International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in London

From July 4-7, the SBL holds its 2011 International Meeting in King’s College London, Waterloo Campus, London, UK.

On the 6th of July, from 1.30 pm – 4.30 pm in Room 1.10 Franklin Wilkins, there will be a meeting on:

A Dialogical Approach to Archaeology and the Bible: Insights from the Excavations at Tall el-Hammam, Jordan

Tall el-Hammam, the Upper and Lower Talls in the Kikkar (circular disk) of the Jordan. Photo: © Leen Ritmeyer

As staff member of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project, I will be participating in the program:

Brandy A. Forrest, Trinity Southwest University, Presiding

Ziad al-Saad, Department of Antiquities, Jordan 
Greetings from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (5 min)

Steven Collins, Trinity Southwest University
 From Text to Ground and Back: The Dialogical Integration of Archaeology and Biblical Studies in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (12 min)

Gary A. Byers, Trinity Southwest University
 Kingdoms and Characters: Tall el-Hammam and the Biblical Record (15 min)

Steven Collins, Trinity Southwest University 
Tall el-Hammam and the Eastern Kikkar Sites: Geographical Foundation of the Biblical “Cities of the Plain” Formula (15 min)

Lucy A. Clayton, Binghampton University
 Land of the Kikkar: The Anthropology of the Tall el-Hammam City State (13 min)

Brandy A. Forrest, Trinity Southwest University 
Touching the Biblical World: Facts and Artifacts from Tall el-Hammam (15 min)
Break (30 min)

Leen Ritmeyer, Ritmeyer Archaeological Design 
Representing the Past: Architectural Reconstruction Drawings from Tall el-Hammam (15 min)

Carroll A. Kobs, Trinity Southwest University 
“Lot Sat in the Gateway of Sodom” (Gen 19:1): Tall el-Hammam’s Massive Defenses (10 min)

Carroll A. Kobs, Trinity Southwest University 
Goddess of the Eastern Kikkar: An Iron Age II Ammonite Figurine from Tall el-Hammam (10 min)

Kennett Schath, Trinity Southwest University 
Mourning and Memorial: Insights from Tall el-Hammam’s Megalithic Sacrescape (10 min)

David Maltsberger, Baptist University of the Americas
 Balancing Archaeology, Faith, and Jordan’s National Economy (10 min)
Discussion (20 min)

The complete program can be seen here.

“Jesus and the Temple” Symposium in Boca Raton, FL

From December 15 – 17, 2011, a symposium on “Jesus and the Temple” is planned to take place in Boca Raton, Florida.

Focal Question: How significantly and in what ways did the Temple and its cult help define the social and spiritual life of early Jews, including Jesus and his earliest followers?

Purpose: To correct the popular impression that Jesus despised the Temple and its cult because he attacked the money changers and was apparently condemned by the leading high priests [the historicity of each event must be discussed]. To raise questions which are focused on pre-70 Jews, Jesus, his followers and the Temple and to seek a new consensus on the grid questions.

My topic will be “Imagining the Temple Early Jews Knew”.

Here are the details of the symposium.

Conferences and Lectures in New Orleans

My wife Kathleen and I enjoyed our time last week in New Orleans and even had time to sail on the Mississippi on the Steamboat Natchez. It was also interesting to listen to the many stories about the Katrina disaster four years ago. People’s lives are still dominated by that event. Their recent history seems to be divided in pre- and post-Katrina periods. The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where I lectured for two days as the Manuel Lectureship Speaker, is only now getting back to normal, after having had to move to Atlanta, as most of the campus was flooded.


There were many lectures to choose from at the ASOR, ETS, SBL and NEAS conferences. We attended lectures, ranging from Satellite Remote Sensing, the Location of Sodom, through the latest updates of recent archaeological excavations, such as Kh. Qeiyafa and Tell Es-Safi/Gath, to a fascinating section on Teaching Archaeology.

The latter section was at times hilarious, listening to archaeologists who had to teach archaeology, without having had any prior teacher training, to students who didn’t know anything about the subject at all. Reading assignments sometimes produced gems like the title of Eric Cline’s lecture: “The Israelites Wondered in the Dessert for 40 years” and “Before the Printing Press, it took 300 Sheep to Write the Bible”.

Here is a comment on my lecture on “The Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Deciphering Its Story”.

Lectures by Dr. Leen Ritmeyer

On Nov. 15th and 16th, I have been invited by Dr. Dennis Cole to lecture at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on two topics:
• The History and Archaeology of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
• The History and Archaeology of Herodian Jerusalem.

On Nov. 18th, 9.00 am, I am scheduled to deliver a lecture for ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research), also in New Orleans, on:
• The Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount – Deciphering its Story.

The Eastern Wall is the most interesting of all the Temple Mount walls, as three types of masonry can be discerned: Herodian, Hasmonean and Iron Age (8th Century B.C.). These masonry types are directly linked with the historical development of the Temple Mount.

German Lecture Tour

From June 19-27, 2009 a lecture tour in Germany has been planned. My wife Kathleen will join me.

The first series will take place on June 19, 20 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, for see details here.
The lecture titles are:
1. Reconstruction of Herod’s Temple (Saturday 20, 9.30 – 11.30)
2. In Search of Solomon’s Temple (20.00 – 22.00)

Next some lectures will be given at the Freien Theologischen Hochschule (FTH) Giessen
(Giessen School of Theology) on June 23 and 24. The three lectures are entitled:
1. The Role of the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem (23 June, 11.10 – 13.00)
2. The Archaeology of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (June 23, 19.30 – 21.15)
3. Solomon’s Temple in the Books of Kings and Chronicles (June 24, 14.10 – 16.00)

Finally, two lectures will be given at the Saxon Conference for the German Friends of Israel at the Pavillon of Hope, Puschstr. 9, Leipzig on Friday 27th (15.00) and the titles are:
1. What did Herod’s Temple Mount look like?
2. Where on the Temple Mount stood Solomon’s Temple?

International Conference on the Temple of Jerusalem in New York

During May 11-12, 2008, a conference is planned in New York on the Temple of Jerusalem. The models of the Tabernacle, Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples, which I designed, will be displayed there. I am also one of the speakers, giving a lecture on “The Academic and Creative Process of Archaeological Model Making.”

More info later.

Upcoming lectures

In November this year I plan to give the following lectures in California:

Thursday 11/15
Place: Town and Country Resort Hotel, San Diego, CA.
Moderator: Gary A. Byers (Associates for Biblical Research)
Time: 9:50 – 10:20 am
Title: 40 years on – Temple Mount research since 1967

Monday 11/19

Moderator: Prof. Ziony Zevit
Time: 20.00 pm
Title: Two Temples Stood in Zion: How New Excavations, Old Photographs, Recent Observations and Ancient Texts Enable Us to See the Temples of Solomon and Herod
About 10 years ago, I gave a lecture at the same venue, which was well attended by an enthusiastic audience. I look forward to being there again.

Temple Awareness

This report from Arutz Sheva News is about an exciting 4-day marathon seminar, focussing on the Temple Mount. If I was in Jerusalem I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!

Temple Awareness: A Summer of Seminars and Tours
by Hillel Fendel

The Holy Temple is “in” with tours, hikes and seminars in and around Jerusalem in the coming days and weeks.

As Jews around the world commemorate the Three Weeks of Mourning for the Holy Temples beginning last Tuesday and ending on Tisha B’Av (July 24), Jews in Israel embark on a marathon of Temple-related studies and activities. A partial list:

Monday, July 16 – Sessions at the Kohen-Levi Conference at HaKotel Hall in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. 11 AM – 7 PM, payment of 50 shekels at the door.

Tuesday, July 17 – “A Day of the Temple” Seminar with The Temple Institute: Southern Wall excavations, Davidson Center presentation, Temple stairway and gates, special effects and period actors, Temple vessels exhibition, in-depth lecture, presentation, and special events, 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM, 100 shekels. via the OU Israel Center, tel 02-560-9110.

Wednesday, July 18 – “In the Footsteps of the Kohanim and Leviyim” – in and around Old Jerusalem, Herodian Quarter, 2nd Temple priestly mansions, The Menorah, Cardo, Jewish Quarter, Closest gates of the Temple Mount, Kotel HaKatan (Small Wall), Bus to Mt. of Olives, spectacular Temple Mount view, Shimon HaTzaddik tomb, and View of Nov, the city of Kohanim. 10 AM – 4 PM, 60 shekels via the OU Israel Center, tel 02-560-9110.

Thursday, July 19 – “In the Footsteps of the Kohanim and Leviyim”, bus tour to Shilo, site of the Tabernacle, Eli HaKohen, and Shmuel HaNavi. Then to Modiin area, Beit Choron, where the Maccabees defeated the Greeks. Vista from Baal Chatzor, Rosh Chodesh torches, protected bus. 10 AM – 5 PM, 150 shekels. via the OU Israel Center, tel 02-560-9110.

July 9-12 – Temple Institute in Jerusalem – four days of tours and lectures. Topics include: The commandment to build the Holy Temple today (Rabbi Yisrael Ariel); Daily Sacrifice, Temple Vessels and Priestly Garments; Renewal of Temple Service Today; Tour in the Davidson Center at the Southern Wall; the Red Heifer (Rabbi Chaim Richman); Festivals in the Temple; Pilgrims in Jerusalem; and more. tel: 02-6264545, 200 shekels each day, 700 shekels for entire program.

July 16-23 – “Between Destruction and Construction” Tours in and around Jerusalem, sponsored by the Jewish Community of the City of David – 45 shekels each, seven tours for the price of six:

Tour 1 – From the Assyrian Siege to the Babylonian Destruction: City of David, Chizikiyahu’s Tunnel, and other eastern Jerusalem sites
Tour 2 – Jerusalem During the Second Temple Period: Nechemiah’s Wall, the graves of the Dynasty of David, the Shiloach Pool, and new discoveries
Tour 3 – Following the Pilgrims of the Middle Ages – The gravesites of Huldah, Avshalom, Zechariah, and Rav Ovadiah of Bartinura, and the Rehavam Observation Point
Tour 4 – Famous figures buried on the Mt. of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount
Tour 5 – Sifting through Temple Mount remains with an archaeologist
Tour 6 – The Jewish Quarter in 1948 – The Zion Gate, Street of the Jews, the Hurva Synagogue, Batei Machseh, and more
Tour 7 – The Battles to Liberate Jerusalem in 1967 – Lions Gate, the Western Wall, the Kidron Bridge, and more