23rd Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest: Virtual for 2020

October 24 - 25, 2020 on zoom


Sign up for two full days of live lectures via Zoom from world leading Bible scholars and archaeologists. Join in via computer, tablet, or phone this October 24-25, wherever you have internet. The pandemic makes it impossible for us to gather together, as we have done annually for decades, but we will not be deterred. Sign in, and share in recent finds and new analyses, advancing understanding and new debates in the field of biblical archaeology.

Read below to see some of the exciting speakers we have and synopses of their talks.  Intrigued? Get more information about the 23rd Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest here and then sign up to join us. Early bird pricing ends soon!

Eric Cline
Digging Deeper: How Archaeology Works

As a field archaeologist, with more than 30 seasons of survey and excavation experience, I’m frequently asked questions by members of the general public, such as: “How do you know where to dig?;” “How hard is it to learn how to dig?;” “How do you know how old something is?;” “How can things that old be preserved?;” and “Do you get to keep what you find?” In this illustrated lecture, I will answer these questions, drawing in part from my book, Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology (2017) and my own fieldwork, ranging from Crete to Cyprus to California and throughout the Middle East, but also examples from elsewhere, like Ötzi the Iceman and the Terracotta Warriors. I will also discuss some of the improvements in technology that have allowed us to find new sites as well as to increase our knowledge of sites that were initially excavated long ago, including LiDAR and other forms of remote sensing. In addition to also touching upon current problems, such as looting around the world, I will end with a brief discussion of why archaeology matters and what the general public can do to help. There will also be time for members of the audience to ask their own questions.


John Ahn
Returns of Diaspora Judean Communities in the Fifth Century BCE

Studies on the fifth century BCE has been of strong interest since Frank Cross’ 1975 JBL article on the “Restoration.” The problem was initially outlined as early as 1896 by C.C. Torrey, namely, the return from Persia never happened. However, recent archaeological findings (e.g., Abraham Faust) suggest otherwise. With Oded Lipschit’s reconstruction of Ramat Rachel, a complete restoration is now offered. There are problems with these recent depictions of return and restoration, however. We address them in this lecture. We begin with a brief overview of exile (forced migrations) then turn to new concepts from “return migration studies” for a better understanding of the complex issues surrounding the fifth century BCE – not only from Persia but also Egypt, coastlands, and satellite nations like Moab (e.g. Ruth)


Jennie Ebeling
Expectation vs. Reality: Great Fails in Biblical Archaeology

Public perception of what biblical archaeology can and cannot do has changed very little since the early days of American biblical archaeology, when W.F. Albright and others aimed to discover material evidence of biblical figures and events in order to demonstrate the historical reliability of the Hebrew Bible. W.G. Dever and other scholars have shown that these efforts were largely failures. Although academic archaeologists working in Israel today focus on reconstructing the lives of ancient peoples using anthropological and scientific approaches, the American public, both religious and secular, can’t get enough of sensational “discoveries” involving the historicity of biblical figures (King David) and events (the emergence of the Israelite monarchy). In this lecture, I will describe how American archaeologists working in Israel exploit the naïve popular perception of biblical archaeology and, in doing so, fail to educate a fascinated public audience about the state-of-the-art in archaeology in Israel


Galon Fortress

Aerial photo of the Canaanite fortress. Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority


Bart Ehrman
Did Jesus Believe in Hell?

Readers of the New Testament have long assumed Jesus believed in hell and warned his readers about it.  Modern scholarship has called that view into question, and argued that eternal torment is a later Christian view, contrary to what Jesus thought.   Who is right?   This lecture will explore Jesus’ teachings about life after death.



James Tabor
When Prophecy Fails—The Dynamics of Biblical Messianic Apocalypticism

Dr. Tabor will examine two parallel movements in Late Second Temple Judaism, the Dead Sea Scroll sect and the Jesus movement, in terms of their interpretations of the Book of Daniel and their calculations that the “appointed time of the end” had grown very short. What do apocalyptic movements do “when prophecy fails,” or more accurately, when their fervent expectations and hopes based on prophetic interpretation come crashing down. What are the four basic strategies that such interpreters employ to maintain their faith? The relevance to modern biblically oriented apocalyptic systems of the 19th and 20th centuries will be briefly included towards the end.

The 23rd Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest, online – via Zoom – this October 24-25.

Two full days of live talks from world leading experts in Bible and Near East archaeology.

Carol Meyers, Eric Cline, Aren Maeir, Amy Jill-Levine, Eric Meyers, Jennie Ebeling, Mark Goodacre, and a dozen more


Speakers for the 23rd Annual Bible & Archaeology Fest

Eric Cline * Kara Cooney * William SchniedewindJohn Ahn * Marc Brettler *  Sidnie White Crawford * Jennie Ebeling  Bart Erhman * Mark Goodacre * Cynthia Shafer-Elliott * Ralph Hawkins * Amy-Jill Levine * Aren Maeir
Carol Meyers * Eric Meyers * R. Steven Notley * Steven Ortiz * James Tabor  * Joe Uziel * Ben Witherington III

Become a Member of Biblical Archaeology Society Now and Save Half Off the Regular Price of the All-Access Pass!

Join and read the current issue online now

Examine male figurines from sites in ancient Judah, which might represent the Israelite God, Yahweh. Consider early Christian depictions of Jesus holding a “magic wand.” Search for the historic location of Galatia. Explore Tel Rekhesh. Survey ancient Pandemics, and their impact on Christianity. Meditate on the meaning of “God is love.” And more.


Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend