Gary Rendsburg serves as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. His teaching and research focus on ‘all things ancient Israel’ – primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology. His secondary interests include post-Biblical Judaism, the Hebrew manuscript tradition, and Jewish life in the Middle Ages. Professor Rendsburg is the author of seven books and about 170 articles; his most popular book is The Bible and the Ancient Near East, co-authored with the late Cyrus Gordon. In addition, he has produced two courses for the ‘Teaching Company – Great Courses’ program, one on ‘The Book of Genesis’ and one on ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’. Prof Rendsburg has visited all the major archaeological sites in Israel, Egypt, and Jordan in addition to excavating at Tel Dor and Caesarea. He previously taught at Cornell University and Canisius College, and he has served as visiting professor or visiting research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Colgate University, UCLA, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Sydney, and the Hebrew University. His forthcoming book is entitled How the Bible Is Written, to be published by Eisenbrauns in 2018.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017
The Bible: From Early Hebrew Writing to the Text in our Hands
How did the Bible reach us? When did writing begin in ancient Israel? What were the physical forms of this writing? On clay, stone, papyrus, parchment? What is the earliest Biblical text found in an archaeological excavation? Once the Biblical books were finalized and canonized, how were they transmitted? How do the Dead Sea Scrolls fit in? What happens during the 1500 years from the Qumran texts until the age of printing? In short, and to repeat the first question, how did the Bible reach us? During this illustrated lecture, we will attempt to answer all of these questions as we explore the many modes of writing, with special attention to the use of parchment scrolls in the ancient period, followed by the shift to the codex (the forerunner of the book) during the medieval period.