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FW: reading Horsley

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  • Jacob Knee
    I am just beginning the Horsley book, much discussed on this list, having just finished a magnificent book, by papyrologist Roger Bagnall, Egypt in Late
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 1998
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      I am just beginning the Horsley book, much discussed on this list, having
      just finished a magnificent book, by papyrologist Roger Bagnall, 'Egypt in
      Late Antiquity' - and am struck by the great difference in detail between
      the two.

      I'm struck by just how little we actually seem to know about Galilee -
      pretty important stuff like patterns of land ownership, taxation processes,
      judicial procedures, (and non-judicial conflict resolution), language
      usage - and changes in all of these over time. eg how was land owned in
      villages, by whom, how was society statified, - how did the stratifications
      change over the 1000 year period Horsely introduces his book with, how were
      villages and cities related - how did these relations change.

      In particular what I noticed was that Horsley writes of 'the people' - by
      whom he seems to mean the (freedom loving) indigenous Galilean 'peasants',
      and contrasts them with a sequence of (oppressive) foreign elites - who pass
      by leaving the rebellious rustics remarkably unchanged.

      And I wonder whether this 'people'/foreign elite dichotomy - isn't just a
      quiet way of acknowedging that we don't really know much about the specific
      ways villages or even cities, worked in Galilee over this 1000 year period.

      And in a silly way - the other thing that struck me, as someone who still
      lives within a monarchy - is how far the rhetoric of the book is similar to
      the familiar tale of the American Revolution - a freedom loving people
      overthrowing an oppressive foreign monarch.

      Just thoughts,
      Jacob Knee
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