Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine
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What was it like to live in the time of Jesus?
What did people eat? Whom did they marry? How did they keep themselves clean? What did their cities and towns look like? What did they believe?
The answers, it turns out, are surprising. This simple question is not so simple after all. With a historian's insight and a reporter's curiosity, Scott Korb gives us a backstage pass to the unexpected and sometimes down-and-dirty truth about what everyday life was like in first-century Palestine, that tumultuous era when the Roman Empire was at its zenith and a new religion-Christianity-was born.
thought of themselves as the prophets of old, particularly the northern prophets who likewise had distanced themselves spiritually and geographically from Jerusalem, the center of religious power and, it would seem, corruption. In any case, as Jonathan Reed has said, with rabbis more concerned with “how to negotiate everyday life in the fields, farms, villages, and cities of Galilee,” and the everyday people going about their lives in the fields, farms, villages, and cities, the Christians would
burials is just what we’d expect and tells us much of what we already know about the importance of family in Jewish life—and, yes, Jewish death, as well—and also reveals more about how matters of purity distinguished Jews from the rest of the world. Yet, before getting too specific, one thing we can learn, in general, from tombs around Palestine is contained in the burial inscriptions themselves and requires a little math. According to J. D. Crossan, “Judging from extant burial inscriptions, the
aniconic society (Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:19-26). Direct taxes to Rome, though, which is what he was asked about, would have been paid with coins bearing the likeness of the emperor—in this case, Tiberius, whose coin, showing not only a face but also claiming that Tiberius’s father Augustus was “divi fi lius,” son of a divine one (Crossan and Reed, 136), would have been doubly insulting to any first-century Jew. And all this said, a Roman coin serving Roman purposes—and notably
(Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews 17.6.147-48). (Salmone, incidentally, had had a hand in plotting Herod’s murder of his beloved wife Mariamme.) 195 Given this example of Herod’s homicidal insanity, a recent threat to kill all the newborns in Bethlehem doesn’t seem at all unlikely. 196 E.g., “If we are, however, to apply the fundamental adage of hoof prints implicating horses more than zebras (except in Southern Africa!) . . .” 197 After a thirty-five-year search, Israeli
according to Josephus, the Romans burned Sepphoris to the ground and enslaved its inhabitants,25 something that would affect the city and the countryside for the duration of the century. And so, when King Herod’s son, Herod Antipas, was made tetrarch of Galilee—a Greek title that loosely means “prince,” although in the grand scheme of things signifies fairly low status—he would essentially be starting from scratch. Antipas would rebuild Sepphoris from the scorched ground up. Building a city is