William G. Dever is an American Near Eastern archaeologist specializing in the Bible and is a much sought-after lecturer. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1966 and went on to serve as director of the American Schools of Oriental Research (later the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research) in Jerusalem from 1971 to 1975. In 1975, he joined the faculty of the University of Arizona, Tuscon as Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology in the Near Eastern Studies and Anthropology Departments, later becoming the head of the Department of Oriental Studies (1978-81) and the head of the Department of Near Eastern Studies (1989-1994). Professor Dever retired from the University of Arizona in 2002.
He is perhaps best known in archaeological circles as the excavator of Gezer, the major mound between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that, according to the Bible, was given to Solomon by pharaoh as part of his daughter’s dowry when she was given in marriage to the Israelite king. At Gezer, Professor Dever excavated a city gate attributed to King Solomon. Professor Dever has also excavated at numerous other sites in Israel, Jordan and Cyprus. His many popular books include What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? (2001); Who Were the Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (2003); and Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, (2005). He is also the author of hundreds of scholarly articles, reviews and monographs. In 1982, he received the Percia Schimmel Prize from the Israel Museum for distinction in archaeology.
He currently divides his time between his home in Cyprus, where his wife Pamela excavates, and Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, where he is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.
Special Q&A Panelist at Bible & Archaeology Fest XV, November 16-18, 2012
Bible and Archaeology Fest XIII, November 19-21, 2010
Can a History of Israel be Written? Where We Stand Now
During the past two decades, Biblical scholars have become more skeptical about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and more interested in it as literature. The European revisionists—also called minimalists—have declared that the Hebrew Bible is nothing more than an origin myth that was put together by Jews in the Hellenistic era that were in search of an identity. This presentation will explore some case studies of how a history of ancient Israel can be written, and how archaeological data illuminate the lives of the ordinary people in Israel.
Selected Articles by William Dever
A Temple Built for Two
BAR 34:02, Mar/Apr 2008
BAR 29:04, Jul/Aug 2003
Save Us from Postmodern Malarkey
BAR 26:02, Mar/Apr 2000