Craig A. Evans earned his Ph.D. in Biblical studies at Claremont Graduate University and is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is author and editor of more than fifty books, many on Jesus and the Gospels. Professor Evans has given lectures at Cambridge, Durham, Oxford, Yale, and other universities, colleges, seminaries and museums, including 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 subjects of the Bible and Archaeology, as well as Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Evans has appeared several times on the television programs “Faith and Reason” and the “Day of Discovery.” He has appeared in History Channel, BBC, and Dateline NBC documentaries. Dr. Evans and his wife Ginny live in Kentville, located in the historic Annapolis Valley, and have two grown daughters and a grandson.
Seminar at Sea, January 25 – February 1, 2014
The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Literacy
The nature and extent of ancient literacy are discovered not simply through the survival of manuscripts, but also through inscriptions, graffiti, and artwork. Graffiti can tell us a lot about who could read and write, what interested people in late antiquity and how they understood the world. Graffiti can be humorous, colorful, and vulgar. Artwork tells us about writing techniques and how literacy was viewed in the ancient world. The evidence as a whole suggests that literacy rates in late antiquity were higher than previously thought.
The Oldest Biblical Manuscripts as Art and Artifacts
Just how old are our oldest Biblical manuscripts? How were they constructed and composed? What do they tell us about the skill and competence of the scribes who penned them? Besides preserving text, what else do the old manuscripts preserve and what do they tell us? You will be surprised how much we can learn from the physical characteristics of an old scroll or codex.
Archaeology and the Gospels Outside the New Testament
Besides the four Gospels of the New Testament there are over thirty Gospels and Gospel-like writings. Several date to the first century and some scholars think a few of them contain authentic first-century traditions about what Jesus said and did. Some of these claims lie behind controversial theories that suggest Jesus was very different from his New Testament portraits. Study of the manuscripts and related archaeology sheds light on this debate.
Jesus, Cynics, and the Archaeology of Galilee
For a number of years a handful of scholars have suggested that Jesus is best compared to the Cynics of late antiquity, or as one writer put it, the “hippies of the Augustan age.” Was Jesus a Cynic? Were there Cynics in the city of Sepphoris, just a few miles from Nazareth? We will consider this controversial proposal in light of archaeological evidence.
Jesus and the Exorcists of Antiquity
Jesus was well known as an effective healer and exorcist. Where there other healers and exorcists in his time? What were their practices? What were their secrets? Were Christians the only ones who called upon the name of Jesus for healing and help? You will be surprised at what the evidence demonstrates.
The Art of Crucifixion
Crucifixion was a gruesome form of execution, whose purpose was to terrify and deter. Not everyone agrees with respect to the configuration of the cross. Is there early evidence for the traditional shape of the cross? How far back does our earliest art go that depicts Jesus on the cross? Do we have archaeological evidence of crucifixion?
Jewish Burial Traditions and Jesus
Was Jesus buried, as the New Testament Gospels say he was, or was he left hanging on the cross for days, until picked apart by animals? Or was his body cast into a ditch and eaten by dogs? Is the story of the burial of Jesus in a known tomb a fiction? Archaeology and early historical sources shed helpful light on these important questions. Jewish burial traditions and laws are vital for an intelligent understanding of the Gospel narratives.
Special Report: During the course of the program, Dr. Evans will report on his recent visit to the Vatican and his dinner with the Pope.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XVI, November 22 – 24, 2013
The Archaeology of Crucifixion: Nailing Down the Evidence
Many have heard of crucifixion victim Yehohanan, whose right heel, pierced by an 11.5 cm iron nail, was recovered from an ossuary discovered in Jerusalem in 1968. What is not nearly as well known is the fact that a great many iron nails, or spikes, have been recovered from several tombs and ossuaries in and around Jerusalem. Some of these nails have calcium and human bone material clinging to them, raising the possibility that they were used in crucifixion. Of great interest is the recent re-assessment of the nails and skeletal materials recovered from the so-called Abba Cave in Jerusalem, in which the remains of Antigonus, the last Hasmonean ruler (d. 37 BCE), may have been found.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XIII, November 19 – 21, 2010
The Art and Archaeology of Execution in the Roman World
The discovery of the skeleton of a crucified man in an ossuary, probably dating to the administration of Pontius Pilate, governor of Samarian and Judea, contributed to our knowledge of crucifixion in Israel in the time of Jesus. There are several other important archaeological discoveries, including examples of ancient art, that shed light on crucifixion and other forms of execution in the Roman Empire that in various ways help us better understand the crucifixion and probable burial of Jesus.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XII, November 20 – 22, 2009
Jesus and the Exorcists: What We Learn From Archaeology
Manuscript and archaeological discoveries have shed light on Jesus and the exorcists of his time, including what people feared and what they hoped the exorcist could accomplish. This presentation will review these fascinating and illuminating materials, as well as a very recent and intriguing discovery that could suggest that Jesus’ fame as exorcist was early and widespread.