The narrative of the ministry of Jesus in the gospels is usually separated into sections that have a geographical nature: his Galilean ministry follows his baptism, and continues in Galilee and surrounding areas until the death of John the Baptist. This phase of activities in the Galilee area draws to an end approximately in Matthew 17 and Mark 9.
After the death of the Baptist, about half way through the gospels (approximately Matthew 17 and Mark 9) two key events take place that change the nature of the narrative by beginning the gradual revelation of his identity to his disciples: his proclamation as Christ by Peter and his transfiguration. After these events, a good portion of the gospel narratives deal with Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem through Perea and Judea. As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem through Perea he returns to the area where he was baptized.
Bethabara: The Gospel of John (1:28) states that John the Baptist was baptizing in "Bethany beyond the Jordan". This is not the village Bethany just east of Jerusalem, but the town Bethany, also called Bethabara in Perea. A different interpretation places Betahbara on the opposite, western bank of the Jordan, in Judea rather than Perea; best known among these is the Madaba Map, which places Betahbara at today's west side of Al-Maghtas, officially known as Qasr el-Yahud.
Calvary (Golgotha): Calvary is the Latin term for Golgotha the Greek translation of the Aramaic term for the place of the skull - the location for the Crucifixion of Jesus described in the New Testament.
Gabbatha (Lithostrōtos): This location is referenced only once in the New Testament in John 19:13. This is an Aramaic term that refers to the location of the trial of Jesus by Pontius Pilate and the Greek name of Lithostrōtos (λιθόστρωτος) meaning stone pavement also refers to it. It was likely a raised stone platform where Jesus faced Pilate.James Charlesworth considers this location of high archaeological significance and states that modern scholars believe this location was in the public square just outside the Praetorium in Jerusalem and was paved with large stones.
No documents written by Jesus exist, and no specific archaeological remnants are directly attributed to him. The 21st century has witnessed an increase in scholarly interest in the integrated use of archaeology as an additional research component in arriving at a better understanding of the historical Jesus by illuminating the socio-economic and political background of his age.
James Charlesworth states that few modern scholars now want to overlook the archaeological discoveries that clarify the nature of life in Galilee and Judea during the time of Jesus. Jonathan Reed states that chief contribution of archaeology to the study of the historical Jesus is the reconstruction of his social world. An example archaeological item that Reed mentions is the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, which mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified.
Reed also states that archaeological finding related to coinage can shed light on historical critical analysis. As an example, he refers to coins with the ""Divi filius" inscription. Although Roman Emperor Augustus called himself "Divi filius", and not "Dei filius" (Son of God), the line between being god and god-like was at times less than clear to the population at large, and the Roman court seems to have been aware of the necessity of keeping the ambiguity. Later, Tiberius who was emperor at the time of Jesus came to be accepted as the son of divus Augustus. Reed discusses this coinage in the context of Mark 12:13-17 (known as Render unto Caesar...) in which Jesus asks his disciples to look at a coin: "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" and then advises them to "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." Reed states that "the answer becomes much more subversive when one knows that Roman coinage proclaimed Caesar to be God".
David Gowler states that an interdisciplinary scholarly study of archeology, textual analysis and historical context can shed light on Jesus and his teachings. An example is the archeological studies at Capernaum. Despite the frequent references to Capernaum in the New Testament, little is said about it there. However, recent archeological evidence show that unlike earlier assumptions, Capernaum was poor and small, without even a forum or agora. This archaeological discovery thus resonates well with the scholarly view that Jesus advocated reciprocal sharing among the destitute in that area of Galilee. Other archeological findings support the wealth of the ruling priests in Judea at the beginning of the first century.
^ abcJonathan L. Reed, "Archaeological contributions to the study of Jesus and the Gospels" in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press 2006 ISBN978-0-691-00992-6 pages 40-47
^Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN1-56338-394-2 pages xi-xii