Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Jewish Judaism Hebrew Israelite

Expand Messages
  • Mike Grondin
    The recent discussions about the religious makeup of 1st c. Galilee have raised in my mind at the same time excitement over what seems to be a first glimpse of
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 28, 1998
      The recent discussions about the religious makeup of 1st c. Galilee have
      raised in my mind at the same time excitement over what seems to be a first
      glimpse of the human Jesus, and concern over what seems to have been some
      degree of conceptual confusion. Now, of course, it may be that this
      confusion exists only in my own mind, but just in case it has also occurred
      in the minds of others, I would like to offer a few thoughts on the matter,
      in an attempt to elicit the more knowledgeable views of others.

      As most Crosstalkers know, I'm not an NT scholar (no smart remarks,
      please!) My field of training and expertise is in Logic and Philosophy. As
      such, I'm used to what might seem to others as boringly detailed
      discussions of the _meaning_ of words and statements. So when we got into a
      discussion of whether or not Galilee was Jewish, it bothered me that some
      of the participants' remarks seemed to equate being Jewish with being
      Judean. I think I see now what was going on, and I'd like to try to clarify
      things, by setting forth a few propositions that seem true to me.

      1. There are a cluster of terms which are not only closely-related, but
      whose meaning has changed over time, among which: Jewish, Judaism, Hebrew,
      Isralite. In any discussion using any of these terms, we need to make clear
      whether we are using the current meaning of the term, or the meaning as
      found in early texts. Unless otherwise specified, the current meaning
      should be assumed.

      2. In the NT, it's virtually certain that whenever a form of the word
      'IADAIOS' was used, it was meant to refer to Judeans, not Jews in general.
      Thus, our standard English translations are wrong. (I say this partially
      relying on the expertise of others, partially on my own intuition that it
      doesn't make sense for such things as are said in the NT to have been
      directed at Jews in general.)

      3. It's sometimes said that early writers did not distinguish between Jews
      and Judeans. I'm not convinced that this is true, since the term 'Hebrews'
      seems to have been sometimes used to refer to Jews in general. But even if
      it is true, we ought not to make the same mistake, i.e., we ought not to
      confuse Jews in general with Judeans.

      4. The bedrock of Jewishness-in-general is something curiously missing from
      this debate, namely bloodlines. Torah observance would have been (and still
      is) important to fundamentalist Jews, but anyone who can trace their
      lineage back to one of the sons of Jacob has a right to be called 'Jewish'
      (or 'Israelite'?) pretty much regardless of the degree to which they
      observe the Torah. (Aside from converts, if you have a Jewish mother,
      you're Jewish, right?)

      Case in point: my co-worker, who is visiting Israel in the fall, is a
      Reform Jew. She considers herself Jewish, though she does not observe the
      Kosher laws. Orthodox Jews, who (despite my inaccurate statement in an
      earlier note) constitute a small minority both within Israel and without,
      may or may not consider her a "real" Jew. But is it our intention to
      reflect the attitudes only of fundamentalist Jews in our discussions? If
      not, then we should certainly consider bloodlines as at least equally
      important as Torah observance. And it is non-Judean bloodlines (i.e., those
      not descended from Judah or Benjamin), I suspect, that account for the
      majority of Jews in the diaspora, including Galilee. Am I wrong in this
      assumption?

      5. "Torah observance" itself admits of a wide variety of interpretations.
      Those who try to follow _all_ the laws (as the Pharisees evidently did) may
      look with disdain upon those who are not so strictly-observant, but this
      doesn't mean that the fundamentalist view is determinative of what
      constitutes "Jewishness", does it? In fact, this factor seems to have been
      at the root of the dispute between the Pharisees and the Yeshuines.

      6. I find it credible that the majority of Galileans did not consider
      themselves Jewish. Nevertheless, there must have been pockets of non-Judean
      Jews, as Steve says (in other terms), and it was evidently from one of
      these pockets that Yeshu came. If we think of him as simply Galilean,
      without taking account of his own perceived Jewishness, we cannot, I
      submit, make any sense of his own perceived mission.

      7. As to the claim that "Israelites" were not "real" Jews, we are always in
      danger of taking Judean caricatures of Israelites at face value. How did it
      happen, after all, that the northern kingdom was able to appropriate the
      name 'Israel', formerly the designation of all twelve "tribes", while the
      southern kingdom settled for the name 'Judah'? The tribe of Judah won out
      at the end. Does that make them right from the beginning?

      8. I hope others will help clarify the meaning at different times of the
      cluster of terms mentioned herein. Although analogies to the current state
      of Judaism may strike some as anachronistic, we must also guard against
      what might be called "sui generisism" at the other extreme. Things were
      different in other times and places, of course. But they were also the same.

      Mike
      ------------------------------------
      The Codex II Student Resource Center
      http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
    • Philip B. Lewis
      Mike: Your message of this morning, Sept.28, is most welcome. You are trying to get clear frames of reference for terminology which all too often is muddied
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 28, 1998
        Mike: Your message of this morning, Sept.28, is most welcome. You are
        trying to get clear frames of reference for terminology which all too often
        is muddied by careless usage. THANK YOU.

        I'll leave it to others to make comments on your numbered paragraphs. For
        now, IMO nearly all references in NT studies to "the Biblical Jews" have
        been to residents of Jerusalem-oriented Judea. Attempts to be specific about
        beliefs and practices have leaned on Rabbinic Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism has
        its own legitimacy, but it is IMO an historically emergent Judaism, not
        divorced from, but not identical either,with the Judean religion of the
        first century. One only needs to read the story of rival causes fought out
        in the streets of Jerusalem as the city was besieged by Roman forces to
        catch the political confusion of "Judaisms" that were at work.

        The crux of crosstalk's recent exposure to Galilee's archaeological remains,
        seen through the relocation of Pharisaic rabbis to the area after the
        failure of the Bar Kochba revolt, is to point out that Galilean "inheritors
        of the promise of Abraham" very evidently were forced to be observant of
        their faith in ways which differed from accepted Judean praxis, and which
        were quite different from rabbinical praxes which tried to elevate levitical
        standards of conduct. That there was disagreement over those standards is
        evidenced by the "schools" of Hillel and Shammei, just for example. So what
        WAS Galilean practice?

        Is it possible for us to divest ourselves of the Bultmannesque separation
        between Hellenistic and Palestinian and look beyond those terms to see in
        some Gospel tradition a Jesus whose teaching, particularly in regard to
        Torah, was expressive of Galilean roots? I think it is. And I think we
        must see in the contexts of Jesus' teachings reflections of that
        Temple-less, rabbi-free, "parochial" Galilean Judaism in which he was
        reared. Yessir! There was an historical Jesus!

        -phil@...

        "Liberal" is not a dirty word;
        it is a state of grace.
      • joe baxter
        ... In what sense are you using the word Jewish here? Nevertheless, there must have been pockets of non-Judean ... Again, in what sense do you use the word
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 28, 1998
          At 08:55 AM 9/28/98 -0400, Mike Grondin wrote:

          >1. There are a cluster of terms which are not only closely-related, but
          >whose meaning has changed over time, among which: Jewish, Judaism, Hebrew,
          >Isralite. In any discussion using any of these terms, we need to make clear
          >whether we are using the current meaning of the term, or the meaning as
          >found in early texts. Unless otherwise specified, the current meaning
          >should be assumed.

          >6. I find it credible that the majority of Galileans did not consider
          >themselves Jewish.


          In what sense are you using the word "Jewish" here?


          Nevertheless, there must have been pockets of non-Judean
          >Jews

          Again, in what sense do you use the word "Jew".

          , as Steve says (in other terms), and it was evidently from one of
          >these pockets that Yeshu came. If we think of him as simply Galilean,
          >without taking account of his own perceived Jewishness (?)

          , we cannot, I
          >submit, make any sense of his own perceived mission.


          Joe Baxter
        • joe baxter
          ... What do you mean by rabbi-free ? Indeed, I have heard it said that the term rabbi (teacher) arose slightly after this period. Of course, some NT
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 28, 1998
            At 09:24 AM 9/28/98 -0700, Phil wrote:

            >Is it possible for us to divest ourselves of the Bultmannesque separation
            >between Hellenistic and Palestinian and look beyond those terms to see in
            >some Gospel tradition a Jesus whose teaching, particularly in regard to
            >Torah, was expressive of Galilean roots? I think it is. And I think we
            >must see in the contexts of Jesus' teachings reflections of that
            >Temple-less, rabbi-free, "parochial" Galilean Judaism in which he was
            >reared.

            What do you mean by "rabbi-free"? Indeed, I have heard it said that the
            term "rabbi" (teacher) arose slightly after this period. Of course, some NT
            passages refer to him as rabbi.

            Joe Baxter
          • Mike Grondin
            ... I m _trying_ to use it in its current usual sense - as it is used by those who consider themselves Jewish and have some legitimate right to do so. Although
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 28, 1998
              >In what sense are you using the word "Jewish" here?

              I'm _trying_ to use it in its current usual sense - as it is used by those
              who consider themselves Jewish and have some legitimate right to do so.
              Although there does seem to be a tension between ethnicity and religious
              belief in the concept of Judaism, ISTM that legitimacy is, and always has
              been, rooted in bloodlines: one's lineage must be traceable to either one
              of the "tribes" of Israel (i.e., sons of Jacob), or to converts. Above and
              beyond this, there is the necessity of circumcision of course, and to be
              considered a "practicing" Jew, one must adhere to some minimal subset of
              Torah regulations, although how minimal is a matter that is and was very
              much open to controversy between various Jewish groups. At least, that's
              the way I understand what I've been told by those who know more about
              Judaism than I do. Feel free to correct me.

              Since the original lineage traces back to the _sons_ of Jacob, I'm not sure
              how it happened that legitimacy eventually came to be matriarchal rather
              than patriarchal. This point is, ISTM, of no small importance.

              If you're going to accuse me of being inconsistent in the way I used the
              word 'Jewish', you may be right. All I can say is that I'm _trying_ to be
              consistent, and I'm trying to conform to "common usage", as opposed to any
              special meaning - especially not "Jewish = Judean".

              Mike
              ------------------------------------
              The Codex II Student Resource Center
              http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
            • joe baxter
              Mike Grondin wrote: I find it credible that the majority of Galileans did not consider ... I answered: In what sense are you using the word Jewish here? ...
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 28, 1998
                Mike Grondin wrote:

                I find it credible that the majority of Galileans did not consider
                >themselves Jewish.

                I answered:

                In what sense are you using the word "Jewish" here?

                Mike replied:
                >
                >I'm _trying_ to use it in its current usual sense - as it is used by those
                >who consider themselves Jewish and have some legitimate right to do so.
                >Although there does seem to be a tension between ethnicity and religious
                >belief in the concept of Judaism, ISTM that legitimacy is, and always has
                >been, rooted in bloodlines: one's lineage must be traceable to either one
                >of the "tribes" of Israel (i.e., sons of Jacob), or to converts. Above and
                >beyond this, there is the necessity of circumcision of course, and to be
                >considered a "practicing" Jew, one must adhere to some minimal subset of
                >Torah regulations, although how minimal is a matter that is and was very
                >much open to controversy between various Jewish groups. At least, that's
                >the way I understand what I've been told by those who know more about
                >Judaism than I do. Feel free to correct me.
                >
                >Since the original lineage traces back to the _sons_ of Jacob, I'm not sure
                >how it happened that legitimacy eventually came to be matriarchal rather
                >than patriarchal. This point is, ISTM, of no small importance.
                >
                >If you're going to accuse me of being inconsistent in the way I used the
                >word 'Jewish', you may be right. All I can say is that I'm _trying_ to be
                >consistent, and I'm trying to conform to "common usage", as opposed to any
                >special meaning - especially not "Jewish = Judean".
                >

                I still have some problem with your statement. Of course, it is correct.
                Since the concept of Jewish apparently didn't exist, how could anyone think
                themselves Jewish.

                But one would not say "the majority of Galileans did not consider
                themselves Jewish." No one considered themselves Jewish. Just like no one
                considered themselves Catholic or Protestant for that matter.

                Still, the question arises, what analogy do we have to this historical
                situation? The Irish and the Brits? Both white. Both worship the same God.
                But no common group identification.

                Joe Baxter
              • Mike Grondin
                Joe- Since the big boys are away somewhere (celebrating the Jewish new year?), those of us who are left might as well take this opportunity to amuse ourselves
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 29, 1998
                  Joe-
                  Since the big boys are away somewhere (celebrating the Jewish new year?),
                  those of us who are left might as well take this opportunity to amuse
                  ourselves and keep Crosstalk going in the interim. As is usual, I find that
                  you and I are on different wavelengths, no doubt reflecting the very
                  different directions we're coming from. But still there may be some hope of
                  a fruitful exchange. The particular statement in question is this:

                  > I find it credible that the majority of Galileans did not consider
                  > themselves Jewish.

                  I should explain at this point that the above statement was a response to
                  the extended discussion on Xtalk (led mostly by Steve Davies) concerning
                  the religious makeup of early 1st c. Galilee. Steve and others had made
                  what seems to me (in spite of conceptual misgivings) to be a credible case
                  against regarding Galilee as predominantly Jewish. But that case seems not
                  to have been based on the same grounds as your agreement with it, to whit:

                  >(Joe)I ... have some problem with your statement. Of course, it is correct.
                  >Since the concept of Jewish apparently didn't exist, how could anyone think
                  >themselves Jewish. But one would not say "the majority of Galileans did not
                  >consider themselves Jewish." No one considered themselves Jewish. Just
                  >like no one considered themselves Catholic or Protestant for that matter.

                  Unlike Steve's argument - which I take to be an empirical one - yours seems
                  to be a logical one. Something like: x's can't think of themselves as y's
                  if y doesn't exist yet. If that's all that Steve was trying to say, he
                  could have saved himself a lot of time and effort. He could have simply
                  pointed out that modern Judaism arose after the destruction of Jerusalem,
                  hence could not have been operative in Galilee (or anywhere) prior to 75
                  C.E. But that would not be the end of the matter, of course; the same
                  argument would just be recast in different terms. So you're right, if we
                  think in terms of the strictly proper sense of 'Judaism', but I don't think
                  that that is the way that most people understood the argument. I think that
                  most people take the word 'Jewish' the same way that the ancients took the
                  word 'Hebrew' - to designate an ethnic/religious complex that traces its
                  beginnings to Abraham and has had a continuous history, in spite of
                  apparent "breaks" or redefinitions over time. My own definition seems to be
                  in line with that view; whether it (the view) is correct or not is another
                  matter. But if you insist that we cannot talk about "Jewishness" (as
                  opposed to 'Judaism') pre-75, then tell me what word we can use, and we'll
                  switch to that one. Or is it your view that the ancient split between
                  Israel and Judah so sundered the connection between the two, that ever
                  after there was nothing that might be called "Jewishness" aside from Judah?

                  >Still, the question arises, what analogy do we have to this historical
                  >situation? The Irish and the Brits? Both white. Both worship the same God.
                  >But no common group identification.

                  Good question. Perhaps the analogy of Afghanistan and Iran? I'm not sure.
                  This could be the real crux of the matter. You say "no common group
                  identification" in your analogy, but in fact there is one: between the
                  Brits of England and the "Brit-lovers" of Northern Ireland (if I can put it
                  that way without offending anyone). Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be
                  any historical evidence of a conflict between the supposed minority of
                  "Hebrews" in Galilee and the supposed non-"Hebrew" majority. So where does
                  that leave us? Well, maybe when the big boys get back, they can tell us.-)

                  Mike
                  ------------------------------------
                  The Codex II Student Resource Center
                  http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
                • Jack Kilmon
                  ... This is also how I define the term. Given that the Jewish cultures of theBronze Age (Patriarchs), Iron Age (Judges), Post-exilic period, 2nd Temple
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 29, 1998
                    Mike Grondin wrote:

                    > I don't think
                    > that that is the way that most people understood the argument. I think that
                    > most people take the word 'Jewish' the same way that the ancients took the
                    > word 'Hebrew' - to designate an ethnic/religious complex that traces its
                    > beginnings to Abraham and has had a continuous history, in spite of
                    > apparent "breaks" or redefinitions over time.

                    This is also how I define the term. Given that the "Jewish" cultures of
                    theBronze Age (Patriarchs), Iron Age (Judges), Post-exilic period, 2nd
                    Temple period, and the Rabbinical period are diverse enough from one
                    another, it's difficult to pin down a common denominator unless it is
                    based on the literature base of their religion.

                    I am one who opts for a considerable "Jewish" presence in the Galilee
                    among the agrarian and peasant population, and also for an Hellenistic
                    Jewish presence among the largely urban upper crust. That the Galilean
                    cities were heavily Hellenized goes without question, but the area was
                    under Jewish rule before the Romans, during the client-kingship, and
                    even during the prefecture by the Tetrarch (Antipas) who considered
                    himself Jewish.

                    I find it logically hard to believe that the most fertile and productive
                    farmland in the area, under Jewish rule, had no Jewish presence....
                    Jewish meaning people who associated themselves with the Mosaic
                    tradition, rather or not Temple cultic.

                    Jack
                  • Tom Simms
                    On Tue, 29 Sep 1998 09:18:37 -0400, mgrondin@tir.com writes: [... snip ... noted ...] ... That s an oxymoron, if I ever heard one. Crosstalk has been dancing
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 29, 1998
                      On Tue, 29 Sep 1998 09:18:37 -0400, mgrondin@... writes:

                      [... snip ... noted ...]

                      >Unlike Steve's argument - which I take to be an empirical one - yours seems
                      >to be a logical one.

                      That's an oxymoron, if I ever heard one.

                      Crosstalk has been dancing all around this problem from the begin-
                      ning. Perhaps you saw Bob's faith statement I forwarded from the
                      first month of Crosstalk in '96. He has no hope of reaching an
                      Historical Jesus.

                      You see, all around us historians have been dismantling the struc-
                      ture we've been trying to discuss. While you were not looking, my
                      1990 book, _Behind The Bible_, was put right out of date On Orion
                      when the date of deposition of the Dead Sea Scrolls had to have
                      been no later than 60 BCE.

                      Now we know the whole range of Jewish religious philosophy existed
                      well Before Jesus, that what Judaism that survived post 70 CE was
                      no longer very minoritarian but now the majority and only watered
                      down in the last five hundred years.

                      With little effort now, you can find the antecedents to Temple
                      procedure on the walls of the Ptolemaic temples. These gifts from
                      the Greeks revived, or saved for posterity, major tracts of Egyp-
                      tian religion, all in stone. The roots of Halakha are there. The
                      purity scritctures in egyptian Temples were spread among the
                      population in rotation with a system of ranks spreading the burden.

                      Yet for the accounts, there's nothing in Hebrew from before 70 BCE
                      beyond such scant epigraphy that suggests and in some cases con-
                      tradicts the Biblical account. An immediate example of the latter
                      is the Moabite Stela.

                      When Israel became a modern state (forgetting how God had supposed-
                      ly excoriated Israelites - something I only recently learned), many
                      researchers felt that at last, as Albright and many others thought,
                      proof for the Bible would soon be found. The hope it turned out
                      was in vain unless something arises that counters the evidence from
                      the Septuagint, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the epigraphic research
                      from Egypt.

                      >
                      >Mike
                      >------------------------------------
                      >The Codex II Student Resource Center
                      >http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
                      >

                      CUL8R

                      Tom Simms
                    • Stevan Davies
                      ... Is there anything wrong with the analogy I used between Ioudaioi in Egypt or people born in the Diaspora, relocated to Jerusalem, and called IOUDAIOI
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 2, 1998
                        Jeff Peterson wrote:
                        > In these passages IOUDAIOI is used to designate adherents to the god of
                        > Israel, whether resident in or outside of Judea. How widespread this usage
                        > was and how it relates to the use of IOUDAIOS in a geographic sense are
                        > questions for further study.

                        Is there anything wrong with the analogy I used between
                        Ioudaioi in Egypt or "people born in the Diaspora, relocated to
                        Jerusalem, and called "IOUDAIOI from Mesopotamia, Judea,
                        Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia," etc." and Ukranians in Wilkes-
                        Barre PA, or NYC, or Melbourne Australia? I have students in
                        class who will identify themselves as Polish although they
                        are maybe fourth generation Americans. One can by marriage
                        convert to being a Ukranian.... if I join the local Ukranian
                        Catholic church and become deeply involved in community
                        affairs I might well come to think of myself as Ukranian more than
                        Welsh. Ukranianness is a religious identity not just a nationality
                        identity.

                        So I'm part of the Welsh diaspora, a matter I think of once a year
                        when I realize that St. David's day passed and I didn't notice so
                        I didn't get to put out my Welsh flag. But there are folks here,
                        mainly in the Welsh Congregational Church who take Welshness
                        quite seriously.

                        So sure, there are Judeans, Ioudaioi, living in the disaspora
                        for generations never seeing Jerusalem or, probably, caring much
                        about it one way or another. Others taking it very seriously. And
                        converts to it.

                        Question arose, though, in the context of the discussion, "is it
                        correct to say that Galileans are Ioudaioi (as opposed to Judeans
                        who came to Galilee to live, who are certainly Ioudaioi)?
                        Here I'd say no.

                        Diaspora Ioudaioi are one thing, Galileans are something else.

                        Steve
                      • Jeff Peterson
                        Thanks to Mike Grondin for the post earlier this week on usage of IOUDAIOS and related terms, to which I d like to add a note regarding usage relevant ... I
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 2, 1998
                          Thanks to Mike Grondin for the post earlier this week on usage of IOUDAIOS
                          and related terms, to which I'd like to add a note regarding usage relevant
                          to one of his points. Mike wrote:

                          >2. In the NT, it's virtually certain that whenever a form of the word
                          >'IADAIOS' was used, it was meant to refer to Judeans, not Jews in general.
                          >Thus, our standard English translations are wrong. (I say this partially
                          >relying on the expertise of others, partially on my own intuition that it
                          >doesn't make sense for such things as are said in the NT to have been
                          >directed at Jews in general.)

                          I don't think this can be declared a general rule of usage in the NT or in
                          early Jewish literature. Three examples to consider: (1) Philo's _Legatio_
                          describes the mistreatment of the IOUDAIOI in Alexandria under Gaius
                          (117-132). Philo and his Alexandrian coreligionists are here treated as
                          members of "the single nation of the IOUDAIOI" (117)

                          (2) in Acts 2:5ff Luke introduces a crowd of IOUDAIOI, immigrants from the
                          diaspora (KATOIKOUNTES rather than METOIKOUNTES of Jerusalem) "from every
                          nation of those under heaven," with a list of originating nations appended.
                          These are people born in the Diaspora, relocated to Jerusalem, and called
                          "IOUDAIOI from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia," etc. (vv.
                          9-10).

                          (3) In 1 Thess 2:15-16 Paul refers to "the IOUDAIOI who killed the Lord
                          Jesus and the prophets and drove us out [from Thessalonica] . . . hindering
                          us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved." Paul's "polemical
                          hyperbole" (Carol Schleuter's phrase) and lumps together adherents to the
                          God of Israel who lived in Judea and others who opposed him in
                          Thessalonica, calling them both IOUDAIOI. (Schleuter's recently published
                          dissertation has rendered the proposal of Birger Pearson and others that
                          this passage is a post-70 interpolation implausible.)

                          In these passages IOUDAIOI is used to designate adherents to the god of
                          Israel, whether resident in or outside of Judea. How widespread this usage
                          was and how it relates to the use of IOUDAIOS in a geographic sense are
                          questions for further study.

                          Best to all,

                          Jeff


                          Jeffrey Peterson
                          Institute for Christian Studies
                          Austin, Texas, USA
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.