Carol Meyers is the Mary Grace Wilson Professor in the Department of Religion at Duke University. For more than a decade, Dr. Meyers has served as the director of Duke’s graduate program in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the director of undergraduate studies in religion, and as the associate director of the Women’s Studies Program. Professor Meyers is also serving as is president-elect of the Society of Biblical Literature and is a trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research and its Jerusalem affiliate, the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation. Professor Meyers has served on the editorial boards of many reference works and journals and was a senior editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East and a consulting editor for both The Contemporary Torah and The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary. In addition to publishing more than 450 articles, reports, and reviews, Meyers has authored, coauthored, or edited 17 books, including several Anchor Bible commentaries, co-authored with Eric Meyers. Her most recent book, also co-authored with Meyers, is Excavations at Ancient Nabratein: Synagogue and Environs. A fully revised edition of her landmark book on women in the period of the Hebrew Bible will appear in November 2012: Rediscovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context.
ASOR/BAS Seminar on Biblical Archaeology, October 5 – 7, 2012
Holy Land Archaeology: Where the Past Meets the Present
Archaeology is commonly understood as the study of human life in the past by analyzing the material remains of the past. But it is not usually recognized that the archaeological quest for the past is inevitably shaped by the excavators’ present. This presentation will examine four case studies that illustrate the intersection between the discoveries at ancient sites and the pressures of the modern world. She will first present the stunning mosaics of the Beth Alpha synagogue in the context of the early Jewish settlement of the “Promised Land.” Then the excavations of Hazor, the largest biblical-era site in Israel, will be set against the background of the early days of the State of Israel. Next, the ruins atop the towering plateau of Masada near the Dead Sea, perhaps the best-known of all the archaeological sites in Israel, will be considered in light of the nationalist loyalties of the excavators. Finally, the discoveries at Sepphoris, a major Galilean city in the Roman and Byzantine periods, are viewed in relation to the turmoil in the Holy Land since the first intifada.
Archaeology and the Hidden Religious Culture of Israelite Women
Who were the most important religious figures in ancient Israel? Most people would say that the priests were. But they would be wrong. The major arena of religious life for most people in the period of the Hebrew Bible was the household, and the major figures in household religious activities were women. Drawing on material from her soon-to-be-released book, Rediscovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context (Oxford University Press, 2012), Professor Meyers will take you into the Israelite household, largely invisible in the pages of the Bible. She will present an array of archaeological materials—special objects as well as mundane ones—that are the evidence for household religious culture. She will also use fascinating ethnographic data from the reports of travelers in the Ottoman Empire and of anthropologists studying pre-modern Middle Eastern peoples to offer glimpses of the dynamics of women’s household religious activities.