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Glossary - C



Caesarea - Port city and provincial capital of the Roman province of Judea. Herod built a spectacular man-made harbor with two breakwaters to link the country with world commerce.

Caesarea Philippi - Large Hellenistic city rebuilt and renamed by Philip the Tetrarch. Located on Mount Hermon in the upper Jordan Valley near the spring of Panias, one of the three headwaters of the Jordan River, and the site of a great pagan temple dedicated to Pan, the Roman fertility god.

Caiaphas - A high priest of the Jews who presided over the assembly that condemned Jesus to death. (Matt. 26).

Caldarium - Hot room in Roman baths.

Calvary - Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified (Luke 23:33).

Canaan -Old Testament name for the Promised Land. It means "land of purple", referring to the color of the dye produced from shellfish along Canaan's coast. Canaan is at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea where Asia, Europe, and Africa come together.

Canaanite - The word originally meant "merchant" or "trader". Eventually it came to refer to the people of the region.

Capital - The topmost part of a column.

Caravenserai - Courtyard with rooms for lodging.

Ceres - Roman god of earth. Daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

Caryatid - Column in the form of a female figure.

Cella - The great hall of a temple which contained the cult statue.

Central mountains - Region made up of three mountain ranges: Hebron in the south, Judea in the center, and Samaria in the north.

Centurion - An officer in the Roman army in charge of 100 soldiers.

Cherem - Hebrew word meaning "totally given to the Lord", often through destruction. Only God's judgment could reclaim anything placed under this curse.

Christ - The title of Jesus that means "annointed" or "chosen one" in Greek. The Hebrew word is "Messiah." Jesus Christ is God's chosen one to bring salvation to his people.

Church - A group of the followers of Jesus that meets in a certain place. Jesus calls the church his body. Most of the books of the New Testament are letters to churches.

Cistern -Because water in Israel is hard to come by, most ancient cities, towns, and even households used cisterns to catch and store rain runoff from rooftops, courtyards, and even streets. Cisterns were dug by hand out of solid rock and were plastered so they would hold water. They needed constant care because the plaster tended to fall off, which allowed the precious water to leak out. When a cistern failed to hold water, it created a desperate situation for the people who depended on it.

City gates - During Biblical times, city gates protected the entrance to the city and functioned as the center of city life. In various chambers inside the gatehouse, people paid their taxes, settled legal matters, and even met the king. The city gates also provided a gathering place for prophets, kings, priests, judges, and other city leaders.

City of refuge - A place of safety for people who had accidentally killed someone (Deut. 19:1-21).

Coastal plain - Flat, fertile area of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea that comprises the Plain of Sharon in the north and Philistine territory in the south.

Colonnades - Rows of columns spaced evenly apart that support arches or a roof. First-century Roman streets often had colonnades on both sides.

Commandment - A rule or teaching that people should obey. God gives his people commandments to help them live a good life.

Copper Scroll - One of the Dead Sea Scrolls, etched on copper, claiming to identify a great treasure that had been hidden before the Temple was destroyed.

Covenant - An agreement or set of promises made between two parties. When forming a covenant in ancient days, two parties gathered animals, cut each into two parts, and then placed them on the ground so their blood flowed into one stream. Each party walked through the blood, symbolizing that they would pay with their life if they broke the terms of the covenant. God made his covenant with Abram in this familiar way. But instead of making Abram walk the blood path, God, in the form of a blazing torch, walked through the path for him. Knowing Abram couldn't keep his end of the covenant, God's actions effectively said, "If either you or I break this covenant, I will pay for it with my own blood" (Gen. 15). Jesus fulfills this covenant promise.

Creation - God created, or made, the world and the entire universe; it is all his creation. The Bible says every-thing God made was very good. All creation is now hurt by the sin in the world. But one day God will make creation perfect again.

Creche - Nativity scene.

Crucify - To nail or tie a person to a cross until that person died. A cross was made of rough beams of wood nailed together in a "t" shape. Jesus died by this method, which was usually used for criminals.

Curse - To wish that bad things happen to someone or something. God curses, or makes bad things happen, only as a punishment or not obeying him.


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