Mini-Symposium “Cult and Symbolism in Ugarit and the Bible,” Jan. 6th, 2020

Please note the upcoming RIAB Minerva Center mini-symposium:

Cult and Symbolism in Ugarit and the Bible

The symposium will take place on Monday, January 6th, 2020, in the faculty meeting room (Room 312), 3rd floor, the Jewish Studies Faculty Building (Building 410), Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan.

9:30 – Gathering and refreshments

9:45 – Prof. Herbert Niehr (University of Tübingen) – “Ba’al of Saphon and Ba’al of Ugarit: Reflections on the cults and relations of two weather-gods in Ugarit”

10:45 – Prof. Angelika Berlejung (University of Leipzig) – “Eroticism and Divine Love in the Song of Songs”

Discussions will follow each lecture.

כנס מינרבה UgaritH

Lecture by Prof. Thomas Schneider (Jan. 28, 2020)

The RIAB Minerva Center will host a guest lecture by Prof. Thomas Schneider (University of British Columbia; SUSTech University) entitled:

“Moses the Egyptian? Reconsidering the Egyptian Background of the Name and the Figure of Moses”

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, January 28th, 2020, at 16:00, in the faculty meeting room (Room 311), 3rd floor, the Jewish Studies Faculty Building (Building 410), Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan.

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture.

Proceedings of 1st Annual Conference of the RIAB Center published

We are glad to announce that the proceedings volume of the 1st Annual Conference of the RIAB Minerva Center (held in Leipzig, in June 2014) has been published.

The volume’s title is:

Berlejung, A., and Maeir, A. M., eds. 2019. Research on Israel and Aram: Autonomy, Interdependence and Related Issues. Proceedings of the First Annual RIAB Center Conference, Leipzig, June 2016. Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB), Vol. 1. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck (ISBN 978-3-16-157719-2, XVII + 501 pp).

To order the volume (and more details), go here.



Research Colloquium on “Jerusalem and the West”, Leipzig, Dec. 4th-5th, 2019

On Wednesday-Thursday, December 4th-5th, 2019, the RIAB Minerva Center will be conducting a Research Colloquium entitled:

Jerusalem and the West. Perspectives from Archaeology, Biblical Studies and History.

The Research Colloquium, organized by Felix Hagemeyer (Leipzig), will be held at the Universität Leipzig, Campus Augustusplatz, in the Neues Seminargebäude, Room S 203.

See below the planned schedule of the Research Colloquium:

Jerusalem and the West. Perspectives from Archaeology, Biblical Studies and History

4–5 December 2019, Universität Leipzig, Campus Augustusplatz,

Neues Seminargebäude, Room S 203

Wednesday, December 4th

13:30 Gathering, Coffee and Refreshments

14:00 Greetings and Introduction, Angelika Berlejung, Aren M. Maeir, Felix Hagemeyer

14:15 First Session: Jerusalem and the West in the Iron Age

Felix Hagemeyer, Universität Leipzig: Jerusalem and the West: Research desiderata and new perspectives

David Ben-Shlomo, Ariel University: Jerusalem, Judah and Philistia: Links during the Iron Age

15:45 Coffee Break

16:15 First Session – Continuation

Aren M. Maeir, Bar-Ilan University: Jerusalem and the West, through Philistia

17:00 Second Session: Jerusalem’s Hinterland and the Shephelah

Gunnar Lehmann, Ben Gurion University of the Negev: The Shephelah between Jerusalem and Gath: The early Iron Age

Hermann Michael Niemann, Universität Rostock: Jerusalem and the West: Considerations on the western border of David´s reign

19:00 Dinner

Thursday, December 5th

09:15 Gathering

09:30 Third Session: Biblical Perspectives on the West and the Southern Coastal Plain

Manfred Oeming, Universität Heidelberg: No ‘language of Ashdod’ in Jerusalem! Nehemiah’s aggressive policy against foreign ‘languages’ (Neh 13:23–31) as a necessary survival concept in the Persian-Hellenistic periods

Benedikt Hensel, Universität Mainz: The Ark Narrative(s) 1 Sam 4-6*/ 2 Sam 6* between Philistia, Jerusalem and Assur: On their historical background and literary historical place

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Fourth Session: Jerusalem and its political and economic links to the South and East

Erez Ben-Yosef, Tel Aviv University: Jerusalem’s metal supply in the Iron Age: Current state of research

Yuval Gadot, Tel Aviv University: Jerusalem and the Assyrian world order: Jerusalem and its regional connections during the 7th century BCE

13:00 Concluding Discussion

13:30 Lunch

End of conference: 14:30


Organizer and Contact Details:

Felix Hagemeyer, Leipzig University, Faculty of Theology, Unit for History and History of Religion of Ancient Israel and its Environment.

Martin-Luther-Ring 3, D-04109 Leipzig,

T: +49 341 97-35413,

First notice on the 5th Annual Conference of the RIAB Minerva Center (Leipzig/Berlin, 8-11.6.2020)

The 5th Annual Conference of the RIAB Minerva Center will be held in Leipzig and Berlin on June 8th to 11th, 2020.

The title of the conference will be: “The Aramean network: Interdependencies and interactions in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

The first two days of the conference will be held at the University of Leipzig, while days 3 and 4 will be held at Berlin, at various museums with relevant archaeological finds.

Please note these dates in your calendar. Further details will be posted in the future.



4th Annual RIAB Center conference

The 4th Annual conference of the RIAB Minerva Center was held on Monday-Wednesday, May 27-29, 2019 (see here for schedule).

The conference included two excellent days of lectures. The first day and half was held at Bar-Ilan University, at the laboratory of the RIAB Center and the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, and a half day at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

At the Israel Museum, we had a session of lectures, and in addition to this, we were able to visit to the galleries, and the museum store rooms of finds from the Iron Age and Persian Periods (which in general is closed to the public), where we were guided by Dr. Eran Arie, the Iron Age curator of the museum.

The papers presented during the conference, and the discussions that followed, were excellent, covering a broad range of topics relating to ancient Israel, Aram and Phoenicia, and various connections and differences between these cultures.

Participants came from Israel, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA and other countries, and included both senior and junior scholars. In addition, a nice group of scholars came to the meeting, to both hear the lectures and discuss them with the presenters.

The third day was a field trip to various sites in the north of Israel, including:

Khirbet Tevet, a recently discovered site with fascinating and important Iron Age remains, were we received a detailed explanation from the director of excavations, Dr. Omer Sergi;

Har Adir: An Iron Age site in the upper Galilee, on the border with Lebanon, where Dr. Haya Katz explained about the site and its regional role.

Achziv: We visited this important Phoenician site and Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau explained the site to the group.

Kabri: Assaf also guided the group to this important MB site, and in particular the impressive remains of the MB palace.

In addition to this, the group enjoyed excellent food and drink, including three excellent suppers, where the participants were able to get to know each other, and a very special visit to the winery at Binyamina, where we also tasted some of the local wines.

All told, a very fruitful and enjoyable conference, in which new ideas and finds were discussed and debated, and scholarly and friendly relationships were fostered between the participants

Here are some pictures from the three days:

Schedule of the 4th Annual Meeting of the RIAB Center – “Between Israel, Aram and Phoenicia: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives” (May 27-29, 2019)

On Monday-Wednesday, May 27-29, 2019, the 4th annual conference of the RIAB Minerva Center will be held. The first two days of the conference will conducted at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan (May 27th and morning of May 28th) and at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (afternoon/evening of May 28th). On Wednesday, May 29th, the invited participants of the conference will go on a field trip to selected sites in the north of Israel.

Here is the schedule of the first two days of the conference:

The Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times

Between Israel, Aram and Phoenicia: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives

Fourth Annual Conference – May 27-28, 2019

Monday, May 27 (Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project Laboratory, Basement, Building 410 [Jewish Studies Faculty Building], Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan)

8:30-9:00 – Gathering and refreshments

9:00-9:10 – Greetings

Welcome – Aren M. Maeir & Angelika Berlejung

Greetings – Yaron Harel, Dean of the Faculty of Jewish Studies

9:10-10:40 – Session IA: Phoenicia and Israel I (Chair Aren M. Maeir)

9:10-9:40: Gunnar Lehmann (Ben-Gurion University) – The Emergence of Early Phoenicia: A View from South Phoenicia

9:40-10:10: Yifat Thareani (Hebrew Union College) – Characterizing an Iron Age II Mediterranean Community: A Preliminary View from Tel Achziv

10:10-10:40: Yigal Levin (Bar-Ilan University) – David, Hiram and Solomon: A Look at the Geography

10:40-10:50: Discussion

10:50-11:15 – Coffee Break

11:15-13:00 – Session IB: Phoenicia and Israel II (Chair Yigal Levin)

11:15-11:45: Hayah Katz (Kinneret Academic College and the Open University) – The Meiron ridges during the Iron Age Period: between Border and Frontier

11:45-12:15: Meir Edrey (Tel Aviv University & University of Haifa) – The Persistence of Canaanite-Phoenician Religion as Demonstrated by Temple Architecture

12:15-12:45: Janca Brenner (Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen) – Jeroboam II, the Phoenicians and Kuntillet ʿAjrud

12:45-13:00 – Discussion

13:00-14:30 – Lunch

14:30-16:30 – Session IC – Archaeological Insights from the Levant (Chair Assaf Yasur-Landau)

14:30-15:00: Giuseppe Minunno (Università degli Studi di Firenze) – Evidence of Ritual Activities from Iron Age Tell Afis

15:00-15:30: Barbara Bolognani (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) – Tracing out the Phoenician Pattern in the Coroplastic Production of the Coastal Levant

15:30-16:00: Hans-Peter Mathys (Universität Basel) – Phoenician Inscriptions from the Eschmoun Sanctuary in Bostan esh-Sheikh (Sidon)

16:00-16:10: Discussion

16:10-16:30 – Coffee Break

16:30-18:30 – Session ID – Judah and Phoenicia: Selected topics (Chair Lawson Younger)

16:30-17:00: Assaf Yasur-Landau (University of Haifa) – Rethinking Phoenician Harbors of the Iron Age

17:00-17:30: Joe Uziel (Israel Antiquities Authority) – Open or Shut? On the Connections and Disconnections between Jerusalem and its surroundings in the Iron Age II

17:30-18:00: Yuval Gadot (Tel Aviv University) – Jerusalem, Menasheh and the Assyrian Order

18:00-18:15: Discussion

18:30-20:30 – Supper at BIU (for participants)

20:30 – Transportation to Hotel (for participants)


Tuesday, May 28 (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan and Israel Museum, Jerusalem)

8:00-8:30 – Gathering and refreshments (Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project Laboratory, Basement, Building 410 [Jewish Studies Faculty Building], Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan)

8:30-9:45 – Session IIA: Phoenicians and the West (Chair Ann Killebrew)

8:30-9:00: Sebastián Celestino-Pérez & Esther Rodríguez-González (Spanish National Research Council) – The Phoenicians of the West and the Origin of Tartessos

9:00-9:30: Tzilla Eshel (University of Haifa) – Lead Isotopes in Silver Reveal Earliest Phoenician Quest for Metals in the West Mediterranean

9:30-9:45: Coffee Break

9:45-10:45 – Session IIB – Doctoral Student Workshop (Chair Joe Uziel)

9:45-10:15 – Kristina S. Reed (Bar-Ilan University) – Chronology and Function of Dolmens: A New Look at an Ancient Phenomenon

10:15-10:45 – Juliane Stein (Leipzig University) & Gunnar Lehmann (Ben-Gurion University) – Arpad: Archaeology of an Aramean (?) City: A Report of Work in Progress

10:45-11:15 – Coffee Break

11:15-13:00 – Session IIC – Phoenicians, Assyrians and Persians (Chair Hans-Peter Mathys)

11:15-11:45: Eran Arie (Israel Museum & University of Haifa) – The Relations between Israel and Phoenicia in Light of the Archaeological Evidence

11:45-12:15: Ann E. Killebrew (Pennsylvania State University & Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa) – Akko and the Plain of Akko during the Iron II – Persian Periods (ca. 8th–5th cent. BCE)

12:15-12:45: Shawn Zelig Aster (Bar-Ilan University) – Phoenicia as an Assyrian “Control Point” in Domination of the Southern Levant in the Reign of Tiglath-pileser III

12:45-13:00: Discussion

13:00-14:00 – Lunch

14:00 – Bus leaves for Jerusalem (for participants)

15:30-16:00 – Gathering and refreshments (Israel Museum)

16:00-17:00 – Tour of Israel Museum galleries and storerooms (Eran Arie & Aren Maeir)

17:00-18:30 – Session IID – Phoenicians and their interactions (Chair Angelika Berlejung)

17:00-17:30: Lawson Younger (Trinity International University) – Phoenician and Phoenicians in North Syria

17:30-18:00: Naama Yahalom-Mack & Nava Panitz-Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) – A Tale of Two Cities: What’s between Tyre and Abel Beth Maacah in the Early Iron Age?

18:00-18:30: Mireia López-Bertran (Univesitat de València) – Sacred Landscapes and Pilgrimages in Phoenician and Punic Western Mediterranean (7th-2nd centuries BCE)

18:30-18:45: Discussion

18:45 – Transportation to Supper (for participants)

19:00-21:00 – Supper (for participants)

21:00 – Transportation to Hotel in Ramat-Gan (for participants)


4th Annual Meeting of the RIAB Center – May 27-29, 2019

The 4th Annual Meeting of the RIAB Minerva Center will take place on May 27-29, 2019.

This year’s meeting will be held in Israel, at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan (27-28/5), at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (28/5 in the evening), and on a one day, field trip/workshop to archaeological sites in northern Israel (29/5).

The topic of the Annual Meeting will be: Relations between Israel, Judah, Aram and the Phoenicians in the Iron Age and Beyond.

The schedule of the lectures (invited) will be published in the near future.

Registration (free, but mandatory) for participation in the meeting will open in the coming weeks.