Today John Brown University will host guest speaker David Chapman to lecture on Jesus’ crucifixion in the Roman world.
David Vila, professor of religion and philosophy at the University and director of the Abila Archeological Project, said this is a new initiative. It is part of the Jordan summer Studies Program, he explained.
Vila said both JBU donors and people outside the University have funded an endowment for the program.
Vila said the lecture is designed to tie into the Old Testament and the New Testament Survey classes. In the fall there will be a lecture pertaining to the Old Testament class and in the spring the lecture will pertain to the New Testament class.
He said the lecture is not limited to John Brown students or faculty and has been advertised all over the Northwest Arkansas community.
Vila said the first lecturer will be David Chapman, professor of New Testament archeology at Covenant Theological Seminary and former director of the project.
Vila explained Chapman has written two books on the topic.
“He is one of the leading authorities in the world on the topic he is speaking on,” Vila said.
Vila explained what he wants students to get out of the experience:
“The bigger picture is to help students understand the Bible better, but done through understanding archeology and history,” Vila said.
Jordan study students had a lot of opinions on how Biblical archeology impacted them and how they think it will impact the students.
Eric Seevers, a JBU student who has gone on the Jordan Archeology dig, said the memories really stuck with him. He said it gave him a better understanding of the views and theology of early Christians.
“It wasn’t just a textbook telling me… it was experiencing it in real life,” Seevers said.
He thinks the lecture will help students “look at it from a different perspective.”
Ariel Lyon, a junior who attended the summer Jordan studies trip, said, “It was really, really amazing to everyday be in history.”
She said she thinks students will get a “more interactive experience with history.”
Leah Guy, another Jordan studies student, said the archeology was “really real.”
Guy explained that in America we think D.C. is old, but then you go to the Middle East and realize how long everything has been there. She said it’s a very humbling experience.
Guy said, “It’s helpful to have a broader view.”
When asked how she thinks it will impact students she said it is “cool to hear from experts in the field.”
The lecture is not a one-time event, though. Since this is the first lecture, “the former board of directors of the excavation are going to come to JBU for this event and it is going to be a kickoff to this lecture series,” Vila explained.
Vila said, “It is planned to go on as long as JBU is around.”
The event will be in the Cathedral of the Ozarks at 7:30 p.m.