Household Courtyard Access
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Doric Order Columns 112

Ornate Fresco Meeting Rooms

Ancient PompeiiNumerous rooms in the spacious Palatial Mansion in Jerusalem were arranged around a courtyard with access from the street. The ornate frescoes in many of the rooms testify to strong Hellenistic or Greek influences similar to those seen at Pompeii. Two prominent features are worth mentioning. The large reception hall measured twenty four feet wide and thirty three feet long (792 square feet) and access from the courtyard was through a buffer room to which other areas are reached.

Meeting Room

Doric Order ColumnsE. Earl Ellis in "Pauline Theology - Ministry and Society" explains, "This reception hall could have accommodated seventy five people. Access to three other smaller rooms from the household courtyard was gained only by passing through this room. The ornamental frescoes which were produced by adding color to fresh wall plaster of ionic columns bearing a schematic Doric frieze in these rooms suggest a public character. "Fresco" is an Italian word meaning "fresh." The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City contains a very famous fresco "The Last Judgement" painted by Michelangelo (1475-1564 AD). Taken together, the reception hall and the smaller adjoining rooms in the Palatial Mansion in Jerusalem would have accommodated about one hundred people quite comfortably."

Ritual Baths and Baptism

Hand WashingThe second feature of this house is the water installations on the lower level. In addition to a small, tastefully decorated bathroom, there were two large ritual baths, each with a double entrance. The Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad suggests that Acts 6.7 which reads, "So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith" emphasizes the ritual cleanliness in the Christian household which borders on "a cult of immersion." This seems to discount however the changing power of the Christian Gospel, the conversion of so many people and the baptisms which would have inevitably followed.✞

"Household Courtyard Access"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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