About Eric Meyers

Eric Meyers

Eric M. Meyers is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Emeritus Professor in Jewish Studies at Duke University. He founded the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke in 1972. His specialties include biblical studies, Jewish history, and archaeology. He has directed or co-directed digs in Israel and Italy for over forty years and has authored hundreds of articles, reviews, reports, 15 books and edited many others. His most recent excavations at Sepphoris were fully published in 2018 by Penn State University Press under the Eisenbraun imprint. Yale University Press published his volume with Mark A. Chancey: Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Volume 3, in 2012 in its Anchor Bible Reference Library. He is currently at work as co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Households in the Biblical World.

Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIII, October 24 – 25, 2020
Rediscovery of the Holy Land with Carol Meyers

The nineteenth century focus of the West on the Holy Land brought artists, photographers, and explorers to the region, all hoping to illuminate the world of the Bible. By the twentieth century they were joined by archaeologists seeking to “dig” the Bible.

ASOR/BAS Seminar on Biblical Archaeology, October 5 – 7, 2012

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Exile and Its Aftermath (The Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 586 BCE and 70 CE)
Normally one associates the Exile of the Judeans in 586 BCE with the tragedy of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and its aftermath. The truth is that only about a half or more of the Judeans actually were exiled and their experience in Mesopotamia was not as bad as previously thought. On the contrary we will make the case that the Babylonian Exile constituted a major turning point in Jewish history that had positive results, the main ones being that the exiles learned to pray without a temple and began to edit their sacred writings, which became the core of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Likewise, a similar interpretation of history may be made for the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Rather than result in tragedy, once again the Jewish people turned events around to their advantage and tool steps to solidify their sacred writings and develop a new liturgy that would fit the changed circumstance without a temple.

The Challenge of Hellenism and the End of the Biblical Period
The transformation of the ancient Near East under the influence of Hellenism led to foundational changes in both the material and intellectual worlds of the civilizations Hellenism encountered. In the case of the “lands of the Bible,” Hellenism (and the subsequent Greco-Roman culture) contributed to the ultimate shape and character of the two primary religions that emerged from ancient Palestine: Judaism and Christianity. Hellenism began with Alexander the Great with the introduction of Greek language and culture in the last third of the fourth century BCE and took on its Romanized form after the conquest of the land of Israel in 63 BCE. It was that form, Greco-Roman culture, that dominated the Levant till the dawn of the Middle Ages and had such a dramatic impact on the two traditions we shall consider.