Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary

By John J. Rousseau; Rami Arav | Go to book overview

Foreword
A Down-to-Earth Jesus

by James M. Robinson

The present volume is neither a life of Christ nor a guide book to Israel but rather an effort to combine the two: Locations, artifacts, and customs relevant to Jesus are treated alphabetically in the light of archaeology, to which John Rousseau and Rami Arav append at the end of each entry a section highlighting their relevance for the study of Jesus. This not only draws the attention of tourists visiting an archaeological site to relevant references in the Gospels, but also provides for students of the Bible access to the archaeological dimension often neglected in the study of Jesus.

Palestinian archaeology for the century leading up to the Jewish War of 66–70 C.E. is coming into focus with considerably more precision both in terms of time and space and with regard to archaeological sophistication than was possible in the past. Hence one can hope that information will emerge that will, as Ernest Renan romantically put it, make of the Holy Land a “fifth Gospel” for critical scholarship as well as for the all-too-gullible pilgrim.

The pious have been sold a bill of goods ever since Constantine’s mother Helena first began the locating of such sites, three centuries after the fact, beginning with Golgotha, on which Constantine erected the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (unless one prefers the Garden Tomb identified a century ago by the British general Gordon), down to today’s hawking of “the house of St. Peter” in Capharnaum and the tourist bus stop “Mount of Beatitudes” at the traditional location of the Sermon on the Mount (this mount is the outcome of Matthew’s editing of Mark and Q, not a place in Jesus’ biography). Such pious Franciscan archaeology as these two Galilean locations typify is being replaced today by the kind of serious scientific archaeology capable of being coordinated in a very productive way with New Testament scholarship.

I have been asked to provide this brief foreword from the perspective of New Testament scholarship, especially that part of it which of late has built a new access to Jesus by means of the Sayings Gospel Q, a collection of sayings ascribed to Jesus that was used by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke, but then no longer copied (because the church preferred the two revised and enlarged editions that are in the New Testament). This most important primitive Christian text, unknown for more than a millennium and a half, was itself not unlike an archaeological discovery, dug up a century and a half ago imbedded in the two canonical Gospels. And it fits well into the current archaeological findings in Galilee.

The Sayings Gospel Q does not contain so much theology from on high as it does down-to-earth

-xiii-

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Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Map of Palestine Key v
  • Title Page ix
  • Contents xi
  • Foreword a Down-to-Earth Jesus xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • List of Abbreviations xx
  • List of Figures xxi
  • List of Tables xxiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Aenon and Salim 7
  • Agriculture, Cereals 8
  • Antonia, Pavement (Gabbatha, Lithostrotos) 12
  • Bethabara/Beth Araba/Bethany 14
  • Bethany 15
  • Bethlehem 16
  • Bethphage 18
  • Bethsaida 19
  • Boats 25
  • Caesarea Maritima 30
  • Caesarea Philippi (Banias) 33
  • Camps, Siege Banks 35
  • Cana 38
  • Capernaum (Capharnaum) [Hebrew, Kfar Nahum] 39
  • Cave of Letters 47
  • Chorazin 52
  • Coins and Money 55
  • Coins as Historical Documents 61
  • Construction, Cities 68
  • Crucifixion 74
  • Dead Sea Scrolls 78
  • Decapolis 85
  • Ephraim 87
  • Exorcism 88
  • Gadara, Kursi 97
  • Galilean Caves 99
  • Gamla, Gamala 100
  • Garden Tomb 104
  • Gennesareth (Hebrew, Ginosar) 109
  • Gethsemane 110
  • Golgotha, Traditional Site 112
  • Gospel of Thomas 118
  • Hebron 123
  • Herodium 124
  • Hippos/Susita 127
  • House 128
  • Jacob’s Well 131
  • Jericho 132
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s House 136
  • Jerusalem, Caiaphas’s Tomb 139
  • Jerusalem, City of David, Ophel 142
  • Jerusalem, Gehenna, Akeldama 145
  • Jerusalem, Herodian 146
  • Jerusalem, Herod’s Palace 151
  • Jerusalem, Kidron 152
  • Jerusalem, Pool of Bethesda 155
  • Jerusalem, Streets and Stairs 161
  • Jerusalem, Tombs 164
  • Jerusalem, Upper City 169
  • Jerusalem, Upper Room 173
  • Jerusalem, Walls and Gates 175
  • Jerusalem, Water System 180
  • Jordan River, Fords 183
  • Judean Caves 185
  • Machaerus (Hebrew, Makhwar) 187
  • Magdala (Hebrew, Migdal; Aramaic, Migdal Nunya; Greek, Taricheae) 189
  • Magic, Miracles 190
  • Masada 195
  • Medicine, Physicians 199
  • Moses’ Seat 203
  • Mount Gerizim 206
  • Mount Hermon 208
  • Mount of Olives 210
  • Mount Tabor 212
  • Nain (Hebrew Naim) 213
  • Nazareth 214
  • Ointments, Perfumes 216
  • Olive Oil Industry 220
  • Pantera’s Tombstone 223
  • Pontius Pilate’s Stone 225
  • Pottery and Glass 227
  • Qumran 233
  • Ritual Baths (Miqvaoth) 236
  • Samaria, Samaritans 240
  • Sea of Galilee (Yam Kinneret) 245
  • Sepphoris (Hebrew, Zippori) 248
  • Shepherding 251
  • Slaves and Servants 253
  • Sodom and Gomorrah 257
  • Son of Man 259
  • Stone, Stoning 263
  • Sychar-Shechem 267
  • Synagogues 268
  • Tannery, Leather 273
  • Tax and Tax Collectors 275
  • Temple, History, Description 279
  • Temple, Royal Stoa 288
  • Temple, Sacrificial System 291
  • Temple, Service and Ritual 296
  • Temple, Solomon’s Portico 303
  • Temple, Stairs and Gates 304
  • Temple, Treasury 309
  • Temple, Trumpeting Place 311
  • Temple, Warning Signs 312
  • Textiles, Dyeing 313
  • Tiberias (Hebrew, Tveria) 316
  • Traditional Healing 318
  • Tunic without Seam, Dice 324
  • Tyre and Sidon 326
  • Viticulture 328
  • Weapons 332
  • Weights and Measures 336
  • Wood, Furniture 339
  • Tables 343
  • Historical Synopsis 357
  • Glossary 361
  • General Bibliography 365
  • Index of Scriptures Cited 369
  • Index of Early Jewish Writings Cited 379
  • Index of Ancient Writers Cited 382
  • Index of Names, Places, and Subjects 385
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