A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (2022)

The spiraling tension between Jews and Rome erupted in two revolts that deepened the rift between Jews and Christians.

Holland Lee Hendrix:

President of the Faculty, Union Theological Seminary

SPREAD OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

The Roman Empire grew over a long period of time from basically a political unit in Italy to the entire Mediterranean basin, but it took a lot of time.... It really grew out of a number of different dynamics, certainly through invasion, through conquest, but also through invitation and one could be say bequest; certainly the eastern part of what became the empire actively solicited Rome's presence and were looking for, a firm, stable political authority and found, in Rome, that authority....

The spearhead, one could say, of Roman expansion I think most certainly was as much economically based as it was militarily based. We have a lot of evidence that tells us about Roman venture capitalists out there on the fringes of Roman economic spheres, beginning to build their small economic empires, and in some cases rather larger economic empires, that brought with [them] Roman rule. In fact, in some eastern Mediterranean cities Roman business men formed actual social units, political units within the Greek cities. These then became the networks by which political power then followed. So from economic and military activity spreading out from Italy, the empire spread through North Africa, through the West all the way through Great Britain, to the East all the way to eastern Syria, and that embraced all of Greece, all of Turkey, the Syral Palestinian area. The complete Mediterranean basin was effectively Roman.

L. Michael White:

Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin

THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND JUDEA

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (1)The way the Roman Empire developed, was gradually to take over more and more territories in the eastern Mediterranean. Some of these were governed as provinces. You can imagine the Roman Empire gradually taking over more and more areas as they conquered and progressively moved to the east. North Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, Syria. And gradually, they also conquered Judea. In the process, they set up some as provinces, and some as client kingdoms. Judea happened to be one of these client kingdoms run by its own independent, or semi-independent, King. This is the person we know as Herod the Great.

For the ordinary people of the Jewish homeland, Rome was a kind of dominant political factor. Although they might not have seen Romans on a day-to-day basis, the imposition of Roman power was certainly there. In the case of the client kingdom, Judea, Herod's rule and Herod's forces would have been the political entity. But everyone knew that Rome was the power behind the throne. Everyone knew that Rome was the source of both the wealth and also the source of some of the problems that occurred in the Jewish state. So the political reality of the day was of a dominant power overseeing the life on a day-to-day basis.

PILATE'S INSCRIPTION FOUND AT CAESAREA

In Caesarea, they also found a block of stone with a local Governor's name carved on it. Tell us the story. What does that tell us about the society and the politics of that time?

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (2) Yes, this inscription that's now been found at Caesarea Maritima, which refers to Pontius Pilate, is one of the most important discoveries made in the archeological work of the last two decades. Precisely because it's the first piece of hard evidence of the existence of Pontius Pilate. Now, for Pilate, of course, we have a number of literary references, both in the Jewish historian, Josephus,and also among the Christian gospels. But this is the first piece of direct evidence from an archaeological source which actually gives us his name and tells us he was there as Governor. The city of Caesarea Maratima was actually the Governor's residence. This was the capitol city, from the perspective of the Roman political administration. So, it would have been where Pontius Pilate would have lived, where he would have had his court.

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And what does that tell us, because if Herod ruled the city, if Herod was the local client King, what was Pontius Pilate doing there?

Herod ruled from 37 B.C.E. to 4 B.C.E. Quite a long and impressive reign from just the political perspective. But, at his death, his kingdom, which was the largest extent for the Jewish state since the time, really, of David and Solomon, was subdivided among three of his sons. One son, Herod Antipas, took the northern territories of the Galilee and those on the east side of the Jordan River. Another son, Phillip, took the areas to the east of the Sea of Galilee ... the area now thought of as the Golan Heights, and a good stretch of territory over in that direction. The third son, Archelaeus, took the major portion, and in fact the most important cities... Now this region, which we would probably call Judea, was really the most important of the three sub-divisions. But Archelaeus, in contrast to his two half-brothers, didn't fare as well as his father. And within ten years, he was removed by the Roman overlords, and replaced with military governors ... what we usually refer to as Procurators, or Prefects, posted there by the Roman administration to oversee the political activities of the state.

Pontius Pilate, is one of these first round of governors posted to the province of Judea, once it was given over to Roman military governorship. And the stone that we now have from Caesarea ... is very important. It gives us three pieces of information. First, it tells us that Pontius Pilate was the Governor. Secondly, it calls him a Prefect. That's what we see in line three of the text. Thirdly, and in some ways most interestingly, the first line tells us that Pilate had built a Tibereum. What that means is, a temple for the Emperor Tiberius, as part of the Imperial Cult. Thus, here we have, at Caesarea Maritima, a Roman Governor building a temple in honor of the Roman Emperor.

Paula Fredriksen:

William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University

HEROD AND THE TEMPLE

Tell me a little bit about Herod the Great as a person. I mean, he was a man of enormous ambition. What kind of person was he?

Herod the Great was probably one of the greatest kings of the post-Biblical period in Israel, but you wouldn't want your daughter to date him. He was ambitious, brutal, extremely successful; he brooked no opposition, either with family or with politics. He was ... a genius of [a] self-made man. Thanks to the political connections of his father, he was able to marry into the ruling family in Judea. And it was under his kingship that post-Biblical Israel really rose to its political and material heights in the early days of the Roman Empire. Herod was a successful client king, which meant that as long as he paid tribute to Rome and was on the correct side of any kind of Roman fracas, he protected the political independence and liberty of Jews in Israel. And... he did that very well. He also advertised the success and wealth of his own regime and the importance of his people by having an incredibly ambitious program of building ... some of the most beautiful buildings that we have still existing in the land of Israel were done under Herod. Of course, his great architectural gift to posterity was what he did with the Temple in Jerusalem.

Why did Herod want to build a Temple? What would it mean to him?

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (3)The Temple in Jerusalem was the symbolic and, in a sense, political heart of the country.... But by building the Temple, Herod established a residence with Jewish history.... By rebuilding the Temple ... refurbishing it ... making it enormous and really one of the architectural marvels of the ancient world, he not only increased enormously the religious prestige of Judaism, but , if political history is in a sense the history of real estate development, he enabled Judea to have a positive balance of trade. Jerusalem, then as now, was one of the major centers of tourism. Not only Jewish tourism, but gentiles as well would come up to Jerusalem.... The way to think of the Temple with Herod's vision, is to think almost of an airport as much as a of a church or something like that. He created architecturally, a space that could accommodate an enormous number of pilgrims and tourists and interested others. And by doing this, he made a statement. Not only about his own country, but about the God of Israel.

Eric Meyers:

Professor of Religion and Archaeology Duke University

INFLUENCE OF HEROD THE GREAT

There's nobody in all Jewish history, I could say without hesitation, who has had a greater influence on the material culture and splendor of Palestine Israel than Herod the Great. His building plan was ambitious beyond expectation, beyond belief. And his ability to bring local resources as well as foreign resources to bear on his public works program was unparalleled. And this was especially interesting because he was such a nasty person, such a evil man in many ways, but he was a brilliant strategist, and a brilliant politician. And his public works program, coming as it did after the great earthquake of 31 B.C.E., was a way of bringing diverse communities together in Palestine. He brought Pharisees together with the Essenes and all sorts of people. His public works really brought the community back together. And it is one of the real untold ironies of Jewish history that this man, who's the guy you love to hate in Jewish history really, leaves the most indelible mark on the face of the land of Israel. Whether it's the western wall or the Temple itself, with all of its splendor, or the great amphitheater at Caesarea, or the harbor at Caesarea, all of these magnificent monuments are attributed to him and his working relationship with both local indigenous peoples as well as foreign sponsors.

L. Michael White:

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TENSIONS IN JUDEA AT THE TIME OF JESUS' BIRTH

Can you describe the situation in Judea at the time of Jesus' birth?

Well, the first thing I think I would say about the situation of Judea at the time of Jesus, is that it really is a burgeoning economy. It's a new world because of the arrival of Rome, and because of the accomplishments of Herod's rule. But at the same time, these very accomplishments produce some tensions. We could probably think of it best if we think of it as almost two intersecting axes. The first is a series of religious tensions, many of them focusing on the Temple. The Temple is both the center of continuity, it's the center of devotion, and yet it can be the center of religious controversy and apocalyptic expectation or sectarian identity. Such as that we see at ... at Qumran, and among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

On the other side, there is the political and socioeconomic tension that we see reflected in the rise of social banditry. Let's remember that Josephus actually mentions over a dozen of these rebel bandit kinds of figures, like Judas the Galilean and The Egyptian. All the way from the time from Herod, himself and going down to the time of the first revolt. And at least, according to Josephus, there's a kind of increasing sense of political unrest that comes with them.

Now, this political tension though, is also fueled by religious ideas and expectations. And here again, Jerusalem and the Temple seem at times to be a kind of focal point of their ideas.

THE FIRST REVOLT -- 66

The situation in Jerusalem was... becoming increasingly tense through the mid sixties. This is the period of the build-up toward the first revolt against Rome. The outbreak of the war would occur in 66 but Josephus tells us that for a number of years prior to that from at least about 60 up until the outbreak that there was growing tension over the last few governors of the countryside. He tells us that they were pretty abusive and corrupted administrators ... robbing the people ... in order to line their own pockets. Josephus also tells us that there's another source of growing tension in the country at this time because there's an increasing number of bandit and rebel types coming out of the woodwork in the country, and so between growing banditry, the rise of the Zealot movement, a[n] insurgency movement, and then the corruption of the administration, the situation in Jerusalem is becoming very, very tense indeed. By the year 66 it would break out in a full scale Jewish revolt against Rome.

The story goes that when there was a riot in the city of Caesarea the Roman governor required reparations to be paid. The Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea had apparently gotten angry over the relationships with their gentile neighbors and had gone on a rampage. The governor wanted them to pay for the damages. When they refused he went to Jerusalem and demanded the money to come out of the temple treasury and that was the spark that ignited the first revolt. Unfortunately he didn't count on the level of popular sentiment that had been growing. He thought he could bluff his way in with only a few troops and he was run out of town very quickly. When he called for reinforcements and tried to march on Jerusalem again he was ambushed on the way and apparently the Jewish insurgents thought this was a sign that God was in fact ready to deliver them from Roman rule, that this was the coming of the kingdom, and so quickly a small outbreak burst into an open revolt and consumed the entire country.

...The war, that lasted from 66 to 70, ...falls fairly neatly into two distinct phases. [I]n the first phase of the war, most of the military action was limited to the Northern Territories, to the Galilee itself. Now this is where we encounter Josephus for the first time because even as a young person he was given command of the Galilean armies and was in command of them when the Roman General Vespasian, who would soon become the next emperor, led the troops to occupy the Galilee and quell the revolt. Vespasian basically decided to divide the country into parts. Mop up the North and then move on the South later. Jerusalem was his ultimate target but he wanted really to isolate it before he ever tried to take Jerusalem.

By the year 68, though something else would happen in Roman politics. The Emperor Nero was assassinated, and what ensued was a year of civil war back in Rome as three different individuals claim to be the emperor of Rome. That disruption in the political continuity at Rome meant that the war was put on hold also, and as a result of that it gave another breather to the rebel forces. They again seemed to think that this was a sign of divine deliverance, that God had in fact finally killed the emperor who was trying to oppress them. So the war actually heated up after the death of Nero a bit. Vespasian eventually was recalled to Rome and was made the emperor. His son Titus who would succeed him a few years later as emperor of Rome was left in charge of the armies. It was Titus then who would proceed to undertake the siege of Jerusalem and finally end the war in the year 70.

THE SEIGE OF JERUSALEM

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (4) The siege of Jerusalem is a sad story. Josephus tells us about some of its events, and it's in gruesome detail in the story of the Jewish war. Josephus describes walking around the walls of Jerusalem and pleading with people on the inside to give up rather then go through the suffering and agony that would come from a long protracted siege. Josephus also tells us that there's a lot of infighting going on in the city among the different rebel factions who occupy different parts of Jerusalem. The loss of life must have been catastrophic to the Jewish population as a whole.

For two years then Jerusalem was under siege. Starvation, disease, murder were the order of the day. In the final analysis, by the month of August in the year 70 the fate of Jerusalem was a foregone conclusion. The Roman armies were masked. They were ready to break through. Everyone knew it. It was just a matter of when but they were going to fight to the death, and many of them did die. So on that fateful morning when they broke through, Josephus describes the events of them breaking through the walls. The Roman soldiers running through the streets. Going into every house. Killing everyone they find.

It's a pretty awful slaughter and we have lots of evidence of it now between the artifacts that one finds of the first revolt that are scattered throughout this layer of the archaeological record. Arrowheads, spears, other kinds of indications of pretty serious hand-to-hand combat in all parts of the city. The lower city of Jerusalem remains to this day largely uninhabited but in Jesus' day in up to the time of the first revolt that was the most populous part of the city. But in the first revolt in those final hours of the battle it was burned to the ground.

THE BURNT HOUSE

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A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (5)One of the most recent and poignant examples of this comes from the archaeology. Something called the burnt house which actually shows us one of the houses that apparently was burned ... the furniture and the implements are here in place with a layer of ash and residue of the burning still quite clear. And we have to really think of this as a massive trauma to the Jewish experience, in the Jewish psyche of that time. Jerusalem, the sacred city. The temple, the center of piety and identity, is gone and they have to be saying to themselves, "How could God let this happen to us? What have we done wrong?"

... The impact of the destruction of Jerusalem is really very important to all Jewish history. We have to imagine the whole population of Judea. That Southern region and especially the city of Jerusalem itself really being forced to leave because of the devastation of the city. Apparently the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 is the occasion of a massive shift of population away from the South and toward the North. In future generations the main center of Jewish population would be the Galilee. Not the Southern Judean region. So as we think of Jerusalem in those final hours of the war we have to [imagine] a stream of refugees fleeing the city, and as they look back seeing the temple in flames. The smoke rising on the horizon and they are wondering what it is that will be the center of their faith now that the house of God has been destroyed....

As they looked back at the... smoke rising on the horizon from the temple they might have remembered the words of the psalm, "By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down, and we wept when we remembered Zion." This is a psalm from the first destruction, back in the time of the Babylonian exile, but at the time of the revolt against Rome it must have come back as a haunting refrain of what happens when the temple is lost. When the people feel that their God has abandoned them, or maybe it's their fault....

Eric Meyers:

TRAGEDY AT MASADA - SUICIDE?

Chart of the fortress at Masada and surrounding Roman troops.

When the Romans attacked Jewish citizens in Caesarea on the coast, the home of their administrative offices in the year 64, there was an enormous outbreak of opposition and hostility in the Jewish community to this distant Roman administrative force. This is really what precipitated the war, which broke up, literally, four years later, and led to the cataclysmic conclusion, the burning of Jerusalem in the year 70.

The Rock of Masada, one of the most glorious places in all Israel, became the major refuge point for some of the most extremist elements opposing Rome. The zealots, and their most ardent supporters, fled right in the middle of the war - 66, 67, 68 - to Masada, where [over 600] of them took residence... in the splendor of this gorgeous place to eke out a futile existence which had such an unhappy ending.

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (6)If one looks to the site of Masada and observes these ruins there, we can see on the northern corner a three-tiered magnificent palace. This is where Herod and his retinue stayed, and they got the cool afternoon breezes there every day, an absolutely beautiful place.... On all the four corners, on the whole edge of the rock, was a wall. And here the zealots located most of their homes when they resettled the place after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. There were the great storerooms in the middle of the rock... full of foodstuffs and an arsenal of weapons.... And you had another palace, and even underground cisterns that were tremendous, the size of football fields, so that water could be provided to this remote place. Here these... Zealots situated themselves for nearly four years after the loss of Jerusalem. And they could observe from their perch upon this rock, the Romans in the six encampments all around them....

It was a refuge for Herod, and it became even a greater refuge now for these Zealots following the war, even though the war, for all intents and purposes, had ended in 70 on the 9th of Ab, some time in July. So they went on, and they built little hovels in the casement wall, and they built other little residences in the trappings of Herod's splendor. And they watched Flavius Silva built a ramp on the western side, as it stepped up the mountain. [That] took a long time, and there were six Roman camps all the way around on the eastern side, coming around the northern and southern corners as well. And they watched that, and then the tale gets confusing. The tale gets confusing because we have one major written source, and that's the tale of Josephus himself. And he tells us a story of mass suicide before Flavius Silva and the troops could come up.

The Roman general Flavius Silva, who built this ramp, decided suddenly on the day that the ramp was completed to let his soldiers go back and get a good night's sleep before they would invade the camp. And this is one of the clues that tips off modern day scholars and readers of Josephus that this is not the thing you would expect from a brilliant Roman strategist. Send the troops back and have a good meal, a good rest before they take on these 600 some men, women, children. They're not exactly the strongest opposition that you could imagine.

JOSEPHUS V. ARCHEOLOGY

Anyway, Josephus tells us that, and when they came and finally broke through with a battering ram the next day they found no one there except the silence of the place and a mass suicide. And that brings us to the question, who's right? Josephus or the archaeology...? The story that we can reconstruct from the archaeological remains is at variance from what we find in Josephus; we don't find 630 skeletons in the ruins that were excavated by archaeologists at Masada in 1963 to 1965. What we find are 25 skeletons in a big underground cave on the southern face that may or may not be refugees who escaped the mass suicide, and three other skeletons, a grown person and two children, on the site, and that's it. There is no trace whatsoever of human remains on the site. Which leads us to reflect on the meaning of this in Josephus, and the meaning that was created by the archaeological interpretation of those facts. Clearly for Josephus, who was supported by the Roman Emperor in Rome after the war, who started out a general and wound up a pacifist, he may have used his writing of events to make an apology to his Roman patrons for those events. And he made suicide, in good Hellenistic literary style, the vehicle for this apology. On the other hand, the archaeologists who looked at the events were looking to make that story - "Masada shall not fall," [is] a phrase of modern interpretive history - to make those events, and to make this data a symbol for modern Israel and their position in the conflict of the modern Middle East. And so politics and nationalism here, I think, have influenced the way the story has been told by contemporary archaeologists.

In addition to the absence of skeletal remains, I must say that the most heinous sin for a Jew is suicide. It is one of the most unexpected things that would come from a group of pious, let alone Zealous, Jewish people in the first century. People have questioned this also as one of the major reasons for doubting the veracity and truth of the narrative of Josephus.... There is no greater crime, there is no greater sin in Judaism than suicide itself. Not only is this the ultimate insult to a loving God, but it represents also the only instance in which a Jew would be disqualified from burial in a Jewish cemetery....

If there are no bones, and if there were no mass suicide, what happened to all of these people? In my opinion, the Roman troops probably, after they broke through with a battering ram, stormed the complex, hunted up all of these zealots, all of these poor souls, killed them and threw them over the rock, over the edge. And those bodies disarticulated naturally over the years, and their bones have been washed away, with the many floods, into the Dead Sea.

(Video) PBS - From Jesus To Christ. The First Christians - 1 of 4

Read more on Josephus' account and the archeological evidence of suicide in Shaye Cohen's articleMasada: Literary Tradition, Archaeological Remains, and theCredibility of Josephus

Holland Lee Hendrix:

President of the Faculty Union Theological Seminary

ROMAN'S EYE VIEW OF MASADA

From the point of view of a Roman soldier, Masada would have been a truly awful but, at the same time, greatly relieving phenomenon. The Romans had been trying to scale Masada for a long time and had used all of their best strategies and tactics.... But the Romans, you know, also liked a good fight and the fact that that remarkable group of people who protected and fortified Masada committed suicide would probably have been seen as a source of great disappointment for the Romans. They would have wanted to punish them themselves, or at least to vanquish them themselves, but it would have been an enormous relief because Masada posed a huge strategic military challenge to the Roman legions....

You had this extremely steep, high, plateau on which Masada was built, and the fortifications put up, and if you were a Roman soldier approaching Masada, I think your heart would sink because you know that you would have to first to spend a lot of time building a lot of ramps, massive ramps to move the army up the sides in order to breach the walls, but you would know in the process that you were on a suicide mission because, all the while the fortifiers and guardians of Masada would have been pelting you with any number of lethal objects, at no doubt great losses to the army. So if you were a Roman soldier or a Roman general you would be very concerned about the enormous toll on the attacking army. The irony, of course, is that when the soldiers breached the walls finally, it was not they who had been subject to the suicide attack, it was those who had been guarding Masada who had committed suicide. So there is a cruel irony in the whole breach of Masada.

L. Michael White:

THE SECOND REVOLT -- THE BAR KOCHBA REBELLION

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (7)The relationship between Judaism and Christianity after the turn of the second century would become more and more hostile as time went on partly because of other political forces that continued to develop. The political expectations of apocalypse did not simply die out after the first revolt; some people, both within Christian tradition and within Jewish tradition, still expected a cataclysmic event to bring a new kingdom on earth soon. As a result within sixty years after the first revolt there would arise a new rebellion. We typically call this the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome or the Bar Kochba revolt. And it's named after a famous rebel leader who really becomes the central figure of this new political period. He's called Bar Kochba. His name, though, actually is not a real name, it's a kind of messianic title. Bar Kochba means "son of the star." It's a title taken from the Book of Numbers as a reference to Davidic tradition. It's a kingship title. The star is the star of Judah, one of the symbols of the political expectation of apocalyptic tradition. His real name seems to have been Shimon Bar Kosova, and he probably was of a royal family of the Jewish tradition. But he takes to himself this messianic identity and claims that in the year 132 it is time for a new kingdom to be reestablished in Israel. Apparently he did take Jerusalem for some time. ...It's possible, although we're not absolutely sure, that he thought he could rebuild the temple too. But events would not let that happen.

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (8)The Romans very quickly began to put down the revolt and within three years all of those who had followed Bar Kochba were either killed or dispersed. The story of the Bar Kochba revolt is really one of the most tragic in all of Jewish history precisely because it really only furthered the desolation of the country and the economic deprivation of the Jewish people. The Roman authorities were merciless in stamping out any signs of this revolt, they could not let this happen again. And so we find, the evidence of Bar Kochba revolt really being a nightmare for the archaeologists. Recently the discoveries of caves around the Dead Sea have shown direct information about the Bar Kochba revolt. Apparently the rebels that followed Bar Kochba hid in these caves during the last stages of the war, but we know that the Romans knew where they were and simply camped up on top of the hill waiting for them to starve to death or come out and give up. But apparently their resolution was pretty strong because many of them did. One of the caves is called the cave of horrors and it contains over 40 skeletons of men, women and children who preferred to die rather than give in to the Romans. Another cave is called the cave of letters and in it were found caches of pottery and coins and other things of daily life. They were living down in these caves for quite some time and, and could have held on probably had they not starved to death...

2ND REVOLT PRECIPITATES CHRISTIAN/JEWISH SPLIT

The one thing that does happen in the second revolt, though, is [that] the self-consciously apocalyptic and messianic identity of Bar Kochba forces the issue for the Christian tradition. It appears that some people in the second revolt tried to press other Jews, including Christians, into the revolt, saying, "Come join us to fight against the Romans. You believe God is going to restore the kingdom to Israel, don't you? Join us." But the Christians by this time are starting to say, "No, he can't be the messiah -- we already have one." And at that point we really see the full-fledged separation of Jewish tradition and Christian tradition becoming clear.

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (9)There are a number of important discoveries that have been made from the period of the second revolt which show us precisely the kind the things that were going on: coins, for example, struck by the rebel forces under Bar Kochba which say things like - "the year one of the redemption of Israel." They really think they have established the new kingdom. Others show the temple restored. And maybe they thought they were going to rebuild the temple.

We have to remember that one of the stimuli to the second revolt was the suspicion on the part of many Jews that the Roman emperor Hadrian had plans to build a temple to Jupiter in Jerusalem itself. And of course that would have been an anathema to any faithful Jew. So the idea of restoring the kingdom was really more than just a spiritual exercise, it was a political reality in their mind.

A Portrait Of Jesus' World - Jews And The Roman Empire | From Jesus To Christ - The First Christians | FRONTLINE (10)Now among the letters found in the cave of letters is at least one from Bar Kochba himself. And it's a very interesting letter because it's addressed to Bar Menachem and it asks his friends and followers to bring certain things to the caves. So they're expecting to hold out for quite some time. Among the things he asks them to bring are myrtle leaves, citrons, palm branches. In fact it sounds like they're preparing to celebrate a passover meal. The expectations of the second revolt are much like those of the first revolt against Rome, namely that God would bring deliverance and establish the kingdom.

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FAQs

Which came first Christianity or Judaism? ›

Christianity was born from within the Jewish tradition, and Islam developed from both Christianity and Judaism.

How did the Roman Empire view Jesus? ›

To the Romans, Jesus was a troublemaker who had got his just desserts. To the Christians, however, he was a martyr and it was soon clear that the execution had made Judaea even more unstable. Pontius Pilate – the Roman governor of Judaea and the man who ordered the crucifixion – was ordered home in disgrace.

What did the Romans do to the Jews? ›

They looted and razed the city. They destroyed the Great Temple, the center of the Jewish religion. In A.D. 70, Roman troops retook Jerusalem from Jewish rebels, destroyed the Great Temple, and razed the city.

How did Christianity develop from Judaism? ›

Jewish Christianity is the foundation of Early Christianity, which later developed into Christianity. Christianity started with Jewish eschatological expectations, and it developed into the worship of a deified Jesus after his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, and the post-crucifixion experiences of his followers.

What was the very first religion? ›

Contents. Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam.

Who created Christianity? ›

Christianity originated with the ministry of Jesus, a Jewish teacher and healer who proclaimed the imminent Kingdom of God and was crucified c. AD 30–33 in Jerusalem in the Roman province of Judea.

How did Christianity started? ›

Christianity developed in Judea in the mid-first century CE, based first on the teachings of Jesus and later on the writings and missionary work of Paul of Tarsus. Originally, Christianity was a small, unorganized sect that promised personal salvation after death.

Who was the Roman Empire when Jesus was born? ›

The first Roman Emperor and ruler when Jesus Christ was born

Caesar Augustus, the first emperor in the ancient Roman Empire, was ruling when Jesus Christ was born. He issued an order which he could not have known would fulfill a biblical prophecy made 600 years before he was born.

Was Jesus born in the Roman Empire? ›

Jesus was a Galilean Jew who underwent circumcision, was baptized by John the Baptist, and began his own ministry.
...
Jesus
Bornc. 4 BC Herodian Kingdom of Judea, Roman Empire
DiedAD 30 or 33 (aged 33–36) Jerusalem, Judea, Roman Empire
Cause of deathCrucifixion
Known forCentral figure of Christianity
2 more rows

How did Romans feel about Jews? ›

Julius Caesar and Augustus supported laws that allowed Jews protection to worship as they chose. Synagogues were classified as colleges to get around Roman laws banning secret societies and the temples were allowed to collect the yearly tax paid by all Jewish men for temple maintenance.

What are 3 ways the Jews responded to Roman rule? ›

List 3 ways the Jews responded to Roman rule. Avoided them, tried to get along, fought against the Romans.

What did the Roman Empire believe in? ›

The Roman Empire was primarily a polytheistic civilization, which meant that people recognized and worshiped multiple gods and goddess. The main god and goddesses in Roman culture were Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.

Which religion did Jesus follow? ›

Of course, Jesus was a Jew. He was born of a Jewish mother, in Galilee, a Jewish part of the world. All of his friends, associates, colleagues, disciples, all of them were Jews. He regularly worshipped in Jewish communal worship, what we call synagogues.

Who is the God of Jews? ›

Israelite tradition identified YHWH (by scholarly convention pronounced Yahweh), the God of Israel, with the creator of the world, who had been known and worshipped from the beginning of time.

Who do the Jews worship? ›

Traditionally, Judaism holds that Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the national god of the Israelites, delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and gave them the Law of Moses at Mount Sinai as described in the Torah.

What was before Christianity? ›

Before Christianity, two major monotheistic religions existed in the ancient Mediterranean area. Explore the similarities and differences between Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and emerging Christianity, and how the empire initially accommodated their teachings and actions.

Who are the oldest gods? ›

Inanna is among the oldest deities whose names are recorded in ancient Sumer. She is listed among the earliest seven divine powers: Anu, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag, Nanna, Utu, and Inanna. These seven would form the basis for many of the characteristics of the gods who followed.

Who is the first man in the world? ›

ADAM1 was the first man. There are two stories of his creation. The first tells that God created man in his image, male and female together (Genesis 1: 27), and Adam is not named in this version.

Does the Bible say there is only one God? ›

However, in Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image” (emphasis mine). Although mysterious, the Jewish authors never specifically addressed the workings of the plural nature of God. There is one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.

Who made the Bible? ›

Even after nearly 2,000 years of its existence, and centuries of investigation by biblical scholars, we still don't know with certainty who wrote its various texts, when they were written or under what circumstances.

Where was Jesus born exactly? ›

Bethlehem lies 10 kilometres south of the city of Jerusalem, in the fertile limestone hill country of the Holy Land. Since at least the 2nd century AD people have believed that the place where the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, now stands is where Jesus was born.

What is the main purpose of Christianity? ›

The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God, and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.

What are 3 facts about Christianity? ›

Christian beliefs date back thousands of years before Christ. Many prophets predicted the coming of Christ according to Christian belief. Many theologians believe that Jesus was crucified between 30 and 33 AD. The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah.

Who started the religion? ›

Ancient (before AD 500)
Founder NameReligious tradition foundedLife of founder
Ajita KesakambaliCharvaka6th century BC
MahaviraThe final (24th) tirthankara in Jainism599 BC – 527 BC
Gautama BuddhaBuddhism563 BC – 483 BC
ConfuciusConfucianism551 BC – 479 BC
27 more rows

Who ruled Rome when Jesus died? ›

Tiberius

How did Christianity come to Rome? ›

In 313 AD, the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which accepted Christianity: 10 years later, it had become the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Who was Roman emperor when Jesus was crucified? ›

Pontius Pilate, Latin in full Marcus Pontius Pilatus, (died after 36 ce), Roman prefect (governor) of Judaea (26–36 ce) under the emperor Tiberius who presided at the trial of Jesus and gave the order for his crucifixion.

What was Jesus's full name? ›

Jesus' name in Hebrew was “Yeshua” which translates to English as Joshua.

What was Jesus last name? ›

What was Jesus's Real Name? - YouTube

What was the first language Jesus spoke? ›

Most religious scholars and historians agree with Pope Francis that the historical Jesus principally spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. Through trade, invasions and conquest, the Aramaic language had spread far afield by the 7th century B.C., and would become the lingua franca in much of the Middle East.

Where did the Roman Jews come from? ›

Italy's Jews came directly from the Holy Land before the Diaspora, first arriving in Rome in the second century BC as esteemed envoys (hoping to establish business ties) and then, after Rome invaded Judaea in the first century AD, as POWs sold into slavery.

Where did Jews live before Israel? ›

Before the middle of the first century CE, in addition to Judea, Syria and Babylonia, large Jewish communities existed in the Roman provinces of Egypt, Crete and Cyrenaica, and in Rome itself; after the Siege of Jerusalem in 63 BCE, when the Hasmonean kingdom became a protectorate of Rome, emigration intensified.

When were Jews kicked out of Rome? ›

The exact date is uncertain. The maximal time window for the expulsion of Jews from Rome is from January AD 41 until January AD 53. More detailed estimates such as those based on the AD 49 date by Orosius or the reduction of the AD 53 upper limit due to Proconsul Gallio's health are possible but controversial.

Why did the Jews rebel against the Romans? ›

According to Josephus, the two main causes of the revolt were the cruelty and corruption of the Roman leaders, and Jewish religious nationalism with the aim of freeing the Holy Land from earthly powers.

What did early Christians believe? ›

They believed Yahweh to be the only true God, the god of Israel, and considered Jesus to be the messiah (Christ), as prophesied in the Jewish scriptures, which they held to be authoritative and sacred. They held faithfully to the Torah, including acceptance of Gentile converts based on a version of the Noachide laws.

What happened as a result of tensions between the Romans and the Jews? ›

Jewish–Roman tensions resulted in several Jewish–Roman wars between the years 66 and 135 CE, which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple and the institution of the Jewish Tax in 70 (those who paid the tax were exempt from the obligation of making sacrifices to the Roman imperial cult).

Who was the first god? ›

Brahma the Creator

In the beginning, Brahma sprang from the cosmic golden egg and he then created good & evil and light & dark from his own person. He also created the four types: gods, demons, ancestors, and men (the first being Manu).

What was the Roman religion called? ›

The Religio Romana (literally, the "Roman Religion") constituted the major religion of the city in antiquity. The first gods held sacred by the Romans were Jupiter, the highest, and Mars, the god of war, and father of Rome's twin founders, Romulus and Remus, according to tradition.

Why did Roman Empire change to Christianity? ›

In 313 C.E., Roman emperor Constantine the Great ended all persecution and declared toleration for Christianity. Later that century, Christianity became the official state religion of the Empire. This drastic change in policy spread this relatively new religion to every corner of the Empire.

Did Jesus have a wife? ›

"Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim," King said in a press release.

How old is Jesus right now 2022? ›

Jesus was born around 4 BC. He lived until he was 33 years old. How old is Jesus now? The year is 2022.

How old is God in the Bible? ›

'How old is God? When was God born?' || A reading from ... - YouTube

Can Jews eat pork? ›

Jews don't eat pork, and have a lot of dietary and health laws. ], shellfish and other foods that the Bible labels unclean. It's also against Islam and Judaism that pig is not allowed.

Can Jews say Yahweh? ›

Observant Jews and those who follow Talmudic Jewish traditions do not pronounce יהוה‎ nor do they read aloud proposed transcription forms such as Yahweh or Yehovah; instead they replace it with a different term, whether in addressing or referring to the God of Israel.

Does God Have a name? ›

God goes by many names in the Bible, but he only has one personal name, spelled using four letters - YHWH.

Is Allah the same as Yahweh? ›

The Qur'an refers to Allah as the Lord of the Worlds. Unlike the biblical Yahweh (sometimes misread as Jehovah), he has no personal name, and his traditional 99 names are really epithets. These include the Creator, the King, the Almighty, and the All-Seer.

Do Jews believe in angels? ›

In Judaism, angels (Hebrew: מַלְאָךְ‎ mal'āḵ, plural: מַלְאָכִים‎ mal'āḵīm, literally "messenger") are supernatural beings that appear throughout the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), rabbinic literature, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, and traditional Jewish liturgy as agents of the God of Israel.

What's God's name in the Bible? ›

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the tetragrammaton.

When was Judaism created? ›

It has its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Modern Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions.

Is Christianity and Judaism the same thing? ›

Christianity emphasizes faith in Jesus Christ, who gives grace, empowerment, and guidance for living the moral life. [2] Judaism teaches a life of holiness through performing mitzvot and emphasizes the importance of adhering to the Bible's standards of social justice as laid down by the Prophets.

Which religion did Jesus follow? ›

Of course, Jesus was a Jew. He was born of a Jewish mother, in Galilee, a Jewish part of the world. All of his friends, associates, colleagues, disciples, all of them were Jews. He regularly worshipped in Jewish communal worship, what we call synagogues.

What came first Christianity or Catholicism? ›

By its own reading of history, Roman Catholicism originated with the very beginnings of Christianity. An essential component of the definition of any one of the other branches of Christendom, moreover, is its relation to Roman Catholicism: How did Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism come into schism?

Who was Yahweh? ›

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the tetragrammaton.

Who made Judaism? ›

According to the text, God first revealed himself to a Hebrew man named Abraham, who became known as the founder of Judaism. Jews believe that God made a special covenant with Abraham and that he and his descendants were chosen people who would create a great nation.

Where do Jews worship? ›

synagogue, also spelled synagog, in Judaism, a community house of worship that serves as a place not only for liturgical services but also for assembly and study.

Can Jews eat pork? ›

Jews don't eat pork, and have a lot of dietary and health laws. ], shellfish and other foods that the Bible labels unclean. It's also against Islam and Judaism that pig is not allowed.

Who is God of Jews? ›

Israelite tradition identified YHWH (by scholarly convention pronounced Yahweh), the God of Israel, with the creator of the world, who had been known and worshipped from the beginning of time.

Where was Jesus born exactly? ›

Bethlehem lies 10 kilometres south of the city of Jerusalem, in the fertile limestone hill country of the Holy Land. Since at least the 2nd century AD people have believed that the place where the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, now stands is where Jesus was born.

Did Jesus have a wife? ›

"Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim," King said in a press release.

What was Jesus's full name? ›

Jesus' name in Hebrew was “Yeshua” which translates to English as Joshua.

How old is Jesus right now 2022? ›

Jesus was born around 4 BC. He lived until he was 33 years old. How old is Jesus now? The year is 2022.

What were the first Christians called? ›

The first Christians were all Jews, who constituted a Second Temple Jewish sect with an apocalyptic eschatology. Among other schools of thought, some Jews regarded Jesus as Lord and resurrected messiah, and the eternally existing Son of God, expecting the second coming of Jesus and the start of God's Kingdom.

How did Christianity started? ›

Christianity developed in Judea in the mid-first century CE, based first on the teachings of Jesus and later on the writings and missionary work of Paul of Tarsus. Originally, Christianity was a small, unorganized sect that promised personal salvation after death.

Who Wrote the Bible? ›

Even after nearly 2,000 years of its existence, and centuries of investigation by biblical scholars, we still don't know with certainty who wrote its various texts, when they were written or under what circumstances.

Videos

1. Is Jesus Historical? What Do The Romans Say About Him?
(Metatron)
2. Christianity from Judaism to Constantine: Crash Course World History #11
(CrashCourse)
3. Roman Empire and Christianity | World History | Khan Academy
(Khan Academy)
4. (Documentary) First 1000 Years of Christianity
(Bli Dinselv)
5. The Culture at the Time of Jesus' Birth
(Drive Thru History)
6. Green Forest Wednesday Night Bible Study - Sept. 21, 2022
(Green Forest Church of Christ)

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