About Cynthia Shafer-Elliott

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott

Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott is an Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Baylor University. Her expertise and research focus on the historical, cultural, and social contexts of ancient Israel and Judah as reflected within both the archaeological record and the Hebrew Bible (with a particular interest in the Former Prophets). More specifically, Dr. Shafer-Elliott’s research emphasizes households and issues of food, gender, religion, and social memory. She is an experienced field archaeologist and is part of the archaeological excavations at Tel Halif and Tel Abel Beth Maacah in Israel.


Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XXVII, November 22 – 24, 2024


Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIV, October 16 – 17, 2021
What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat?

Food is a basic necessity in that it sustains our very existence – this is obviously true. But in today’s society, food plays a much larger, cultural role with entire TV channels dedicated to the preparation and consumption of meals hosted by celebrity chefs. This interest in food has spilled over into the academic realm where research into various aspects related to food in ancient societies has become a topic of great interest. Understanding what meals were cooked and how helps our understanding of daily life in ancient societies, including ancient Israel. In this presentation, Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott will address the modest question that will leave you hungry for more, “What did the ancient Israelites eat?


Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIII, October 24 – 25, 2020
Women in Ancient Israel

Biblical scholars and archaeologists of the Southern Levant have turned their attention to the everyday lives of the average ancient Israelite woman. This lecture will
focus on the essential economic role women had in their households. In particular, I will highlight women’s role in managing the household’s foodways.


Bible & Archaeology Fest XXII, November 22 – 24, 2019
Home Sweet Home: The Ancient Israelite House in Context

The form of the ancient Israelite house during the Iron Age has been the subject of much research and discussion within both the archaeology of and Biblical Studies. This presentation, however, will look at the form of the house and how it helps us to better understand the function of both the house and the household members.


Bible & Archaeology Fest XXI, November 16 – 18, 2018
Cooking in Ancient Israel

The subject of food has taken a central role on the cultural stage. There are numerous podcasts, television and radio shows, celebrity chefs, and even entire television channels dedicated to the cooking of food. More recently, our interest in food is attempting to reclaim our diets from cheap, processed fast food to what is naturally good for us and for the environment. This trend in food has even spread to the academic arena and has been the topic of much research in various fields, including Biblical Studies and Biblical Archaeology. Studies on topics such as feasting, animal and plant remains, baking, cooking pots and ovens comprise just a small portion of the good work being done by scholars who specialize in ancient Israel. This particular talk is interested in the food prepared by the average ancient Israelite. By utilizing the methods of household archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, and texts from the Hebrew Bible, we will attempt to better understand what and how the Israelites prepared their food on a daily basis.