James Tabor

James Tabor
Dr. 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. Since earning his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1981, Tabor has combined his work on ancient texts with extensive field work in archaeology in Israel and Jordan, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, Masada, Wadi el-Yabis in Jordan. Over the past decade he has teamed up with with Shimon Gibson to excavate the “John the Baptist” cave at Suba, the “Tomb of the Shroud” discovered in 2000, and ongoing work at Mt Zion. Most recently, Tabor, along with Rami Arav, have been involved in the re-exploration of two tombs in East Talpiot; the controversial “Jesus tomb” and a related tomb less than 200 feet away that has ossuary inscriptions Tabor and Arav interpret as Judaeo-Christian. Among his publications are Things Unutterable (1985), A Noble Death (1992) Why Waco: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (1995) and The Jesus Dynasty: A New Historical Investigation of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (Simon & Schuster, 2006). His most recent book, co-authored with Simcha Jacobovici, is The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find that Reveals the Birth of Christianity (Simon & Schuster, 2012). His latest book, Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity (Simon & Schuster), was published in November, 2012. You can find links to all of Dr. Tabor’s web pages, books, and projects at jamestabor.com.

Presenter at

  • Bible & Archaeology Fest XVI, November 22-24, 2013
    Was Paul the Jew the Founder of Christianity?
    Paul has been loved and hated through the ages. Some see him as a faithful Jew until the end of his life, though one who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah, whereas others have charged he abandoned his Jewish faith and was the founder of the new religion of Christianity. What can we learn from Paul’s seven authentic letters themselves when they are considered separately from later theological issues and controversies? Should Paul be seen as the unacknowledged founder of Christianity?
  • Bible & Archaeology Fest XV, November 16-18, 2012
    Is There Reliable Archaeological Evidence Related to the Earliest Followers of Jesus?
    The recent events surrounding the James ossuary controversy as well as the new discoveries of a four-line Greek inscription and an image that is arguably one of “Jonah and the big fish,” in an ancient sealed tomb in Jerusalem have sparked renewed consideration of the question of whether Jesus’ earliest Jewish followers left behind any distinctive archaeological remains. This paper will consider this century-old discussion, represented by scholars like Sukenik, Bagatti, Figueras, Rahmani, Taylor, and Gibson, and assess the state of the question today.
  • Bible & Archaeology Fest XIV, November 18-20, 2011
    Reassessing the Talpiot “Jesus” Tomb: What’s the Latest?
    Since the public controversy over the Talpiot “Jesus” family tomb broke in early 2007, much has been happening behind the scenes. This includes a major conference in Jerusalem in 2008, which was sponsored by James Charlesworth of Princeton Theological Seminary. The papers from this conference document additional research and test, as well as newly emerging archaeological evidence—especially as related to a second tomb less than 200 feet away from the “Jesus” tomb. This presentation by James D. Tabor, (who, along with Rami Arav, holds the Israeli Antiquities Authority license to excavate both tombs), brings things up to date. What do we know for certain about the Talpiot tombs, and how do we separate speculation from solid evidence?
  • Bible & Archaeology Fest XIII, November 19-21, 2010
    Was There an Essene Quarter and a “Church of the Apostles” on Mt. Zion in the time of Jesus? What We Know Now in 2010
    The late Father Bargil Pixner’s well known proposals regarding the location of the “Essene Gate,” an Essene Quarter, and the “Church of the Apostles” on Mt Zion have received a measure of acceptance in the popular press, various guide books, and on maps (including the Oxford Bible Atlas), as well as two BAR cover stories (May/June 1990; May/June 1997). This lecture offers an updated evaluation of Pixner’s theory as a whole, particularly as related to an “Essene Quarter” on Mt Zion in Herodian Jerusalem in the light of recent Mt Zion excavations and textual studies.
  • Bible & Archaeology Fest XII, November 20-22, 2009
    Media Hype, Academic Squabbles and the James Ossuary: Getting the Facts Straight
    This lecture attempts to sort through the major issues related to the “James Ossuary.” It will examine the variety of media treatments and academic responses, and clarify what we know and what remains uncertain or undetermined.

James Tabor Online

Tabor Blog
Website of James Tabor

Selected Articles by James Tabor


BAS Learning Resources Featuring James Tabor

Biblical Controversies and Enigmas (DVD)
Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament (DVD Lectures)
Sifting History (DVD Lectures)
Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down (DVD)
Lost Christianities (3-Part DVD Set)
Just Dug Up: The Latest Finds from Biblical Israel and the Deep (DVD Lectures)
A Jesus Hideout in Jordan? Mapping Ancient Textual Traditions
The World of the New Testament (DVD Lectures)
Illuminating the Word: New Insights into Biblical Texts (DVD Lectures)

Selected Books by James Tabor