24-35.

(Hershel Shanks) (2013), Will King Hezekiah Be Dislodged from His Tunnel? Biblical
Archaeology Review 39 (5): 52-61, 73.

Lawson Younger (2003), Israelites in Exile, Biblical Archaeology Review 29 (6): 36-45, 65-66.

Gate Shrine at Lachish:


Toilet in Gate at Lachish:


Week 10 (10 November) - Herod the Great

Required Reading: Mark Chancey and Adam Porter (2001), The Archaeology of Roman Palestine,
Near Eastern Archaeology 64 (4): 164-203.

Andrea M. Berlin (2014), Herod the Tastemaker, Near Eastern Archaeology 77 (2): 108-19.

Hershel Shanks (2014), Was Herods Tomb Really Found, Biblical Archaeology Review 40 (3):

Gyozo Vrs (2012), Machaerus: Where Solome Danced and John the Baptist Was Beheaded,
Biblical Archaeology Review 38 (5): 30-41, 68.

Gyozo Vrs (2015), Anastylosis at Machaerus, Biblical Archaeology Review 41 (1): 52-61.

Yitzhak Magen (1998), Ancient Israels Stone Age: Purity in Second Temple Times, Biblical
Archaeology Review 24 (5): 46-52

Optional Readings for this section: Rainey and Notley, pp. 334-48, 383-95

Meyers and Chancey, pp. 50-138

Levy, pp. 446-68

Week 11 (17 November) - Guest Lecturer, Gretchen Ellis; The Qumran Community and The Dead Sea

Required Readings: Magen and Peleg's Excavation Report. Read pages 24-54 and 62-66, but
these are pages 30-60 and 68-72 of the pdf document itself

Van der Toorn's Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible

Week 12 (24 November) - No Class, Thanksgiving

Week 13 (1 December) - The First Jewish War and Its Aftermath (second map quiz)

Required Reading: Jodi Magness (2012),Whats the Poop on Ancient Toilets and Toilet Habits?
Near Eastern Archaeology 75 (2): 80-87.

Hillel Geva (1997), Searching for Roman Jerusalem, Biblical Archaeology Review 23 (6): 34-45,

R. Steven Notley and Jeffrey P. Garcia (2014), Queen Helenas Jerusalem Palace In a Parking
Lot? Biblical Archaeology Review 40 (3): 28-40, 62 and 64.

Dan Gill (2001), Its Natural: Masada Ramp Was Not a Roman Engineering Miracle, Biblical
Archaeology Review 27 (5): 22-31, 56-57.

Gwyn Davies (2014), The Masada Siege From the Roman Viewpoint, Biblical Archaeology
Review 40 (4): 28-336, 70-71.,7340,L-4868873,00.html

Week 14 (8 December) - Ancient Israel in the 11th Century BCE (annotated bibliography due)

Required Reading: Bloch-Smith, Elizabeth and Beth Alpert Nakhai (1999), A Landscape Comes
to Life: The Iron Age I, Near Eastern Archaeology 62 (2): 62-92, 101-27.

Optional Readings for this section: Rainey and Notley, pp. 104-56

Mazar, pp. 295-67

Ben-Tor, pp. 258-301

Levy, pp. 349-67

Week 15 (15 December) - Ancient Israel in the 12th and Late 13th Centuries BCE (pass out final exam)

Required Reading: TBA

Final Exam (22 December) - Due before 9:25 pm through Email; or, in a room as yet unknown

For all papers and tests there will be no extensions deadlines without penalty except in extreme circumstances.
Papers may be submitted in hard copy or as an attached file through my EMAIL account (either Word or
WordPerfect, or as a .pdf). The format for papers will be presented separately.