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Capernaum: Jews and Christians in the Ancient Village from the Time of Jesus to the Emergence of Islam

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This book is about the history of Jews and Christians, and their interaction, in Capernaum from the time of Jesus until the Byzantine-Islamic transition in Palestine in the seventh century. Based on multidisciplinary research into both the literary and archaeological sources, the book addresses socio-historical questions that have vexed current scholarly and popular understanding of how this small Galilean town developed into an important place for both Jews and Christians in antiquity as well as today. The book engages issues such as the following: the invention of Capernaum as a modern pilgrimage-tourist site under the authority of the Franciscan Custodia Terrae Sanctae; the nature of the historical Jesus’s relationship to the town; whether or not a synagogue stood in Capernaum during the time of Jesus; whether or not Jewish followers of Jesus lived in Capernaum during the second and third centuries; and how the architecture of the town’s domestic and monumental landscapes functioned to shape Jewish and Christian identity individually and interactively. These questions are investigated within their local, regional, and empire-wide contexts to construct a picture of the ways in which Jews and Christians lived and related to each other in Capernaum and how their relations were affected by the arrival of Islam in Palestine.

  • Based on multidisciplinary research into both the literary and archaeological sources
  • Addresses socio-historical questions
The fascinating story of ancient Capernaum has attracted the attention of scholars for over 150 years, as it involves an early Roman Jewish village that came to be known as "the town of Jesus" and in late antiquity developed into a prominent Christian pilgrimage destination. Relying on a sound historiographical methodology, this sophisticated and well-argued book leads the reader through main topics regarding the village and its social and religious makeup, analyzing and synthesizing abundant archaeological data and textual evidence.

—Uzi Leibner, professor of classical archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

This book is a treasure. Few scholars can effectively weave historical and archaeological evidence together as Cirafesi has done in his study of Capernaum. This wide-ranging study is not only a fantastic overview of the ancient village of Capernaum, but also a major contribution to the study of early Judaism, early Christianity, and Jewish-Christian relations.

—Jordan J. Ryan, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College, Illinois

This volume is of utmost importance for anyone interested in the relationships between Jews, Jewish Christ-followers, and non-Jewish Christians in antiquity. Wally Cirafesi presents a stimulating historical construction of the dynamic socio-religious fabric in Capernaum from the first century to the seventh century CE. He critically examines texts, archaeological evidence, socioeconomic networks, local and non-local elements, and the impact of buildings on their social and spatial setting. He even imagines the interreligious relations in everyday life and brings new insights to Judeo-Christian interactions in the Galilee.

—Rina Talgam, professor of art history, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Title: Capernaum: Jews and Christians in the Ancient Village from the Time of Jesus to the Emergence of Islam
  • Author: Wally Cirafesi
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2024
  • Pages: 325
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2024-04-11T20:33:24Z

Wally V. Cirafesi is assistant professor in the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University and Pro Futura Scientia Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. He is the author of two books and more than twenty articles and essays covering topics such as ancient synagogues, the Gospel of John, early Jewish-Christian relations, and early Jewish and Christian social and intellectual history. He has been a visiting researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the W. F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research and has been involved in the ongoing excavations at Magdala.


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    Digital list price: $49.00
    Save $24.01 (49%)

    In production