Lee University’s Dr. Brian Peterson and Dr. William Simmons presented at the annual Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) lecture series in Jerusalem, Israel. This lecture series, focused on biblical archaeology, is associated with ABR’s ongoing work at Khirbet el-Maqatir, an archaeological dig where both Dr. Peterson and Simmons have worked.
Dr. Peterson presented a paper discussing first-century home construction techniques. The paper is due to be published this year in ABR’s quarterly journal, Bible and Spade.
“This presentation was rooted in my excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, which have given me insight into how houses in the central highlands of Israel were constructed during the time of Jesus,” said Dr. Peterson. “This work in turn may help us understand Jesus’ role as a ‘carpenter’ (Mark 6:3) living in the hills of the Galilee. Jesus may not have been a “woodworker” per se but rather a stone mason/craftsman.”
He also delivered a second paper on the ritual desecration of figurines at Hazor and Maqatir.
“My second paper analyzed our discovery of a severed bronze ram’s head at Khirbet el-Maqatir in 2014 by Lee student Madison Vaught,” said Dr. Peterson. “I proposed that the ram’s head showing clear evidence of purposeful decapitation may be evidence of the presence of the Israelites in the 15th century BCE at Maqatir, the proposed site of biblical Ai.”
Dr. Simmons presented a paper titled “Jewish Conflict and the Roman Conquest of Israel” that examined the detrimental effects of internal Jewish factions on Israel’s security compared to the external threat of the Romans.
“My paper interweaves archaeological finds and artifacts such as coins, pottery, weaponry, ruins of ancient buildings and palaces that evidence the traumatic history of Israel, especially as it relates to the Bible and the New Testament period,” said Dr. Simmons. “The goal was to provide the archaeologists and students with a conceptual and historical framework to understand better and interpret what they were digging out of the ground every day on the dig site.”
Dr. Peterson, an assistant professor of Old Testament, teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes including Biblical Hebrew, Hermeneutics, Old Testament Ethics, Pentateuch, and Historical Books. He earned his doctorate in Hebrew Bible from the University of Toronto in 2009, joining Lee’s School of Religion (SOR) in 2011. Previously, he taught for a year at Prairie Bible College in Alberta, Canada, and as a short term missions teacher in The Gambia, West Africa.
Along with a number of articles, Dr. Peterson published his first work on Ezekiel in 2012, and his second book on the Deuteronomistic History was released in fall 2014. His third book, entitled “John’s Use of Ezekiel,” is due out next month.
Dr. Peterson is married to SOR adjunct lecturer Rev. Christine Curley. They have two children, Madeline and Mark.
Dr. Simmons, a professor of New Testament and Greek, joined Lee’s faculty in 1986. His area of specialty addresses the historical and cultural background of the New Testament. He earned his doctorate from University of St. Andrews, Scotland and his master’s of divinity from Ashland Theological Seminary.
His most recently published work is “Priest-Sacrifice-Life As Worship: A Pauline Matrix For Understanding Romans” and appeared in the journal Bibliotheca Sacra in January 2015. He has developed an inductive Bible study program for Men's Discipleship of the Church of God, completing studies for this series in James and Philippians, and is currently working on a study of Ephesians. Dr. Simmons received the Lee University Excellence in Research Award in 1994.
Dr. Simmons has done teaching and mission work at the European Bible Seminary in Rudersburg, Germany, also teaching in Korea, Honduras, the Philippines, Guatemala, Cuba and Peru. He and his wife Lenae have two sons, David Andrew and Nathaniel Stewart, and one daughter, Laura Marie.
Dr. Peterson and Dr. Simmons also gave presentations at the Museum Center at 5ive Points in Cleveland for the nine-month exhibition titled “Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site.” The exhibit, which will be in Cleveland until December, displays over 40 different objects to tell the story of Khirbet el-Maqatir, thought to be the site of the ancient city of Ai as described in the Bible in the Book of Joshua chapters 7-8. Dr. Peterson has led groups of Lee students on trips to the site since 2012.
For more information, please email Dr. Peterson at Dr. Peterson@leeuniversity.edu.