V  10  Other early Christian groups

Many of the rebels referred to both Jesus and Judas the Galilean. These Christians accused the church

EpEphesus, floor mosaic
Ephesus, floor mosaic

under Peter’s successor of betraying the original ideals of a politically active Messiah: Mark 14:66ff par.

The Judas-Christians were not excluded from the church during the unification process until after the failure of the Jewish revolt in 70 AD.

Because the title of Messiah was a ruler’s title, the Herodian princes had first claim to the title. King Agrippa I made efforts to appear to be Jesus’ successor.

If the Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD had been successful, the Jewish victors would have had to offer Agrippa II the crown of the new state.

There are no indications of the Herod family being integrated into early Christianity, in contrast to Old Testament Judaism.


Jesus the Messiah
During the Armenian crisis, Jesus was selected in 35 AD by the citizens of Caesarea Philippi to succeed Philip. He was proclaimed

Jerusalem, Temple Mount (north)
Jerusalem, Temple Mount (north)

as the Jewish Messiah by John the Baptist and went with many followers to Mt. Gerizim in Samaria in 36 AD.

Being proclaimed Messiah increased Jesus’ popularity; he was now definitely a star and a beacon of hope for all Jews and for many others in the Roman East.


The people of Samaria were now also caught up in the general euphoria and joined in the enthusiastic celebration of Jesus

Jerusalem, view from Mount of Olives
Jerusalem, view from Mount of Olives

as Messiah. Jesus made a triumphal progress through Samaria, starting in Caesarea Philippi and ending at the holy mountain Gerizim in Samaria. The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem give an example of the enthusiasm with which the crowds greeted him.

The synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke compress the whole story of Jesus into one year: the year between Jesus being proclaimed as Messiah in 35 AD and his execution in the spring of 36 AD. However, this year was preceded by a long period where Jesus worked as governor of Galilee.

The Absalom narrative in 2 Sam. 15ff, the oldest account of Jesus’ triumphal progress, mentions a cleverly planned rebellion. Whether this was really a rebellion is doubtful, however, and the topic will yield plenty of material for further discussions. Ant. 18.4.1; Mark 11:1-10 par.; 2 Sam. 15; 1 Kings 13:23ff.


After Jesus’ election as Philip’s successor, John the Baptist proclaimed that he was the Jewish Messiah: 1 Kings 13:23. The people of Galilee

Jerusalem, view from Mount of Olives
Jerusalem, view from Mount of Olives

hailed him as the King of Israel and Antipas was forced to flee from the furious population that associated themselves with Jesus: 2 Sam. 15:14. Jesus journeyed in triumph through Galilee to Samaria, the location of the old holy places of the northern Israelite kingdom.


During the Armenian crisis the citizens of Caesarea Philippi were seeking a successor for their city’s vacant throne;

Qumran caves
Qumran caves

Philip their prince had died in 33 AD. They chose Jesus who was living in exile, the ex-governor of Galilee, whom the citizens remembered as a devoted father of his country.

So Jesus was recalled from Tyre and appointed as the designated prince of Caesarea Philippi, referred to in the language of that time as the anointed one, the Messiah. In making this choice, the citizens of Caesarea Philippi linked it to the hope of political independence from Rome alongside the Parthian great power: Mark 8:27-30 par.

Continue reading “092”


5.1.3.Antipas was the natural candidate for the title Messiah. Messiah is a Jewish title for king, and after his brother Archelaus was banished


Galilee, date palm
Galilee, date palm

Galiläa, Dattelpalmein 6 AD, Antipas was the highest-ranking member of Herod’s family, the ruling dynasty, so he had a claim to the highest title, that of king or Messiah.

Antipas was an educated monarch: he had studied in Rome; he had diplomatic skills; he brought prosperity and civil rights to Galilee and Perea, the areas that he ruled.

His subjects’ lives were much better than those of their parents – an important benchmark – and they lived in a community ruled by a Jewish king; the Roman Empire did not weigh on the citizens.


V. Christianity

Literature: Hammer, Heinrich: Traktat vom Samaritaner­messias. Studien zur Frage der Existenz und Abstammung Jesu, Bonn 1913 – Neumann, Johannes: Der Galiläische Messias, Hamburg 1986. – ibid.: Der Stern von Bethlehem aus der Sicht der Astronomie, der Geschichtswissenschaft und der antiken Astrologie, Radebeul 2005. – ibid.: War Jesus Statthalter von Galiläa?, Radebeul 2009, pp.1-40. – ibid.: War Markus ein Dichter?, in: ibid.: War Jesus Statthalter von Galiläa?, Radebeul 2009, pp.43-92. – Schille, Gottfried: An­fänge der Kirche. Erwä­gungen zur apostoli­schen Frühgeschichte, Munich 1966. – ibid.: Osterglaube, Berlin 1972

V  1   Antipas

Antipas does not feature in the dominant master narrative about the origins of Christianity.

Nazareth, Church of the Annunciation
Nazareth, Church of the Annunciation

In the new theses on the origin of Christianity, Antipas plays a decisive role as follows:

The Christian anticipation of the Messiah began with the Jewish prince Antipas who Jesus saw as the Messiah on earth for the Jews of his time.