The First Diasporas: Egypt and Babylonia

The First Diasporas: Egypt and Babylonia

June 3, 2020
8:00 PM

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 8 pm via Zoom

The First Diasporas: Egypt and Babylonia

Gary Rendsburg

With the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E., the ancestors of the Jews left the land of Israel in large numbers. Over the course of the next two centuries, we find a considerable amount of archaeological evidence for Jewish life both in Egypt and Babylonia.

This evidence includes – most remarkably – the outpost of Jewish soldiers and families at Elephantine, opposite Aswan in the far south of Egypt.

The evidence in Babylonia includes hundreds of cuneiform tablets attesting to Jewish businesses and mercantile interests. These people clearly took Jeremiah’s charge (29) to heart and successfully reconstructed their lives in exile:  Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.”

Gary Rendsburg is the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History at Rutgers University


BAF and its sister organization in Northern Virginia (BASONOVA), are delighted to announce a joint resumption of their lecture series on the ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. This series will be broadcast “live” via Zoom, and “attendees” will be able to direct questions of the presenters.

How to Access the Lecture Series

We will announce additions to the line-up of presenters on a regular basis, as it is our aim to offer more than one event each month. Members will also receive a regular listing of recommended lectures in the public domain.

If you wish to subscribe to the series*, please access the BASONOVA PayPal portal and use a credit card for a one-year subscription ($35 per family). Go to: http://www.basonova.org/membership-form.html

It is also possible to access the series one lecture at a time, for $6 per lecture. To receive your single-lecture Zoom invitation, go to: http://www.basonova.org/next-lecture-reservation.html

*Maryland residents will be enrolled in BAF and Virginians will be enrolled in BASONOVA. There is no advantage in enrolling in one group versus the other, only that when in-person lectures begin again you will be apportioned to the group that matches your state of residence.

Learn more about our phased reopening!