Rimoun Abdalla, a current Master of Divinity student at the Anderson University School of Theology, has been named the 2013-14 Gustav Jeeninga Museum Fellow in Archaeology. Abdalla is the seventh university student to receive this Fellowship, which provides resources to help them study archaeology in the Mediterranean basin. Abdalla will be working at a dig site sponsored by Tel Aviv University in Azekah, Israel.
Abdalla grew up in Egypt and was trained as an undergraduate in architecture. He learned from an early age in his culture about the great stories of Egypt’s monuments, but it was as an architectural student that he understood “ancient buildings are like living ancestors who are trying to tell us a story, just waiting for somebody to listen, learn, and dig deeper.” Abdalla applied for the Fellowship because “my upbringing in Egypt and training as an architect prepared me to realize the true meaning of ancient construction and to see beyond the surface of the material culture.” This life experience, coupled with his biblical, theological, and Hebrew language studies at the seminary, made the timing right to study archaeology up close.
Azekah has been identified as a biblical stronghold. It is the “mound that overlooks the Valley of Elah where tradition holds that David battled Goliath.” Tel Aviv University hopes to examine this site more thoroughly, a place that the great Assyrian monarch Sennacherib called “the eagle’s nest with towers that project to the sky like swords.”
David Neidert, the Jeeninga Museum director says of Abdalla, “He is an excellent choice for this year’s Fellowship. Growing up in Egypt, having a degree in architecture, being fluent in Arabic and now understanding Hebrew, he will add significantly to the Tel Aviv team. We are excited to learn from Rimoun after he returns; to listen to the stories he heard from these ancient ruins during his time at Azekah.”
The Gustav Jeeninga Museum Fellowship for Archaeology was established by the late Dr. Gustav Jeeninga and his wife Aletta for the purpose of developing scholars in the field of archaeology and biblical studies. The intent of this fellowship is that recipients will become engaged in the field of archaeology, establish a chosen career in this field or in biblical studies, or broaden their biblical knowledge through practical experience with archaeological fieldwork. Applicants must be current students of Anderson University or the School of Theology.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.