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Professor who made Biblical discoveries to give lectures at Lycoming College

Professor who made Biblical discoveries to give lectures at Lycoming College

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The Lycoming College archaeology program presents two lectures by Gabriel Barkay, Ph.D., professor at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel, and director of the Israel Excavation Society Sifting Project, on Thursday, Nov. 7. The first one, “New Discoveries in Archaeology in Jerusalem,” will take place at 3 p.m. in Academic Center C-303, and the second lecture, “Discovery of the Earliest Biblical Verses,” will be held at 7 p.m. in Heim G-11. The events are free and open to the public.

Barkay was born in Hungary in 1944 and immigrated to Israel in 1950. After graduating from Hebrew University summa cum laude, where he studied archaeology, comparative religion and geography, he graduated summa cum laude from Tel Aviv University with a Ph.D. in archaeology in 1985.

He has participated on various levels in numerous digs and discovered the silver scrolls, two silver amulets that contain the priestly benediction from the Book of Numbers, which are the earliest recorded biblical verses and dated to the late seventh century B.C. This makes the amulets the oldest Biblical inscriptions ever found, predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by at least 400 years, and the first recorded instance of the name “YHWH” for the God of Israel.

More recently, a 2,700-year-old clay seal was unearthed within the ancient City of David. Under Barkay’s direction, an archaeological team at the Israel Excavation Society Sifting Project sifted through the dig site’s debris and discovered the now-famous “Bethlehem Seal,” which is dated to the seventh century B.C. Barkay was the first to translate the seal’s significant three line inscription, which says “In the seventh year, Bethlehem, for the king.”

He has been the director of the Israel Excavation Society Sifting Project since 2004, sifting soil from the Temple Mount area, where tens of thousands of finds have revealed human activity covering 15,000 years.

Barkay is the recipient of the 1996 Jerusalem Prize for Archaeological Research and has spent more than 30 years teaching at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit