England as the Custodian of the Jewish Past
Bespoke Guided Tour of Oxford, Cambridge, and London (along with other locations)
July 31 - August 9, 2023
Click default here for the pdf file with the detailed itinerary.
Click here for the link for pricing, booking, etc.
Email Blasts for the Gary A. Rendsburg Lecture Series
June 30, 2023
(for older email blasts, dating back to April 2021, see further below)
Map of the Kingdom of Ugarit, c. 1300 B.C.E.
Kudos to my student Noam Aharon (Rutgers, B.A. 2023, Geography, summa cum laude) for producing this excellent default map of the kingdom of Ugarit, c. 1300 B.C.E.
Noam hereby grants permission for the gratis use of the map for non-commercial purposes, though credit should be duly noted.
For commercial use, please contact me (
See also the default second file , for a list of bibliographic references.
For further details, see https://sites.google.com/view/noamaharon/home/ugaritic-kingdom-map
New Online Mini-Course: "The Bible and History"
Almost three thousand years ago, a small group of ancient Israelite literati wrote the major narrative that spans the biblical books of Genesis through Kings, creating what may be called the world's first history. The narrative focuses on the people of Israel, but because the history of Israel constantly intersected with the surrounding countries, the Bible gives us a veritable tour of the ancient Near East. Great powers such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, and lesser powers such as the Philistines and the Phoenicians, all make an appearance in the Bible's pages.
Professor Gary Rendsburg, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History at Rutgers University, presents both the evidence from the Bible and the wealth of archaeological data, with an eye to evaluating these two sources and to determining the manner in which they inform each other.
The course is brought to you by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University, and is made possible by a generous benefaction from Mr. Gene Hoffman of Short Hills, N.J.
The course uses the Canvas platform, to which you will be directed upon registration.
Total viewing time is a tad under three hours, simply follow this link in order to register:
Recently Published Book (2019)
How the Bible Is Written (Hendrickson)
- The literature of the Bible
- The history of ancient Israel
- The historical development of the Hebrew language
- The relationship between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel
- Dead Sea Scrolls
- Post-Biblical Judaism
- Medieval Hebrew manuscripts
A Brief Video About My Work
All Things Ancient Israel (about four minutes)
- Introduction to the Bible I
- Introduction to the Bible II
- Introduction to Ancient Judaism
- Jewish History (Ancient and Medieval)
- Women in the Bible
- Biblical Hebrew I
- Biblical Hebrew II
- Readings in Biblical Hebrew Prose
- Readings in Biblical Hebrew Poetry
- The Dead Sea Scrolls
- Scroll Down: Classical Jewish Texts, from Parchment to the Internet
- How Do We Know This (Honors College Interdisciplinary Seminar)
- The English Bible
- Jews in the World of Islam
- Ancient Egypt
- Hieroglyphic Egyptian
- The Redaction of Genesis (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1986) (reprinted, with a new Foreword, 2014).
- Diglossia in Ancient Hebrew (American Oriental Series 72; New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1990).
- Linguistic Evidence for the Northern Origin of Selected Psalms (Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series 43; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990).
- The Bible and the Ancient Near East, co-authored with Cyrus H. Gordon (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997).
- Israelian Hebrew in the Book of Kings (Occasional Publications of the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Program of Jewish Studies, Cornell University 5; Bethesda, MD: CDL Press, 2002).
- Solomon’s Vineyard: Literary and Linguistic Studies in the Song of Songs, co-authored with Scott B. Noegel (SBL Ancient Israel and Its Literature; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009 / Leiden: Brill, 2009).
See book description
- How the Bible Is Written (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2019).
- Co-Editor, The Bible World: Essays in Honor of Cyrus H. Gordon (New York: Ktav, 1980).
- Co-Editor, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Vol. 1 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987).
- Co-Editor, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Vol. 2 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1990).
- Co-Editor, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Vol. 3 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1992).
- Co-Editor, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Vol. 4 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2002).
- Associate Editor, Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, 4 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2013)
- Co-Editor, “Did I Not Bring Israel Out of Egypt?”: Biblical, Archaeological, and Egyptological Perspectives on the Exodus Narratives (Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement 13; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2016).
- Co-Editor, Le-maʿan Ziony: Essays in Honor of Ziony Zevit (Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2017).
- Co-Editor: James S. Diamond, Scribal Secrets: Extraordinary Texts in the Torah and Their Implications (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick, 2019).
Digital Humanities Projects
https://www.bensira.org/ – co-developed with Jacob Binstein, launched December 2013, presents the manuscript tradition of the book of Ben Sira, from Qumran, Masada, and the Cairo Geniza.
http://jts-ms-r1622-1.org/ – co-developed with Joshua Blachorsky (with the assistance of Jacob Binstein), launched May 2015, presents the images and transcriptions of JTS MS R1622.1, one of the most important (albeit incomplete) extant Mishna manuscripts.
http://johannes-obadiah.org/ – co-developed with Peter Shamah (with the assistance of Jacob Binstein), launched August 2018, presents the documents (all from the Cairo Geniza) relating to the life of Johannes of Oppido = Obadiah the Proselyte, Catholic monk who converted to Judaism in 1102 C.E.
Online Video Lectures (April 2020 – during the COVID-19 epidemic)
|The Haggadah through the Ages|
|Ancient Toileting Practices|
|Isaac Newton and the Great Plague of 1665-1666|
In general, see my YouTube channel, though see also the links and details below:
- "Unlikely Heroes: Women as Israel," delivered at Brigham Young University, March 7, 2007.
- "Light from Egypt on the Exodus Story," delivered at Brigham Young University, March 8, 2007.
- "Scroll Down: Classical Jewish Texts on the Internet," delivered at the University of Birmingham, October 22, 2012.
- "Moses the Magician," delivered at the conference "Out of Egypt: Israel's Exodus between Text and Memory, History and Imagination," University of California - San Diego, June 3, 2013 - Click on "Myth and Memory" -- see the third lecture there, with links for the video, handout and the images
- "Septuagint, Synagogue and Symbiosis: The Jews of Hellenistic Egypt," delivered at Lanier Theological Library (Houston), January 16, 2015
See seminar program for "January 16, 2015 – Historical and Archaeological Evidence for the Jewish Diaspora After 722 B.C." -- my lecture commences at 2:08:50 and continues through 2:39:40.
See the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation.
Or one can access my lecture, independently of the others at the seminar, via YouTube.
- "The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Texts and their Significance for Early Judaism and Early Christianity," delivered at Colgate University, February 18, 2015
See the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation.
- "The Psalms as Hymns in the Temple of Jerusalem: At Passover and throughout the Year," delivered on consecutive days at Brigham Young University and Utah State University, March 30-31, 2015, in conjunction with the colloquium on "Passion and Passover: Jesus and the Temple."
- “Sacred Space in Judaism after the Temple,” at the conference entitled “Sacred Space, Sacred Thread,” University of Southern California, November 2016 – my presentation comprises the first 25 minutes of this YouTube video.
- “The Future of American Jewish Bible Translation,” my 30-minute contribution to the panel discussion included in the one-day symposium, sponsored by the Jewish Publication Society of America, and held at the National Museum of American Jewish History, on April 30, 2017. This is an audio file only, with a few images. The pdf file of the handout, which will help you follow along.
- "Chiasmus in the Book of Genesis," at the "Chiasmus Jubilee Conference," Brigham Young University, August 16, 2017. My apologies for the unevenness of the PowerPoint images projected on the screen. They were all perfect in my version, but somehow did not transfer well on the podium computer. Among other issues, note that the prime symbol does not appear, but rather displays as an empty little box. For a pdf version of the PowerPoint, click here. For the handout, click here.
- “Goodly Treasures New and Old: A Lecture on the Song of Songs,” held at the Library of Congress, October 30, 2017. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation which accompanied my lecture, click here. For the handout, a translation of the Song of Songs (produced jointly by Scott Noegel and myself, and included in our co-authored book, Solomon’s Vineyard), click here. For a transcription of the lecture, click here.
- "Scroll Down: Classical Jewish Texts, from Parchment to Internet," Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, Rutgers University, December 4, 2017. This lecture was not recorded, but a number of people asked me to make the PowerPoint available at my website, which I do so here, in pdf format. Once you have downloaded the pdf file, in theory, you should be able to click on the embedded links, in order to access the various websites which include descriptions and digital images of the manuscripts (Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, Ben Sira, Mishna, Talmudim, Targumim, Maimonides, etc.) presented during the lecture. In practice, however, I note that some links do not work in such fashion, so that you will need to copy-and-paste the link into the browser.
- “From the Depths of Antiquity: An Ancient Torah Scroll Sheet from the Book of Exodus Newly Acquired by the Library of Congress,” lecture at the Library of Congress, May 23, 2018. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation which accompanied my lecture, click here. For a transcription of the lecture, click here.
- “The Book of Genesis as a Product of the United Monarchy,” delivered at Lanier Theological Library (Houston), September 14, 2018. My lecture was part of a larger seminar, “Recent Evidence for Israel's United Kingdom,” with seven speakers on the panel. The entire program is available here.
- “Jews in Medieval England,” presented at Congregation Oheb Shalom, South Orange, N.J., February 2018. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation which accompanied my lecture, click here.
- “Jews in Arabia,” presented at Congregation Oheb Shalom, South Orange, N.J., January 2019. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation which accompanied my lecture, click here.
- " audio How the Bible Is Written " (audio recording), presented at the Pontificio Istituto Biblico (P.I.B.) = Pontifical Biblical Institute (P.B.I.), Rome, February 2019. For the pdf version of the handout, by which one can follow the lecture, click here. For the flyer advertising the lecture, with full details (date, time, place, etc.), click here.
Mandelbaum House Lectures, University of Sydney, March-April 2019:
> "The First Diasporas: Egypt and Babylonia," the 12th Annual Alan Crown Memorial Lecture, presented at Mandelbaum House, University of Sydney, 28 March 2019. Also available at my Facebook page. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation, by which one can more easily follow the lecture, click here.
> “Septuagint, Synagogue, and Symbiosis: The Jews of Hellenistic Egypt,” 4 April 2019. Also available at my Facebook page. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation, by which one can more easily follow the lecture, click here.
> “The Jews of Arabia,” 7 April 2019. Unfortunately, this lecture was not recorded. Nonetheless, for the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation, click here.
> “England as the Custodian of the Jewish Past,” 14 April 2019. Also available at my Facebook page. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation, by which one can more easily follow the lecture, click here. For the pdf version of the handout, click here.
- "How the Bible Is Written," Fellowship for Biblical Studies, Sydney, Australia, held at Moore Theological College, 5 April 2019. The handout is the same one used at my Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome) talk (see above), though I covered much less material on this occasion, given the shorter time frame.
- "How the Bible Is Written: Genesis 29," Tyndale House, Cambridge, 12 July 2019. For the Hebrew text of Genesis 29, click pdf here . For my English translation used during the lecture, click pdf here .
“Classical Jewish Texts, from Parchment to Internet,” University of Arizona, April 12, 2021, Shaol & Louis Pozez Memorial Lecture (2021).
“The Greatest Bible Ever Written: Kennicott no. 1, La Coruña, Spain, 1476," Flint Institute of Arts, July 14, 2021, Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture.
“In Search of Ancient Israel: The Historical Roots of the Biblical Narrative,” Siegal Lifelong Learning Program, Case Western Reserve University, August 25, 2021.
“England as the Custodian of the Jewish Past” – three-part lecture series for the Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program (https://occsp.net/, December 2021
See here for three recordings:
a. The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (Dec 5, 2021) – link
b. The Cairo Geniza, Discovery and Documents (Dec 12, 2021) – link
c. The British Library and the John Rylands Library (Dec 19, 2021) – link
- "The Bible in Our Hands," The Bishop's School, La Jolla, Calif., April 27, 2022. For the pdf version of the PowerPoint, see pdf here .
- "The Spread of Phoenician Writing Culture to Ancient Greece," Getty Villa, Los Angeles, May 25, 2022 (made available with kind permission granted by the Getty Museum). For the pdf version of the PowerPoint, see
ON SCRIPT INTERVIEW
Many thanks to my colleagues Mark Janzen (Louisiana College) and Chris McKinney (Gesher Media) for this fine 48-minute podcast interview, on the Exodus narrative in the Bible, posted on July 28, 2021.
ISRAEL BIBLE CENTER INTERVIEW
For a long interview, lasting 1 hour and 40 mins., conducted by Isaiah Gruber of the Israel Bible Center, discussing the full range of my teaching, research, and publications, conducted on November 4, 2018, follow the links below.
A description and preview of the interview may be found here:
For more on the Israel Bible Center, its faculty, its programs, its academic partnerships, and more, go to: https://israelbiblecenter.com/.
The eight individual links range from 5:35 (the shortest) to 16:53 (the longest):
- Interview Part 1
- Interview Part 2
- Interview Part 3
- Interview Part 4
- Interview Part 5
- Interview Part 6
- Interview Part 7
- Interview Part 8
Many thanks to Isaiah Gruber for his initiative and for conducting the interview, and to the Israel Bible Center for permission to post the interview at my website.
Friends of ASOR Podcast: Gary Rendsburg, “Best of Times, Worst of Times”
posted April 25, 2014
Listen to ASOR’s own Ancient Near East Today editor, Alex Joffe, talk with Prof. Gary Rendsburg (Rutgers University), about the state of biblical archaeology and the study of the humanities.
This is a lengthy podcast interview (I hour 33 mins), conducted by Alex Sorin of https://foreigncy.us/, regarding my work on Biblical Hebrew dialects, including Israelian Hebrew – though many additional topics are discussed as well.
Between the Lines Podcast
“Between the Lines” podcast, hosted by Simon Eder (London):
This segment (which runs 33 minutes) allowed me to share with the audience the work of the brilliant scholar Mary Douglas (1921–2007), with special attention to her structural analysis of the book of Leviticus.
This segment (which runs 22 minutes) allowed me to share with the audience some thoughts about food, agriculture, and the environment in ancient Israel.
- TheTorah.com: Woman: Helpmate No Longer
- TheTorah.com: God's Promise: Rain, Grain, and Grass
- TheTorah.com: Abraham's Spiritual Journey
- TheTorah.com: A Grammatical Solution to Ruth 4:5
- TheTorah.com: Ur Kasdim: Where is Abraham's Birthplace?
- TheTorah.com: Leviticus as a Literary Tabernacle
- TheTorah.com: Ancient Egypt: An Overview of its History
- TheTorah.com: The Pharaoh of the Exodus: Rameses III
- TheTorah.com: YHWH‘s War Against the Egyptian Sun-God Ra
- TheTorah.com: Reading the Plagues in their Ancient Egyptian Context
- TheTorah.com: The Joseph Story: Ancient Literary Art at Its Best
Links to Other Online Articles
- Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Israel: A Plea for Consistency, at Marginalia
- How the Bible Is Written, at The Bible and Interpretation website.
- Scroll Down: Classical Jewish Texts on the Internet, in AJS Perspectives.
- The World's Oldest Torah Scrolls, at The Ancient Near East Today (ASOR).
- Down with History, Up with Reading: The Current State of Biblical Studies, at McGill University, Department of Jewish Studies.
- Confused Language as a Deliberate Literary Device in Biblical Hebrew Narrative, in Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.
- Reading David in Genesis (for the full essay, you will need to log in to the BAS website)
- Unlikely Heroes: Women as Israel (for the full essay, you will need to log in to the BAS website)
- Beasts or Bugs?:Solving the Problem of the Fourth Plague (for the full essay, you will need to log in to the BAS website)
- Cyrus H. Gordon, the First American-Born, American-Trained Jewish Bible Scholar to Accede to a University Position, at the SBL website.
- The Genesis of the Bible
- Biblical Literature as Politics: The Case of Genesis
The Great Courses
I have had the honor and privilege of producing two courses for The Great Courses program (formerly known as The Teaching Company), located in Chantilly, VA. The first course, "The Book of Genesis," was released in May 2006, while the second course, "The Dead Sea Scrolls," was released in March 2010.
Both courses consist of a series of 24 lectures, and are available in either video (DVD) or audio (CD or download) format.
The latter course is also available via the Wondrium (formerly Great Courses Plus) streaming service, click here.
For an article on The Great Courses, which appeared in The New York Times in March 2015, click here.
Interview With Cyrus H. Gordon (1908-2001), conducted in 1998
During academic year 1997-1998, I had the privilege of serving as Visiting Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (CAJS) at the University of Pennsylvania. The theme for the year was “Text, Artifact, and Image: Revealing Ancient Israelite Religion,” with about twenty scholars in the interrelated fields of biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern studies, and archaeology of the Land of Israel gathered in Philadelphia for fruitful discussion.
See the volume Text, Artifact, and Image: Revealing Ancient Israelite Religion, edited by Gary Beckman and Theodore J. Lewis (Brown Judaic Studies 346; Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2006), which emerged from that academic year and from the conference held in April 1998.
In light of Cyrus Gordon’s long and enduring relationship with both Dropsie College (the forerunner of CAJS) and the University of Pennsylvania, I proposed to the Center to invite the grand master to Philadelphia for several days, where he could participate in a seminar, see the new facility, and sit for a two-hour interview. The Center leadership endorsed the proposal, and thus it was that Professor Gordon visited the Center in February 1998.
A little additional background: Cyrus Gordon was born in Philadelphia in 1908, grew up in the city, and received his primary, secondary, and university education there. Gordon earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., 1930), under the tutelage of Professor James Montgomery. All the while, he took courses at Dropsie College with Professor Max Margolis; and then Gordon returned to Dropsie to serve as Professor of Assyriology and Egyptology during the years 1946-1956. He described all of this in his engaging memoir, A Scholar’s Odyssey (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000), which won the National Jewish Book Award for that year. Also of interest is his book The Pennsylvania Tradition of Semitics (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986).
On February 3, 1998, as Professor Gordon approached his 90th birthday, I conducted the interview with him, with all the CAJS fellows and several invited guests present in the room. It is my honor now to make this interview available to a larger audience via YouTube.
A transcription of the complete two-hour interview, created by Peter Shamah, with light annotations by Peter and myself, is available here. The pdf file includes an Index of Persons Named and an Index of Places Named, and it is fully searchable.