While excavations of cities, villages, palaces, and art works have their place in providing context for NT texts, the lives of the non-elites—the ninety-nine percent— are increasingly recognized as important to biblical interpretation. This essay presents evidence of disease from archaeological excavations of Late Second Temple Israel and the wider Roman Empire and compares it with modern demographics. In doing so, it seeks to offer insight into the “ordinary folk” who populated the Greco-Roman world at the time of Jesus and the early church.
VOLUME 22, No. 2