if you can find it,'Marketplace 29 AD - Life in Bible Times' has some wonderful ideas for explaining life in Jesus' times.

Marketplace 29AD: author has retired and is no longer in print. But, Group will be including his ideas and lesson style in future VBS material.

The first is Holyland Adventure Jerusalem Marketplace (2005) Group VBS - Marketplace was one of his Lesson Plans and group has turned it into a VBS program using all the material from his Marketplace Lesson Set.

Biblical Arts Festival

Educational Ministries used to have a book called "Biblical Arts Festival" that had things like pottery, weaving, and metal smithing. Also, "The Life and Times of Jesus" by Readers Digest had some great information on occupations. Other resources you could use is a good Bible Atlas.

Some occupations you might think about are pottery (perhaps you have a local artist or community college that you could use?), weaving, fishing, shepherd, priest/rabbi, to name a few. Remember Lydia was a seller of purple cloth! You could have lots of fun with this one!

Two good resource books I have used: "Palestine 30 A.D.:You Are There, Britton, ISBN 0-940754-38-X. It gives information and activities on The Potter's House, Market Place, Carpenter Shop, the Scribes, Weavers,and Temple Musicians. for Old Testament - "Old Testament Days", Sanders, ISBN1-55652-354-8. Full of information and activities.

Have fun!

The book "Bible Times Crafts for Kids" by Group publishing is a great resource for Bible times occupations and projects. We did Marketplace 29 A.D. for Bible school this summer, which, as was mentioned, has a lot of information, but I used this book in conjunction with the Marketplace info. It gives very specific instructions, age recommendations, resources and time requirements for all of the projects.

You can include making fishing nets when you include a lesson on fishing. They are basically simple knots -- you can find ideas in old macrame books. If you need more specific instructions, e mail me at jderden@chartertn.net and I'll send you a copy of the instructions I used for VBS several years ago.



I was reading this weekend that the archaeology of Galilee shows that it had a well-developed economy at the time of Jesus, and was MUCH more populated then even now. Villages had several thousands of people in them all doing various type of industry.

Individual households might be engaged in two or three economic enterprises: the women, in particular, were occupied with "cottage industry" type activities, such as clothes making, utensil selling, food preparation, lodging, pottery, and garden produce raising.

Employment was high during the time of Jesus, business was good. The Romans spent money and their presence actually created prosperity.

Our "pastoral" or primitive images of the fisherman on Galilee even need re-thinking. The docks at Peter's homebase of Capernaum were large, well-built and busy. Indeed, it is likely that Peter was no "poor" fisherman, but instead, owned and operated several boats.

Many of the people Jesus encountered and spoke with were middle class, not the down-trodden, wretched-refuse we were taught in Sunday School . Jesus sought to change middle class minds towards the condition of their own souls, in addition to that of the fringe populations --poor and thus excluded because of some personal calamity. Galilee was healthy and wealthy, not full of poor people.

Hope this helps in your planning and thinking. <>< Neil MacQ

how about fishing - in Jesus' time and now, care of animals (if you could get some sheep, ducks, etc.) that would be great. Actually when I did Marketplace 29 AD several years ago with another church - we have all the "workshops" outside - although we did not call them workshops - they were just shops in a village where Jesus might have visited.

I just found a really neat book that would be very helpful for many workshops. It's called "Lamps, Scrolls & Goatskin Bottles" by Julia B. Hans, published by Standard Publishing. It's got interesting background/historical information, scriptures, activities, crafts and pictures. Chapter 6 is "Farms, Fields and Marketplaces" and covers seed time and harvest, threshing and winnowing, vineyards, olives and figs, sheep/shepherds, rod and staff, skilled craftsmen, potters, carpenters, stone masons, metal workers, tanners, and marketplace.

Good luck!

Julie Burton, DCE
1st Presbyterian, Sapulpa, OK

A Well

regarding the suggestion about the well - if you can get some red bricks build a small, round well in your gathering area. put a bucket in this well and fill with water. Sometime during each workshop have the children come to the well to get water (have a ladle handy). One of the gathering places in a Biblical village was the well. People, mostly the women, met there daily to get water for the day and to hear the latest news. Perhaps if everyone gathered at the well in your meeting or opening place - this is where they could hear the story of the day!

Another really good book (besides the Goatskin one) is Daily Life at the Time of Jesus by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, Concordia Publishing House. It has beautiful pictures and one page each on many different occupations including carpentry, weaving, olive pressing, grain making, shepherding, wine-making, mosaics, etc. A really great book. I think I got it from Christian Book Distributors, but I'm not sure.

Good luck! Sounds like fun. I wish we were already planning our rotations for next summer!!!


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