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RE: [Synoptic-L] Virtue and Poverty

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  • Weaks, Joe
    Mark, et al, I agree in several aspects. Interesting that the Is not this the carpenter/carpenter s son/Joseph s son? tradition directly makes the opposing
    Message 1 of 35 , Apr 7, 2010
      Mark, et al,

      I agree in several aspects.
      Interesting that the "Is not this the carpenter/carpenter's son/Joseph's son?" tradition directly makes the opposing case.


      Rev. Joseph A. Weaks, Ph.D.
      Raytown Christian Church

      From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Matson, Mark (Academic) [MAMatson@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 2:47 PM
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Virtue and Poverty


      I agree especially with your conclusion: "I don't believe the "dirt-poor peasant" thingy."

      I am not as confident of your description of all the relatives of Jesus and their social location (I guess I'm not as confident of them being relatives!). That being said, though, I think you very astutely have sensed the complexity of the situation. I like your description of Jesus as an educated proto-Rabbi, and your conclusion that people did not just drop things for a nobody. This, by the way, is the scene described in the Gospel of John, where Jesus seems to have been known by John B., and then his early disciples come from John B's group, and then they seem to have a parallel ministry. Moreover in John's gospel, Jesus is engaged as an "equal" with Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. This of course does not fit the model of the "peasant cynic" model, but perhaps better explains how Jesus could have been as well known as he was and viewed as dangerous to the prevailing religious environment.

      I just am a bit nervous about extrapolations form a social scientific reconstruction of ancient Israel that presumes a lot we don't know.


      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College

      > To: Synoptic
      > Cc: GPG
      > In Response To: Chuck Jones
      > On: The Poverty of Jesus
      > From: Bruce
      > CHUCK: No offense, but you are modeling anachronistic interpretation.
      > BRUCE: None taken, but imputations are not argument, and this
      > particular imputation happens to be incorrect. I am looking, as best I
      > can, at Jesus and his times, as near as we can know them through the
      > best available sources.
      > CHUCK: A tekton was in the artisan class. Artisans were less
      > financially stable than landed peasants (sharecroppers), because
      > landed peasants at least knew which 40 acres they would be working
      > each year.
      > BRUCE: Non sequitur. Knowing which 40 acres is psycnologically
      > comforting, no doubt, but it doesn't prove that anything will grow on
      > them in a bad year. That there were bad farm years, and indeed bad
      > famines, in the early 1c in our area of interest, seems to be a matter
      > of record. So the idea that farming is an intrinsically stable way of
      > feeding yourself will not hold.

      We all know that we have to wade through thick weeds of agenda-driven
      inventions in the Gospels and mine through all sorts of text, literary, and
      source criticism in our attempts to pull out historical contexts. As a
      result there are some things we just cannot be sure is not midrash, like the
      birth in Bethlehem and almost certainly the sojourn in Egypt. There are
      some clues in the texts and early historians that weighed against the social
      anthropology of the time weigh against the Bar Yahosef family being dirt
      poor peasants. First, the sayings, parables and aphorisms of Jesus clearly
      demonstrate a literate, educated "proto-Rabbi" and probably tri-lingual.
      Poor kids did not get this type of education. Secondly, all of Yeshua's
      immediate family appear to be very well off. His paternal cousins, and
      disciples, Mattaya and Ya'qub Bar Halpy (Matthew and James, the lesser) are
      joined by their mother, Jesus' aunt, the "other Mary" (wife of
      Clopas/Alphaeus) who helps support the group, along with aunt Salome, "out
      of their means." Cousin Matthew had to cough up the equivalent of about
      fifty grand in today's money to purchase the border tax franchise and that
      money came from his dad, Joseph/Yahosef's brother. That means grandfather
      Ya'aqub (according to the Matthean Genealogy), the namesake for both Jesus'
      brother ands for the "lesser James" had to have means and so would Yahosef.
      Maryam's sister Shalomzion/Salome was married to Zebedee who owned a
      partnership in a fishing fleet bringing in two more disciple/cousins,
      Ya'qub, the "greater" and Yohanan who worked with the sons of their partner
      Yonah, Shymeon/Kefa and Andreas. These people didn't just drop what they
      were doing and follow a peasant. The KNEW Jesus all his life.

      The author of Matthew goes out of his way to midrash Jesus as the "new
      Moses" who was born in slavery and poverty and "came out of Egypt" to do
      God's bidding.

      I don't believe the "dirt-poor peasant" thingy.


      Jack Kilmon
      San Antonio, TX


      Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links


      Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
    • Chuck Jones
      Jack, There was no personal income tax back then.  The owner of the land was taxed on the harvest, not the workers on the land.  The more you tax the owner,
      Message 35 of 35 , Apr 10, 2010

        There was no personal income tax back then.  The owner of the land was taxed on the harvest, not the workers on the land.  The more you tax the owner, the less is left for wages.  This was far from the only dynamic in play in the poverty of peasants, but that's the way it worked.


        --- On Fri, 4/9/10, Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:

        I have to admit that by modern example killing the geese that lay the golden

        eggs seems just as stupid now as it was then.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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