Lecture Summaries, 2018

PROFESSOR GEORGE BROOKE
THE COPPER SCROLL: FROM ANCIENT TEMPLE TREASURE TO MODERN MEDIA STAR

This illustrated talk engaged with many fascinating aspects of the Copper Scroll from Qumran’s Cave 3, from its opening in Manchester in 1955-1956 to current debates about its significance. Alongside consideration of how it has been understood, there was some discussion of how and why it has featured in so many novels and films.

George J. Brooke is Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis Emeritus at the University of Manchester. He is Visiting Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Chester. In 2010, he was awarded a D.D. by Oxford University. He has been President both of the British Association for Jewish Studies and the Society for Old Testament Study. He has written and edited many books on Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. George Brooke played a major role in bringing the Copper Scroll to the Manchester Museum in 1997 for the Exhibition Treasures from the Dead Sea: The Copper Scroll after 2000 Years.


STEPHANIE DALLEY
THE HANGING GARDEN OF BABYLON AND THE MEANING OF EZEKIEL 31:1-9

The Hanging Garden, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, could not be found by the excavators of Babylon, nor in cuneiform texts from Babylon.  Much later Classical texts gave specific details that could not be matched from Mesopotamian evidence.  This talk showed firm evidence to identify the palace garden with the one built by the Assyrian king Sennacherib at Nineveh.  The solution, which has been the focus of Stephanie Dalley’s book (OUP 2013) and two television documentaries, throws light on Ezekiel 31:1-9, which has sometimes been dismissed by translators and commentators.

Stephanie Dalley studied Assyriology at Cambridge for a BA, then at SOAS for a PhD.   She has taken part in excavations in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Syria, and published excavated and unprovenanced cuneiform tablets from excavations, museums and private collections.  She has taught at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities.  She has lectured widely in the UK, USA, the Far East, and Europe.  Some of her work has been translated into Arabic, Italian, Japanese and Chinese.


PROFESSOR CLAUDINE DAUPHIN
LOST BEYOND THE RIVER:
WHERE WERE THE JEWS OF LATE ANTIQUE TRANSJORDAN?

Drawing by C. Dauphin of carved menorah in reuse in Byzantine church excavated in 2016
by Abila Archaeological Project, John Brown University

According to Rabbinic literature, the lands East of the River Jordan – Biblical Ammon, Moab and Edom – lay within the boundaries of the ‘‘Land of Israel”. Archaeologically, however, there is a mysterious blank for late antique Jewish communities in the region, particularly in Southern Jordan. The lecturer put forward a tantalizing hypothesis, bridging the ‘‘gap’’ between textual sources and archaeological reality. She uses Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Landscape Archaeology, drawing on her own project on ‘‘Fallahin and Nomads’’ (affiliated to the Council for British Research in the Levant).

Claudine Dauphin is Honorary Professor in Archaeology and Theology at the University of Trinity St David’s, Lampeter. Since 1975, she has directed Byzantine excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority and she has applied British methods of Landscape Archaeology to the Golan in Late Antiquity.


RICHARD DUMBRILL
DECODING THE ANCIENT BABYLONIAN MUSICAL SYSTEM

Professor Dumbrill’s talk showed how he was able to discover the nature of the musical scales that were used four thousand years ago, with audio-visual examples. This lecture included his translation and interpretation of the oldest ever written song, the Hurrian melody from Ugarit written about 3,500 years ago.

Richard Dumbrill is the leading archaeomusicologist of Ancient Near Eastern materials. He is the author of The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East (1998, 2005) and of many other books and articles. He is the Editor of ICONEA proceedings, of Near Eastern Musicology Online (NEMO), and co-editor of ARAM. His speciality is the music of Babylon from the early Bronze Age until the middle of the first millennium BCE.


DR JOHN HERRMANN
A HELLENISTIC MARBLE STATUETTE OF A MAENAD AND THE CULTS OF DIONYSOS AND KORE AT SAMARIA/SEBASTE

A graceful marble statuette now in California was excavated in the British led excavations at Sebaste during the 1930s, but the figure’s identity and significance long escaped archaeologists. An animal-skin wrap, however, identifies her as a maenad, a follower of Dionysos. The statuette was dug up with several other marble sculptures, one a figure of the child Dionysos and another of Kore, Sebaste’s principal cult. The three figures could well come from a courtyard shrine, and they pose the question of the interaction of the cults of the god of wine and the goddess of the Underworld in the religious politics of the city.

John J. Herrmann is Curator of Classical Art, Emeritus, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he curated more than a dozen temporary exhibitions on Greek and Roman art. He has excavated in Italy and travelled in Israel, Jordan, and Syria. A special theme of his research is the collaboration with scientists in the study of marble. He has also studied the cult of Demeter and Kore in its Egyptian form and explored its emanation into ancient Judaea.


PROFESSOR JODI MAGNESS
SAMSON IN STONE: NEW DISCOVERIES IN THE ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE AT HUQOQ IN ISRAEL’S GALILEE

Image from the Huqoq mosaic - courtesy of Jodi Magness
Image from the Huqoq mosaic – courtesy of Jodi Magness

Since 2011, Professor Jodi Magness has been directing excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.  These have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue building paved with stunning and unique mosaics, including biblical scenes and the first non-biblical story ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue.  In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness described these exciting finds, including the discoveries made in last summer’s season. For more information visit www.huqoq.org.

Jodi Magness is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is the author of numerous books and articles on the archaeology of ancient Palestine, including on Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jerusalem, Masada and the Roman army in the East, ancient pottery, and ancient synagogues.


PROFESSOR JODI MAGNESS
OSSUARIES AND THE BURIALS OF JESUS AND JAMES

Ossuary

In 2002, an ossuary inscribed ‘James son of Joseph brother of Jesus’ surfaced in the hands of a private collector. A few years later, a Discovery Channel documentary and related book claimed that the tomb of Jesus and his family has been found in Jerusalem. In this slide-illustrated lecture, the validity of these sensational claims in light of archaeological and historical evidence for ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem, including the burials of Jesus and his brother James was examined.


PROFESSOR SARAH PEARCE
FRESH LIGHT ON CLEOPATRA

From Josephus we have one of the most damning of all ancient portraits of Cleopatra VII, highlighting her alleged malevolence towards Jews in her kingdom and towards her neighbour, Herod the Great. In this talk, Sarah Pearce explored the evidence for Cleopatra and contemporary Jews, drawing on a number of ancient sources including inscriptions, portraits and literary evidence.

Sarah Pearce is Ian Karten Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Southampton. She is the author of The Land of the Body: Studies in Philo’s Representation of Egypt (2007) and of other studies on the history and culture of Jews in the Graeco-Roman world. Her recent interests focus, in particular, on our understanding of Egypt’s Jews under the Ptolemaic rule and in the early Roman Empire.


PROFESSOR LARRY SCHIFFMAN
THE BIBLE AND ITS INTERPRETATION IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

The Dead Sea Scrolls are of immense significance for the history of the text and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. This illustrated lecture discussed the character of the biblical texts found at Qumran and their significance for the history of the biblical text. It explored the various types of biblical interpretations in the Dead Sea Scrolls and their contribution to the history of Judaism and Christianity.

Prof. Larry Schiffman is Judge Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, and a leading authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls.


PROFESSOR JOAN TAYLOR
FINDING QUMRAN CAVE 1Q ARTEFACTS

This presentation reviewed the aims and achievements of the International Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archival Sources. The work thus far has concentrated on materials connected with Qumran Cave 1Q, 3Q and 11Q. There has been a particular focus on the Cave 1Q jars dispersed around the globe in various museums and collections. Cave 11Q linen has been radiocarbon dated with interesting results. The digitisation of the Allegro archive has included a rare film of the opening of the Copper Scroll. This is an ongoing research project of King’s College London, the University of Malta and the Faculty of Theology, Lugano University, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Joan E. Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London. A former recipient of an Irene Levi-Sala literary award for a study of the archaeology of Israel, she has wide-ranging interests, with a principal focus on Israel-Palestine in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.