Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsCulver City

Facts on Life of Jesus Are Elusive, but Debate Remains Useful

March 26, 1994

Your article on the Jesus Seminar ("Claims About 2 'Unofficial' Gospels Stir Controversy," Feb. 26) certainly elicited some virulent responses. As a professional archeologist specializing in the ancient Near East and especially Israel for almost 30 years, I would like to respond.

We can never know what actually happened. We have data from the Gospels, which do not always agree. We have other documents which were not accepted into the canon and were eliminated when the founders of Christianity were putting the New Testament together. Scholars have been studying these other sources for many years and they teach us much about the life and times of Jesus.

No archeological find has as yet proven any event in the life of Jesus, or for that matter Moses, or David, as much as we would like it. Archeology does, however, "put clothes" on them by showing us the material context of their lives, the events described in the Scriptures. It also enables us, sometimes, to connect events in the Bible with something happening elsewhere, so that we can put it into a particular time frame.

Why are people so afraid of having their views challenged? They would do better to use the opportunity to study their own view and either change them or reinforce them. These are exciting times for the study of biblical history, and we should be taking advantage of opportunities to put science and scholarship to work to our benefit.

JAY A. BISNO

Culver City

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|