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2019 Chautauqua Season

Eric M. Meyers • Interfaith Lecture Series

Jul 11, 2019 2:00pm ‐ Jul 11, 2019 3:15pm



Eric M. Meyers, former editor,
Biblical Archaeologist

Dr. Eric M. Meyers is an archaeologist who has directed digs in Israel and Italy for forty years, and is perhaps best known for his 1981 discovery of the oldest Ark from ancient Israel, which coincided with the film, The Raiders of the Lost Ark. He currently is completing publication work on the site of Sepphoris, near Nazareth, capital of the Galilee in the time of Jesus and the place where the Mishnah was compiled under the leadership of Rabbi Judah the Prince. National Geographic Television featured the Sepphoris mosaic discovery in November 1989, with Dr. Meyers as narrator. A full-length documentary of the dig, The Mona Lisa of Galilee, has been produced by Biblical Productions, Ltd. of Israel and has appeared on TV worldwide.

Dr. Meyers also served as a principal consultant for WNET's award-winning series, Civilization and the Jews, and was part of the original planning group that conceptualized the show. He also served as academic advisor and on-screen host for a 1993 film on the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Enigma of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dr. Meyers and his wife, Dr. Carol Meyers, have appeared frequently on the A&E Channel in the series Mysteries of the Bible. Dr. Meyers served as on-screen consultant and advisor to the PBS Frontline show From Jesus to Christ. He appeared on the BBC/Discovery Channel series on the historical Jesus, Son of Man, and also appeared on a History Channel special on Masada, and with the History Channel on a special on the James Ossuary controversy in the spring of 2003. He recently filmed with the BBC/Discovery Channel in Jerusalem for the TV film, “‘Jesus’ Family Tree,” and on a History Channel special on “Canon” in Scripture. He also served as an advisor and on-screen expert for the NOVA special, “The Bible’s Buried Secrets.” Dr. Meyers has also appeared with National Geographic in several shows on topics relating to Second Temple Judaism and the archaeology of the Land of Israel.

Eric M. Meyers is a graduate of Dartmouth College, holds an M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and received the Ph.D. with distinction from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, specializing in Bible, Jewish History, and archaeology. He served as Professor since 1979 on the faculty of Duke University, presently serving there as Bernice and Morton Lerner Emeritus Professor of Judaic Studies and Archaeology. He served as Director of the Graduate Program in Religion at Duke; was instrumental in the founding of the Cooperative Program in Judaic Studies at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, serving as Director until 1987, and as Director of The Center for Judaic Studies at Duke.

Other significant positons he has held include Director of the W. F. Albright School of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem; First Vice President for Publications of the American Schools of Oriental Research; editor of the prestigious and award-winning magazine, Biblical Archaeologist; associate editor of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research; President of the American Schools; and Director of the Annenberg Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Dr. Meyers has been a fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford University, and at Princeton University; a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton Theological Seminary; a visiting Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Williams College, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universtät, Frankfurt am Main; in Judaic Studies at the Free University of Berlin; and at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome with his wife Carol in spring of 2017.

Recognized with numerous awards and honors, Dr. Meyers has authored or co-authored 15 books, edited 20 others, and has published approximately 370 scholarly papers, reports, and reviews in the field of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Archaeology and Jewish History. Some of his recent works have been co-authored with his wife Carol. He served as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology of the Near East (5 vols.), and as co-author of the Cambridge Companion to the Bible.

Active in many learned societies, including the Association of Jewish Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, and the Archaeological Institute of America, he is also active in the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina, serving as President, as well as a singer in and member of the Board of Directors of the Triangle Jewish Chorale.


(Note: This biography was up-to-date as of the date of the lecture. Biographies are not updated over time.)

Banner photo by SARAH YENESEL


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