Thursday, January 31, 2013

Archaeological Evidence About the Historical Jesus

Monroe County

I told Linda, after visiting Israel, that in another life I am going to be an archaeologist. One of my Christmas presents was ancient historian and New Testament scholar Craig Evans's Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence. Evans is a superb scholar and, among other things, a leading authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to do serious historical Jesus studies.

The Introduction is interesting because there Evans debunks the unscholarly internet myth that Jesus never existed. For example, regarding hyper-minimalist writers Tom Harpur and Robert Price Evans writes: "No major historian or New Testament scholar follows Price. The views of Harpur and Price are of no interest - if even known - to the members of the Society of New Testament Studies, an elite international group of scholars who serve on the faculties of the finest universities of the world." (5) The view that Jesus never existed is "quite eccentric."

Evans than proceeds to present the evidence for the historical Jesus (pp. 5-10). I wish I would have had this excellent synopsis available when I was invited to speak at Monroe High School in the auditorium years ago, as I presented the case for Jesus' existence as a response to a high school biology teacher who made the uneducated statement in his class that Jesus never existed.