International Research Workshop

Prof. Dr. Benedikt Hensel

International Research Workshop

Edom East and West of the Arabah Valley, in the Negev and in the Hebrew Bible: Research Workshop at the EABS Annual Conference 2022 at Toulouse 4th-7th July 2022


This workshop aim is to advance our knowledge of historical Iron-Age Edom, Persian and Hellenistic Idumea, and Judean constructions of both, as attested in the books that ended up in the Hebrew Bible. The workshop is meant to foster dialogue among historians, archaeologists and scholars of the Hebrew Bible on these matters. 

The study of Edom has experienced an immense upswing in recent years, with particularly high interest in its historical and archaeological aspects as well as its place within larger Near Eastern studies. Meanwhile, its importance for the fate of the Southern Levant in antiquity is becoming increasingly clear. This is especially true for the Edom of the Iron Age: Here, Edom was a rather influential polity, and despite lying on the fringes of the Southern Levant, both its copper mining activities in the early stages of its nomadic tribal organization as well as the later Edomite trade and economic systems proved rather impactful for the entire eastern Mediterranean. New research and findings raise questions with certain historical cultural-historical, religious-historical and geo-political aspects which the workshop plans to address and discuss. 

Additionally, there is the question of the “after-history” of the monarchy of Edom after 552 BCE. Contrary to the prevailing line of research in both the recent and more distant past, Edom did not completely disappear. Overall, recent findings strongly suggest, that there was a significant decline in settlement history after the Babylonian interventions, but there was also continuity of settlement at several key sites in Cis- and Transjordanian sites in the Persian period, as well as a continuation of nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralism that had been a characteristic of this landscape for centuries. Biblical research has also since identified the Persian period as a decisive phase for the formation of the Hebrew Bible and has become sensitized to possibility that specific texts that reference Transjordan may have stemmed from that time and do also depict or reflect contemporary “Transjordanian realities.” 

The workshop will deal with three main fields of research which we encourage scholars to participate in: (a) The Question of an Early Iron Age Edomite “Polity” and the Transregional Organization of Semi-Pastoral and Pastoral groups in the Iron Age Southern Jordan regions against the Background of Empires; (b): Trans- and Cisjordanian “Edom”; Interactions - Similarities and Differences; and (c) The Biblical Reflection of Edom Through the Ages. Several papers will be invited to open a conversation on these matters, but suitable submissions will also be considered.

For additional informatiosn see:

(Stand: 19.01.2024)  | 
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