Just Who Are the Israelites: The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis


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  • Speaker: J.P. Dessel, Louis & Helen Padnos Visiting Professorship in Judaic Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Host Department: Judaic Studies, Frankel Center for
  • Date: 02/23/2014
  • Time: 10:00 AM

  • Location: Temple Emanuel, 1715 Fulton Street East, Grand Rapids

  • Description:

    Who were the Israelites and where did they come from? After 150 years of Biblical Archaeology, new data and approaches are yielding important insights on ethnogenesis, the emergence and development of new peoples, including the Israelites.  Were Israelites outsiders to ancient Canaan as the Hebrew Bible suggests?  Or were they insiders, developing out of Bronze Age society alongside many new groups including the Philistines, Phoenicians, Aramaeans, the Ammonites, Edomites, Moabites, Arabs and others? In this talk, Dr. Dessel will explore this pivotal era in Jewish history and how archaeologists and historians understand ethnogenesis and the origins of the ancient Israelites.  Our interest in these longstanding questions may also tell us more about ourselves than the ancient Israelites.