Jodi Magness, Ph.D.

Specializing in the archaeology of Palestine/Ancient Israel and the surrounding areas in the Roman and Byzantine Periods, chronologically from about the time of Jesus up to the Muslim conquest of Palestine in the Seventh Century.

Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Kernan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


This page shares just some of the unsolicited comments Jodi has received about how her work and friendship have given pleasure and knowledge to others.


Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela
June 21, 2012

Dear Dr Magness,

I have been following with absolute pleasure your course "The Holy Land Discovered", published by "The Teaching Company".

I am a Catholic and I have always been interested in Judaism. I have just watched lecture 12. It has been a delight to learn so much new information on Hellenism (and the Inter-Testament period) from you with such a peculiar, effective and plesant pedagogical approach.

So far, thank you very much.

Best Wishes. Most Respectfully,

Humberto Benzaquem da Silva Gomes
Consul of Brazil in Ciudad Guayana - Venezuela


See the bottom of the homepage for enlightening comments from Dr. John J. McGraw.


Dear Dr. Magness,

I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful course, "The Holy Land Revealed."

While I have taught college in the past (American history), most of my work life ended up in elected and appointed positions in the State of Iowa. Thus, I have had to pursue my scholarly interests as best I could amidst the turmoil of political life.

One of those areas has been digging into the discoveries of biblical scholars. As a lay person within the Roman Catholic tradition, I have welcomed learning about the actual setting of Jesus' culture and the peeling away of myth and doctrine to attempt to get at the essence of who he was and which words in the Gospels might be close to those he actually uttered.

I found your course to be a wonderful accompaniment to this ongoing study on my part. I have always deeply admired the work of scholars and scientists, and hunger for factual knowledge. Because of my Irish-Catholic heritage, I am very aware of the damage done by literalists and dogmatic fanatics.

The content of this course, and your method of presentation, were both superb. I so admired and welcomed your enthusiasm, and the healthy recognition and praise of the work of others who have preceded you. We all stand with arms interlinked with the brothers and sisters of our own time, and figuratively stand on the shoulders of those who have preceded us.

I am approaching (with some reluctance) my 70th year on this beautiful, fragile planet, and know that were I ever gifted with the chance to "start over" (a perpetual, but quite unlikely, dream) that I would pursue the field of archaeology. I have no illusions about the hard and tedious nature of its work; but to be able to make contact with those who preceded us, to learn through discovery how little our humanity has changed over thousands of years, and to reaffirm how precious, fleeting, and fragile our opportunity of life is -- ahh, the richness of this!

Thank you so much, Jodi, for your skills, and for sharing some of your discoveries and insights with the rest of us. It was a gift to "take" your course, and to come to know something of one of the most terrific teachers -- and engaging personalities -- I have ever had the privilege to encounter!

The fullness of peace to you!

In admiration and affection,

Greg Cusack
Bellevue, Iowa


Professor Magness:

I'm hoping this email finds you well.

Sometime around 1991 I took your Archaeology of Palestine course at Brown, which remains to this day one of my favorite classes I ever taken. I even kept the binder! I think I wore a lot of overalls back then.

As of now, I am in Los Angeles, and my day-job as I write is working as an assistant at (major studio)… I'm writing to you in hopes you might be able to steer me in the direction of someone who would have the skinny on the Cult of Amun-Ra. I've been in touch with Brown and their Egyptology department, but also wanted to reach out to you, in case you've come across someone like this during the course of your adventures!

Is it wrong that I crow "She was my professor, you know" every time I see you on TV???

Nothing but the best and fondest regards,

TM (Major US Video Media Firm)


Professor Magness,

I just wanted to thank you for teaching RELIGION 110 this semester, as well as for putting together the course in the first place.

My friends and I found many of your stories fascinating, and you always managed to make class interesting. In fact, a classmate and I are taking a course on Greek archaeology next semester, because we loved your class so much!

It was also an honor knowing I was learning from a prestigious archaeologist.

Best of luck in writing the textbook,



Dear Professor Magness,

I hope the volcano is not damaging too many of your plans and hope for your safe return.

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your class this year. I usually have an aversion to any sort of history but this is the first class that involved history that I enjoyed learning and found interesting. I find myself talking to my friends about what I've learned in this class.

I feel it was a privilege to be a part of your class before you take your sabbatical, and I hope you come back soon, because it would be a shame to lose you.

I just wanted to say I had a great year and thank you for your contagious enthusiasm.




Professor Magness,

I was in your Religion 106 class, loved it.

I wanted to let you know that I was reading USA-Today a few days ago and saw that you were quoted on the front page in a story about archaeology and at a place where Jesus might have lived.

Very interesting stuff; family was very impressed that I had such a famous professor.

Have a great break.

Hag Sameach and Shanah Tovah!




Professor Magness,

I just wanted to start off by saying that I truly enjoyed your lectures this semester. I have spent a lot of time in Israel, which is where my dad is from, so this class has been interesting to me, especially on a personal level.

Thank you,



Prof. Magness:

We met after your talk at the Royal Ontario Museum last Thursday night.

I have attended a few lectures concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls, and yours was far and away the most stimulating of the bunch.

I'm an author who has been interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls for many years, and attended the 1997 conference at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I recall back then a few experts ridiculing the notion of the Essenes having written anything at Qumran.

While I did a few articles at the time, my current interest stems from a novel I'm writing – a fictional account of an archaeologist who specializes in the Holy Land. I would love to get involved in a dig in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East.



Dr. Magness,

Greetings from Nebraska! Just a note to express my appreciation for your fine work.

I always enjoy reading whatever you've written in the pages of BAR. The way you communicate inspires me to dig deeper, to study further, and to find meaningful ways to teach others what I have learned from you (as well as many others) in all the classes I teach.


Pastor WN


Hi Jodi!

I was being interviewed by a Tufts undergrad last week, and she asked me if there had been a professor that had made a big impression on me, and I immediately thought of you!

It got me thinking... are you still doing digs? Are there ever opportunities for people like me, who are not involved whatsoever in archaeology, to attend for a few weeks, like there is for students? I was thinking about my current status in general (self employed, no kids, control over my schedule, and usually desiring to take a month off each summer) and dreaming up of things to do before life catches up to me.

If you ever run into a situation that you think I could join, let me know... perhaps I could help identify bones... I started teaching anatomy at the vet school this year... or refresh my diving license and go pick things out of the sea for you guys!

I hope you are well!!




Dear Prof. Magness,

If it doesn't sound too tacky, I'd like to tell you how interesting I've found your class thus far. I always go back and share what I've learned with my father, as though I am some sort of expert in the field haha.

Thank you, JR


Dear (Director of Lectures),

I'm just clearing my desktop and thought I should send a note back about Jodi Magness's lecture, with my thanks. I hope you were there too!

(Her) presentation was brilliant, multidisciplinary, wise. People hung around until 9, and I would have been happy to have heard more from Dr. Magness.

DS and I are seeing about getting to her to lecture in Queens.

Thanks for the re-arrangements. It was funny to be detoured around the Sex and the City party. We loved it when our audience affirmed that (Dr. Magness's) Scrolls lecture was the BIG event that night.

Warm regards,