The Schweich Lectures and Biblical Archaeology

The Schweich Lectures and Biblical Archaeology

Graham Davies

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780197264874

Publisher: British Academy


The first Schweich Lectures were given by Professor S. R. Driver of Oxford University in 1908 and the British Academy celebrated the centenary of the lectures with a single lecture in 2008. This book is an amplified version of that lecture, with each of its three chapters developing a theme relevant to the occasion. The lectures, on aspects of the study of antiquity in its relationship to the Bible, were established by a gift from Constance Schweich (later Mrs Goetze) in memory of her late father, Leopold Schweich. The first chapter of this book brings together biographical information (including some previously unpublished documents) about the Schweichs, who were originally a German Jewish family with close connections to the distinguished chemist and industrialist Ludwig Mond. The donation was the first major benefaction received by the British Academy, which had been founded in 1901 but initially had no government funding. The second chapter uses archival and published sources to reconstruct the circumstances and the history of the lectureship. An Appendix lists the names of all the lecturers, their subjects, and details of the publication of their lectures. The final chapter, ‘Archaeology and the Bible — A Broken Link?’, examines broader questions about ‘biblical archaeology’, which arose in the later twentieth century in the light of developments in archaeological theory and biblical scholarship, and considers whether there is still a future for collaboration between the two disciplines. The book provides a glimpse into Jewish philanthropy in England in the Edwardian era.