The Institute for Antiquity and Christianity is 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 is 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 are 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 carries 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.
History of the IAC
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 its present facility, once the home of the CGU President. 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 its present facility.
Over the years the number of Research Projects has grown 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 become Corresponding Members of the Institute: over two hundred people. During the last thirty-two years the Institute has 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. Since 2005, the IAC has sponsored an SBL session, entitled "The Future of the Past: Biblical and Cognate Studies for the 21st Century." Publications issuing from the Projects have been voluminous. The Institute now has its own monograph series, Studies in Antiquity and Christianity, published by T&T Clark/Continuum Publishing.
Such is the international reputation of the Institute that students in Europe as well as North America enter the doctoral program at CGU to study, and Visiting Scholars from European universities are regularly in residence at the Institute, working in conjunction with one of the Institute's Projects.