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Kee on Synagogues

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    If anyone here has access to the online NTS and is willing to down load some articles for me, I d be grateful to receive the following articles by H.C. Kee on
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 2, 2007
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      If anyone here has access to the online NTS and is willing to down load
      some articles for me, I'd be grateful to receive the following articles
      by H.C. Kee on Synagogues:

      "The transformation of the synagogue after 70 CE : its import for early
      Christianity" New Testament Studies 36 (1990) 1-24.

      "The Changing Meaning of Synagogue : A response to Richard Oster.
      New Testament Studies 40 (1994) 281-283.

      "Defining the First-Century CE Synagogue : Problems and Progress",
      New Testament Studies 41 (1995) 481-500.

      as well as the one by Richard Oster that Kee replies to:

      "Supposed anachronism in Luke-Acts' use of synagoge : a rejoinder to H C
      Kee," New Testament Studies 39 (1993) 178-208.

      I'd also be interested in hearing what List Members think about the
      cogency of, and the assumptions behind, the claim that Robert Price
      makes in his _Deconstructing Jesus_ that the stories in the Gospels
      about Jesus in synagogues cannot be historical since for the gospel
      authors SUNAGWGE means a building and there's no archaeological
      evidence for synagogue buildings in Galilee before the second century:


      Then there are broader historical anachronisms that seem to
      vitiate the gospel controversy stories: Generally, the whole
      depiction of Jesus preaching in "their" synagogues is
      anachronistic, as there were virtually no synagogue buildings
      in Galilee till late in the first century C.E., after the
      flight of Pharisees and other refugees into Galilee (which
      "hated the Torah"). Luke even has a Gentile (a clone of his
      Cornelius character, Acts 10:1-4ff.) praised for bankrolling
      the construction of one synagogue (Luke 7:5). Apologist Howard
      Clark Kee admits this one is a problem but maintains that,
      otherwise, in gospel usage "synagogue" need mean no more than
      "assembly" or "meeting." But is this really likely? Mark has
      Jesus stop preaching "in" synagogues because the crowds are
      too large, presumably, for buildings to accommodate. Hence he
      assembles the Jews at the seaside or in the open. Would there
      be "rulers of the synagogue," like Jairus, if the synagogue in
      view were merely someone's porch? How about "the seat of
      Moses" and the "chief seats in the synagogues" in Matt. 23:2,
      6? Just someone's Naugahyde couch?

      (If you are interested in seeing what I make of it -- and how I've been
      dealt with because of what I've noted -- go to the discussion of Price's
      claim on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board of that you'll find
      here).

      Jeffrey
      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Chicago, Illinois
      e-mail jgibson000@...



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bob Schacht
      ... Jeffrey, FWIW, have you taken a look at Shaye J.D. Cohen s From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (1987), pp. 111-115, section titled Synagogues ? Bob Schacht
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 2, 2007
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        At 06:50 PM 12/2/2007, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
        >If anyone here has access to the online NTS and is willing to down load
        >some articles for me, I'd be grateful to receive the following articles
        >by H.C. Kee on Synagogues:
        >
        >"The transformation of the synagogue after 70 CE : its import for early
        >Christianity" New Testament Studies 36 (1990) 1-24.
        >
        >"The Changing Meaning of Synagogue : A response to Richard Oster.
        >New Testament Studies 40 (1994) 281-283.
        >
        >"Defining the First-Century CE Synagogue : Problems and Progress",
        >New Testament Studies 41 (1995) 481-500.
        >
        >as well as the one by Richard Oster that Kee replies to:
        >
        >"Supposed anachronism in Luke-Acts' use of synagoge : a rejoinder to H C
        >Kee," New Testament Studies 39 (1993) 178-208.
        >
        >I'd also be interested in hearing what List Members think about the
        >cogency of, and the assumptions behind, the claim that Robert Price
        >makes in his _Deconstructing Jesus_ that the stories in the Gospels
        >about Jesus in synagogues cannot be historical since for the gospel
        >authors SUNAGWGE means a building and there's no archaeological
        >evidence for synagogue buildings in Galilee before the second century:
        >
        >
        > Then there are broader historical anachronisms that seem to
        > vitiate the gospel controversy stories: Generally, the whole
        > depiction of Jesus preaching in "their" synagogues is
        > anachronistic, as there were virtually no synagogue buildings
        > in Galilee till late in the first century C.E., after the
        > flight of Pharisees and other refugees into Galilee (which
        > "hated the Torah"). Luke even has a Gentile (a clone of his
        > Cornelius character, Acts 10:1-4ff.) praised for bankrolling
        > the construction of one synagogue (Luke 7:5). Apologist Howard
        > Clark Kee admits this one is a problem but maintains that,
        > otherwise, in gospel usage "synagogue" need mean no more than
        > "assembly" or "meeting." But is this really likely? Mark has
        > Jesus stop preaching "in" synagogues because the crowds are
        > too large, presumably, for buildings to accommodate. Hence he
        > assembles the Jews at the seaside or in the open. Would there
        > be "rulers of the synagogue," like Jairus, if the synagogue in
        > view were merely someone's porch? How about "the seat of
        > Moses" and the "chief seats in the synagogues" in Matt. 23:2,
        > 6? Just someone's Naugahyde couch?
        >
        >(If you are interested in seeing what I make of it -- and how I've been
        >dealt with because of what I've noted -- go to the discussion of Price's
        >claim on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board of that you'll find
        >here).

        Jeffrey,
        FWIW, have you taken a look at Shaye J.D. Cohen's From the Maccabees to the
        Mishnah (1987), pp. 111-115, section titled "Synagogues"?

        Bob Schacht
        University of Hawaii


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • peterson@austingrad.edu
        ... I d recommend also looking at E. P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE–66 CE, pp. 195–202. Jeff Peterson Austin, Texas
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 2, 2007
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          Bob Schacht wrote:

          > Jeffrey,
          > FWIW, have you taken a look at Shaye J.D. Cohen's From the Maccabees to
          > the
          > Mishnah (1987), pp. 111-115, section titled "Synagogues"?

          I'd recommend also looking at E. P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief
          63 BCE–66 CE, pp. 195–202.

          Jeff Peterson
          Austin, Texas
        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
          ... I m reaching for it now. Thanks for yours suggestion. I see that Cohen has produced a second edition of this book. Does anyone know if the section on
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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            Bob Schacht wrote:

            >
            > Jeffrey,
            > FWIW, have you taken a look at Shaye J.D. Cohen's From the Maccabees to the
            > Mishnah (1987), pp. 111-115, section titled "Synagogues"?

            I'm reaching for it now. Thanks for yours suggestion.

            I see that Cohen has produced a second edition of this book. Does anyone know if
            the section on Synagogues in this new edition differs in any way from what's in
            the first edition of FMTM?

            Jeffrey
            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...
          • Matson, Mark (Academic)
            Jeffrey: Also, please see Steven Fine s (ed.) book Jews, Christians, and Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue (Routledge, 1999). In particular, for instance,
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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              Jeffrey:

              Also, please see Steven Fine's (ed.) book Jews, Christians, and
              Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue (Routledge, 1999). In particular,
              for instance, Peter W. van der Horst ("Was the Synagogue a Place of
              Worship before 70 CE?") directly addresses' Kee's conclusions. BTW, he
              quoted Ed Sanders on this "Ed Sanders called Kee's article 'remarkably
              ill informed'". (and Ed's comment on this is from Jewish Law from Jesus
              to the Mishnah -- so add this also to Jeff Peterson's list of
              recommended resources. Van der Horst's article is very good, interacts
              broadly with other scholars including critics, and will address much of
              what you want.

              Mark A. Matson
              Academic Dean
              Milligan College
              http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com]
              On
              > Behalf Of Jeffrey B. Gibson
              > Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 10:58 AM
              > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Kee on Synagogues
              >
              >
              >
              > Bob Schacht wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > Jeffrey,
              > > FWIW, have you taken a look at Shaye J.D. Cohen's From the Maccabees
              to
              > the
              > > Mishnah (1987), pp. 111-115, section titled "Synagogues"?
              >
              > I'm reaching for it now. Thanks for yours suggestion.
              >
              > I see that Cohen has produced a second edition of this book. Does
              anyone
              > know if
              > the section on Synagogues in this new edition differs in any way from
              > what's in
              > the first edition of FMTM?
              >
              > Jeffrey
              > --
              > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
              > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
              > Chicago, Illinois
              > e-mail jgibson000@...
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
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            • Matson, Mark (Academic)
              Jeffrey, and others: Let me now respond a bit to your request to respond to Price s comment that you sent out. Having reviewed both Ed Sanders and van der
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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                Jeffrey, and others:

                Let me now respond a bit to your request to respond to Price's comment
                that you sent out.

                Having reviewed both Ed Sanders' and van der Horst's articles in the
                Fine book, I think the evidence is pretty clear that there was some kind
                of regular meeting in places (houses or whatever) on the Sabbath. These
                meetings were either called prosuekteria or, later, synagogue. But it
                appears that early on these places were accorded a special
                significance-- inscriptions indicate that such existed (the Jerusalem
                inscription has been convincingly dated to pre-70). But the existence
                of god-fearers attached to synagogues, and to manumission documents,
                both suggest a place where some "holy" or special significance was
                connected to the assembly of local Jews.

                We may not know that much what happened in these assemblies and assembly
                places, but at least some regular instruction, reading of scripture, and
                some prayer took place. And a focus took place on the Sabbath. To me
                that is a kind of "worship" and it was centered at a place.

                Mark A. Matson
                Academic Dean
                Milligan College
                http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm


                > I'd also be interested in hearing what List Members think about the
                > cogency of, and the assumptions behind, the claim that Robert Price
                > makes in his _Deconstructing Jesus_ that the stories in the Gospels
                > about Jesus in synagogues cannot be historical since for the gospel
                > authors SUNAGWGE means a building and there's no archaeological
                > evidence for synagogue buildings in Galilee before the second century:
                >
                >
                > Then there are broader historical anachronisms that seem to
                > vitiate the gospel controversy stories: Generally, the whole
                > depiction of Jesus preaching in "their" synagogues is
                > anachronistic, as there were virtually no synagogue buildings
                > in Galilee till late in the first century C.E., after the
                > flight of Pharisees and other refugees into Galilee (which
                > "hated the Torah"). Luke even has a Gentile (a clone of his
                > Cornelius character, Acts 10:1-4ff.) praised for bankrolling
                > the construction of one synagogue (Luke 7:5). Apologist Howard
                > Clark Kee admits this one is a problem but maintains that,
                > otherwise, in gospel usage "synagogue" need mean no more than
                > "assembly" or "meeting." But is this really likely? Mark has
                > Jesus stop preaching "in" synagogues because the crowds are
                > too large, presumably, for buildings to accommodate. Hence he
                > assembles the Jews at the seaside or in the open. Would there
                > be "rulers of the synagogue," like Jairus, if the synagogue in
                > view were merely someone's porch? How about "the seat of
                > Moses" and the "chief seats in the synagogues" in Matt. 23:2,
                > 6? Just someone's Naugahyde couch?
                >
                > (If you are interested in seeing what I make of it -- and how I've
                been
                > dealt with because of what I've noted -- go to the discussion of
                Price's
                > claim on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board of that you'll find
                > here).
                >
              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                ... But what manumission documents we have are from the Diaspora, yes, not in from Galilee? And doesn t the Theodotus inscription indicate that there was no
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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                  "Matson, Mark (Academic)" wrote:

                  > Jeffrey, and others:
                  >
                  > Let me now respond a bit to your request to respond to Price's comment
                  > that you sent out.
                  >
                  > Having reviewed both Ed Sanders' and van der Horst's articles in the
                  > Fine book, I think the evidence is pretty clear that there was some kind
                  > of regular meeting in places (houses or whatever) on the Sabbath. These
                  > meetings were either called prosuekteria or, later, synagogue. But it
                  > appears that early on these places were accorded a special
                  > significance-- inscriptions indicate that such existed (the Jerusalem
                  > inscription has been convincingly dated to pre-70). But the existence
                  > of god-fearers attached to synagogues, and to manumission documents,
                  > both suggest a place where some "holy" or special significance was
                  > connected to the assembly of local Jews.

                  But what manumission documents we have are from the Diaspora, yes, not in from
                  Galilee? And doesn't the Theodotus inscription indicate that there was no
                  particular building for "synagogue" gathering in the time of Theodotus' father and
                  grandfather or that a building was needed for someone to have the role of "ruler
                  of the synagogue"?

                  > We may not know that much what happened in these assemblies and assembly
                  > places, but at least some regular instruction, reading of scripture, and
                  > some prayer took place. And a focus took place on the Sabbath. To me
                  > that is a kind of "worship" and it was centered at a place.
                  >

                  You might be interested in looking at Horsley's discussion (in his recent book on
                  Galilee) of what pre-70 Galilean synagogues/meetings entailed and where they took
                  place (in the town square).

                  Jeffrey

                  --
                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                  Chicago, Illinois
                  e-mail jgibson000@...
                • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                  Mark A. Matson Academic Dean Milligan College http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm ... kind ... These ... it ... Jerusalem ... existence
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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                    Mark A. Matson
                    Academic Dean
                    Milligan College
                    http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

                    > >
                    > > Having reviewed both Ed Sanders' and van der Horst's articles in the
                    > > Fine book, I think the evidence is pretty clear that there was some
                    kind
                    > > of regular meeting in places (houses or whatever) on the Sabbath.
                    These
                    > > meetings were either called prosuekteria or, later, synagogue. But
                    it
                    > > appears that early on these places were accorded a special
                    > > significance-- inscriptions indicate that such existed (the
                    Jerusalem
                    > > inscription has been convincingly dated to pre-70). But the
                    existence
                    > > of god-fearers attached to synagogues, and to manumission documents,
                    > > both suggest a place where some "holy" or special significance was
                    > > connected to the assembly of local Jews.
                    >
                    > But what manumission documents we have are from the Diaspora, yes, not
                    in
                    > from
                    > Galilee? And doesn't the Theodotus inscription indicate that there
                    was no
                    > particular building for "synagogue" gathering in the time of
                    Theodotus'
                    > father and
                    > grandfather or that a building was needed for someone to have the role
                    of
                    > "ruler
                    > of the synagogue"?

                    Yes, the manumission documents are from the diaspora - but it does show
                    that something like the synagogue had attained "holy" status as a place.
                    That we don't have them in Palestine may simply be an absence of
                    documentary data, or that economic slaver was not as extensive within
                    Palestine.

                    On the Theodotus inscription, here is what I have:

                    Theodotus, son of Vettenus, priest and head of the synagogue, son of a
                    head of the synagogue, grandson of a head of the synagogue, had this
                    synagogue built for reading of the Law and instruction in the
                    commandments, and also the guest lodgings and the rooms and the water
                    systems for the accommodation of those who come from abroad and need
                    [accommodation]. [This synagogue] was founded by his ancestors, the
                    elders, and Simondes.

                    My reading doesn't make it clear that this was only just now built for
                    the first time, nor that it was built to provide someone a role as ruler
                    of the synagogue. It could equally mean that Theodotus built a new
                    building, but that it existed before. But even if it were not a totally
                    dedicated building, it seems to suggest that there were "places" (even
                    if homes) that served as a special gather place for prayer and
                    instruction.

                    Note also Josephus in Life: "The next day (a Sabbath) all the people
                    assembled in the synagogue (proseuche), a very large building which
                    could contain a large crowd." And in War (2:285-90), he refers to a
                    synagogue in Caesarea, where they wanted to buy land and expand the
                    synagogue. And then in a dispute it sacrilegious acts were done in the
                    synagogue. This would suggest synagogue as formal place, and holy as
                    well.

                    So I think there is evidence of the synagogue as a place, not just in
                    open town squares. The problem is that we don't have a lot of evidence.
                    But little hard evidence that there weren't synaogues as places in
                    Galilee.


                    >
                    > > We may not know that much what happened in these assemblies and
                    assembly
                    > > places, but at least some regular instruction, reading of scripture,
                    and
                    > > some prayer took place. And a focus took place on the Sabbath. To
                    me
                    > > that is a kind of "worship" and it was centered at a place.
                    > >
                    >
                    > You might be interested in looking at Horsley's discussion (in his
                    recent
                    > book on
                    > Galilee) of what pre-70 Galilean synagogues/meetings entailed and
                    where
                    > they took
                    > place (in the town square).
                    >
                    > Jeffrey
                    >
                    > --
                    > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                    > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                    > Chicago, Illinois
                    > e-mail jgibson000@...
                    >
                  • Mark Goodacre
                    See now also Stephen Catto, Reconstructing the first-century synagogue : a critical analysis of current research (Library of New Testament Studies, 363;
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 3, 2007
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                      See now also Stephen Catto, Reconstructing the first-century synagogue : a
                      critical analysis of current research (Library of New Testament Studies,
                      363; London: T & T Clark, 2007). My copy arrived this morning.
                      --
                      Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
                      Associate Professor
                      Duke University
                      Department of Religion
                      Gray Building / Box 90964
                      Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                      Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

                      http://NTGateway.com/goodacre


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