Benjamin Gordon

  • Associate Professor
  • Rosenberg-Perlow Fellow in Classical Judaism


Second Temple Judaism; Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in the Classical Periods


Myth in the Ancient Near East; Israel in the Biblical Age; Archaeology of Israel-Palestine; History of God; Jerusalem: History and Imagination; Religion and Sports

Education & Training

PhD, Duke University, 2013

MA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008

BA, College of William and Mary, 1999

Research Interests

My research examines the cultural environment and religious institutions of the Jews of Greco-Roman Palestine, with a special focus on the late Second Temple period (3rd c. BCE–70 CE). I use a cross-disciplinary approach informed by archaeology, Biblical Studies, Jewish history, Religious Studies, and Classical Studies. My monograph, Land and Temple: Field Sacralization and the Second Temple Priesthood (de Gruyter, 2020), challenges the idea that ancient Jewish priests were a class of urban, landless plutocrats who subsisted on agricultural revenues from land they did not own. Though they were beneficiaries of a tributary economy, I argue in the book that they held land privately, likely in a decentralized fashion within their families or clans, and even issued subsistence loans to other farmers. The two-volume archaeological final report (Penn State University Press, 2018) that I co-edited with Eric Meyers and Carol Meyers presents the results of nearly 20 years of archaeological excavations by Duke University on the western summit of Sepphoris in Galilee, Israel. Sepphoris was a major city of Roman Galilee and a center of Jewish intellectual life in antiquity. I have also published articles and chapters on various topics related to Second Temple Judaism, the archaeology of Israel-Palestine, and the history of Jerusalem (see CV); and am working on a book on water rituals in late Hellenistic and early Roman Judea.