|The Cyrus Cylinder, British Museum|
In the history of Israel and the composition of the Hebrew Bible, it is pretty hard to argue that there is anything more formative than the the 6th century BCE, which saw the destruction of Jerusalem, the exile of the elite, and the beginnings of the reconstruction of Jerusalem with the support of the Persian king Cyrus.
This course, with Oded Lipschits, is six weeks long and begins in October. Prof. Lipschits, who is the head of the the archaeological institute at Tel Aviv and the director of the Tel Rehov excavation (among others), has a great introductory video describing the course.
Below is the printed course description, but the video is worth watching. This seems like a really great opportunity for curious individuals, students, or for Bible study groups.
About the Course (from the website):
The period of the demise of the Kingdom of Judah at the end of the sixth century B.C.E., the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, the exile of the elite to Babylon, and the reshaping of the territory of the new province of Judah, culminating at the end of the century with the first return of exiles – all have been subjects of intense scrutiny in modern scholarship. This course takes into account the biblical textual evidence, the results of archaeological research, and the reports of the Babylonian and Egyptian sources and provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the evidence for the history of this 100-year-long era. The course includes a detailed discussion by Prof. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University, with guest lectures by leading scholars dealing with the archaeological and biblical aspects of this debated topic.