University of North Carolina at Chapel HillJodi-Magness-headshot-2500 pix

Jodi Magness holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism (since 2002).  She is an archaeologist and the First Vice-President of the Archaeological Institute of America. She has published 10 books, including The Archaeology of the Holy Land, and dozens of articles.

From 1992-2002, Professor Magness was Associate/Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in the Departments of Classics and Art History at Tufts University, Medford, MA.  Professor Magness received her B.A. in Archaeology and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1977), and her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania (1989).  From 1990–92, Professor Magness was Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology at the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University.

Professor Magness specializes in the archaeology of ancient Palestine (modern Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories) in the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods. Her research interests include Jerusalem, Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient synagogues, Masada, the Roman army in the East, and ancient pottery.

Lectures:

  • Samson in Stone: New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee

    Since 2011, Professor Jodi Magness has been directing excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.  The excavations have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue building that is paved with stunning and unique mosaics, including depictions of the biblical hero Samson, and the first non-biblical story ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue.  In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness describes these exciting finds, including the discoveries made in last summer’s season. For more information visit www.huqoq.org.

  • Masada: Last Stronghold of the Jewish Resistance Against Rome

    In the first century B.C.E., Herod the Great, who ruled Judea as client king on behalf of Rome, built a fortified palace atop the mountain of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea.  Seventy years after Herod’s death, the First Jewish Revolt against Rome broke out and Jewish rebels occupied Masada.  According to the ancient historian Flavius Josephus, at the end of the revolt the Romans besieged the mountain and the Jewish rebels committed mass suicide.  In this slide-illustrated lecture, we survey the history and archaeology of Masada, including the results of excavations in the Roman siege works which Professor Jodi Magness co-directed in 1995.

  • Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James

    In 2002, an ossuary inscribed “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus” surfaced in the hands of a private collector. A few years later, a Discovery Channel documentary and related book claimed that the tomb of Jesus and his family has been found in Jerusalem. In this slide-illustrated lecture, we examine the validity of these sensational claims in light of archaeological and historical evidence for ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem, including the burials of Jesus and his brother James.

  • The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

    In 1946-1947, the first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by accident near the site of Qumran. Eventually the remains of approximately 1000 scrolls were found in 11 caves surrounding Qumran.  In this slide-illustrated lecture, we explore the archaeological remains of Qumran, which was inhabited by members of a Jewish sect who deposited the scrolls in the nearby caves, and examine the meaning and significance of the scrolls.