"Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest ... or perhaps you should after all ...?"
The excavations in Tel Moẓa/Israel


In the series of virtual scholarship-holders’ meetings, the Daimler and Benz Foundation, together with the Alumni Association, invites its currently sponsored and former scholarship-holders to an online lecture and a subsequent discussion. The Foundation’s former scholarship-holder Prof. Dr. Anselm Hagedorn will report on his archaeological research in Israel.

When you start reading the Old Testament, you soon gain the impression that there is one, and only one, legitimate temple – in Jerusalem. All other sanctuaries are declared illegitimate and are at times harshly condemned.

For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel,
"Seek ye me, and ye shall live:
but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal …
for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity,
and Bethel shall come to nought. (Amos 5:4-5)",

The prophet Amos hurls this warning at the Israelites, who also worship God in Gilgal and Bethel as a matter of course. Even before the Israelites enter the Promised Land, they are warned not to sacrifice anywhere but in the place that God himself will choose. What we read here is the perspective of Jerusalem, which blatantly clashes with the picture drawn by archaeology. The cult in ancient Palestine is depicted here as being far more diverse than the Bible would have us believe. Of course there are other temples, and of course they are not really a problem. This evening we will talk about such a temple – namely the temple complex of Tel Moẓa, only 8 km west of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This complex is being excavated in cooperation with the University of Tel Aviv and is already a sensation, since an economic center in the immediate vicinity of the Jerusalem Temple houses a sanctuary that should not really exist.


Anselm Hagedorn studied Protestant Theology in Göttingen, St. Andrews (Scotland), Heidelberg and Notre Dame (USA). He earned his doctorate at Oxford University in 2000 with a thesis on comparative legal history; this was followed in 2009 by his habilitation in Old Testament at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and he has been Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Judaism at the University of Osnabrück since 2017. In parallel to his academic career, Mr. Hagedorn completed a course of practical training and was a Pastor of the Evangelic Regional Church of Hanover from 2014 to 2017. Mr. Hagedorn has received a number of national and international academic awards, including a doctoral fellowship from the Daimler and Benz Foundation from 1998 to 2000.


© Tel Moẓa Excavation Project/Israel Antiquities Authorit


© Tel Moẓa Excavation Project/Israel Antiquities Authority