Introduction to Archaeology and the New Testament (Mandarin Language)

Posted in: AIAR
Tags: AIAR, Archaeology, ASOR, China, Christianity, Dead Sea, history, Jerusalem, Mandarin, New Testament
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

By: Wenhua Shi, Independent Researcher
2012 – 2013 Noble Group Fellow
W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research

Wenhua Shi

There are currently few resources available in the Mandarin language for the study of the archaeology of Israel/Palestine as it relates to the study of nascent Christianity. The demand for such resources in China is growing and as the study of early Christian literature expands so too does the need.  My project offers resources for the study of material culture, archaeology, topography, and geography as they relate to contextualizing the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The first stage of this research project has been to develop digital materials in Chinese (maps, diagrams, and images). The second stage offers introductory material that provides a basic intellectual foundation for Chinese academics to access archaeology. The project has in view scholars who specialize in the historical and literary context of New Testament literature.

My research at the Albright Institute has focused on gathering materials for three main chapters: the Galilee, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea region. Because of the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for understanding the broader religious and intellectual environment of the Jesus movement, early on in my fellowship I completed a chapter on this topic, which is already forthcoming with a Chinese publisher as an excursus in a monograph I recently completed on the Apostle Paul.

The Galilee and Jerusalem clearly are central to the study of Christian origins. My introduction to the Galilee focuses especially on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee and seeks to offer a commentary on the social characteristics of the region. The recent excavations at Magdala feature in this section and I have been able to suggest how this site contributes to our ongoing discussions about the economy, culture and politics of the area.

My research period at the Albright Institute has been invaluable. The result, I hope, will begin to contribute to my two main objectives:

1)    Studying early Christian texts in their context. There has been a growing interest in biblical studies among Chinese scholars in the last few decades. There are currently no less than thirty universities, and a considerable number of social science academies throughout China which have different forms of biblical studies in their curricula. Many Chinese scholars are only engaged with “biblical” literature in a comparative context and take little interest in its formation. My work aims to promote archaeology as it relates to historical and critical approaches to reading ancient literature.

2)    Dissemination of information. Resources for the study of archaeology in ancient Palestine are limited in China, and those available are dated. Not only will my project result in a book that is accessible to specialists and non-specialists alike, but I also aim to disseminate knowledge through public lectures and online resources. In the future, I hope to develop a website in Mandarin that will be able to take into account ongoing excavations and their significance.

Without the Noble Group Fellowship and the support of the Albright Institute this research would not have been possible. I am grateful to the Noble Group and Professor Seymour Gitin for their vision for Chinese scholarship and for building bridges between the Near and Far East.

Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel ASORtv! Just click the subscribe button below!



All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any link on this blog. ASOR will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information. ASOR will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. The opinions expressed by Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of ASOR or any employee thereof.




Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

There are no comments published yet.

Leave a Comment

Sign in to view all ASOR Blog content!
If you have not set up a username and password for the ASOR Blog, please close this box by clicking anywhere on the screen then go to the Friends of ASOR option in the menu above. If you have forgotten your password, please click the Forgot Login Password option in the above menu.