The new BAS Scholars Series program offers a quarterly, stand-alone presentation by noted scholars of the Bible and archaeology. Each insightful, hour-long online presentation via Zoom focuses on one select subject of the speaker’s expertise. This December 1, join Dr. Andrea Berlin for her compelling talk on the rise of the Maccabees.
The Rise of the Maccabees:
What Archaeology Reveals About Antiquity’s Last Independent Jewish Kingdom
A timely talk for the Holiday season!
This joyous holiday has its origins in the early triumphs of the Maccabees, the founding family of the Hasmonean kingdom of the second and first centuries B.C.E.
In her presentation, Berlin examines the complicated rise of this still poorly understood Jewish kingdom that arose amid complicated geopolitics in the centuries following the death of Alexander the Great. It is commonly thought, based on 1 Maccabees, that Judah Maccabee founded the Hasmonean state around 160 B.C.E., thanks to the heroic resistance movement he had started. Yet on the ground, these years were long considered invisible. Few sites or archaeological materials were thought to date to this period.
New archaeological work across Israel, however, has identified the world in which the events described by ancient authors played out. We now know it took a full generation for the Maccabees to establish a truly independent kingdom. Berlin brings this new archaeological evidence into dialogue with a fresh look at the text’s legitimizing concerns and a consideration of the wider historical stage, providing a new understanding of how and why the Maccabean kingdom arose.
Andrea M. Berlin is the James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology at Boston University. She has been excavating in the eastern Mediterranean for over 40 years, working on projects from Troy in Turkey to Coptos in southern Egypt to Paestum in Italy. Her specialty is the Near East from the time of Alexander the Great through the Roman period, about which she has written or edited six books and more than 70 articles. She is especially interested in studying the realities of daily life, and in exploring the intersection of political and cultural change in antiquity. [More Bio]
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