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date: 26 November 2022



  • Tessa Rajak


Galilee first appears as the name of the northern part of Palestine, east of the Jordan, in 1 Maccabees (see maccabees). When it was still largely Gentile territory, Simon the Hasmonean (see hasmoneans) took armed assistance to the Jews there. It was occupied by Aristobulus I, rapidly becoming predominantly Jewish. From Herod (1), it passed to Herod (2) Antipas, who founded there the Jewish city of *Tiberias, and then to Agrippa I, to the Roman procurators, and to Agrippa II, in succession. ‘The two Galilees’ (upper and lower) were controlled by *Josephus in the Jewish Revolt, and rapidly subdued by Vespasian. After the *Bar Kokhba Revolt, Galilee, with a mixed population, was a stronghold of Judaism: the patriarchate was located in various of its towns at different times. Excavation reveals Sepphoris, prominent already before the revolt, to have become a major centre. The remains of many scattered *synagogues of the 2nd–4th cents.


  • Jewish Studies

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