Public Programs Spotlight: Archaeology and Ancient Jewish Life

June 28, 2023
Anne Oravetz Albert

The Katz Center partnered with the Penn Museum for a lecture series this spring.

clay tablet with writing

This semester the Katz Center was pleased to launch a new partnership with the Penn Museum to develop vibrant public programs. The series Archaeology and Ancient Jewish Life featured three online lectures in which exciting scholars at the forefront of their fields taught about ancient Jewish life through specific objects and sites—contextualizing them and asking what they can tell us about the Jewish cultures that produced them.

This partnership was a chance to build a relationship between two historic institutions at Penn, both of which have storied pasts in their respective fields and in Philadelphia. It gave Katz Center audiences the opportunity to connect to the Jewish past, brought to life by the meeting of scholarly insight and the extraordinary three-dimensional materials so abundant in the museum’s holdings.

The series featured illustrated lectures by Jodi Magness (UNC Chapel Hill) on Herodian Jerusalem; by Simcha Gross (Penn, NELC) on the weird world of Aramaic incantation bowls, of which the Penn Museum has a large collection; and by Laurie Pearce (UC Berkeley) about the lives of Jewish exiles in Babylonia, in part based on the evidence provided by the Murašû archive, a group of artifacts held by the Museum.

As with most of our online public programs, the talks by Gross and Pearce are available in perpetuity on the Katz Center’s YouTube channel for audiences to watch, share, continue learning from, and even teach with.


About the Author

Anne Oravetz Albert

Anne Oravetz Albert

Anne Albert is the Katz Center's Klatt Family Director for Public Programs and executive editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review.

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