The situation had changed by the time of Antipas, son of Herod, prince of Galilee (4 BC – 39 AD). Antipas had studied in Rome and

learned of the significance of written holy texts. He had also heard poetry readings by Roman poets and seen how important poetry was for the Romans’ self-image and self-confidence.

el Faiyum, pack donkey
el Faiyum, pack donkey

Antipas ruled in Galilee, where there was no great temple comparable with the temple in Jerusalem. During his rule, the Jews took over from the Romans for the first time the idea of writing down their great past in literary form, to give them a cultural identity based on a national literature.

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The traditional narrative about the origin of Old Testament writings states that the Old Testament texts were written

Cairo, old synagogue
Cairo, old synagogue

during the pre-Hellenistic period of the kingdoms of Judea and Israel, with later additions, and were mostly complete by the time of Jesus. Parallels between Jesus’s story and Old Testament texts occurred because the New Testament writers applied the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament to Jesus.

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