Chapter 3, Notes

Caesarea Maritima, built for the Romans by Herod the Great

Chapter Three begins the transition from the urban Roman world to the rural Jewish one where Jesus lived. Caesarea was the Roman headquarters in Palestine, and the location of the Tenth Legion Fretensis. Herod earned the appellation “the Great” for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem and for the cities and fortresses he built. Caesar Augustus had made Herod king, and Herod built and named Caesarea for him in return.

When Matthew moves from this world to rural Galilee, he has to be reminded of the religious fundamentalism where he is going. For example, he will have to be demonstrative in his respect for the mezuzah – the unobtrusive case holding a Bible verse that will be beside every front door.

He travels with a detachment of the Legion that is rotating troops through the province. A natural stop is in Sepphoris, or Zippori, Herod Antipas’ capital now in decline and caught between the two worlds. The weekly public market required by the Romans highlights this: the Romans work on an inflexible eight-day week, so the market day cycles through the inflexible Jewish seven-day week. Once every seven weeks the Romans require the market to be open on the Sabbath when the Jews refuse to work. This is an unresolvable source of conflict.

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2 comments on “Chapter 3, Notes

  1. Keith says:

    Oh, god. God does NOT exist and anyone who thinks he does is delusional. there. I do see some merit in your message, however. BUT, there’s absolutely no proof or indication that there is a God. Atheism is fast growing.
    http://bit.do/keithiest is where I am, should you wish to be offended even further.

    • Keith, just to be clear – neither this blog nor the novel say that God exists. The purpose is to give a natural explanation for Jesus’ “miracles” as well as his teachings – to show him as a Jewish fundamentalist involved in the ongoing armed insurrections against the Roman occupation of Palestine. In that context, everything he says and does makes perfect sense – as does his execution by the Romans. As for the “resurrection” – well, that’s clearly bogus!

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