Research Projects


Home Up Nazareth Meal

Daily Life in Jesus’ Time

Bethlehem  1898 Bethlehem


 Research Project and Class Presentations




General Directions: For each group the first slide of your power point presentation should be an outline of your presentation.  

                                      Each person in your group should present some part of the power point presentation.



Group Topic I:  Geography of Palestine


Topics to research and present:


Poster Board : Draw a Map of Ancient Palestine. 

  • Highlight the places where Jesus was born, grew up, traveled during his public ministry, where he was crucified and where his resurrection took place.  

  • Also include the major bodies of water. 


1.  Palestine: The Holy Land

      Why was it called “Palestine”?


2.  Show a map of Palestine and give it’s size in miles. Compare it’s size to the size of Maryland. 


3. Geography of Palestine

      Describe the four types of terrain in Palestine.  Show pictures of these areas on a map.


4. Regions of Palestine

     Describe and show on a map these three regions of Palestine:

          Galilee, Samaria and Judea

     Note their significance in the life of Jesus


5. Modern day Jerusalem

     * Show pictures of modern day Israel.

     * What is the weather like in Israel?  Do they have seasons like we do?

     * What is today’s weather in Jerusalem? 



Group II Topic:  Occupations and the Language of the people


Topics to research and present:


1.   The Common languages at the time of Jesus

                 * What language did Jesus speak? 

                 * The scriptures were written in what language?

                 * What was the common language of the Roman Empire?

                 * Give examples of these Semitic/Aramaic speech forms found in the Gospels:

                        Parallel Statements, Comparisons and Exaggerations

                 * Explain the letters “INRI” on Jesus’ cross.


2.  What were the main occupations during Jesus’ lifetime?  

*   What crops were they farming? 

 *   What animals were kept for food and clothing?

*   What is the major crop of modern day Israel?


3.    For the domestic life of Jesus research the following:

·        The type of house Jesus probably lived in. 

·        What kind of furnishings did they have available to them? 

·        What foods did they eat?  What was a staple food served at all meals?

·        What was the clothing of the day?



Group III Topic:  Religious Feasts and Practices of Jesus’ Time 


Topics to research and present:


  1.   The Synagogue 

                        * Name the three purposes of the synagogue for the Jewish people

                  * Prayers: Write out the Shema and tell of it’s significance to the Jewish people     


  1.   The Temple 

               *     What was the temple used for?  

                                 *     Give a history of the third temple 

·         What is the significance of the Wailing Wall?


      3.  Describe the Feast of the Passover

                            * What are the origins of the feast?

                            * Significance in the life of the Jews?

                            * Describe a modern day Passover Celebration – Seder Meal. 



4.  Give brief summaries of these other Jewish religious holidays: 

* The Day of Atonement

* Pentecost  

* Hanukkah.   




Group IV Topic:  Religious Sects in Jesus’ Time     


Topics to research and present:

  • Give descriptions of the following groups of people and their roles in Jewish society. 

  • Can you compare them to similar groups in modern day America?


 1.   Sadducees

         * What is the Sanhedrin?


2.  Pharisees

        *  Why did Jesus criticize some of the Pharisees?

        *  Give their role in separating the Jewish – Christians from the Jewish People

        *  Read Mark 7:1-23 and use it as an example of the relationship of the Pharisees and Jesus. 


3. The Essenes 

       * Briefly describe the Dead Sea scrolls                         


4. The Zealots


  5.  Other Groups in the New Testament

         * Tax Collectors

         *  Common People

         *  Gentiles

         *  Women



Group V Topic:  Political Climate in First Century Palestine   


Topics to research and present:


1. Palestine as part of the Roman Empire

      * Describe the Roman Empire

      * Why did the Jews hate the Roman Rule?


2.  When did Herod die? How was his kingdom divided?

       * How did Pontius Pilate come in to power?  What kind of a ruler was he?

       * What is the role of a Procurator? (p.72)    


3.  Practice of Slavery

    * Give a description of this practice during 1st Century Palestine

    * Read the Letter to Philemon (In presentation read to the class)

          - What does Paul have to say about slavery



Group VI Topic:  Jewish Beliefs and Practices       


Explain the following religious beliefs of the Jewish people:


1. The Messiah

    *  History of their belief in the Messiah

    *  What kind of Messiah were they waiting for?


2. The Covenant and the Torah

     *   Relate the importance of the Torah and the Law


3. Judgment and Resurrection


4. Spirit World

   * Put 3 of the 6 scripture references about angels (p.76) in your presentation  



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