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“'Show mercy, that you may be shown mercy.' Roman rule in the eastern provinces was rarely merciful. When, after forty years of iron-fisted rule, Herod the Great finally perished from the earth, the Jews rose up and begged Caesar Augustus to spare them from more of the same from Herod’s sons, who were set to inherit his kingdom. In Galilee, a certain Judas (the son of a famous bandit whom Herod had executed) seized the moment to gather around himself a small following of bandit-rebels. Judas and his band stormed the royal palace in Sepphoris, raided its treasury, armed themselves with weapons from its armory, and began fomenting rebellion around the city. Jesus’s family lived in Nazareth, just a few kilometers from Sepphoris. They would have witnessed what happened next. The Roman governor, Varus, marched from Antioch with two legions to put things back in order. When he arrived at Sepphoris, he burned the city to the ground and sold its inhabitants into slavery. Later he rounded up two thousand of the rebels and crucified them. Jesus would have spent his youth and young adulthood rebuilding that ruined city from the ashes. If he was to imagine a new empire, it would be an empire of mercy."    - Stephen J. Patterson ; The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins

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