Public Programs Spotlight: Archaeology and Ancient Jewish Life

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.

Josephus’s Elusive Command

When the Jewish war against Rome erupted in 66 C.E., Flavius Josephus was appointed commander of the Galilee, and a substantial portion of his account of the early years of the war concerns his relationship to the region and its inhabitants. His self-professed genius as a military leader and motivator played out there, even as he struggled against certain obdurate local factions. His arch nemesis—the “Galilean” John of Gischala—complicates the landscape, as does an apparent divide between the inhabitants of the region’s major cities and the rural peoples.