The Final Days of Jesus
The Final Days of Jesus
The Archaeological Evidence
HarperOne, Hardcover, 9780061458484, 272pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
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 his world.
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.
“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.”
-Jodi Magness, Professor of Early Judaism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“An expert archaeologist’s valuable insights on the final days of Jesus.”
-Geza Vermes, FBA, University of Oxford, author of JESUS THE JEW and THE PASSION
“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.”
-Herb Krosney, author of The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot
“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.”
-James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton University
“A well-written guide to the archaeology behind Jesus’ death and burial, written by one of Jerusalem’s finest archaeologists.”
-Jonathan L. Reed, author of the HarperCollins Visual Guide to the New Testament