St. Olaf College 2017

Northfield, Minnesota

| with Dr. Mark Goodacre, Duke University and Dr. Robert Cargill, University of Iowa


The Biblical Archaeology Society invites you to join us this summer at our ever-popular St. Olaf program on the beautiful campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Our featured speakers are BAR’s new associate editor, Dr. Robert Cargill of the University of Iowa as well as Dr. Mark Goodacre of Duke University, one of our most popular and engaging speakers. These two dynamic presenters will be our scholars-in-residence for the week, and their 20-lecture program promises to be an exciting window into the latest research in the field of Biblical archaeology.

Join us as we host this exciting summer seminar in the beautiful and restorative setting of St. Olaf College. The campus boasts award-winning architecture nestled in a 350-acre woodland, set on a hilltop overlooking historic Northfield, Minnesota, a charming, two-college town with a welcoming community. St. Olaf College's picturesque campus is located just 35 miles south of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Northfield and offers the best of two worlds: the quiet charm of a rural community and the convenience and excitement of the nearby Twin Cities. A thriving and innovative community, Northfield is known for its historic downtown district along the scenic Cannon River. Accommodations at the college are comfortable, dormitory-style, air-conditioned rooms with two beds per room. Participants are also welcome to use other campus facilities.


To download a PDF version of the schedule, click here.


If paying by credit card, click here.

Problems with registration please call 1-800-221-4644 ext 216.

To pay off your balance, click here.

Seminar Price

Deposit (Due at time of registration): $500
Full payment based on Double Occupancy (Before or on June 16, 2017): $1,495
Lecture-only (Does not include meals or final night banquet.): $999
Single Supplement payment per person (Before or on June 16, 2017): $70


St. Olaf College

The 350-acre wooded campus is located in Northfield, Minnesota, just 35 miles south of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Northfield offers the best of two worlds: The quiet charm of a rural community and the convenience and excitement of the nearby Twin Cities. A thriving and innovative community, Northfield is known for its historic downtown district along the scenic Cannon River. Accommodations at the college are comfortable, dormitory-style, air-conditioned rooms with two beds per room in Ytterboe Hall. Participants are also welcome to use other campus facilities. For downloadable maps of the campus as well as driving directions, please go to

Optional On-Your-Own Field Trips

Thursday on the Square
On some Thursday evenings in the summer, you will find many from the community gathered at Northfield’s Bridge Square, the heart of the city, for concerts and variety shows. Most stores stay open later, so you can shop in a comfortable, unhurried atmosphere.

The Northfield Historical Society Museum
This historical museum is home to Northfield’s famous 1876 Jesse James bank raid site. The museum is unchanged and appears as it did that fateful September 9 when the James-Younger Gang attempted to rob it. In the museum’s Ted Scott Room, there are rotating exhibits on Northfield’s history, the surrounding area and the state. The museum store maintains an old-fashioned dry goods store atmosphere and offers souvenirs and books of local and regional interest. For more information, visit the Northfield Historical Society’s Web site:

The Outlaw Trail Tour
Retrace the route the James-Younger Gang took as they rode through the Northfield area in 1876. The Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau provides a self-guided tour brochure, available upon request from the Northfield Chamber of Commerce. Through the Chamber you can also reserve tour guide service for large groups. Just call them toll free: 1-800-658-2548 or visit their website

Natural Lands Walking and Hiking
St. Olaf College owns over 1000 acres of natural lands dedicated to agriculture and restoring and maintaining natural habitats. Feel free to roam the beautiful natural environment of St. Olaf College on its maintained hiking and walking trails.


The St. Olaf program fee does not include transportation to and from the event. This information is provided as a courtesy and neither company is specifically endorsed by the Biblical Archaeology Society or St. Olaf College.

For those interested in arranging transportation to and from St. Olaf College, the following transportation services are available:
Office hours are from 9am-5pm Monday thru Friday

Pickup at MSP airport Terminal 1: Saturday & Sunday Schedule: 12:2pm, 5:25pm
Pickup at St. Olaf Buntrock: 1:10pm, 6:10pm, 11:40pm

Lecture Program


Mark Goodacre's Lectures

Gospel Truth? A Historical Investigation of the Gospels
In this series of lectures, Professor Mark Goodacre of Duke University looks at the New Testament Gospels through the eyes of a historian, asking how, when and why they were written, who wrote them, and why they had so great an impact on the course of Christian origins.

Lecture 1: The Gospel before the Gospels
Before there were any written "Gospels", there was the preaching of the "gospel". But what can we know about the character of the earliest Christian preaching? What were they saying about Jesus? How much do we know?

Lecture 2: What is a Gospel?
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all proclaim the "good news" about Jesus, but what kind of books are "Gospels"? Why did they set pen to papyrus? Why are there four canonical Gospels and not many?

Lecture 3: When were the Gospels Written?
We do not possess any of the autographs of the Gospels, and working out when they were written involves some serious detective work. Were the authors of the Gospels eye-witnesses to the historical Jesus, or were their Gospels written after the fall of Jerusalem in 70?

Lecture 4: Did Mark Write the First Gospel?
The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are often remarkably similar. In fact, they are so similar that at least two of the writers must have been copying. Mark is usually thought to have been the first Gospel written; this lecture looks at the evidence that Mark wrote the first Gospel.

Lecture 5: Was there a Q?
There is an intriguing mystery: is there a lost Gospel that predates those found in the New Testament? What is the evidence for the so-called "Q"? Is this the earliest witness to the words of Jesus, or is it simply a scholarly phantom?

Lecture 6: Mark and the Messianic Secret
Jesus repeatedly commands silence in Mark's Gospel -- silence to the demons, the disciples and those he heals. Why is Mark's Jesus apparently so keen to keep his identity secret? How can we explain this Messianic Secret?

Lecture 7: Matthew's Jewish Jesus
Matthew's Gospel is arguably the most Jewish of the Gospels -- its author is immersed in the Hebrew Bible and there are frequent allusions to Jewish tradition. Yet this Jewish Gospel also frequently seems to be anti-Jewish. How can we explain this Matthean riddle?

Lecture 8: Luke and the Question of History
Luke's Gospel is written with attention to history -- there are precise chronological details and the author writes with the kind of literary sophistication that sets him apart from the other Gospel writers. But is this "historical" Gospel reporting history? How much did Luke know about the events he narrates?

Lecture 9: Why is John so different from the Synoptic Gospels?
John has always been seen as a unique Gospel, more "spiritual", more "mystical" than the other three. John's Jesus has a boldness and authority that sets him apart. Why is John so different from the Synoptics? Did the author know his predecessors' Gospels?

Lecture 10: John, Jesus, and History
John's Gospel raises the the problem of history in an acute way. Its portrait of Jesus seems removed from the eschatological prophet of the Synoptics, yet the Gospel is full of intriguing geographical and biographical details. Could John unlock a door onto the historical Jesus, and does the mysterious "beloved disciple" hold the key?


Robert Cargill's Lectures

Archaeology and the Origins of Biblical Tenets and Texts
How can archaeology tell us about some of the basic beliefs and scriptures of Judaism and Christianity? In this lecture series, the Biblical Archaeology Review’s associate editor Dr. Robert Cargill of the University of Iowa will examine how we got many of the beliefs that are now integral to the Jewish and Christian faiths. Using archaeology and historical records, each lecture will explore how certain elements came to be.

Lecture 1: The Origin of the Afterlife
Judaism possesses a concept of the afterlife today, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the debate over whether or not there is life after death distinguished some Jewish sects from others. This lecture will show you how Judaism evolved from an early Israelite religion with no concept of resurrection or an afterlife into a religion with various interpretations of both.

Lecture 2: The Origin of Heaven and Hell
Because there was no concept of an afterlife in early Israelite religion, there was no concept of a heaven or hell. But following the exile and return from Babylon and the coming of the Greeks, Jewish literature suddenly began to contains references to heaven and hell. This lecture will show you how heaven and hell came to exist so prominently in Jewish and Christian literature.

Lecture 3: The Origin of Satan
At first, the idea of a non-mortal, divine being responsible for evil in the world sounds incompatible with a monotheistic religion claiming the existence of only one God. How did the concept of Satan come into being in Judaism? And what role does Satan play in Christian literature? This lecture describes the development of Satan in Jewish and Christian literature.

Lecture 4: The Origin of the gods of the Bible
For a monotheistic faith, there sure are a lot of “other gods” mentioned in the Bible. Who are they and where did they come from? This lecture looks at the archaeological and literary evidence for the deities that become so prevalent in the Bible.

Lecture 5: The Origin of the Hebrew Bible
Jews and Christians are familiar with their sacred scriptures, but how did the Hebrew Bible come to be? Who wrote it? When was it written? Was it edited at all, and if so, by whom? And who decided what books would ultimately become the Hebrew Bible? This lecture examines how the Hebrew Bible came to be.

Lecture 6: The Origin of the Christian Bible
Most Christians know their Old and New Testaments, but how did the Bible come to be? Who really wrote the books it contains? When were they written? Did the text of the books change significantly after they were written? And who decided what books would ultimately become part of the New Testament canon? This lecture examines how the Christian Bible came to be.

Lecture 7: The Origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century. But where did they come from? Who really wrote them? And why were they written? This lecture walks you through the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the debate over who wrote them and where, their discovery, and why they were written in the first place.

Lecture 8: The Origin of the Apocrypha
More books were left out of the Bible then were allowed in. But what are all these “other” books? Who wrote them and why were they left out? This lecture introduces the audience to the biblical Apocrypha, why they were written, and why they were ultimately left out of the biblical canon.

Lecture 9: The Origin of the Messiah/Messianism
Most Jews and Christians are familiar with the concept of a Jewish Messiah, whether they believe it to be Jesus of Nazareth or not. But what is messianism and how did it become a part of Jewish faith? And are there different types of messiahs and messianism in Judaism and Christianity? Did some groups believe in two messiahs? This lecture examines the history and development of Jewish messianism.

Lecture 10: The Origin of Jerusalem
Jerusalem is the holy city to Jews and Christians (and the third holiest city in Islam). But how did Jerusalem become “Jerusalem”? This lecture examines the archaeological history of Jerusalem from the tiny settlement in the central hills of Canaʿan to the center of Jewish and Christian faith today.


St. Olaf College, 1520 St. Olaf Ave., Northfield, MN 55057. To ensure your comfort, the Biblical Archaeology Society will have a full-time resident coordinator at St. Olaf College to care for group and individual needs.

All BAS lectures and discussion groups; dormitory accommodations for six nights; all meals prepared by Bon Appétit, a welcome reception and a special final night banquet.

Transportation to and from St. Olaf College, laundry and other items of a purely personal nature. Program begins with registration on Sunday, July 16 in the evening and ends after breakfast on Saturday, July 22.

If made up to two weeks prior to the start of the seminar: Refund of deposit less $100 per person for administrative costs.
If less than two weeks prior to the start of the seminar, an administrative fee of
$100 plus any additional incurred costs will be passed on to the registrant.


For more information contact:

Alicia Bregon
202-364-3300 ext 216
Biblical Archaeology Society
4710 41st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20016
Fax: 202-364-2636