Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
Mark A. Chancey
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Examining architecture, inscriptions, coins, and art from Alexander the Great's conquest until the early fourth century CE, Mark Chancey argues that the extent of Greco-Roman culture in the time of Jesus has often been greatly exaggerated. Antipas's reign in the early first century was indeed a time of transition, but the more dramatic shifts in Galilee's cultural climate happened in the second century, after the arrival of a large Roman garrison. Any attempt to understand the Galilean setting of Jesus must recognize the significance of the region's historical development as well as how Galilee fits into the larger context of the Roman East.
Gentile Galilee. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Chancey, Mark and Eric M. Meyers. “How Jewish was Sepphoris in Jesus' Time?” BAR 26:4 (2000): 18–33, 61. Chancey, Mark and Adam Porter. “The Archaeology of Roman Palestine,” NEA 64 (2001): 164–203. Chen, Doron. “The Ancient Synagogue at Horvat ‘Ammudim: Design and Chronology.” PEQ 118 (1986): 135–137. Cohen, Getzel M. The Hellenistic Settlements in Europe, the Islands, and Asia Minor. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
auxiliary troops proved inadequate to deal with the turmoil, forcing the Romans once again to utilize their troops in Syria to deal with problems in Judea. The war would bring a massive incursion by Roman soldiers into Galilee and the rest of Palestine, and with it, a permanent change in the ways in which Rome's eastern garrisons were deployed. To quell the rebellion, Cestius Gallus, legate of Syria, gathered his forces at Antioch. His army included the XII Fulminata Legion, two thousand
constructed to facilitate troop movements. The earlier roads in Palestine, the Ptolemais–Antioch and Ptolemais–Scythopolis routes, were now integrated into a much larger network. In addition to the roads of 120 CE connecting Sepphoris with Ptolemais and Legio, roads were also built connecting Ptolemais with the Legio–Caesarea route at Gaba, as well as with Tiberias and Bethsaida–Julias. Further north, a road joined Paneas with Tyre. Scythopolis was an important junction, with roads
twice its earlier size, making it the largest temple complex in the Mediterranean. He surrounded the temple building itself with porticoes of marble columns; the southernmost, with its four rows of 162 columns, outsized other basilical structures in the Roman world. The renovations Herod began continued long his death, not reaching completion until 64 CE – just a few years before the building's destruction. Other construction projects, especially fortresses and palaces, dotted
spoken in the Greek cities, though we will never know to what extent. Eusebius provides a glimpse of this phenomenon, though, recording a tradition that Christians worshipping in Scythopolis during the reign of Diocletian (284–305 CE) needed to have Greek scriptures translated into Aramaic. One imagines that Aramaic was even more commonly heard in rural areas and small villages, though our lack of sources prevents us from knowing how much. Two aspects of this comparison stand out.