I’m creating this post mainly because my blog is empty right now and the blog page has been giving an error message.
This blog is about my books and related stuff. So I’ll talk about first-century Jerusalem, history, archaeology, early Christianity and Judaism. I’m not a theologian and I won’t be talking much about theology. But I will occasionally blog about the history of theology, especially in the first century.
Why the first-century and why Jerusalem? Because three big things happened in that place and time, and they’ve set the course for the last twenty centuries of western civilization.
The first big thing was the Jesus Movement, which began in the early 30s and grew into Christianity. It’s obvious that our world would have been very different without two thousand years of Christianity. But there would have been no Christianity without the Jesus Movement.
The second big thing was the Jewish revolt, which ended with the burning of the Jewish Temple in the year 70 and ended with the disaster on Masada, in either the year 73 or 74. As a result of this catastrophe, the Jesus Movement cut itself off from its Jewish roots and turned into something different. You can decide for yourself if this was good or bad, but without the Jewish revolt, history would have turned out very differently.
The third big thing was the birth of rabbinic Judaism, shortly after the Jewish revolt. Historians have usually given Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai the credit for founding rabbinic Judaism, although it’s probably more complicated than that. Modern Judaism goes back to rabbinic Judaism, so if you are Jewish, then rabbinic Judaism matters to you. If you are Christian, then you should be aware that we would not understand either the New Testament or the Old Testament very well if rabbinic Judaism had not survived.
I write novels set in the first century, in and around Jerusalem. My City of God series is of course named after Jerusalem, and features some time-travelers from our century who go back to Jerusalem shortly before the Jewish revolt. Bad stuff happens. They see it all.
Right now, I’m working on what I’m planning to be a four-book series titled Crown of Thorns. It’ll cover the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
This is the most exciting blog I’ve read in many months. Randy, I always read your newsletters and welcome your advice and have read two of your books finding them real page turners. I spent thirty years as a domestic potter and learnt to read and value some of the stories told by broken shards and I envy you the time you have spent on Archeological digs. I have visited the Holy Land but only as a tourist. Wishing you every success and happiness in your new direction
Hi Carenza: if you’ve worked as a potter, I’ll bet you’d love working on a dig in Israel. I’ve personally handled many thousands of pottery shards and tesserae. And I’ve seen some that were quite extraordinary.