Benjamin Gordon

  • Assistant Professor
  • Rosenberg-Perlow Fellow in Classical Judaism

Fields

Ancient Near East; Early Judaism; Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in the Classical Periods; History of Jerusalem; Second Temple Priesthood

Teaching

Myth in the Ancient Near East, Jews and Judaism—Ancient, Israel in the Biblical Age, Jerusalem: History and Imagination, Major Biblical Themes, Religion, Nature & the Environment

Education & Training

PhD, Duke University, 2013

Research Interests

I am a historian of religion specializing in Jewish culture and society in the ancient Mediterranean world. My research focuses on the literary and archaeological sources of Judea-Palestine in the classical antiquity (c. 500 BCE - 600 CE), with an emphasis on how these sources shed light on the dynamic intersections between Judaism and other Mediterranean religious traditions - Greek, Roman, and Christian. My forthcoming book, Land and Temple (Berlin: de Gruyter) looks at how the ancient temple to the God of Israel in Jerusalem, with its large priesthood, sacralized areas of cultivation as a part of a broader set of social structures focused on land settlement and resource extraction. The study challenges assumptions about hopw the ancient Jerusalem temple functioned as an institution, shedding light on the breadth of its reach, as well as its dynamics and transformations as a powerful organization. I am also co-editor with E. Meyers and C. Meyers of a two-volume set, The Architecture, Stratigraphy, and Artifacts of the Western Summit of Sepphoris (University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2018), which presents the results of nearly twenty years of archaeological excavations in a domestic area of Sepphoris in the Galilee. Sepphoris was an administrative capital and major urban center in the Roman and Byzantine periods. It was also the home to Judah the Patriarch, who is credited with editing the Mishnah.