Sean Freyne is director of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, as well as emeritus professor of theology, at Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on the integration of literary and archaeological sources for understanding the social and religious world of Galilee in Hellenistic and Roman times. Editor Hershel Shanks sat down with Professor Freyne in New Orleans to discuss what archaeology and Biblical studies can tell us about the historical Jesus.
Hershel Shanks: Sean, I take it you’ve come to New Orleans for the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature [SBL]?
Sean Freyne: That’s true, Hershel, but also I’m retracing my footsteps of 30 years ago and more, when I taught here in New Orleans at Loyola University. My first daughter, Bridget, was born here. So I have very special memories of New Orleans.
I’m glad to be able to talk to you. My only fear is that our typist won’t be able to understand your thick Irish brogue.
No, no, I speak very clearly. I speak slowly and clearly in my best Americanese. [laughter]
You’re a senior scholar. What do you get out of these meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature?