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Religious Heritage Lecture at McPherson College Features Palestinian Archaeology Expert

posted Feb 21, 2013 in CAMPUS EVENTS

What’s under the ground in Israel speaks clearly without words.

Dr. Jonathan Reed has discovered this in his work investigating the life, times and teachings of Jesus with a shovel and trowel as much as with a Bible and commentaries.

“The more I've come to understand the world of Jesus through archaeology,” Dr. Reed said. “The more provocative the words of Jesus are.”

Dr. Reed will be the guest for McPherson College’s Religious Heritage Lecture, now in its 25th year. The lecture starts at 4 p.m. March 3 at the McPherson Church of the Brethren with Dr. Reed speaking on the topic of: “Death, Disease, and Demographics in Jesus’ Galilee - A New Look at the First Christians.” The lecture will be enhanced with slides illustrating the information.

He is currently professor of religion and dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of La Verne in California and has a career spanning two decades at La Verne and is a leading expert on first-century Palestinian archaeology.

His work in the field includes 13 years in supervisor roles at various excavations in Israel. That work has helped inform his five books on the first century, with a focus on topics related to early Christianity – including “Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus” and “Excavating Jesus.” The latter takes on a major archaeological or textual discovery in each chapter and how those discoveries help illuminate the life and teachings of Jesus.

"You have to understand the history and society of first-century Galilee before you can get right a theology for the 21st century,” Dr. Reed said.

He has been a guest on Discovery and History channel specials, CNN, Good Morning America and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.” He was also the senior historical consultant for National Geographic Channel’s “Science of the Bible” series.

The lecture is free and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The religious heritage lectureship was established at McPherson College through the generosity of unnamed contributors. This endowed lecture series was founded to provide opportunity for presentation, analysis, and discussion of important issues within the Christian traditions represented by the faculty, staff, and students at McPherson College. It was the intention of the contributors that this endowment should annually bring speakers of note to the McPherson College campus to address contemporary issues from diverse Christian perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the Church of the Brethren. It was also intended that this series impact persons beyond the immediate McPherson College Community.

In June 1998, Dr. Waldo Newberg established the Nelson Memorial Chair of Christian Education. The chair was established to honor John Emil Nelson and Olive Octavia Nelson, in gratitude for their contributions to Dr. Newberg’s life. The gifts of the initial anonymous donors and the earnings from the Nelson Chair fund the lectureship.

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