Was Jesus really Jewish? Was his message unique in first-century Palestine? Was he born in Bethlehem? In the November/December 2010 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), editor Hershel Shanks gets answers to these questions and more in an exclusive interview with archaeologist and historical Jesus scholar Sean Freyne.
Freyne describes his work as a historical Jesus scholar as the quest to uncover the figure of Jesus as he is represented in the documents of Christian faith as a historical person. Yet some of the Gospels took liberties with the story to convey theological values, he says. We have to try to work with historical methods and try at the same time to recognize the literary creations. Based on this approach, Freyne recognizes a core of historical truth in the Jesus narratives but comes to some surprising conclusions about the veracity of the nativity stories in Matthew and Lukes gospels, as well as the Resurrection.
Sean Freyne is director of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, as well as emeritus professor of theology, at Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on the integration of literary and archaeological sources for understanding the social and religious world of Galilee in Hellenistic and Roman times.
Hershel Shankss full interview with Professor Freyne can be read for free on the Biblical Archaeology Societys Web site at http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=36&Issue=6&ArticleID=4