Juan Manuel Tebes is a Near Eastern historian with areas of specialization in the history and archaeology of the Iron Age southern Levant and northwestern Arabia.
He is Editor-in-Chief of the scholarly journal Antiguo Oriente and Co-Editor of the Ancient Near East Monographs (ANEM). Tebes currently teaches at the University of Buenos Aires; he is also researcher at the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET). He has participated in archaeological expeditions in Jordan, Israel, and Turkey. He has also been research fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (Jerusalem), American Center of Oriental Research (Amman), Maison de l'Archéologie et de l'Ethnologie (Paris), University of Sydney, New York University, University of Michigan, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, and Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. Twice a Fulbrighter and CONICET fellow, and once a Fernand Braudel and Endeavour fellow, Tebes was awarded the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize by the Albright Institute for the best published article in Syro-Palestinian or biblical archaeology.
His research has been the subject of several works, particularly Centro y periferia en el mundo antiguo (2008), Nómadas en la encrucijada (2013), Unearthing the Wilderness (ed., 2014), Interrelaciones e identidades culturales en el Cercano Oriente Antiguo (ed. with R. Flammini, 2016), and The Desert Origins of God (ed. with Ch. Frevel, 2021).
Spring Bible & Archaeology Fest 2022, April 2 – 3, 2022
The Southern Origins of Yahweh and the Archaeology of the Desert Cults
The Hebrew Bible preserves several traditions connecting Yahweh, the God of ancient Israel, with sites or regions located to the south of Palestine. These biblical texts are diverse and include the Exodus narratives detailing Moses’s stay in the land of Midian and his relationship with his father-in-law Jethro, as well as archaic poetic texts that depict Yahweh in association with southern locales such as Seir, Edom, Sinai, and Mt. Paran. Biblical scholars have long been attracted to these texts, suggesting they are evidence that the origin of Yahweh lies in the southern desert regions and, in some cases, that Yahweh was transmitted to the Israelites by southern groups like the Midianites and Edomites. While the available archaeological evidence does not support such simplistic diffusionist perspectives, we can trace a lengthy and complex process of exchange in religious beliefs and practices with the desert south that forms the background to Yahweh worship.