3.  in Rome Seian’s efforts towards clearing the social barriers between the knights

Volcano Pichincha, hill above the main vent
Volcano Pichincha, hill above the main vent

and the high aristocracy of the emperor led him into a personal disaster. On 18 October 31 CE Tiberius dismissed Seian and immediately had him executed. He restored the power system with the emperor at the top.

Seian’s loss of power weakened the positions of Jesus and of Pilate in Palestine. Jesus had the same power position in Galilee which had led to Seian’s downfall in Rome. This gave Jesus’ adversaries new arguments against the governor’s accumulation of power.

Pilate, as a Roman knight, came from the same social class as Seian and had officially had to cooperate with him in the past. As all of Seian’s contacts were now being checked out in Rome, Pilate had to be sure not to make any more mistakes in future.


Prince Antipas’ new wife used her influence to ensure that Jesus lost his position in about 32 AD. The story that comprises the Passion narrative in the Gospel texts

Jerusalem, ancient column head
Jerusalem, ancient column head

is passed down in the Old Testament as a complete account: Jesus’ conflict with the Jews and his condemnation for blasphemy.

The narrative about Naboth’s vineyard, (1 Kings 21) reflects the conflict between Antipas’ new wife and the governor Jesus. The power-hungry Herodias (= Jezebel) envied the governor Jesus his influence over Antipas (= Ahab) and succeeded in having Naboth (= Jesus) condemned and executed.

Jesus was able to flee to exile in Tyre, but it was the end of his political career: Mark 7:24-30 par. In the New Testament narrative in Mark and Matthew, the conflict between Herodias and Jesus is transmuted into a discussion about whether Jesus, now living in Tyre, was permitted to use his healing power to help a non-Jewish woman (such as Herodias) and her daughter.


Antipas rejected his wife in 31 AD and married his niece Herodias, a granddaughter of Herod. John the Baptist

Jerusalem, model of the temple
Jerusalem, model of the temple

objected to this and criticised Antipas sharply.

The conflict is recounted directly in the Gospels and described in the Old Testament in the Bathsheba narrative, where God instructs the prophet Nathan (= John) to criticise King David (= Antipas).

Josephus describes the events without criticising Antipas’ morals. Texts on the Herodias scandal: 2 Sam. 11f; Mark 6:14-29 par.; Mark 7:24-30 par.; Ant. 18.5.1-2.


III  5   Going separate ways

The two solutions for a Galilean identity developed gradually and existed alongside each other. Antipas obviously hesitated

Gerizim, ancient ruins
Gerizim, ancient ruins

to favour one of the solutions over the other. On the one hand, the monarchist model strengthened his position in the political system; on the other hand, the Jews had a strong lobby and gave important support for his rule.

A decision was only reached when Antipas married his sister-in-law Herodias, in approx. 31 AD. Herodias, a granddaughter of Herod, was aware of the power balance; she saw the governor Jesus as a competitor and urged Antipas to dismiss him. Jesus then went into exile in Tyre in 32 AD.