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Galilean/Judean observance

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  • Philip B. Lewis
    ... One has to reckon in the factor of assimilation. Though how you can do that, I have no clue. For example: In the celebration of Mexican independence a
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 1998
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      On Sept. 24 Ian wrote this excerpt from a larger and highly suggestive posting:
      > >Caananite occupation
      >> >Israelite occupation
      >> >Assyrian occupation
      >> >Babylonian occupation
      >> >Persian occupation
      >> >Ptolemaic occupation
      >> >Seleucid occupation
      >> >Judean occupation

      >After such a succession of foreign domination, the argument goes, no
      >religion could survive the onslaught. But the situation is not as simple as
      >the list reflects. If "occupation" means that the occupiers established a
      >few garrisons to ensure their control, then the list is almost verbatim
      >applicable for Judea itself. Even if they had received Greek colonies in a
      >few cities, does that change the situation for the bulk of the population?

      One has to reckon in the factor of assimilation. Though how you can do
      that, I have no clue. For example:

      In the celebration of Mexican independence a week or so ago, the headline
      for an article in the *Arizona Republic* read, "We were always here!" And
      of course, that Spanish-speaking attitude is quite right. It's us anglos
      who are the late comers. Native Americans are equally assertive of their
      understanding of racial origins as they oppose quite vocally the Bering
      Strait heresy. "Our fathers did not come over from Asia; we always were here."

      But are those of Spanish language heritage uninfluenced by anglo culture?
      Of course they are. And are the same successful Native Americans who
      protest the Bering Strait heresy influenced by, and exercisers of the white
      man's technology? Of course they are, too.

      It simply stands to reason that if Judeans adopted a Babylonian calendar to
      replace what they had known, there was assimilation. And Creation concepts
      woven into coronation rites? That, too, bespeaks assimilation.

      Peoples move back and forth across national boundaries and adapt to their
      resident populations' customs over and over again. Sometimes trade enables
      progress - textile machinery manufactured in Boston shows up in Nova Scotia
      and New Brunswick, and cloth woven in Canada finds its way into Yankee
      markets. But that isn't a modrn phenomenon. Wherever we go across the
      earth humans migrate, return, migrate again, settle down, all the while
      assimilating new concepts and practices in their common life.

      To me one of the most interesting observations about the Galilee is that
      under Rabbinic migration to the area - forced out by Rome after the Second
      Revolt failed - synagogue *structures* appeared at a steady rate. To us
      American Protestants that speaks of "New Church Development." What was it
      about Galilean social order that *required* assembly buildings? Was it not
      an undrstanding of the "synagogue" as a *shul*, a school for instruction in
      Torah? So what in Galilean life required such instruction? And can we
      safely assume that Galileans had never assembled before, just because there
      is no archaeological evidence of synagogue structures? I don't think so.

      The reason for reviewing what we know, or can discover, about Judean
      religious observance in the first century is that we know that Jerusalem's
      Temple cult existed under the sufferance of Roman overlords. High Priests
      were not chosen by any Judean office; they were appointed and their regimes
      were carefully scrutinized by Rome. How do people accomodate themselves in
      their religious observance to living as hostages to imperial authority? If
      we could explain that, perhaps we'd have some idea of what Galilean
      observance was like, and what a Galilean messianic aspirant might want to do
      about it.


      "Liberal" is not a dirty word;
      it is a state of grace.
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