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Archaeology of the Religion of Ancient Israel Examined at B’nai Sholom

What do we know about the archaeology of the religion of ancient Israel, and how do we know it?  A course offered by B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will provide many of the answers.

“The Archaeology of the Religion of Ancient Israel” will be taught by Steven Stark-Riemer via Zoom over six Thursdays beginning Sept. 8, 10-11:45 a.m.

This course will begin by recognizing that previous approaches to the search for ancient Israel’s religion have paid insufficient attention to the archaeological data, which are substantial.  Among the topics covered in this and succeeding sessions are:  Canaanite religion before the emergence of ancient Israel; the distinction between “book religion” and “folk religion”; sacred space in ancient Israel; the cult of Asherah; death in the life of ancient Israel; and the transition from polytheism to monotheism.  The timeframe of this course concludes with the Babylonian conquest and the consequent destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E.

Stark-Riemer has taught about the scientific study of the biblical world since 2007.  He studied anthropology at City College of New York, where he specialized in archaeology, and received his degree in 1972.  Stark-Riemer continues to pursue his interest in the archaeology, history and religion of the ancient Near East.

“The Archaeology of the Religion of Ancient Israel” is open to the public.  Fee for the six-session course: $54 ($36 for B’nai Sholom members).  Registration is required.

For more information, visit  or contact the B’nai Sholom office: 518-482-5283 or

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