A modern English blending of the New Testament

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Anecdotal Memoir

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Glossary to 'Jesus' -- a blending of the Gospels
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The world in which Jesus lived was utterly unlike ours. In order to understand the events of his life, it is necessary to know something of the places and people mentioned and some of the terms used.

The word means "those sent" or "messengers." It is used in the gospels to describe the Twelve, the inner group of Jesus' followers.

A small village in the province of Judea twelve miles south of Jerusalem and approximately ninety miles south of the town of Nazareth, Jesus' boyhood home. It was the village in which Israel's King David was born and is specified in the gospels as the birthplace of Jesus.

The word means "learner." In the gospels, a disciple is one who is both follower and student.

A city on the north shore of lake Galilee. Shortly after beginning his ministry, Jesus left Nazareth and settled there. It was the home city of a number of the apostles, notably Peter, Andrew, James and John.

The word means "the anointed one." It is the equivalent in Greek of the Hebrew word "Messiah."

One of the most eminent of Old Testament prophets. It was commonly believed by the Jews that he would reappear in some fashion to announce the coming of the Messiah.

Both a province and a lake. The province was in the central section of Palestine and was ruled over by Herod Antipas at the time of Jesus' ministry. Lake Galilee is a body of fresh water approximately twelve miles long and eight miles wide, more than six hundred feet below sea level.

There are two Herods referred to in the gospels. Herod the Great, appointed by Rome in 37 BC, was the ruler of all the Palestinian lands of the Jews at the time Jesus was born. He died shortly thereafter in 4 BC. His son, Herod Antipas, is the "King Herod" refered to during the years of Jesus' adulthood. He was not in fact a king but was the Tetrarch of approximately one-third of his father's domain - namely Galilee and Perea - during the years 26-36 AD. His brothers Archelaus and Philip ruled the remainder.

A Jewish political party whose principal objective was to have the Roman governor replaced by one of Herod the Great's descendants.

High Priest
The holder of the highest priestly office. He was president of the Council of the Jews and was, at the time of Jesus' execution, appointed by the Romans. The high priests of that time were prominent and often unscrupulous men - notably Annas (Hanan) and members of his family. At the time Jesus was brought to trial, Annas' son-in-low, Joseph Caiaphas, was the high priest.

The city where Jesus was crucified. It was not only the center of world Jewry but was a great cosmopolitan city some four miles in circumference and surrounded by a high wall with more than one hundred towers. It depended for its prosperity largely on the great numbers of pilgrims who "went up to Jerusalem" for the major festivals of the Jews. It is estimated that at the annual Passover festival the city accomodated as many as a million visitors.

Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven)
The term used to describe God's rule over the world through his power and the exercise of it. The term does not usually refer to a time or place in history. Frequently in the gospels the use of the term suggests that the kingdom is external and in the future, although "close at hand." Jesus (in Matthew 4:17) spoke of the kingdom as being "in your midst."

The body of teaching in the first five books (the Pentateuch) of what is now called the Old Testament - the "books of Moses." Many Jews included as part of the Law the oral "tradition of the Elders."

Interpreters and teachers of the Law. The term would seem to be interchangeable with "scribes."

The Hebrew form of the Greek word "Christ." It was the title given to the savior of Israel promised in the writing of the prophets.

The small village in which Jesus spent the first thirty years of his life. It is situated among the hills in the province of Galilee approximately eighty miles north of Jerusalem. Lake Galilee is eighteen miles to the northeast and the Mediterranean thirty miles to the west.

Probably the most influential religious party among the Jews during the time of Jesus. They were extremely zealous in their commitment to the Law and to "the tradition of the Elders" - a body of ideas and code of conduct that had become at the time so complex it could only be mastered by trained scholars.

Pontius Pilate, the best-known of the seven governors (Procurators) of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea during the years 26-36 AD.

The Hebrew word meaning " my teacher."

A relatively small religious and political party among the Jews. They numbered approximately five thousand. Most were priests; many were wealthy. The Sadducees were distinguished by the fact that they based their beliefs solely on the "books of Moses." They rejected the oral tradition, belief in the resurrection or immortality, and in the commonly held view that the Messiah would soon come to destroy Israel's enemies.

Interpreters and teachers of the Law. The terms would seem to be interchangeable with "lawyers."

In the gospels, the body of Jewish religious writings called today the Old Testament.

Son of David
Another name for the Messiah. It was used by the Jews because of their belief that the Messiah would be a descendant of and the successor to King David of Israel.

Son of man
The title used by Jesus to refer to himself as the one sent by God to save Israel. The writers of the gospels seem to use the word as synonymous with the term "Messiah" but some scholars believe that Jesus often used it without any messianic implications, meaning simply "a man" or "the ideal man." It is also believed by some that Jesus often used the term "son of man" rather than a first-person pronoun to avoid an untimely confrontation with his enemies. In this book, for convenience and clarity, the title " son of man" is usually rendered as the first-person. It is retained where it is essential to the sense of what Jesus is saying.

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