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  • Prof. Aren Maeir, Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology

    Prof. Aren Maeir, Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology

    Massive Open Online Course in Biblical Archaeology Debuts this Week; Additional MOOCs to Follow

    Date: 2018-12-02 Hour: 7:54

    Beginning this week (Wednesday, December 5) Bar-Ilan University will offer a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in archaeology.  Entitled Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah, the course will be taught entirely in English. It is an introductory course in biblical archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-586 BCE). 

    Cutting-edge, interdisciplinary archaeological research will be used to explore the field of archaeology, the history of this era, and it’s “players” (e.g., Israel, Judah, Philistine, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Aram, Moab, Edom, ancient Egypt, etc.).  Special focus will be given to complex relationship between archaeology, history and the bible, and how modern research interfaces between these different, and at times conflicting, sources, in particular, how archaeology can be used to understand biblical text – and vice versa. 

    The course will combine short video lectures with extensive illustrative materials, on-site discussions at relevant archaeological locations, display 3D images and discuss relevant archaeological finds.  It will also include interviews with leading researchers in the field, both to discuss specific aspects, finds and sites, as well as to present different sides of debated issues. 

    The course will be taught by Prof. Aren Maeir, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, who has directed archaeological excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, the biblical Gath of the Philistines and home of Goliath, for nearly a quarter century.  More information about the course, Prof. Maeir and registration may be found here.

    Prof. Aren M. Maeir is the recipient of the 2018 P.E. Macallister Award in Field Archaeology from the American Schools of Oriental Research. The award honors an archaeologist who, during his/her career, has made outstanding contributions to ancient Near Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean archaeology.  In addition, Prof. Maeir’s students and colleagues just published a “festschrift” – or a volume of essays celebrating an event -- in honor of Prof. Maeir’s 60th birthday.  The book, with 1,100 pages, 97 authors and 66 articles, is entitled Tell it in Gath: Studies in the History and Archaeology of Israel: Essays in Honor of Aren M. Maeir on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday (Munich, 2018).  Recently, Prof. Maeir was also named one of the five best-connected researchers in recent years at the annual conference of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the primary professional meeting for archaeologists of the ancient Near East.  

    The Zalman Shamir Department of Bible is offering a MOOC on The Bible in Light of the Ancient Near East.  The course aims to introduce students to the fascinating world of Israel’s neighboring civilizations in biblical times, and offer a comparative study that examines the relationship between the Bible and these civilizations. The MOOC, taught by Dr. Nili Samet, began several weeks ago, but will run again in late February 2019.

    Also in late February the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences will offer a MOOC in medical genomics and biomedical informatics. Prof. Ron Unger, who specializes in computational biology and bioinformatics, is coordinating the course, which will be taught by several faculty members.  The course is intended mainly for physicians. The MOOC is designed to present an overview of the data revolution underway, and provide useful tools to take advantage of it.

    The Department of Jewish Art will offer a course in late February 2019 on Pioneers of Art: The Story of Female Jewish Artists.  The course will be delivered in Hebrew, with English subtitles.  Registration will begin in mid-January 2019. 

    Bar-Ilan MOOCs are offered via the technology (edX) that sets a new standard for online and global learning, the main goal of which is to break down geographical and cultural barriers between learners around the world.   edX is an online learning and MOOC provider, founded by Harvard University and MIT, that offers high-quality courses from the world's leading universities and institutions to learners around the globe.