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Re: Judean/Galilean Observance

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... was to ... Observing the Passover ought to be a pretty good index of Torah-Jewishness, as Exodus 12 makes clear that it is not optional (vss. 14,24).The
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 25, 1998
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      At 11:05 AM 9/25/98 -0700, Philip B. Lewis wrote:
      >...My point in having originally brought up the question of "observance"
      was to
      >point out that IMO *praxis* vis-a-vis Torah's requirements was not always
      >"according to the book." In fact, Josephus's lament that there had been no
      >seder after Archelaus imposed order by force, raises questions about how
      >necessary it was for Passover to be celebrated in Jerusalem. Of course it
      >was an emotionally gratifying thing to do, but Passover was never limited to
      >a place; it was primarily an observance in the home.

      Observing the Passover ought to be a pretty good index of Torah-Jewishness,
      as Exodus 12 makes clear that it is not optional (vss. 14,24).The basis of
      celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem seems to be Deuteronomy 16:

      5 You may not offer the passover sacrifice within any of your towns which
      the LORD your God gives you;
      6 but at the place which the LORD your God will choose, to make his name
      dwell in it, there you shall offer the passover sacrifice, in the evening
      at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.

      >So how "being observant" was construed in the Judean mind with the Temple at
      >hand compared with what "being observant" meant in the Galilee is an
      >important distinction, is it not? For a Galilean who recognized the
      >authority of Torah, just how obsevant did one have to be?

      I like your "what?" question better than the "how?" question, although both
      are important.

      > Obviously, a
      >distant Temple made liturgical observance difficult if not impossible.

      Temple-centered Jewishness seems a special-- and often minor-- point of
      praxis that was not required for orthopraxis. Might it be functionally
      equivalent to the attitude of Moslems toward the temple in Mecca?

      >Would it not be likely that alternatives would be sought to fill the void?

      It perhaps also ought to be asked, to whom is there a perceived void in
      this regard?

      >I have in mind the point I have made previously, and which has not perhaps
      >"caught hold," namely, that a series of *haggadoth* interpreting
      >Ps.107.1-32, employed in presenting votive offerings in the Jerusalem Temple
      >at Rosh Hashana

      I appreciate your introduction of Psalms into this discussion. I think they
      are probably an essential part of Jewish praxis everywhere-- even if the
      Psalms used varied from one place to another. However, Psalm 107 is
      particularly associated with the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Other Psalms may
      have been liturgically important outside of Jerusalem; e.g. Psalm 42 seems
      to be Galilean in origin! I don't have a commentary on the Psalms handy at
      the moment (other than the notes in my old Oxford study Bible), but
      off-hand Psalms such as 105, 106, 135, 136, and possibly 24, 33, 81, 145--
      but my guesses are pointless; a more thorough analysis of the hypothesis is
      needed. Psalms exalting God as king might be worth paying attention to,
      also, both for giving the back of the hand to earthly kings (perhaps
      especially the one in Jerusalem), as well as for their interest in the
      Kingdom of God (Psalms 47, 95,98,99 deleting some that may contain a
      reference to the Temple.)

      Psalms 113-118 were associated with the Passover (113-114 before, 115-118

      >...DO appear in GMark! They were "delivered" in a narrative
      >telling of Jesus' voyage in a boat around the Lake of Galilee and which told
      >of the Feeding of a hungry multitude (5,000), the deliverance of a Gerasene
      >demoniac, the healing of a woman whose blood taint rendered her unclean, and
      >finally the deliverance of the disciples and their *ship* from a storm.
      >Whatever the author's origins, whatever the Gospel's provenance, the stories
      >themselves are from a *Galilean* source.

      Interesting point!

      >... And I think Philo's Jewish community which also had to
      >practice Torah in limited, but essential ways, was in a similar strait.
      >There was indeed a temple at Leontapolis (sp?) which served as substitute
      >for The Temple, but it, too, was not equally accessible to Torah people.

      Tom Simms (or was it someone else?) noted that the Temple in Leontapolis
      did not have anything like the stature of the one in Jerusalem, even to

      >So, what distinguished Philo's Judaism from the Gentile world? He said:
      >four things, circumcision, the sabbath, *kashrut,* and refusal to offer
      >sacrifice to idols.

      These are worth remembering, and testing regarding Galilean praxis.

      > But did not Torah require more in observance?

      Yes; the Passover, in particular. It seems oddly missing from Philo's list.

      Your ending question is a bit of a teaser. Asking a question like that in
      mixed company of pharisees, sadducees, and essenes would probably have
      provoked a fight within a few minutes! That question, in a sense, is the
      basic question underlying most of the NT.

      Robert M. Schacht
      Northern Arizona University

      Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
      (Where charity and love are [found], God is there)
      9th century latin hymn
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