If you’re interested in what archaeology can tell us about the world in which Jesus lived, moved, and had his being — you need to check out the course on offer this weekend, March 2-3, by world-class archaeologist Jodi Magness, my colleague at UNC and one of the leading experts on the archaeology of ancient Israel.

Jodi will be giving four lectures on key topics of interest, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, with a live Q&A each day.

I will be M-C’ing the event, and can’t wait.   If you want o check it out, click on this link.


And if you want more information before checking it out, here’s a quick synopsis of what Jodi will be covering:


Lecture 1:  Jesus in Galilee

Although the Gospel accounts focus on Jesus’s final days in Jerusalem, he spent most of his life in Galilee.  What does archaeology tell us about the villages and towns of Galilee in the time of Jesus? In this lecture, we survey archaeological remains in the hamlet of Nazareth; the city of Sepphoris; and the towns of Capernaum and Magdala (the hometown of Mary Magdalene).

Lecture 2: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

In 1946-1947, the first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by accident near the site of Qumran. Eventually the remains of approximately 1000 scrolls were found in 11 caves surrounding Qumran. The scrolls were deposited by members of a Jewish sect – apparently the Essenes – who lived at Qumran in the first century BC and first century AD. In this lecture, we examine the meaning and significance of the scrolls and consider what light they shed on Jesus and his movement.

Lecture 3: Jesus in Jerusalem

Archaeology enables us to reconstruct with a great degree of accuracy the city of Jerusalem as it appeared in the first century CE, where Jesus spent his final days on earth.  This lecture provides an overview of key sites associated with Jesus in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount; the Lithostratos pavement and Arch of Ecce Homo; and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We also consider evidence for the historicity of the traditions associating Jesus with some of these sites.

Lecture 4: The Deaths and Burials of Jesus and James

In 2002, an ossuary inscribed “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus” surfaced in the hands of a private collector.  A few years later, a Discovery Channel documentary and related book claimed that the tomb of Jesus and his family has been found in Jerusalem.  In this lecture, we examine the validity of these sensational claims in light of archaeological and historical evidence for ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem, including the burials of Jesus and his brother James.


Jodi is a superb lecturer, and there will be lots of slides!  Wanna come?  Again, go click on this link: