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2007.10.09 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

Biblical Archaeology Conference Nov. 8-10 at UNO

Omaha - Scholars from around the world will present the latest research on excavations at Bethsaida, an ancient city located near the north coast of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, next month at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

The ninth annual Batchelder Biblical Archaeology Conference is Nov. 8-10 at the William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center on the UNO campus.  Biblical scholar Dr. James K. Hoffmeier of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School will deliver the conference's first keynote address at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8.

Dr. Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology, will present “The Wilderness Traditions and Archaeological Evidence of the Exodus from Egypt.”  His connection to the Middle East is both professional and personal.  Dr. Hoffmeier was born in Egypt and lived there until turning 16, and returns often for research and excavation. From 1975 to 1977 he worked with the Akhenaten Temple Project in Luxor. He served from 1980 to 1999 as professor of Archaeology and Old Testament at Wheaton College, and was chairman of Wheaton’s Department of Biblical, Theological, Religious and Archaeological Studies from 1992 to 1998. From 1996 to 1999 he was also director of the Wheaton Archaeology Program.

Conference activities continue Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Alumni Center.  Fourteen scholars from around the world will present research and discoveries detailing Biblical archeology during the day sessions, which are free and open to the public.

The conference will present the film “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” produced by James Cameron for The Discovery Channel, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. Dr. James Tabor and Dr. Dan Bahat will lead the discussion afterward.

Dr. Tabor is professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and is featured in “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” Dr. Tabor has published four books --  Things Unutterable;A Noble Death; Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America; and The Jesus Dynasty: A New Historical Investigation of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity.

Bahat, who lectures at the University of Toronto, has excavated at numerous sites in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. Books he has written or co-authored include Atlas of Biblical Jerusalem, Jerusalem: Stone and Spirit, Israel 2000 Years and Carta’s Historical Atlas of Jerusalem.  Admission to both this keynote event and the Dr. Hoffmeier keynote addresses is $10 per person.  UNO students who show their IDs can attend both for free.

“It is exciting to have such well-known and highly regarded scholars converging in Omaha to present their research,” said Rami Arav, director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project at UNO.  Bethsaida was the capital city of the forgotten biblical kingdom of Geshur.  It is one of the most frequently mentioned towns in the New Testament and the purported place where Jesus performed several miracles.

In 1991, the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project (CBEP) was formed and has been housed at UNO since its inception. Its mission is to excavate the ancient city of Bethsaida, research the data discernible from the remains and disseminate the conclusions to both academic and popular audiences.

To register or for more information and a complete schedule of events, contact Steve Reynolds, Bethsaida Excavations Project coordinator, at (402) 554-3108.

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