Mark tells us that people were astonished at the authority of Jesus when He taught at the synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 1:21–22). This important Galilean city was located on the main trade route between Damascus and the Mediterranean coastal plain, making it an ideal home base of sorts for our Lord's ministry. In Capernaum, Jesus could teach local Jews and those who were passing through on their way elsewhere. With respect to authority, the Jews paid heed to the teaching of the scribes, who occupied an important place in first-century Jewish society. Scribes were experts in the Old Testament law, and the people regarded their Scriptural interpretations as binding. Because of this, and because scribes took care of the scrolls on which the Bible was written, scribes held seats of honor in the synagogues. One had to be a scribe to sit on the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Jews, and the scribes also served as civil lawyers. In any case, the scribes taught by citing the opinions of various rabbis on different matters, appealing not to their own authority but to the authority of others.