Thiede, Carsten (Peter) 1952-2004

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THIEDE, Carsten (Peter) 1952-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born August 8, 1952, in Berlin, Germany; died of a heart attack December 14, 2004. Archaeologist, historian, educator, and author. A New Testament scholar who was an ordained Anglican priest later in life, Thiede was a noted archaeologist and papyrologist whose work involved researching the history behind the Gospels. Born in post-war Germany, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied comparative literature at the University of Geneva, and Queen's College, Oxford. He came to Oxford in 1976 as a German National Scholarship Foundation Research Fellow, and two years later was hired as senior lecturer in comparative literature at Geneva. His expertise in ancient tongues and philology led to a passionate interest in studying early Christianity. Part of his work involved studying ancient papyri, a discipline at which he became an expert. Thiede later became the director of the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany, before accepting a professorship at Ben Gurion University in Israel. In Israel, he also worked for the Israeli Antiquities Authority, leading a team that analyzed the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition, he was a professor at the University of Basle in Switzerland. Thiede's expertise in ancient manuscripts led him to the startling conclusion that the Gospel of St. Matthew was actually written around 66 C.E., which is earlier than other scholars believed, and early enough for the authors to have actually witnessed Jesus's ministry, thus lending that Gospel much more authority. Thiede published his much-disputed conclusions in Eyewitness to Jesus (1996), written with Matthew D'Ancona. Many of Thiede's other books dealt with the historical basis of the New Testament. Among these works are Jesus: Life or Legend? (1990), The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity (2000), and The Quest for the True Cross (2000), the last of which was also written with D'Ancona. In 2001, he also published a book with Gerd Ludemann in German, the translation of which means "The Resurrection of Jesus, Fiction or Fact—Two Views." Not long before his death, Thiede was researching the location of the city of Emmaus, which, according to the Bible, is where Jesus met with some of his disciples. Leading a dig near Jerusalem, he and a team of students concluded that the town was within easy walking distance of Jerusalem. Thiede completed a book about Emmaus, The Mystery of Emmaus, which was at the printer's at the time of his unexpected death. The scholar's interest in Christianity eventually led him to be ordained an Anglican priest in 2000. Thereafter, he added to his research work the duty of being chaplain to English troops in Paderborn.



Daily Telegraph (London, England), December 24, 2004, p. 1.

Times (London, England), December 21, 2004, p. 49.