Forthcoming Lectures

Here is where you will find the schedule of AIAS lectures for the coming months.

As you will be aware, all charities are going through hard times during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society is no exception. Although we do not charge for our lectures, any contribution to the general costs of the Society would be more than welcome, particularly from non-members.

Anyone who would like to make a donation, large or small, can send an email to: for details as to how to pay by credit card.

Our regular lectures are currently being held online, via Zoom, but we are also now hosting some in-person events at various locations in London and elsewhere. Check the lecture notices below for details.

The Schooling of a Scribe in Ancient Israel

Wednesday, 6 December 2023, at 5:00 pm GMT (online)
Professor Christopher Rollston studying an inscription
Professor Christopher Rollston studying an inscription

Writing in the ancient Near Eastern world was a complex technology.  This is true not only of the complicated non-alphabetic writing systems of Mesopotamia and Egypt, but also of the alphabetic writing systems of the Levantine world of ancient Israel.

In this lecture, Professor Rollston will discuss inscriptional and literary evidence for the education of a scribe in ancient Israel and Judah. Was the alphabet really easier to learn than other types of script? Join us to find out!

Christopher Rollston is Professor of Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures, and Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the George Washington University.

He is a leading scholar in the field of Northwest Semitic epigraphy, with research interests including ancient writing practices, scribes and scribal education, ancient literacy, the origins of the alphabet, and modern (and ancient) forgeries.

He has published extensively on these topics, and was awarded ASOR’s Frank Moore Cross Award for his book Writing and Literacy in Ancient Israel in 2011. His latest monograph, Pious Forgeries: Forging History in the Ancient World of the Bible and the Modern World of Biblical Studies, will be published by Eerdmans in 2024.

To attend this lecture, please register via Eventbrite. Zoom access will be available from 4:45 pm.

Scrolls and Scribes: How Well Has the Bible Survived?

The Richard D. Barnett Memorial Lecture

Thursday, 23 January 2024, at 5:00 pm GMT (online)
Jonah and the Whale.
Manuscript depicting Jonah. MS Kennicott 1, fol. 305r © Bodleian Libraries.

The copies of the Hebrew Bible which we use today come from just after 1000 CE — over a thousand years since the text was first composed.

So how accurate are these scribal copies? We know that those responsible, the Masoretes, added features such as vowel points. Does that reflect ancient tradition?

Research into the oldest surviving physical copies of the Old Testament texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, has added vital data to the evidence drawn from later, ancient translations of the Bible into Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Aramaic. So we are in a better position to answer these questions now than before.

Professor Williamson’s lecture aims to provide an accessible exploration of the Hebrew bible and its complex transmission history.

Hugh Williamson was the Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford until his retirement in 2014. He joined the committee of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society while Richard Barnett was still the chairman and he later chaired the Society himself for nearly twenty years.

Dawn of the Aleph Bet

To be held in 2024 (date to be confirmed)

Professor Yossi Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be hosting a virtual panel to discuss the ‘Dawn of the Aleph Bet’. This event will be jointly hosted with the British Friends of the Hebrew University.

Information on how to register will appear here closer to the time of the event.