Robert Deutsch is a Biblical archaeologist, epigrapher and numismatist. He specializes in ancient West Semitic inscriptions from the First Temple Period, Jewish iconography and ancient coins, especially the coinage of the First Jewish Revolt Against Rome (which was the topic of his PhD. thesis submitted to the Tel Aviv University). From 1992 until 2004 he excavated with David Ussishkin and Israel Finkelstein at the Biblical site of Tell Megiddo (Armageddon) and supervised area M, previously excavated by Gottlieb Schumacher in 1902. As lecturer at the Haifa University, Deutsch taught ancient inscriptions from the First Temple Period, epigraphy, paleography and the development of the West Semitic alphabet.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XVII, November 21 – 23, 2014
Hezekiah King of Judah – The Epigraphic Evidence
According to the Biblical tradition, Hezekiah’s 29-year reign was a watershed moment in Judah’s history, during which the Assyrian king Sennacherib invaded Judah and destroyed the fortified cities – including Lachish, the most important town after the capital. The Biblical author writes that Hezekiah prepared himself to confront the invasion of the Assyrians by constructing the Siloam tunnel in order to bring the waters of the Gihon spring outside the city walls to a reservoir inside the city. Unexpectedly, Sennacherib spared Jerusalem and its king in exchange for a heavy tribute of gold and silver. Through an examination of epigraphic evidence, this presentation will seek to answer the following questions: How reliable is the Biblical source for this account? How much of it is valid history and how much of it is fiction? And finally, is Hezekiah a historical figure or an invented character?
Bible & Archaeology Fest XV, November 16 – 18, 2012
Publishing Unprovenanced Biblical Antiquities – Encouraging Looters or Rescuing History?
The legitimacy of collecting and publishing antiquities that have no secure provenance is one of the most controversial topics in modern archaeology. The debate involves two main camps: 1) Members of the first camp express a negative approach and argue that finds without known provenances are to be declared suspicious – therefore ignored – and actively seek to prevent publication on such objects. 2) Members of the second camp express a positive approach and argue that the corpus of the epigraphic material unearthed in controlled excavations is significantly smaller than that from unprovenanced sources. Therefore, avoiding the majority of the historical information just because the material was found by non-professionals willfully ignores the tremendous scholarly value some of this material may have. This presentation will examine the crucial role that unprovenanced artifacts have played in our understanding of the Biblical world, and make a case for why their publications should be considered rescue publications – their permanent value will increase with time.