You are on page 1of 13

Prepared by: Richard G.

Pazcoguin UST Institute of Religion

Nazareth was a small town in Galilee. It was relatively poor and overpopulated but not destitute. The inhabitants of Nazareth had a bad reputation, perhaps it was because the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class. NAZARETH Jesus parents lived in Nazareth. In was in Nazareth that the Lord spent his growing-up years. This surely was a setback for Jesus in his public ministry. Even in his hometown, Jesus was rejected so after being expelled twice, it is believed that the Lord took residence in Capernaum.


Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. He must have been familiar with his countrys long history of oppression and conquest. When Jesus was born, Palestine was under the Romans. The Romans allowed power-sharing. They appointed native kings to govern the people in the name of Rome. These native kings were half-Jew Idumaeans: the Herods. Despite this system implemented by the Roman Empire, the Jews wanted nothing less than freedom.

Hebrew was the classical language of the Jews, but in the time of Christ, very fer spoke or understood Hebrew. This was perhaps a result of Hellenization, when Greek was spoken universally. Greek and Roman names were common among the Jews.

The Jews during the time of our Lord spoke Aramaic. This was the language that the Lord himself spoke. The merchants who dealt with Gentiles would have spoken Greek, and the Roman soldiers in Palestine spoke Latin.
The Jews were either farmers or herdsmen. In Galilee, the city of our Lord, the major industry was fishing since it was a coastal region. Five of our Lords disciples were from Galilee. Four of them were certainly fishermen.



There was a double taxation system in Palestine. The Jews had to pay taxes to Rome. They also had to pay their temple dues. ROMAN MONEY JEWISH MONEY

Jerusalem was the center of the Jewish world for it is where the temple stands. A male Jew is supposed to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for three major feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Bible rarely speaks of Jesus being in Jerusalem. This is because Galilee is at the far north and journeying to Jerusalem would take days.

Education was a priority for the Jews. Jesus would have learned the Torah and other scriptures from the local synagogue. A synagogue is like a chapel where religious services are conducted.
The Rabbi (teacher) was considered the best-educated man in the community. He conducted classes in the synagogue school, during which he taught young boys how to memorize the Torah. A JEWISH RABBI


Each Jewish village is governed by a council of elders elected in each synagogue. Aside from presiding over religious services, the council of elders also serves as a local court.

Families were usually large. The Jews believed that those who were childless were cursed. Generally, boys were preferred over girls since boys were the ones who carried-over their family traditions.
Women were considered inferior to men. This was a characteristic of many ancient civilizations. Although compared to other countries, Jews had more respect for women. A womans job is to do household chores. Women were rarely taught to read or write, nor did they have a part in synagogue service except as mere audience seated behind a screen or at the balcony. Women were not expected to obey the Torah to the letter since in the opinion of men, women were to weak to follow the law.

THE PHARISEES Their name literally means separated ones. They were strict observers of the Torah, though they accepted oral tradition as well which they recorded eventually in the Talmud. They were resented by some people because they seemed to impose unreasonable standards of holiness. Many of them were laymen scribes (men trained in the Torah). Though the Gospel presents a negative image of the Pharisees, many of them were deeply spiritual people.

THE SADDUCEES They got their name from Sadok, a high priest during Solomons time. Many of them were priests, and they were the dominant party of the high Jewish court known as the Sanhedrin. The Sadducees believed that revelation was contained only in the Torah, and consequently rejected oral tradition. They refused to believe in the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe in angels. Generally, they were much strict than the Pharisees in observing the law. But unlike the Pharisees who did not believe in compromise with the Romans, the Sadducees taught that it was a good thing to cooperate with Rome.

THE ESSENES The Essenes were a monastic community whose way of preserving their Jewish identity was by withdrawal from mainstream Jewish society. They practiced asceticism. It is said that they practiced celibacy and common ownership. They observed the Torah in a very strict manner, but they distanced themselves from the Temple and from the official priesthood. They refused to recognize the governmentappointed priests. The Essenes expected two messiahs: a king and a priest.

The Zealots were men who believed that the only way to liberate Palestine of Roman oppression is through a violent revolution. Some thought of them as freedom-fighters. Some thought of them as terrorists. The Zealots were more of a political group than a religious one. Perhaps, they were considered a religious group for they also awaited the coming of a messiah: a military leader who would lead a revolution that will over-throw the Roman government.


THE WORLD OF JESUS TIME: Life in Galilee James Finley and Michael Pennock JESUS AND YOU: Discovering the Real Christ Ind: Ave Maria Press, 1977