Some years ago in working on the narrative materials in the gospel of John, I ended up flying to Amman, Jordan to look at a specific site that I thought might be referenced in the last verse of John 10:
John 10:40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him; and they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
At the recent 2023 International Symposium on the Bible and Archaeology VIII in Albuquerque, NM, I gave a lecture on this topic, not recorded, but here I re-present it via Youtube for all of you. I gave three lectures, each discussing the method that historians and archaeologists use in accessing the juxtaposition of using “texts” and “sites.” In other words, how does textual evidence (e.g. Gospels, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.) complement material archaeological data (e.g. Jerusalem, Qumran, etc) and vis-a-versa.
Here is the “chance” discovery I made some years ago. Keep in mind I am not arguing that the things in the gospels regarding Jesus’ itinerary and specific movements or contexts are necessarily “historical,” but rather whether the accounts we have fit into real places, sites, and geo-political contexts. It is that potential “fit” that often yield some very enlightening results. So, for example, if we ask–where was Pilate’s judgment seat in Jerusalem when he condemned Jesus to death, or where was the site of the crucifixion, or what was Herod’s Temple like–and a host of related questions–we have to work out sound methods of combining these variant strands of evidence.
Here is a free download of an academic paper I presented at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting some years ago with fuller documentation: “Wadi el-Yabis and the Elijah ‘Wadi Cherith’ Traditions in Relationship to John and Jesus in the Gospel of John.“