The Jewish environment Jesus grew up in had a rich variety of city folk and village dwellers, from the local neighborhood and from many foreign settlements around the Roman Empire. Was Jesus a country boy, raised in a remote village, or was he more like a modern suburbanite, with lots of exposure to urban life … Continue reading Where Were the Jews during the Lifetime of Jesus?
Following Jesus was just one of many ways of being Jewish in the first century. The New Testament focuses on one group, but there were many others, each with its own ideas about how to live faithfully. Jesus interacts with Pharisees, priests, and legal experts in events we know about. There were Pharisees and Sadducees, … Continue reading Factions in First Century Judaism
At the time Jesus was born, the people of Israel as a group were pretty isolationist. They refused to participate in the religions or even the customs of the Roman empire. You might think that the Jews of the day were hostile to all outsiders, but that wasn’t necessarily true. Among the non-Jews who interacted … Continue reading What Did Jesus Expect of Gentiles?
Today we celebrate Epiphany, the day we remember the coming of the wise men to the baby Jesus. Travel wasn’t easy in those days, and the rich and powerful preferred to send representatives rather than go on the road themselves. The rich and famous often gave presents to their equals, but giving homage was reserved … Continue reading Why Did Rich Gentiles Visit a Poor Jewish Baby?