RELG 306 (3 cr): Archaeology and the Bible

Archeology and The Bible

Course Description

RELG 306 complements 100, 200 and 300 level courses in CNERS by setting out to bridge the gap between the study of texts and the study of material remains. The course focuses on the impact of archeological research on understanding the history and religion of ancient Israel and Palestine from the beginning of the Iron Age (ca. 1200 BCE) to the time of Jesus Christ (1st century AD). In particular it explores the controversial relationship of material evidence uncovered in Israel/Palestine to the information provided in the Bible.



Learning Objectives

Throughout the course, the students will engage with three overarching questions that are fundamental to the theme of the course and have been of critical importance in Biblical scholarship and archeology and their critique. They are:

  • Who owns the past?
  • Is there historical or religious truth?
  • What constitutes identity?

Overview of Student Learning Experience

Through the learning experiences in this course, students will be able to develop appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes for:

  • Critical awareness of historical sources and the reconstruction of the past from textual and material sources
  • Understanding specific cultural and political meanings embedded in a religious text
  • Appreciating human culture and identity in changing historical contexts

Prospective Students

The course is attractive to students who major in Archeology and History of Greece, Rome and the near East, for those who major in Near Eastern Studies, for those who major in Religious Studies as well as those who major in Classical Studies and working adults with interests in the area. It is open to students in other Arts undergraduate programs as well as students from science and applied science programs who wish to take an elective course in Arts.

Assessment Scheme

Assessment Component Weight (grades/marks)
Participation in online discussion 10%
Quizzes 30%
Final Exam 60%


  • Grabbe, Lester L. (2007). Ancient Israel: What do we know and how do we know it? T&T Clark: London/New York.
  • Cline, Erich H. (2009). Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Coogan, Michael (2008). The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.

… and selected additional readings.

RELG306 Textbook Order Form