DVD Series Reveals 'How Archaelogy Illuminates the Bible'

The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) has released a series of lecture DVDs featuring Dr. William G. Dever, a retired biblical archaeologist and now frequent author on questions relating to the historicity of the Bible.

The eight-part DVD series, How Archaeology Illuminates the Bible, is an exclusive lecture series crafted especially for BAS and addresses such questions as:

• Did the Israelites escape slavery in a mass exodus from Egypt?
• Was there a King David who established the United Monarchy in Jerusalem?
• What was everyday life like in ancient Israel?

"With his engaging lecture style and extensive knowledge, Professor Dever's entertaining and informative lectures are ideal for both beginning and more advanced students of Biblical archaeology," promoters of the new series say. "Each lecture is a distinct and concise presentation of a specific topic, which makes the series an ideal teaching tool that can be used incrementally or all at once."

Perhaps best known as the excavator of ancient Israeli town of Gezer, Dever has led excavations and archaeological surveys at several of the most important archaeological sites in Israel and Jordan. Dever has also directed both the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology and the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.

The expert in the history of Israel in biblical times has, however, been criticized by some within the academic community for playing a centrist to evangelical crowds and minimalist to academic crowds, claiming that some of the events described in the Bible really did happen while others did not.

"He's a 'closet minimalist,'" said Dr. James E. West, an adjunct professor at the Quartz Hill School of Theology in California, in a commentary last year.

Dever recently appeared in the highly talked about PBS documentary "The Bible's Buried Secrets," which producers claimed to have "new discoveries that shake the foundation of biblical archaeology."

It is "a shocking film in many ways, but it's truth, revolutionary, and it's as fresh as yesterday," he told television critics last summer.

Most scholars, however, agreed that the two-hour program presented nothing new or revolutionary, though it was praised as a great tool to bring students and other interested persons up to speed with the whole field of biblical archaeology.

In the newly released DVD series, Dever lectures on topics including "Patriarchs and Matriarchs," "Who Were the Early Israelites, and Where Did They Come From?" "The Rise of the Israelite State" and "Everyday Life in Biblical Times."

"In addition to amusing anecdotes and no-nonsense opinions, viewers are treated to rare and beautiful color photographs that Dever has collected from his long and distinguished career working in the Middle East," promoters of How Archaeology Illuminates the Bible say.

Last fall, Dever was expected to join the faculty at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., as a distinguished professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

Dever is a 1955 graduate of Milligan College in Carter County, Tenn., and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1966.