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Political Issues of Isreal during the time of Jesus

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Alexis Foreman

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of Political Issues of Isreal during the time of Jesus

Theology 1020:
By: Alexis Foreman

During the time of Jesus
Jesus and his ministry:
-Palestinian or Israel Jew
--Teacher/prophet/miracle-worker/healer/ defender of the poor and oppressed.
-was seen as a radical/revolutionist (prominent during this time)
-Nazarene/lived in the city of Nazareth Galilee
-Engaged directly with his followers
-was seen as a threat to the current rulers power and status
Social&Political Issues
of Israel

Background Info:
Palestine (Israel)---Jerusalem/Galilee
Religious/Political Groups
Roman government:
Roman Emperor(s) Augustus Caesar
and Tiberius Caesar:
lazy, self indulgent, immoral, promiscuous, vindictive, liar, devious and cruel

Jewish Kings (Palestine/Israel):

*Although half-Jews, Herodian family hated by the Jewish people -->tyrannical rule/ key role in selling out the Jewish heritage to a foreign power.*
King Herod "Herod the Great"
ruled until shortly after Jesus’ birth.
-rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem-->feared he would eventually be overthrown.
-ordered the Slaughter of the Innocents (reason Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus)
(Herod the Great son) -->ruled Judea and Samaria until he was replaced by Roman procurators (governors) like
Pontius Pilate:
governor of Judea (10 years). negative ulterior motive-->promote individual gain/serve his own selfish purposes. Ruthless,murderous,low and corrupt/reputation among the Jews ruled as being tyrannical and tempestuous.
Herod Antipas--
son of Herod the Great who ruled Galilee
was the son who ruled the region east of Galilee

Pharisees- around 6,000 Pharisees--> religious leaders/middle class Jewish people/devoted to Torah, books of the Law (old testament)
-‘people’s party’--taught the law and traditions of Israel’s patriarchs, strict conformers of Jews religion
-openly opposed Jesus-->appalled at his acts of healing people on the Sabbath and his blatant claims to .
-Jesus denounced them as being hypocrites.
-often lived moral lives, full of good deeds, but it was all outward actions with no thought given to the heart or motives of the actions.
The Pharisees were in many ways the idealists of Jewish society.
(Scribes-->scholarly teachers/trusted as professional interpreters/lawyers)
Social Life:

Zealots: Revolutionary approach-->violence/armed rebellions to overthrow Rome’s control over Palestine/Israel.
-were expecting a Messiah to lead a military revolt.
-freedom-fighters or terrorists (point of view in which you interpret)
Agriculture/Trade/Large government building projects sponsored by King Herod.
**very large disparity between rich and poor.
-ROMANS #1--Taxed the people
Upper class =temple priests and priestly aristocracy
(including the Sadducees – a Jewish sect)
Middle class =traders and merchants, artisans (stonecutters, masons, sculptors) and craftsman (metal, wood, cloth dye). The Pharisees (another Jewish sect), sages, scribes, and teachers were also a part of the middle class.
Lower class = laborers (weavers, stone carriers, slaves (non-Jewish person taken into slavery because of debt), and the unemployable (lepers, blind, insane, crippled, etc.)

Galilee- (until age 12) Nazareth within the province of Galilee.
-small village/close to the metropolitan centers of Tiberias& Sepphoris.
-Jewish territory
-poor/overpopulated;scarcity of natural resources(water and fertile soil)-->socio-economic community (craftsmen/carpenters etc...)
-sickness and diseases

Leading Issues:
*religion and politics were deeply intertwined
-over thousands of years Jews were subjected to foreign rule (Egyptian, Syrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, etc.),
*Romans were the last rulers during time of Jesus
-Two-tiered system of government:
Stoicism: end or purpose of life is arete (excellence)/ virtue which is roughly identified with "happiness."
"Live life according to nature" (control vs what you cant control)

Cynicism: End of life is virtue, not pleasure-->can only be obtained by independence of all earthly possessions and pleasures. (self-sufficienct and rejected social and religious values of civilization)
all people had religious, political freedom and freedom to think-->Romans maintained strict control.
--The Roman occupied Israel (63 BCE.)
-Jewish and Gentile (non-Jew)
*Rome allowed Jewish practices/Jews strongly disliked Roman presence/interferance, Roman laws and Roman taxes.
* Jews "fake independence" still technically enslaved in their own land.


Important Facts!
Jerusalem--the center of the Jewish world
-Male Jews made pilgrimage to Jerusalem temple for Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
-"Herods Temple"
-(Jesus ventured to Jerusalem at the age of 12)
-temple destroyed by Romas in 70 CE.

Sadducees: Jews-->wealthy/powerful religious leaders.
-worked closely with Romans
-opposed Pharisees/ rejected oral traditions and much of the doctrine of the Pharisees.
-opposed Jesus/Jesus could potentially overthrow the Roman government, jeopardizing their positions of prestige.
-lived primarily in Jerusalem and their lives were often focused around the happenings of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
-old testament

Was once Palestine, now modern day Israel

• Village Life: The hub of a village was the marketplace and shops. And for a Jewish village, the synagogue was a central meeting place, and the seat of the local Jewish government.

• Languages: Greek* (most common)
Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic (Jesus' everyday language)

Various Social Class systems--Women =
second-class citizens barely above slaves
-Women learned cooking/household duties.
-memorized scripture, but forbidden to read or write.

Men’s jobs=typically farmer, craftsman, or fisherman
-husband-->provider/protector of family/spiritual and legal head of house hold

-Children were instructed to honor their parents.
*Jews lived by very strict moral, social and religious rules. often all live under

Daily Dress: Distinguished by clothing--commoners wore tunics and mantles.
-only wearing undergarment=“naked” or “stripped”.

Sanhedrin: group of 71 Jewish men=served as a supreme council.
-presided over by a High Priest
* At the end of Jesus’ life, High Priest=Caiaphas.
* Caiaphas presided over Jesus’ Jewish trial;
*Pilate presided over the Roman trial.--> two trials because Jesus violated both Roman and Jewish laws
Essenes: live pure way of life/Many withdrew to the desert, doing penance--waiting for the Messiah.
* unhappy with how Jewish faith was lived-->Temple had become corrupt
Education was a priority for Jews**
-first century-->religion, law, history, ethics and education were inseparable
-“Torah”= “law”-->source of all learning – religion, history and ethics. (includes 1st five books of the modern Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy--old testament)

-synagogue=“house of assembly” --> Jewish place of both worship and education

* In contrast-->Greek education“gymnasium” emphasized science, arts, linguistics and bodily training.

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