Jews and Christians in Capernaum

Dr. Wally V. Cirafesi, Lecturer in Jewish-Christian Relations

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Course Info

In this course, you will walk through nearly six centuries of Jewish and Christian history in one of the most famous villages from the time of Jesus still standing today, the Capernaum of Galilee. Your lecturer will introduce you to what life was like in this village during Jesus's lifetime, and explore important historical questions about the social and economic status of Jesus's first disciples, the growth of the Jewish Jesus movement in Galilee, the history of ancient synagogues and churches, and the development of Jewish – Christian relations during the time of the Byzantine Empire. By exploring both literary and archaeological sources, this course will challenge you to rethink traditional perceptions of clear dividing lines between "Judaism" and "Christianity" and the so-called "parting of the ways."

Rather than painting with large brush strokes and making sweeping generalizations about these historical developments, this course focuses on one location, where Jews and Christians shared social spaces in a variety of ways for hundreds of years. If you love history and want a high-definition view of the New Testament stories about Jesus and their impact on the formation of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity, then this course is for you!

About Author

Dr. Wally V. Cirafesi

Lecturer in Jewish-Christian Relations

Dr. Wally V. Cirafesi is Pro Futura Scientia Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study and in the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University. He is a scholar of Jewish and Christian antiquity, whose research spans the fields of biblical studies, classical archaeology, rabbinics, patristics, and the early history of Jewish – Christian relations. At present Dr. Cirafesi is focusing his research on the social and institutional evolution of the ancient synagogue in the Roman and Byzantine East, considering how it functioned as a site of entanglement between Jewish and Christian identities from the first to the seventh century of the Common Era.

  • 19 Sessions With historical background and more
  • Earn your certificate in:
    • Jewish Context and Culture
    • Jewish New Testament
  • 410 Active Students From all over the world
  • 5:26 Hours Learn at your pace and convenience


  • Lecture Notes for this Course
  • Plain Text Notes for this Course

Audio lessons

  • 01. Introduction 12:04
  • 02. Everyday Life in Capernaum 13:44
  • 03. Capernaum in History 17:51
  • 04. Capernaum's Telonion Tax 12:05
  • 05. Capernaum's Taxes and Fishing Industry 08:35
  • 06. Capernaum's Industry Networks and Associations 10:46
  • 07. Conclusions about Capernaum's Economy 22:18
  • 08. Synagogue in 1st-Century Capernaum 15:05
  • 09. 1st-Century Synagogues 15:05
  • 10. Plotting the Archaeological Data 17:39
  • 11. Jewish Christ-followers in Capernaum 14:38
  • 12. Historical View of Jewish Christ-followers 07:36
  • 13. Literary and Archaeological Evidence 28:01
  • 14. Historical Construction 22:42
  • 15. The House of Saint Peter 16:11
  • 16. Jewish-Christian Relations in the 4th-5th Century 26:09
  • 17. The Limestone Synagogue 27:01
  • 18. Jewish-Christian Relations in the 6th Century 25:39
  • 19. Everyday Life in Ancient Capernaum 13:20

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