Dr. Andrea M. Berlin is the James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology at Boston University. She has been an archaeologist since 1973. She recently wrapped up seven seasons at Tel Kedesh, in Israel, co-directing the excavation of a 20,000 sq. ft. imperial administrative compound from the era of the Maccabees. Among her four books and over 40 articles is The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History and Ideology. She is a prize-winning lecturer, and in 2009 she received a national award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XXV, October 8 & 9, 2022
Hellenism and its Consequences
Alexander the Great’s conquests made Greek culture fashionable throughout ancient eastern lands – but not for everybody. In the southern Levant, two neighboring peoples reacted in very different ways to Hellenizing styles and ideas. The Idumeans, living in the fertile Shephelah (ancient Philistia), embraced Mediterranean aesthetics. The Judeans, living in the arid central hills, had a more complicated response. In the second century B.C.E., Hasmonean dynasts adopted aspects of Hellenistic culture that reinforced their ruling authority. But when Roman rule replaced the independent Jewish kingdom in the first century B.C.E., Judeans began using native goods exclusively. This “household Judaism” infused homes with a common material and cultural identity – but also led to a radical sensibility that in turn contributed to the fateful decision to revolt against Rome.
BAS Scholars Series, December 1, 2021
The Rise of the Maccabees: What Archaeology Reveals About Antiquity’s Last Independent Jewish Kingdom
This joyous holiday has its origins in the early triumphs of the Maccabees, the founding family of the Hasmonean kingdom of the second and first centuries B.C.E.
In her presentation, Berlin examines the complicated rise of this still poorly understood Jewish kingdom that arose amid complicated geopolitics in the centuries following the death of Alexander the Great. It is commonly thought, based on 1 Maccabees, that Judah Maccabee founded the Hasmonean state around 160 B.C.E., thanks to the heroic resistance movement he had started. Yet on the ground, these years were long considered invisible. Few sites or archaeological materials were thought to date to this period.
New archaeological work across Israel, however, has identified the world in which the events described by ancient authors played out. We now know it took a full generation for the Maccabees to establish a truly independent kingdom. Berlin brings this new archaeological evidence into dialogue with a fresh look at the text’s legitimizing concerns and a consideration of the wider historical stage, providing a new understanding of how and why the Maccabean kingdom arose.
ASOR/BAS Seminar on Biblical Archaeology, January 11 – 13, 2013
Behind the Return: The Real World of Ezra and Nehemiah
The Maccabees and After
Revolt! Why the Jews Took on Rome