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Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology via edX

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Overview

Join me for an introductory course on biblical archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-586 BCE).

In this course, we will use cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary archaeological research to explore the fascinating field of archaeology, the history of this era, and it’s “players”(e.g. Israel, Judah, Philistine, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Aram, Moab, Edom, ancient Egypt etc.).

Special focus will be given to complex relationship between archaeology, history and the bible, and how modern research interfaces between these different, and at times conflicting, sources. In particular, how can archaeology be used to understand the biblical text – and vice a versa.

The course will combine short video lectures with extensive illustrative materials, on-site discussions at relevant archaeological locations, display 3D images and discuss relevant archaeological finds.

In addition, it includes interviews with leading researchers in the field, both to discuss specific aspects, finds and sites, as well as to present different sides of debated issues.

Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction
  • What is Archaeology and what is Biblical Archaeology?
  • What time periods and areas will the course cover?
  • What is the relationship between archaeology and the Bible?
  • What is the “toolbox” of the modern archaeologist?
  • How does science impact modern biblical archaeology?
  • The Bronze Age background of biblical Israel and Judah.
Week 2: The early Iron Age
  • Who are the early Israelites?
  • How do we define them?
  • How, when, and where did the early Israelites appear?
  • How does the archaeological evidence for the appearance of early Israel compare to the biblical description?
Week 3: The First Kingdoms? A "United Monarchy" of David and Solomon?
  • Was there a “United Monarchy”?
    What does archaeology and the Bible tell us and how does this compare?
  • What are the historical and archaeological evidence of this kingdom and these figures?
Week 4: The Northern Kingdom of Israel: ca. 930-722 BCE
  • Historical sources on the Israelite Kingdom.
  • What is the archaeological evidence of the Israelite Kingdom?
  • The end of the Israelite Kingdom.
Week 5: The Southern Kingdom of Judah: ca. 930-586 BCE
  • Historical sources on the Judahite Kingdom.
  • What is the archaeological evidence of the Judahite Kingdom?
  • What is the relationship between the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
  • The end of the Kingdom of Judah.

Week 6: Daily Life and Material Culture of Ancient Judah and Israel
  • Social structure in biblical Israel and Judah. 
  • Urban and rural life in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Food and drink in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Religion and cult in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Death and Burial in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Warfare in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Language, writing, and literacy in biblical Israel and Judah.

Week 7: Neighboring Cultures in the Iron Age II
  • Philistines
  • Phoenicians
  • Transjordanian peoples
  • Aram
  • Egypt
  • Mesopotamia
Week 8: Aftermath of Iron Age Israel and Judah and Course Epilogue
  • Judahite exiles in Mesopotamia and Egypt?
  • The Persian Period restoration (ca. 500-330 BCE).
  • What Archaeology contributes to the understanding of ancient Israel and Judah.
  • Insights on the relationship between Archaeology and the Biblical Texts.
  • What to do if you want to expand your knowledge and experience in Biblical Archaeology.

Taught by

Aren Maeir

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Review for edX's Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah
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Michael S
4.0 3 months ago
Michael completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I'm not really sure about how much time I spent studying for this course, but 4 hours a week may be a truthful average. Regarding the material, Aren Maeir did fairly well in keeping his views objective, however, I sometimes discovered that his interpretations, regarding his finds, did not appear to take into account the destruction/'cultural elimination' likely caused when the ejection and subjection of the analyzed regions was imposed by invading civilizations, as well as that caused by the invaders' settlement which followed.

I've debated with myself on whether to give this a 3 or 4 star rating because of this possible setback. However, because he offered the papers of and interviews with some of the colleagues with whom he expressed disagreement, I'll give him greater credence. He really did have an inspiring class. It inspired my desire to take part in a dig in that region, however, maybe not with a team under his direction.
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