The account of Mary Magdalene in the Bible is only the beginning of her story, according to fictional accounts like The Davinci Code. But legend has a way of overshadowing history. In the case of Mary Magdalene, asking only if she was married to Jesus overlooks her contributions. In this interview, biographer Bruce Chilton tells the story of Jesus’ most pivotal female follower.
Category: Ancient history
Herod the Great is perhaps best known for the massacre of the innocents portrayed in the Gospel of Matthew. Interestingly, many scholars believe that Herod claimed to be a messiah, and Ehud Netzer’s discovery of King Herod’s tomb at Herodium led to additional evidence. In this interview, biblical archaeologist and Masada expert Jodi Magness expounds on her related article in the Journal of Ancient Judaism.
Robert Alter recently completed a translation of the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament work is widely respected by scholars, including some who think it’s the most accurate Bible translation in English. Alter’s attention to the literary form of Hebrew helps bridge the gap between contemporary readers and ancient writers. In this interview, he talks about his multi-decade translation of the Hebrew Bible.
The Dead Sea Scrolls provide fascinating insight into Second Temple Judaism. Curiously, the scrolls include fragments from the Book of Ezra—but there’s no actual mention of the scribe. That leads to some interesting questions. For example, was Ezra a real person? And, if he was, why don’t the Dead Sea Scrolls mention him? In this interview, biblical scholar Charlotte Hempel explains the most popular theories.
Jesus Christ stressed the importance of Isaiah’s writings when He appeared in the Americas after His resurrection. As recorded in 3 Nephi, the Savior said: “A commandment I give unto you, that ye ought to search these things . . . for great are the words of Isaiah.” In this interview, Ann Madsen explains how Isaiah has helped her become a better disciple, and discusses his teachings about Jehovah and the temple.
The prophet Brigham Young spent two years studying the Book of Mormon before he accepted it as the word of God. He said that he “wished time sufficient to prove all things for myself.” Today, scholars seek historical confirmation of the scripture’s origins to complement their own divine witnesses. In this interview, Stephen D. Ricks discusses evidence that names in the Book of Mormon have ancient origins.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered 75 years ago in a series of caves near the ancient settlement of Masada in the Judean Desert. The manuscripts include the influential Book of Enoch and Book of Isaiah, and have even inspired modern forgeries. Scholars continue to debate related mysteries, such as who wrote the scrolls. In this interview, Jean-Pierre Isbouts discusses his National Geographic special feature, The Dead Sea Scrolls: 75 Years Since Their Historic Discovery.