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RE: [XTalk] Re: women beggars?

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  • Davis, Robert C.
    Marcia and Jim: Actually, that is not a bad guess!!! Prostitutes were often those women whose husbands had died, whose families would not take them back, and
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 6, 2004
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      Marcia and Jim:

      Actually, that is not a bad guess!!! Prostitutes were often those women whose husbands had died, whose families would not take them back, and who had no other prospects.

      Beyond this, however, Jim has raised an intriguing question. The lack of mention of female beggars does not automatically mean there were none. The difference seems to be that beggars were to be found mainly among those who were chronically sick or deformed, and who thus did not "qualify" for day labor or even (in the case of women) prostitution.

      That were such such among the female population is not to be doubted, and thus that there were female beggars is highly likely, I would think.

      All the best,

      Robert Davis
      Pikeville College

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Marcia Dietrich [mailto:marciadietrich@...]
      Sent: Tue 1/6/2004 5:18 PM
      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      Cc:
      Subject: [XTalk] Re: women beggars?



      Hello Jim,

      I believe that a big problem for women who were widowed (or divorced)
      and didn't have someone to care for them was they'd often end up in
      prostitution.

      A man with no one to care for him, and would be most likely only in
      cases where he simply couldn't work, would only have begging as an
      option. Being a male prostitute wouldn't be a popular choice within
      Jewish communities, being sick he couldn't travel far and wouldn't be
      desirable in the pagan communites.

      That is an only slightly educated guess.

      Marcia

      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Jim West <jwest@h...> wrote:
      > When the Synoptics speak of beggars, it seems that they are always
      male.
      > Was there a sociological stigma associated with female beggary?
      Why do the
      > Gospels not mention any women beggars (that I can recall).
      >
      > Thanks
      >
      > Jim
      >
      > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      > Dr Jim West
      > Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
      > http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
      > http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com --- Biblical Theology Weblog
      >
      > Bad exegesis is no less worse than bad conduct.
      > Tertullian, On Purity



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    • Jim West
      ... Thats my view as well. ... and who wants an old man prostitute? not even caligula. ;-) I m puzzled by the complete lack of reference to women begging.
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 6, 2004
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        At 10:18 PM 1/6/04 +0000, you wrote:
        >Hello Jim,
        >
        >I believe that a big problem for women who were widowed (or divorced)
        >and didn't have someone to care for them was they'd often end up in
        >prostitution.

        Thats my view as well.

        >
        > A man with no one to care for him, and would be most likely only in
        >cases where he simply couldn't work, would only have begging as an
        >option. Being a male prostitute wouldn't be a popular choice within
        >Jewish communities, being sick he couldn't travel far and wouldn't be
        >desirable in the pagan communites.

        and who wants an old man prostitute? not even caligula. ;-)

        I'm puzzled by the complete lack of reference to women begging.

        Jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Dr Jim West
        Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
        http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
        http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com --- Biblical Theology Weblog

        Bad exegesis is no less worse than bad conduct.
        Tertullian, On Purity
      • Jim West
        ... thus that there were female beggars is highly likely, I would think. Me too- but its the lack of any mention at all that is so amazing. Men are mentioned
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 6, 2004
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          At 07:08 PM 1/6/04 -0500, you wrote:


          >
          >That were such such among the female population is not to be doubted, and
          thus that there were female beggars is highly likely, I would think.

          Me too- but its the lack of any mention at all that is so amazing. Men are
          mentioned and I dont want to fall into the argument from silence fallacy.
          It's just something that struck me.

          Jim

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Dr Jim West
          Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
          http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
          http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com --- Biblical Theology Weblog

          Bad exegesis is no less worse than bad conduct.
          Tertullian, On Purity
        • Davis, Robert C.
          Jim: Let s recall the Palestinian Jewish context: women were not much mentioned for much of anything--thus the original oral tradition might have been just as
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 6, 2004
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            Jim:

            Let's recall the Palestinian Jewish context: women were not much mentioned for much of anything--thus the original oral tradition might have been just as "male-oriented" as was the society itself. This is not so much an argument from silence as it is a taking into consideration the nature of the society of Palestinian Judaism as we currently understand it.

            All the best,

            Robert Davis

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Jim West [mailto:jwest@...]
            Sent: Tue 1/6/2004 8:20 PM
            To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
            Cc:
            Subject: RE: [XTalk] Re: women beggars?



            At 07:08 PM 1/6/04 -0500, you wrote:


            >
            >That were such such among the female population is not to be doubted, and
            thus that there were female beggars is highly likely, I would think.

            Me too- but its the lack of any mention at all that is so amazing. Men are
            mentioned and I dont want to fall into the argument from silence fallacy.
            It's just something that struck me.

            Jim

            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            Dr Jim West
            Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
            http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
            http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com --- Biblical Theology Weblog

            Bad exegesis is no less worse than bad conduct.
            Tertullian, On Purity


            The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/

            To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Let s start by being more precise with the lexical categories. I take it that you have in mind two NT passages: NRS Mark 10:46//Luke 18:35 They came to
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 6, 2004
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              At 08:20 PM 1/6/2004 -0500, Jim West wrote:
              >At 07:08 PM 1/6/04 -0500, you wrote:
              >
              > >
              > >That were such such among the female population is not to be doubted, and
              >thus that there were female beggars is highly likely, I would think.
              >
              >Me too- but its the lack of any mention at all that is so amazing. Men are
              >mentioned and I dont want to fall into the argument from silence fallacy.
              >It's just something that struck me.

              and earlier:

              >I'm puzzled by the complete lack of reference to women begging.

              Let's start by being more precise with the lexical categories. I take it
              that you have in mind two NT passages:

              NRS Mark 10:46//Luke 18:35 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples
              and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind
              beggar, was sitting by the roadside.

              NRS John 9:8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar
              began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?"

              The Greek words in question are based on prosaiteo, meaning 1) to ask for
              in addition 2) to approach one with supplications 3) to ask
              alms (according to my old copy of BibleWorks). If we follow the verse
              about Blind Bartimaeus to the sequel, we read,
              47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and
              say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
              48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly,
              "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

              In this case he was begging-- but not in the sense you meant.

              The other possibility is based on ptochos, as in Luke 16:20-22 where it can
              also mean "poor," and Romans 15:26, Gal. 4:9, James 2:2-5, and Rev. 3:17
              and elsewhere.

              Oddly, the ABD is silent on begging (at least, no article on Beg or
              Beggar), and the old IDB refers one to almsgiving, where the emphasis is on
              the giving, not the begging.

              I'll bet the problem is with lexical and cultural categories. You are
              making the (probably) false assumption that there were impoverished women
              as well as impoverished men, and that what impoverished people do is beg,
              and they beg in a particular way that you are familiar with (e.g., asking
              strangers for money in public places). But what if it is unacceptable for
              women to beg, and that instead, impoverished women are expected beg in
              different ways than men, e.g. by offering their services (hair dressing,
              prostitution, etc.)? I wonder if, in effect, the Samaritan woman's
              situation was the result of previous "begging"? I suspect that one
              difference is in whom one begged from. Men could beg from strangers. Women
              weren't even supposed to TALK with strangers, let alone beg from them, so I
              suspect that they did most of their begging with relatives and in-laws.

              In other words, I am suggesting that the answer to your question is to
              question the assumptions you are making about "begging," and what it
              consists of. To answer your question, we need a sociology of begging in
              first Century Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.

              Bob

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jim West
              Thank you Bob, this was very helpful! Jim +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dr Jim West Pastor, Petros Baptist Church http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 7, 2004
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                Thank you Bob,
                this was very helpful!

                Jim

                +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                Dr Jim West
                Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
                http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
                http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com --- Biblical Theology Weblog

                Bad exegesis is no less worse than bad conduct.
                Tertullian, On Purity
              • Stephen C. Carlson
                ... Nice response, Bob, reminding us to avoid begging the question. Stephen Carlson -- Stephen C. Carlson
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 7, 2004
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                  At 09:19 PM 1/6/04 -0700, Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >In other words, I am suggesting that the answer to your question is to
                  >question the assumptions you are making about "begging," and what it
                  >consists of. To answer your question, we need a sociology of begging in
                  >first Century Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.

                  Nice response, Bob, reminding us to avoid "begging" the question.

                  Stephen Carlson
                  --
                  Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                  Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
                  "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
                • Davis, Robert C.
                  Bob: Actually, I believe we have the beginnings, at least, of just such a sociology. The clue, however, to the existence and scope of begging is not to be
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 7, 2004
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                    Bob:

                    Actually, I believe we have the beginnings, at least, of just such a sociology. The clue, however, to the existence and scope of begging is not to be found in the word "beggar," but rather in the word "gate."

                    It was at the gate of a city that beggars were known to gather, for the simple reason that this was the place where alms could most effectively be found. There are references in the Old Testament (cf. Amos, for example), which refer to the "needy at the gate" and also to "the afflicted at the gate." These form the foundation within which to understand the situation of the man born blind--he was simply one more beggar at the gate.

                    There has also been delineated a group of people known as "the mutilated" who were not eligible to enter into "polite society" or into the Temple. These were people with lost limbs, the blind, deaf, and mute, etc.--which could be either male or female. Additionally, a separate--and even lower--group has been identified, known as "sinners and outcasts," which included lepers and others known to be severely contagious. These, too, could be both men and women.

                    In neither case could the women among these groups make use of the "remedy" of prostitution, debt slavery, or other such. They were quite literally "dead" to their communities--perhaps even more so for the expedient of having been born female. But these, too, had to eat, and thus had to depend on the compassion of almsgivers who passed them by at the city gate, where they sat, somewhat in the way, awaiting what coins as might be thrown their way.

                    One potential difference, however, might have existed between men and women in these categories: it still might have been more acceptable for the men to plead for alms than the women. If this is so, then the women were, again, at the bottom of the beggarly "pecking order" whose only recourse was to sit in silent proximity to the other beggars and hope that something might be tossed their way.

                    By the way, one might wish to add Luke's story of Lazarus and the rich man to the list, insofar as, although a parable, it was drawn from common experience readily known by both Jesus and his hearers--or at least by the author as observer of such circumstances in his/her own right.

                    Koester did some good early work on much of this, later followed by Theissen.

                    Best wishes,

                    Robert Davis
                    Pikeville College



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Tobias Hägerland
                    ... take it ... disciples ... a blind ... beggar ... ask for ... verse ... out and ... loudly, ... In addition, of course, Acts 3:1-10 should be noted as the
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 14, 2004
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                      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <bobschacht@i...>
                      wrote:

                      > Let's start by being more precise with the lexical categories. I
                      take it
                      > that you have in mind two NT passages:
                      >
                      > NRS Mark 10:46//Luke 18:35 They came to Jericho. As he and his
                      disciples
                      > and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus,
                      a blind
                      > beggar, was sitting by the roadside.
                      >
                      > NRS John 9:8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a
                      beggar
                      > began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?"
                      >
                      > The Greek words in question are based on prosaiteo, meaning 1) to
                      ask for
                      > in addition 2) to approach one with supplications 3) to ask
                      > alms (according to my old copy of BibleWorks). If we follow the
                      verse
                      > about Blind Bartimaeus to the sequel, we read,
                      > 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout
                      out and
                      > say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
                      > 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more
                      loudly,
                      > "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
                      >
                      > In this case he was begging-- but not in the sense you meant.
                      >


                      In addition, of course, Acts 3:1-10 should be noted as the most
                      detailed and vivid description of begging in the New Testament. From
                      this passage we get the picture of a (male) beggar
                      1. habitually sitting in the same place
                      2. asking (aitein, erôtan) for alms
                      3. the almsgiving normally consisting in a donation of 'silver or
                      gold'
                      Thus, quite similar to current practices.

                      As far as women beggars are concerned, the proposals already made may
                      hold true to some extent. References to beggars are not, after all,
                      that frequent in the New Testament. In addition to those already
                      mentioned - Bartimaeus in Mark, the man born blind in John, and
                      the "chôlos" in Acts - we may add Lk 16:3, where the unjust
                      steward
                      mention begging as a shameful possible occupation for himself. This
                      makes a total of four references to actual (within the narrative) or
                      potential male beggars, which I do not think is enough to make the
                      absence of women beggars especially striking.

                      Tobias Hägerland, M.Th.
                      Göteborg University
                      Department of Religious Studies and Theology
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