Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Land of Israel/Palestine Through the Ages


A scholar of Judaic studies, Yaron Eliav is an associate professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Near Eastern Studies. He is the author of God's Mountain: The Temple Mount in Time, Place and Memory, which won two prestigious national awards. Yaron Eliav also created a teaching project called Transforming the Ways We Teach the Ancient World.

This multi-member teaching effort is centered on a experimental class, The Land of Israel/Palestine Through the Ages. The class focuses on the archaeology, history, culture, and conflict that has shaped Israel/Palestine. The educational materials for the course were created by a team of professors, students, scientists, media and IT personnel, and museum staff.

By providing students with immersive, hands-on experiences, the materials bring the rich history of Israel/Palestine to life. Literature, video clips, and art give students extra insight into this fascinating part of the world. Transforming the Ways We Teach the Ancient World received a $750,000 grant, the largest grant ever given for a University of Michigan humanities project.

More information about the course is available at

Monday, September 26, 2016

Society of Biblical Literature Hosts International Meeting in Germany

As a writer and editor of more than 50 articles and reviews related to Judaic studies, Yaron Eliav serves as associate professor of rabbinic literature and Jewish history of late antiquity at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Heavily involved in Near Eastern and Jewish studies, Yaron Eliav remains a member of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). 

The SBL is the oldest and largest society devoted to investigating the Bible through several academic disciplines. Founded in 1880, the international organization gives its members a chance to develop professionally and intellectually as well as gain support from others who share the same philosophies. The SBL publishes books and journals and hosts meetings, all with the purpose of informing its members on the latest findings.

To connect with members located outside of the United States, the SBL hosts an international meeting with the 2017 meeting scheduled for August 7 through 11 in Berlin, Germany. The 2016 meeting, which took place from July 2 through 7 in Seoul, South Korea, included lectures on a variety of topics, including the Hebrew Bible, scribal conflicts, and feminist interpretations in regards to the Bible.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Annual Meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature

An associate professor of rabbinic literature and Jewish history of late antiquity within the University of Michigan’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, Dr. Yaron Eliav has amassed more than 15 years of experience teaching in the field of Judaic studies. Dr. Yaron Eliav is a member numerous organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

Formed in 1880, SBL is the oldest and largest organization of its kind. Dedicated to “critical investigation of the Bible,” SBL provides a supportive and educational community for biblical scholars. Each year in November, SBL partners with the American Academy of Religion to host the organizations’ annual meetings.

This year, the event takes place in San Antonio and offers participants a choice of more than 1,200 sessions and workshops on topics such as Exploring the Cutting Edge of Research on Children in the Ancient World and Sacred Law in Ancient Greek and Biblical Tradition. Guests can also attend the large daily exhibit of print and digital resources pertaining to biblical research and theology.

Some 10,000 guests attend each day of the annual meetings every year, making the event one of the largest gatherings in the field of religious studies.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Roman Architectural Innovations

An associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, Dr. Yaron Eliav teaches a number of courses in Jewish studies. Dr. Yaron Eliav also teaches coursework on the archaeology of the Roman Mediterranean.

Over the years, archaeologic finds have revealed a rich architectural tradition in the Mediterranean regions of the Roman Empire. Roman engineers were responsible for a number of architectural innovations, including the use of volcanic Italian sand in concrete. First introduced in the 2nd century BCE, Roman concrete was incredibly strong and demonstrate the ability to set underwater. In addition to opening up new structural possibilities, Roman concrete allowed designers to push the limits of their creativity.

Another major Roman architectural innovation is the true arch, which consists of wedge-shaped blocks with a keystone holding them in place. Compared with its predecessor, the corbeled arch, the true arch provided a great deal of structural support for large buildings. True arches were able to adopt wide or narrow configurations, allowing for flexibility in design.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Introduction to the Ancient Material Culture of Rome

An expert in the field of Jewish studies, Yaron Eliav serves as an associate professor at the University of Michigan's Department of Near Eastern Studies, where he teaches on rabbinic literature and Jewish history of late antiquity. Aside from his passion for Judaic studies, Yaron Eliav also maintains an interest in the material culture of ancient civilizations such as Rome.

The study of ancient material culture involves discovering and identifying artifacts from a culture and evaluating them on the basis of their social and economic context. Looking at these artifacts as more than mere objects helps researchers delve more deeply into the individual nature of an ancient society like Rome.

As Rome developed, it drew much from Greece and Egypt. Despite building upon the culture it inherited from these more ancient societies, Rome also developed numerous technological innovations that substantially affected the structure of Roman society. Researchers can look at the artifacts left from the material culture as a sign of a thriving technologically and culturally advanced civilization.

Some of the Roman artifacts still visible today include the ruins of enormous arches and aqueducts. Rome relied heavily on the use of concrete for its structures, and the ruins testify to the endurance of the empire's methods. Other smaller artifacts range from newspapers written on stone or metal to coins used for welfare programs.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Supporting Current and Future Scholars - Association of Jewish Studies

An associate professor at the University of Michigan, Yaron Eliav teaches Judaic studies of late antiquity and rabbinic literature, and advises students who are majoring in Biblical studies, Ancient Judaism, and Ancient Near Eastern studies, among other subjects. A dedicated member of his field, Yaron Eliav is a member of several organizations, including the Association of Jewish Studies (AJS).

Committed to the promotion of Jewish studies research and teaching at institutions of higher learning and to improving understanding of Jewish studies in the public at large, the AJS was established in 1969. With membership categories for professionals, graduate students, and people who are also members of the European Association for Jewish Studies, the association sponsors conferences, publications, and grants to connect, inform, and support its members. 

Chief among its grants is the AJS dissertation completion fellowship competition, which awards $20,000 finishing-year fellowships every year for five years. Designed to help graduate students complete their doctorates on time, the competition requires award winners to give a sophisticated and engaging public presentation. In addition to the monetary award, the AJS supports its students with a mid-year workshop, continuing development opportunities, and courses in public speaking.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Benefits of Membership in the Society of Biblical Literature

The associate professor for rabbinic literature and Jewish studies of late antiquity at the University of Michigan, Yaron Eliav is also a member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

The largest and oldest organization of its kind in the world, the Society of Biblical Literature was founded in 1880 and is dedicated to the critical investigation of the Bible. Founded on ten core values, ranging from accountability and professionalism to inclusivity and scholarly integrity, the society has over 8,000 members and sponsors both an annual meeting and an international meeting. Open to professional scholars, students, and members of the public who are interested in the study of Biblical literature, the society offers a number of benefits at every membership level.

Some of these benefits include receiving the Journal of Biblical Literature, access to De Gruyter subscriptions, and discounts at different vendors. The society also offers membership with the International Cooperation Initiative. This initiative was established in 2007 to bring together international and multidisciplinary scholars for a variety of projects as well as pooling resources to benefit people who otherwise might not have access to them. Its teaching collaboration and mentoring program, for instance, connects institutions, scholars, and students through two databases around the world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Three Breathtaking Roman Ruins to Visit in Europe

As an associate professor of Rabbinic Literature and Jewish History of Late Antiquity in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, Yaron Eliav is the author of God's Mountain: The Temple Mount in Time, Space, and Memory. With an interest in Graeco-Roman history as well as the field of Jewish studies, Dr. Yaron Eliav has traveled extensively through Europe, where many breathtaking feats of Roman engineering and architecture are still standing.

1. Pont Du Gard - This Roman aqueduct was built sometime around 500 AD. Located in what is presently southern France, the Pont Du Gard aqueduct was constructed to carry water to the ancient city of Nemausus, now known as NĂ®mes. The bridge was built of limestone and stands 50 meters high, stretching over France’s Gardon river.

2. The Pantheon - Residing in Rome, Italy, the Pantheon originated as a temple and now stands as one of the best-preserved Roman historical buildings despite having been built around 25 BC. The building boasted the largest dome in the world until the Duomo of Florence beat it out in 1436. The dome is still the biggest unreinforced dome in the world, with a height and diameter of 43.3-meters.

3. Roman Baths - The Roman Baths in the aptly named Bath, England were first constructed in 60 to 70 AD as a temple. Over the next 300 years, the existing bath was built up around the temple and England’s sole mineral hot spring. While the baths themselves are no longer suitable for use, they speak to the staying power of Roman engineering. The water still flows through the original lead pipes put in by the Romans.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Kelsey Museum Brings Ancient World to University Campus

Dr. Yaron Eliav is an award-winning Judaic studies author and associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. Dr. Yaron Eliav leads Jewish studies students through hands-on exploration of ancient cultures in partnership with the Kelsey Museum.

The Kelsey Museum has a collection of more than 100,000 ancient artifacts from cultures of the Mediterranean and the Near East. Roman sculptures, Greek pottery, and an Egyptian mummy coffin are among the objects on permanent display at the museum. Curators set up exhibits to give context to the artifacts, to show how they were integrated into everyday life, and to demonstrate how different cultures were influenced by one another.

A new exhibit opening at the Kelsey Museum in the fall of 2016 is called Less Than Perfect. It will include failed and flawed objects that still teach researchers a lot about the tools and techniques ancient artists and craftsmen used. Other objects are believed to be deliberately imperfect or asymmetrical. Objects that were pieced back together will also be on display.

The Kelsey Museum is on the Central Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Students have the opportunity to take guided museum tours that are specific to their coursework, such as Judaic studies, Germanic languages, history of art, architecture, or even business.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Students Get Chance to Hold History in Their Hands

Dr. Yaron Eliav is an associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. An award-winning Judaic studies author, Dr. Yaron Eliav researches ancient Judaism in the Roman Mediterranean.

University of Michigan students interested in Jewish studies can enroll in The Land of Israel/Palestine through the Ages, a course Dr. Eliav created. The goal of the course is to find new ways to get students interested in studying the ancient world of the Mediterranean. The course involves hands-on experience with archaeological artifacts at the Kelsey Museum. Students get to examine objects left behind by ancient people to learn about their culture. Students also review video clips, maps, art and books from the region.

The course is still evolving and in fall 2015 included a pilot portion with Moscow State University that allowed students in Russia to discuss the issues with students at the University of Michigan. The program may also eventually include a study trip to the Middle East.                            

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

TLTC Grant for Project on Changing the Way We Teach the Ancient World

An experienced researcher and award-winning author, Yaron Eliav, PhD, serves as an associate professor of Rabbinic Literature and Jewish History of Late Antiquity in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan (U-M). Dr. Yaron Eliav balances his research in the field of Judaic Studies with a project he helped to launched through a grant from the Third Century Initiative (TCI).

The project is part of the Transforming Learning for a Third Century (TLTC) program, which enables U-M faculty to create innovate initiatives focused on elevating student learning. In 2015, U-M granted almost $6.4 million through TCI to six learning enrichment projects including the project Dr. Eliav is working on, called Changing the Way We Teach the Ancient World.

With a $759,000 grant, the project strives to scale teaching mechanisms previously created to enhance student learning in the field of ancient studies. The project is scaling a variety of tools, such as an interactive image database, teleconferencing, and video clips. On top of these tools, the project is advancing the Kelsey Museum Experience, a method that involves app-based and hands-on engagement with artifacts.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Whitewater Rafting in Michigan

With a MA and a PhD in Jewish Studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Yaron Eliav is an associate professor of Rabbinic Literature and Jewish History of Late Antiquity in the department of Near Eastern studies at the University of Michigan. Outside of his academic work in Judaic Studies, Yaron Eliav enjoys whitewater rafting.

Michigan offers several options for adventurers seekers whitewater rafting opportunities. Listed below are three companies that offer group and solo rafting trips:

1. Northwoods Adventures: Located in Iron Mountain, Michigan, Northwood takes rafters through beautiful scenery and difficult rapids, and prides itself on its great hospitality.

2. Gallup River Rafting: This Ann Arbor-based company recently added manmade rapids to its course, offering participants a taste of whitewater rafting without overwhelming them

3. Bear River Whitewater Park: Located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Bear River runs through the city of Petosky. The water here is different each season, offering rafters a unique excursion on every visit. This local Northern Michigan community removed all dams and other debris from the river, allowing it to flow in its original course.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Third Century Initiative Grant Aims to Innovate Learning

Yaron Eliav is a professor of near eastern and Jewish studies at the University of Michigan. Yaron Eliav was awarded the Transforming Learning for Third Century Initiative Grant. Through it, he is partnering with the Kelsey Museum to innovate the way students learn about the ancient Judaic world though hands-on engagement with artifacts and other forms of exploration.

As the University of Michigan prepares to celebrate its 2017 bicentennial, the Third Century Initiative is intended to create more opportunities for innovative learning programs. The Initiative is especially focused on global challenges, and aims to engage with technology to address issues like mental health or how the judicial system interacts with the public all over the world.

The Initiative also intends to intensify student learning, through projects in and out of the classroom including work in museums, art galleries, libraries, laboratories, and other spaces. These include projects on 3D printing, arts in public spaces, and the creation of a campus farm to increase awareness of sustainable food systems. The University awarded nearly $6.4 million to six faculty projects in 2015.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Professor Yaron Eliav Leads TLTC-Funded Project


Professor Yaron Eliav from the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan primarily concentrates on Jewish studies, ancient Judaism, rabbinic literature, and archeology. Professor Yaron Eliav, who earned his PhD at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is currently leading a project that was awarded a Transforming Learning for Third Century (TLTC) grant.

The TLTC initiative funds faculty projects that demonstrate capacity to transform learning for students. The project that Professor Eliav heads is titled Changing the Way We Teach the Ancient World. The project team is made up of faculty and researchers from three different units of the University of Michigan: the Department of Near Eastern Studies, the Kelsey Museum of Archeology, and the Language Resource Center.

Through the integration of a hands-on-experience at the Kelsey Museum, the project intends to improve the learning environment of undergraduate students who are studying the ancient world. Specifically, the project is designed to take students away from a passive role in learning and engage them in physical interaction with archeological artifacts. The project will also be integrate new educational tools with existing, seldom used IT resources to enable active investigative participation of students.