Benjamin Gordon

  • Assistant Professor
  • Rosenberg-Perlow Fellow in Classical Judaism


Ancient Near East; Early Judaism; Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in the Classical Periods; History of Jerusalem; Second Temple Priesthood


Archaeology of Israel-Palestine, Myth in the Ancient Near East, History of God, Jews and Judaism—Ancient, Israel in the Biblical Age, Jerusalem: History and Imagination, Major Biblical Themes, Religion, Nature & the Environment

Education & Training

PhD, Duke University, 2013

MA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008

BA, College of William and Mary, 1999

Research Interests 

I am a historian of religion specializing in Jewish culture and society in the ancient Mediterranean world. My research focuses on the literary and archaeological sources of Judea-Palestine in classical antiquity (c. 500 BCE - 600 CE), with an emphasis on how these sources shed light on the dynamic intersections between Judaism and other Mediterranean religious traditions - Greek, Roman, and Christian. My book, Land and Temple (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020), looks at how the ancient temple to the God of Israel in Jerusalem, with its large priesthood, sacralized areas of cultivation as a part of a broader set of social structures focused on land settlement and resource extraction. The study challenges assumptions on how the ancient Jerusalem temple functioned as an institution, shedding light on the breadth of its reach, as well as its dynamics and transformations as a powerful organization. 

I am also co-editor with E. Meyers and C. Meyers of a two-volume set, The Architecture, Stratigraphy, and Artifacts of the Western Summit of Sepphoris (University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2018), which presents the results of nearly twenty years of archaeological excavations in a domestic area of Sepphoris in the Galilee. Sepphoris was a major urban center in the Roman and Byzantine periods. 

Currently I am working on expanding my article “Health and the Origins of the Miqveh” into a book-length project on water rituals in Roman Judea. I am also collaborating with Avner Ecker and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project in exploring the virtually unexcavated site of Tell Abu Shusha, which is located in northern Israel and has been identified with the Roman city of Gaba-Philippi. I am also a co-director with Rachel Kranson and Aaron Brenner of the ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh project, a student-driven website examining the city’s vernacular religion through the lens of material culture.