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[XTalk] Re: Physical typing (Was: The Miracle Maker)

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  • Mahlon H. Smith
    ... ... Thanks, Sukie, for keeping this discussion focused. Having grown up in a Jewish neighborhood in Newark NJ I know full well there s no such
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2000
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      Sukie Curtis wrote:
      >
      > To Brian, Tom, Mark, and others,
      >
      > Perhaps it's not accurate and suggests stereotyping, as Tom suggests, to
      > speak of a "*Jewish* look," but isn't it reasonable to assume at least that
      > a first century Galilean Jew would not look like a northern European, as
      > Mark has suggested?
      >
      > Perhaps a broader term, such as "Semitic," or even "middle eastern" or
      > "Mediterranean" would suffice.

      <SNIP>
      >
      > I'd hate to see a lot of bickering over what began as a celebration that
      > FINALLY in a production of Jesus for popular consumption, he doesn't look
      > like the WASPy guy in my childhood Sunday school materials.
      >

      Thanks, Sukie, for keeping this discussion focused. Having grown up in a
      "Jewish" neighborhood in Newark NJ I know full well there's no such
      thing as standard "Jewish" physiognomy. There are many popular Jewish
      entertainers who don't have what people popularly regard as "Jewish" --
      i.e., Semitic -- features. But a lot of that is due largely to the
      history of intermarriage in western Diaspora Judaism. While there was
      some Jewish-Greek or Jewish-Roman mixing in the 1st c. CE, most Jewish
      or Israelite intermarriage was with other Semites. Even today Yemeni
      Jews who have always lived in a Semitic environment are not noticeably
      distinct from their Arab neighbors. So "Semitic" or "Near Eastern" would
      more accurate designations for 1st c. natives of Galilee. Yet in the
      West, it is the Jews who have been the most familiar representatives of
      Semitic traits. So I see no reason for Mark to retract his comment about
      the _Miracle Maker_'s Jesus looking "Jewish." I remember that when Danny
      Thomas first came to prominence, virtually every American thought he was
      a Jew instead of a Lebanese Xn (since hardly any American had had the
      opportunity to meet any other Lebanese).

      Shalom!

      Mahlon

      --

      *********************

      Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mh_smith.html
      Associate Professor
      Department of Religion Virtual Religion Index
      Rutgers University http://religion.rutgers.edu/vri/
      New Brunswick NJ

      Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
      http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/

      A Synoptic Gospels Primer
      http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/

      Jesus Seminar Forum
      http://religion.rutgers.edu/jseminar/
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