Reviewed by Rochelle Nolan, Uniting Church Foundation manager.
There is much archaeology can contribute to our understanding of people, places and events – and Shimon Gibson demonstrates it can also inform our understanding of the final days of Jesus.
Mr Gibson, a senior associate fellow at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, uses a conversational tone which encourages readers to piece together a broader puzzle of the Passion Week.
By using cultural context to frame geographical evidence and interpret Scripture references, Gibson asks questions which lead to new possibilities, including:
* Jesus’ intention in coming to Jerusalem during Passover week
* The actual site of Jesus’ trial at the hands of Pilate
* The location of the execution and burial place of Jesus
The case Mr Gibson puts forward is both considered and controversial.
The book includes maps of Jerusalem and photographs of places of interest, including the Temple Mount, traditional rock-cut tombs and the Siloam pool. All are helpful in constructing an image for the reader of Jerusalem as it was in first century.
Whether you choose to adopt the assertions or not, The Final Days of Jesus is a fascinating look into the geography and context of the year 30 CE.
Combined with a sound understanding of the culture and customs of the time, the archaeological findings relevant to biblical locations such as the room of the Last Supper, the Praetorium, the Holy Temple and Golgotha will enrich – and possibly reframe – the way you interpret the events which led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.