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Archaeology of the Biblical World


Admission requirements

In addition to the general rules set out for admission to the master program students are required to be familiar with Biblical literature and history or classical or Near Eastern archaeology or history. Minimum number of participants 3.

The course can also be chosen for the BA-Keuzevak.


Archaeology has become an indispensable source for the reconstruction of past cultures and therefore is of direct importance for Biblical studies. The course aims at giving students insight into the material culture of societies in the ancient Levant from the Bronze and Iron ages down to the material context of Early Christianity in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Special attention will be given to the archaeology of cult (domestic cult, sanctuaries, synagogues, earliest churches), but also of regions and periods that feature in Biblical literature. But how can literary and material sources be brought into a methodologically reflected dialogue? What is the impact of archaeology on Biblical studies?

Course objectives

Students will be introduced to basic methods of archaeological work and its role in reconstructing the life and beliefs of past societies. They will be introduced to important archaeological regions, periods and types of material culture relevant to the biblical world.


See Time table

Mode of instruction

Seminar style (lecture elements, discussion, presentations, self-study).
2 hours class plus 3 hours reading and preparation per week.

Weekly meetings (12 × 2 hrs) 24 hrs
Weekly reading assignments (12 × 3 hrs) 56 hrs
Presentation 20 hrs
Paper 40 hrs
Total 140 hrs

Assessment method

Criteria for assessment are active and critical participation during class and quality of papers. Each student has to prepare 2 short presentations and submit one in writing.


Yes, Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

To be announced in class.


Via uSis
In addition to the registration in uSis, students are also expected to self-enroll in blackboard a few weeks before the course starts.
To sign up for the class contact course leader Prof. dr. J.K. Zangenberg or student coordinator

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Jürgen K. Zangenberg, Institute for Religious Studies