Institute for Antiquity and Christianity (1967 - 2008)
The Institute for Antiquity and Christianity was an interdisciplinary center for basic research into the origins of Western Civilization: the ancient Near East, the classical cultures of Greece and Rome, and the emergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The mandate of the Institute was to instigate advanced research directed by experts in their fields of study, in cooperation with international teams of scholars. From time to time Visiting Scholars from North America and abroad were in residence to pursue their research with leadership in research and offer graduate students valuable insights into the world of scholarship beyond the classroom. The Institute carried out its mission through publications, educational programs, conferences, exhibits, and participation in international scholarly discourse, both to advance knowledge of the cultures, religions, and texts investigated through the Projects and to enrich public understanding and appreciation.
The official founding of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity took place in 1967, in the form of a banquet at the Music Center in Los Angeles hosted by the Board of fellows of Claremont University Center, to which all the Boards of the Claremont Colleges (among others) were invited. At its founding, the Institute consisted of six Research Projects: the International Greek New Testament Project directed by Ernest Cadman Colwell, the Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti directed by Hans Dieter Betz, Ugaritic and Hebrew Parallels directed by Loren R. Fisher, the Old Testament Form-Critical Project directed by Rolf Knierim, The Hermeneutical Project and the Coptic Gnostic Library Project, both directed by James M. Robinson. In 1970, New Testament Studies published an article announcing the founding of the Institute to an international audience ("The Institute for Antiquity and Christianity," NTS 19 : 178-195.) The following year the Institute moved into the former home of the CGU President at 831 North Dartmouth Avenue. In 1981, the Board of Fellows of Claremont University Center drew up a formal Agreement with the Institute articulating the role of the Institute and guaranteeing its use of the facility.
Over the years the number of Research Projects grew steadily, with the inclusion of Project Directors within commuting distance of Claremont, from Santa Barbara to Redlands and Orange. The number stands today at seventeen. The Project Directors have organized teams of Scholars from around the world, who thereby became Corresponding Members of the Institute: over two hundred people. During its existence, the Institute sponsored several conferences, yearly luncheons at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, and scores of scholarly lectures. In 2005, the IAC began sponsoring an SBL session, entitled "The Future of the Past: Biblical and Cognate Studies for the 21st Century." Publications issuing from the Projects were voluminous. The Institute now had its own monograph series, Studies in Antiquity and Christianity, published by T&T Clark/Continuum Publishing.
IAC Digital Collections
Several of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity's publications and antiquity collections have been digitized and are available through the Claremont Colleges Digital Library.
"The artifacts in this collection represent part of the antiquities of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. The items are mostly eastern Mediterranean in provenance, originating from ancient Greece, Cyprus, Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and neighboring regions. A fair proportion of the collection dates to the Bronze Age, but every period thereafter is represented up to the fourth century of the current era. Although the majority is earthenware, other artifacts include objects of glass, ceramic, stone, metal and Cypriote."
The Bulletin of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity was published periodically under the auspices of the Society for Antiquity and Christianity for the general information of persons interested in the research programs of the Institute.
"The Nag Hammadi codices, thirteen ancient manuscripts containing over fifty religious and philosophical texts written in Coptic and hidden in an earthenware jar for 1,600 years, were accidentally discovered in upper Egypt in the year 1945. This immensely important discovery included a large number of primary Gnostic scriptures. These texts were once thought to have been entirely destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define "orthodoxy," scriptures such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Truth. The images in this collection were taken during the excavations and translation project of the 1970’s and record the environments surrounding excavations, visiting dignitaries, and the scholars working on the codices. The project has provided momentum to a major reassessment of early Christian history and the nature of Gnosticism."