For our Summer 2023 courses, click HERE! For our Fall 2023 courses, click HERE!
Mark your calendars for this exciting event on October 19, 2023 at 8pm! Professor Joseph Lam will deliver a lecture on Zoom entitled “Beyond Genesis: The Many Creation Stories of the Bible,” to benefit the Miller Fund for Graduate Students. No gift required to attend. REGISTER HERE. We hope to see you there!News & Events on September 20, 2023
Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, recently appeared on an episode of Biblical Time Machine. This podcast series travels “back in time (metaphorically… it’s a podcast) to explore the real history of the people, places and events of the Old Testament, New Testament and everything in between.” In this episode, available on Apple Podcasts, Professor Magness engages in a frank and sometimes graphic discussion of what daily life REALLY would have been like in 1st-century Judaea: just nasty!
To listen to this fascinating history, CLICK HERE!Posted in News & Events on September 18, 2023
Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, recently appeared on an episode of PAULOGIA. With more than 24 million views, this YouTube channel “takes a look at the claims of Christians, wherever science is being denied in the name of ancient books.” In the episode below, Professor Magness is depicted as a cartoon and discusses the archeological evidence for the existence of Jesus while engaging with statements made by two scholars from BIOLA University. Click below to watch this creative and fascinating video!
Posted in News & Events on September 5, 2023
Jodi Magness, UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of religious studies, was recently featured on CBS17 news. During the newscast, Professor Magness discussed her ongoing excavation at Huqoq, an ancient synagogue in Galilee. CBS17’s Russ Bowen reports…
GALILEE, Israel (WNCN) — Buried in the earth for centuries and revealed slowly and methodically are the remains of a synagogue at Huqoq — an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s lower Galilee.
“I feel both lucky and very privileged because you know, my team and I are looking at mosaics and other things actually that have not been known of or visible to anybody, for hundreds and hundreds of years,” said Jodi Magness, UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of religious studies.
“I started excavations there with the hopes of clarifying the nature of the fate of Jewish settlement in this part of Galilee against the background of the rise and spread of Christianity,” she added.
Magness said the journey also began with the hopes of excavating a kind of a synagogue building called the Galilean Type Synagogue.
That, she said, is “basically a very large basilica, kind of a rectangular building with columns inside to support the ceiling. That is best represented by the synagogue at Capernaum, which is just a couple of miles away from us.”
Magness and her team have discovered a well-preserved mosaic panel that decorates the floor just inside the main entrance. Included are what’s believed to be the names of artists or donors.
“It is actually not unusual to have donor inscriptions at the entrance to ancient synagogues when you have mosaic floors. So, I like to say that some things in Judaism haven’t changed in the last 1,600 years, because if you go into a synagogue today and I’m sure churches as well, for example, the first thing that you see is the list of the donors,” Magness said.
But that’s only part of what they’ve unveiled…
To read more of CBS17’s story and to see a clip from the newscast, CLICK HERE!Posted in News & Events on July 14, 2023
Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, recently appeared on an episode of Sparks of History. Generally, this podcast focuses on the intersection between Jewish and world history, and features a wide range of insightful, informative and entertaining video interviews and podcasts with renown authors, historians and rabbis. For more information, click here!
Click here, to watch the entire interview and learn from Professor Magness about Masada, the famous site and story of the last stand of a group of Jewish rebels who held out against the Roman Empire. To read her book Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth, click here.News & Events on May 24, 2023
Congratulations to Religious Studies professor Hugo Mendez on the publication of The Cult of Saint Stephen in Jerusalem: Inventing a Patron Martyr (Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2023)!
As the site of only a small and obscure Christian population between 135 and 313 CE, Jerusalem witnessed few instances of anti-Christian persecution. This fact became a source of embarrassment to the city in late antiquity―a period when martyr traditions, relics, and shrines were closely intertwined with local prestige. At that time, the city had every incentive to stretch the fame of its few, apostolic martyrs as far as possible-especially the fame of the biblical St. Stephen, the figure traditionally regarded as the first Christian martyr (Acts 6-8). What the church lacked in the quantity of its martyrs, it believed it could compensate for in an exclusive, local claim to the figure widely hailed as the “Protomartyr”, “firstborn of the martyrs”, and “chief of confessors” in contemporary sources.
This book traces the rise of the cult of Stephen in Jerusalem, exploring such historical episodes as the fabrication of his relics, the construction of a grand basilica in his honour, and the multiplication of the saint’s feast days. It argues that local church authorities promoted devotion to Stephen in the fifth century in a conscious attempt to position him as a patron saint for Jerusalem―that is, a symbolic embodiment of the city’s Christian identity and power.
Posted in News & Events on April 13, 2023
Join us in congratulating Religious Studies professor Waleed Ziad. His book entitled Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints Beyond the Oxus and Indus (Harvard, 2021) has been shortlisted for the British Association for South Asian Studies book prize!
Hidden Caliphate (winner of the Albert Hourani Award from the Middle East Studies Association and shortlisted for the Bloomsbury Pakistan book award) examines the development across Asia of Muslim revivalist networks from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.
For more information CLICK HERE!
Posted in News & Events on April 13, 2023
Religious studies Ph.D. student Jocelyn Burney relishes the public humanities aspect of her graduate work — from contextualizing a pottery exhibit in Carolina Hall to teaching the Hebrew Bible at a Raleigh women’s prison to supervising the work of undergraduate students at an archaeological dig in Israel.
Jocelyn Burney is used to getting up early. Really early. For the last 10 years, her summer mornings have begun promptly at 4 a.m. as an area supervisor for an archaeological dig at Huqoq in Israel’s Lower Galilee.
Burney is a Ph.D. student in religious studies who got hooked on archaeology as a 19-year-old undergraduate at Carolina when Kenan Distinguished Professor Jodi Magness first took students to Huqoq. (Magness is now her dissertation adviser.)
After traveling to the site and setting up shade tents, work begins around 5 a.m. to avoid the blistering heat. There’s a morning respite for breakfast at 8 a.m., then another fruit/hydration break affectionally called “elevensies” at 11 a.m. Burney supervises a group of students — teaching them, taking photographs, helping to document the excavation — as the team continues to unearth nearly 1,600-year-old mosaics in an ancient Jewish synagogue. It’s intense, physical work that wraps up around noon each day. Afternoons for students involve lectures and lab work — washing and cleaning pottery — while Burney spends the time writing up reports of the day…
To read more of this article CLICK HERE!Posted in News & Events on April 12, 2023