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

Re: Pharisees and Galilee

Expand Messages
  • Ian Hutchesson
    A couple of days ago, Mahlon commented on a post of mine examining the connections between the Pharisees and Galilee. ... More detail from Meyer s and
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 1, 1998
    • 0 Attachment
      A couple of days ago, Mahlon commented on a post of mine examining the
      connections between the Pharisees and Galilee.

      >Ian wrote:
      >> The evidence *suggests* the following to me: the Pharisee disputes set in
      >> Galilee in GMark were written after the move of religious leaders to that
      >> area and that GMatt and GLuke, both dependent on GMark, worked on that
      >> material even later. I would appreciate any other viable possibility from
      >> the data.
      >Rather than suggest another possibility, Ian, I would question the
      >historical viability of your own scenario, i.e.: *composition* of
      >pericopes setting controversies between J & Pharisees in Galilee only
      >"after the move of religious leaders to that area."

      It might be useful to repeat the citation that headed my original post:
      More detail from Meyer's and Strange's book "Archaeology, the Rabbis, and
      Early Christianity" is given by Paul Barnett, "Behind the Scenes of the New
      Testament", IVP:1990, p.42:
      "Despite the Hellenization of the general region and the probability that
      Greek was known to many people it seems likely that Nazareth remained a
      conservative Jewish village. After the Jewish war with the Romans from AD
      66-70 it was necessary to re-settle Jewish priests and their families. Such
      groups would only settle in unmixed towns, that is towns without Gentile
      inhabitants. According to an inscription discovered in 1962 in Caesarea
      Maritima the priests of the order of Elkalir made their home in Nazareth. "

      I must admit the source was not included with the quote which I ripped off
      from an earlier post. The problem of course is the validity of the comment.

      >By "religious leaders," I take it you mean the rabbis known as the

      I didn't actually specify because I did not want to tie my comments to the
      rabbinic traditions whose values themselves have not been established. The
      rabbinic literature doesn't provide a clear representation of the events and
      may in fact be quite stylised in the information it provides (as, for
      example, in its sublimation of rabbinic origins).

      >These relocated from Judea to Galilee only after the Hadrianic
      >war of 135 CE. Between 70 CE & 135 CE the rabbinical schools were still
      >based in Judea (at Javneh, Lydda, etc.). Only after the Roman
      >persecution resulting from R. Aqiva's support of Shim'on bar Koseba's
      >messianic claims were Judean "religious leaders" persuaded that it was
      >prudent to forsake Judea & settle among the *am ha-aretz* of the Galil
      >of the Goyim.

      Yes, this is the tradition. I don't know why you are giving it as history.
      It does make the process simpler to understand.

      >(This was true also of the priestly courses). The first
      >rabbis recalled to have founded schools in Galilean towns were Jochanan
      >b. Nuri (at Beit Shearim, about 25 km. west of Nazareth on the road from
      >Carmel to the valley of Jezreel) & R. Meir's father-in-law, Hananiah b.
      >Teradion (at Siknin). But it was the next generation of Aqiva's pupils
      >(135-160) who were primarily responsible for making Galilee the center
      >of rabbinic tradition: R. Meir (at Tiberias), Yose b. Halafta (at
      >Sepphoris) & especially Rabban Shim'on II b. Gamaliel II, the father of
      >Yehuda ha Nasi, who transferred the academy from Javneh to Usha (25 km
      >NW of Nazareth & 15 km SE of Akko/Ptolemais on the Mediterranean).

      You may be cursory with Josephus's information but it is at least
      contemporary with the period we are interested in. Let me add another
      ingredient to the pie: Jn 4:1-3 tells us that when the Pharisees got wind of
      Jesus having success, Jesus left Judea for Galilee -- obviously to get away
      from Pharisaic influence.

      >There is absolutely no evidence, literary or archaeological, of a
      >measurable migration of Jews, leaders or otherwise, from Judea to
      >Galilee between 70 & 135 CE. The expansion & demonstrable "Judaizing" of
      >Galilean settlements is all 2nd-4th c. CE. That is the material basis of
      >Dick Horsley's challenge to the naive assumption of the "Jewishness" of
      >the world of Jesus that was debated on this list months ago & set Steve
      >Davies' mental wheels spinning.

      One must remember that the Galilean names found in Josephus are those
      recognizable as Jewish: in fact, beside some Greek names, no non-Jewish
      names are ever supplied.

      There is not a clear continuity between pre-70 Pharisaic doctrines and
      practices, and post-70 rabbinic doctrines and practices. Despite the
      predominance of the Gamaliel family in post war Judaism, this discontinuity
      suggests that the Pharisees did not have such an influence in the period as
      we would like to think.

      >Thus, your hypothesis would require either that:
      >(a) Mark was composed only after 135 CE
      >or that Mk 2:16-3:6, 7:1-23, & 8:11-21
      >were (b) either latter interpolations
      >or were (c) transposed from Mark's account of J's Judean sojourn (ch 10)
      >or that (d) "Pharisee" was a later interpolation into controversies
      >between J & other partisans (Herodians?).

      Or (e) that your assumptions about "only after 135 CE" are not correct.

      >The last (d) is not likely, since the content of these controversies
      >deals with issues of ritual purity (table fellowship, washing) or
      >sabbath observance which were clearly of most concern to Pharisees (or
      >Transposition (c) or interpolation (b) are likewise not plausible since
      >(1) either would require a complete rewriting of Mark for which there is
      >no textual evidence & (2) Matt knew these pericopes in their current
      >Markan contexts. Luke's omission of Mark 6:45-8:26 (including the
      >Pharisaic disputes of 7:1-23 & 8:11-21) *may* indicate that this
      >material was lacking in his copy of Mark, but it is just as plausibly
      >explained as a deliberate omission of material he did not care to
      >rehearse. Luke, at any rate knew Mk 2:16-3:6 (Pharisees & all) in its
      >current Markan context & includes pericopes about controversies with
      >Galilean Pharisees that are not recorded in other gospels (Lk 5:17,

      (b) is not as unlikely as you might think. GJohn which initially was written
      against the antagonistic "Jews" has later added a quite substantial layer
      against the Pharisees (note for example how the priests and Levites who were
      sent by "the Jews" to interrogate John [Jn1:19] suddenly were sent by the
      Pharisees [1:24]).

      >The only reason for supposing that Mark was composed (a) or redacted (b)
      >only "*after* the move of religious leaders" of the Pharisees to Galilee
      >is the erroneous opinion that there were no Galilean Pharisees before
      >Judean Pharisaic leaders moved there. Hillel's last disciple Yochanan b.

      (Any references to Hillel outside the rabbis?)

      >Zakkai claimed to have spent years in Galilee before returning to
      >Jerusalem long before the Jewish war, only after which did he become a
      >"leader." The Galilean hasid, Haninah b. Dosa, whose legendary exploits
      >bear a remarkable resemblance to the type of miracle stories told about
      >Jesu, was his reputed disciple (1st generation of tannaim).

      I would have thought that Hanina ben Dosa was gently eased into the tannaim
      yet shows no real connection. Lester Grabbe for example says of Hanina:
      "Probably a pre-70 figure, he too [like Honi] becomes rabbinized over a
      period of time." ("Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian", p 521) One gets the idea
      of building traditions rather than reflecting them, especially reaching back
      before the Pharisaic emergence for figures to populate the traditions,
      including the high priest, Simon the Just.

      >In the
      >second generation of tannaim (70-90 CE), Yose ha Gelili was a Galilean
      >whose opinions on sacrifice & other temple rituals were respected enough
      >to be cited often against such prominent Judean rabbis as Aqiva, Tarfon
      >& El'azar b. Azariah in halakah from Javneh. So clearly there were some
      >Pharisees in Galilee even during the period when the leadership of the
      >party was based in Judea.

      This Yose ha Gelili is perhaps better evidence against the simplistic move
      to Galilee after 135 than it is for Pharisees in Galilee prior to 70.

      >Finally, if Mark were composed (or redacted) only *after* Pharisaic
      >leaders moved to Galilee (135 CE),

      Would you like to cite tenable historical sources for this stereotyped en
      masse movement to Galilee? Would you not agree that there was a
      disappearance of Pharisaic elements in the writings of Josephus sometime
      before the painful end of the war and that at least after the war there is
      justifiable reason for leaving the devastated Jerusalem area?

      >then Matt & Luke would have had to be
      >composed years later. But these gospels were already being cited by
      >apostolic fathers from Clement through Justin (who flourished soon after
      >the Hadrianic war).

      This is based on faulty logic. It assumes that those phrases vaguely common
      to both Clement (etc) and GMatt, go from the latter to the former. This is
      merely an unfounded assumption.

      >And Papias was even recording his famous
      >"traditions" re the apostolic origins of Matt & Mark about this time.
      >Are you proposing a counter thesis to J.A.T. Robinson that all this
      >literature was composed decades later than scholars have generally

      Let me simply say that it is unwise to pin your historical analysis
      regarding the move to Galilee on traditions that are not anchored in history.

      Can you cite any literal references to the gospel materials, ie that you can
      show originates in that gospel material, in early patristic writings? Do you
      not agree that it is unwise to assume that because a phrase is the same as
      one in a gospel that the phrase had to come from that gospel and not from
      earlier tradition, written or oral?

      >I think a far simpler solution is to recognize (a) that there were some
      >Galilean Pharisees in Jesu's lifetime &

      How can you recognize such a theory? You first have to assume a dating for
      the gospel material that suits your purposes, datings that I find based in
      the clouds, and use these unsupportable dates to support the theory. Can you
      show me any community in Palestine outside Jerusalem at any time prior to
      the war that had a Pharisaic influence?

      >(b) that there was friction
      >between them & J's earliest followers over issues relating to Torah

      How many of the issues relating to Torah observance originated through
      conflicts with Jews throughout the diaspora?

      >& (c) that, long before the composition of Mark, J's Galilean
      >followers confidently composed chreia in which an aphorism of J was
      >cited as magisterial authority for not being bound by rabbinic halakah.

      Do you believe this "long before" notion or are you just guessing? What
      evidence do you have that the sayings came to the Marcan school from Jesus's
      Galilean followers? What makes you think that the conflict with rabbinic
      halakha was not in rabbinic times or in church conflicts with Judaism? There
      is far too much rhetoric in this last sentence and very little hard fact.

      Overall, Mahlon, it seems to me that your baggage is perhaps heavier than
      mine to carry, trying to support gospel stories with even later traditions.

    • Bob Schacht
      ... Thanks, Mahlon, for your interesting response to Ian. And thanks to Ian for stating his case well enough to draw such an elaborate response! I was going to
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 2, 1998
      • 0 Attachment
        At 05:48 AM 11/29/98 -0500, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
        >There is absolutely no evidence, literary or archaeological, of a
        >measurable migration of Jews, leaders or otherwise, from Judea to
        >Galilee between 70 & 135 CE. The expansion & demonstrable "Judaizing" of
        >Galilean settlements is all 2nd-4th c. CE. That is the material basis of
        >Dick Horsley's challenge to the naive assumption of the "Jewishness" of
        >the world of Jesus that was debated on this list months ago & set Steve
        >Davies' mental wheels spinning.

        Thanks, Mahlon, for your interesting response to Ian. And thanks to Ian for
        stating his case well enough to draw such an elaborate response!

        I was going to try to rebut your claim, but instead I'll just use it as
        fodder for some musings, and see where it leads me.

        In NRS Luke 24:49, we read
        And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so
        stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

        A variation on this is repeated in Luke 1:4,8
        4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to
        wait there for the promise of the Father. ...
        8 "...But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
        and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to
        the ends of the earth."

        [Oddly, Galilee is left out of this itinerary]

        So, according to some accounts, the disciples hang around Jerusalem waiting
        for something to happen. And of course, according to Acts, what happens is
        Pentecost (Acts 2.) But wait: although Luke presents this as the foretold
        event, some disciples apparently either didn't experience it or didn't
        appreciate its significance. Unfortunately, we don't have the attendance
        list for this event, only Peter being identified by name, unless we take
        those mentioned in Chapter One to identify those present at pentecost. We
        can be fairly certain that one of those NOT in attendance was Saul/Paul,
        who was also not on hand to hear the "wait in Jerusalem" message.

        At any rate, James the Just and Peter appear to have hung around Jerusalem
        for a while (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:17-18; Galatians 1:18-19). One suspects
        that at first, pentecost was not appreciated, and it was assumed that Jesus
        was refering to the parousia. So that some of them continued to wait in
        Jerusalem. Of course, there is also the tradition that James the Just
        became high priest for a while, and this no doubt helped to keep these
        followers in Jerusalem. But after James was deposed (what year?), perhaps
        then Peter went up to Galilee. I think there have been claims that Peter's
        house has been discovered, and a tad of evidence suggests that it might
        have served as a house church. But still, Jerusalem would seem to be the
        logical place for the Parousia to unfold, so a remnant probably persisted
        there until 70 CE.

        But Paul seems to have hit the road early and often, following his trip to
        Damascus. This would be fine with the folks in Jerusalem, who were probably
        convinced that Paul was gonna miss the main event. But when Paul brought
        back word that there were plenty other Friends of Jesus scattered all over
        the place, and when Paul returns to Jerusalem to report,
        Acts 15:12 The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and
        Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through
        them among the Gentiles.
        Acts 21:18 The next day Paul went with us to visit James; and all the
        elders were present.
        19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done
        among the Gentiles through his ministry.
        20 When they heard it, they praised God. Then they said to him, "You see,
        brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and
        they are all zealous for the law.

        So were they thereby laying claim to the promise of Luke 24:49?

        However, no such reports come to us of great successes in Galilee.
        Is this the basis for Rene's elegant summary of Luke's case against Galilee?

        A case for Nazoreans in Galilee has been made by Pritz (Nazorean Jewish
        Christianity, Jerusalem/Leiden 1988, 120-121), but this evidence may be
        confined to the time of Epiphanius and Jerome, and so somewhat later.
        Baumgarten has added a little to this thesis in Levine's book on Galilee in
        Late Antiquity, but his article mainly has other interests.

        So I guess I wind up supporting you, Mahlon. The only real draw for Galilee
        was that it was the home territory of the disciples. And if no prophet is
        recognized in his home town applied to Jesus, how much more so to them?


        Robert Schacht
        Northern Arizona University

        "This success of my endeavors was due, I believe, to a rule of 'method':
        that we should always try to clarify and to strengthen our opponent's
        position as much as possible before criticizing him, if we wish our
        criticism to be worth while." [Sir Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific
        Discovery (1968), p. 260 n.*5]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.