Article

Material Evidence (1): Archaeology

Mark Humphries

in The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199271566
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199271566.003.0005

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Material Evidence (1): Archaeology

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This article on material evidence for early Christianity begins with examples of the intersection of archaeology, pseudo-archaeology, and media attention. Such instances demonstrate that the study of the early Christian material record frequently excites extraordinary emotions. While such concerns will be attached particularly to discoveries associated with the period of the New Testament, the study of early Christian archaeology as a whole has often been held in tension between what might be termed ‘dogmatic concerns’ and ‘scientific archaeology’. While the discussion surveys the range of archaeological evidence for early Christianity and the potential avenues of inquiry that it opens up for modern scholars, it also offers a critical summary of how the study of early Christian archaeology has developed, and how interpretations have often been driven by interests extraneous to the evidence itself.

Keywords: early Christianity; archaeology; scientific archaeology; New Testament; Christian archaeology

Article.  7700 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religion in the Ancient World

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