The Finding Aid of the John F. Wilson Papers 0012

Finding aid prepared by Jamie Henricks and Jessica Geiser
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA, 90263-4786
(310) 506-4434
March 2012

Title: John F. Wilson papers
Identifier/Call Number: 0012
Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Physical Description: 4.17 linear feet (4 boxes)
Date: 1953-1998
Abstract: John F. Wilson is a field archaeologist, writer and lecturer on archaeology in the Middle East, and Professor of Religion, Emeritus at Pepperdine University. The collection consists of printed materials related to Wilson’s career, including correspondence, date books, and publications authored by Wilson.
Location: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
Creator: Wilson, John Francis

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access. Chronological files with material from Wilson's time as Dean of Seaver College are closed for 25 years from their date of creation, beginning with the file for 1983. The entire series will be open in 2023.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], John F. Wilson papers, Collection no. 0012, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by John F. Wilson in August 1998.

Biographical note

John F. Wilson is a field archaeologist, and writer and lecturer on archaeology in the Middle East, particularly focused on the relationship between archaeology and Christianity.
Wilson attended Central Senior High School in Springfield, Missouri, where he graduated in 1955. While in school, he was active in choir and musicals, as well as church and service extracurricular activities. He graduated from Harding University in 1959 with a BA in Religion and Music (and served as the student body president), and then continued at Harding at the Graduate School of Religion, where he received an MA in 1961. Wilson then went on to receive a PhD from the University of Iowa in New Testament and Ancient History in 1967. After completing his degrees, Wilson returned to his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, where he founded the Christian Student Center at Missouri State University as a branch of the South National Church of Christ in Springfield. He served as the Director of the Student Center from 1959 to 1973, as well as a Professor of Religious Studies at the University from 1961 to 1983. Wilson also was a visiting lecturer at Abilene Christian University from 1971 to 1976.
Wilson took his first archaelogical trip in the mid-1970s, and went on sabbatical in 1981 to Cambridge University, England, to study notes taken from 19th century archaeological expeditions to the Holy Land. In 1983, Wilson came to Pepperdine University, where he served as the Dean of the Seaver College of Letters, Arts and Sciences for 15 years. During this time, Wilson was also a Professor of Religion at Pepperdine, as well as the Director of Pepperdine’s Institute for the Study of Archaeology and Religion. He took Pepperdine students on archaeological trips to Israel for over 25 years.
Wilson retired in 2006 from his last position as Professor of Religion, Emeritus, at Pepperdine. He is the author of a number of publications, most notably his work on a famous archaeological site in the Middle East: Caesarea Philippi: Banias, the Lost City of Pan. He has also written for radio and television, produced religious television programs, and appeared on television in an A&E series about archaeology and the Bible.
John F. Wilson is married to Dr. Claudette Wilson (a former Assistant Professor of Education at Pepperdine, who retired in 2004). They have three daughters, Laura, Amy, and Emily.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of materials related to John F. Wilson’s academic and professional career ranging from high school through post-graduate degrees, and teaching and administrative positions. The items include correspondence, articles, date books, calendars, a faculty portfolio compiled for his five-year evaluation at Pepperdine, and a print of the film One Life. Copies of works authored by Wilson are represented in the collection, including a signed copy of his book Discovering the Bible, as well as copies of Wilson’s master's thesis and PhD dissertation. The collection dates span from 1953 to 1998.


The collection is arranged in four series:
  • Series 1: Chronological Files
  • Series 2: Date Books and Calendars
  • Series 3: Authored Works
  • Series 4: Miscellaneous

Processing Information

The collection was arranged and described by Jamie Henricks and Jessica Geiser in March 2012.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Wilson, John Francis
Appointment books

Box 2, Folder 1-11, Box 1, Folder 1-37

Series 1: Chronological Files 1950-1998

Box 3-4

Series 2: Date Books and Calendars 1967-1998

Box 3

Desk Size Monthly Calendars Bulk, 1967-1983 1967-1998

Box 4

Pocket Day-Timer Monthly Calendars 1983 September-1998 June


Series 3: Authored Works

Box 3

Discovering the Bible (signed copy) 1986

Box 3

Masters Thesis - The Consummation of All Things June, 1961

Box 3

PhD Dissertation - The Christian Message: Its Place in Ordering the Life of the Pauline Community February, 1967

Box 3

Series 4: Miscellaneous

Box 3, Folder 1-2

Pepperdine Faculty Evaluation Portfolio

Box 3

Production #9503 One Life 28:23 Color Release Print

General note

One Life is one part of a three-part television series titled The End of the Century: Shall We Hope or Shall We Die? produced in the 1970s by Herald of Truth. The film features John Wilson.