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City of Christian Love

The History and Importance of Nazareth

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Raouf Abujaber

City of Christian Love provides a detailed history of Nazareth from the dawn of the Christian Era until today with special focus on the religious communities found in this sacred city, including both the periods of tension and the periods of profound interreligious partnership and solidarity.

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Chapter Two: A Change of Destiny: The Arab Rule, A.D. 637–1099

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Chapter Two

A Change of Destiny

The Arab Rule, A.D. 637–1099

In his reference book titled Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times, J. Spencer Trimingham stated that Jesus must have been in close touch with Arabs. In his homeland of Galilee, he would meet them every day. His active ministry was carried on primarily among the pagan population of Phoenicia, Ituraea, Batanaea and the Decapolis. The earliest Gospel records show that, among the crowds that flocked to see the wonder-worker at the beginning of his ministry, inaugurated beside the Sea of Galilee, there were great numbers from Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem, Idumea and Transjordan, and the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidom (vide Mark 3: 7–8).1

During the start of the Christian Era, the whole area was in the sphere of influence of the Nabateans whose kingdom extended from Damascus in the north to Madai’n Salih in the south and eastwards over the Syrian desert to the Euphrates River.2 This fact seems to have been well realized by the Roman Emperors after the victory of Julius Caesar over Pompey in 48 B.C. This was the time when the Idumean Arab Antipater, who had adopted Judaism as a religion, was appointed as procurator of Judea. The Parthian invasion of 40 B.C. saw the temporary fall of this ← 11 | 12 → Idumean family. Antipater was poisoned and his son Phasael, the prefect of Jerusalem, was killed. Another son, Herod,...

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