A Statement By the Faculty of Tel Aviv University Concerning an Advert in Biblical Archaeology Review
Oded Lipschits has sent along this public statement:
Statement by faculty members of the Marco and Sonia Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, regarding the alleged use of mechanical excavator at Tel Socoh
A defamatory, anonymous paid advertisement, alleging that Prof. Yuval Goren of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University has used a mechanical excavator to “pillage stratigraphy” in the excavation of Tel Socoh in the Shephelah, has again been published in the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR). Those who read BAR should note that:
1. There was no use of a mechanical excavator on Tel Socoh.
2. The slide shown in the ad illustrates work carried out in a wadi near the mound, as a sequel to a systematic manual excavation from surface to natural soil nearby. The sounding was aimed at detecting pottery and slag in the vicinity of the site. This method is authorized (and endorsed) by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
3. This is a common method in archaeology. Most seasoned archaeologists – regardless of period of research, location on the globe, and institutional affiliation – use mechanical excavators in certain, closely controlled circumstances.
Signed: Oded Lipschits, Erez Ben Yosef, Shlomo Bunimovitz, Yoram Cohen, Alexander Fantalkin, Israel Finkelstein, Moshe Fischer, Yuval Gadot, Amir Gilan, Raphael Greenberg, Zeev Herzog, Dafna Langgut, Nadav Na’aman, Benjamin Sass, Deborah Sweeney, Oren Tal
Frankly, and personally, I think BAR has crossed the line with this egregious and defamatory advert. They may not be responsible for its content, but they stand morally indicted for publishing it.
For the backstory of this public statement- see here.
Visit their website here. Alexander has done a really nice job with it. The project is the joint project of the University of Tel Aviv and Leipzig University.
Along with the MA in Archaeology Tel Aviv also offers an International MA in Jewish Studies. Go to the link for all the details. Here are the basics:
Tel Aviv University offers the world’s only one-year intensive MA in Jewish Studies taught in English in a Hebrew speaking environment.
This new MA offers a series of intimate encounters with the classical texts of Jewish culture, from biblical through medieval to modern.
This unique program is:
- Text-centered and skills oriented. It aims to equip students for work·in ducation, museums and other institutions, and to provide an excellent foundation for PhD research.
- Interdisciplinary. Courses include Bible, History of Hebrew language, Rabbinic exegesis and midrash, comparative approaches to Talmudic and Christian texts, Jewish mysticism, Medieval philosophy and kabbalah, Ancient Jewish magic, and Modern Jewish thought·
They’ve put together now a fine brochure which you can access directly here.
For loads more information on the program, visit their website here. If you’re interested, apply. Tel Aviv is a beautiful city and there’s nothing lacking in its delights. It’s right on the Sea and there’s so much to do within an easy drive.
Do, check it out.
Oded Lipschits writes
I am happy to share with you information regarding the third year of our unique program at Tel Aviv University, the International MA in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible.
The program combines theoretical classes, field work experience, and tours of some of the most exciting excavation sites in Israel (such as Jerusalem, Megiddo, Azekah, Beer-Sheba, Ramat Rachael, and Yavne Yam). The program can be taken as a one year MA program (without thesis), as a two year MA program (with thesis), or as a one year credited course program towards a PhD. Graduates of the first successful year cycle, who have been accepted to our second year thesis track, are already hard at work on exciting new researches, and we are currently accepting applications and awarding scholarships for the academic year of 2013-14.
We believe some of your students could greatly benefit from and enjoy this program, and we will be delighted if you could share the information with them and other colleagues.
Thank you for your much appreciated assistance.
Prof. Oded Lipschits
Head of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology & Head of the International MA program in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible
Tel Aviv University
It’s a new essay in Bible and Interpretation worth reading by Rami Arav. He concludes with this amazing claim-
A prominent Tel Aviv University archaeologist, Z. Herzog, complained a few years ago in an article in the prestigious Israeli paper Haaretz that despite the fact that archaeology has totally changed our current understanding of the Bible, nobody pays attention. The public is apathetic and indifferent. The glorious heyday of iconic archaeology has gone forever.
The situation in America is totally different. Archaeology- especially of Israel- is the golden child and looks like it will continue to be that for the foreseeable future.
- What is Archaeology? Trends and Currents in Contemporary Archaeological Discourse in Israel (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Eisenbrauns ‘Deal of the Weekend’ (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Evidence of the Destruction of Shiloh? (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
“Identity theft” seems a uniquely 21st-century crime, and is very common in the contemporary world. But in a new book, Prof. Miriam Eliav-Feldon of Tel Aviv University‘s Department of Historyobserves that identity theft and associated fraud have deep historical roots. From royal pretenders to women masquerading as men and those who resort to fraud to conceal their religious faith, history is brimming with stories of impostors. The battle between frauds and those who try to thwart them has been constant from the beginning of humanity, she says – and the battle is still going strong.
With so many frauds and impostors throughout the early modern period, the question of how and why they succeeded in their deception remains a mystery, notes Prof. Eliav-Feldon, who identifies it as one of the key issues of the phenomenon. The answer, she says, relies on a different notion of truth.
One example is the tale of David Reuveni, who in 1524 came to Venice and declared himself a prince of the lost tribes of Israel. Appearing before the Pope and various kings of Europe, he vowed to forge an alliance with European leaders to liberate the holy land from the Muslims. Despite the absence of proof, Jews and non-Jews alike rallied to his cause. It was years before his deception was uncovered.
Prof. Eliav-Feldon believes that Reuveni succeeded so well because kings and church prelates alike desperately wanted his tale to be true. “They wanted to believe that they had a potential ally — and were willing to suspend judgment because it fit their interests,” she explains. “Many impostors succeeded for a long time not because everybody believed them, but because they had no way of confirming they were impostors.”
Fascinating. People believe fraud not because they’re foolish- but because they wish the fraud to be true. This nicely explains why the purveyors of Talpiot, for example, continue to maintain its purported significance: they wish it to be so. The ‘Lead Codices’ sycophants wish it to be true. And on, and on.
Tel Aviv University administrators on Monday received a petition signed by dozens of senior academics from Israel and abroad calling on the university to withdraw its participation in archaeological excavations in East Jerusalem’s City of David. The national park is indirectly financed by the right-wing NGO Elad, which administers the national park.
Last week, the university’s Institute of Archaeology started digging in the City of David national park, but it was temporarily halted due to the rain and is expected to resume within the next few days.
“Digging in the area is carried out under heavy guard by the Border Patrol and a private security company, a fact that only adds to the friction with village residents,” the petition states. “Under discussion here is a partnership with an extreme political organization and thus a de facto stance on a very contentious issue, both politically and morally. The university is thereby giving the NGO the professional recognition it desires, which academic institutions in Israel and abroad have so far refused to grant.”
The petition’s organizers expressed their concern that the dig would strengthen those who support a boycott against Israeli academics. “Tel Aviv University would be causing immeasurable damage to academia in general and to our desperate efforts to steer clear of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel in particular,” said Prof. Sidra Ezrahi. “We’re already getting cancellations of conference participation and this is playing straight into the hands of the BDS movement.”
Tel Aviv University responded that the “area designated for the excavation is located far from the houses of Silwan. The dig will be carried out using modern scientific methods, at the highest professional standards, with particular attention paid to professional ethics. In the dig, a great deal of attention will be paid to the needs of those living nearby and the dig will be open to visits by local residents and tourists.
I suppose it all boils down to whether or not people can trust Tel Aviv to conduct the dig properly, regardless of who funds it. I can scarcely imagine that the University will be persuaded to report its findings in a biased manner (as others funded by Elad have done) or that Tel Aviv will take advantage of the inhabitants of the area. Furthermore, I think it’s a bit of an overstatement to claim that
“Tel Aviv University would be causing immeasurable damage to academia in general and to our desperate efforts to steer clear of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel in particular”
No, I can’t honestly imagine that happening. Not among those who know the reputation of the school and its scholars. The petitioners seem, in this case, to be over-reacting. That’s my view anyway. I trust Tel Aviv to do right. And I will continue to trust Tel Aviv to do right until they give me just cause to change my views.
Via Oded Lipschits on FB-
The Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition- What is Archaeology? Trends and Currents in Contemporary Archaeological Discourse in Israel
Thursday, December 27, 2012, Room 496, Gilman Building, Tel Aviv University (All lectures are in Hebrew).
9.00-9.30 – Reception
9.30-9.45 – Opening statement – Assaf Nativ and Mark Iserlis
9.45-10.00 – Shlomo Bunimovitz- Children of three paradigms: my generation in Israeli archaeology
Session One: Archaeology and the personal; Chair Shlomo Bunimovitz
10.00-10.30 – Yifat Thareani- Margins’ Girl: On frontiers as multi-cultural archaeological spaces
10.30-11.00- Haggai Misgav- Archaeology and contemporary religious conceptions
Session Two: Archaeology as profession; Chair Oded Lipschits
11.15-11.45 – Ianir Milevski- What is archaeology? A materialist dialectic approach
11.45-12.15- Alon Shavit- Community archaeology in Israel: on the connection and discord between the archaeological community and society
12.15-12.45 – Eran Arie- Archaeology in a museum: visit and Critique
12.45-14.00- Lunch break
Session Three: Archaeology as a discipline; – Chair Yuval Goren
14.00-14.30 – Steve Rosen- Archaeology: a personal perspective
14.30-15.00 – Amihai Mazar- The rusty Marshalltown
15.00-15.30 – Yuval Yekutieli- Archaeology as a story
Session Four: Summary and discussion; Chairs Mark Iserlis and Assaf Nativ
15.45-16.15 – Summaries: Rafi Greenberg, Avi Gopher, Snait Gisis
16.15-17.00 – Discussion