Attending the annual meetings of professional organizations allows one to keep up with the latest scholarly efforts of various scholars. When I was teaching I attended sessions dealing with the subjects I was teaching. I have always attended sessions dealing with archaeology because these help be to keep abreast of the field. On my tours, I am often able to tell the guides about discoveries that they have not yet learned about.
Some affiliated smaller organizations meet under the auspices of the larger one. The NEAS (Near East Archaeological Society) meets with ETS. I attended most of the sessions of the NEAS. Let me give you some idea about what I heard.
Charles Ailing, Did Moses Learn His Monotheism From Akhenaten? Mostly likely not. According to the Biblical chronology, Moses was earlier than Akhenaten.
Douglas Petrovich, Identifying the Tower of Babel and (Re-)Locating the Site of Its Construction. He suggested Eridu. Doug began his paper with a prayer in which he said, “Thank you for the thrill of learning, and thank you for the truth.”
Randall Price reported on “the Final Season of Excavation on the Qumran Plateau.” I did not hear his presentation about the search for Noah’s Ark. Seth Rodriquez looked at how archaeology provides insights into Psalm 144.
Morten Jensen, from Denmark, spoke about “Religious Motivation in the Archaeological Record of First-century Israel.” A paper on Metallurgy was read for a scholar who was unable to arrive from Germany.
We had two presentations by excavators at Gezer. Steven Ortiz spoke about the recent excavations. Daniel Warner spoke about the fabulous new find of the Gezer Water System. See our earlier report on this water system here.
The sessions last about three hours and have at least five presenters in each. One session was devoted to Wheaton College’s Contribution to Biblical Archaeology from Joseph P. Free to the Present. Alfred J. Hoerth, who served as chair of the department of archaeology, spoke of the contributions from Free to the present. Other speakers, all of whom attended and/or taught at Wheaton included Daniel Master (Ashkelon), John Monson, and Tom Davis. This was an extremely worthwhile session.
Free is known for his book about archaeology, but also for his excavation of the biblical site of Dothan. One interesting tidbit: Free purchased the tell of Dothan from the Jordanian landowner. I think this would be impossible today.
Dothan is known as the place where Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36).
Perhaps I can get to a few comments about the SBL meeting after I return home.