The Idea of the Course

Introduction to Roman, Jew, and Christian

The first century A. D. was a time of significant transformation for the Roman Empire, for adherents to the Jewish religion everywhere around the Mediterranean world, and for the earliest Christian communities.

This class will focus on the administrative framework of the Eastern Roman Empire as a way of understanding how religious, social, political, and historical differences conditioned the interactions between the Romans, their Jewish subjects, and the emergent Jesus movement.

Central to Roman and Jewish interactions is the problem of imperial power. How did the Jews adapt to Roman domination, following upon centuries of interaction with other empires? What demands did Roman power make upon the Jews, and how was this power visible in the region? What elements of conflict led to the great Jewish Rebellion of 66-70 CE, and was this rebellion inevitable? Lastly, what role did the Rebellion and destruction of the Temple play in forcing change on Judaism and encouraging religious transformations in early Christianity?