Transitions in the Land Online Seminar


Jerusalem University College is excited to announce the return of its January online seminar. Transitions in the Land is a two-day event that is free and open to the public. Featured during this event will be eight exclusive presentations that discuss an array of key transitional turning points throughout biblical history. The lineup of speakers includes a group of esteemed scholars who are also faculty, alumni, and friends of JUC.
Register now to join us for this event!

Dates and Times

The live online seminar will be held on the following days:

  • Saturday, January 8th at 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST
  • Sunday, January 9th at 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM EST

Online Platform

Attendees do not need to download or install new software to participate. All registrants will receive a link to the seminar prior to the event. We strongly recommend that participants use Google Chrome to join the event, as the seminar will run optimally on this internet browser.

Apple Users: Please ensure that both your device operating system and browser are fully updated before joining to avoid connection errors.


View the seminar schedule, including the list of speakers and topics, below. You may also download a PDF version of the schedule. Each session will last approximately one hour, including a brief time for Q&A.

Saturday January 8

8:00 AM EST: Introduction

8:09 AM: Session #1

Recent Excavations at Tel Gezer and Qeiyafa: Fortified Cities on the Western Border of the United Monarchy

Dr. Steven Ortiz (Lipscomb University)

This presentation will present the results of recent archaeological research in the south with a re-reading of the biblical text to demonstrate that the northern Shephelah was a key region in the expansion of Judah toward the coastal plain during the Iron Age IIA (e.g. 10th century BCE). We will focus on the recent excavations of Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Gezer, as well as recent research trends in the transition between the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age I. We will review debates regarding state development and the rise of Judah, recent trends in the Late Bronze Age-Iron Age I transition, and archaeological research in the Shephelah. Concurrent with these discussions will be an overview of the Philistine expansion and the Canaanite Enclave Theory. It will be shown that several biblical accounts (e.g. David and Goliath, Battle at Baal-Perazim, and Solomon’s fortifications) reflect a planned westward expansion.

9:10 AM: Break

9:15 AM: Session #2

Joshua as a Test Case for Genocide: An Archaeological and Canonical Perspective

Dr. Richard Hess (Denver Seminary)

One of the great questions of the present age that presents an obstacle to faith in the God of the Bible is the issue of a cruel, violent deity as seen in his treatment of innocent people in the Old Testament accounts. Above all, the wars in the first part of the book of Joshua are most often pointed to as examples of an angry deity. The presentation here will review some of the texts relevant to the issue of this violence, examining what they actually communicate about the events. It will also consider literary and artefactual evidence from the world of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age southern Canaan. We will argue that there was no genocide. Rather, the major battles Israel fought were defensive and textually situated in a context of divine mercy.

10:16 AM: Break

10:20 AM: Session #3

Changes in Jerusalem During the First Temple Period

Dr. Gabriel Barkay (Temple Mount Sifting Project, Jerusalem University College)

Jerusalem underwent multiple changes during the first temple period. This presentation articulates the archaeological, historical, and social evidence for how the significance of the city changed in the eyes of those living in the land, both past and present.

11:21 AM: Break

11:26 AM: Session #4

Transitions in the Land: Perspectives from the Early Church

Dr. Petra Heldt (Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity, Jerusalem University College)

Investigate Christian views of the Land of Israel at three critical times of transition of the Second Jewish Commonwealth in Late Antiquity, namely to (1) the Roman Empire (New Testament; Origen []); to (2) Byzantium (Eusebius []; Cyril of Scythopolis [d.558]; Madaba Map [542-570]); to (3) the Arab world (Sophronius [d.638]). Examining those writings will answer whether the Early Church prevented the paganization of the Land, provided continuity at times of transition, and functioned at times like a caretaker of the Land in lieu of the ban of Jewish people. The idea of Christian Holy Land ownership hardly seems to add up for the first half of the Christian millennium.

12:30 PM: Closing


Sunday January 9

1:00 PM EST: Introduction

1:09 PM: Session #5

"What you have said is true": Women, Agency, Ownership in the First Century

Dr. Lynn Cohick (Northern Seminary)

This presentation will examine women’s agency in marriage and property ownership, with a focus on the Babatha Archives and literary evidence from Greco-Roman authors. The evidence will be applied to John 4 and the story of Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman, to better understand her context.

2:10 PM: Break

2:15 PM: Session #6

Abel Beth Maacah: The Historical Geography and Archaeology of a Biblical City

Dr. Robert Mullins (Azusa Pacific University)

Abel Beth Maacah (Tell Abil el-Qameh) figures prominently in the biblical narrative as a guardian of Israel's northern approaches (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Kings 15:29) and as a religious center in the time of King David when the Benjaminite rebel Sheba ben Bichri took refuge inside the city and a "wise woman" negotiated his surrender to Joab (2 Sam 20:14-22). This presentation will summarize the past eight seasons of archaeological excavations at the site with a special focus on the period of the monarchy and the points of contact between the finds and the biblical text. This includes the remarkable discovery of an Israelite personal name inked on the body of a storage jar dating to the late 9th or early 8th centuries BCE.

3:16 PM: Break

3:20 PM: Session #7

The History of the Title "Prophet" in Light of the New Isaiah Seal Impression

Dr. William Schniedewind (University of California, Los Angeles)

A recently excavated seal impression of "Isaiah" appears to have "Prophet" as an official administrative title. In light of the Isaiah seal impression, this paper reassesses other inscriptions with the title "Prophet" and evaluates the use of the title "Prophet" in biblical literature and early biblical interpretation.

4:21 PM: Break

4:26 PM: Session #8

From Saul to David: The Lord's Anointed in Exile

Dr. Todd Bolen (The Master's University, Bible Places)

Israel’s transition from Saul to David is described at greater length than any similar period of time in Israel’s history, with 20 chapters in 1–2 Samuel narrating David’s flight, Saul’s pursuit, and the nation’s fickleness. The account is fascinating in its detailed geographical record of David’s journeys in the wilderness, Shephelah, and Philistia. At the same time, this narrative also provides intriguing insights into David’s patience in exile, his pattern as the Lord’s anointed, and his prophetic psalms of faith.

5:30 PM: Closing


How to Register

The seminar is free and open to the public. Fill out the registration form on this page to join!

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"Transitions in the Land"