Sepphoris (Mark 6)

The city of Sepphorus (moden Zippori) is mentioned nowhere in the Bible, even though it was a town that Jesus must have known well. Located just six km northwest of Nazareth, Sepphoris had become quite prominent by the first century B.C. In the winter of 39/38 B.C., Herod the Great captured it and used it as his northern base. At his death the city rebelled but was harshly defeated by the Roman governor, Varus. Herod Antipas inherited this territory  from Herod the Great and set about rebuilding the town, transforming it into the most opulent city of Galilee. A theatre seating three thousand, possibly built by Herod Antipas, was located there. A beautiful mosaic of a woman’s face has been unearthed there, dating much later, to the third of fourth century A.D. The first century inhabitants of the city appear to have been staunchly pro-Roman, since they refused to join the Jewish revolt of A.D. 70. During the second century A.D., however, the city did become a centre of Jewish learning.

The elaborate rebuilding of this city, carried out by Herod Antipas, occurred during the lifetime of both Joseph and Jesus. Since the two were craftsmen (perhaps carpenters; see Mark 6:3), some suggest that they may in fact have worked at construction projects there. Sepphoris is the traditional birthplace of Jesus’ mother, Mary.

%d bloggers like this: