Jewish Daily Life In the Time of Jesus
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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Perhaps no epoch in the history of humankind has been the subject of greater fascination and more intensive study than the late Second Temple period in Palestine—that is, the first century B.C.E. and first century C.E.—for this was the world of Jesus. We are fortunate to have a relative abundance of literary sources that inform us about this period, including the writings of the ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, the literature of the Qumran sect (the Dead Sea Scrolls), and the books of the New Testament. Archaeology too has yieleded a wealth of information, with excavated sites throughout the country including Jerusalem, Jericho, Masada, Herodium, Caesarea Maritima, Qumran, Sepphoris, and Gamla, to name just a few. And yet, paradoxically, there are many aspects of the late Second Temple period in Palestine that remain obscure or poorly understood. These gaps in our knowledge continue to fuel old debates and controversies and spawn new ones, with many spilling over from the ivory tower of academia into the public arena.
To be sure, this is a fascinating era to study. The late Second Temple period in Palestine was an unusually turbulent time, encompassing the collapse of the Hasmonean (Maccabean) state and its annexation to Rome, the brutal reign of the client king Herod the Great (40-4 B.C.E.), and the breakdown of Roman rule under Herod's sons and a series of ineffective and insensitive Roman administrators. Smoldering tensions occasionally erupted into open fighting, pitting Jews against Gentiles, Jews against Romans, Jews against Samaritans, rich against poor, and rural populations against town and city dwellers. Urban terrorists called Sicarii—literally, "dagger men"—openly assassinated their opponents. Escalating cycles of violence culminated with the outbreak of a Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 C.E., which ended disastrously for the Jews four years later when Jerusalem fell and the second temple was destroyed (70 C.E.).
What do we know about the everyday life of Jews in Palestine during this turbulent era?
From STONE AND DUNG, OIL AND SPIT by JODI MAGNESS. Copyright © 2011 by Jodi Magness. Published by WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
In Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit, Jodi Magness unearths fascinating “footprints” buried in extensive archaeological and literary evidence to shed new light on daily life in the Holy Land from the mid-first century B.C.E. to 70 C.E.—the time and place of Jesus’ life and ministry.
Recent archaeological discoveries from such sites as Qumran and Masada are analyzed, together with a host of period texts, including the New Testament, the works of Josephus and rabbinic teachings. Weaving these sources into a revealing, down-to-earth fabric of what life was like during the time of Jesus, the author reconstructs, in detail, a variety of everyday activities including dining customs, Sabbath observance, fasting, burial customs and more.
Hardcover Book : 375 pages
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. ( April 12, 2011 )
Item #: 13-483425
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.875inches
Product Weight: 23.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)