03.06.10 2 B.C. Sepphoris Becomes the Seat of Government
Herod Antipas, the new tetrarch of the province of Galilee, began a massive long-term building program to make Sepphoris his capitol. The city that was destroyed by fire and rebellion ten years earlier was rebuilt to be the strongest city in the Galilee. This provided employment opportunities for skilled craftsmen such as carpenters (who were also stonemasons) from the entire Galilee area. The theater was most likely constructed at this time since many cities throughout the empire imitated the popular trends of Rome. There were also had ten synagogues, a bathing facility, a mint for stamping coins, and two market places. It is significant that Sepphoris lies only an hour’s walk from Nazareth, as many scholars believe that Jesus and His father and half-brothers traveled there for employment opportunities. It was also dedicated to the Greco-Roman god Dionysus and was a city filled with debauchery of every kind – male and female prostitution, gluttony, materialism, alcoholism, etc. Orthodox Jews in Nazareth, Jerusalem, and elsewhere faced the same cultural temptations as do Jews and Christians today. Several years later, in A.D. 26, the capitol was relocated to Tiberius along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
. Minkoff, Approaches to the Bible. 2:92; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 60-61, 167.
. Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 7, Session 2.