CONTEXT FOR THE CHRIST EVENT:
Galilean III: “Ornament of All Galilee”
The popular opinion of both lay people and scholars has long been that Jesus Christ grew up as an illiterate Jewish peasant in the tiny backwater village of Nazareth. He would thus have been isolated from contemporary religion, culture and economics. However, over the last generation intensive research and discovery have overturned these presuppositions. The fact is that Jesus grew up in a middle-class family and in an advanced social climate. Furthermore, Nazareth was situated less than five miles from the provincial capital of Galilee — the largely Jewish city of Sepphoris.
Extensive archeological work has shown little or no Greek influence in Sepphoris until the second century (CE). As the capital city of Galilee, Sepphoris had palaces, multistoried buildings and paved roads, as well as a major aqueduct to ensure an adequate water supply for its residents.
Nearby Nazareth served as the suburban residence for artisans and other workers employed in Sepphoris. Among these artisans were Joseph and his sons. They undoubtedly spent years working on the massive reconstruction that took place after the city of Sepphoris was destroyed by the Roman general, Quintilius Varus, and his legions during the Zealot revolt of 4 BCE.
- James F. Strange, “Sepphoris” (September 2001), at www.bibleinterp.com/articles/sepphoris.htm.
- Mark A. Chancey, “The Myth of a Gentile Galilee,” at www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Myth_Gentile_Galilee.htm.