Forthcoming Lectures

Jews In Arabia
Gary A. Rendsburg

Tuesday 15 September 2020

We are pleased to announce our 4th virtual lecture, when Professor Gary A. Rendsburg of the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University will be speaking on ‘Jews in Arabia‘.

Join us to hear how textual evidence can cast light on the lesser-known Jewish communities living in the Arabian peninsula, in the period from 70 CE to the rise of Islam in the 7th century.

Jews lived in oases in northern Arabia, as Jewish tribes in and around Medina, and even formed the basis of a Jewish kingdom in Yemen — while the wealthiest among them arranged for their burials back in the land of Israel, despite the great distances involved.

The narrative reminds us how time and again the historian of Judaism needs to have the broadest cultural and geographical horizons.

The lecture last approximately 1 hour, including a Q&A session, and will be held via Zoom.

If you would like to take part, please email our secretary, Mrs Sheila Ford ( to register and get instructions on how to join the session.

About the lecturer

Professor Rendsburg serves as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History and holds the rank of Distinguished Professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.  His teaching and research focus on ‘all things ancient Israel’ – primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology.  He is the author of numerous articles and seven books, most recently How the Bible Is Written (Hendrickson, 2019). His secondary interests include ancient Egypt, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew manuscript tradition, and Jewish life in the Middle Ages. 

The Holy City? Fourth-Century Jerusalem in the Light of the New Archaeological Data
Yana Tchekhanovets

Thursday 1 October 2020

Givati excavations
View of the excavations of Givati (courtesy of Yana Tchekhanovets).
Late Roman Mansion at Givati
The Late Roman mansion at Givati (courtesy of Yana Tchekhanovets).
Bone artefact
Bone artefact from Givati (courtesy of Yana Tchekhanovets).

Our October online lecture will be presented by Dr Yana Tchekhanovets (Israel Antiquities Authority/ Ben Gurion University in the Negev). This will be held via Zoom on Thursday 1 October 2020 at 4:00 pm UK time.

This lecture will show how new archaeological discoveries are presenting a complex portrait of Aelia Capitolina/Jerusalem in the mid-fourth century, challenging traditional views of a smooth and quick Christianization of the city.

Key to this are finds from the large peristyle mansion of the Late Roman period, recently exposed in salvage excavations at the Givati site, located close to the ‘City of David’ — the historical nucleus of ancient Jerusalem.

Violently destroyed by an earthquake in AD 363, the Roman nature of the building and the Pagan beliefs of its residents are clearly attested by the material finds unearthed within its collapse: carved bone and ivory items, statuettes of the gods and votive offerings, gemmae, masques, magic objects, and osteological remains of public sacrifice ceremony.

The secure, sealed archaeological context of the finds permit us, for the first time, to question the historical narrative presented by the ecclesiastic sources and to reconsider the nature of conversion process of the central city of Christendom.

The lecture will last approximately 1 hour, and be followed by a live Q&A session. If you would like to take part, please email our secretary, Mrs Sheila Ford ( to register and get instructions on how to join the session.

About the lecturer

Dr Tchekhanovets was co-director of the Givati excavations from 2007–2016, as well as directing numerous excavations for the IAA in Jerusalem, Beer-Sheba and Banias.

Her research interests include the archaeology and culture of Late Antiquity, with a special focus on monasticism and pilgrimage, periods of transition, urban transformations, reuse of materials and the phenomenon of spolia. She has authored numerous works, including The Caucasian Archaeology of the Holy Land: Armenian, Georgian and Albanian communities between the 4th and 11th centuries CE (2018).


To be rescheduled

This special event is under development; venue and guest speakers will be announced in due course. Please check back again for more information.

View of Masada
View of Masada (courtesy of Andrew Shiva / Wikimedia Commons)