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Josephus and archaeology on the cities of the Galilee

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Chapter Summary

Josephus remarks that Sepphoris and Tiberias were the two largest cities in the Galilee. In an attempt to reconstruct the urban topography of Sepphoris and Tiberias, this chapter focuses on the literary sources concerning both cities and analyzes the textual information in light of what we know from the archaeological finds unearthed at these sites in recent years. This chapter moves from Tiberias to Sepphoris; the information culled from detailed discussion allow to determine the nature of these cities and answer the questions at the core of this inquiry. It explores the following: What was the physical appearance of these Galilean cities in the first century C.E. and what type of governance structure did they have? The discussion and conclusions have many implications for elucidating the early history of Tiberias and Sepphoris, most importantly, touch upon the major questions with which scholars of both Jewish and Christian history are grappling.

Keywords: archaeology; Christian history; Galilean cities; Jewish history; Josephus; Sepphoris; Tiberias



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