JBU Hosts Expert on Location of Jesus’ Burial

John Brown University will host Robert Smith, Ph.D., and chair of the department of arts and sciences and professor of Bible and history at Mid-Atlantic Christian University on Thursday, March 3 in the Cathedral of the Ozarks at 7 p.m. for the third biannual Abila Lecture in Biblical Archaeology.

Smith will explore Biblical and archaeological insights gained from a decade of excavating Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine burials in the Necropolis of Abila to evaluate the validity of several proposed burial locations for Jesus of Nazareth, including the more recent and controversial South Talpiot location.

Smith is the assistant director of the Abila of the Decapolis excavation site in northern Jordan, where he has worked on the excavation since 1984. Smith has written a number of articles and presentations about early Christianity in the Middle East for societies such as the Aram Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies and the Near East Archaeological Society.

“The location and historicity of the burial and ascension of Jesus relate to fundamental truth claims of Christianity,” said David Vila, JBU professor of religion and philosophy and current director of the Abila Archaeological Project. “We are pleased to have Dr. Smith share his research on this important topic.”

The biannual Abila Lecture series emphasizes increasing understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the Bible. Each year, JBU invites two scholars to speak on the history and

archaeology of the Biblical world. The fall lecture focuses on the historical contexts of the Old Testament and the spring lecture focuses on the New Testament.

This lecture series is made possible through JBU’s Endowment for Academic Excellence, a component of the university’s $125 million Campaign for the Next Century. The endowment supports the Abila lecture series and the Abila archaeological dig in Jordan including scholarships for students to participate in the university’s month-long summer excavation trip to the site.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Visit jbu.edu/abila/lectures for more information.