Ever since the gospels were written there have been questions about the momentous events that occurred during the final days of Jesus. Renowned archaeologist Shimon Gibson breaks new ground examining the critical last days of the life of Jesus using his extraordinary access to firsthand archaeological findings as principal evidence. Gibson explains: "The purpose of this book is to unravel once and for all the mystery surrounding the final days of Jesus in Jerusalem: why he went there; how he came to be arrested, tried, and crucified; and where his place of burial was located. There is no doubt that some of my conclusions regarding Jesus and Jerusalem may be controversial."
Describing the events of the final days of Jesus chronologically, beginning with his entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey and ending with his burial in a tomb after having been crucified, Gibson unveils a vivid picture of first-century Jerusalem; its monuments, streets, and houses; and, of course, the Jewish Temple that was the jewel in the crown of the city. The Jesus that emerges in these pages is a teacher and healer who captures the fascination of the crowds. As a man from an accomplished and well-off rural background, trained in matters of ritual purification by John the Baptist, and as a believer in alternative healing methods, Jesus's speeches and teachings—made in the tinder-box atmosphere of Passover festivities in Jerusalem—scared the Jewish and Roman authorities to such a degree that they decided to have him put to death. Gibson reveals how archaeology has a major role to play not only in how the gospels should be read and understood, but also in understanding Jesus in hisworld.
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About the Author
Shimon Gibson is a senior associate fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and an adjunct professor of archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. During the past thirty years he has conducted numerous excavations and field surveys in different parts of Israel. He was the head of the research and scientific reports department of the Israel Antiquities Authority from 1995 to 1999.
Table of Contents
1 The Road to Jerusalem 1
2 Raising a Dead Man 17
3 Festivities at the House of God 37
4 Signs and Wonders at Bethesda and Siloam 59
5 The Heavy Hand of the Law: A Trial 81
6 The Split in the Tree: A Crucifixion 107
7 The Burial of Jesus 127
8 Who Moved the Stone? 149
Excursus The Talpiot Tomb and the “James” Ossuary 175
List of Illustrations 235
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Writings 239
What People are Saying About This
“A well-written guide to the archaeology behind Jesus’ death and burial, written by one of Jerusalem’s finest archaeologists.”
“For over 25 years, Gibson, a distinguished archaeologist, has excavated in and near Jerusalem’s walls. The book, directed to a wide audience, is rigorously scientific, and frequently brilliant. It is a must read for all Jews and Christians who are curious about Jesus and his final fateful week in Jerusalem.”
“Gibson’s book punctures fourth century mythology with first century evidence drawn from intimate knowledge of the great city of Jerusalem. Gibson’s background in landscape archaeology and his analyses of the physical evidence...combine to provide a provocative series of observations and insights.”
“Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist with many years of experience working in Israel, presents an up-to-date and credible description of discoveries relating to Jesus’ last days. Gibson synthesizes evidence from archaeology and the New Testament to craft a clear and enjoyable account.”
“An expert archaeologist’s valuable insights on the final days of Jesus.”