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.
go toward the purest place in the universe. At the center of the Temple was what’s known as “the throne place,” imagined to be “the place of the soles of [God’s] feet”108—the Holy of Holies. And only the High Priest, holiest and purest of all men,109 would have been allowed inside the Holy of Holies, and him only twice a year. Away from the Temple, a typical private bath around Jerusalem or out in the countryside surrounding the city had a double entrance and steps with a low partition leading
leprous disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled; and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean.117 He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.118 What’s most obvious about this approach to “the leprous disease” is that it couldn’t be the leper who was treated for his illness, but the community he belonged to—a fact that would have been devastating to
visitor alike, the public face of Jerusalem remained always Jewish. As we’ve seen, to further shore up the respect of his fellow Jews, when Herod married a second time, he chose Mariamme, the granddaughter of a Hasmonean king. A few years later he even brought out of exile a former High Priest of the same dysfunctional dynastic family, Hyrcanus II, who’d been sent off to Babylonia four years earlier.135 (Although for the record, before Herod died, fearing the pride of the remaining Hasmoneans—and
Fair (August 2008). Hopkins, Ian. “The City Region in Roman Palestine.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 112 (1980). Johnson, Dirk. “Trials for Parents Who Choose Faith over Medicine.” New York Times, January 20, 2009. Josephus. The Jewish War. Translated by G. A. Williamson. Revised and edited by E. Mary Smallwood. London: Penguin, 1970. ———“The Antiquities of the Jews.” In The Complete Works. Translated by William Whiston. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998. Kahl, Werner. New
what might have led to Jesus’ arrest, or just how often he’d been to the Temple, or really much of anything at all. 204 Although waiting outside my hotel those fi fteen minutes for the bus to Levine’s house was slightly annoying, and during my ride I witnessed no fewer than three displays of impoliteness, for his part the driver did make sure I got off the bus at the right stop and, as if being rewarded for looking out for me, was presented with both an apple and a cucumber by an old man