#1567

2017-04-18

The Amarna Letters

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.

tags: Egypt cuneiform Amarna Letters Akhenaten Akkadian Canaan

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#1562

2017-03-14

Dead Sea Scrolls & the Sinai Inscription

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.

tags: Dead Sea Scrolls Alphabetic Cave of the Skulls Jerusalem Papyrus Serabit el-Khadem Sinai Inscriptions Wadi el-Hol Wadi Tze'elim

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#1534

2016-07-13

Daily Life in Ancient Israel

With Cynthia Shafer-Elliott

There are many mentions of food in the Bible but what was their daily diet like? That's one of the questions that concerns Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Archaeology at William Jessup University. We discussed what archaeology has dug up to complement what the Bible tells us about eating habits of the ancient Israelites.

tags: Israel Bible Tel Halif diet recipes food

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#1513

2016-02-17

Remembering Yoram Tsafrir

With Yoram Tsafrir

During a visit to Israel in 2001 I had a chance to talk with archaeologist Yoram Tsafrir at Hebrew University about his excavations at Tel Betshean. Tel Betshean is one of the most interesting stops on our tours: a Roman city — one of the cities of the decapolis in Jesus’ time, when it was known as Scythopolis. It sits in the shadow of a large tel upon which sat the Old Testament city of Betshean, the walls upon which the bodies of Saul and Jonathan were hung upon after their defeat by the Philistines. Yoram Tsafrir died last November, he was 77. We present this interview from our archives in his memory.

tags: Philistines Decapolis Betshean Scythopolis

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#1435

2014-07-01

The Language Jesus Spoke

With Seth Sanders

Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a brief dispute about it, but what language DID Jesus speak? What was the linquistic climate of first century Palestine? To find some answers, we queried Seth Sanders, professor of religion at Trinity College in Hartford CT. Seth is the editor of the Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions.

tags: Jesus Greek Aramaic Latin Hebrew Linguistics

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