|Raimo Hakola, Senior researcher
Coexistence and Rivalry: Archeology and the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations in Galilee during the First Centuries CE
The aim of my study is to examine rivalry and interaction between early Jewish and Christian groups in Galilee by integrating recent archaeological material into the study of relevant literary sources. I will focus on the following themes: Christian origins and the social, economical and cultural status of Galilee; Bi- or multicultural identities in Galilee; Jesus and early Christians in the context of local synagogues; Jews and Christians in Galilee in Late Antiquity.
I will ask how different cultural, ethnic and religious traditions developed and interacted with each other. While various literary often encourage their readers to separate from the outside world, I hypothesize that the study of material culture provides evidence for social and cultural mobility and the mutual exchange of various architectural, artistic and conceptual themes and patterns. I suggest that the portraits advocating suspicion and alienation need to be balanced by the evidence – both literary and archaeological – demonstrating parallel developments and shared interests between different groups and traditions.
A crucial part of my study is the participation in the archaeological field work at Horvat Kur, a village settlement on the western foothills of Lake Tiberias. The excavations have exposed a public building identified as a late antique synagogue. In the future, it is possible to explore in detail how this settlement related to its larger social, economic and cultural environment.