Friday, September 12, 2008

Jesus: What is the archaelogical evidence?

Unfortunately, not much. I went to a lecture last night at Mizzou sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America entitled: Jesus: What is the archaelogical evidence? It was delivered by Katharina Galor from the dept. of Judaic Studies at Brown University. There seemed to be a lot of students (as well as members of the society) present at the lecture. I wonder if they were coming in hopes of some sort of apologetic content of the lectures. I went knowing that would not be the case. I did leave somewhat disappointed, though. I was expecting a somewhat controversial lecture on the focused on the basis that there was no strict, archaeological evidence for Jesus. She was somewhat respectful of the viewpoint of most Christians and their faith in the supernatural claims of the gospels. She even sidestepped a couple of recent "archaelogical" finds that were controversial but not verified as authentic (James Ossuary, Talpiot tomb).

What she did was walk through the archaeological evidence for some of the places and events surrounding the events of Jesus. She walked through the excavations of the Jerusalem temple mount. She looked at several options for the burial place of Jesus as well as the potential spot of Gethsemane. It was interesting, but it wasn't anything I didn't know already or that anybody can't find using a good Bible dictionary/encyclopedia on the archaeological finds of Jerusalem. (Now I realize that everybody there hasn't studied this subject as much as I have). You could see students slowly file out as they realized the direction she was going. I can only guess they were expecting a little more evidence actually pointing to Jesus.

But it is always helpful to learn from an exspert in a field that one cares so much about, so I am thankful for the society for putting this on and for Dr. Galor for her efforts and the pictures she did show. I did learn something, in answer to a question about what went on in Jerusalem between 70 AD and 115 AD. The was a common belief that there was very little Jewish presence in the Old City of Jerusalem after the Romans destroyed the city in 70 AD. It seems last year, there was the discovery of Jewish presence in the old city in that time period.

On the whole, I was very appreciative of the evening. I like being connected to such an institute of higher learning and going to such events. I like the availabilty of such lectures to the general public. If I am free, I will attend the one next month the Roman arena: Blood and Power: Arena, Spectacle and the Roman Empire. I also learned about the central MO chapter or the AIA.


Anonymous said...

The historical Jesus is evidenced indeed by the Talpiot Tomb- a delicate matter that most scholars prefer to conveniently disregard.

billy v said...

Not even close. I dealt with the Talpiot tomb in a former incarnation of this blog. I found the "evidence" extremely poor. Simcha is a really creative documentarian but he is neither a historian, archaeologist nor even a journalist (as he claimed to be in the post show panel with Ted Koppel). Scholars indeed disregarded the Talpiot Tomb findings, after pouring over the findings and finding them without credible basis.

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