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Re: Jewish Judaism Hebrew Israelite

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Sep 29, 1998
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      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 2 of 11 , Sep 29, 1998
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        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 3 of 11 , Sep 29, 1998
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          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 4 of 11 , Oct 2, 1998
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            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 5 of 11 , Oct 2, 1998
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              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
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