Babylon and the Bible conference

10By Dr. Paul Lawrence – University of Liverpool

Archaeology and the Bible 2015

Saturday 2nd May, 10.00am – 4.30pm University of Liverpool


It is very rare that the university has to turn people away from a conference for lack of space. This happened at a day conference organised by myself and Dr. Glenn Godenho from the school of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology in February, 2012. Undoubtedly a big draw was a public lecture from Emeritus Professor Kenneth Kitchen on Treaty, Law and Covenant in the Ancient Near East. He had spent 56 years writing a 5.5 kg. three volume work on the subject. People came from all over the country, even from Ireland and Germany to hear what was billed as his last public lecture.
Encouraged by such an overwhelming response a second conference took place the following year. This time the keynote speaker was Dr. James Hoffmeier from USA talking on the evidence for the Israelites in Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. The attendance of 100+ was repeated last year with a look at the Archaeology of the New Testament.
We are delighted to announce Archaeology of the Bible Conference for 2015, this years theme is Babylon and the Bible. Emeritus Professor Alan Millard will be the keynote speaker comparing the Babylonian story of the flood with the flood story in the Book of Genesis. It is best to book now to avoid being turned away!

Babylon and the Bible

From the Genesis story of the Tower of Babel to the city whose doom is described in the Book of Revelation Babylon plays an important role in the Bible. Babylon was addressed by many of the Hebrew prophets and was the place to where Daniel and many other Jews were exiled in the 6th C BC. Over a century of excavations have helped to bring ruined Babylon to life. Of particular interest to many is how the Mesopotamian flood stories can be compared  with the Genesis story of Noah and the flood.


10am – Professor Alan Millard –  University Of Liverpool, Genesis and the Babylonian Creation and Flood Stories.  Did Genesis borrow from Babylon? 

When Babylonian tablets were discovered containing stories of the creation of the world and human beings and of a great flood, comparisons we made with the biblical accounts leading people to suppose Genesis we based on Babylonian traditions.  After a century of discovery and research, do those conclusions still hold?  This lecture will re-assess the Babylonian and Hebrew sources.              

11am                    Break (Refreshments)

11.30pm                    Dr Magnus Widell, Sumerian Literature from Ancient Sumer

Sumerian literature, which was written down on clay tablets in the cuneiform script by scribes and students in southern Iraq some 4,000 years ago, represents the oldest readable poetry in the world. In this talk, I will offer a general survey of Sumerian literature, and discuss different literary genres, as well as both ancient and modern classifications of Sumerian literature. We will look at several different types of literary compositions in translation, and analyse the Sumerian literary language and its rich use of metaphors and imagery.

12.15pm                    Dr Paul Lawrence – University of Liverpool, Daniel and Babylon

The stories in the  book of Daniel are some of the best known in the Bible, but are they really to be set in the early 6th C BC or is the whole book a much later composition being written during the persecution of the Jews by the Syrian king Antiochus IV in the mid 2nd C BC? Using archaeological and linguistic evidence both claims will be assessed.

1pm                     Lunch Break

2pm                    Dr Selim Adali  – Social Science University of Ankara,                      Gog and Magog in the Book of Ezekiel in light of Babylonian History

Ezekiel’s prophecy against Gog of Magog assumes a king ruling over Meshech and Tubal sometimes after the fall of Jerusalem 587 BC.  Meshech and Tubal refer to regions of Central Anatolia.  This paper addresses the question of historical background for Gog and Magog in the Book of Ezekiel.  In the process, this paper engages the cuneiform evidence pertaining to this question in the areas of Anatolian Iron Age history and the relation of Ezekiel’s Prophecy with Babylonian religion and literature as treated in cuneo-biblical studies.

3pm                          Break (Refreshments)

3.30pm                     Alan Millard – Liverpool University, Babylonians in the Bible

Merodach-baladan, Nergal-Sharezer –  these are names that don’t trip off the tongue easily if you read the Bible in public!  What can we learn about these people and others with strange names?  Discoveries old and new help to place them in history and to see how the biblical texts fit with their ancient settings.

4.15pm                      Questions for the speakers and concluding remarks                     

To book online, click here