Haven't you wondered what life was like during those messianic times? I've wondered why God chose that time for a bestowal over times like today. The more I read, the more I realize that a lot had to do with the religion, culture and society of the time; and, sometimes I think with the simplicity as well.
These are the texts I'm currently reading and from which I will quote:
The New Testament Era, Bo Reicke (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1974)
Why The Jews Rejected Jesus, David Klinghoffer (Doubleday, NY, 2005)
Josephus, The Essential Works, Paul L. Maier (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 1994)
Here is one quote from TUB for which I found corroboration in those texts:
139.0.2 Many of these Galilean fishermen carried heavy strains of gentile blood as a result of the forcible conversion of the gentile population of Galilee one hundred years previously.
The following quote describes how Aristobulus I, who reigned 104-103 BC, defeated the Itureans, annexed Galilee to Judea and forced the gentile Aramaic inhabitants to submit to Jewish law. A similar report appears in Josephus (Ant.xiii,318)
The most important event of Aristobulus' reign for religious history was his conquest of Galilee, which he judaized by compelling the people to be circumcised. (Reicke, pg.68)
Other UB quotes explain the difficulty the religious leaders from Jerusalem in Judea had judaizing the gentiles in Galilee:
121.2.12 The Galileans were not regarded with full favor by the Jerusalem religious leaders and rabbinical teachers. Galilee was more gentile than Jewish when Jesus was born.
123.5.7 Nazareth was a caravan way station and crossroads of travel and largely gentile in population; at the same time it was widely known as a center of liberal interpretation of Jewish traditional law. In Galilee the Jews mingled more freely with the gentiles than was their practice in Judea. And of all the cities of Galilee, the Jews of Nazareth were most liberal in their interpretation of the social restrictions based on the fears of contamination as a result of contact with the gentiles. And these conditions gave rise to the common saying in Jerusalem, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”
123.5.12 Nazareth was one of the twenty-four priest centers of the Hebrew nation. But the Galilean priesthood was more liberal in the interpretation of the traditional laws than were the Judean scribes and rabbis. And at Nazareth they were also more liberal regarding the observance of the Sabbath.
None of the Jewish high priests or Hasmonean princes had hitherto been able to exert much influence upon Galilee. . . . The judaizing of the Galileans, begun by Aristobulus, made constant progress, thanks to resettlement, the activity of the Pharisees, and the building of synagogues . . . (Reicke, pg.69)
Jesus' fellow Galileans, the first to hear his message, were famous for being on average less knowledgeable about the Torah than their fellows to the south in Judea. Given the geographic distance from the center of learning, the holy city, this is not surprising. Viewed as rustics, they were recognizable by a countrified way of pronouncing their Aramaic. The better-informed Jews assumed that Galileans would be unfamiliar with the fine points of Jewish religious observance. Rabbinic literature even hints at a strain of hostility to tradition in the Galilee. (Klinghoffer, pg.43)