The Period of the Middle Maccabees:
From the Death of Judas through the Reign of John Hyrcanus (ca. 160-104 BCE)

Gazzada, Italy, 10-15 June, 2018
Villa Cagnola

THE ISSUE Historical assessment of the Maccabean Revolt and the early Hasmonean monarchy poses an increasingly complex conundrum. While few scholars reject the essential facticity of the main figures and events, there has been a sea-change in modern assessments of the ancient literary evidence on which historians rely. Much recent scholarship focuses on how profoundly content and form were shaped by the authors’ motivations, ideology, rhetorical strategies and literary precedents. In concert with new archaeological evidence, this has led to a recognition of a number of political and social improbabilities and incongruities, and to hypotheses of authorial fabrications. Increasingly, reading the ancient accounts compels choosing between a perspective of factual reliability and engineered re-imagining. How can we make sense of the implications of this new scholarship? To what extent does reevaluation and consideration of all evidence, literary and archaeological, from within and beyond Judea, affect our reconstruction of events? How should we integrate the breadth of this material and its attendant historical revisions into our readings of the ancient narrative accounts? What new insights into ancient narrators and their strategies might result? In this conference we will consider the era encompassing the two generations between the death of Judas and the reign of his nephew John Hyrcanus, c. 160-104 BCE, from three overlapping perspectives: o narratives and narrators, recognizing the complex modes by which written accounts became invested with authority and used both to communicate and instantiate political control. o distinguishing cultures, reading the full array of material evidence from the wider region to reconstruct patterns of settlement and exchange among its diverse populations, and understand when and how people began charging places and goods with distinct cultural identities. o the international stage, considering how forces and interests far beyond Judea affected local events, actions, and reactions, whether by serving as inspiration, catalyst, warning, or threat. There is a special challenge in trying to see a well-documented and deeply studied period afresh. In this conference, we seek new insights by integrating multiple lines of testimony— archaeological, epigraphic, numismatic, and textual—into a holistic view that acknowledges contingent political developments and evolving social responses. While we do not pretend that this effort will resolve long-contentious issues, we hope that it will result in new treatments that foreground the complexity of the evidence and the results of wide-ranging cooperation. Our goal is to situate our modern understanding of this vital period in ancient and Jewish history within an enlarged scholarly platform, and thereby put it on a new footing.

*** More Information Forthcoming ***

Sunday, June 10th

Old stories and new actors

5:30 – 7:30 pm Andrea Berlin (Boston University): the case of Kedesh Benedikt Eckhardt (University of Bremen), responder

Monday, June 11th

Narratives and Narrators

9 – 10:30 am Katell Berthelot (CNRS): Jonathan and Simon: 1 Maccabees 10-16 Steven Weitzman (University of Pennsylvania), responder

10:30 – 11:00 am BREAK

11 – 12:30 Robert Doran (University of Masschusetts, Amherst): Eupolemos and other Hasmonean-era writers and texts Avner Ecker (Bar Ilan University), responder

12:30 – 2:30 LUNCH

2:30 – 4:00 pm Francis Borchardt (Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong): Judean scribal culture and education Giovanni Bazzana (Harvard University), responder

4:00 – 4:30 pm BREAK

4:30 – 6:00 pm Yonder Gillihan (Boston College): Negotiating authority in Judea Sylvie Honigman (Tel Aviv University), responder

Tuesday, June 12th

New evidence from “the nations roundabout”

9 – 10:30 am Presentations of new archaeological evidence from the south and center:

• Deby Sandhaus (Tel Aviv University): Idumea and the Shephelah

• Yehiel Zelinger (Israel Antiquities Authority): the Plain of Sharon

• Dvir Raviv (Bar Ilan University): the southern Samaritan countryside

10:30 – 11:00 am BREAK

11 – 12:30 Discussion leader: Gerald Finkielsztejn (Israel Antiquities Authority)

12:30 – 2:30 LUNCH

2:30 – 4:00 pm — Presentations of new archaeological evidence from the north:

• Uzi Liebner (Hebrew Univeristy): the Lower Galilee

• Mordechai Aviam (Kinneret College): the Upper Galilee

• Danny Syon (Israel Antiquities Authority): the northern coast, with emphasis on the numismatic perspective

4:00 – 4:30 pm BREAK

4:30 – 6:00 pm Discussion leader: Jürgen Zangenberg (University of Leiden)

Wednesday, June 13th

Samaritans and the Dead Sea Scrolls sect

9 – 10:30 am Gary Knoppers (Notre Dame): Samaritans and Mt. Gerizim Magnar Kartveit (School of Mission and Theology, VID, Oslo), responder

10:30 – 11:00 am BREAK

11 – 12:30 Jutta Jokiranta (University of Helsinki): the Dead Sea Scrolls sect in the 2nd c. BCE tba, responder

12:30 – 2:30 LUNCH

FREE AFTERNOON Lake Maggiore and/or villa Tour?

Thursday, June 14th Jerusalem and Judea

9 – 10:30 am Doron Ben-Ami (Israel Antiquities Authority): New evidence from Jerusalem Ayala Zilberstein (Hebrew University), responder

10:30 – 11:00 am BREAK

11 – 12:30 Moran Hagbi (Israel Antiquities Authority): Fortifications in Judea Donald Ariel (Israel Antiquities Authority), responder

12:30 – 2:30 LUNCH

Small States in a Great Power world

2:30 – 4:00 pm Paul Kosmin (Harvard University): the Seleucid state after Antiochus IV Altay Coskun (University of Waterloo), responder 4:00 – 4:30 pm

BREAK 4:30 – 6:00 pm Christelle Fischer-Bovet (USC): the machinations of the Ptolemaic state Boris Chrubasik (University of Toronto), responder

Friday, June 15th

9 – 11:00 am Duncan MacRae (UC Berkeley): the interests of Republican Rome Erich Gruen (UC Berkeley), responder

11:00 – 11:30 am BREAK

11:30 – 1:00 Wrap-up discussion

12:30 – 2:30 pm LUNCH