With Alice Mandell
Called by one author, "a preface to Biblical History," the Amarna tablets describe the Canaanite world just before the Israelites arrived. These diplomatic messages were sent from Canaanite kings and others to the Pharaoh Akhenaton, describing and complaining about various circumstances. These cuneiform tablets were discovered in Amarna, Egypt, in the late 19th century and are still being discussed and debated by Egyptologists and biblical scholars. In this conversation, Alice Mandell, Assistant Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature in the University of Wisconsin Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, describes some of the latest discoveries and latest debates about these tablets and the world they describe.
With John DeLancey
This Easter, the Church that marks the traditional location of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is coming out of a 4 million dollar renovation. John DeLancey, co-leader of our Israel tour next year, is just back from another visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and discusses the newly renovated edicule in its rotunda. The edicule, a small structure that covers the tomb of Jesus, has been rebuilt and strengthened against collapse. In addition, we review news coverage of a recent open house at the Israel Antiquities Authority warehouse where relics from the time of Jesus are displayed for reporters.
With Clyde Billington
Catching up with some of the archaeology stories in the news digests of the latest issue of our ARTIFAX magazine, co-editor Clyde Billington and I discuss some new Dead Sea Scrolls fragments that have been found. That is, they were found in some caves along the western shore of the Dead Sea but not at Qumran, rather further south near Masada, along Wadi Tze’elim. Another discovery in the same cave (known as the Cave of the Skulls) is the Jerusalem Papyrus, which was one of our Top Ten biblical archaeology stories of 2016. This papyrus contains what appears to be the oldest mention of Jerusalem in the Hebrew language, dating to the 7th century B.C. And finally, we discuss the recent proposition put forth by Douglas Petrovich, that the alphabetic Canaanite inscriptions from Wadi el-Hol in Egypt and Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai were actually written by ancient Hebrews.
With John DeLancey
Our annual tradition continues, reviewing some of the most interesting excavations planned for 2017. This year's list includes Kiriath Jearim and Tel Shimron, new excavations, as well as Tel Lachish, Tel es-Safi/Gath, Tel Shiloh, and Bethsaida.
With Craig Evans
More on Jesus and the archaeology that illumines his three year ministry, including more on what may be his family home in Israel, the ossuaries that are known (suspected at least) of his contemporaries, and one archaeologist whose attempt to connect a tomb to Jesus went way off base.