Why I Recommend Jodi Magness on “Jesus Archaeology”

Reduced Price until Sunday Midnight February 25th!

Some of you might have seen that Bart Ehrman is promoting a new course with archaeologist Jodi Magness. The two of them are faculty together at UNC Chapel Hill. I have never enrolled in one of Bart’s courses before, though I have often posted as a guest on his blog and we are in touch quite often as colleagues. But when I saw that Jodi was doing this I was quite intrigued and drawn in, especially with her announced fourth lecture. I signed up for the course yesterday!

Here is the description  of one of the four lectures that caught my eye in particular:

Lecture 4: The Deaths and Burials of Jesus and James.

In 2002, an ossuary inscribed “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus” surfaced in the hands of a private collector. A few years later, a Discovery Channel documentary and related book claimed that the tomb of Jesus and his family has been found in Jerusalem. In this lecture, we examine the validity of these sensational claims in light of archaeological and historical evidence for ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem, including the burials of Jesus and his brother James.

Since I first began to do research and field work on both the James ossuary and the two Talpiot tombs, Jodi has countered most of my conclusions with energy and enthusiasm. We remain friends and colleagues and can disagree respectfully–and respectively.

And she is also going to talk about the archaeology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus in Galilee, and Jesus in Jerusalem! That pretty well hits the mark on some of the main areas I work in. No doubt we agree on much, but we have just as many differences.

Jodi is an archaeologist, one of the best. I am merely a humble textual historian, although I have “done” archaeology for the past 30 years, held Israel Antiquities Authority licenses, and taken hundreds of students to our digs (Sepphoris, Magdala, Qumran, and Jerusalem).

Because of this unique opportunity to hear from an expert such as Jodi Magness on these important historical and archaeological investigations, I wanted to urge you all to take a look at this upcoming course. It will be presented live on March 2 and 3rd but you can watch it anytime after signing up.  By purchasing the course you will own it for life and can study and review at your own pace when presented or anytime after. You can take a look at the course, with no obligation, at this unique link:


I wrote Bart this morning and told him I was going to recommend the course–and his web people helped me create my own link, since I am recommending the course to my blog readers, and I wanted to be able to get an idea of how many of you sign up thorough my recommendation.

Once I hear what Jodi Magness has to say I will be addressing our similarities and differences in a series of blog posts and Youtube videos–so those of you who take her course will find it most interesting to compare our views. So why would I be recommend that you take in a course from a scholar who disagrees with me on a topic I have devoted a decade of research to? All the more reason as I see things. Jodi is one of the best and I consider these kinds of academic exchanges to be the best way to advance scholarship on a professional academic level!

All best,


P.S. Two final fun facts. March 2nd is my birthday–the day the course goes live. Jodi has a place in Jerusalem very near the Talpiot tombs. Oh, I think there is a discount if you sign up before February 25th midnight, so check out the link above.

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