Publisher:  Rowman & Littlefield
Original Publisher:  Rowman & Littlefield
Published:  2011
Language:  English
Pages:   213

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About the Book

In his illuminating, well-researched book examining the site of Et-Tell, also known as Bethsaida, Carl E. Savage explores archaeological evidence to offer readers a portrait of the religious beliefs and practices of the community living near the north shore of the Sea of Galilee during the first century CE. In the study of the cultural and social matrix of the first century in the Galilee, scholars have commonly prioritized written sources over archaeological evidence because written sources seem to contribute more directly to an understanding of the religious beliefs and practices of a community. However, there exist many competing views of the landscape during that time due to the varying interpretations of the textual sources. Using archaeological data from Bethsaida itself, Savage investigates the material practices of Bethsaida's ancient inhabitants, describing these practices as significant indicators of their sense of place both ideologically and geographically. He evaluates the historical plausibility of various social reconstructions for the region, and finds that the image that emerges of first-century Bethsaida is one similar to those of other Jewish communities in the Galilee.


1. Introduction
2. Bethsaida in the "Galilees"
3. The State of the Land and Its Inhabitants
4.Support for First Century CE Bethsaida
5. Conclusion
Excursus 1: The "Temple" of Bethsaida
Excursus 2: Identifying Et-Tell with Bethsaida
Appendix 1: The Material Culture Database
Appendix 2: The Coin Database


Carl Savage's Biblical Bethsaida will certainly become one of the 'must read' books for scholars of the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, and archaeology. The book's documentation and his far-reaching conclusions about Galilee in the time of the first century CE establish a new standard for works on biblical archaeology.

--- Richard A. Freund, director, Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, University of Hartford

Bethsaida is the only site that has yielded sufficient archaeological remains to shed light on a place pivotal to the ministry of Jesus. For anyone who is interested in the life of Jesus this book is absolutely a must.

--- Rami Arav, Director, Bethsaida Excavations Project, University of Nebraska at Omaha