University of HartfordFreund-dlp

Dr. Freund is the Maurice Greenberg Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. He has directed over a dozen different archaeological projects in Israel on behalf of the University of Hartford, including sites associated with the beginnings of Christianity and Judaism at places such as Qumran, the Cave of Letters and Nazareth. In addition he has directed archaeological projects on behalf of the University of Hartford in Spain, Poland, Rhodes, Greece and Lithuania.

His work has been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Archaeology, as well as in hundreds of media outlets worldwide, including the BBC, CNN, NPR and Fox News. Additionally, it has been chronicled in 15 television documentaries from National Geographic, CNN, Discovery, and the History Channel. He recently completed work on a television documentary on the new discoveries made in the Ponar Burial Pits and the Great Synagogue of Vilna, Lithuania for the NOVA science series on PBS that will be aired worldwide in April, 2017.

Dr. Freund is the author of hundreds of articles and has written or co-edited nine books. His most recent books on archaeology are Digging Through the Bible (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008) and Digging through History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).

Dr. Freund also co-directed the Henry Luce Forum in Abrahamic Religions, a joint project of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary and the Greenberg Center at the University of Hartford. PBS made a television documentary about its work entitled: “The Road to Morocco: American Jews, Christians and Moslems in Dialogue.” Between 1984-1986 he directed the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires after the departure of Rabbi Marshall Meyer and has written extensively on Latin American Jewry.

Lecture Topics: 

  • Holocaust Studies, Archaeology and Geoscience: The New Frontier
    In the past decade the University of Hartford research group has pioneered a new forensic geoscience in support of archaeological sites associated with the Holocaust in Poland and Lithuania. His group has pioneered a new form of non-invasive archaeology which allows researchers to glean new data about crucial sites without desecrating the burials that may be located below the ground. In this lecture Dr. Freund will show what has been done at the Sobibor Extermination Camp in Poland and in the Ponar Burial Pits in Lithuania to answer key questions about Sobibor and Ponar during the Holocaust.
  • Rabbinic and New Testament Archaeology: The Top Ten Discoveries of the 21st Century
    Starting in the beginning of the 21st century archaeologists have increasingly used textual information gleaned from the pages of rabbinic texts and New Testament and early Christian traditions to understand what they are called upon to interpret in the field. In this lecture Dr. Freund shows some of the most important discoveries and what they tell us about the origins of rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity.
  • Secrets of the Cave of Letters: A Dead Sea Mystery
    One of the greatest discoveries of 20th century Israeli archaeology was made in the Cave of Letters on the Dead Sea in Israel. The letters of the legendary Shimon Bar Kokhba, the rebel leader of the second century revolt against the Romans and the Babatha archives, a series of written documents that tell us more about women in this crucial time period in the first two centuries of the Common Era than any of the other Dead Sea discoveries. Dr. Freund returned to the Cave of Letters for a series of excavation seasons and in this lecture will show how Dead Sea research has changed the way we understand ancient Judaism and early Christianity. This was featured in NOVA’s “Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land” television documentary.
  • Jewish Rhodes: Rediscovering the Jewish Diaspora of Greece
    Dr. Freund has been working on the Rhodes synagogues destroyed at the end of World War II and the beginnings of Rhodes Jewry for the past three years. Once called: “La Chica Yerushalayim”-the “Little Jerusalem” for its scholarship and innovation, this island in the Mediterranean hosted a unique series of Judaisms including the Sephardic Renaissance there of its last 500 years. In this lecture he will present the most up to date information about the rise of this Jewish Diaspora in Greece and the 2300 years of Jewish history of Rhodes before the Nazi round-up of the Jews of Rhodes and Kos on July 23, 1944.