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Cities RE: [Synoptic-L] Luke and the Rich

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Thanks-- But this just makes it all the more puzzling to me that Luke, like the other Gospels, ignores Sepphoris and Tiberias. Bob Schacht Northern Arizona
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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      At 11:35 AM 6/6/2012, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:
      >Bob:
      >
      >One other feature about to whom Luke is addressing various gospel
      >material on the "rich/poor" theme:
      >
      >I just finished a little article on the role of the "city" in the
      >NT. One feature that stands out is the way that Luke has a bias
      >towards cities in Luke & Acts. In Acts this is easy to see --
      >virtually all the major evangelization (and especially the Pauline
      >evangelization) takes place in cities. In the gospel it is less
      >obvious, but still there. For instance, there is a greater emphasis
      >on Jerusalem (in the birth narrative, and then in the
      >post-resurrection narratives). But Luke tends to see a number of
      >villages as "cities" -- so Luke calls Nazareth and
      >Bethlehem Capernaum, Nain and Bethsaida "cities (polis)" (compare
      >other gospels). This suggests to me that Luke has a bit of an urban bias.
      >
      >Where that is important is that cities in antiquity were primarily
      >places for elites. Of course slaves and trade people too, but these
      >generally were there to support the elites. The truly "poor" who
      >did not serve a purpose for the elite population were usually kept
      >outside the city. (cf. Gideon Sjoberg, The Preindustrial city). At
      >any rate, cities were the places to find the elites.... and Luke
      >seems to have a subtle urban bias.
      >
      >Just a little supporting data to this discussion.

      Thanks--
      But this just makes it all the more puzzling to me that Luke, like
      the other Gospels, ignores Sepphoris and Tiberias.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Matson, Mark (Academic)
      Bob: Yup, I struggled with Sepphoris and Tiberias absence as well. VERY curious. Here s my take: 1. I think Luke is essentially dependent for data on the
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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        Bob:

        Yup, I struggled with Sepphoris and Tiberias absence as well. VERY curious.

        Here's my take:

        1. I think Luke is essentially dependent for data on the Jesus story on Mark & Matthew (and well, for those who know me, I think John's a source too). And Mark and Matthew do not record anything about the cities of Sepphoris or Tiberias, so Luke doesn't either, even though he has this urban bias.

        2. The synoptics generally have a relatively simple bifurcated approach to Jesus' ministry: The first part is rural and is located in Galilee; the second part is in Jerusalem. We have then a narrative conflict between north and south, rural and urban, non-elites and elites. This is over simplifying, of course, but at the least the overall pattern is there. In this pattern, coming primarily from Mark, there is a choice of stories about Jesus that stem from Galille / rural settings and with rural motifs. In some ways this is to create the stark difference to Jerusalem, the city of the Jewish and Roman leaders. Just as Mark has truncated an undoubtedly longer and more complex ministry to one year and one passover in Jerusalem, this same simple pattern is part of Mark's storytelling technique. Matthew follows, as does Luke (with some modification, that is the long travel narrative)

        3. John of course has a very different plan, with Jesus in Jerusalem many times. And notably with very little of the Galilee material. And yet, alas, no Sepphoris or Tiberias.

        4. I think it is likely that (the historical) Jesus did have a rural bias, perhaps built around a prophetic model. I definitely think Mark thought he had this bias, and so constructed his story, to be followed by others.

        5. Cities, then, represent dangerous places -- dangerous because of excessive wealth and power, dangerous because of temptations, dangerous because Jesus gets killed there, etc. Part of this may be a political danger. And Sepphoris (early on) and Tiberias later are the seat of Herod's power. Perhaps to avoid this political issue Jesus avoids these places and generally avoids Jerusalem... but of course as the central temple city in a religon based in part on pilgrimage feasts, he can't avoid it altogether. And "snap" when he does he's caught. (this is at least G Mark's take on it)

        6. While Luke has an urban bias, he is unable to fundamentally change the structure already handed him by Mark/Matthew.

        mark
        Mark A. Matson
        Milligan College
        http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
        ________________________________________
        Bob Schacht [r_schacht@...]
        >One other feature about to whom Luke is addressing various gospel
        >material on the "rich/poor" theme:
        >
        >I just finished a little article on the role of the "city" in the
        >NT. One feature that stands out is the way that Luke has a bias
        >towards cities in Luke & Acts. In Acts this is easy to see --
        >virtually all the major evangelization (and especially the Pauline
        >evangelization) takes place in cities. In the gospel it is less
        >obvious, but still there. For instance, there is a greater emphasis
        >on Jerusalem (in the birth narrative, and then in the
        >post-resurrection narratives). But Luke tends to see a number of
        >villages as "cities" -- so Luke calls Nazareth and
        >Bethlehem Capernaum, Nain and Bethsaida "cities (polis)" (compare
        >other gospels). This suggests to me that Luke has a bit of an urban bias.
        >
        >Where that is important is that cities in antiquity were primarily
        >places for elites. Of course slaves and trade people too, but these
        >generally were there to support the elites. The truly "poor" who
        >did not serve a purpose for the elite population were usually kept
        >outside the city. (cf. Gideon Sjoberg, The Preindustrial city). At
        >any rate, cities were the places to find the elites.... and Luke
        >seems to have a subtle urban bias.
        >
        >Just a little supporting data to this discussion.

        Thanks--
        But this just makes it all the more puzzling to me that Luke, like
        the other Gospels, ignores Sepphoris and Tiberias.

        Bob Schacht
        Northern Arizona University
      • David Mealand
        Reasons for not visiting Tiberias 1. Antipas built it over graves, and so the observant would not go there, A had to import Gentiles, or pay people to go
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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          Reasons for not visiting Tiberias

          1. Antipas built it over graves, and so the
          observant would not go there, A had to import
          Gentiles, or pay people to go there.

          2. Antipas had had John the Baptist imprisoned
          then killed. Activity in Tiberias might be a step
          too far, especially for someone critical of divorce.
          (Antipas divorced a wife, the daughter of a Nabatean
          King.) Kephar Nahum allowed quick exit from the domains
          of Antipas by road or by boat.

          3. Yet Decapolis seems to feature, as do the regions
          around Tyre & Sidon - Gentile territory, but not
          under the thumb of Antipas.

          David M.



          ---------
          David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


          --
          The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
          Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
        • Joseph
          Mark, Some great points. The absence of Tiberias an Sepphoris just absolutely drives me nuts, but it s most acceptable for Luke, given the source dependencies
          Message 4 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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            Mark,

            Some great points. The absence of Tiberias an Sepphoris just absolutely drives me nuts, but it's most acceptable for Luke, given the source dependencies that you and I work from.

            Sometimes, I just go insane understanding how the gospel authors could tell the story about a man who travels out of Capernaum that omits Tiberias. How Mark could've done so I don't get. I know we can redact our own theories of why it could be, but isn't the simplest/most likely conclusion that none of them had a clue about the region.
            And regarding source, isn't the bizarre absence of Tiberias and Sepphoris strong evidence of one source, including John?

            Joe Weaks
            Minister, Raytown Christian Church
            Adjunct, Saint Paul's School of Theology

            --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, "Matson, Mark (Academic)" <MAMatson@...> wrote:
            > Bob:
            >
            > Yup, I struggled with Sepphoris and Tiberias absence as well. VERY curious.
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic In Response To: David Mealand On: Jesus and the Cities From: Bruce David: Yet Decapolis seems to feature, as do the regions around Tyre & Sidon -
            Message 5 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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              To: Synoptic
              In Response To: David Mealand
              On: Jesus and the Cities
              From: Bruce

              David: Yet Decapolis seems to feature, as do the regions around Tyre & Sidon
              - Gentile territory, but not under the thumb of Antipas.

              Bruce: The key phrase here, I should think, is "the regions around." Jesus
              might hover on the fringes, and the implication of Mark's story is that he
              did, but on present hypothesis he would not enter. As for Decapolis, it is
              an area, not a city in itself. To go further into Jesus in the Decapolis
              would involve the layering of Mark, a somewhat complicated subject.

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • Matson, Mark (Academic)
              It is tempting to see Jesus venturing to Tyre and Decapolis. But in fact he only goes to the regions (xwra) of these cities, and not ever into the cities
              Message 6 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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                It is tempting to see Jesus venturing to Tyre and Decapolis. But in fact he only goes to the regions (xwra) of these cities, and not ever into the cities themselves. Same even with Caesarea Philippi (the villages of... in other words the xwra of the city). And of course Luke never has Jesus venture at all outside Judea / Galilee.

                mark

                Mark A. Matson
                Milligan College
                http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
                ________________________________________
                From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Mealand [D.Mealand@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 4:54 PM
                To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] RE: Cities, Sepphoris and Tiberias

                Reasons for not visiting Tiberias

                1. Antipas built it over graves, and so the
                observant would not go there, A had to import
                Gentiles, or pay people to go there.

                2. Antipas had had John the Baptist imprisoned
                then killed. Activity in Tiberias might be a step
                too far, especially for someone critical of divorce.
                (Antipas divorced a wife, the daughter of a Nabatean
                King.) Kephar Nahum allowed quick exit from the domains
                of Antipas by road or by boat.

                3. Yet Decapolis seems to feature, as do the regions
                around Tyre & Sidon - Gentile territory, but not
                under the thumb of Antipas.

                David M.



                ---------
                David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


                --
                The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                Scotland, with registration number SC005336.




                ------------------------------------

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



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              • Ernest Pennells
                Bob Schacht wrote: I can t help but think that Luke had in mind a particular bunch of rich folks ... The high priest and the Temple court? ... Isn’t the
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 6, 2012
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                  Bob Schacht wrote:

                  I can't help but think that Luke had in mind a particular bunch of rich
                  folks ... The high priest and the Temple court?

                  -------------

                  Isn’t the heavy concentration of material about possessions in Luke’s
                  central section (much of it unique to Luke) a narrative crescendo that
                  culminates in denouncing the robbers’ den?

                  Ernie Pennells
                  Victoria BC
                • David Inglis
                  Bob Schacht wrote: But Luke tends to see a number of villages as cities -- so Luke calls Nazareth and Bethlehem Capernaum, Nain and Bethsaida cities
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 7, 2012
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                    Bob Schacht wrote: But Luke tends to see a number of villages as "cities" -- so Luke calls Nazareth and Bethlehem
                    Capernaum, Nain and Bethsaida "cities (polis)" (compare other gospels). This suggests to me that Luke has a bit of an
                    urban bias.

                    Do we know how a 'village,' 'town,' or 'city' was defined when the synoptics were written? I know that, at least until
                    recently, in England it used to be that a city was a town that had a cathedral in it (that may not be the case now), but
                    do we know how sharp the divisions were when the synoptic authors were alive? Also, is it possible that the later
                    synoptics were written when some or all of these places had grown from towns into cities? This is definitely something I
                    know nothing about, so just asking the questions.

                    David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Bob Schacht
                    ... Twas not I, but Mark Matson. ... English categories are irrelevant. More relevant are Roman legal categories, and Greek terms such as polis, which Mark
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jun 7, 2012
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                      At 09:24 AM 6/7/2012, David Inglis wrote:
                      >Bob Schacht wrote: But Luke tends to see a number of villages as
                      >"cities" -- so Luke calls Nazareth and Bethlehem Capernaum, Nain and
                      >Bethsaida "cities (polis)" (compare other gospels). This suggests to
                      >me that Luke has a bit of an urban bias.

                      'Twas not I, but Mark Matson.


                      >Do we know how a 'village,' 'town,' or 'city' was defined when the
                      >synoptics were written? I know that, at least until recently, in
                      >England it used to be that a city was a town that had a cathedral in
                      >it (that may not be the case now), but do we know how sharp the
                      >divisions were when the synoptic authors were alive? Also, is it
                      >possible that the later synoptics were written when some or all of
                      >these places had grown from towns into cities? This is definitely
                      >something I know nothing about, so just asking the questions.


                      English categories are irrelevant. More relevant are Roman legal
                      categories, and Greek terms such as "polis," which Mark mentions.
                      Villages could be termed *vici* in Latin, which was also applied to
                      the smallest administrative units of a provincial town within the
                      Roman Empire, and to an ad hoc provincial civilian settlement that
                      sprang up close to and because of a nearby official Roman site,
                      usually a military garrison or state-owned mining operation.
                      (Wikipedia.) These would be the categories for legal purposes of the
                      Roman administration. But Greek categories would also be relevant for
                      informal purposes of Greek speakers. The two main terms used in the
                      Gospels are kwvmhn (village or small town) or povlin (town or city)

                      kwvmh, (village, small town)
                      9x in Luke
                      3x in Mark & John
                      2x in Mat


                      povlin (city, town; inhabitants [of a city])
                      16x in Luke
                      12x in Matt
                      6x in John
                      5x in Mark

                      Whether cities, towns or villages, Luke mentions them far Bobmore
                      than the other gospel authors.

                      But then the translators of the NRV gives us
                      Matt 10:11, Whatever town or village [povlin] you enter, find out
                      who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.

                      Why do they translate this is (town or) village rather than (town or) city?

                      Bob Schacht
                      Northern Arizona University


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                      David: Actually I think it was me that made the post you cite below. Bob had responded to it. At any rate, I will respond to your question: There were not
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jun 7, 2012
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                        David:

                        Actually I think it was me that made the post you cite below. Bob had responded to it. At any rate, I will respond to your question:

                        There were not clear standards for cities, and indeed I think Luke undoubtedly "stretches" any definition by calling Nazareth and Bethlehem cities. But looking lots of references on cities culled from as many literary sources as possible (and I think here the major amount of work for cities in our areas is the master work by A. H. M. Jones, "Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971)) some patterns emerge:
                        (1) cities have some public buildings (often temples, gymnasium, theater, etc.) and a defined city center,
                        (2) be the seat of some political power, at least a toparchy or some similar seat of distributed power, and
                        (3) have an exterior wall or fortification.

                        It is true cities tend to be relatively larger, although very few ever exceeded 100,000 citizens. Numbers are difficult to get a handle on. Josephus quoted population figures for much of Judea and Galilee, but it is almost univerally acknowledged that his figures are ....shall we say "generous."


                        Mark A. Matson
                        Milligan College
                        http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
                        ________________________________________
                        From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Inglis [davidinglis2@...]
                        Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 12:24 PM
                        To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] RE: Cities, Sepphoris and Tiberias

                        Bob Schacht wrote: But Luke tends to see a number of villages as "cities" -- so Luke calls Nazareth and Bethlehem
                        Capernaum, Nain and Bethsaida "cities (polis)" (compare other gospels). This suggests to me that Luke has a bit of an
                        urban bias.

                        Do we know how a 'village,' 'town,' or 'city' was defined when the synoptics were written? I know that, at least until
                        recently, in England it used to be that a city was a town that had a cathedral in it (that may not be the case now), but
                        do we know how sharp the divisions were when the synoptic authors were alive? Also, is it possible that the later
                        synoptics were written when some or all of these places had grown from towns into cities? This is definitely something I
                        know nothing about, so just asking the questions.

                        David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



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



                        ------------------------------------

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



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                      • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                        Good observation on the translation, Bob. This happens lots in Luke too. You can t trust the english translations.... some translators apparently knew that
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jun 7, 2012
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                          Good observation on the translation, Bob. This happens lots in Luke too. You can't trust the english translations.... some translators apparently "knew" that some cities were really villages.

                          And this could really get me started on a rant on lots of our translations.... (NIV particularly).


                          Mark A. Matson
                          Milligan College
                          http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
                          ________________________________________
                          Bob Schacht wrote:

                          But then the translators of the NRV gives us
                          Matt 10:11, Whatever town or village [povlin] you enter, find out
                          who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.

                          Why do they translate this is (town or) village rather than (town or) city?

                          Bob Schacht
                          Northern Arizona University
                        • David Inglis
                          Apologies to both Bob and Mark. Now, Bob, you provided the following numbers: kwvmh, (village, small town) 9x in Luke 3x in Mark & John 2x in Mat povlin (city,
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jun 7, 2012
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                            Apologies to both Bob and Mark. Now, Bob, you provided the following numbers:


                            kwvmh, (village, small town)
                            9x in Luke
                            3x in Mark & John
                            2x in Mat

                            povlin (city, town; inhabitants [of a city])
                            16x in Luke
                            12x in Matt
                            6x in John
                            5x in Mark

                            Whether cities, towns or villages, Luke mentions them far more than the other gospel authors.



                            Bob, that's not how I read these numbers. First, it's the frequency with which the words are used that matters, not the
                            absolute numbers (i.e. the longer the gospel, then the more times you would expect to see any particular word). So, to
                            see more uses of kwvmh or povlin in Lk than in Mt or Mk is to be expected. However, I contend that what really matters
                            is the ratio of povlin to kwvmh, and for this ratio we have:

                            Matt: 12/2 = 6

                            John: 6/3 = 2

                            Luke: 16/9 = 1.78

                            Mark: 5/3 = 1.67

                            So, Mark and Luke each use povlin around 70% more often than kwvmh, while in Matt the ratio is 6:1. On this basis,
                            surely it's Matt that has the city/urban bias?

                            David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Bob Schacht
                            ... The differences in this ratio between John, Luke and Mark are probably not statistically significant. But I think one needs to look at Matthew s difference
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jun 7, 2012
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                              At 05:16 PM 6/7/2012, David Inglis wrote:
                              >Apologies to both Bob and Mark. Now, Bob, you provided the following numbers:
                              >
                              >
                              >kwvmh, (village, small town)
                              >9x in Luke
                              >3x in Mark & John
                              >2x in Mat
                              >
                              >povlin (city, town; inhabitants [of a city])
                              >16x in Luke
                              >12x in Matt
                              >6x in John
                              >5x in Mark
                              >
                              >Whether cities, towns or villages, Luke mentions them far more than
                              >the other gospel authors.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >Bob, that's not how I read these numbers. First, it's the frequency
                              >with which the words are used that matters, not the
                              >absolute numbers (i.e. the longer the gospel, then the more times
                              >you would expect to see any particular word). So, to
                              >see more uses of kwvmh or povlin in Lk than in Mt or Mk is to be
                              >expected. However, I contend that what really matters
                              >is the ratio of povlin to kwvmh, and for this ratio we have:
                              >
                              >Matt: 12/2 = 6
                              >
                              >John: 6/3 = 2
                              >
                              >Luke: 16/9 = 1.78
                              >
                              >Mark: 5/3 = 1.67
                              >
                              >So, Mark and Luke each use povlin around 70% more often than kwvmh,
                              >while in Matt the ratio is 6:1. On this basis,
                              >surely it's Matt that has the city/urban bias?

                              The differences in this ratio between John, Luke and Mark are
                              probably not statistically significant. But I think one needs to look
                              at Matthew's difference by considering more factors.

                              Bob


                              >David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >------------------------------------
                              >
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                              >
                              >
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