Andrew Bernhard

Andrew Bernhard '98

Andrew Bernhard, who graduated from Willamette in 1998 with a B.A. in Religious Studies, is on the forefront of the current scholarly discussion about the authenticity of the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (Gos. Jes. Wife). This small papyrus fragment, apparently written in Sahidic Coptic around the 4th century C.E., contains tantalizing remains of an early, apocryphal gospel, including the beginning of a sentence that means, in English translation, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'” (Gos. Jes. Wife 4). Recently acquired by an anonymous collector, the text has been edited by Harvard professor Karen King (who gave the 2011 McGaughy lecture on the Willamette campus) and is available in a draft version online. Her manuscript’s actual publication in the Harvard Theological Review, however, has been delayed for several months until chemical tests can be completed to determine the fragment’s authenticity.

A few days ago, Bernhard posted the draft of an article on, a popular site that he created after his graduation to disseminate the insights from his senior thesis on several early, non-canonical Christian gospels. Entitled “How the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Might Have Been Forged: A Tentative Proposal,” the article improves upon earlier observations by Francis Watson (Durham University) that the Gos. Jes. Wife seems to be a “patchwork” of words and small phrases “culled from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas“.

Bernhard has discovered that at least one of the grammatical oddities of the new gospel’s Coptic text may be copied straight from an online source, the early pdf-verson of Michael Grondin’s bilingual Coptic-English edition of the Gospel of Thomas. Gos. Jes. Wife 1, which juxtaposes words found in close proximity to each other in Gos. Thom. 101, leaves out a single-letter Coptic object marker (M with a supralinear stroke). That same error, which Grondin later corrected, occurs in the pdf-version of his interlinear translation, which has been available online since 2002.

While at Willamette, Andrew Bernhard studied classical and New Testament Greek with George H. Atkinson Professor emeritus of Religious and Ethical Studies Lane McGaughy. In the summer before his Junior Year, he was awarded a Carson Undergraduate Grant to write a paper on “The Acceptance of the Gospel of John into Normative Christianity.” During his research, he became fascinated with early, non-canonical Gospels and eventually wrote his 1998 senior thesis on “Seven Early Christian Gospels.” Inducted into Willamette’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, he graduated magna cum laude.

Andrew Bernhard’s subsequent career path, which led him first to a second B.A. in molecular biology, then to a Masters of Studies in Greek and Roman History from Oxford University, and finally to his current position in biotechnology sales, is outlined in an interview published in Willamette’s alumni magazine, Scene 39 (2008). On the side, Andrew Bernhard continues to run his site and, as his article so splendidly demonstrates, to shape the scholarly discussion in Classical Studies.

By the way, while Coptic (unlike Latin, ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and six other languages) is not taught at Willamette University, Professor Stephen Patterson, the current holder of the George H. Atkinson Chair in Religious Studies, happens to be an authority on the subject and has published several books and articles on the Gospel of Thomas.

Filed Under (Classics, Greek, Latin) by oknorr on 11-10-2012

Dickinson College has just launched a very helpful new resource for intermediate Latin students.

The Dickinson College Commentaries, a new series edited by Christopher Francese (Dickinson College) and available for free online, aims to make ancient Greek and Latin texts accessible to a wider audience. Each commentary is prepared by a scholarly expert and offers not just the usual notes on grammar and material culture, but also illustrations, animated maps, videos, and even audio clips that allow you not only to read, but to hear the Latin text. In addition, the site offers vocabulary lists of the most common Greek and Latin words, arranged alphabetically, by parts of speech, by frequency, and by semantic groups (

Three commentaries have appeared so far: Selections from Caesar’s De bello Gallico, Ovid’s Amores I, and a late antique text, the Life of Saint Martin of Tours by Sulpicius Severus (ca. 363 – ca. 400 CE). More texts, including Greek texts, will hopefully follow soon.

Filed Under (Classics, Latin) by oknorr on 27-09-2012

Archaeologists from the University of Mainz have discovered the first Roman military camp from the time of Julius Caesar on German soil.

Situated in a corn field 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Trier, near the small town of Hermeskeil, this camp had a size of 26 hectares, enough to shelter 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers. Built in trapezoid form, it enclosed its own spring to provide the Romans with a secure source of water. No more than 5 km (3 miles) from the camp, there are remains of a settlement of the Celtic Treveri, which was protected by a Celtic fort, the so-called Hunnenring (Huns’ Ring) near Otzenhausen. This fortification, as has long been known, was abandoned in the first century BCE.

Part of the original Roman camp wall is still preserved in a piece of forest bordering the corn field. The rest has been plowed over so many times that it could not be discerned by untrained eyes. Inside the camp, excavators discovered pot sherds, late-republican coins, and a hand mill, which legionaries used to grind their daily ration of grain in order to prepare the staple of Roman diet, a kind of gruel named puls.  The most important discovery, however, are 70 rusty, 1-inch long, umbrella-shaped hobnails from the Roman legionaries’ boots. As one of the excavators, Dr. Sabine Hornung from the University of Mainz, explains, the length and shape of these hobnails, which prevented the Romans from slipping on the muddy ground, allow experts to date them to the Caesarian period.

A recent article in the German Süddeutsche Zeitung (link) offers pictures of the hobnails and of the excavation site.
More pictures can be found on the Uni Mainz site (link)

Below is a link to a brief video clip from Stern TV:
Oldest Roman camp in Germany

Filed Under (Classics, Latin) by oknorr on 25-09-2012

Archaeologist Michael Hoff (University of Nebraska), who gave a lecture at Willamette a few years ago, and his team have now uncovered about 50% of a gigantic Roman mosaic from the 4th century CE. The mosaic once formed a kind of stone carpet around a large, open-air pool in a Roman bath complex in Antiochia ad Cragum.  Today a part of Turkey, this area on the margins of the Roman Empire, known as Rough Cilicia, has always been considered as only marginally Romanized. In fact, for centuries its rocky coast served as a perfect hideout for pirates. The discovery of this lavish mosaic may lead scholars to reconsider long-held ideas about the area’s remoteness and lack of civilization.

Filed Under (Classics, Uncategorized) by sunderda on 23-09-2012

The Armenians of Istanbul: Church, Society, and Culture

  • 7:30pm Sept. 26th, College of Law, Paulus Lecture Hall (201)
  • Dr. Ron T. Marchese – University of Minnesota

The Deep Prehistory of Indian Gaming: The Perspective from Mesoamerica

  • 7:30pm Oct. 4th, College of Law, Paulus Lecture Hall(201)
  • Dr. Barbara Voorhies- University of California Santa Barbara

The 11th Century Decline of the Byzantine Empire Seen Through Contemporary Eyes

  • 7:30pm Oct. 16th, Hatfield Library, Hatfield Room
  • Dr. Dimitris Tsougarakis- Professor of Byzantine History, Willamette University

The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Greek and Roman Artworks Travel to Oregon!

  • 7:30pm Oct. 25th, College of Law, Paulus Lecture Hall(201)
  • Dr. Ann M. Nicgorski- Chair and Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Willamette University

Link to CASA events calendar

Filed Under (Classics) by sunderda on 07-09-2012

Salve Classics People!

Welcome old and new! I hope that your summers were fantastic. This is the first blog post of the semester and it won’t be the last. Check us out for cool facts, conference info, and general interest in the study of Classics.

Check out the World Languages Studio in the new Learning Commons! The Language Learning Center has moved into it’s new studio on the first floor of Ford along with other parts of the Learning Commons such as the Writing Center and the Learning Center. The Great Hearth is a great place to study classical languages as well as meet tutors and get help with your essays. We also have a ton of great software and online resources on our website and in our computer lab that is available for you all.

Finally, the Classics Club has fallen into disrepair which is a truly sad event. There are a great many things that could be facilitated through the Club and we are looking for people to take up the Leadership Opportunities that are available. Contact Soren at if you are interested in the club or have some ideas as to what the club might do.

Have a wonderful day!

Filed Under (Classics, Latin) by jvenegas on 07-03-2012

“When in Rome……” Find out how the Romans did! Come to this  FREE lecture by a renowned food historian and learn about ancient etiquette!

SALEM, Ore. —As part of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of the Pacific Northwest and in partnership with Willamette University’s Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, British classicist and noted food historian Andrew Dalby will present “Dining with Augustus: The Roman Princeps as Host and Guest,” on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the College of Law’s Paulus Lecture Hall.

(Note:  Dalby’s lecture is free and open to the public.  No registration required.)

Dalby’s free talk will focus on the Roman arts of entertainment as practiced by Augustus – host, patron and consummate politician.

The Classical Association of the Pacific Northwest meets on campus March 9-10, bringing together scholars of classical languages and civilizations. Non-members may join CAPN and register by March 1 for the annual meeting, which features 28 presentations by participants from 20 universities and a tour of ancient art collections at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

For membership, registration and a preliminary program, visit

About Dalby

Andrew Dalby earned his doctorate at Birkbeck College, London, and has written 18 books, including “Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece,” “Empire of Pleasures: Luxury and Indulgence in the Roman World,” “Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices,” “Flavours of Byzantium,” “Food in the Ancient World from A to Z,” “Rediscovering Homer,” “Cheese: A Global History.” Books will be available for sale at the meeting.

About the Classical Association of the Pacific Northwest

The Classical Association of the Pacific Northwest is one of the oldest academic organizations in the Pacific Northwest. It was founded on June 6, 1911, at a meeting at the Portland Academy in Portland, Ore. With members mainly from the United States and Canada, the association holds an annual two-day meeting and publishes a bulletin twice yearly. Ann M. Nicgorski, Willamette University Professor of Art History and Archaeology, is the association’s current president.

Filed Under (Classics, Uncategorized) by nshevche on 07-12-2011

… Has contributed to the latest volume of Mochlos. This is Mochlos IIC: Period IV. The Mycenaean Settlement and Cemetery: The Human Remains and Other Finds. A brief description of the book and a list of the rest of it’s contributors can be found here.

Filed Under (Classics, Greek, Latin) by nshevche on 28-11-2011

« (…) we ask UNESCO to invite European Governments to engage in the protection of Latin and Greek languages, as the highest expression of the cultural substance of Europe and to declare them “intangible patrimony of humanity” (…) »

This is an appeal to UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to protect the Ancient Latin and Greek languages. This petition argues that the preservation of Ancient Greek and Latin is essential to higher education world wide, and I think this is a great organization to throw our weight behind as a community.

Click here to get to the petition. All it takes to sign is a name and email address.


This is an article forwarded to the Classics Blog by one of Willamette’s Classics professors. It is a fantastic read about people who are in a position of power, and how they are perceived by the people they rule. The link is below for your reading pleasure :)

Click here to read.