In this two-volume set, David A. Fiensy and James Riley Strange have invited an international cast of experts to provide a comprehensive analysis of past and current research on Galilee and up-to-date commentary regarding ongoing site excavations.
You are here
Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods is a two-volume reference tool compiling an up-to-date summary of what we know about Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic periods. These two volumes consolidate a great deal of information that has been brought to light in various journals, field reports, and essays over the past thirty years. Volume 1 focuses on the Galilean village life, diet, diseases, economy, population, industry, housing, education, roads, ethnicity, social movements, religious movements, and notable persons from this time period. Volume 2 collects reports on all the archaeological excavations of Galilee at which significant remains from 100BCE–200CE have been found, focusing on both cities and villages.
Together, these volumes will serve as handy reference tools for teachers, students, and pastors. They provide a great deal of information to New Testament scholars and Mishnah scholars not familiar with these materials, and also usable to the average reader, presenting the diverse perspectives of archaeologists, historians, biblical scholars, and social-science interpreters of differing cultural and religious backgrounds. The essays are enhanced by the use of rich maps, site plans, and photographs.
Explore the books
David A. Fiensy is professor of New Testament and dean of the Graduate School of Religion at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky. His publications include Jesus the Galilean (2007), The Galilean Economy in the Time of Jesus (coeditor, 2013), and Christian Origins and the Ancient Economy (2014).
James Riley Strange is associate professor of religion at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and director of the Shikhin Excavation Project in Israel’s Lower Galilee. He has written The Emergence of the Christian Basilica in the Fourth Century (2000) and The Moral World of James (2010).
Volume 1 Contributors
Andrea M. Berlin, Boston University
Thomas Scott Caulley, Kentucky Christian University
Mark A. Chancey, Southern Methodist University
Agnes Choi, Pacific Lutheran University
Roland Deines, University of Nottingham
Richard Horsley, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Moren Hørning Jensen, Lutheran School of Theology, Aarhus, Denmark
Lee I. Levine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Sharon Lea Mattila, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Douglas E. Oakman, Pacific Lutheran University
J. Andrew Overman, Macalester College
John C. Poirier, Kingswell Theological Seminary
Jonathan L. Reed, University of La Verne
Ze’ev Safrai, Bar-Ilan University
James F. Strange, University of South Florida
Fabian Udoh, McGill University
Volume 2 Contributors
David Adan-Bayewitz, Bar-Ilan University
Yardenna Alexandre, Israel Antiquities Authority
Rami Arav, University of Nebraska–Omaha
Mordechai Aviam, Kinneret Academic College, Institute for Galilean Archaeology
Andrea M. Berlin, Boston University
Katia Cytryn-Silverman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Stefano De Luca, Magdala Project Director
Benjamin D. Gordon, University of Pittsburgh
Matthew J. Grey, Brigham Young University
Sharon C. Herbert, University of Michigan
Uzi Leibner, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Anna Lena, Assistant to the Magdala Project Director
F. Massimo Luca, OFM, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Jerusalem
Sharon Lea Matilla, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
C. Thomas McCollough, Centre College
Carol L. Meyers, Duke University
Eric M. Meyers, Duke University
Carl Savage, Drew University
Chad S. Spigel, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas
James F. Strange, University of South Florida
Zeev Weiss, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
An Interview with the Contributors
Volume 2 of Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods required the work of over twenty contributors who are experts of site excavations that have taken place and that are taking place currently in the region. Here, Fortress Press asks the contributors what they think makes this volume an important contribution to modern New Testament and Galilean studies, and what they find most fascinating about their experience with archaeological work. Read the interview!
This is a volume of considerable use to both experts and nonexperts and belongs on the shelf of anyone trying to situate texts in their Galilean context. . .
"This impressive volume is a major step forward in bridging the gap between textual studies and excavation, so that historical and interpretive claims about early Roman Galilee can be better grounded in realistic appreciation of daily life. In addition to providing a wealth of information about the state of archaeological investigations and the conclusions therefrom, these essays show the range of opinions on important matters, the disagreements and open questions of ancient Galilean sociology and the archaeology it depends on. Different views are explored and no consensus is pretended where none exists. This is a volume of considerable use to both experts and nonexperts and belongs on the shelf of anyone trying to situate texts in their Galilean context."
The present book by two experts who know Galilee is highly recommended. . .
"In some universities and seminaries, students are taught that Jesus lived in 'the Galilee of the Gentiles.' That is false; when meaningful, the term applies only to the western coast of ancient Palestine. Lower Galilee, the center of Jesus' life and ministry, was Jewish and closely connected to Judea. The stone found in the pre-70 synagogue in Migdal (home of Mary Magdalene) preserves symbols that identify the Jewish community with the Temple. The gospels are not mythological creations; they anchor Jesus with Judaism. The present book by two experts who know Galilee is highly recommended."
With all the textual and material evidence laid out, chapters offering diametrically opposite interpretations sit happily side by side, providing the reader with the opportunity to form his or her own opinion. . .
"In recent years, there has been an upsurge of scholarly studies on ancient Galilee, focusing on all possible aspects of politics, economy, ethnic makeup, religion, and social and physical conditions. The present volume—written by top scholars for the lay student, but also with researchers in mind—offers an excellent overview of all these, with a generous helping of archaeology. With all the textual and material evidence laid out, chapters offering diametrically opposite interpretations sit happily side by side, providing the reader with the opportunity to form his or her own opinion on the controversial issues in Galilee studies."
Detailed and rich discussions bring to life the world of Jesus and his contemporaries. . .
"Editors David Fiensy and James Riley Strange have assembled and contributed to a masterful collection of studies focused on Galilee in the late Second Temple and Mishnaic periods. The eighteen essays plus the introduction to volume one cover a wide range of important topics. Readers are informed of the latest work on synagogues, roads, education, literacy, urbanization, village life, economy, taxation, households, demographics, and much more. These detailed and rich discussions bring to life the world of Jesus and his contemporaries. I recommend this book with enthusiasm!"
With their unprecedented wealth of detail—literary as well as material—, and thanks to ample maps, plans and references, Galilee Volume 2 now provides the ideal supplement to Galilee Volume 1. . .
"From ‘rural hinterland’ to a thriving, culturally diverse and vibrant region! No other area of the Roman world, perhaps, has undergone such a deep transformation in scholarly assessment than Galilee. And rightly so: Despite all its special problems, Galilee in many ways is a model for understanding the relationship between indigenous and foreign cultures and internal social tensions and diversities in the Hellenistic and Roman East. With their unprecedented wealth of detail—literary as well as material—, and thanks to ample maps, plans and references, Galilee Volume 2 now provides the ideal supplement to Galilee Volume 1. Sites like Magdala, Capernaum or Tiberias, and many others, are described and often reassessed according to the latest archaeological evidence. These two books truly mark a new era of Galilean studies! Nobody interested in the history and culture of ancient Judaism, early Christianity, archaeology or ancient history can afford to miss these two books."
A 'who's who' of the key archaeologists and other leading scholars. . .
"This excellent volume on the archaeological sites in Galilee provides the underpinnings for the topically arranged Galilee Volume 1. A 'who's who' of the key archaeologists and other leading scholars take the reader through all the main Galilean sites for which well-documented archaeological evidence is currently available. This book will be a basic resource for study of the context of Galilean Judaism and of the historical Jesus and his early followers."
This is essential reading for the traveler and for the student of the Second Temple Period, New Testament, and Rabbinic Judaism.
"This second volume of a two-volume work on Galilee consists of a series of essays on particular archaeological sites in Galilee written by scholars intimately acquainted with the details of the sites (for example, Eric and Carol Myers, Andrea Berlin, James Strange). It is highly detailed, but it is not written above the level of the motivated general reader. The running text is supported lavishly by b/w photographs, site maps, drawings of specific remains, and even a number of reconstructions.
I would especially recommend this book for the person who intends to visit any number of these sites, and quite a few are typically included in “Holy Land Tours.” For such purposes, the essays on Capernaum, Nazareth, and Tiberias would be especially important, as would the essays on two of the sites identified with the biblical Cana (Khirbet Qana and Karm er-Ras). Reading these essays in advance of a site visit will help the tourist (or "pilgrim") know what to look for (tour guides are not always attuned to what is most relevant for those interested in the Hellenistic- and Roman-period occupation of a site) and how to interpret often scant remains (both those featured by a tour guide and those over which he or she might skip). Given the considerable investment of time and resources involved making such a trip, the cost and discipline of reading these chapters prior to visiting will return that smaller investment many times over.
While Sepphoris (modern Zipori) is not typically on a tour’s itinerary, the four essays dedicated to this single site attest to its importance as a Roman city in the heart of Galilee and suggest that, despite its non-appearance in the pages of the New Testament, it is nevertheless a “must see” site. The adventuresome traveler could also benefit from the essays on Bethsaida and Magdala, two important biblical sites that rarely make it onto basic itineraries (the former because of the scant remains, though the essay in this book brings those architectural footprints to three-dimensional life; the latter because it is not technically featured in a biblical narrative, though the first-century archaeological remains uncovered at the site are rich and abundant). Indeed, this book has altered my own itinerary for my forthcoming trip to Israel by introducing me to what could be found at certain sites that I would never have thought to visit otherwise.
The remaining essays are written equally well, though with less obvious relevance for the tourist or the student of the New Testament. A number focus specifically on excavations of late Roman/early Byzantine synagogues; two focus on sites of major importance for the First Jewish Revolt (Jotapata, the site of Josephus’s last stand and surrender, and Kedesh).
This is essential reading for the traveler and for the student of the Second Temple Period, New Testament, and Rabbinic Judaism."
This second of two volumes on Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods focuses on the site excavations of towns and villages and what these excavations may tell us about the history of settlement in this important period. Each article includes site plans, diagrams, maps, and photographs of artifacts and structures.
This accessible volume includes modern general studies of Galilee and of Galilean history, as well as specialized studies on taxation, ethnicity, religious practices, road systems, trade and markets, education, health, village life, houses, and the urban-rural divide.