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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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International Online Seminar "The Book of the Twelve – Textual and Archaeological Perspectives" - RET1073
Title: SZV-International Online Seminar
Guaranteed by: Department of Old Testament Studies (27-SZ)
Faculty: Protestant Theological Faculty
Actual: from 2023
Semester: winter
Points: 6
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0, C [HT]
Capacity: unlimited / unknown (20)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
Key competences:  
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: prof. Filip Čapek, Ph.D.
doc. Mgr. Jan Rückl, Ph.D.
prof. Martin Prudký, Dr.
Last update: prof. Filip Čapek, Ph.D. (16.10.2023)
Last update: prof. Martin Prudký, Dr. (27.09.2023)

International Seminar: The Book of the Twelve – Textual and Archaeological Perspectives
Seminar Plan

1. MEETING -- 19.10.2023
Subject: Introduction:
The Historical Background and Formation of the Book of the Twelve
Chair: Konrad Schmid
Speaker I: Oded Lipschits: From Jeroboam (the Second!) to the Ptole-maic Period: Historical and Archaeological Introduction to the Book of the Twelve
Speaker II: Jakob Wöhrle: Israelite Prophecy and the History and For-mation of the Book of the Twelve
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- What is prophecy?
- Why and how are the prophetic books important sources for histori-cal/archaeological research?
- What is the significance of the Book of Twelve?
- Why and how is the Book of Twelve important for historical research?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Hag 1
Bibliography for Reading:
- Williamson, H.G.M., “History and Memory in the Prophets,” in: Sharp, C.J. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Prophets, New York: Oxford Uni-versity Press, 2016, 132–148.

2.MEETING -- 26.10.2023
Subject: Assyrian Period I: Amos I
The Earthquake of the 8th Century
Chair: Sabine Kleiman
Speaker I: Konrad Schmid: The Earthquake in the Days of Uzziah and the Development of the Book of Amos
Speaker II: Joe Uziel: The Relationship between Archaeology and Text: The 8th Century BCE Earthquake as a Test Case
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- How were earthquakes interpreted in antiquity? (see e.g.
- How was the earthquake in the days of Uzziah perceived in Israel and Judah?
- Compare Amos 1:1 to the superscriptions of other prophetic books.
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Amos 1–2 in general (focus on: 1:1; 2:13; 9:1).
- Superscriptions to the prophetic books (Isa 1:1 to Mal 1:1)
Bibliography for Reading:
- Austin, S. / Franz, G.W. / Frost, E., “Amos’s Earthquake: An Extraordi-nary Middle East Seismic Event of 750 BC,” International Geology Re-view 42 (2000), 657–671.
- Schmid, K., “Prognosis and Postgnosis in Biblical Prophecy,” SJOT 32 (2018), 106–120.
Additional Literature:
- Marco, S. / Agnon, A. / Finkelstein, I. / Ussishkin, D., “Megiddo Earth-quakes,” in: Finkelstein, I. / Ussishkin, D. / Halpern, B. (ed.), Megiddo IV: The 1998–2002 Seasons, vol. 2, Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 2006, 569–575.
- Schmid, K., “The Book of Amos,” in: Gertz, J. et al. (ed.), The T&T Clark Handbook of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Literature, Reli-gion, and History of the Old Testament, London / New York: T&T Clark, 2012, 484–492.

3. MEETING -- 2.11.2023
Subject: Assyrian Period II: Amos II
Bethel in the 8th Century
Chair: Oded Lipschits
Speaker I: Filip Čapek: Bethel in the Book of Amos
Speaker II: Aaron Tavger: The Archaeology and Historical-Geography of Bethel
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- Why is Amos critical to Bethel and other sites in the north?
- What does Amos mean by the parable of the basket of ripe fruit?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Amos 7:10–8:14
Bibliography for Reading:
- Na'aman, N., “In Search of the Temples of YHWH of Samaria and YHWH of Teman,” JANER 17 (2017), 76–95.
Additional Literature:
- Finkelstein, I. / Singer-Avitz, L., “Reevaluating Bethel,” ZDPV 125 (2009), 33–48.
- Lipschits, O., “Bethel Revisited,” in: Lipschits, O. et al. (ed.), Rethinking Israel: Studies in the History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel in Honor of Israel Finkelstein, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2017, 233–246.
- Rainey A.F., “Looking for Bethel: An Exercise in Historical Geography,” in: Gitin, S. et al. (ed.), Confronting the Past: Archaeological and Histori-cal Essays on Ancient Israel in Honor of William G. Dever, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006, 269–273.
- Tavger, A., “ʻAnd He Called the Name of that Place Bethel’ (Gen 28:19): Historical-Geography and Archaeology of the Sanctuary of Bethel,” in: Hensel, B. (ed.), The History of the Jacob Cycle (Genesis 25–35): Recent Research on the Compilation, the Redaction, and the Recep-tion of the Biblical Narrative and Its Historical and Cultural Contexts, Tü-bingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021, 201–222.

4.MEETING -- 09.11.2023
Subject: Assyrian Period III: Micah
Moresheth-Gath and the Shephelah in 701
Chair: Manfred Oeming
Speaker I: Jakob Wöhrle: Micah’s Moresheth Gath: Insights into the Ge-ographical and the Historical Background of the Book of Micah
Speaker II: Josef Briffa: The Shephelah of Judah and the Impact of the Assyrian Empire
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- What can we say about the identification of Micah’s Moresheth Gath?
- What if the new identification of Moresheth Gath with Azekah was correct?
- What insights about the historical sitution in the Shephalah do we gain from the book of Micah?
- In how far do these insights fit with / contradict / extend / enrich the results of recent archaeological findings?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Mic 1:1–16
Bibliography for Reading:
- Lipschits, O. / Wöhrle, J., “Azekah – The Hometown of Micah the Moreshtite,” ZAW 135 (2023), 230–250.
Additional Literature:
- Koch, I., “Settlements and Interactions in the Shephelah during the Late Second through Early First Millennia BCE,” in: Lipschits, O. / Maeir, A.M. (ed.), The Shephelah during the Iron Age: Recent Archaeological Studies, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2017, 181–207.

5. MEETING -- 23.11.2023
Subject: Babylonian Time I: Obadiah
Obadiah and the Downfall of Jerusalem
Chair: Filip Čapek
Speaker I: Anselm Hagedorn: Obadiah‘s View of the Babylonian Con-quest
Speaker II: Nitsan Shalom: The Archaeology of the Babylonian Destruc-tion of Jerusalem
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- Why is Obadiah “necessary” after Jeremias 49 already speaks about Edom?
- Why is Babylon so reluctantly mentioned in the book - especially so as the “Babylonian Conquest” lays a major role in the shaping of the bibli-cal tradition?
- What “historical realities” are envisaged in the book of Obadiah and why does Edom become so prominent here?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Obad 11–15
Bibliography for Reading:
- Sweeney, S.K., “Obadiah (Book and Person),” EBR 21:1084–1089.
- Assis, E.A., “Obadiah’s Prophecy against Edom,” in: idem, Identity in Conflict: The Struggle between Esau and Jacob, Edom and Israel (Siphrut 19), Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2016, 141–152.
- Shalom, N., “The Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem as a Symbol? New Archaeological Evidence of the Babylonian Conquest,” HeBAI 12 (2023), 85–107.

6. MEETING -- 30.11.2023
Subject: Babylonian Period II: Zephaniah
Cult Reform According to the Book of Zephaniah
Chair: Josef Briffa
Speaker I: Yigal Levin: Did Zephaniah Inspire, React to, or Have Anything to Do with Josiah’s ‘Cultic Reform’?
Speaker II: Yuval Gadot: Josiah and the Physical Heritage of the Days Menasseh: A Look from Jerusalem
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- Does Zeph 1:4–6 refer to the cult reform of Josiah? If yes, does this proof the historicity of Josiah’s cult reform?
- What can we learn from the book of Zephaniah about the time of Jo-siah in general?
- How do extra-biblical and archaeological findings fit to the biblical texts?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Zeph 1 and 2 Kings 22:1–23:30
Bibliography for Reading:
- Hagedorn, A.C., “When Did Zephaniah Become a Supporter of Josiah’s Reform?” JTS 62 (2011): 453–475.
- Gadot, Y., “Jerusalem, the Reign of Manasseh and the Assyrian World Order,” in: Hagemeyer, F. (ed.), Jerusalem and the Coastal Plain in the Iron Age and Persian Periods: New Studies on Jerusalem’s Relations with the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel/Palestine (c. 1200–300 BCE) (ORA 46), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022: 145–161.
Additional Literature:
- Hays, C.B., “Isa 24–27 and Zephaniah Amid the Terrors and Hopes of the Seventh Century: An Intertextual Analysis,” in: Bautsch, R.J. / Eck J. / Zapff, B.M. (ed.), Isaiah and the Twelve: Parallels, Similarities and Dif-ferences, Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020, 131–155.
- Kahn, D., “The Historical Setting of Zephaniah's Oracles against the Nations (Zeph. 2: 4-15),” in: Galil, G. / Geller M. / Millard A. (ed.), Homeland and Exile: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Hon-our of Bustenay Oded (VTSup 130), Leiden: Brill, 2009, 439–534.

7. MEETING -- 7.12.2023

Subject: Persian Period I: Haggai-Zechariah I
The Rebuilding of the Second Temple
Chair: Jakob Wöhrle
Speaker I: Jan Rückl: Conflicting Discourses of Temple Reconstruction in Haggai, Zechariah and Other Biblical Texts
Speaker II: Yiftah Shalev: “Jerusalem Shall be Inhabited as Towns with-out Walls” – New Evidence of Persian Period Jerusalem
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- What are the main differences between the accounts of the Second Temple reconstruction in various biblical texts (Haggai-Zechariah, Ezra, 1 Esdras)?
- How to explain these differences? Is it possible to harmonize the dif-ferent accounts into a unified picture and is it appropriate to harmonize them?
- What is the difference between the biblical description of the city and the archaeological finds?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Hag 1–2
Bibliography for Reading:
Shalev Y. / Bocher E. / Roth H. / Sandhaus R. / Shalom N. / Gadot Y., “Je-rusalem in the Early Hellenistic Period: New Evidence for Its Nature and Location,” in: Berlin, A. / Kosmin, P.J. (ed.), The Middle Maccabees: Ar-chaeology, History and the Rise of the Hasmonean Kingdom (ABS 28), Atlanta: SBL Press, 2021, 17–36.
- Rückl, J., “The Leadership of the Judean Community according to the Book of Haggai,” in: Pyschny, K. / Schulz, S. (ed.), Transforming Author-ity: Concepts of Leadership in Prophetic and Chronistic Literature (BZAW 518), Berlin: de Gruyter, 2021, 59–84.
Additional Literature:
Lipschits, O., “Jerusalem as a Symbol and in Reality”, HeBAI 12 (2023), 69–84.

8. MEETING -- 14.12.2023
Subject: Persian Period II: Haggai-Zechariah II
Drought in Haggai-Zechariah and in Archaeology
Chair: Martin Prudký
Speaker I: Jan Rückl and Oded Lipschits: “A Drought on the Land and the Hills”: The Persian Period Dry climate between Literary Imagery and Historical Geography
Speaker II: Dafna Langgut: Dry Climate during the Babylonian and the Early Phase of the Persian Periods and its Impact on Settlement Pat-terns in the Southern Levant
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
- How can archaeology be useful in the study of biblical prophetic texts? Can environmental archaeology be used to interpret or even date bibli-cal texts?
- To what extent can the figurative language of prophetic texts be used to reconstruct historical reality? How - specifically - can Haggai's de-scription of the miserable situation in Judah be used to reconstruct the situation in the last third of the 6th century BCE?
- What reasons led to the change in the southern borders of Judah/Ye-hud between the 8th–7th centuries on the one hand and the 4th–3rd centuries BCE on the other? How to evaluate the impact of various phe-nomena on historical processes?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Hag 1:1–15; 2:10–19
Bibliography for Reading:
- Langgut, D. / Lipschits, O. “Dry Climate during the Early Persian Period and its Impact on the Establishment of Idumea,” Transeu 49 (2017), 135–162.

9. MEETING -- 21.12.2023
Subject: Persian Period III: Second Zechariah
Second Zechariah and the Political Situation in the Hellenistic Period
Chair: Oded Lipschits
Speaker I: Hervé Gonzalez: Losing Territorial Control in Early-Hellenistic Times: Territory and Power in Zechariah 9–14
Speaker II: Débora Sandhaus and Igor Kreimerman: From Crisis to Re-covery: The Influence of Warfare and Administrative Reforms on Settle-ment Patterns from the Late Persian Period to Ptolemy II in the Land of Israel
Discussion in Rooms on the Questions:
What can we learn from Second Zechariah about the political situation of the early Hellenistic period?
What is the historical background of the judgement oracels against vari-ous places Zech 9:1–8?
Which extra-biblical and archaeological data can be connected with Deutero-Zechariah?
Biblical Text for Preparation:
- Zech 9–10
Bibliography for Reading:
- Kreimerman I. / Sandhaus, D., “Political Trends as Reflected in the Material Culture: A New Look at the Transition between the Persian and Early Hellenistic Periods,” in: Honigman, S. / Nihan, C. / Lipschits, O. (ed.), Times of Transition: Judea in the Early Hellenistic Period (MOSAICS 1), Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns, 2012, 120–131.

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