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Winter 2014 Lecture Series


Monday, February 24 and
Monday, March 10 — 7:30-9:00 pm

The California Museum of Ancient Art is proud to present its WINTER 2014 SERIES, "IN SEARCH OF CANAANITE RELIGION AND THE SOURCES OF THE HEBREW BIBLE," featuring two dynamic speakers: Biblical archaeologist Dr. Kent Bramlett and Biblical scholar Dr. Marvin Sweeney. Lectures will be held at Piness Auditorium inside the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles on Mondays, February 24 and March 10 at 7:30pm.

Taanak Cult Stand with Ashera

VIDEO and AUDIO RECORDINGS: DVDs and CDs are available for this series. DVDs are $27 per lecture, $48 for the full series (2 programs); CDs are $19 per lecture, $34 for the series. Price includes shipping and tax.

Please order from California Museum of Ancient Art, P. O. Box 10515, Beverly Hills, CA 90213.



On Monday, February 24, Dr. Kent Bramlett will present, "DISCOVERING CANAANITE MYTHS AND HOLY PLACES." The 1929 dramatic discovery of a library of clay tablets at Ugarit on the Syrian coast was one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. Our first-hand knowledge of Canaanite religion comes primarily from these tablets. The Ugaritic texts (ca. 1200 BCE) give us the Canaanite perspective on Baal, Asherah and other deities. Especially important is the "Baal Cycle." Written down 3200 years ago by a priest named Ilimilku, these stories discuss El, his wife Asherah, Baal, his sister Anat, and Baal's victory over Yam (the Sea) and Lotan (a seven-headed serpent).

What did Israel Borrow? ... and What did Israel Reject?
In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Bramlett will show cult stands, model shrines and figurines that illuminate qualities of the Canaanite pantheon. War-and-weather god Baal strides with thunderbolt and mace ready to provide bounteous rain or smite enemies. The aging god El sits passively enthroned. Asherah stands on her sacred animal, a lion, demonstrating strength, protective power and ensuring fertility of the land. Finally, we'll examine what the early Israelites borrowed and what they rejected from the Canaanites. For example, the tripartite plan of Canaanite temples foreshadowed the three-part division of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, furnishing many of its design features.

Kent Bramlett, Assistant Professor of Archaeology at La Sierra University, received his PhD from the University of Toronto in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in 2009. He has excavated at Tall al-'Umayri, Jordan and Tayinat, Turkey for eleven years. Recipient of two University of Toronto Fellowships and a Dorot Foundation scholarship, Dr. Bramlett authored articles in Near Eastern Archaeology and other publications.

Marvin Sweeney

Were the Five Books of Moses really given on Mount Sinai?
On Monday, March 10, Dr. Marvin Sweeney will present his latest research into "WHO REALLY WROTE THE BIBLE AND WHY?" In 1987, Richard Elliot Friedman's landmark book Who Wrote the Bible? introduced America to the documentary source theory explaining how and when the Hebrew Bible was composed. Based on German Old Testament scholar Julius Wellhausen's work, the documentary hypothesis stated that the Five Books of Moses came from four anonymous literary sources edited together. In the J-source from King David's time, God is called Yahweh; in the E-source from the northern kingdom of Israel, He's called Elohim; the D-source from the time of King Josiah is Deuteronomy; and the P-source, Priestly source, dates to after the return from exile in Babylon. The documentary hypothesis dominated 20th century biblical scholarship, but serious problems emerged that force a re-evaluation. Wellhausen's theological biases prompted him to place J first and P last, yet experts point out that J has features better dated to the late monarchy and the priests were influential throughout Israelite history, not just at the end. Dr. Sweeney will argue that the Hebrew Bible originated in Israel as the E-source and was brought south to Judah after Israel's destruction by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. There it evolved, was edited with other sources and developed into the Five Books of Moses we recognize today.

Marvin A. Sweeney, Professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont Lincoln University, received his PhD from Claremont Graduate School in 1983. He has taught at Yonsei University, South Korea, the University of Miami, Hebrew University, Jerusalem and the W. F. Albright Institute, Jerusalem. Author of thirteen books on the Bible and over 100 articles, Dr. Sweeney is currently writing a new book on the Torah (Pentateuch).

We are honored to present these two esteemed speakers at our International Scholars Forum. Join us this Winter for a remarkable series.Mark these dates on your calendar and be sure to attend: