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[XTalk] Re: The Miracle Maker

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  • Jim Crutchfield
    ... and Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote, ... Oh, honestly! Surely Political Correctness does not require us to pretend that there are no physiognomic markers for
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 31, 2000
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      Brian McCarthy wrote:
      >
      > What did Jews look like in Jesus' time?
      >

      and Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote,

      > I am puzzled about this one. What do Jews look like?

      Oh, honestly! Surely Political Correctness does not require us to
      pretend that there are no physiognomic markers for stable,
      geographically identifiable ethnic groups! Unless (as I think Prof.
      Smith archly suggested) he had some North-European or other
      non-Mediterranean genes pretty close to him on the family tree (i.e.,
      from a parent or grandparent), Jesus must certainly have shared the
      general physical features common to most of the peoples of the Eastern
      Mediterranean: a long head, light brown skin, dark brown hair, brownish
      eyes (most likely but not definitely), a thin, arched nose, etc. Those
      general characteristics are of course subject to endless variation and
      exception in individual cases, but over an entire (ethnically
      homogeneous) population one certainly can point to common features
      without committing the mortal sin of "stereotyping".

      In ancient times, when populations were far more stable than today and
      migrations tended to happen over decades and centuries, rather than over
      hours and days, ethnic types were probably much more stable (and perhaps
      more sharply differentiated, in some cases) than they are today. One
      finds accounts of an entire language group with red hair and blue eyes
      in what is now Southwestern China (possibly the Hurrians--I forget).

      Galilee was not an isolated area, having been for centuries, along with
      the rest of the Levant, a crossroads of trade and warfare, both of which
      tend to mix populations; but isn't it a little disingenuous--not to say
      self-righteous--to pretend ignorance of what somebody means by "This
      Jesus looks like a Jew"?

      --
      Best wishes,

      Jim Crutchfield
      Sojourning in New York City
      http://www.sybercom.net/mrcynick

      >"I left you specific instructions:
      > Don't do anything stupid!"
      > --Overheard on the London Underground

      Hey! Look at my band's web page at
      http://www.southernbranch.com/dramtreeo
    • Bob Schacht
      At 07:42 PM 03/31/00 , you wrote: ... Oh, honestly! Surely Political Correctness does not require us to pretend that there are no physiognomic markers for
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 31, 2000
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        At 07:42 PM 03/31/00 , you wrote:
        >...
        >Oh, honestly! Surely Political Correctness does not require us to
        >pretend that there are no physiognomic markers for stable,
        >geographically identifiable ethnic groups! ...

        Oh, honestly! Being "geographically identifiable" is useless. New York is
        geographically identifiable, but is not exactly the kind of place to look
        for stable ethnic groups. As for being "stable," please remember that
        Palestine sits at the juncture of two continents, and at the time of Jesus
        this crossroads was ruled by people from a third continent (Europe.) This
        is just about the worst possible place (other than New York city, maybe) to
        expect any kind of stable physiognomic markers to develop. Besides, you
        have your terminology wrong. One of the few situations in which
        physiognomic markers of ethnic groups have any hope of being identifiable
        is where they are geographically *isolated,* not merely geographically
        "identifiable," and as I have pointed out, Palestine is anything but
        geographically isolated. It is not political correctness that requires us
        to pretend anything, but thinking of physiognomic markers of Jews as being
        stable that requires pretending quite a lot.

        Bob
        Northern Arizona University

        __________________________________________________
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      • Robert M. Schacht
        On Fri, 31 Mar 2000 21:42:15 -0500 Jim Crutchfield ... Oh, honestly! Being geographically identifiable is useless. New York is geographically identifiable,
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 31, 2000
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          On Fri, 31 Mar 2000 21:42:15 -0500 Jim Crutchfield
          <jdcrutch@...> writes:
          >
          >
          > Oh, honestly! Surely Political Correctness does not require us to
          > pretend that there are no physiognomic markers for stable,
          > geographically identifiable ethnic groups! ...


          Oh, honestly! Being "geographically identifiable" is useless. New York
          is geographically identifiable, but is not exactly the kind of place to
          look for stable ethnic groups. As for being "stable," please remember
          that Palestine sits at the juncture of two continents, and at the time of
          Jesus this crossroads was ruled by people from a third continent
          (Europe.) This is just about the worst possible place (other than New
          York city, maybe) to expect any kind of stable physiognomic markers to
          develop. Besides, you have your terminology wrong. One of the few
          situations in which physiognomic markers of ethnic groups have any hope
          of being identifiable is where they are geographically *isolated,* not
          merely geographically "identifiable," and as I have pointed out,
          Palestine is anything but geographically isolated. It is not political
          correctness that requires us to pretend anything, but thinking of
          physiognomic markers of Jews as being stable that requires pretending
          quite a lot.

          Bob
          Northern Arizona University
        • Mahlon H. Smith
          ... Not to quibble about being honest, Bob, but isn t your comparison just a bit too much of an anachronism for an anthropologist? As a historian I would
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 1, 2000
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            Bob Schacht wrote:

            >
            > Oh, honestly! Being "geographically identifiable" is useless. New York is
            > geographically identifiable, but is not exactly the kind of place to look
            > for stable ethnic groups. As for being "stable," please remember that
            > Palestine sits at the juncture of two continents, and at the time of Jesus
            > this crossroads was ruled by people from a third continent (Europe.) This
            > is just about the worst possible place (other than New York city, maybe) to
            > expect any kind of stable physiognomic markers to develop.

            Not to quibble about being honest, Bob, but isn't your comparison just a
            bit too much of an anachronism for an anthropologist? As a historian I
            would hardly compare pre-1st c. Galilee with NYC as far as population
            stability is concerned unless I was trying to stress differences. Unlike
            NYC all interstate highways did not lead to or thru Galilee. In fact,
            there were only three readily traversable routes on Galilee's western,
            southern & eastern borders (the Phoenicia coastal route from Sidon to
            Ptolemaic (Akko), the Jordan Valley from Caesarea Philippi to
            Scythopolis (Beth Shean) & the east-west Plain of Esdraelon, most of
            which in NT times lay in the province of Samaria to the south of
            Galilee. Most of Galilee was as mountainous & as difficult to access as
            Appalachia & like Appalachia was topically designed to support a stable
            ethnically homogeneous indigenous population, which is one of the
            factors that led Horsley to suggest the survival of a native northern
            Israelite "small" oral tradition of local heroes like Elijah & Elisha in
            1st c. Galilee (independent of Judean scripture) more than 700 years
            after the fall of Samaria.

            But we've been thru that discussion before on the old Crosstalk & I
            don't care to rehash it in detail here. My point is simply to question
            your sweeping statement that Galilee "is just about the worst possible
            place (other than New York city, maybe) to expect any kind of stable
            physiognomic markers to develop." Where do you find historical evidence
            of invading armies other than the Israelites sweeping thru or settling
            in Galilee proper?

            True, there were substantial Greek colonies in the Decapolis, most of
            which was is in Transjordan, to the South & East of Galilee. And some
            ancient Semitic settlements in strategic places (e.g., Philoteria on the
            southern tip of the Sea of Galilee) had been Hellenized before the time
            of Jesus. From ancient times there was a regular stream of commerce on
            the so-called Via Maris that led from Damascus to the Mediterranean
            along the west side of the Sea of Galilee & passed just to the south of
            Nazareth. But most of the traffic on that route throughout history was
            probably regional trade between various Semitic peoples (Hebrews,
            Syrians, Phoenicians, Itureans, etc.).

            Most importantly for the question of mixing populations, however, is the
            fact that before the time of the Herods there was no major city in
            Galilee proper which could act as a magnet for attracting diverse ethnic
            groups. Before the time of Jesus, Sepphoris was at best a regional
            administrative center. It was Antipas who turned it into a Romanized
            city during Jesus' youth. Jesus may have already been an adult before
            Tiberias was built. And Tiberias is the only center in Galilee for which
            we have evidence of (forced!) settlement by a mixture of ethnic groups.
            Where is there any evidence of Romans or other non-Israelites in
            Galilee's rural hillside villages like Nazareth?

            Add to this the fact that early Xn tradition regularly represented Jesus
            as a "Jew" with Judean roots. Even if one questions his alleged Davidic
            lineage as legendary, where would you find any evidence that Jesus had
            non-Semitic genes apart from the rather late legend that he was sired by
            a Roman soldier? BTW even if the rabbinic designation of Jesus as "bern
            Pantera" is given credence, it would not prove Jesus had European genes.
            For the 1st c. Roman soldier Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera whose
            tombstone was found in Germany in 1859 is specifically identified as a
            Sidonian & therefore probably an ethnic Phoenician & a Semite.

            I conclude there are no good historical grounds for concluding that
            Jesus was anything but a full-blooded Semite & probably an ethnic Hebrew
            of Judean extraction.

            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/
          • Jack Kilmon
            ... Although all you say is true, you would not require geographical isolation when there was social and religiously motivated sexual isolation. I don t know
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 1, 2000
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              Bob Schacht wrote:
              >
              > At 07:42 PM 03/31/00 , you wrote:
              > >...
              > >Oh, honestly! Surely Political Correctness does not require us to
              > >pretend that there are no physiognomic markers for stable,
              > >geographically identifiable ethnic groups! ...
              >
              > Oh, honestly! Being "geographically identifiable" is useless. New York is
              > geographically identifiable, but is not exactly the kind of place to look
              > for stable ethnic groups. As for being "stable," please remember that
              > Palestine sits at the juncture of two continents, and at the time of Jesus
              > this crossroads was ruled by people from a third continent (Europe.) This
              > is just about the worst possible place (other than New York city, maybe) to
              > expect any kind of stable physiognomic markers to develop. Besides, you
              > have your terminology wrong. One of the few situations in which
              > physiognomic markers of ethnic groups have any hope of being identifiable
              > is where they are geographically *isolated,* not merely geographically
              > "identifiable," and as I have pointed out, Palestine is anything but
              > geographically isolated. It is not political correctness that requires us
              > to pretend anything, but thinking of physiognomic markers of Jews as being
              > stable that requires pretending quite a lot.

              Although all you say is true, you would not require geographical
              isolation
              when there was social and religiously motivated sexual isolation. I
              don't
              know how valid ethnologist Carlton Coon's "Noble Semitic"
              characteristics
              are since I never read his paper on this, assuming there is one.

              Jack
              --
              ______________________________________________

              taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

              Jack Kilmon
              jkilmon@...

              http://www.historian.net

              sharing a meal for free.
              http://www.thehungersite.com/
            • Nichael Cramer
              ... Actually, though, New York (I assume you mean NYC) is nothing of the sort. You d be darn hardpressed to find anyone who lives there who has a single
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 1, 2000
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                Bob Schacht wrote:
                >Oh, honestly! Being "geographically identifiable" is useless. New York is
                >geographically identifiable, but is not exactly the kind of place to look
                >for stable ethnic groups. [...]

                Actually, though, New York (I assume you mean NYC) is nothing of the sort.
                You'd be darn hardpressed to find anyone who lives there who has a single
                ancestor has been in North America for more the three centuries.

                The difference here is that in Palestine, during the time being discussed,
                the major cultural group(s) had roots that reached back millenia. And
                while it's true, as you say, there may well have been passers-through (e.g.
                on trade-routes, etc) it's quite probable that the vast majority of the
                population never traveled more than a hundred --if not a dozen-- miles from
                their birthplace through their entire lives.

                N
                --
                Nichael Cramer Gather the folks, tell the stories
                nichael@... break the bread. -- John Shea
                http://www.sover.net/~nichael/
              • Robert M. Schacht
                ... York is ... look ... Jesus ... This ... maybe) to ... Mahlon replied, ... Mahlon, Well, of course, NYC is not the best parallel. But if you ll go back and
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 1, 2000
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                  At 07:32 AM 04/01/00 , Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                  >Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >
                  >>
                  >> Oh, honestly! Being "geographically identifiable" is useless. New
                  York is
                  >> geographically identifiable, but is not exactly the kind of place to
                  look
                  >> for stable ethnic groups. As for being "stable," please remember that
                  >> Palestine sits at the juncture of two continents, and at the time of
                  Jesus
                  >> this crossroads was ruled by people from a third continent (Europe.)
                  This
                  >> is just about the worst possible place (other than New York city,
                  maybe) to
                  >> expect any kind of stable physiognomic markers to develop.

                  Mahlon replied,
                  >
                  >Not to quibble about being honest, Bob, but isn't your comparison just a
                  >bit too much of an anachronism for an anthropologist? As a historian I
                  >would hardly compare pre-1st c. Galilee with NYC as far as population
                  >stability is concerned unless I was trying to stress differences. Unlike
                  >NYC all interstate highways did not lead to or thru Galilee. In fact,
                  >there were only three readily traversable routes on Galilee's western,
                  >southern & eastern borders (the Phoenicia coastal route from Sidon to
                  >Ptolemaic (Akko), the Jordan Valley from Caesarea Philippi to
                  >Scythopolis (Beth Shean) & the east-west Plain of Esdraelon, most of
                  >which in NT times lay in the province of Samaria to the south of
                  >Galilee. Most of Galilee was as mountainous & as difficult to access as
                  >Appalachia & like Appalachia was topically designed to support a stable
                  >ethnically homogeneous indigenous population, which is one of the
                  >factors that led Horsley to suggest the survival of a native northern
                  >Israelite "small" oral tradition of local heroes like Elijah & Elisha in
                  >1st c. Galilee (independent of Judean scripture) more than 700 years
                  >after the fall of Samaria.
                  >
                  >But we've been thru that discussion before on the old Crosstalk & I
                  >don't care to rehash it in detail here. My point is simply to question
                  >your sweeping statement that Galilee "is just about the worst possible
                  >place (other than New York city, maybe) to expect any kind of stable
                  >physiognomic markers to develop." Where do you find historical evidence
                  >of invading armies other than the Israelites sweeping thru or settling
                  >in Galilee proper?
                  >

                  Mahlon,
                  Well, of course, NYC is not the best parallel. But if you'll go back and
                  read what I wrote, I was writing not about Galilee, but about Palestine.
                  And as for invading armies, is not Megiddo (from which we derive
                  Armeggidon) located on the threshhold between Galilee and Samaria? Is not
                  the Plain of Esdraelon the historical battle ground of numerous campaigns
                  by Egyptian vs. Assyrian or Bablylonian armies? When I was with the
                  archaeological team excavating at Tell Ta'anach, 5 miles down the road
                  from Megiddo, there were anti-tank trenches carved into the summit of the
                  Tell (not that they did any good in the war of 1967, when Israel went by
                  so fast that the Palestinians didn't have time to man their guns). On one
                  of my holidays, I got out the topomaps and tried to retrace on foot the
                  path one of the Egyptian armies probably took thousands of years ago.

                  >True, there were substantial Greek colonies in the Decapolis, most of
                  >which was is in Transjordan, to the South & East of Galilee. And some
                  >ancient Semitic settlements in strategic places (e.g., Philoteria on the
                  >southern tip of the Sea of Galilee) had been Hellenized before the time
                  >of Jesus.

                  Q.E.D.

                  > From ancient times there was a regular stream of commerce on
                  >the so-called Via Maris that led from Damascus to the Mediterranean
                  >along the west side of the Sea of Galilee & passed just to the south of
                  >Nazareth. But most of the traffic on that route throughout history was
                  >probably regional trade between various Semitic peoples (Hebrews,
                  >Syrians, Phoenicians, Itureans, etc.).
                  >

                  Um, well, maybe so at *some* (to borrow some of your asterisks) times in
                  history, but your sweeping statement that this applies "throughtout"
                  history can hardly be sustained. Besides, some historians consider the
                  overland traffic from Egypt to Damascus historically significant since
                  the time of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt? And doesn't Crossan argue that
                  the lesson of Sepphoris and Tiberias argue for outside interest in
                  exporing the resources of Galilee? Just as my field experience at Tell
                  Ta'anach influenced me, so yours in the rugged hills of northern Galilee
                  has influenced you into thinking of Galilee as a kind of boondocks place.

                  >Most importantly for the question of mixing populations, however, is the
                  >fact that before the time of the Herods there was no major city in
                  >Galilee proper which could act as a magnet for attracting diverse ethnic
                  >groups.

                  Acco? (well, of course, you'll say that's not Galilee proper). Let's keep
                  scale in mind here. Even in ancient times, it didn't take that long to
                  travel from Damascus to Acco.

                  > Before the time of Jesus, Sepphoris was at best a regional
                  >administrative center. It was Antipas who turned it into a Romanized
                  >city during Jesus' youth. Jesus may have already been an adult before
                  >Tiberias was built. And Tiberias is the only center in Galilee for which
                  >we have evidence of (forced!) settlement by a mixture of ethnic groups.
                  >Where is there any evidence of Romans or other non-Israelites in
                  >Galilee's rural hillside villages like Nazareth?

                  So? Why make so much of Nazareth, when it was only 4 miles from
                  Sepphoris? Is that distance genetically significant?

                  >
                  >Add to this the fact that early Xn tradition regularly represented Jesus
                  >as a "Jew" with Judean roots.

                  I thought you were arguing for *Galilean* isolation of Jesus. Now you're
                  saying that he's regularly represented as a Jew with Judean roots. Well,
                  so much for Galilean isolation, I guess.

                  > Even if one questions his alleged Davidic
                  >lineage as legendary, where would you find any evidence that Jesus had
                  >non-Semitic genes apart from the rather late legend that he was sired by
                  >a Roman soldier? ...

                  >I conclude there are no good historical grounds for concluding that
                  >Jesus was anything but a full-blooded Semite & probably an ethnic Hebrew
                  >of Judean extraction.
                  >

                  I quite agree with your conclusion. However, what Crutchfield was arguing
                  went beyond this to make the claim that Jews (including Jesus) had a
                  known physiognomic type that was readily distinguishable from other
                  peoples, which is simply a racist absurdity. (I'm sorry for the strong
                  language, but I think it is appropriate.) The reason for this requires an
                  understanding of what it takes for a genetically isolated population
                  (assuming one existed in this case) to develop distinctive and
                  recognizable phenotypic characteristics (e.g., facial features, hair
                  color, eye color) different from those of surrounding populations.

                  Jack Kilmon raised the issue that social and religiously-motivated sexual
                  isolation could accomplish the same thing as geographical isolation. This
                  is true, but I doubt that the necessary degree of isolation can be
                  demonstrated, even if Jesus' Davidic lineage that you referred to was
                  historical. For then David would only be one ancestor out of... well,
                  let's see now. Matthew lists something like 25 generations from David to
                  Jesus, so besides David, Jesus had about 2 to the 25th power ancestors
                  contemporary with David, which is more than 33 million ancestors, I
                  believe. And this lineage includes the Babylonian exile.

                  Didn't MIchener write a novel about Palestine? Ah, yes; The Source, I
                  believe it was called. I think the theme of the whole book is how many
                  people have laid a claim to Palestine at one time or another. You
                  yourself mentioned the Hellenistic cities--- representing a prior
                  conquest of this link between Asia and Africa by a European power.

                  There is absolutely no way, given my training in population biology, that
                  I can see that a distinctive "jewish" physical type could have been
                  maintained.

                  Yes, Jesus was a Jew. But does that really tell us anything about how he
                  looked?

                  Bob
                • Mahlon H. Smith
                  ... Since NYC was of course not the best parallel, I only meant to question your emphatic use of it (twice in the same paragraph) to contest the stability --
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 2, 2000
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                    I wrote:

                    > >Not to quibble about being honest, Bob, but isn't your comparison just a
                    > bit too much of an anachronism for an anthropologist? As a historian I
                    > would hardly compare pre-1st c. Galilee with NYC as far as population
                    > stability is concerned unless I was trying to stress differences.

                    To which Bob Schacht replied:

                    > Well, of course, NYC is not the best parallel. But if you'll go back and
                    > read what I wrote, I was writing not about Galilee, but about Palestine.

                    Since NYC was "of course" not the best parallel, I only meant to
                    question your emphatic use of it (twice in the same paragraph) to
                    contest the stability -- and therefore identifiable physiognomic
                    features -- of the population of 1st c. Palestine. I realized that you
                    were writing with broad strokes from the vantage point of a sweeping
                    historical panorama over thousands of years.

                    My point in focusing on Galilee should be evident from the title of this
                    thread, which began with Mark Goodacre's quite innocent observation that
                    the Jesus in this movie "looked Jewish," which Jim Crutchfield wrote to
                    support. I take it that the point of this discussion on XTalk has
                    something to do with an accurate conception of HJ rather than the
                    history of Palestine or the Near East in general. So the purpose of my
                    post was (a) to refocus that discussion on the probable region from
                    which HJ came and (b) to point out that as far as we have evidence
                    *that* particular region was *not* quite the "crossroads" that you were
                    describing.

                    No matter how many armies in history marched through Palestine in
                    general, where is there evidence of a people other than the Israelites
                    *settling* in the hilly region that was identified by ancient Semites as
                    *haGalil*? The only candidate I can think of is the Semitic Itureans,
                    from whom Josephus claims Aristobulus I wrested control of Galilee in
                    104 BCE (Ant 13.318), but (note!) does not claim were actual residents
                    of that region. Cf. my *Into His Own* URL:


                    http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/hasmon.html#Aristobulus

                    I thought you were meaning to assert that the population from which HJ
                    probably came was exposed to such a mixture of ethnic groups resident in
                    the same area that it was impossible to narrow down what genes &
                    physical features he probably had. If you weren't, I apologize for
                    misinterpreting you. But if that *was* your point, then pardon me for
                    suggesting that you were probably wrong & asking you to supply evidence
                    to support your denial of a relatively stable gene pool for native
                    Galileans.

                    You continued:

                    > And as for invading armies, is not Megiddo (from which we derive
                    > Armeggidon) located on the threshhold between Galilee and Samaria? Is not
                    > the Plain of Esdraelon the historical battle ground of numerous campaigns
                    > by Egyptian vs. Assyrian or Bablylonian armies?

                    The obvious answer to both questions is "of course." But note four
                    points: (a) the last of the invasions you referred to occurred almost 6
                    centuries before HJ; (b) there is no historical record of these armies
                    settling among the population in the area north of Megiddo (which is
                    Galilee proper); (c) aside from the Egyptians who last *controlled* that
                    area ca. 1200 BCE, the armies you mention were also composed of Semites;
                    (d) no matter how many Israelite women these armies raped during their
                    conquest, there are no historical grounds for suggesting that their
                    off-spring settled the region from which HJ himself came.

                    You wrote:

                    > On one
                    > of my holidays, I got out the topomaps and tried to retrace on foot the
                    > path one of the Egyptian armies probably took thousands of years ago.
                    >

                    Precisely my point about the temporal gap between non-Semitic invaders
                    of this region & HJ. Did your "probable" path take you to Nazareth?

                    I wrote:


                    > > But most of the traffic on that route [the Via Maris] throughout history was
                    > >probably regional trade between various Semitic peoples (Hebrews,
                    > >Syrians, Phoenicians, Itureans, etc.).

                    To which you replied:

                    > Um, well, maybe so at *some* (to borrow some of your asterisks) times in
                    > history, but your sweeping statement that this applies "throughtout"
                    > history can hardly be sustained.

                    You're right, I over-generalized. To be accurate I should have qualified
                    that to read "throughout the period of *ancient* history relevant to
                    population studies of Jesus' native region *prior* to his birth." Or do
                    you have evidence of an Egyptian tradepost or Greek or Roman settlement
                    in the Galilean segment of the Via Maris in the millennium prior to HJ's
                    birth?

                    You continued:

                    > Besides, some historians consider the
                    > overland traffic from Egypt to Damascus historically significant since
                    > the time of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt?

                    What has that do with the ethnic homogeneity of Galilee in the 1st c.
                    BCE? I grew up in rural Bergen County NJ in the shadow of NYC where the
                    interstate traffic was so dense that old time local residents literally
                    had to head to the hills to escape the noise & pollution. But settlement
                    of out-of-staters in my native region was rare before the 1950s. In
                    fact, one of the major highways that bisected my home borough of Paramus
                    (Route 17) became a major artery for cosmopolitan development only in my
                    college years. Further up toward the NY state border Route 17 cut thru
                    Mahwah which remained less developed than areas of the Catskills until
                    the 1980s. Less than two decades ago Mahwah was still home to a
                    physically distinct ethnic group known locally as "Jackson whites."
                    These were descendents of the old Dutch population in the area & freed
                    Negro slaves who settled in the hills of NJ during the 1850s. Jackson
                    whites were readily identifiable by inbred
                    physical traits: a light brown complexion, reddish brown hair, blue
                    eyes, &
                    freckles. I went thru high school with several of them, who lived right
                    off Route 17. Thus, the mere fact that an interstate highway passed
                    through a given region is *not* admissable evidence against the survival
                    of a genetically stable rural ethnic population, even in modern times.

                    You wrote:

                    > And doesn't Crossan argue that
                    > the lesson of Sepphoris and Tiberias argue for outside interest in
                    > exporing the resources of Galilee?

                    As I wrote, Sepphoris & Tiberias are evidence only of what happened
                    *after* the birth of HJ. They prove nothing about his probable genetic
                    roots.

                    > Just as my field experience at Tell
                    > Ta'anach influenced me, so yours in the rugged hills of northern Galilee
                    > has influenced you into thinking of Galilee as a kind of boondocks place.
                    >

                    I beg your pardon. But my personal experience of Galilee also includes
                    the
                    region around the Lake Gennesaret & the southern tier from Tabor to
                    Sepphoris. So I am well aware of the differences between upper & lower
                    Galilee. I also know that in the 1st c. CE Tell Ta'anach was not located
                    in the province of Galilee. So what might have been true there cannot be
                    generalized with regard to the region from which HJ came. Moreover,
                    social historians of Galilee like Horsley & those scholars dependent on
                    them like Crossan & myself, stress that the urbanization & thus the
                    cosmopolitanization of Galilee proper was begun by Herod Antipas as I
                    wrote below:

                    > >Most importantly for the question of mixing populations,
                    however, is the
                    > >fact that before the time of the Herods there was no major
                    city in
                    > >Galilee proper which could act as a magnet for attracting
                    diverse ethnic
                    > >groups.

                    To which you replied:

                    >
                    > Acco? (well, of course, you'll say that's not Galilee
                    proper). Let's keep
                    > scale in mind here. Even in ancient times, it didn't take
                    that long to
                    > travel from Damascus to Acco.
                    >

                    The question is not travel but residency of local populations, unless
                    one
                    thinks that every travelling salesman in antiquity sowed his seed along
                    the path. Where in the gospels do you find any evidence that either the
                    family or followers of HJ gravitated towards the Hellenized *Phoenician*
                    city of Akko (Ptolemais)? At any rate, Damascus & Akko were centers of
                    Semitic populations who were genetically related to the Israelites &
                    therefore shared similar Semitic physical traits.

                    I wrote:

                    > >Where is there any evidence of Romans or other
                    non-Israelites in
                    > >Galilee's rural hillside villages like Nazareth?

                    To which you replied:

                    > So? Why make so much of Nazareth, when it was only 4 miles from
                    > Sepphoris? Is that distance genetically significant?

                    Absolutely! Both genetically & culturally. My hometown of Paramus lies
                    only 4 miles from the George Washington bridge. But until my teenage
                    years practically all the native population of the area was of
                    Dutch/English/Scottish/German extraction -- quintessential WASPS. The
                    influx of Irish, Italians, Poles, etc. began only after WW2 & really
                    became noticeable only in my teenage years. Where do you find historical
                    evidence of such urban cultural sprawl in Galilee even during the reign
                    of that deliberate Romanizer, Herod Antipas? And where do you find *any*
                    reason to think that such cosmopolitan development affected HJ's own
                    family roots?

                    I wrote:

                    > >Add to this the fact that early Xn tradition regularly
                    represented Jesus
                    > >as a "Jew" with Judean roots.

                    To which you replied:

                    > I thought you were arguing for *Galilean* isolation of Jesus. Now you're
                    > saying that he's regularly represented as a Jew with Judean roots. Well,
                    > so much for Galilean isolation, I guess.
                    >

                    If you'll read my post, I did not claim "isolation of Jesus" but merely
                    that Galilee was "topically designed to support a stable ethnically
                    homogeneous indigenous population." We have historical evidence of the
                    Judean conquest & Judaization of at least some of Galilee a century
                    before HJ. Where are there records of similar campaigns by Greeks,
                    Romans or anyone else in this area?


                    >
                    > >I conclude there are no good historical grounds for concluding that
                    > >Jesus was anything but a full-blooded Semite & probably an ethnic Hebrew
                    > >of Judean extraction.
                    > >
                    To which you replied:

                    > I quite agree with your conclusion. However, what Crutchfield was arguing
                    > went beyond this to make the claim that Jews (including Jesus) had a
                    > known physiognomic type that was readily distinguishable from other
                    > peoples, which is simply a racist absurdity.

                    Unless you were referring to some other post than I got in my in-box,
                    all Jim Crutchfield wrote was that "Jesus must certainly have shared the
                    *general physical features* common to most of the peoples of the Eastern
                    Mediterranean." I don't know how you can get out of that that he meant
                    that Jews could be "readily distinguished from other peoples." The
                    features he listed are *general* Semitic traits.

                    As far as this being "racist absurdity": are you inferring that races
                    and ethnic groups cannot be distinguished by readily distinguishable
                    physical traits? Then how is it that ethnologists can track the path of
                    Norman conquests by noting the occurrence of red hair & blue eyes in
                    populations from Scotland & Ireland to Sicily? Or how could my wife,
                    whose family was of Germanic extraction but lived in Hungary for more
                    than 500 years, be told by a Hungarian she had just met: "Your ancestors
                    obviously weren't Magyar"? Recognition of distinguishing physical traits
                    does not make one a racist. But to pretend that there are no typical
                    physical features of different ethnic groups is unscientific nonsense.

                    You wrote:

                    > The reason for this requires an
                    > understanding of what it takes for a genetically isolated population
                    > (assuming one existed in this case) to develop distinctive and
                    > recognizable phenotypic characteristics (e.g., facial features, hair
                    > color, eye color) different from those of surrounding populations.
                    >
                    > Jack Kilmon raised the issue that social and religiously-motivated sexual
                    > isolation could accomplish the same thing as geographical isolation. This
                    > is true, but I doubt that the necessary degree of isolation can be
                    > demonstrated...

                    I would agree that some degree of geographical/cultural isolation was
                    necessary in primitive populations for differences in physical features
                    to develop & become inbred in particular groups. But once those
                    differences have developed all one needs is the human animal's tendency
                    towards tribalism to keep those features inbred. Throughout history all
                    over the world tribes have coexisted in relative geographic proximity
                    without significant inter-breeding (e.g., the Serbs & Albanians of
                    Kosovo, the Watusi & pygmies of Africa, various castes in India,
                    Mongolians & Koreans -- all of whom have physical features that make
                    them readily distinguishable from each other). Tribal solidarity is what
                    Israelite history was all about. Without it Jews would have disappeared
                    as a distinct people a long time ago. One of the things that made HJ &
                    the movement he spawned seem so socially radical to other contemporary
                    Jews is that he & they challenged the whole ancient practice of basing
                    social relations on tribalism.

                    You wrote:
                    >
                    > There is absolutely no way, given my training in population biology, that
                    > I can see that a distinctive "jewish" physical type could have been
                    > maintained.
                    >

                    But Bob, that's not what Mark G., Jim Crutchfield or I have have been
                    trying to say. When a WASP says that "Jesus looked Jewish" he simply
                    means that HJ probably had physical features that Jews in general share
                    with other Semitic peoples in general rather than features common among
                    those of European extraction. If anyone had said that you could tell
                    Jesus was a Jew (rather than Lebanese or Syrian or Samaritan) just by
                    looking at him, I would have been the first to protest.

                    This whole mountain of correspondence has been generated by a simple
                    celebration on the part of two very WASPy scholars that *finally* there
                    is an artistic work in which we have a Jesus who doesn't look like an
                    Anglo-Saxon or some other European ethnic type -- a Jesus who looks more
                    like his own people than us. Isn't that something to celebrate rather
                    than protest?

                    It may be a minor thing, but it could help make western Xns more aware
                    of what that self-styled "Hebrew of Hebrews" Paul tried to get the
                    gentile Xns at Rome to accept about his non-Xn "brothers by common
                    genes" (TWN ADELFWN TWN SUGGENWN):

                    "To *them* belong the fathers, and from *them* is the Messiah according
                    to the *flesh*. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen!" (Rom
                    9:5).

                    Should Paul be accused of "racist absurdity" for insisting that Jesus'
                    flesh was genetically akin to that of the Hebrew patriarchs & non-Xn 1st
                    c. Jews? If not, then what's wrong with saying that he probably looked
                    Semitic rather than European? More Jewish than Greek? That his skin was
                    probably swarthy rather than pasty white, that his hair was probably
                    black rather than having golden highlights (like so many "portraits" of
                    Jesus), that his eyes were probably brown rather than blue, that his
                    nose was probably more hooked than straight, that his face was probably
                    more elongated than square-jawed, etc.? I don't care what Semitic
                    physical traits one imagines; isn't it high time that we western Xns
                    *stop* representing Jesus as looking like *us* rather than his fellow
                    Jews?

                    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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