Enjoy a Mini-Course in Biblical Archaeology

World-Renowned Archeologist Israel Finkelstein Shares His Knowledge in New Video Series

Israel Finkelstein and Matthew Adams

Israel Finkelstein (left) and Matthew Adams (right) at the Tel Megiddo excavation. Photo courtesy Matthew Adams.

“This is a class, so you better come prepared,” said Matthew Adams, Director of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. Over the past year, Adams sat down numerous times with Israel Finkelstein—the world-renowned Israeli archeologist—to discuss what archaeology has to say about the lands of the Bible, from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period. The result is an impressive and highly educational video series, freely available through YouTube, that offers viewers an opportunity to learn from one of the leading experts in the field.

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With videos on the rise of ancient Israel, the United Monarchy, and more, Adams and Finkelstein take the viewer on a journey through the history of ancient Israel from the perspective of an archaeologist who has been working in the field for more than 40 years. The episode “Jerusalem in Biblical Times” (see below) is an especially great episode to watch, both because it is a nice stand-alone presentation and, as Adams says, “it’s pretty edgy.” The episode highlights many of the discussions, and even disagreements, that surround ancient Jerusalem and how archaeologists often reach dramatically different conclusions and interpretations when looking at the same evidence.

Israel Finkelstein has been a mainstay in Israeli archaeology for more than four decades and has carried out digs at Shiloh, Megiddo, Kiryat Jearim, and many other sites. As one of the lead proponents of the Low Chronology, Finkelstein has often been termed a minimalist when it comes to biblical history, although Finkelstein himself laughs off this claim, instead preferring to consider himself a centrist. Over the years, Finkelstein has drastically changed the way that archaeology in Israel is conducted and has been a constant voice in the discussion of how scholars reconstruct the history of ancient Israel and how the Bible is used and interpreted as a historical source. This new series provides viewers with Finkelstein’s view of the Bible and archaeology in one spot, for all to watch, enjoy, and examine.

The video series, titled “Conversations in the Archaeology and History of Ancient Israel with Israel Finkelstein,” consists of roughly two dozen videos, all produced by the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research. The series is the first in a collection of videos that the Albright plans to release on YouTube in the coming years.

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A “Centrist” at the Center of Controversy: BAR Interviews Israel Finkelstein by Hershel Shanks

A debate rages among Biblical archaeologists: Was there a United Monarchy under David and Solomon? Should impressive ancient structures throughout Israel be attributed to Solomon or were they built a century later? How old is the text of the Bible? A key figure in this debate is Israel Finkelstein, codirector of the Megiddo excavations and head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology.


Searching for Israelite Origins by Israel Finkelstein

The emergence of Israel in the hill country of Canaan poses some of the most intriguing questions now occupying archaeologists as well as Biblical scholars. The archaeological reflection of the “Israelite settlement”1 is dozens of hill-country sites dated to the period that archaeologists call Iron Age I (c. 1200–1000 B.C.).


The Iron Age Sites in the Negev Highlands: Military Fortresses or Nomads Settling Down? by Israel Finkelstein

Rudolph Cohen’s redating of some of his “Solomonic fortresses” to the Persian period will not be enough to satisfy many scholars. But the uncertainty of dating is not the only problem. Some archaeologists, including myself, question whether these structures are military fortresses and even whether they are Israelite sites at all.

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