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IsraelX: Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah

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Join me as I share with you my passion for archaeological discovery and learn about the exciting methods of modern archaeology. Explore how archaeology illuminates biblical Israel and Judah, and the archaeological finds relate to the bible.

12 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

9,357 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Started Dec 3
Ends May 4

About this course

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Join me for an introductory course on biblical archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-586 BCE).

In this course, we will use cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary archaeological research to explore the fascinating 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 can archaeology be used to understand the biblical text - and vice a 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.

In addition, it includes 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.


edX Prize 2022

At a glance

  • Institution: IsraelX
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:


  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, Español, עברית, Português
  • Associated skills:Archaeology, Legal Discovery

What you'll learn

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  • How Archaeologists work
  • Recent archaeological discoveries and findings
  • The archaeology and history of ancient Israel and Judah
  • The meaning of Biblical Archaeology and its relationship with the Hebrew Bible
  • How to determine if archaeology - and biblical archaeology - is a potential career for you

Week 1: Introduction

  • What is Archaeology and what is Biblical Archaeology?
  • What time periods and areas will the course cover?
  • What is the relationship between archaeology and the Bible?
  • What is the "toolbox" of the modern archaeologist?
  • How does science impact modern biblical archaeology?
  • The Bronze Age background of biblical Israel and Judah.

Week 2: The early Iron Age

  • Who are the early Israelites?
  • How do we define them?
  • How, when, and where did the early Israelites appear?
  • How does the archaeological evidence for the appearance of early Israel compare to the biblical description?

Week 3: The First Kingdoms? A "United Monarchy" of David and Solomon?

  • Was there a "United Monarchy"?
    What does archaeology and the Bible tell us and how does this compare?
  • What are the historical and archaeological evidence of this kingdom and these figures?

Week 4: The Northern Kingdom of Israel: ca. 930-722 BCE

  • Historical sources on the Israelite Kingdom.
  • What is the archaeological evidence of the Israelite Kingdom?
  • The end of the Israelite Kingdom.

Week 5: The Southern Kingdom of Judah: ca. 930-586 BCE

  • Historical sources on the Judahite Kingdom.
  • What is the archaeological evidence of the Judahite Kingdom?
  • What is the relationship between the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
  • The end of the Kingdom of Judah.

Week 6: Daily Life and Material Culture of Ancient Judah and Israel

  • Social structure in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Urban and rural life in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Food and drink in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Religion and cult in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Death and Burial in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Warfare in biblical Israel and Judah.
  • Language, writing, and literacy in biblical Israel and Judah.

Week 7: Neighboring Cultures in the Iron Age II

  • Philistines
  • Phoenicians
  • Transjordanian peoples
  • Aram
  • Egypt
  • Mesopotamia

Week 8: Aftermath of Iron Age Israel and Judah and Course Epilogue

  • Judahite exiles in Mesopotamia and Egypt?
  • The Persian Period restoration (ca. 500-330 BCE).
  • What Archaeology contributes to the understanding of ancient Israel and Judah.
  • Insights on the relationship between Archaeology and the Biblical Texts.
  • What to do if you want to expand your knowledge and experience in Biblical Archaeology.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Does this course require previous knowledge?
Is this course intended for students with a background in archaeology, biblical studies or religion?

Will I learn about the basics in archaeology in the course?

WIll the course deal with issues relating to the relationship between the archaeological remains and the biblical text?

Will the views expressed in the course reflect a specific religious outlook?

Will the course include extensive illustrations, pictures, videos, and other non-textual materials?

Is the course equivalent to a single semester course of ca. 2 hours a week?

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