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2012.10.16 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu

UNO to Host 14th Annual Batchelder Conference Nov. 8-10

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will host the Batchelder Conference for Biblical Archaeology Thursday, Nov. 8 through Saturday, Nov. 10. Now in its 14th year, the annual conference features biblical scholars from around the world as they unveil their latest findings.

Avraham Faust, Ph.D., will open the conference Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. with his talk, “The Ethnogenesis of Israel: How Israel Became a Nation.” Faust is a professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an expert on Israelite society in the Iron Age.

Professor David Ussishkin from Tel Aviv University in Israel will deliver the conference’s second featured address Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.: “Jerusalem at the Times of Solomon, Hezekiah & Nehemiah: An Archaeologist’s View.”

Twelve other scholars will present during the day on Friday and Saturday. For a full conference schedule, visit world.unomaha.edu/bethsaida.

UNO’s Bethsaida Biblical Archaeology project will remain a major focus of the conference this year. Since 1990, UNO has led a consortium of institutions in uncovering and studying artifacts at this site on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Bethsaida is one of the most frequently mentioned towns in the New Testament and it is purported to be the hometown of five apostles and the site where Jesus performed several miracles. Underlying the Second Temple Period, the excavations revealed that the city served as a capital for the biblical kingdom of Geshur, which flourished between the 10th and Eighth Centuries BCE.

The Batchelder Conference for Biblical Archaeology was named to recognize the generosity of the late Clifton B. Batchelder and his wife, Anne Stuart Batchelder. They are former Nebraska political leaders and longtime trustees of the Omaha community.

The addresses by Faust and Ussishkin, as well as sessions all day Friday at Saturday, are open to the public for $10 at the door; pre-registration is not required and the fee includes refreshments. Students can attend the conference for free.

All conference events will take place at UNO’s Thompson Center, 6705 Dodge St., Omaha.

More on Avraham Faust:
Avraham serves as director of the Institute of Archaeology and Associate Professor at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University. He has also participated in several excavations and surveys in Israel and abroad, as well as directing the excavations at Tel Eton (commonly identified with biblical Eglon) since 2006.

Faust is the author of several watershed studies, such as “Israelite Society in the Period of the Monarchy: An Archaeological Perspective” and “The Archaeology of the Israelite Society in the Iron Age II.” His latest book, “Israel’s Ethnogenesis: Settlement, Interaction, Expansion and Resistance” won the Irene Levi Sala Prize for books on the Archaeology of Israel, ASOR’s G.E. Wright Book Award, and the 2009 Biblical Archaeology Society Publication award.

More on David Ussishkin:
Ussishkin is Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Born in Jerusalem in 1935, Ussishkin studied archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, earning his Ph.D. in 1965. His thesis was on Neo-Hittite sculptures in Anatolia.

Ussishkin joined Tel Aviv University upon receiving his Ph.D., where he taught biblical archaeology and ancient Anatolian art until his retirement in 2004. He has directed excavations at many sites in Israel, including a survey of the Judean monumental necropolis in Silwan, biblical Lachish, biblical Jezreel and Betar, the last fort of the Second Jewish revolt against the Romans. Since 1992, he has been co-directing extensive excavations in biblical Megiddo.

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