Geographical factors

As one moves from west to east, both Galilee and Judaea follow a similar pattern in geomorphic terms - coastal plain, central hill country, rift valley and the uplands of Transjordan. On a north-south axis, however, real differences emerge due to the variety of climatic conditions. The marked decrease in annual rainfall from north to south is quite obvious in the landscape. Whereas the central Galilean hill country, with its rich alluvial soil and many springs, has a number of wide valleys running in an east/west direction, the Judaean hill country has much less soil covering and tapers off quickly into the dry, arid desert region of the Dead Sea valley. These variations, which were recognised by such ancient writers as Strabo (Geog. 16.2.16), Josephus (BJ 3.41-3; 3.50621) and Pliny the Elder (HN 5.66-73), also point to diversity in lifestyles and settlement patterns in both regions. The threefold division of upper and lower Galilee and the valley reflects a recognition that, even in Galilee itself, there

1 Crossan, Birth of Christianity, 407-17; Freyne, 'Geography of restoration'.

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