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Professor Yosef Garfinkel is a Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yigael Yadin Chair in Archaeology of Israel. In 2021 he was one of the authors of a study published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology which examines how the Assyrian army laid siege to the town of Lachish in Judah in 701 BC. Specifically, the study examines how the Assyrian army constructed an impressive siege ramp in under a month and were confronted with unique conditions. The remnants of the Assyrian siege ramp remain at the site and it’s the oldest known siege ramp in the Near East and the only one known to have been discovered from the military conquests of the Assyrian empire.
Professor Benjamin Sommer is an American biblical scholar and Jewish theologian. He’s a Professor of Bible at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Professor Sommer is the author of the book Revelation & Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, which examines how the biblical authors conceived of the revelation at Sinai as both a collaborative and participatory event. You can find a link to purchase his book on Amazon here.
The Middle Maccabees

The Middle Maccabees


Andrea Berlin is the James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology and a Professor of Archaeology and Religion at Boston University. Her research focuses on the archaeology and history of the Achaemenid, Hellenistic, and Roman East, Ceramic Studies, Second-Temple Judaism, and the archaeology of Israel. In this episode, we discuss the book The Middle Maccabees of which she is a co-editor and a contributing author. The book examines the beginnings of the independent Jewish state founded in the second century BCE and frames it within the wider world of conflicts between the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Seleucids of Syria, and the Romans. You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.
The Bar Kokhba Revolt

The Bar Kokhba Revolt


Professor Boaz Zissu is an archaeologist and a member of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University. He has authored and collaborated on numerous studies of the Bar Kokhba Revolt including co-authoring the book The Bar Kokhba Revolt: The Archaeological Evidence. We discuss the background to the revolt, its scale and administration, and its ultimate demise. You can purchase a copy of the book at this link and can find Professor Zissu's lectures on YouTube and his research on
Revelation in Islam

Revelation in Islam


Khalil Andani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Augustana College and holds a Ph.D. In Islamic Studies from Harvard University.  Professor Andani’s dissertation “Revelation in Islam: Qur’anic, Sunni, and Shi‘i Ismaili Perspectives” won the 2020 Best PhD Dissertation of the Year Award from the Foundation for Iranian Studies. In this episode of the podcast, we discuss his dissertation, which is a historical investigation of Islamic theologies of revelation in the formative and classical periods of Islam and argues that Sunni and Shi’i Muslims understood Qur’anic Revelation through competing and often mutually contradictory models constructed within different historical and theological contexts. You can check out Professor Andani's lectures on YouTube.
Gideon Bohak is a Professor in the Department of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud at Tel Aviv University. He is a specialist in Jewish magic, especially in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and in the study of the Cairo Genizah. Professor Bohak came back on the show to discuss a paper he co-authored titled Divorcing Lilith: From the Babylonian Incantation Bowls to the Cairo Genizah. We talked about the transmission of Jewish magical recipes from incantation bowls in Sasanian Iran to those found later in the Cairo Genizah and we also discussed the character of Lilith and her place in the pantheon of Jewish demonology. You can purchase Professor Bohak's book Ancient Jewish Magic on Amazon.Check out our previous podcast with Professor Bohak for a good primer on Jewish Magic in Late Antiquity.
The Samaritans

The Samaritans


Matthew Chalmers is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Northwestern University’s Department of Religious Studies.  He is a scholar and theorist of religion, working with texts and traditions of the late antique eastern Mediterranean in Greek, Coptic, Aramaic, and Hebrew. In his current book project, The Samaritan Other: Representation, History, and Lost Late Antique Difference, he spotlights the continuous participation of Samaritans – a third Israel – in the historical and cultural processes that defined imperial Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. Our discussion focused on the origins of Samaritan religion and identity and how both Judaism and Christinaity have dealt with the issue of Samaritan claims to the Israelite tradition.
Daniel Fuks is a Newton International Fellow of the British Academy at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. As a PhD candidate in the Archaeobotany Lab at Bar-Ilan University, he was the leading author of the research study that examined the rise and fall of the Byzantine Negev viticulture. You can find a link to the study here.  Additionally, the Mediterranean Seminar nominated the paper as ‘Article of the Month’ in November 2020 which you can check out here. 
Sarit Kattan-Gribbetz is an Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University and the author of Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism, which can be purchased on Amazon. The book explores the rhythms of time that animated the rabbinic world of late antiquity, revealing how rabbis conceptualized time as a way of constructing difference between themselves and imperial Rome, Jews and Christians, men and women, and human and divine. 



Playaling is a language learning platform founded by Jordan Gerstler-Holton, a former Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellow and long-time student of Arabic. Playaling is composed of a dedicated team of language professionals making engaging real-world Arabic content available to teachers and students across the globe with a heavy focus on Arabic dialect instruction. Lena Krause, an Arabic teacher at Beacon Academy in Evanston, Illinois, has done a tremendous job creating the North African Darija content on the site. You can access all of Playaling’s Arabic learning materials for free on their website
Carolina Lopez-Ruiz is a Professor at Ohio State University in the Classics Department and her research focuses on understanding Greek culture in its broader ancient Mediterranean context. She has authored a number of books on the Phoenician civilization and in this episode we discussed her book When The Gods Were Born - Greek Cosmogonies and the Near East, which examines the links between ancient Greek civilization and Northwest Semitic peoples and how the cultural exchange between the two influenced Greek origin myths. You can purchase a copy of When the Gods Were Born on Amazon.
Professors Aaron D. Rubin and Lily Kahn came back on the show to discuss their new book Jewish Languages From A to Z. The book is a comprehensive survey of Jewish languages, covering more than 50 different languages and language varieties and sheds light on the rich variety of languages spoken and written by Jews over the past three thousand years. The book also features a number of photographs of various manuscripts that help bring the languages to life. Aaron D. Rubin is the Malvin E. And Lea P. Bank Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Jewish Studies, and Linguistics at Penn State University and Lily Kahn is a Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Languages at University College London. You can purchase the book on Amazon here
Michael Philip Penn is a professor of religious studies at Stanford University and the author of Envisioning Islam: Syriac Christians and the Early Muslim World as well as the book When Christians First Met Muslims. Professor Penn’s book and research examine Syriac sources to better understand how Christians in the Middle East perceived the early Muslims and in doing so challenge some widespread cultural assumptions about early Christian-Muslim relations.  You can purchase Envisioning Islam on Amazon at this link as well as When Christians First Met Muslims here.
Sue Frumin is a post-doctoral researcher at Bar Ilan University and archaeobotanist. Sue works in the archaebotany lab run by Professor Ehud Weiss at the university. She is one of the co-authors of a 2015 paper that examined the impact of the Philistine migration on biodiversity in the Southern Levant. You can check out the paper here
Gideon Bohak is a Professor in the Department of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud at Tel Aviv University. He is a specialist in Jewish magic, especially in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and in the study of the Cairo Genizah. In this episode of the podcast, we spoke about Jewish magical practices of late antiquity and the use of Jewish amulets, incantation bowls, and manuals in Aramaic and Hebrew. You can purchase Professor Bohak's book Ancient Jewish Magic on Amazon.
Professor David Ilan has come back to discuss the Chalcolithic age in the Southern Levant (4500 - 3700 BC) and specifically theories concerning religious beliefs about death and reincarnation. Professor Ilan serves as the Director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and the Director of the Tel Dan excavations. You can read a paper that he co-authored with Professor Yorke Rowan of the University of Chicago, "Deconstructing and Recomposing the Narrative of Spiritual Life in the Chalcolithic of the Southern Levant" here.
Roni-Henkin is an Associate Professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. We spoke about the contact between Palestinian Arabic and Israeli Hebrew and how the two languages have interacted with one another for over a century. One item we did not get around to discussing, but is still important, is the major phenomenon of codeswitching among young Palestinians, and the sociolinguistic implications as it relates to education, social status, and ethnic loyalties. You can download Professor Henkin's research on this topic at
Lily Kahn is a Professor of Hebrew and Jewish languages at University College London. Professor Kahn is also a scholar of the Yiddish language and published the book Colloquial Yiddish, which can be purchased on Amazon.In our talk, we examined the history of Yiddish, its rise, fall, and resurgence, and also how the language continues to change and develop.
The Veterans Theory

The Veterans Theory


Professor David Ilan serves as the Director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and the Director of the Tel Dan excavations. Our discussion focused on Professor Ilan’s new theory surrounding the emergence of Israelite settlements in the hill country of Canaan.
Eric Cline is a Professor of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Anthropology and the Director of the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute. He's also the author of the book 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed, which covers the Bronze Age collapse, its causes, and what we can learn from it. You can purchase the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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