Jesus and Archaeology

By Hawkins, Ralph K. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Jesus and Archaeology


Hawkins, Ralph K., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Jesus and Archaeology. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006, xxv + 740 pp., $50.00 paper.

The volume begins with a preface by James H. Charlesworth entitled "The Historical Jesus and Biblical Archaeology: Questions" (pp. xxii-xxv), followed by an introduction by Avraham Biran entitled "What Is Biblical Archaeology?" (pp. 1-8). The book is thereafter divided into two parts. Part 1, "Studies in Archaeology," is comprised of the following essays: James Charlesworth, "Jesus Research and Archaeology: A New Perspective" (pp. 11-63); Sean Freyne, "Archaeology and the Historical Jesus" (pp. 64-83); Bruce Chilton, "Recovering Jesus' Mamzerat" (pp. 84-110); Richard A. Batey, "Did Antipas Build the Sepphoris Theatre?" (pp. 111-19); Peter Richardson, "Khirbet Qana (and Other Villages) as a Context for Jesus" (pp. 120-44); Rami Arav, "Bethsaida" (pp. 145-66); Frederic Manns, "Mount Tabor" (pp. 167-77); Esther Eschel, "Jesus the Exorcist in Light of Epigraphic Sources" (pp. 178-85); Henry W. M. Reitz, "Reflections on Jesus' Eschatology in Light of Qumran" (pp. 186-205); James D. G. Dunn, "Did Jesus Attend the Synagogue?" (pp. 206-22); Benedict Viviano, "Synagogues and Spirituality: The case of Beth Alfa" (pp. 223-35); John S. Kloppenborg, "The Theodotos Synagogue Inscription and the Problem of First Century Synagogue Buildings" (pp. 236-82); Achim Lichtenberger, "Jesus and the Theatre in Jerusalem" (pp. 283-99); Dan Bahat, "Jesus and the Herodian Temple Mount" (pp. 300-308); Bargil Pixner, "Mount Zion, Jesus, and Archaeology" (pp. 309-22); Craig A. Evans, "Excavating Caiaphas, Pilate, and Simon of Cyrene: Assessing the Literary and Archaeological Evidence" (pp. 323-40); Daniel R. Schwartz, "'Stone House,' Birah, and Antonia during the Time of Jesus" (pp. 341-48); John W. Welch, "Miracles, Maleficium, and Maiestas in the Trial of Jesus" (pp. 349-83); Yizhar Hirschfield, "Ramat Hanadiv and Ein Gedi: Property in Judea before 70" (pp. 384-92); Jürgen Zangenberg, "Between Jerusalem and the Galilee: Samaria in the Time of Jesus" (pp. 393-432); Michele Piccirillo, "The Sanctuaries of the Baptism on the East Bank" (pp. 433-43); Joseph E. Zias, "The Cemeteries of Qumran and Celibacy: Confusion Laid to Rest?" (pp. 444-71); Brian J. Capper, "Essene Community Houses and Jesus' Early Community" (pp. 472-502); William Klassen, "Judas and Jesus: A Message on a Drinking Vessel of the Second Temple" (pp. 503-20).

Part 2 is entitled, "Archaeology and Theology," and includes Urban C. von Wahlde, "Archaeology and John's Gospel" (pp. 523-86); Paul N. Anderson, "Aspects of Historicity in the Gospel of John: Implications for Investigations of Jesus and Archaeology" (pp. 587-618); John Painter, "Bultmann, Archaeology, and the Historical Jesus" (pp. 619-38); Emile Puech, "Jesus and Resurrection Faith in Light of Jewish Texts" (pp. 639-59); John Reumann, "Archaeology and Early Christology" (pp. 660-82); J. K. Elliott, "The Christian Apocrypha and Archaeology" (pp. 683-91); James H. Charlesworth, "The Historical Jesus and Biblical Archaeology: Reflections on New Methodologies and Perspectives" (pp. 692-95).

A number of the essays deserve special comment. Charlesworth uses the seven primary discoveries for Jesus research from his book, Jesus within Judaism: New Light from Exciting Archaeological Discoveries (ABRL 1; Garden City: Doubleday, 1988), as a springboard for reviewing discoveries that have been made since its initial publication. He examines problematic points in scholarly discussions and thereby frames the direction to be taken in the volume as a whole. Chilton explores the implicit accusation of John 8:41 and Mark 6:3 that Jesus is a mamzerut (Deut 23:2) as well as various possibilities for how his parentage might be understood.

Three articles deal with the synagogue. Dunn approaches the question of whether Jesus would have actually attended the synagogue by looking at the issue of the Jewishness of Galilee, the extent of Hellenization in Galilee, and whether or not synagogues existed there in the first-century. …

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