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In this exclusive collection of video lectures, renowned Biblical scholar James D. Tabor reviews some of the most exciting and controversial archaeological discoveries from Jerusalem in recent years, including his important findings from the Talpiot tombs and the Mt. Zion excavation. In his characteristically accessible and familiar style, Tabor examines questions surrounding the authenticity of the James ossuary, spells out why he believes the Talpiot tomb may have been revered as the burial place of Jesus and his family, and explores what the Mt. Zion excavations are revealing about the Jerusalem that Jesus knew.

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The James Ossuary: Getting the Facts Straight

This lecture sorts through the major scientific, historical and archaeological issues related to the “James ossuary” controversy and the ongoing debate over its authenticity. We examine the variety of media and academic responses to the first-century bone box inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” and clarify what we know about the box and its inscription, and what remains uncertain. (1 hour)


The Talpiot “Jesus” Tomb: What’s the Latest?

Since the public controversy over the Talpiot “Jesus” family tomb broke in 2007, much has happened behind the scenes. This presentation brings things up to date, examines what we know for certain about who may have been buried in the Talpiot tomb, and how new evidence is helping to separate mere speculation from solid historical and archaeological interpretation. (45 minutes)


New Archaeological Evidence of Jesus’ Earliest Followers

Recent events surrounding the “James ossuary” controversy and the discovery in the second Talpiot tomb of an image that is arguably one of “Jonah and the big fish” have sparked renewed consideration of the question of whether Jesus’ earliest followers left behind any distinctive archaeological remains. This lecture considers this century-old question and asks how the Talpiot discoveries are changing our perspective on the traditional evidence. (40 minutes)


The Search for Jerusalem’s Essene Gate and the Church of the Apostles

The late Father Bargil Pixner’s well known proposals regarding the location of Jerusalem’s Essene Gate and the Church of the Apostles on Mt. Zion have received a measure of popular acceptance, including in the pages of BAR. This lecture offers an updated evaluation of Pixner’s theory in light of recent textual studies and the findings from the ongoing Mt. Zion excavations. (50 minutes)


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About James D. Tabor

James Tabor is chair of the department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he is professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism. Tabor combines his work on ancient texts with extensive archaeological fieldwork, including work at the sites of Qumran, Sepphoris and Masada. Over the past decade, he has teamed with Shimon Gibson to excavate the “John the Baptist” cave, as well as the ongoing Mt. Zion project, located just outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. Most recently, Tabor has been involved in the re-exploration of two tombs in the Talpiot area of Jerusalem, one of which has been controversially interpreted to be the tomb of Jesus and his family. Links to Tabor’s projects and numerous books can be found on his blog,