Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts

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9780060616335: Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts

Can the stones of ancient Palestine speak to us about the real Jesus and his message? Are there ways to discover the historical Jesus by sifting through the layers of the Gospels and other early texts? In Excavating Jesus Bible expert John Dominic Crossan and Galilean field archaeologist Jonathan L. Reed take an exhilarating look at Jesus and his world from their two different perspectives. While the phenomenal advances in our historical and textual understanding of the origins of Christianity are well known, the equally significant archaeological discoveries are much less familiar. Drawing on evidence from the ten most significant textual discoveries of biblical studies and the ten most significant archaeological digs in the cities and villages of ancient Palestine, Crossan and Reed provide a fuller portrait of Jesus, his teachings, and his followers. Together they bring to life the struggle between Roman power and the people's passionate belief in a just God.

Join Crossan and Reed as they explore sites such as the house of the apostle Peter at Capernaum, a first-century fishing boat from the Sea of Galilee, and the skeleton of a crucified man -- plus textual discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of Thomas. The authors reveal a world where life could end instantly and violently on the whim of a king, a governor, or an ordinary Roman soldier. They show us a people willing to fight, and even die, for the right to live according to their beliefs.

Excavating Jesus includes a full-color insert featuring twelve drawings by Balage Balogh, the best archaeological artist in Israel today, and black-and-white illustrations throughout. These historically accurate recreations of first-century sites reflect the most recent archaeological discoveries, telling us more about the world Jesus, his followers, and his enemies inhabited than we have ever known before. This fresh examination of the world of the Gospels offers readers a unique and fascinating opportunity to examine the evidence and decide for themselves what they believe about the nature of Jesus and his message.

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Review:

"Why did Jesus happen when and where he happened?" is the question that drives Excavating Jesus, a collaboration between the leading historical Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan and noted Galilean archeologist Jonathan Reed. Excavating Jesus is a groundbreaking work of popular biblical scholarship, an extraordinarily mature and accessible integration of textual study with archeological research. "Words talk. Stones talk too. Neither talks from the past without interpretive dialogue with the present. But each demands to be heard in its own way," the authors write. True to this principle, Crossan and Reed consider archaeology and exegesis "as twin independent methods, neither of which is subordinate or submissive to the other." The bulk of the book identifies, analyzes, and integrates what the authors believe to be the "top 10" archeological discoveries pertaining to the life of Jesus (such as the house of the apostle Peter at Capernaum), and the top 10 exegetical discoveries (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls). Their excavation of the most important sites and texts, accompanied by stunning illustrations and photographs, provide perhaps the most precise picture of the world in which Jesus lived. For many readers, this information will also shed light on the central themes of Christianity. For instance, in the first century in Galilee, "the Kingdom" meant the Roman Empire. "When, therefore, Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, he chose the one expression most calculated to draw Roman attention to what he was doing. Not the 'people' or the 'community' of God, but the 'Kingdom' of God." That's why the Baptism movement of John and the Kingdom movement of Jesus started there and then." --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

John Dominic Crossan, professor emeritus at DePaul University, is widely regarded as the foremost historical Jesus scholar of our time. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus, How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian, God and Empire, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, The Greatest Prayer, The Last Week, and The Power of Parable. He lives in Minneola, Florida.



Jonathan L Reed is a leading authority on the archaeology of early Christianity and has excavated in Galilee since 1987. He has conducted research at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, the American Academy in Rome, and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. He is author of Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus and has co-authored with John Dominic Crossan two bestselling books, Excavating Jesus and In Search of Paul. He is professor of New Testament at the University of La Verne and is on the research council of Claremont Graduate University's world-renowned Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, where he is directing their Galilean Archaeology and the Historical Jesus project.

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