Rise of Christianity

Paula Fredriksen. “Did Jesus Oppose the Purity Laws?” Bible Review 11, 3 (1995).
By January 17, 2016 Read More →

Paula Fredriksen. “Did Jesus Oppose the Purity Laws?” Bible Review 11, 3 (1995).

In the last century, especially in the last few decades, historians of Christianity have increasingly understood Jesus of Nazareth as a participant in the Judaism of his day. Many scholars, however, while emphasizing Jesus’ articulation of Jewish ethics, or his Jewish scriptural sensibility, or the apocalyptic convictions he shared with so many contemporaries, draw the […]

William Sanford La Sor. “Discovering What Jewish Miqva’ot Can Tell Us about Christian Baptism.” Biblical Archaeology Review 13, 1 (1987)
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William Sanford La Sor. “Discovering What Jewish Miqva’ot Can Tell Us about Christian Baptism.” Biblical Archaeology Review 13, 1 (1987)

Until the discoveries of modern archaeology, we knew about ancient Jewish ritual immersion baths only from literary texts. Now, however, archaeology has provided us with numerous examples of Jewish ritual immersion baths, called miqva’ot (singular, miqveh), dating to the late Second Temple period, prior to and during the time when John the Baptist lived. These […]

Joseph A. Fitzmyer. “Did Jesus Speak Greek?” Biblical Archaeology Review 18, 5 (1992).
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Joseph A. Fitzmyer. “Did Jesus Speak Greek?” Biblical Archaeology Review 18, 5 (1992).

That Jesus spoke Aramaic there is no doubt. By Jesus’ time numerous local dialects of Aramaic had emerged. Jesus, like other Palestinian Jews, would have spoken a local form of Middle Aramaic1 called Palestinian Aramaic. Palestinian Aramaic developed along with Nabatean Aramaic (in the area around Petra in modern Jordan), Palmyrene Aramaic (in central Syria), […]

Jonathan Klawans. “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?” Bible Review 17, 5 (2001).
By January 10, 2016 Read More →

Jonathan Klawans. “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?” Bible Review 17, 5 (2001).

Many people assume that Jesus’ Last Supper was a Seder, a ritual meal held in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Passover. And indeed, according to the Gospel of Mark 14:12, Jesus prepared for the Last Supper on the “first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb.” If Jesus and his disciples […]

Stephen J. Patterson. “The Dark Side of Pilate.” Bible Review 19, 6 (2003).
By January 10, 2016 Read More →

Stephen J. Patterson. “The Dark Side of Pilate.” Bible Review 19, 6 (2003).

Poor Pilate. If ever a man was caught unwittingly in the net of historical circumstance, it was Pilate. A simple Roman governor just doing his job, he could see that Jesus wasn’t the villain the Jewish crowd thought him to be. In the end, he washed his hands of the affair—tormented, it seems, by the […]

Joe Zias. Crucifixion in Antiquity – The Anthropological Evidence
By January 10, 2016 Read More →

Joe Zias. Crucifixion in Antiquity – The Anthropological Evidence

Whereas crucifixion, a form of state terror described by Josephus as “the most wretched of deaths” (Jewish Wars 7,23) persisted for hundreds of years, few are aware of its widespread use with victims being crucified on all three continents in the Ancient World.  As late as the third century A.D. poets, murderers, robbers, mischief makers […]

Vassilios Tzaferis. “Crucifixion—The Archaeological Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 11, 1 (1985).
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Vassilios Tzaferis. “Crucifixion—The Archaeological Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 11, 1 (1985).

From ancient literary sources we know that tens of thousands of people were crucified in the Roman Empire. In Palestine alone, the figure ran into the thousands. Yet until 1968 not a single victim of this horrifying method of execution had been uncovered archaeologically. In that year I excavated the only victim of crucifixion ever […]

Augustus
By November 17, 2015 Read More →

Augustus

  Sculpture of Augustus with a cross superimposed on his forehead, Ephesus Museum. At Ephesus, crosses were added in a very public way to the forehead of Augustus, transforming the emperor into a Christian penitent.

Sardis
By November 17, 2015 Read More →

Sardis

Christian graffiti in the Temple of Artemis at Sardis. Closer to Laodicea, the Temple of Artemis at Sardis is covered with similarly carved crosses.

Laodicaea
By November 17, 2015 Read More →

Laodicaea

Column drum fragment inscribed with a menorah and a superimposed cross, Laodicea. This fragment, which was published in a brief note by the excavator, Celal Şimşek, in 2006, was discovered in the ruins of Nymphaeum.