Department of Religion Annual Lecture

January 31, 2024

Join us for our Annual Religion Department Lecture on Tuesday, February 20th at 3:30 in Kayser Auditorium. This year will feature Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott: "Home Sweet Home: Ancient Israelite Houses in Context."

To better understand daily life in ancient Israel, our focus must shift from the monumental places of prestige (like palaces and temples) to the stage where the mundane occurred—the home. Household archaeology does just that—it focuses on the house, its members, and the activities they engaged in. The recent excavations at Tell Halif utilized household archaeology to focus on its 8th century BCE dwellings; as a result, Halif is uniquely placed to help archaeologists and biblical scholars alike to better understand the cultural and social context of ancient Israelite households. In this presentation, Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott will highlight Halif’s most recently excavated house and how it illustrates the daily lives of the average ancient Israelite man, woman, and child. Particular attention will be paid to the domestic activity of food preparation and gender.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.