Judaea and Jerusalem

While still in Galilee, Jesus was for the most part active among Ioudaioi, that is, adherents of the Jerusalem temple and its laws. Yet the social ethos he would have encountered in Jerusalem would have been considerably different from that of Galilee. Because of the particular character ofJerusalem as the holy city of Jews, everywhere the tensions went deeper than those generally operative between provincials and residents ofthe national capital. The pre-eminence of Jerusalem was recognised even by pagan writers, and, as previously mentioned, Herod the Great had sought to enhance this by his building projects (AJ 15.267-91).30 However, its political status was diminished through the development as an alternative capital of Caesarea Maritima in 10 bce, with its altar dedicated to Roma and Augustus and its impressive harbour. Thus, after the deposition of Herod's son, Archelaus, the Roman procurator had a suitable location in which to establish the trappings of Roman administration, leaving Jerusalem to the Jews as the religious, but no longer the administrative, capital of the province. 31

This separation of the religious and administrative centres points to a deep cleavage in first-century Judaean society between the ruling elite and the native aristocracy, something that did not occur to the same extent in Galilee. As Herod the Great enhanced the physical splendour ofJerusalem, he moved to take control of the most important institution of the temple state, that of the high priesthood. Early in his reign, he had appointed Aristobulus 111 as high priest, only to realise quickly that this was a major political mistake because ofpopular support for ayoungHasmonean. Aristobulus was removed, and thereafter Herod appointed various diaspora Jews to the office, first a Babylonian, and then an Alexandrine, thus introducing into Judaean society a new dynasty, the Boethusians, whom he could control at will (AJ 15.22,15.3941 and 15.320-2). As a consequence, Herod's control of the high priesthood

30 Netzer, 'Herod's building projects'; Richardson, Herod, 174-215.

31 Mendels, Rise and fall of Jewish nationalism, 277-331.

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