While the SBL meeting is not over yet, it is almost time for me to leave San Francisco, and I thought I’d give a rundown of events from my perspective. The ASOR meeting included many lectures – a number of which either dealt with Tel Burna (such as those by Chris McKinny, Amit Dagan, Joe Uziel and Itzick Shai) or were given by various members of the Tel Burna team (Debi Cassuto, Itzick Shai in a different lecture, and Michael Press, with two lectures, including his talk on “(Pytho) Gaia in Myth and Legend: The Goddess of the Ekron Inscription Revisited”, for which he received the Aviram Prize).
In addition to the lectures – our close friend, colleague and advisor for many years – Aren Maeir, received the Ernst G. Wright from ASOR for his book on the Jordan Valley in the MB! Way to go Aren!
At the SBL, our lecture was part of a session on Judah in the Iron Age, chaired by Ann Killebrew and Tammy Schneider, who spoke of the late Anson Rainey and his strong presence in this session in the past. Not only was Tel Burna featured, but so was Tell es-Safi/Gath (Aren Maeir) and Tel `Eton (Avi Faust), as well as a reappraisal of the finds from Tell Nasbeh (Jeffrey Zorn). While the session was very interesting, admittedly the ceremony unveiling the book in memory of Hanan Eshel was even more moving, particularly the touching words by Aren and Estie. Hanan was one of three prominent scholars that we recently lost Anson Rainey and Ehud Netzer being the other two. At both meetings, several sessions were dedicated to the memory of these three scholars – two of which I am proud to say that I had the honor of studying with. In general, their presence was felt throughout the meetings, as they have helped form what scholarship is in our field today. Yehi Zichram Baruch.