Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Posts tagged “Galilee

1555-1557 Craig Evans – Jesus & the Remains of His Day

Icon of Jesus from the church at Tabgha, along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Icon of Jesus from the church at Tabgha, along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Biblical Archaeology covers thousands of years of Old Testament history. It also includes three years of the public ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Professor Craig Evans of Houston Baptist University has a new book, Jesus and the Remains of His Day, that focuses on some of the most important archaeological discoveries that tell us about Jesus, his ministry, and the world he lived in.

Jesus’ ministry was centered around the Sea of Galilee and today cities along the seashore are being excavated, including Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene. But there’s a lot more, and we discuss these discoveries in these three programs.

UPDATE: This week’s Biblical Archaeology news is about the 12th cave discovery near Qumran. Up to now there’s only been 11 caves in which Dead Sea Scroll materials were found. Archaeologists have now identified one more. This week’s guest, Craig Evans, has an article on the Logos Academic blog, and also an article on the Fox News Opinion website. There’s always something new happening in Biblical Archaeology.


1536-1537 Jodi Magness – Huqoq Synagogue Mosaics 2016

jodiJodi Magness, a prolific archaeologist, author, and Book & The Spade guest (on a half dozen times already) has turned up some of the most beautiful mosaics ever found in Israel. Every summer for the past four years there have been stories about the mosaics, and so we figured it was time to talk with her and get an update.

The critical issue she’s investigating is the dating of early synagogues, and so far what she’s found backs her premise that many of these synagogues were built several centuries later than scholars thought, during the Byzantine era, which means Judaism was still thriving when Christians were in charge.


1503 Clyde Billington – Galilee Mosaics and Nero’s House

HORVAT KUR 2015-KRP-Mosaic-200

Menorah depicted in the Horvat Kur mosaic.

Continuing coverage of archaeology news reported in the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine. We wrap up our review by discussing the excavation of an unusual mosaic in a Byzantine synagogue overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and the ongoing discovery and protection of the house built in Rome by the emperor Nero.


1483-1484 Gary Burge – A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion

A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion book cover This is another fictional account of life in the first century, the time of Jesus, by a New Testament scholar. In order to make biblical research accessible to the average person, books like this engage the imagination and take us back to the same period that we read about in the gospels.

It’s a short book, packed with a lot of biblical information in a very accessible format. I enjoyed reading it and I enjoyed my conversation with Gary Burge, giving the background of the project and some of the perspectives that he included in the book.

About three years ago we interviewed Ben Witherington about his book, A Week in the Life of Corinth.

We are giving away our review copy of this book. If you would like the opportunity to receive this book, you can get details by listening to program #1484.


1452 Father Eamon Kelly – Mary Magdalene and Magdala, part 3

Father Eamon Kelly

Father Eamon Kelly LC

The excavations at Magdala began as a salvage excavation, as a Catholic order began plans to build a retreat center along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Father Eamon Kelly, the assistant director of the Magdala Center, says that they prayed that there would be no archaeology found, or if there was, that it would be something good like a Byzantine church. What was actually found exceeded everyone’s expectations, the intact ruins of a first century city from the time of Jesus.


1450-1451 Steven Notley – Mary Magdalene and Magdala

Steven Notley

Steven Notley

Barely covered by a thin layer of soil, the first century city of Magdala is being excavated along the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. What does this excavation have to do with Magdala’s most famous resident, Mary Magdalene, the follower of Jesus who was the first to see him after his resurrection? We explore these issues with Steven Notley, the director of Nyack College’s Graduate Program in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins.


1367 Prof. Keith Schoville – Magdala and Myra, Pompeii Cities

Magdala altar table

Magdala altar table

Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene on the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee, and Myra, the home of St. Nicholas on the southern coast of Turkey, and both the scene of recent archeology where archaeologists are recovering ancient city features without intervening layers of later remains.

In Magdala archaeologists have recovered the remains of a first century synagogue that some speculate could have been used by the followers of Jesus. There was excavated a beautifully carved stone altar table featuring a menorah but , alas, no Christian symbols. So, sadly, it’s just speculation at this point. At Myra, archaeologists are digging through 18 feet of sediment to recover the city visited by Paul, and where he changed ships, during his visit to Rome.