Wednesday, 17 October, 2012
This public lecture will explore Philistine religious culture, archaeology and the Bible. Until excavations began at Tel Ashdod a half-century ago, our knowledge of the Philistines derived almost exclusively from the Bible. Thus our knowledge of this immigrant people and their culture has grown exponentially over the last 50 years. The same is true for the specific topic of Philistine religion, which has been a particular focus of scholarly discussion since the late 1990s. Unfortunately, the pace of our discovery of new finds has outstripped the development of appropriate models for Eastern Mediterranean religions. In this lecture, Dr. Press will synthesize the latest archaeological data with consideration of methodological and theoretical approaches to religion, resulting in new insights on this enigmatic people and on Iron Age religion.
Michael Press is a Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, University of Arkansas. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University in 2007. Since 1996 he has been a part of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon as a member of their excavation and publication staff, and has excavated at Tel Burna; he also co-directs the publication of the 1963-64 Prausnitz excavations at Tel Achziv, Israel. Dr. Press's research focuses on the intersection of cultural, political, and ethnic boundaries in ancient Israel and the Levant and the transmission of techniques and cultural ideas across these boundaries, as well as the archaeology of religion in the Bronze and Iron Age Levant, using groups of artifacts such as clay figurines as a means to investigate these issues.