The Jewish Roots of Christianity



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Arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport and transportation to the hotel in Jerusalem

  • Welcome and opening

* Overnight in Jerusalem


Topic: The Jewish roots of Christianity

Israel Museum

  • The Shrine of the Book:
    • Sects in the Second Temple period
    • The Dead Sea Scrolls and the origins of Christianity


  • Second Temple period Jerusalem model:
    • Jerusalem in the time of Jesus
    • Jerusalem in the time of the Great Revolt


  • Biblical Archaeology Wing:
    • Focus on the main archaeological artifacts related to the Second Temple period and the New Testament


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Guided tour at the Mount Scopus campus.


  • Lecture: “The Jewish Roots of Christianity: What was the  Judaism of the first Christians?”
    • Shabbat
    • The Synagogue
    • Ritual baths and purification
    • Kosher customs
    • The Temple


  • Lecture: John the Baptist and eschatological prophecy
    • The historical traditions about John the Baptist
    • The religion of John the Baptist in light of Jewish eschatology
    • John the Baptist and the Essene tradition
    • John the Baptist according to history and archaeology

* Overnight in Jerusalem


Topic: Jesus and the Temple

The Temple Mount:

  • Herod’s Temple


Mount of Olives:

  • Mount of Olives in Judaism and early Christianity – eschatological prophecies and traditions
  • Jesus and the Mount of Olives


Dominus Flevit:

  • The prophecy of Jesus, an historical fact?


The Pool of Siloam: What was Jesus doing there?

  • Purification in Second Temple Judaism
  • Mikvaot (ritual baths) around the Temple


The Davidson Center and The Archaeological Park of Jerusalem:

  • The Temple of Jerusalem in the vision of Jesus
  • The cleansing of the Temple

* Overnight in Jerusalem

Judean mountains and Judean Desert

Topic: John the Baptist and Jesus

  • The Church of St. John the Baptist at Ein Karem
    • The birthplace of John the Baptist?


  • Kibbutz Tzuba: “The cave of John the Baptist”.
    • John the Baptist in light of archaeology
    • The image of John the Baptist in the Byzantine period


  • Qasser Al Yahud – The Baptismal of Jesus in the Jordan River
    • The traditions related to the site
    • The Jordan River as a purifying location
    • The meaning of baptism in the vision of John the Baptist
    • The baptism of Jesus


  • Qumran
    • The Essenes and the Yahad Community
    • John the Baptist and the Qumran community: possible influences

* Overnight in Dead Sea

Judean Desert and Beit Shean

Topic: The social structure in the Land of Israel in the Second Temple period


  • The story of Zacchaeus: A sociological analysis
  • The biblical curse of Jericho and the presence of Jesus in the city: a contradiction?


Beit Shean:

  • What were the Decapolis?
  • Why does Jesus mention the Decapolis?

* Overnight in Tiberias


Topic: In the footsteps of Jesus, Part 1

Sailing on the Sea of Galilee

  • The Sea of Galilee in Judaism and Christianity


Museum of the ancient boat from the 1st century:

  • The history of the discovery
  • Is this boat related to Jesus?


Mount of Beatitudes

  • The Sermon of the Mountain and it’s Jewish sources
  • Jesus as the “Second Moses”


Caesarea Philippi (Banias)

  • Jesus is recognized as the Messiah
  • Did Jesus establish a church?
  • What did Jesus look for in a pagan city?



  • The story of the Gerasene demoniac
  • The theological symbolism of the story
  • Jesus in a strange land

* Overnight in Tiberias


Topic: In the footsteps of Jesus, Part 2


  • “Town of Fishermen”, what does it mean?
  • The controversy around the geographical identification of Bethsaida
  • Jesus in Bethsaida
  • The curse of Bethsaida


Capernaum – “The Town of Jesus”

  • Why did Jesus choose Capernaum?
  • Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum
  • The archaeological evidence
  • The curse of Capernaum



  • Jesus and Mary Magdalene
  • The Synagogues of Magdala
  • Did Jesus visit Magdala?



  • The curse of Jesus, why Chorazin?
  • The meaning of the expression: “the Chair of Moses” (Matthew 23:2)

* Overnight in Tiberias


Topic: Jesus of Nazareth

Cana in the Galilee:

  • The miracle of wine: the importance of wine in a Jewish wedding
  • “Could any good thing come out of Nazareth?”, what does this expression mean?



  • Sepphoris in Second Temple Period
  • Traditions related to Mary, the mother of Jesus
  • Could Jesus have visited Sepphoris during his childhood?



  • Nazareth Village
    • Daily life in Nazareth and the Galilee in the time of Jesus
  • Basilica of the Annunciation
    • Where was Jesus born?
    • The archaeological evidence
    • The controversy between Bethlehem and Nazareth

* Overnight in Jerusalem


Topic: The last moments of Jesus


  • The meaning of the name
  • The concept of “Techum Shabbat” (the boundary of Shabbat)


Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu:

  • The house of Caiaphas?
  • The Jewish Sanhedrin – its role and function in the Second Temple period
  • The historicity of the story of Jesus in the house of Caiaphas
  • The archaeological evidence



  • The “Seder of Pesach”
  • Qorban Pesach” in the Second Temple period
  • The location of the Upper Room: from an archaeological and theological approach


Tower of David Museum:

  • Herod’s palace and the site of Jesus’ trial
  • The alternative Via Dolorosa


Pools of Bethesda:

  • The archaeological evidence
  • The function of the pools – tradition of healing
  • Jesus and the Shabbat


The Holy Sepulcher:

  • Burial customs in Second Temple period Judaism
  • A historical analysis of the burial place of Jesus


The Garden Tomb:

  • Burial practices in Second Temple period Judaism
  • A historical analysis of the burial place of Jesus

* Overnight in Jerusalem

Transport to Ben Gurion airport