Prof. Peter Tomson, at the time was the General Editor of the Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum (CRINT), proposed the publication of this book. The Board of Editors included my mentors, Prof. Menachem Stern and my father Prof. Shmuel Safrai, both of blessed memory, and other scholars from the previous generation whose research strongly influenced our understanding of the period when Christianity was founded and Judaism began to assume its present form.
Eventually I also became involved in the series in a minor capacity. The idea of this book was to present the major sources pertaining to the intellectual preoccupation with the Holy Land. This concept eventually grew and expanded into the basis for the present book.
Prof. Joshua Schwartz joined Prof. Peter Tomson as a General Editor of CRINT, and he and Prof. Tomsen were of great help in determining the format of the book. They read many of the chapters in various forms and offered advice as to what should be included and what should not. Prof. Tomson edited the final version of the book while still in CRINT, and much of his wisdom is invested in this text. I am very grateful to him.
The book has undergone many incarnations and at each junction. I was assisted by my friend, Prof. Joshua Schwartz, who is also my colleague in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar Ilan. In the English editing of the book I was assisted by Mrs. Miriam Schlusselberg, my friend on Kibbutz Yavne, and by Mr. Piper Hollier, who meticulously edited the entire book, and thanks to whom many errors and misunderstandings were prevented and the book assumed its present form.
I am grateful to the Editorial Board of the Jewish and Christian Perspective Series, BRILL, Leiden, Prof. Alberdina Houtman, Prof. Joshua Schwartz, Prof. Marcel Poorthuis and Prof. David Golinkin, for accepting the book in its final form. The final editing was done by Freek van der Steen, MA, the JCP Series Editor. I thank him for expediting the process and for solving all the remaining problems. Without his efforts, the book would not have been completed. I would also like to thank my student and friend Dr. Yoel Fixler, who helped to assemble and prepare the illustrations. My thanks to all of them.
I am happy to thank – for different reasons – my wife Dina, who helps me to devote my time to teaching, research and writing, and, of course, I must thank our Creator: Everything is done according to His word and everything is done in His honor.