Rome, Peter, Sea Of Galilee discussed on Travel with Rick Steves
Also listen to our travel with Rick Steves interview with David about the footsteps of St. Paul. It's in our show archives at Rick Steves dot com slash radial. Look for program number four 81. It's from April in 2017. David, watching your documentary on the footsteps of Peter, it really was clear that when you actually travel up to the Sea of Galilee, you can find artifacts that really sort of cause you to go back to a first century AD frame of mind. I mean, you can actually find, as you pointed out, lead weights and needles for mending the nets for the fishermen, and there's actually a boat from the first century that well worn boat with iron Staples holding it together and they call it the Jesus boat, right? Yeah, that was an extraordinary experience when I was making the program on some Peter to be shown this first century fishing boat. It was an extraordinary find, but it put the whole life of Peter and the apostles and their industry into perspective. This isn't a big boat by any means, and you can imagine by being in a boat like this when the storms that come over the sea Galilee and big waves. You can imagine them being absolutely terrified. They're not like great big fishing trawling boats of today. And just by looking at that boat and by being in a close vicinity to it, you really are taken back to the first century. And that is so grounding. It is interesting to look at it from a historical point of view, like capernaum is the place on the Sea of Galilee, where there was the most commerce. And that happened to be where the I think the Jordan River comes into the Sea of Galilee. And that would be where the water was most aerated where there would be the best fishing. And fishing was a big part of the industry. Talk a little bit more about the sightseeing you see around capernaum and what were some of the impactful sites that you saw. Well, the tourist sites are there for everybody to see, and I won't repeat all those. But what I will say is that the early Christians or the early followers of the way, they had to worship in secret, they were very, very persecuted in an area that was ruled by Rome and persecuted by their own, and so the beginnings of the group that were following this rabbi at the time that was preaching such a message that had nothing to do with the local Jewish belief. I mean, here was a man who was saying to his disciples and the poor, the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. This turned the whole worldview of Judaism on its head. So he was quite a revolutionary figure in his day, and that whole area of Galilee and as you walk around it, I think rather than any particular place. If I was saying to anybody, what to do there is obviously yes and go to the tourist sites. But once again I would find moments of peace just walking around the Lake or find somewhere, and just sit quietly, look, gaze and realize that you are there with them. Who was the tent maker of the apostles? That was pole, Paul. That was Paul, he was a tent maker, yeah, that's how he earned his living, and you can find yourself in nomadic communities where there are tent makers today with the same kind of black goat hair tempts. Yeah, that's right. But we got to remember with Paul that he was also one of his bigger assets was that he was also a Roman citizen and there was some theory that his family were perhaps slaves at Rome slaves. But yes, no, he was the tent maker and wherever he went on his travels he would set up his little tent making business. There are these sort of echoes of 2000 year ago economy and civilization, the goat hair tents, the fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, and so on. Getting back to the footsteps of Saint Peter, David, Peter died according to legend in Rome, it's conceivable he would have gone to Rome because this is before the Diaspora when the Romans destroyed the temple and the Jews dispersed all over the known world. I believe that was AD 70. So a couple decades before that, Peter could have gone to Rome because there was actually a Jewish community in Rome that predated the Diaspora, a business community, and that's where the ghetto is in Rome to this day. Tell us about Peter in Rome and what is the veracity of the fact that he was killed there and buried on the Vatican hill and on that cemetery was built St. Peter's Basilica. Well, if you go into the, I'm not quite sure how to pronounce it. I think it's called a chapel, the Santa Maria del popolo, the church there, you will see the most extraordinary painting by Caravaggio of Saint Peter being crucified upside down, and the theory is that he was crucified in Rome and chose not to be crucified the correct way up because that was the way Jesus was crucified so he was he chose to be crucified upside down. If you go and venture to the catacombs in Rome, you will see on a wall, images of Peter, with Paul, and prayers written to both of them on broken tiles. And that would suggest I'm told that Peter could have been buried in the catacombs, and then his ossuary which contained his bones was then later moved to where the Vatican is now. If I'm going to be perfectly honest and I feel that I can do no other. I'm not sure that Peter actually got to Rome because I feel and having read the New Testament in Paul's letters over and over and over and the acts of the apostles over and over and over. Nobody mentions Peter in Rome. Nobody mentions him at all. In fact, Peter just disappears from the acts of the apostles very suddenly and never comes back. We don't actually really know. There's lots of books as books called the bones of Saint Peter and lots of people have written to try and prove that he was there. And it could be the case, but I would like still further proof, because it's not there, Paul never mentions being with Peter in Rome, and you know, I wonder how this little fisherman Peter would feel walking into the Vatican now, called Saint Peter's. I wonder how he would look at that and how he would react. I'm not sure he would have the biggest smile on his face. A billion Roman Catholics loved the idea that Peter was. Yes, and you're not pointing I'm not pointing any fingers at the Catholics. It's just my personal belief that as much as I would like to believe that Peter was in Rome. I think he would have been documented as having gone there because Peter was perhaps with John, one of the very, very favorite disciples and because of that he would have been like a hero to his followers after Jesus Ascension. Also, it would have been big news if he was there. It would have been a big news for him to visit Rome, and there's none there's nothing. There's nothing in the acts of the apostle to say he ever went there. He just suddenly disappears, and what we know is that he wrote to people in Cappadocia, and that's why I went to the cave churches in Cappadocia in gorem, which had just amazing. We know that he wrote to the people in Cappadocia. You know, there's some indication that he wrote about Babylon in one of his letters and people say, well, that was Rome, but you know, I would like to see harder evidence. And if I did see harder evidence, I would applaud it and welcome it, but at the moment my own feeling is that Peter actually didn't get there. Was Babylon a code word for Rome? That's what they say. So it would have been if you're doing anything subversive within the Roman Empire, you wouldn't say something bad about Babylon to be a kind of a wink wink. We're talking about the empire. Yes, yes, absolutely. Of course, there's wonderful inspirational religious sites all over the eastern Mediterranean, but you call Jerusalem what you consider the most religious city anywhere. Let's just close our discussion here about the footsteps of Paul with an image in Jerusalem. What is it about Jerusalem that really takes you back and connects you with your faith? I think standing if you ever go to the Austrian hospice, which is right in the center of Jerusalem and on the actual via de la Russo, where they say that Jesus walked to the cross. If you go into the Austrian hospice and you stand at the very top on its roof, and look around that city, and you'll see the Dome of The Rock, and you'll see different churches and you are aware that this city was fought over, people died for it. There were the crusades. It Islam came and took it from the crusaders, and there is so much blood on that soil that ironically is the religious capital of the world. In the skyline is a commotion of crosses and crescents reminding people that it's such a holy place for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike. And yet it's the place famous for the greatest hostilities. Even today, so poignant and so inspiring to actually go and travel there and I'd encourage anybody who's curious to not wait for things to settle down. I mean, if you're not do that, it's never going to happen. If you want to go to Israel and the Holy Land, do it now, it's perfectly safe from thousands and thousands of people who go there and I highly recommend if you do go to Israel to make sure you cross the wall and go to the West Bank of Palestine as well as Israel and you're both narratives and recognize there's a lot of powerful biblical sites on the Palestine side of the wall as well as in Jerusalem and up in Galilee. Absolutely. Bethlehem. Bethlehem, isn't it interesting to think that Bethlehem, which is in Palestine, you could bicycles from Bethlehem where people believe Jesus was born to Jerusalem where they believe he was crucified. You could bike there in half an hour. But there's a wall that makes it a world apart today. Yeah, it's a sad sad thing that going into Bethlehem and coming out of Bethlehem you have to go through border patrol guards. It's a very, very different world, but close your eyes for one second when you're doing that, and imagine that, to be instead of Israeli guards, Roman gods. Wow. Spoken like a person who's been there and a person who's been there in a very thoughtful way. David suchet, thank you for all of your work and thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. It's been such a pleasure. Travel with Rick Steves is produced by Tim tapton, casm or a hall and Dada bardsley at Rick Steves Europe in Edmonds Washington. Special thanks to vision video and the BBC in London for their help this week. You'll find more at Rick Steves dot com slash radio. My Facebook Friends are a fun community of curious travelers and your invited to join in. To stow away with me in my work, play politics philanthropy and travels, follow me at Rick Steves on Facebook..