The Unknow Biblical Israel


Course Objectives:

Learning outcomes:


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Arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport and transportation to the hotel in Jerusalem

a. Presentation of the program

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Introduction

  • Israel Museum
    • Biblical archaeology wing


  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Visit to the Institute of Archaeology
    • The Tomb of Nicanor
    • Lecture: “Jewish religiosity in the Greco-Roman world”
    • Lecture: “Messianic models of Second Temple Judaism”

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Herod the Great

  • Temple Mount
    • The history of the Temple Mount: from Abram to the present day
    • The Holy Temple of Jerusalem
    • The Golden Gate


  • The Wailing Wall
    • What is the Wailing Wall and why is it called this?
    • The holiness of the place: Why and since when


  • The Western Wall Tunnels
    • The construction of the Western Wall according to recent findings
    • Construction methods in antiquity
    • Re-use of structures in the middle ages


  • The Burnt House
    • The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem


  • Herodian Quarter
    • The life of the priests at the time of the Second Temple


  • Herodium
    • Herod’s palace, fortress and tomb
    • The discovery of Herod’s tomb
    • Herodium at the time of the Jewish revolt against Rome

* Night in Jerusalem

Judean Hills

Topic: The peoples of the Bible and their relationship with the Kingdom of Judea

  • Tel Maresha and Beit Guvrin
    • The caves of Tel Maresha
    • The amphitheater of Beit Guvrin
    • Excavations at Tel Maresha “Dig for a Day”


  • Khirbet Qayafa:
    • The history of archaeological research
    • The Biblical Shaarayim
    • David and Goliath: Legend or historical reality?

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Samaria in biblical times

  • Tel Shilo
    • The 12 tribes
    • The tabernacle: What is the archaeological evidence?
    • The importance of Shilo for Christian theology


  • Mount Gerizin
    • Mount Gerizin and Mount Ebal in the Bible
    • The significance of Mount Gerizin for the Samaritan faith
    • The Samaritan Temple
    • The origin of the Samaritans according to the Bible
    • The origin of the Samaritans according to historical science


  • Samaritan Quarter of Nablus
    • The origin of the Samaritans according to Samaritan religion
    • The ethnic Samaritans today: theology, demography and politics

* Night in Jerusalem

Desert of Negev

Topic: The Southern Border of Biblical Israel

  • Tel Beer Sheva
    • Beer Sheva in the Bible: The Abraham and Isaac Stories
    • The Israelite period
    • The altar
    • The water system


  • Tel Arad
    • Arad in the Bible
    • The Canaanite city
    • The Arad fortress: when and why?
    • The Arad Temple
    • The Arad ostracas


  • Dead Sea
    • The Dead Sea in biblical and extrabiblical sources

* Night in Tiberias

Galilee I

Topic: Judaism, paganism and Christianity

  • Beit Shean
    • The Egyptian control over the land of Israel during the Canaanite period
    • King Saul
    • Scytopolis and the Decapolis
    • Beit Shean in the Roman-Byzantine period


  • Sepphoris
    • The capital of the Galilee in Second Temple period
    • The Land of Israel after Second Temple destruction
    • Rabbi Yehuda Ha Nassi
    • Mishna and Talmud
    • Christian influences on Judaism during the Byzantine period

* Night in Tiberias

Galilee II

Topic: The Galilee in biblical times

  • Ginossar
    • A meeting with the man who discovered the ancient boat in


  • Tel Hatzor
    • Hatzor in biblical and extrabiblical sources
    • Was Hatzor destroyed during Joshua conquest of Canaan?
    • Hatzor in the Israelite period


  • Bethsaida
    • The kingdom of Geshur
    • Was King David here?
    • Bethsaida in the New Testament
    • Is there an alternative Bethsaida?


  • Kursi
    • The exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac
    • Gerasa or Gadara?
    • Why did Jesus come to a pagan city?


* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Jesus´ final moments: from history to myth

  • Mount of Olives
    • The Mount of Olives in the Judeo-Christian conception
    • The biblical geography of Jerusalem


  • Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
    • The House of Caiaphas: arguments for and against
    • From the House of Caiaphas to the trial by Poncio Pilato


  • Museum of the Tower of David – Herod’s Palace
    • The trial of Jesus
    • Antonia Fortress vs. Herod’s Palace


  • Holy Sepulcher
    • History of the Holy Sepulcher
    • The archaeology of the Holy Sepulcher: was Jesus buried here?

* Night in Jerusalem

Transport to Ben Gurion airport