Free lectures featuring some of today's most prominent archaeologists are held throughout the year.
Nov. 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
"The Aramaeans: The Ubiquitous People Group of the Ancient Near East"
K. Lawson Younger, Professor of Old Testament, Semitic Languages, and Ancient Near Eastern History, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity International University
The Arameans, whose origins leave us with many questions, were comprised of a number of ethnically and linguistically related groups from across northern Syria and Mesopotamia. Those Arameans centered at the city of Haran, in the area known as Paddan-Aram, played an especially significant role in Israel's ancestral history as recorded in the Book of Genesis. Isaac's wife, Rebecca, was the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean (Gen. 25:20). Her deceitful son, Jacob, sought safety from his brother, Esau, in this same area with their maternal uncle, Laban (Gen. 28:5; 31:20, 24). In the Exodus tradition, the Israelites who entered Canaan prepared an offering before the Lord while acknowledging their Aramean ancestry ("A wandering Aramean was my father"; Deut. 26:5).
The Arameans seem never to have achieved a unified culture or centralized political system. Instead, numerous Aramean city-states arose between the 11th and 8th centuries BCE. Urban centers such as Bit-Adini, Bit-Agusi, Aram Damascus, and Sam'al represent some of the most significant strongholds, But beyond whatever political influence these states may have garnered, the Aramaic language and script, which the Arameans developed from Phoenician, clearly represent their principal contribution to ancient Near Eastern culture. As the Assyrians conquered ever larger tracts of Aramean land during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, they deported large numbers of Arameans eastward to the Assyrian homeland. But, ironically, by the late 8th century BCE the Assyrian Empire itself adopted the Aramaic language for its own international diplomacy and trade. And in time, the Aramaic script replaced other national scripts, including Hebrew. In fact, the book script that appears in the Tanakh today descended from Aramaic letter forms.
Professor Lawson Younger, a recognized authority on the culture and language of the Aramean peoples, will provide an overview of this group as he explains its tribal structures and the complexity of its connections with nomadism. He will outline the rise of Aramean polities in the context of various regional issues and, by looking specifically at two of the many known Aramean entities (Sam'al = modern Zincirli; Gozan = Tell Halaf), he will trace the differences and similarities within the various histories of these polities. Come hear this internationally acclaimed scholar discuss a cultural group that held such close ties to the Hebrews of the Old Testament.
This lecture continues our series on peoples of the biblical world.
The Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology will be open from 6:30-7:15 p.m. and after the lecture. The lecture and reception to follow are free and open to the public.
Dec. 18, 2014 / "The Israelites: Emergence of a People" / Avraham Faust, Professor of Archaeology, Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University
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During one such recent lecture, Richard Talbert, William Rand Kenan professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discussed "The Magnificent Peutinger Map: Roman Cartography at its Most Creative." Listen to the lecture.
When space is available, archaeology courses at PTS may be audited through the Registrar's Office. Because PTS courses are graduate level, a four year college degree is normally a prerequisite. Check the list of upcoming available courses.