4. Why is Emmaus described as "kome", a village, in the Gospel of Luke, while Emmaus (future Nicopolis) is known from Flavius Josephus as a regional center (toparchy)?
Emmaus had acquired the status of a regional center (center of the toparchy) under Antipater and
Hyrcanus II in 47 BC, and appears as such in the list of toparchies given by Flavius Josephus in the "Jewish War", 3, 3, 5, along with Lydda and several other settlements. However, in all of Judea, only Jerusalem had the status of a city ("polis"). The centers of the toparchies did not posses this status since they were big villages. Flavius Josephus himself refers to Lydda as "Kome," a village, in "The Antiquities of the Jews" 20, 6, 2. When Flavius Josephus lists the villages of Palestine as cities, it should be attributed to the characteristics of his style influenced by Jewish language and local traditions. It is also important to note that in the 1st cent. AD (the period of the events described in the Gospel of Luke) Emmaus’ former glory had already been lost due to the sale of its population into slavery in 43 BC (see Flavius Josephus, "The Antiquities of the Jews" 14, 11, 2), and thе fire was set to Emmaus by the Romans in 4 BC (see Flavius Josephus, "The Antiquities of the Jews" 17, 10, 7-9). The consequence of this was the decline of Emmaus and its attribution to the toparchy of Thamna in 66 AD. (see Flavius Josephus, "Jewish war" 2, 20, 4) (Vincent & Abel, "Emmaüs", Paris, 1932, p.291-292, 311-312; for the contrary view, see: W. Zwickel, "Emmaus: ein neue Versuch", Biblische Notizen, Heft 74, Münich, 1994, p. 33-36).