March 14, 2012. Jonathan L. Reed, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Religion at the University of La Verne, provides the 20th Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts. Reed's slide-illustrated lecture, "Reading the Fifth Gospel: Archaeology and Early Christianity," examines the importance of archaeological excavations and studies for understanding the rise of Christianity. Focusing on Galilee as part of the broader Mediterranean world under Roman rule, Reed examines several key demographic trends that shaped the setting in which Jesus and his first followers lived, and in which the Gospels must be read. Reading the land as foreground, rather than mere background, Reed suggests that future Biblical scholars need to be trained more broadly in interdisciplinary ways.