1st-Century Palestine

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Religious-Based Posts

To start this post off, here is a detailed map of first century Palestine:

For thousands of years, Palestine was ruled by foreign-governments, with brief periods of independence in-between. During the first century, the Jewish were ruled by the Romans. The Romans were some of the first people to allow freedom of speech when it came to Religion. Despite being a highly Religious country, the Palestinians were unwilling subjects of Roman rule. The Jewish loathing of Roman rule grew steadier as Herod proposed to kill all newborn babies one night in order to lengthen his rule and as he started placing forbidden artifacts in the Jewish Great Temple.

Another reason for the Jewish to hate the Romans was because they were Gentile (non-Jew), despite allowing various Religions into their Empire. Jewish people worked hard to dis-associate themselves with Gentile people, as they were thought to be unholy.

Despite this, Palestine hosted a large amount of cultural diversity, and with this came language diversity also. Though Jesus’ everyday language was Aramaic, Palestine was also a place where Greek, Latin, and Hebrew were commonly spoken too.

In any village, the Synagogue was a central meeting place, and also housed the local Jewish government. Another hub, or meeting place, was the central shop/market area. Village houses were 1-2 room square homes with dirt floors and mud brick roofs and walls.

As I mentioned before, Religion played quite the part in first century Palestine. In this post, we will go into a little more detail about that.


The Pharisees were the fathers of modern-day Judaism. They believed that there was an afterlife in which God punished the wicked and rewarded the loving for their work on Earth.  Another important aspect of the Pharisees’ belief was that there would come a Messiah who would bring forward God’s good news.


The Sadducees were opposing of the Pharisees’ opinion to incorporate Hellenism into their lives. The Sadducees believed only in Written Law, and since the Torah does not mention anything about the afterlife, the Sadducees consequently did not believe in it. The Sadducees died out after the destruction of the second temple in 70AD.


The Essenes rose out of disgust out of the other two factions. The Essenes believed that the other two had corrupted the city, the Temple and other holy places.


Scribes were required to write down copies of the Torah and other Jewish holy books with utmost precision. The scribes were required to replace their pen’s ink and wash their entire body every time they wrote down God’s name in a book.


The zealots were a political group in ancient Palestine whose aim was to expel the Roman rule from their Holy Land. The word Zealot comes from “zealous,” which means devoted to a person. In this case, the Zealots were devoted to God.

  1. whosquade says:

    Don’t forget to leave a reply!

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