Jesus and the Remains of His Day: Studies in Jesus and the Evidence of Material Culture

by Craig A. Evans

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Retail: $44.95
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Binding: Jackets Hardcover
Pages: 360
Pub Date: December 2015
ISBN: 9781619707054
ISBN-13: 9781619707054
Item Number: 707054
Categories: Archaeology and Biblical History; Biblical Studies and Interpretation

Product Description

“Archaeologists, myself included, have been lobbying scholars of the New Testament and of Jewish writings for many years to pay attention to the results of archaeological research with the hope of advancing ‘understanding.’ Jesus and the Remains of His Day is an indispensable work by a mainstream New Testament scholar who walks into the study with his sleeves rolled up to do exactly that.
In these pages, there is a rich trove of reflection and analysis on the material culture of ancient Galilee and Judea and how the New Testament is to be read in tandem with that body of knowledge. Evans is so bold as to attempt to fill out our picture of the first few generations of followers of Jesus—‘who is called Christ,’ as Flavius Josephus would say—exactly from the evidence of archaeology, including inscriptions. He takes on weighty questions and subjects, such as ‘What we have learned from Bethsaida and Magdala?’ and the afterlife in pagan, Jewish, and Christian epitaphs.
Students, scholars, and the general reader need this book.”
—James F. Strange, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of South Florida

This book is a collection of thirteen articles on various aspects of how archaeological evidence enlightens our understanding of the life and death of Jesus and the culture in which he lived. Nine of the book’s thirteen essays were published previously, though several of these have been revised or augmented for inclusion in the present book; four of the book’s essays are new. Several of the essays deal with the death of Jesus and the burial practices of his day. Articles in the book include:
1. A Tale of Two Cities: What We Learned from Bethsaida and Magdala
2. A Boat, a House, and an Ossuary: What Can We Learn from the Artifacts?
3. Excavating Caiaphas, Pilate, and Simon of Cyrene: Assessing the Literary and Archaeological Evidence
4. “Have You Never Read?” Jesus and Literacy
5. Shout at the Devil: Jesus and Psalm 91 in the Light of Early Jewish Interpretation
6. “Hang Him on a Tree until Dead”: Hanging and Crucifixion in Second Temple Israel
7. The Family Buried Together Stays Together: On the Burial of the Executed in Family Tombs
8. Death Becomes Him: On the Execution and Burial of Jesus
9. Keeping Up with Appearances: The Talpiot Tomb Façade in Context
10. The Talking Dead: Post-Mortem Beliefs in Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Epitaphs

The book’s introduction explains the value of material culture (i.e., archaeological evidence) for interpreting Jesus and the Gospels and discusses the limits of such evidence. Also, the author is including several of his own photos in this book.


“Craig Evans offers here an exciting collection of essays written over the last twenty years. He integrates at a deep level his maturing reflections about the history of Jesus and the findings of recent archaeology. The thorough scholarship in each chapter is truly impressive. For anyone interested in the interchange between biblical scholars and archaeologists, this is a must read. Evans has produced a real gem, truly a book that will benefit all students of Jesus in his first-century world.”
—Douglas E. Oakman, Professor of New Testament, Pacific Lutheran University

“This is a splendid collection of state-of-the-question essays. On topic after topic having to do with archaeology and the historical Jesus, Evans shows himself to be not only exceedingly well informed but also judicious. This book has much to teach all of us.”
—Dale C. Allison, Jr., Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Practice, artifacts, texts, and beliefs coalesce into a single picture of first-century Judaism. In personal matters such as eating, purity, and Torah-observance, Jesus and his followers shared much in common with fellow Jews, for Galilean communities shaped his words and actions. Features of his life—his death and burial, for example—require an understanding of his immediate context. Craig Evans explores subtly and convincingly how analyses of archaeological and material remains work hand in hand with textual interpretation.”
—Peter Richardson, Professor Emeritus, Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

“In this book, Craig Evans exposes the misuse of archaeology involved in some sensational claims about Jesus and early Christianity. Even more importantly, he shows that archaeology properly used has much to contribute to a realistic understanding of Jesus and his movement. Evans demonstrates a rare mastery of the primary sources, and his judgments even on very controversial issues are fair and balanced. He convincingly shows that the canonical Gospels, although confessing Jesus as the Son of God, nevertheless depict him as a down-to-earth first-century Jew.”
—Rainer Riesner, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, University of Dortmund, Germany

Author Bio

Craig A. Evans, PhD, DHabil, is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University in Texas. He is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and the author or editor of over eighty books, including Jesus and His Contemporaries.