D Centre at Capernaum

That Jesus made Capernaum the hub of his mission is also clearly indicated in the records. He 'left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum' (Matt. 4.13); he was 'at home' (en oiko) in Capernaum;302 it was 'his own town' (Matt. 9.1); 'he used to teach' in the synagogue there (Mark The fact that the

Q material contains fierce denunciations of Capernaum (Matt. 11.23/Luke 10.15), Chorazin, and Bethsaida (Matt. 11.21/Luke 10.13) is also relevant. It must mean that Jesus had concentrated his preaching efforts in these towns and had been rebuffed in greater or less measure.304 Chorazin and Bethsaida are the two towns closest to Capernaum.305

which may also have characterized Jesus as an observant Galilean Jew, would have been taken for granted and so not mentioned because everybody knows that' (Keck, Who Is Jesus? 31).

301. Matt. 9.20/Luke 8.44; Mark 6.56/Matt. 14.36, with reference to the instructions of Num. 15.38-39 and Deut. 22.12 (note also Zech. 8.23).

302. Mark 2.1; 3.20; 9.33; Matt. 13.1, 36. If Mark 2.15 existed as a tradition separate from 2.13-14, then the 'house' mentioned there could conceivably have been Jesus' own (Jeremias, Parables 227 n. 92; cf. Taylor, Mark 204). But if the archaeological evidence regarding 'Peter's house' in first-century Capernaum is anything to go by (see, e.g., Charlesworth, Jesus 109-15; Murphy-O'Connor, Holy Land 218-19), one can certainly envisage the episode in Mark 2.2-12 taking place there, but hardly the hosting of a large meal.

303. See also Matt. 8.5/Luke 7.1/John4.46; Matt. 17.24; Luke 4.23; John 2.12; 6.17, 24, 59. Crossan and Reed, Excavating Jesus 94-96, tendentiously dispute the data marshalled above on the basis of Mark 1.38 ('I came out [of Capernaum]') to support the alternative reconstruction of Jesus' mission as constantly itinerant ('this covenantal kingdom could not have a dominant place to which all must come, but only a moving center that went out alike to all').

304. Studies of Q deduce, with good form-critical logic, that the Q people must themselves have experienced rejection by these three Galilean towns (cf., e.g., Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q 147-48, 171-74, 256). But even if the passages are designated as Q2, it remains the case that they recall Jesus as making the denunciations. No activity of Jesus in Chorazin is reported in the Jesus tradition; but visits to Bethsaida are (Mark 8.22; Luke 9.10).

305. Chorazin was 'up the hill' behind Capernaum, some 3 or 4 km distant, and Bethsaida was about km from Capernaum. Though technically in Herod Philip's territory (across the Jordan), Bethsaida was oriented to the towns and villages round the north and west of the lake (both Pliny, Nat.Hist. 5.21, and John 12.21 locate it in Galilee); see further J. F. Strange, 'Bethsaida', ABD 1.692-93. It is relevant that Peter and Andrew appear to have left

The size and importance of Capernaum have been much debated of late, with some rather wild figures circulated.306 But Reed's account gives a much more sober estimate: a modest town of between 600 and 1,500 residents, that is, one of Galilee's larger villages.307 According to Reed, there is no evidence of paved streets, colonnaded thoroughfares, or channels for running water or sewage; rather the streets were quite narrow, irregular (bent round house complexes), and made of packed earth and dirt.308 Likewise lacking is evidence of public buildings (no theatre or administrative complex, no shops or storage facilities relating to the market place)309 or public inscriptions denoting benefactions (a characteristic feature of Mediterranean cities of the period).310 The construction of houses and domestic utensils was generally of low quality (no evidence of elite houses); there are no signs of wealth (no fine pottery or even simple glass, no mosaics, no frescoes, no marble).311

Capernaum's significance lay in its location. Situated on the northwest shore of the lake, it was probably the main fishing village of the area and supplied the hinterland, including Chorazin. More important, it was the last village their home town (Bethsaida — John 1.44) and also settled in Capernaum (Mark 1.29 pars.). According to John, Philip had also come from Bethsaida (John 1.44; 12.21). Is it a coincidence that Andrew and Philip were the only members of Jesus' close disciples to have Greek names?

306. Meyers and Strange estimated a population of 12,000-15,000 (Archaeology 58); V. C. Corbo describes Capernaum as a 'city' laid out according to the normal urban plan, with a cardo (principal street, north-south), with numerous decumani (intersecting streets, east-west) (ABD 1.866-69). See also Reed, Archaeology 143 and n. 15.

307. Reed, Archaeology 149-52; also Crossan and Reed, Excavating Jesus 81-87. Reed also notes that Capernaum is nowhere mentioned in literature prior to Jesus (Archaeology 140). S. Loffreda estimates a population of about 1,500 during the town's maximum expansion in the Byzantine period (OEANE 1.418).

308. Ibid 153.

309. The well-known synagogue in Capernaum most probably dates from the fourth or fifth century CE, though underneath there is evidence of walls of houses and stone pavements (S. Loffreda, 'The Late Chronology of the Synagogue of Capernaum', in L. I. Levine, ed., Ancient Synagogues Revealed [Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1981] 52-56; also Loffreda, 'Capernaum', OEANE 1.418). When these earlier structures are to be dated remains unclear. It is conceivable that a large house served for communal gatherings (Kee, 'Defining' 22). But it is also conceivable that there was an earlier synagogue, on the same site or elsewhere, and Luke's report that the centurion had 'built' (that is, presumably, paid for the building of) what must anyway have been a fairly unpretentious structure (Luke 7.5) cannot be dismissed out of hand. One could well imagine local personages trying to 'ape' the benefactions of more prestigious cities, like Tiberias round the lake. But see Crossan and Reed, Excavating Jesus 90-91.

310. Reed, Archaeology 154-56.

311. Ibid 159-60, 164-65; see also Murphy-O'Connor, Holy Land 217, 220-21. Chilton's imagination again takes off here: 'the decadence of Capernaum disgusted him (Jesus)'; 'the almost bacchanalian excesses that Capernaum offered' (Rabbi Jesus 82, 132).

in Herod Antipas's territory on the road running northeast, across the Jordan and through Herod Philip's territory (Gaulinitis) to Damascus. Hence it served also as a customs post. The Gospels name Matthew/Levi as (the) toll-collector at the time of Jesus (Mark 2.14 pars.). The presence of a military officer ('centurion'), presumably appointed by Herod Antipas, with some (personal?) staff (Matt. 8.9/ Luke 7.8), suggests also that Capernaum had some strategic importance.312 Toll-collector and royal official require only a small revision of the picture emerging from the archaeological evidence to include a thin layer of provincial bureauocracy.313

Why did Jesus make his base there? It is quite possible that he was given room in a house there by one of his early followers.314 Although on the border of Galilee, Capernaum gave ready access to the Jewish settlements in the Golan as well as the Galilean heartland. Worthy of consideration also is its proximity to Gentile areas to the north and across the lake to the villages attached to the cities of the Decapolis.316 This does not necessarily imply a concern on Jesus' part to include Gentile areas within his mission (see further below §9.9f). Reed speculates that Capernaum, so close to the edge of Herod Antipas's territory and on the lake, also allowed Jesus to slip out of Herod's jurisdiction when the need arose,317 a factor worth bearing in mind in view of the short shrift given to Jesus' mentor John the Baptist by Antipas (Mark 6.14-29 pars.).

e. Relation with Sepphoris and Tiberias

As Nazareth was oriented to Sepphoris so the villages on the northwest ern quadrant of the lake would probably be in at least some degree oriented to

312. See above chapter 8 nn. 200-201 and chapter 9 n. 256.

313. Reed, Archaeology 165. But the Gospels do envisage Matthew's guests dining ('reclining') at a meal in Matthew/Levi's house (Mark 2.15 pars.), which implies a fairly substantial dwelling and Hellenistic etiquette. IfJairus was archisynagogos of Capernaum (Mark 5.2243 pars.), it could indicate that all three(?) of the most important local personages (chairman of the village assembly, toll-collector, and royal official/centurion) were attracted to or had favourable dealings with Jesus.

314. Does the oikos mentioned by Mark on several occasions (2.1; 3.20; cf. 7.17) refer to Jesus' own house or to Peter's house? See also n. 302 above.

315. 'Kedesh, a key Tynan site on its border with Upper Galilee, was only 25 km north of Capernaum, and archaeological evidence of Syro-Phoenician settlements has been uncovered at several sites in the Huleh Valley . . .' (Reed, Archaeology 163).

316. Mark makes a point of recording Jesus' criss-crossing of the lake (Mark 4.35-5.43; 6.30-56; 8.1-26).

317. Reed, Archaeology 166 — 'the cat-and-mouse game with Antipas (Luke 13.3133)'.

Antipas's other administrative centre at Tiberias. We have already noted the virtual silence of the Jesus tradition in relation to both cities.318 Does it indicate that Jesus deliberately avoided these cities, whether for religious, social, or political reasons? The issue is made a little more complex when we consider references (notably in Q) which envisage mission to 'cities',319 and others which warn against giving priority to the accumulation of wealth320 — presumably with landowners and the social elite of the cities primarily in view.321 The 'broad streets' (plateiai) referred to in some passages322 were more likely to be found in cities, possibly implying some familiarity with the two Galilean cities.323 Matt. 7.13-14 uses the imagery of a city gate (pule). Q tradition refers to law-courts and prisons (Matt. 5.25-26/Luke 12.57-59) and to deposits with bank(er)s (trapezites/trapeza) (Matt. 25.27/Luke 19.23), references rather more redolent of

324 325

city than village life. And Jesus was evidently accustomed to dining out and familiar with the Greek practice of reclining at the meal table326 and the custom of 'places of honour' at dinners.327 Where, we might ask, did a relatively poor preacher learn such habits and learn of such customs?328 We are not in a position to give a clear answer to such a question, but villages of the size of Nazareth, Capernaum, and Chorazin would hardly provide much opportunity,329 and the

318. See above, §9.6b. Freyne also notes the absence of any 'Woes' pronounced against Sepphoris and Tiberias similar to those against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (Jesus and Urban Culture' 190).

319. Matt. 10.11, 14-15/Luke 10.8-12; but given the indiscriminate use of polls in the Synoptics not too much should be made of these references.

320. Matt. 6.19-21/Luke 12.33-34; Matt. 6.24/Luke 16.13; Luke 12.13-21; 16.19-31.

321. In this section I am drawing on Reed, Archaeology particularly 192.

323. The 'marketplaces' alluded to in Mark 12.38/Luke 20.46 and Matt. 23.7/Luke are probably the larger of cities, but villages too would have had marketplaces

(Mark 6.56) and other references are insufficiently specific (Matt. 11.16/Luke 7.32; Matt. 20.3; Mark 7.4).

324. But R. A. Piper notes 'the suspicion about the institutions of power' evident in such material ('The Language of Violence and the Aphoristic Sayings in Q', in J. S. Kloppenborg, ed., Conflict andlnvention: Literary Rhetorical, and Social Studies on the Sayings Gospel Q [Valley Forge: Trinity, 1995] 53-72 [here 63]).

325. Mark 2.15 pars.; Matt. 22.10-11; Luke 14.10; 22.27.

326. Mark 14,3/Matt. 26.7; Mark 14,18/Matt. 26.20; Luke 7.37, 49; 14.15.

328. Cf. Buchanan, Jesus 180-83.

329. Though possibly Bethsaida might have afforded some opportunity, since it was Herod Philip's second city. According to Josephus, Philip raised Bethsaida from the status of a village (kome) to that of a city and renamed it Julia, after the Emperor's daughter (Ant. 18.28); Schurer, History2.\H-12, argues that this must have happened before 2 BCE, when Julia was banished by Augustus, but Murphy-O'Connor thinks that Julia the mother of the reigning em-

tradition of well-to-do figures adopting a patronal role in regard to a popular preacher was hardly new even then.330

The relative silence of the Jesus tradition with regard to Jesus' attitude to Herod Antipas is probably best correlated with its silence in regard to Antipas's two chief cities in Galilee (Sepphoris and Tiberias), suggesting a shared, and perhaps political, motive. Such possible allusions to Antipas as we find in Matt. 11.7-8/Luke 7.24-25331 and Mark 10.42-45,332 as well as the one explicit reference in Luke 13.31-33, imply a coded critique — coded no doubt in the light of what happened to the Baptist as a result of his outspoken criticism, but a critique nonetheless.333 This strengthens the suspicion that the silence of the Jesus tradition as to any visit by Jesus to these cities is deliberate, and it suggests that Jesus may have deliberately avoided them as seats of power in Galilee.334

f. Mission through Galilee (and Beyond?)

The northwestern quadrant of the lake seems to have been the heartland of Jesus' mission. But he is also remembered as having travelled widely throughout Galilee. Particular villages have become lodged in the Jesus tradition — a return to Nazareth (Mark 6.1-6 pars.) after he had already relocated at Capernaum (Luke 4.23) and miracles at Nain (Luke 7.1 1)336 and Cana.337 A commissioning of disciples to go about preaching 'from village to village' tas komas —

peror Tiberius (14-37) is the more likely candidate (Holy Land 205). At any rate, the archaeological evidence suggests that it was still little more than a village (Reed, Archaeology see also R. Arav, 'Bethsaida', OEANE 1.302-305).

330. Contrast Schottroff and Stegemann: 'The rich of Palestine were not among the disciples of Jesus' {Hope ofthe Poor 53); but are we in a position to draw such a sweeping conclusion?

331. See below chapter 11 n. 183.

332. Freyne, 'Jesus and Urban Culture' 199-200.

333. Note also the two references to the Herodians (see above §9.3c[4]) in Mark 3.6 and 12.13-17 par. (see below

334. Reed, Archaeology 137-38.

335. In summary statements: Mark 1.39/Matt. 4.23: Mark 6.6/Matt. 9.35: Luke 8.1. Josephus speaks of 204 villages in Galilee (including Upper Galilee) (Life 235). They would range in size from a few score inhabitants to relatively large towns of several thousand (Hors-ley, Galilee 190-93).

336. Traditionally identified with modern Nein, SSE of Nazareth, on the northern slope of the hill of Moreh, so properly in the plain of Jezreel (J. F. Strange, 'Nain', ABD 4.1000-1). This may indicate that it was not part of Lower Galilee proper (cf. Reed, Archaeology 116); but no clarity has been achieved regarding the southern border of Lower Galilee during this period.

337. John 2.1, 11; 4.46; Cana is indicated as Nathanael's hometown (John 21.2). It is usually identified with a site some 14 km north of Nazareth (J. F. Strange, 'Cana',A5Z> 1.827).

Luke 9.6) is also well-rooted in the tradition. As already noted, this is the basis of Theissen's portrayal of the earliest missionaries as itinerant charismatics (§4.6). But since most of Galilee, Upper as well as Lower, was within two days journey from Capernaum, the amount of itinerancy involved should not be exag-gerated.338 In terms of their own means of living (food and shelter), Jesus and his team were evidently able to rely on village hospitality (Mark 6.10 pars.), and there is a firm tradition that a number of women acted as a support team, following him (Mark 15.40-41) and providing for him from their own means (Luke 8.2-3).339

In addition, there are also references to Jesus' fame reaching beyond Galilee, and indeed to outreach beyond Galilee. In typically hyperbolic fashion Mark reports crowds coming from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and from Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3.8 pars.). More to the point, Jesus himself is recalled as travelling to the territory (mere)/borders (horia) of Tyre (and Sidon), in the far northwest (Mark 7.24/Matt. 15.21) where the boundary between Upper Galilee and Tyre is not clear, and where anyway the villages would be subject to Tyrian influence. Similarly, a trip north from the lake of Galilee would bring him into the territory (komas) administered from Caesarea Philippi

(Mark 8.27/Matt. 16.13), again heavily influenced by trade through Tyre.340 And any trip across the lake meant an excursion into territories administered by cities of the Decapolis.341 Jesus is never said to have visited any of the cities themselves. In these cases the Evangelists hint heavily that Jesus' own mission thus foreshadowed the subsequent Gentile mission.342 But we should also recall that all these were territories which had at one time belonged to greater Israel and which could be regarded as Israel's heritage, part of the land promised to Abra

338. 'Not itineracy but short day trips to the villages and towns of the region' (Arnal, Jesus 199-200). See also § 14.3b below.

339. Including Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward (epitropos). Chuza, we may imagine, managed (some of) Antipas's estates, possibly in the richly fertile plain of Gennesaret between Tiberias and Capernaum.

340. Freyne, 'Archaeology' 167-69; Reed, Archaeology 163-64.

341. Mark 5.1 -20 pars.; 10.1 par. The wording of Mark 7.31 ('he returned from the territory of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee through the territory of the Decapolis') has always remained a puzzle (Sidon being situated to the north of Tyre) — hence presumably the scribal modifications in p45 etc. ('from the territory of Tyre and Sidon'). Conceivably it was Mark's (or the tradition's) way of signalling that Jesus went out of his way to avoid Upper Galilee (he circumvented its northern border); in which case, once again we should not exclude the possibility of a political motive — to stay out of reach of Antipas's authority (Gnilka, Jesus 190-91).

342. The sequence of Mark 7.1—8.10/9.1 is particularly noticeable — a mission outside Galilee (7.24—8.10), or including one brief unsatisfactory visit to the west shore of the lake (7.24—9.1), following Jesus' effective denunciation of the laws of clean and unclean (7.15-19).

ham.343 In other words, we certainly cannot exclude the possibility that Jesus himself saw it as part of his task to extend his mission to the children of Israel still resident in these territories — hence the poignant episode with the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7.24-30/Matt. 15.21-28.

g. Mission to Judea and Jerusalem?

The question whether Jesus visited Jerusalem during his mission, prior to its climax, is a thorny one. We have already noted the inherent probability of pilgrimage visits during Jesus' youth and young manhood (§9.9c), even though only Luke 2.41-51 offers any account of one. Assuming the usual location suggested for John's baptism, Jesus presumably must have travelled some three or four days south to be baptized (see below chapter 11 n. 52), though Jerusalem itself is not in view in this case. Apart from that, the fairly clear implication of the Synoptics is that Jesus never visited Jerusalem during his Galilean mission.344 It is possible, of course, that they ignored any such visits in order to make the journey to Jerusalem climactic in its build-up to Jesus' final week in Jerusalem itself. But so far as the Synoptics are concerned, Jesus' earlier mission was exclusively in the north.

The Fourth Evangelist, however, tells a different story. He narrates the 'cleansing of the Temple' in John 2.13-22. Jesus is portrayed as active in the south in a period of overlap with the Baptist's mission (John 3.22-26). John 5 is set in Jerusalem, and the action of the Gospel is set wholly in Jerusalem and its environs from 7.10 onwards. Some of this can readily be discounted: the Evangelist presumably set the cleansing of the Temple first as a headline under which or window through which to read the whole Gospel. And the play on what can properly be called Temple concerns is consistent throughout.346 But other factors sug

Luke compensates for his omission of the episode with the Syrophoenician woman by including a second mission of 70/72 disciples (Luke 10.1-12).

343. Freyne, 'Archaeology' 164-65; 'Jesus and Urban Culture' 189.

344. Does Matt. 23.37-39/Luke 13.34-35 ('O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered your children together . . .') imply actual visits to Jerusalem? Quite possibly, in the light of the Fourth Gospel's evidence below; though Gnilka notes that frequently in the Bible Jerusalem represents all Israel (Jesus 193).

345. The trip to the territory of Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8) marks the northernmost extent of Jesus' journeying; thereafter Mark gives the impression of a steady progression southwards to Jerusalem (Mark 9.30, 33; 10.1, 32-33; 11.1, 11, 15). By placing the turning point to Jerusalem earlier in his account (Luke Luke gives added weight to the journey to Jerusalem. See further D. P. Moessner, Lord of the Banquet: The Literary and Theological Significance of the Lukan Travel Narrative (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989).

346. E.g., rites of purification (2.6), true worship (4.21-24), and water and light ceremonies related to the Temple (7.37-39; 8.12). See further below, vol. 3.

gest that the Fourth Evangelist may be drawing on good tradition at least to some extent:

That there was an overlap between John's and Jesus' missions is very probable (see § 11.2b).

2. If Jesus' mission was in any degree directed to the restoration of Israel, as seems most probable (§13.3), how could he fail to preach his message also within Judea and to the people of Jerusalem?

3. The Synoptics report followers from Judea and Jerusalem.347 There seem to have been disciples in or around Jerusalem: Mary and Martha (Luke 10.38-41) are located in Bethany by John 11.1; the arrangements for the entry into Jerusalem and for the last supper suggest secret disciples in the city or its environs (Mark 11.1-6; 14.12-16); all four Gospels speak of Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15.43 pars.);348 and John's Gospel mentions also Nicodemus (3.1-15; 7.50; 19.39).

4. The Galilean mission in itself would not necessarily last for much beyond a year. Periodic visits to Jerusalem, to celebrate the pilgrim feasts there, can hardly be ruled out, and would help explain the longer period usually assumed for Jesus' mission. John 7.1-13 may retain an echo of uncertainty on Jesus' part as to the wisdom of such a visit, and coheres with the note of secrecy linked to at least some of his Jerusalem disciples.

In none of this can we hope to attain a high level of probability. As the early form critics realised, the tradents of the Synoptic tradition showed little concern in situating the great bulk of Jesus' teaching in specific times and places. They did structure their accounts round a turning point in the territory of Caesarea Philippi, but the degree of indiscrimination in including traditions before and after that turning point leaves the location of particular teachings quite uncertain. If there is an exception it is the account of Jesus' last week in Jerusalem and the disputes in which Jesus was embroiled at that time. Otherwise, it would be a mistake to attempt to pin down particular teachings to particular phases in Jesus' mission. In consequence, when we turn to a closer examination of the Jesus tradition itself I will usually make no attempt to build arguments on chronology or location of Jesus' teachings and doings.

However, some of the value of the above discussion on historical context can be encapsulated in a timeline and map.

348. On Joseph of Aramathea see further §17.1g(4), below.

Roman

Jewish high

rulers of

rulers of

emperors

priests

Judea

Galilee

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