Biblical Archaeology Review 23:4, July/August 1997


Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee: The Social Context of Jesus and the Rabbis

Richard A. Horsley (Valley Forge: Trinity Press International, 1996) xiii + 240 pp., $20 (paper)

Nurtured in Galilee—a hotbed of political independence in northern Israel—Jesus was a small-town revolutionary, the “prophetic leader of a movement of Israelite renewal based in villages,” according to Richard Horsley.

In his latest book, Horsley, a New Testament scholar at the University of Massachusetts, attempts to reconcile his portrait of Galilee life with the discoveries of archaeologists who, in the past 20 years, have begun to focus on the material culture of Galilee, excavating at villages such as Khirbet Shema’, Gush Halav and Jotapata, as well as the cities of Sepphoris and Tiberias.

Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee is a much shorter and more readable treatment of Horsley’s 1995 work, Galilee: History, Politics, People (by the same publisher). In both books, Horsley explores the character of Galilee from the eighth-century B.C.E. Assyrian conquest to the time of Jesus.

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