Posts Tagged ‘Craig A. Evans’

Book Plunge: Jesus and His World

March 19, 2014

What do I think of Craig Evans’s book on archaeology and the life of Jesus? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Jesusandhisworld

Craig Evans is a favorite writer of mine and I quite appreciate the style he has with taking to task the opponents of Christianity. (For a clear example of this in this book, just look at him going after Tom Harpur. It gives the impression of using a tank to kill a spider.) Evans is also fluent with the world of archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls and uses that knowledge in this book to explain further the life of Jesus and show some misconceptions.

To start off with, he looks at the hometown of Jesus. Nazareth was a small little town, but it was also near the city of Sepphoris. Some have thought being near such a major city which had Greek influence would mean Jesus was strongly influence by Hellenistic culture and would then be a cynic sage.

Sorry. Doesn’t work. Sepphoris might have been more Hellenistic than some, but the evidence is still that they were devout in their Judaism. Consider for instance as one example that pig bones don’t show up in their garbage dumps until after 70 A.D. You might think that’s one item by itself, which it is, but it’s an example of many more that Evans shows to his audience to indicate that Sepphoris was devout in its Judaism.

How devout? Well that’s the next chapter. The next chapter looks at the building of synagogues for instance and places of worship and how seriously the Jews took this, including the notion that Gentiles who entered the grounds of the temple where they were not allowed would be responsible for their subsequent deaths.

Okay. Well these people were devout, but how about the Law? How did they value their Scripture? That’s next on the list. Evans takes a look at literacy from various archaeological findings and writings and shows that if anything, the Jews would most likely have the most literacy since they were people of the book and were trained to teach their children the Torah and why it is that they do what they do. This then gets into the question of if Jesus was literate, which Evans thinks it is extremely unlikely that he was not.

So what about the ruling establishment that Jesus dealt with? As Evans continues his progression, he looks at the way the priests and leaders in the area of Judea ruled. What were the people like who Jesus was butting heads against?

Finally, in the main sections, he looks at the life among the dead. What were the burial customs? He explains that it’s quite unreasonable to think that Jesus’s body would be thrown to dogs or that Jesus would not have been given a proper burial. This is another answer to someone like Crossan.

Finally, there are a couple of appendices in the book dealing with the claim of the supposed family tomb of Jesus and then answering the question of what did Jesus look like.

This book is small and easy to read and will be an immense help to students wanting to understand archaeology and the NT. It also has the benefit in this case of several pictures that show the archaeological discoveries so there can be shown clearly what these findings look like and help the student better visualize the subject matter. I highly recommend it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 3/1/2014: Craig Evans

February 27, 2014

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Friends, we have a great show lined up for you this Saturday! My guest is none other than Professor Craig Evans and we are going to be talking about Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as other archaeological findings that have helped us in our understanding of Christianity.

If you don’t know who Evans is, well let me tell you. The following is a mini-biography that I have straight from the source.

Craig A. Evans is Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. He earned a doctorate in biblical studies at Claremont Graduate University in 1983 and in 2009 received the Decretum Habilitationis from the Reformed University in Budapest. Prior to his appointment at Acadia he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and for twenty-one years was Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, where for many years he chaired the Religious Studies Department, founded the Dead sea Scrolls Institute, and directed the graduate program in Biblical Studies. He was also for one year a Visiting Fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.

Professor Evans is author or editor of more than seventy books. Among his authored books are Word and Glory: On the Exegetical and Theological Background of John’s Prologue (1993), Luke and Scripture: The Function of Sacred Tradition in Luke-Acts (1993), Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies (1995), Jesus in Context: Temple, Purity, and Restoration (1997), Mark (2001), The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew–Luke (2003), Jesus and the Ossuaries (2003), Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies (2005), Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels (2006), with N.T. Wright, Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (2009), and The World of Jesus: The Archaeological Evidence (2012).

Professor Evans has also authored more than three hundred articles and reviews. He served as senior editor of the Bulletin for Biblical Research (1995–2004) and the Dictionary of New Testament Background (2000), winner of a Gold Medallion. Currently Evans is serving on the editorial boards of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus and the Library of New Testament Studies. At the spring 2006 commencement the Alumni Association of Acadia University honoured Professor Evans with the Excellence in Research Award.

Professor Evans has given lectures at Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Oxford, Yale, and other universities, colleges, seminaries, and museums, such as the Field Museum in Chicago and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. He also regularly lectures and gives talks at popular conferences and retreats on the Bible and Archaeology, including the Biblical Archaeology Society summer sessions and Seminars at Sea. He also presented a paper at the prestigious Joseph Ratzinger Foundation Symposium held in the Vatican.

Professor Evans appears regularly on television, on the History Channel, History Television, BBC, Discovery Channel, Day of Discovery, and in Dateline NBC’s 2004 specials “The Last Days of Jesus” and “Jesus the Healer,” which were watched by more than 25 million North Americans. In 2005 he appeared on Dateline NBC’s “The Mystery of Miracles” and “The Birth of Jesus,” as well as History Channel’s “The Search for John the Baptist.” Professor Evans also appeared in 2006 in National Geographic Channel’s documentary on the recently discovered Gospel of Judas and the sequel entitled “The Secret Lives of Jesus,” as well as in Dateline NBC’s “The Mystery of the Jesus Papers.” He also served as consultant for the epic television miniseries The Bible, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, which was watched by more than 100 million viewers. For fun he participates annually in archeological digs in the Middle East and volunteer-teaches at schools world-wide.

Professor Evans lives in Kentville, Nova Scotia, with his wife Ginny; they have two grown daughters and a grandson.

CraigEvans

As you can tell, Evans is certainly well-prepared and a great authority in the field. I hope you’ll be listening in with your questions ready. The show airs from 3-5 PM EST and the call-in number is 714-242-5180. The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters