Christopher B. Zeichmann

A Wordpess Site

New Article in Scripta Classica Israelica

For those interested, an article I co-authored with Fernando Bermejo-Rubio was recently published in Scripta Classica Israelica: Where Were the Romans and What Did They Know? Military and Intelligence Networks as a Probable Factor in Jesus of Nazareth’s Fate. Here is the abstract, for those interested:

In the wake of the Gospels’ accounts, modern scholars do not pay much attention to the role Romans played in Jesus of Nazareth’s arrest, and are prone to give credit to manifestly biased sources. Besides, some misconceptions (e.g. that the military in pre-War Judaea was exclusively confined to its largest cities) prevent them from seriously weighing up the possibility that the role of the Romans in Jesus’ fate was more decisive than usually recognized. In this article, we reconsider a number of issues in order to shed light on this murky topic. First, the nature and functions of the Roman military in Judaea are surveyed (for instance, Palestine before the Jewish War had a robust network of fortlets and fortresses, which Benjamin Isaac has argued largely served to facilitate communication into the hinterlands). Second, we track some traces of anti-Roman resistance in the prefects’ period (6-41 CE), Third, the widely overlooked issue of the intelligence sources available to Roman governors is tackled. Fourth, the extent of the problems of the Passion accounts is seriously taken into account. The insights obtained are then applied to the Gospels’ story, thereby rendering it likely that Pilate had some degree of “intelligence” regarding Jesus and his followers before their encounter in Jerusalem that led to the collective execution at Golgotha.

Finally, that very issue has a nice review of my book by the great scholar Oliver Stoll. For those that care to read it, it can be found here.

Chapter in an upcoming book

Robert Myles has posted the Table of Contents for an upcoming book to which I am contributing, Class Struggle in the New Testament which will be published by Fortress Academic/Lexington Press. The Table of Contents looks amazing!

  1. Class Struggle in the New Testament! (Robert J. Myles)
  2. Jesus, the Temple, and the Crowd: A Way Less Traveled (Neil Elliott)
  3. Romans Go Home? The Military as a Site of Class Struggle in the Roman East and New Testament (Christopher B. Zeichmann)
  4. Peasant Plucking in Mark: Conceptual and Material Issues (Alan H. Cadwallader)
  5. IVDAEA DEVICTA: The Gospels as Imperial “Captive Literature” (Robyn Faith Walsh)
  6. Fishing for Entrepreneurs in the Sea of Galilee? Unmasking Neoliberal Ideology in Biblical Interpretation (Robert J. Myles)
  7. Hand of the Master: Of Slaveholders and the Slave-Relation (Roland Boer and Christina Petterson)
  8. Populist Features in the Gospel of Matthew (Bruce Worthington)
  9. Troubling the Retainer Class in Antiquity (Sarah E. Rollens)
  10. Rethinking Pauline Gift and Social Functions: Class Struggle in Early Christianity? (Taylor Weaver)
  11. The Origin of Archangels: Ideological Mystification of Nobility (Deane Galbraith)
  12. Christian Origins and the Specter of Class: Locating Class Struggle in the New Testament Today (James G. Crossley)

Guest blog post at The Shiloh Project

A recent guest blog post at The Shiloh Project that I wrote has recently been uploaded. The Shiloh Project is important work concerning rape culture and the bible – this particular blog post addresses the healing of the centurion’s slave and how rape culture informs certain interpretations of the passage.

You can find the post here:

New article in Journal for the Jesus Movement in Its Jewish Setting

Just a quick update. An article I wrote for the Journal of the Jesus Movement in Its Jewish Setting was recently published.  The article concerns Mark’s use of Latinisms and the location of its geographic setting.  JJMJS is an open-access journal, so it can be found online free here:


Loanwords or Code-Switching? Latin Transliteration and the Setting of Mark’s Composition


The composition of Mark’s Gospel is variously located in metropolitan Rome, Syria, and Palestine, with nothing close to a consensus emerging. This article takes up one particular line of argumentation for Markan provenance and provides it a clearer methodological and theoretical apparatus, namely the issue of Latin transliteration. Some commentators note that the prevalence of Latin suggests a Roman context, while others contend that Markan vocabulary is consistent with the Roman East. This article examines the distinctive ways in which Latin was transliterated in the aforementioned regions in epigraphs, papyri, and literary texts. Comparative work will indicate that Mark’s use of transliterated Latin verges on incompatible with pre-War Palestine, is quite dissimilar for the city of Rome, but overlaps in significant ways with that of Syria and post-War Palestine. Though this argument is not conclusive about Markan origins in its own right, it may clarify the utility of the argument from Latinisms for future discussions.

New Publications and Indiegogo

This summer has been eventful! Two articles I wrote are now in print:

“The Date of Mark’s Gospel Apart from the Temple and Rumors of War: The Taxation Episode (12:13–17) as Evidence.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 79 (2017): 422–437.

“Capernaum: A ‘Hub’ for the Historical Jesus or the Markan Evangelist?” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 15 (2017): 147–165.


Moreover, I have launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund a new website for the study of the military and the New Testament.  Any contributions would be greatly welcome!

Luckily, nearly all the research is completed for this project!  The issue now is funding the launch of a website for this, Database of Military Inscriptions and Papyri of Early Roman Palestine (DMIPERP).  The website will have lots of neat features:

  • Searchable collection of all known inscriptions and papyri concerning the military and Palestine 63 BC-132 AD, in their original language and English translation. Each will have a bibliography and a brief commentary on its significance.  There are roughly 300 such texts.
  • All inscriptions concerning Christians in the Roman army before Constantine’s reign (306 AD).
  • A map and gazetteer of all military sites in early Roman Palestine, noting when they were used.
  • Cameo essays by experts on how literary sources (Josephus, rabbinic writings, Philo of Alexandria, Tacitus, Eusebius, etc.) can aid the study of the military in early Roman Palestine.
  • Regular updates to include the latest archaeological finds!

Moreover, this will help create materials necessary for my upcoming book, tentatively titled The Roman Army and the New Testament.  This book aims to be both useful for academics and accessible to interested non-specialists – especially ministers, educated laity, and military enthusiasts. The book will cover a range of topics, including the demographics of the military in New Testament times, the role of the military in early Roman Palestine, and discussion of every single instance the military appears in the New Testament.