FW: reading Horsley
- 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
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.