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Political Situation during Jesus' Time

Hebrew and Christian Scriptures

Shivani Negi

on 23 February 2011

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Transcript of Political Situation during Jesus' Time

In 1st century, Romans ruled over Palestine (modern day Israel) where jesus was born and lived
Jewish people reported King Herod of the local Roman government who reported to Emperor Caesar

Roman government practiced accepting that all religious beliefs, philosophical teachings, and government systems are a reflection of a larger system (, the Roman system).
(This meant religious and political freedom for all people, yet maintained strict control)

Jews held distrust & hatred for the Roman Empire; King Herod initiated a massacre of all Jewish baby boys, and was responsible for placing forbidden idols within the Jewish Temple (Mt 2)

The Jews accepted their freedom, yet were ultimately subject to Roman authority.
For example, Jewish citizens were under the authority of the Jewish court system (the Sanhedrin), yet all rulings for the death penalty were sent to the Roman government.

The “people’s party” who stuck to the law & traditions of Israel’s patriarchs & conformed strictly to Jewish law

the wealthy and conservative leaders who rejected traditions in favor of religious and political cooperation with the Romans Pontus Pilate
-Governor of Judea for 10 years
-Entered public life to advance own career & for selfish reasons
-Reputation among Jews; ruled as tyrannical & tempestuous
-Was responsible for Jesus’ sentence to death Herod the Great • Herod was born in 73 B.C.

• Herod gets Mark Anthony & Octavian's (future Augustus Caesar) support to have Roman Senate appoint Herod king of Palestine in 37 B.C.E. He ruled until 4 B.C.E.

• He was a very powerful and cruel man. He ordered that a large group of Jews be

killed upon his death, so that even if people did not mourn for his own death, they
would mourn at this death. However, his order was not carried out.

• The Romans divided Herod the Greats kingdom among three of his sons when he
died. Economic Setting Political Setting The RULE of HEROD the Great THE Political Situation the TIME of Christ DURING ECONOMIC setting
temple priests & priestly aristocracy (including Sadducees)

traders, merchants, artisans, craftsmen, Pharisees

laborers (weavers, stone carriers, slaves by debt) & unemployable (lepers, blind, insane, cripples)


Lower: Large disparity between classes: temple priests traders, merchants,
artisans, craftsmen laborers and unemployable

The Pharisees

The Sadducees
Jewish religious and governing system was divided between two parties: POLITICAL setting Jewish subject to primarily foreign rule (Egyptian, Syrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, etc.) for thousands of years syncretism
Pontius Pilate:
He had the title of a prefect and was the Roman governor of Roman Judea from 26 to 36 C.E.
Pilate lived in Caesar Maritea.
While in Jerusalem, he lived in King Harodʼ's old palace.
He was in charge of 2,000-3,000 troops who resided in Antonia fortress.
He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the Crucifixion of Jesus. 750-612







4 BC-39 AD Assyrian Empire

Babylonian Empire

Persian Empire

Greek Empire
under Alexander the Great

Jewish (Maccabean) Rule

Roman Empire

Herod the
Great as

Three sons of Herod divide up rule of Palestine (under Roman Authority) Hebrew Bible/Old Testament period Palestine Under the rule of King Herod ROMAN rule ruler of territories east of Galiliee

ruler of Galilee and Perea: He beheaded Jesus' cousin (John the Baptist) and participated in condemning Jesus to death

ruler of Samaria, Judea and Idumea Herod Pillip

Herod Antipas

Archelaus Judea was a Roman client

Citizens did not see Romans on a day-to-day basis, yet imposition of Roman power was still prominent.

King Herod and his forces were seen as a political entity by citizens, but citizens knew there was a much more powerful political factor behind that. Ecce Homo, "Behold the Man" Dates (BC) Events/Rule Sources by Shivani Negi, Jasmine Yousif, and Aly Zahariev
- Knight, Kevin. "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pontius Pilate." NEW ADVENT: Home.
Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm>.
- Higgins, Michael. Herod the Great. Print.
- Higgins, Michael. Pontus Pilot. Print.

"Life of Jesus - First Century Context of Palestine (Israel)." Jesus Central. JesusCentral.com, 2003-2009. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/historical-jesus/jesus-firstcenturycontext.php>.

"Political and Religious Background at the Time of Jesus' Ministry." The Story of Jesus. Bible Heritage Foundation, Inc., 2004. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <http://www.thestoryofjesus.com/politics.html>.

Ugwu, Hilary I. "Politically Correct And Popular But Morally Wrong: Pontius Pilate's Verdict Over Jesus." Nigerian Village Square. Nigerian Village Square, 10 Apr. 2009. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&Itemid=194&id=11990>.

White, Micheal L. "Jews and the Roman Empire." OPB. Web. 1 Jan. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/jews.html>. SOURCES
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