See Suzanne F. Singer, “The Winter Palaces of Jericho,” BAR 03:02.



Leroy Waterman, Preliminary Report of Michigan Excavations at Sepphoris, Palestine, in 1931 (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1937), p. v. The name Sepphoris means “bird” because (according to a post-Biblical source) it is perched on a hill like a bird (pp. 18, 26).


Sean Freyne, Galilee from Alexander the Great to Hadrian, 323 B.C.E. to 135 C.E. (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1980), p. 123; Josephus, War of the Jews 2.56; Antiquities of the Jews 17.271f.


Josephus, Life 232.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18.27.


The report of this project has been published in my article, “Subsurface Interface Radar at Sepphoris, Israel, 1985,” Journal of Field Archaeology 14 (Spring 1987), pp. 1–8.


Shirley Jackson Case, Jesus, A New Biography (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1927), pp. 205f., and “Jesus and Sepphoris,” Journal of Biblical Literature 45 (1926), p. 18.


Virgil, Aeneid 1.420-429.


Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1963), p. 210.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 17.319.


Jack P. Lewis, The Gospel According to Matthew, Part II (Austin, TX: Sweet Publishing, 1976), p. 61.


John R. Donahue, The Gospel in Parable (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988), p. 75.


Eta Linnemann, Jesus of the Parables (New York Harper & Row, 1966), p. 110.


Donahue, Gospel in Parable, p. 142, C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom (London: Nisbet, 1936), p. 114.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18.252.


The image of king and God as king appear frequently in the Old Testament.


Richard A. Batey, “Jesus and the Theatre,” New Testament Studies 30 (October 1984), pp. 563f.; Ulrich Wilckens, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. G. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972), vol. 7, pp. 567f.


F.V. Filson, A Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (New York Harper & Bros., 1960), p. 93. Also Alexander Jones, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1965), p. 85; David Hill, The Gospel of Matthew (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1972), p. 133; Lewis, Gospel According to Matthew, Part 1, p. 99.


John P. Meier, Matthew (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1980), p. 58. “The classical meaning of the Greek word is ‘actor in a play.’ The corresponding Aramaic word means ‘a profane person.’ A second-century rabbi remarked acidly that ‘there are ten portions of hypocrisy in the world, and nine of them are in Jerusalem,’” Sherman E. Johnson, “The Gospel According to Matthew,” The Interpreter’s Bible (New York: Abingdon, 1951), vol. 7, p. 306.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 15.268.


James F. Strange pointed out to me that the Greek word translated “street corners” (plataon) is plural of plateia or colonnaded street. The main street of Sepphoris is referred to as palatia in rabbinic sources. (See Berakhot 3; Y Ketubbot 1.10). Strange translates the passage in Matthew as, “And when you pray, you must not be like actors, for they love to stand and pray in [public] assemblies and on the corners of the [colonnaded] streets to be seen by people.” Strange stated this idea in an unpublished paper read at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (Nov. 20, 1988).


Lewis, Gospel According to Matthew, Part 1, pp. 98f. Rabbi Halafta, a first-century rabbi, made it a religious custom at Sepphoris, the residence of influential priestly families, to sound a ram’s horn or a trumpet after benedictions (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 27a and Ta’anit 16b).


Margarete Bieber,The History of the Greek and Roman Theater (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1961), p. 161.


The urbanization of Galilee points to the probability that Jesus spoke Greek as well as Aramaic. Present-day debates among New Testament scholars are turning from the question of whether or not Jesus spoke Greek to how well he spoke Greek. Careful study of the Greek text of the Gospels has led some scholars to conclude that a number of parables were composed originally in Greek rather than Aramaic. Batey, “Jesus and the Theatre,” p. 572, note 2; Robert W. Funk, Parables and Presence (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982), p. 28.