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Jesus and Archaeology Paperback – July 28, 2006
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"Comprehensive in scope, yet retains a depth of analysis and allows ready access to a host of highly significant issues."
The Bible Today
"A very interesting and informative collection that provides an excellent overview of the state of the question to date on archaeology's contribution to our knowledge of Jesus and first-century Judaism."
"Careful, scholarly work. . . Those with some background will find it a gold mine of cultural information that will mentor them in reading the Gospels contextually."
Review of Biblical Literature
"Recommended reading for New Testament scholars interested in the ways in which archaeology is brought to bear on Jesus research."
From the Back Cover
Archaeology still has many things to reveal about the life and world of Jesus of Nazareth. To touch a two-thousand-year-old pot held by a Jew who lived in a small village frequented by Jesus can bring us closer to understanding those who were touched by Jesus.
"Jesus and Archaeology" contains the revised and edited lectures that leading archaeologists and biblical scholars presented at a gathering in Jerusalem to celebrate the new millennium. Many contributors came directly from their excavations in places like Bethsaida, Capernaum, Nazareth, and Jerusalem to share their discoveries and insights, focusing on the question "In what ways do new archaeological discoveries clarify the world, life, and thought of Jesus from Nazareth?" Readers of "Jesus and Archaeology" will gain many new insights into the life and times of this fascinating Galilean Jew.
Contributors: Paul N. Anderson
Richard A. Batey
Brian J. Capper
James H. Charlesworth
James D. G. Dunn
J. K. Elliott
Craig A. Evans
John S. Kloppenborg
Michele Piccirillo, O.F.M.
Bargil Pixner, O.S.B.
Henry W. M. Rietz
Daniel R. Schwartz
Benedict Thomas Viviano, O.P.
Urban C. von Wahlde
John W. Welch
Joseph E. Zias
Top customer reviews
I found many fascinating gems here:
* An account of excavations at the village of Cana, giving a picture of Galilean villages, and including the discovery of stone pots of the type that Jesus used to turn water into wine.
* Excavations at the fishing town of Bethsaida.
* Excavations on Mount Zion and the possible existence of an Essene community in Jerusalem that Jesus was acquainted with.
* Another paper addresses the possible, existence of Essene community houses throughout Judea, and again, the possibility that Jesus was influenced by their activities.
* Most interesting to me was a paper examining the archaeological evidence for places described or mentioned in John's Gospel. John is often regarded as late and unhistorical, yet the evidence shows that the author of John had a good knowledge of Jerusalem and elsewhere at the time of Jesus, including locations that were destroyed or changed soon afterwards. This shows that there is a strong eyewitness element in John.
If you're interested in small pieces of background information about the life of Jesus, you should find this book as interesting as I did, but don't expect any amazing revelations that prove, or disprove, major facts about Jesus.
The archaeological sites covered within 'Jesus and Archeology' are mainly situated within Jerusalem, Galilee and Samaria; the work contains discussions and explanations of some of the various techniques employed by modern day archaeologists and historians. This is a very useful and quite considerable one-volume fund which will be usefully and possibly frequently dipped into by scholars, expositors and lay folk alike. It is logically presented and quite readable, even for non-specialists in this area.
Some previous reviewers - within critical circles - have questioned precisely how much genuinely fresh light is cast upon the First Century culture of Jesus and his contemporaries within this work, but few can question the progress outlined on the Qumran sites and at various other sites within and around the Jerusalem Old City - it was only quite recently, after all, that the exact location of the pool of Siloam was found and settled upon. Further north, sites about Galilee continue to illuminate and illustrate aspects of ancient Jewish Palestinian life under Roman occupation - such as the adoption of Roman imagery and iconography by certain sectors of the Jewish upper class strata (if indeed such termas themselves are not exssentially anachronistic)!
As this reviewer has already indicated, he is convinced that the majority of readers with anything like a committed interest in the question of Palestinian antiquity and it's relationship to and with Jesus of Nazareth - and it's difficult to imagine anybody considering purchasing this book, who is not genuinely interested in its field of study - will find it to be a useful source to refer to again and again. It is not a work for the dilettante, but neither is it inaccessible by any means.
Michael Calum Jacques
Taken as a whole, the collection discuss all the major issues and relevant locations concerning the archaeology of the Holy Land as it touches on Jesus. For example, the two articles on archaeology and John's Gospel total almost one hundred pages. There is some overlap among the various articles and a couple are somewhat "off topic" (but useful nonetheless).
Unfortunately there is no completely satisfactory introductory work on this topic. Perhaps the best is Crossan and Reed's EXCAVATING JESUS, which is quirky at places and should be used with caution.