Saturday, December 27, 2003

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: 'Excavating Jesus': Some sites mentioned in Gospels yield clues
By Bill Broadway, The Washington Post, Saturday, December 27, 2003

"Many Christians were upset when Israeli antiquities experts recently declared a first-century inscription bearing Jesus' name a fake, seemingly depriving them of the earliest archaeological proof of Jesus' existence.

Those who take such a view misunderstand the point of biblical archaeology, said Craig Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia and an expert on ossuaries, the small burial boxes like the one on which was carved in Aramaic: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

"Archaeology isn't so much about proving the Bible," said Evans, an evangelical Christian who said he thinks the James inscription ultimately could be proved authentic. The importance of archaeology is that it "clarifies and contextualizes the story of the Bible."

What many people don't realize, Evans and other scholars said, is that archaeologists in recent years have been searching for — and finding — contextual clues to the world inhabited by Jesus and his followers..."

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