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  • David C. Hindley
    Liz Fried wrote in response to Dave Hindley:I don t understand this statement [that the Jubilee year is the 50th year (i.e., the year after the seventh
    Message 1 of 21 , Jul 5, 1999
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      Liz Fried wrote in response to Dave Hindley:

      > I don't understand this statement [that
      > the Jubilee year is the 50th year (i.e.,
      > the year after the seventh sabbatical year),
      > and hence occurs every 49 years]. It is
      > the 50th year. The counting begins the year
      > after the Jubilee year. That is year one.
      > Seven periods of seven make 49 years after
      > the last Jubilee year. The next year is the
      > 50th year after the last Jubilee year.
      > The 50th year is not counted in the cycle.
      > There are 49 years between every jubilee year.

      > I think that somewhere near
      > the end of the Persian period the Jubilee was
      > dropped as a second fallow year.
      > […]
      > I figured out that the sabbatical
      > years in Maccabees only made sense if you
      > assume the Jubilee year was dropped near
      > the end of the Persian period.

      > If you assume that [the jubilee was celebrated
      > as the second sabbatical year] then the
      > sabbatical years in Maccabees
      > fit in with the sabbatical and juiblee years I
      > had determined for the Monarchic period.

      So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that prior to the end of the
      Persian period, the jubilee cycle was thus:

      a) 01,02,03...49,50,01,02,03...49,50,01,02...etc.,

      And then after the end of the Persian period the jubilee cycles were reckoned
      as follows:

      b) 01,02,03...49,50=01,02,03...49,50=01,02,03...49,50 etc.,

      > I think that the book of Juiblees assumed a
      > 49 year cycle. […] I think in Jubilees the
      > seventh sabbatical year is the Jubilee year.

      So, you think that among the Qumran sectarians, the system was:

      c) 01,02,03...49=J,01,02,03...49=J,01,02,03...49=J, etc.

      I was under the impression that scenario "b" was implied by the account of
      Leviticus. In this I *thought* I was following the consensus view, at least in
      non-Jewish circles, although I do not have any definitive references close at
      hand.

      As for the book of Jubilees, I know that it dates events by means of an era
      based upon weeks of years (7 yrs) and jubilees of years (49 yrs). Despite the
      use of jubilees (seven weeks of years = 49 years) as dating devices, Jubilees
      50:1-5 is the only place that specifically mentions the Jubilee year:

      Jub 50:1 And after this law I made known to thee the days of the Sabbaths in
      the desert of Sin[ai], which 2 is between Elim and Sinai. And I told thee of
      the Sabbaths of the land on Mount Sinai, and I told thee of the *jubilee
      years* in the sabbaths of years: but the year there of have I not told thee
      till ye 3 enter the land which ye are to possess. And the land also shall keep
      its sabbaths while they dwell 4 upon it, and they shall know the jubilee year.
      Wherefore I have ordained for thee the year-weeks and the years and the
      jubilees: there are forty-nine jubilees from the days of Adam until this day,
      [2410 A.M.] and one week and two years: and there are yet forty years to come
      (lit. 'distant') for learning the [2450 A.M.] commandments of the Lord, until
      they pass over into the land of Canaan, crossing the Jordan to the 5 west. And
      the jubilees shall pass by, until Israel is cleansed from all guilt of
      fornication, and uncleanness, and pollution, and sin, and error, and dwells
      with confidence in all the land, and there shall be no more a Satan or any
      evil one, and the land shall be clean from that time for evermore. (trans. R
      HCharles, APOT v.2)

      So really, it has very little to say about it.

      As for scenario "a", Charles says (APOT, vol 2, pg 81n) that most Jewish
      writers (up until his time) were assuming 50 year intervals as you appear to
      do as well (at least through the late Persian period). I also understand that
      the 50 year interval was assumed by Archbishop Ussher, but he's hardly an
      authority anymore <grin>.

      As for the Qumran literature, I leafed through _The Dead Sea Scrolls in
      English_ (G Vermes, 4th ed, 1995), where I found 4Q180 (J M Allegro's "Ages of
      Creation"), which J T Milik reportedly reconstructed to present "human history
      as divided into seventy weeks of years (70 x 7 years), the first 10 of which
      cover the period from Noah to Abraham." Unfortunately, this sentence does not
      make any sense. Looking at G Martinez (_The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated_ 2nd
      ed., 1996, pp 211-212), it looks like the reference was to 10 generations
      (which coincidently equal 490 years, see below).

      Patriarch - Date of birth of son (Anno Mundi)

      NOAH 1556
      SHEM 1656
      ARPACHSHAD 1691
      SHELAH 1721
      EBER 1755
      PELEG 1785
      REU 1817
      SERUG 1847
      NAHOR 1876
      TERAH 1946
      ABRA(HA)M 2046

      That is, 10 generations = 490 years (70 x 7 wks)

      Also, 4Q181 (pp 212-213) seems to date the descent of the angels led by Azazel
      in the "seventieth week" (483-490 Anno Mundi), i.e., in "the days of Jared"
      (who was born 460 AM per the Book of Jubilees).

      Finally, 4Q390 (Pseudo-Moses) also appears to date events after the time of
      Moses using weeks of years and jubilees of years, in a manner much like the
      Book of Jubilees does, and I think the era is measured in the same 7 & 49
      yearincrements.

      So it looks as though the Qumran literature was also using a 49 year jubilee
      system, although nothing specific is said about how the jubilee year itself
      was applied to the cycle (i.e., whether made a part of the last year of the
      seventh seven year cycle, or celebrated on the first year of the next seven
      year cycle).

      Would you know what the rabbinic position was (is) in regards to jubilee
      years? Specifically, I am curious to learn what sources (mishna, talmud,
      midrash) these positions can be found in.

      Regards,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA


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    • David C. Hindley
      Robert Kaster wrote:I ran across an article this weekend that maintains that Daniel 9:25-26 fixes the date for the Messiah s appearance. The passage
      Message 2 of 21 , Jul 8, 1999
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        Robert Kaster wrote:

        > I ran across an article this weekend that
        > maintains that Daniel 9:25-26 fixes the
        > date for the Messiah's appearance.
        > The passage says that from the decree to
        > restore Jerusalem until the Messiah gets
        > 'cut off', there will be 69 seven year cycles.
        > The author places the decree of Artaxerxes
        > to rebuild Jerusalem in 445. He claims
        > that the sabbatical cycle ran from 449 to 442.
        > [So,] -449 + 69*7 +1 = 35
        > The 1 is the BC to AD conversion factor.
        > Then, using the "on the third day" = "after
        > three days" trick, he has the 69th
        > sabbatical cycle running from A.D. 28
        > to 35.

        I have heard many schemes designed to make the seventy week prophesy of Daniel
        come out in Jesus' time. Usually they employ some concept that makes the whole
        thing implausible. Many make use of 360 day "years", saying that they are
        "prophetic years", or pick some arbitrary date as the starting point and then
        find some reason for considering it the "decree". However, a scheme based on
        the phrase "on the third day" is new to me (or else I simply forgot)!

        As you may have gathered from the exchange between Liz fried and myself, it is
        not a simple thing to determine the dates of sabbatical years prior to the
        times of the Maccabees. Liz raised some valid points: Just how was the jubilee
        year observed in monarchial and early Persian times? Did it change? If so,
        when? Changed to what? I think I can be fairly confident that uninterrupted
        seven year "weeks" were
        the norm by Maccabean times. The citations I lifted from Wm. Whiston are
        probably not exhaustive, but I doubt that any other certain references are to
        be found earlier in the monarchy than Hezekiah's time, although it was not
        presented in 2 Kgs as something novel or newly introduced.

        > 1.) Are his dates accepted, plausible or fudged?
        > 2.) Is this argument accepted by the scholarly
        > community, or does anyone know of a
        > scholarly treatment or analysis of this topic?
        > 3.) Has there been any research conducted on
        > the sabbatical year for the crops? Is this
        > concept uniquely Mosaic? Is there any
        > evidence to support its use/disuse in
        > Jewish history?

        As to a sabbatical year cycle starting in 449 and ending in 442, I am at a
        loss. Liz's proposed jubilee cycles involving the years 688 and 588 would not
        work out to 449 as a sabbatical year, as the closest sabbatical cycle
        encompassing 449 would be 453-446, and the year 445 would be 446-439. The
        closest I can come, pinning it on the one sure sabbatical year I could verify
        (38/37 BCE) and working back using uninterrupted seven year cycles (with
        no -added- years of jubilee), was 451-444. Your source must have his (her?)
        own system in mind, and I will hazard that it probably made no serious effort
        to synchronize its proposed cycles with non biblical sources, and also
        probably equated some event like the 10th year of Zedekiah with a non standard
        secular date.

        As for scholarly treatment of Daniel's seventy weeks, or of sabbatical and
        jubilee cycles in general, you can be assured that scholarly treatment had
        been given these subjects somewhere (I think Liz mentioned a recent one
        regarding jubilee years). Will it be complete and consider a wide range of
        possibilities? Well, that is another matter. There will be no end to
        non-scholarly proposals concerning Daniel's seventy weeks. The assumption that
        the decree was made in the 20th year of Artaxerxes I is pure speculation, and
        most of these studies will be highly imaginative in ways to find suitable
        dates.

        Regards,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA


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      • Bernard Muller
        David C. Hindley wrote: There will be no end to non-scholarly proposals concerning Daniel s seventy weeks.Most ancient manuscripts of Daniel read
        Message 3 of 21 , Jul 8, 1999
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          David C. Hindley wrote:
          >
          > There will be no end to non-scholarly proposals concerning Daniel's seventy weeks.

          Most ancient manuscripts of Daniel read "seventy sevens", not "seventy
          weeks"

          Bernard
          http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/

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        • gds@dor.kaiser.org
          Paul Miller, There is a book, an old one from the early sixties, Moses in the Fourth Gospel, by T.F. Glasson, Studies in Biblical Theology 40, London, SCM
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 6, 1999
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            Paul Miller,

            There is a book, an old one from the early sixties, Moses in the
            Fourth Gospel, by T.F. Glasson, Studies in Biblical Theology 40,
            London, SCM Press, 1963 that does a wonderful job showing parallels in
            John's Gospel. It's really quite perceptive, given the limitations of
            that series. That's a place to start for older bibliography. New
            stuff, I'm not up on.

            - Gary D. Salyer


            ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
            Subject: crosstalk2 digest
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            Date: 8/1/99 12:38 PM


            eGroups Daily Digest: crosstalk2 has 2 new messages.
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            1008. Paul Miller Jesus and Moses
            1009. Robert M Schacht Re: Jesus and Moses
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            From: "Paul Miller" <pm@...>
            Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 17:22:45 -0500
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            Subject: [XTalk] Jesus and Moses
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            Can anyone recommend to me a web site or book that details all the
            parallels between the life of Moses and the stories in the Gospels?

            Thanks
            Paul Miller



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            Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 17:25:28 -0700
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            Subject: [XTalk] Re: Jesus and Moses
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            On Sat, 31 Jul 1999 17:22:45 -0500 "Paul Miller" <pm@...>
            writes:
            > Can anyone recommend to me a web site or book that details all the
            >parallels between the life of Moses and the stories in the Gospels?
            >
            >Thanks
            >Paul Miller

            You could start with "Moses: New Testament" in the Anchor Bible
            Dictionary. There are references for further exploration at the end of
            the article.

            Bob
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          • David C. Hindley
            ... three-hour watches coming into prominence come the Passion Narrative, 3rd hour, 6th hour, 9th hour, preceeded by PRWI (dawn, 6 a.m.) and cockcrow (3
            Message 5 of 21 , Feb 6, 2000
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              Mark Goodacre said:

              >>We naturally find striking, therefore, the fact that we have these
              three-hour watches coming into prominence come the Passion Narrative, 3rd
              hour, 6th hour, 9th hour, preceeded by PRWI (dawn, 6 a.m.) and "cockcrow"
              (3 a.m.).<<

              It does not seem very "striking" to me. Mark and Matt. both speak of a
              "fourth watch of the night" (Mk 6:48/Mt 14:25), indicating they think in
              terms of Roman style watches of 3 hours each. I am not surprised, then,
              when the beginnings of such watches are used as convenient time markers.
              Are you referring to the arbitrary nature of the time references? It
              *would* be remarkable if these events all fell so conveniently at the
              beginnings of watches. But is this really anything more than an author
              providing a time outline for a set of events, set out in his source(s),
              for which the actual time frame was unknown?

              NT Gospel Mt Mk Lk Jn

              Judgement Morning Morning Late AM? 6th hour

              Crucifixion N/S 3rd hr N/S N/S

              Darkness 6-9th hr 6-9th hr 6-9th hr N/S

              Death 9th hr 9th hr 9th hr Well before evening

              Morning = 6 AM
              3rd hr = 9 AM
              6th hr = 12 Noon
              9th hr = 3 PM

              I do note that you have already made reference to much of this already,
              specifically the discrepancies between the gospel accounts as part of the
              reason you suspect a liturgical origin of the passion narrative.

              >>The point I attempted to push is that it is not that the liturgy
              explanation is competing with anything else here. There are simply no
              good explanations for this feature in the literature.
              Robert Gundry pointed out in a review of my book in JBL that the marking
              of time could be a matter of stressing just how quickly it was all
              happening. I am not sure, however, that this deals with the difficulty of
              the regularity of the three-hour interval. If the reason was simply to
              register haste, this could have been done in a variety of different
              ways.<<

              What is the current consensus regarding the possibility that the passion
              narratives were drawn from official transcripts of public records? Has
              this been totally, and convincingly, disposed of? Personally I'd be
              surprised if it has.

              Regards,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio, USA
            • David C. Hindley
              List-ers, I wanted to open up a thread on the methodology issue. In my recent post to professor Crossan, I observed that he appears to make use of secondary
              Message 6 of 21 , Feb 17, 2000
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                List-ers,

                I wanted to open up a thread on the methodology issue.

                In my recent post to professor Crossan, I observed that he appears to make
                use of secondary anthropological literature in a manner that reflects bias
                toward his text critical position about the sayings/aphorisms of Jesus. In
                short, he wants to tightly link the wisdom sayings of Jesus (as developed
                by Kloppenborg and others) with a economically stressed social environment
                (caused by commercialization of a traditional agrarian society, as
                developed by Lenski and Kautsky) where a protest mentality might develop
                as an alternative to the revolutionary mentality the anthropological
                literature associated with such factors. I felt that he had overstated his
                case for this stress having reached critical levels in Galilee in the 20's
                CE (and left his proposed leap from a revolutionary reaction to a protest
                reaction alone, although I also feel that this needed to be better
                supported).

                What I hoped to do was to point out that presuppositions, which Crossan
                discusses in connection with criticism of Gospel sources in Chapter 7 of
                BOC, apply equally to the use of cultural anthropology. It is entirely too
                easy, in my observation, to interject one's own presuppositions into their
                critical analysis. This applies equally to Crossan's' methods as it would
                to N T Wright's "Hypothesis and Verification" method, which (as described
                by Crossan) looks very much like traditional conservative biblical
                exegesis wearing critical clothes.

                So what can be done to help eliminate personal biases from our
                methodology? In computer database design, there are a number of steps one
                can take to reduce the data found in the collection of reports, forms,
                etc, present in the average business or academic environment to tables in
                which columns represent data attributes and rows represent the data
                particulars. The reduction process involves reviewing the data and
                applying five steps that ultimately produce a database consisting of
                several tables, each with unique sets of fields that classify the types of
                data involved. It seems to me that a similar approach could be applied to
                textual criticism.

                Has anyone tried to do this? I think that it would be an excellent way to
                objectively analyze NT texts. The results could then be used with much
                more confidence than I think the present situation allows us to assume.

                Regards,

                Dave Hindley
                Cleveland, Ohio, USA
              • William Arnal
                ... I wonder about the validity of either of these critiques. Can you support the claim/suspicion that Crossan has overstated the situation in Galilee? Seems
                Message 7 of 21 , Feb 17, 2000
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                  At 09:30 AM 2/17/00 -0500, David C. Hindley wrote:

                  >developed by Lenski and Kautsky) where a protest mentality might develop
                  >as an alternative to the revolutionary mentality the anthropological
                  >literature associated with such factors. I felt that he had overstated his
                  >case for this stress having reached critical levels in Galilee in the 20's
                  >CE (and left his proposed leap from a revolutionary reaction to a protest
                  >reaction alone, although I also feel that this needed to be better
                  >supported).

                  I wonder about the validity of either of these critiques. Can you support
                  the claim/suspicion that Crossan has overstated the situation in Galilee?
                  Seems to me he states it just about right. As for the protest versus
                  revolutionary recaiton, I think Scott's stuff on the "weapons of the weak"
                  (which Crossan cites) might provide a basis of sorts for this.

                  >So what can be done to help eliminate personal biases from our
                  >methodology?

                  Why would one want to, even were it possible?

                  Bill
                  __________________________________
                  William Arnal wea1@...
                  Religion/Classics check out my web page, at:
                  New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                • David C. Hindley
                  william arnal wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/crosstalk2/?start=3867 ... develop ... overstated his ... 20 s ...
                  Message 8 of 21 , Feb 17, 2000
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                    william arnal <wea-@...> wrote:
                    original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/crosstalk2/?start=3867
                    >
                    >At 09:30 AM 2/17/00 -0500, David C. Hindley wrote:
                    >
                    >>developed by Lenski and Kautsky) where a protest mentality might
                    develop
                    >>as an alternative to the revolutionary mentality the anthropological
                    >>literature associated with such factors. I felt that he had
                    overstated his
                    >>case for this stress having reached critical levels in Galilee in the
                    20's
                    >>CE (and left his proposed leap from a revolutionary reaction to a
                    protest
                    >>reaction alone, although I also feel that this needed to be better
                    >>supported).
                    >
                    >I wonder about the validity of either of these critiques. Can you
                    support
                    >the claim/suspicion that Crossan has overstated the situation in
                    Galilee?
                    >Seems to me he states it just about right. As for the protest versus
                    >revolutionary recaiton, I think Scott's stuff on the "weapons of the
                    weak"
                    >(which Crossan cites) might provide a basis of sorts for this.

                    Crossan connects the expansion of the city of Sepphoris and the new
                    construction of Tiberias with intensification of the factors that
                    Kautsky mentions in Ch 12 of _Politics of Aristocratic Empires_ (1982)
                    as causes for Peasant uprisings. When traditional agrarian societies
                    make a transition to commercialization, Kautsky says "[t]he
                    interrelated growth of agricultural production, of trade, of a money
                    and a market economy, of towns, and of populations has a deeply
                    upsetting effect on peasants" (pg 289). These do not occur in
                    traditional agrarian societies because revolution is counter
                    productive, but when commercialization increases the aristocracy's
                    demands for surplus production beyond what the peasants can tolerate,
                    they begin to revolt under instigation of outsiders.

                    I question whether

                    Yes, _Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Preasant Resistance_
                    (1985) is listed in Crossan's bibliography, along with _Domination and
                    the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts_ (1990), but neither is
                    cited.

                    He does cite _The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and
                    Subsistance in Southeast Asia_, 1976, on pg 166, and _Protest and
                    Profanation: Agrarian Revolt and the Little Tradition_, 1977, on pages
                    299-300. However, I did not read these works so I cannot comment.

                    Lenski makes use of "Peasant Revolution: A Dismal Science." Comparative
                    Politics 9, Jan 1977, on p. 279n18 and p. 308(n36); and _The Moral
                    Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistance in Southeast Asia_ on
                    p. 288n48, p. 297(n13), p. 298n14, and p. 305(n29). However, even
                    though he was certainly aware of the works cited by Crossan as
                    fundamental to his thesis, all of these citations refer only to
                    revolutionary forms of resistance.

                    Kautsky says nothing of non-violent resistance, even though he is well
                    aware of James C. Scott, and quotes him regularly with regard to
                    revolutionary reaction to commercial oppression. De Ste. Croix, on the
                    other hand, writing a year before Kautsky, has nothing at all to say
                    about Scott, but does devote Chapter VII, section v. to "The ideology
                    of the victims of the class struggle" (_The Class Struggle in the
                    Ancient Greek World_, 1981).

                    De Ste. Croix discusses Jewish and Christian protest literature
                    (Daniel, Revelation, Sibylline Oracles), and the use of fables. This
                    latter form of literature perhaps comes closest to what you relate
                    about Scott, although he actually does not cite Scott at all.

                    He cites "Phaedrus, a slave and freedman of the Emperor Augustus, who
                    writes in Latin in the first half of the first century of the Christian
                    era, made great use of collections of fables of Aesop, another ex
                    slave...". ""[I]n the Prologue of his Third Book, lines 33-40" Phaedrus
                    explains "why the fable was invented: it was to enable the slave to
                    give expression in a disguised form to sentiments which he dared not
                    speak out loud for fear of punishment!" (pg 444)

                    Later in the same page, he says that "Quintilian, writing in the
                    nineties of the first century the standard Latin handbook on rhetoric
                    (_Institutio Oratoria_), remarks that *fabellae* have a special appeal
                    to country boors and the uneducated (*ducere animos solent praecipue
                    rusticorum et imperitorium*, V.xi,19). He would certainly said the same
                    thing about the Parables of Jesus."

                    However, what does this prove about Lower galilee in the 20's of the
                    Christian era? That peasants and slaves liked to parody the aristocracy
                    or their masters, and artisans found creative means to express their
                    pent up frustrations, is well and fine, but what specific evidence was
                    there (outside the NT) for this actually having occurred in Lower
                    Galilee or even Judea? There is no corroberating evidence that it *did*
                    happen, only that it *could*, and then under extraordinary
                    circumstances.

                    Crossan *needs* to find an environment where a Jew could express
                    himself in the Greek style aphorisms identified by Kloppenborg and
                    others. I am suggesting that he *has* to find something in the history
                    and culture of the period and place, such as excessive economic
                    exploitation, which de Ste. Croix does not see as exceptionally
                    opressive until almost three centuries later, to confirm it. Neither
                    Lenski or Kautsky or de Ste. Croix, by themselves, do this. If they are
                    missing it, then I wonder how strong a case there is.

                    >>So what can be done to help eliminate personal biases from our
                    >>methodology?
                    >
                    >Why would one want to, even were it possible?

                    Maybe you find the challenge of building complex interdependent
                    hypotheses until the foundations crack to be fun and/or productive, but
                    I see the process as a wasteful and inefficient use of time and
                    resources. It is perhaps just a matter of perspective.

                    Regards,

                    Dave Hindley
                  • Sukie Curtis
                    ... Actually, he DOES cite from _Weapons of the Weak_ on p. 301, and from _Domination and the Arts of Resistance_ on the same page. Does it make any difference
                    Message 9 of 21 , Feb 18, 2000
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                      David C. Hindley wrote:

                      >
                      > I question whether
                      >
                      > Yes, _Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Preasant Resistance_
                      > (1985) is listed in Crossan's bibliography, along with _Domination and
                      > the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts_ (1990), but neither is
                      > cited.

                      Actually, he DOES cite from _Weapons of the Weak_ on p. 301, and from
                      _Domination and the Arts of Resistance_ on the same page.


                      Does it make any difference to you, David, that Crossan is not the only one
                      who "sees" oppressive exploitation in Lower Galillee of the 20s and some
                      form of non-violent resistance in Jesus? I'm thinking of Horsley and
                      Silberman's _The Message and The Kingdom_, albeit a more popular level book,
                      but their conclusions seem remarkably similar to Crossan's, yet reached from
                      a slightly different route. Would you assume the same bias there?

                      Sukie Curtis
                      Cumberland Foreside, Maine

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                    • William E. Arnal
                      ... I think you misunderstood my question. I wasn t looking for a precis of the views of Lenski, Kautsky, or Ste. Croix, but rather was asking WHY you think
                      Message 10 of 21 , Feb 18, 2000
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                        On Thu, 17 Feb 2000, David C. Hindley wrote:

                        > However, what does this prove about Lower galilee in the 20's of the
                        > Christian era? That peasants and slaves liked to parody the aristocracy
                        > or their masters, and artisans found creative means to express their
                        > pent up frustrations, is well and fine, but what specific evidence was
                        > there (outside the NT) for this actually having occurred in Lower
                        > Galilee or even Judea? There is no corroberating evidence that it *did*
                        > happen, only that it *could*, and then under extraordinary
                        > circumstances.

                        I think you misunderstood my question. I wasn't looking for
                        a precis of the views of Lenski, Kautsky, or Ste. Croix, but
                        rather was asking WHY you think there isn't evidence for the
                        processes they describe in Galilee in the first century.
                        There is archaeological evidence and even documentary
                        evidence for the intensification of the market, and there is
                        literary evidence in the writings of Josephus about the
                        various reactions to these processes. The NT, or rather,
                        pre-gospel traditions, would then plausibly represent one
                        such "protest" reaction. I think you'd have a hard time
                        claiming that Galilee was NOT being integrated into the
                        larger Roman system of surplus extraction at this time.
                        But perhaps I misunderstand your point.

                        > Crossan *needs* to find an environment where a Jew could express
                        > himself in the Greek style aphorisms identified by Kloppenborg and
                        > others.

                        Huh? I'm not sure that Kloppenborg identifies any such
                        "Greek style aphorisms." What are you talking about? In any
                        case, the environment in which a Jew COULD express him or
                        herself in terms of Hellenistic culture (notwithstanding the
                        irrelevance of the apperal to Greek-style aphorisms) would
                        be: ANYWHERE in the eastern half of the Mediterranean from
                        about 300 BCE onward. Or were Jews somehow insulated from
                        the Hellenistic culture which dominated them for THREE
                        HUNDRED years already before Jesus ever appeared on the
                        scene?

                        > I am suggesting that he *has* to find something in the
                        history
                        > and culture of the period and place, such as excessive economic
                        > exploitation, which de Ste. Croix does not see as exceptionally
                        > opressive until almost three centuries later, to confirm it. Neither

                        To confirm what? The existence of protest literature? Or
                        Greek literature? I'm unclear what you're claiming here. In
                        any case, Ste. Croix' judgment on what might constitute
                        "exceptional" oppression is neither here nor there.

                        > >Why would one want to, even were it possible?
                        >
                        > Maybe you find the challenge of building complex interdependent
                        > hypotheses until the foundations crack to be fun and/or productive, but
                        > I see the process as a wasteful and inefficient use of time and
                        > resources. It is perhaps just a matter of perspective.

                        Again, I think you misunderstood my point. I was not
                        talking about "building complex interdependent
                        hypotheses" (isn't this process often called "science," by
                        the way?) and am not sure where or how this came into the
                        picture. I was asking why one should regard the elimination
                        of bias as an important goal in historical work.

                        Bill
                        ________________________________________
                        William E. Arnal e-mail: wea1@...
                        Religious Studies/Classics Check out my web page, at:
                        New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                      • David C. Hindley
                        ... (1985) is listed in Crossan s bibliography, along with _Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts_ (1990), but neither is cited.
                        Message 11 of 21 , Feb 19, 2000
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                          "sukie curtis" <sbcurti-@...> wrote:

                          >> David C. Hindley wrote:

                          >>>>Yes, _Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Preasant Resistance_
                          (1985) is listed in Crossan's bibliography, along with _Domination and
                          the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts_ (1990), but neither is
                          cited.<<<<

                          Actually, he DOES cite from _Weapons of the Weak_ on p. 301, and from
                          _Domination and the Arts of Resistance_ on the same page.<<

                          Ahhh, you are right! Crossan's author index, under Scott, does not make
                          reference to pg 301. It did seem strange to have cited two books in the
                          bibliography and not make reference to them. I should have scanned a
                          page or so on either side of the known citations. <a side effect, I
                          suppose, of writing posts late at night ... >

                          >>Does it make any difference to you, David, that Crossan is not the
                          only one Who "sees" oppressive exploitation in Lower Galillee of the
                          20s and some form of non-violent resistance in Jesus? I'm thinking of
                          Horsley and Silberman's _The Message and The Kingdom_, albeit a more
                          popular level book, but their conclusions seem remarkably similar to
                          Crossan's, yet reached from a slightly different route. Would you
                          assume the same bias there?<<

                          To be honest, I have only read one book by Horsley several years ago,
                          probably not this one, and did not come away convinced by the picture
                          he was painting. Allow me time to check out copies of these books by
                          Horsley and Scott from one of the local university libraries this
                          weekend and give it a read.

                          What I have done since reading your post was look at those sections of
                          BOC which refer to Scott, but I will really need to follow up on this
                          author more thoroughly in order to answer your question adequately. So
                          far, aside from the sit down strikes that some Jews organized in
                          Pilate's time and again during the Gaius crisis, and the delegations
                          making official petitions to the emperor commissioned by High Priests
                          and client rulers, I do not believe I have encountered any direct
                          references to philosophy and itinerance as forms of passive resistance
                          to oppression among Jews.

                          Regards,

                          Dave Hindley
                          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                        • Sukie Curtis
                          ... Dave, I must confess to having not read Scott for myself, except as cited by Crossan, but part of what I understand from what I have read is that one would
                          Message 12 of 21 , Feb 19, 2000
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                            Dave Hindley wrote:

                            > What I have done since reading your post was look at those sections of
                            > BOC which refer to Scott, but I will really need to follow up on this
                            > author more thoroughly in order to answer your question adequately. So
                            > far, aside from the sit down strikes that some Jews organized in
                            > Pilate's time and again during the Gaius crisis, and the delegations
                            > making official petitions to the emperor commissioned by High Priests
                            > and client rulers, I do not believe I have encountered any direct
                            > references to philosophy and itinerance as forms of passive resistance
                            > to oppression among Jews.

                            Dave,

                            I must confess to having not read Scott for myself, except as cited by
                            Crossan, but part of what I understand from what I have read is that one
                            would not EXPECT to encounter "direct references to philosophy and
                            itinerance as forms of passive resistance to oppression among Jews," at
                            least not from someone like Josephus, because of the differences between
                            overt and covert resistance, and because of the differences of perspective
                            between the elites (or at least those with scribal abilities) and those with
                            reason to resist. As Crossan puts it in that parenthetical aside on the
                            bottom of page 301 of TBOC, "while such resistance is covert and disguised
                            to the oppression it opposes, it is quite obvious to those who practice it."
                            It's only the overt stuff that gets recorded by the ancient (or modern?)
                            historian most of the time. What fascinates me is the possibility that the
                            gospels have "captured" what may have been a form of resistance and the
                            powerful fruits of that resistance without of course calling it that.

                            Sukie Curtis
                            Cumberland Foreside, Maine
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                          • Robert M Schacht
                            On Fri, 18 Feb 2000 09:26:57 -0500 (EST) William E. Arnal ... Bill, This is one of your sly pomo challenges, isn t it? As a (slightly) repentant logical
                            Message 13 of 21 , Feb 19, 2000
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                              On Fri, 18 Feb 2000 09:26:57 -0500 (EST) "William E. Arnal"
                              <wea1@...> writes:
                              > ...I was asking why one should regard the elimination
                              > of bias as an important goal in historical work.
                              >
                              > Bill

                              Bill,
                              This is one of your sly pomo challenges, isn't it?
                              As a (slightly) repentant logical positivist, I have learned enough to
                              respond to such questions thusly: I accept the pomo challenge that we
                              cannot *eliminate* bias from our historical work. In fact, as a
                              Christian, I sometimes wonder if elimination of bias even *should* be an
                              important goal (we Christians are famous for being biased, aren't we?)
                              However, as a not entirely reformed logical positivist, I see the
                              *reduction* or *minimization* of bias as an important goal. And since we
                              cannot eliminate bias, the only honest thing to do is to confess our
                              biases up front-- something which few of us choose to do.

                              Some people have concluded from the pomo challenge that since we can't
                              eliminate bias, then we are free to be as biased as we want to be (I
                              guess this is a variant on the old theme, if you're gonna sin, you might
                              as well sin boldly?) I am not comfortable with this.

                              Someone on the HJMethodology seminar raised the implication that our very
                              *interest* in the historical Jesus automatically implies bias. I guess
                              the logic is, if we are "interested", then we cannot be "disinterested",
                              i.e., objective in a technical sense. If we were *really* disinterested,
                              why would we want to study the historical Jesus at all? As a cynical ploy
                              to take advantage of the thousands who have such an interest in order to
                              gain a livelihood? Is this what is known as "deconstruction"?

                              Anyway, I'm glad someone has goaded you into participating in this debate
                              on philosophical prerequisites. ;-)

                              Bob
                              Robert M. Schacht
                              Northern Arizona University
                              Flagstaff, AZ
                            • David C. Hindley
                              ... the views of Lenski, Kautsky, or [de] Ste. Croix, but rather was asking WHY you think there isn t evidence for the processes they describe in Galilee in
                              Message 14 of 21 , Feb 19, 2000
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                                On Fri, 18 Feb 2000, William E. Arnal wrote:

                                >>I think you misunderstood my question. I wasn't looking for a precis of
                                the views of Lenski, Kautsky, or [de] Ste. Croix, but rather was asking
                                WHY you think there isn't evidence for the processes they describe in
                                Galilee in the first century. There is archaeological evidence and even
                                documentary evidence for the intensification of the market, and there is
                                literary evidence in the writings of Josephus about the various reactions
                                to these processes. The NT, or rather,
                                pre-gospel traditions, would then plausibly represent one such "protest"
                                reaction. I think you'd have a hard time claiming that Galilee was NOT
                                being integrated into the larger Roman system of surplus extraction at
                                this time. But perhaps I misunderstand your point.<<

                                But I was *not* questioning the *fact* that Galilee was being urbanized,
                                or that there was an increased demand by aristocracy and retainers for
                                peasant surplus production, or even that innovations in fish processing,
                                etc, introduced commercialization into Antipas' realm. I questioned
                                whether these things *actually* triggered a counter-cultural response
                                featuring social criticism of the type Crossan speaks of. I feel that, on
                                a social level, political revolution would be the more expected response,
                                and of this there are several known examples.

                                >>[Dave H had said:] "Crossan *needs* to find an environment where a Jew
                                could express himself in the Greek style aphorisms identified by
                                Kloppenborg and others."

                                [Bill replied] Huh? I'm not sure that Kloppenborg identifies any such
                                "Greek style aphorisms." What are you talking about? In any case, the
                                environment in which a Jew COULD express him or
                                herself in terms of Hellenistic culture (notwithstanding the irrelevance
                                of the apperal to Greek-style aphorisms) would be: ANYWHERE in the eastern
                                half of the Mediterranean from
                                about 300 BCE onward. Or were Jews somehow insulated from the Hellenistic
                                culture which dominated them for THREE HUNDRED years already before Jesus
                                ever appeared on the scene?<<

                                As far as I can tell, Kloppenborg characterizes what he calls the second
                                stage of Q's compositional history as the addition (to the basic wisdom
                                sayings) "of groups of sayings, many framed as chriae ... [and] this [2nd]
                                recension of Q falls within the parameters of other chriic collections,
                                especially those current in Cynic circles [_The Formation of Q_, 1987]."
                                Chriae are characteristically Hellenistic, aren't they? My use of the
                                term "aphorism" is influenced by the usage of B. Mack. I understand that
                                Mack associates the earliest strata with Cynic-like "aphorisms" [_The Lost
                                Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins_, 1993, pp. 45-6, 114, 115,
                                120-21]. I presume that there must be some sort of overlap between
                                Kloppenborg's second stage Q material and Mack's Q1.

                                I am also well aware that Hellenism had influenced Judaism, including
                                Judea itself, from the time of Alexander the Great. It is not the COULD
                                that I doubt, but that it DID produce a Cynic-like social-critical
                                movement *within* Judaism. Jesus' movement would probably not be the only
                                one of its kind if social conditions fated something like it to happen,
                                but the closest thing I can think of is 4th philosophy, which was a
                                political-revolutionary rather than a social-revolutionary movement.

                                While there are little, if any, literary remains from the perspective of
                                peasants to guide us, I still think we could expect to see a Josephus or a
                                Pliny, someone of the retainer class, speak of such a movement in dress
                                familiar to Greek thought (like he does with Essenes, Pharisees and
                                Sadducees) if they were occurring with any frequency. If Jesus' movement
                                is argued to be the *only* one of its kind, then I get anxious about the
                                possibility of special pleading.

                                >>[Dave H said:] "I am suggesting that he *has* to find something in the
                                history and culture of the period and place, such as excessive economic
                                exploitation, which de Ste. Croix does not see as exceptionally oppressive
                                until almost three centuries later, to confirm it."

                                [Bill replied:] To confirm what? The existence of protest literature? Or
                                Greek literature? I'm unclear what you're claiming here. In any case, de
                                Ste.. Croix' judgment on what might constitute
                                "exceptional" oppression is neither here nor there.<<

                                The claim, which I agree I did not express clearly, was that the presence
                                of economic stress does not guarantee a social-critical response from
                                peasants. I was implying that Crossan was forced by necessity to
                                overestimate the economic stress in Galilee in the 20's in order to
                                bolster an otherwise weak thesis that the response was a social-critical
                                Cynic-like itinerancy movement. "Weak" is my assessment.

                                To offset what I considered an overstatement, I stressed the fact that de
                                Ste. Croix did not share Crossan's view that the stress of
                                commercialization was great enough to spawn a political-revolutionary
                                response, and I feel this can be extended to include any widespread
                                social-critical counterculture movements as well.

                                >>Again, I think you misunderstood my point. I was not talking about
                                "building complex interdependent hypotheses" (isn't this process often
                                called "science," by the way?) and am not sure where or how this came into
                                the picture. I was asking why one should regard the elimination
                                of bias as an important goal in historical work.<<

                                "Science" builds hypotheses from observable, repeatable data, which is
                                exactly what we do *not* have in historical documents from the 1st century
                                CE. The investigator working in a "hard" science (the experimental
                                approaches) satisfies himself in the planning stage if investigation "that
                                the necessary measuring devices, recorders, and other instruments to be
                                used are accurate, dependable, and will not influence the outcome of the
                                study." In contrast, "the investigator involved in a historical
                                investigation ... has no control over his data gathering devices. He must
                                take his data where he can get them. As a result, no matter how carefully
                                he plans his study, it is absolutely essential that he carefully examine
                                whatever data he has been able to gather after they have been collected to
                                determine their veracity" [G. C. Helmstadter, _Research Concepts in Human
                                Behavior: Education - Psychology - Sociology_, 1970, p47).

                                I quote this only to make it clear that when a "science" builds a
                                hypothesis, it is almost always starting with much more reliable data than
                                we have as historians. That is why I think we need to eliminate, as much
                                as possible, subjective factors in the criticism of historical data. We
                                might have a jim-dandy methodological approach, but as the saying goes:
                                "garbage in - garbage out." The problems we have with form and redaction
                                criticism are caused by, I think, too heavy an expectation for data to fit
                                into preconceived ideas relating to Jesus and early Christian origins. Our
                                reasoning has been circular as a result. I simply propose that a
                                statistically descriptive inventory of the textual data be attempted,
                                adopting and adapting models used in other disciplines, such as computer
                                database development.

                                Regards,

                                Dave Hindley
                                Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                              • William E. Arnal
                                ... I actually think this is a bit of a mischaracterization, Bob, and certainly a simplification of postmodernism, which is not coextensive with
                                Message 15 of 21 , Feb 20, 2000
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                                  On Sat, 19 Feb 2000, Robert M Schacht wrote:

                                  > This is one of your sly pomo challenges, isn't it?
                                  > As a (slightly) repentant logical positivist, I have learned enough to
                                  > respond to such questions thusly: I accept the pomo challenge that we
                                  > cannot *eliminate* bias from our historical work. In fact, as a

                                  I actually think this is a bit of a mischaracterization,
                                  Bob, and certainly a simplification of postmodernism, which
                                  is not coextensive with epistemological relativism.
                                  Relativism has a LONG history that certainly stretches back
                                  before the last few centuries. And postmodernism refers,
                                  inter alia, to an aesthetic (and one with which I am very
                                  little in sympathy, in fact) as much as, or more than, to an
                                  epistemological stance.

                                  > However, as a not entirely reformed logical positivist, I see the
                                  > *reduction* or *minimization* of bias as an important goal. And since we
                                  > cannot eliminate bias, the only honest thing to do is to confess our
                                  > biases up front-- something which few of us choose to do.

                                  But WHY? This was my question. I actually was not arguing
                                  that we COULD not elminiate bias (although I agree that this
                                  is true) but was wondering why this elimination (or
                                  minimization, if elimination isn't possible) is viewed as a
                                  goal in historical work. To assert that this is a worthy (or
                                  necessary) goal still doesn't explain to me the "why" of the
                                  matter.

                                  > Some people have concluded from the pomo challenge that since we can't
                                  > eliminate bias, then we are free to be as biased as we want to be (I
                                  > guess this is a variant on the old theme, if you're gonna sin, you might
                                  > as well sin boldly?) I am not comfortable with this.

                                  This still doesn't answer the question, and in fact again
                                  misconstrues pomo. You're still assuming here in your
                                  argument the very thing I'm asking about. To say,
                                  "the impossibility of the elimination of bias does not mean
                                  that the reduction of bias is an unimportant goal" may be
                                  logically quite correct, but it still doesn't explain to me
                                  why one should think that the elimination/reduction of bias
                                  was an important goal in the first place.

                                  > Someone on the HJMethodology seminar raised the implication that our very
                                  > *interest* in the historical Jesus automatically implies bias. I guess
                                  > the logic is, if we are "interested", then we cannot be "disinterested",
                                  > i.e., objective in a technical sense. If we were *really* disinterested,
                                  > why would we want to study the historical Jesus at all? As a cynical ploy
                                  > to take advantage of the thousands who have such an interest in order to
                                  > gain a livelihood? Is this what is known as "deconstruction"?

                                  No, it's not really "deconstruction." But the reasoning
                                  here, whether pomo or not, strikes me as basically correct.
                                  We study material (cynically or otherwise) that strikes us
                                  as important. The claim that it's important is really a
                                  subjective one, which relates to our own time and situation.
                                  Joe's grandmother's premature death as a result of blood
                                  poisoning affected HIM as much as Jesus' death affected his
                                  immediate followers, but we do not treat the former as
                                  historically significant in its own right. That's a judgment
                                  call that only be justified retrospectively. Look, the
                                  reason I brought this up in the first place is because the
                                  notion that humanities ought to model themselves on the
                                  sciences annoys me, and strikes me as indefensible. We study
                                  art or literature or culture to attain an *understanding* of
                                  it, not a series of universal laws or replicability or
                                  prediction. And understanding, in this case, implies an
                                  interface between the subject and object of study. To
                                  pretend otherwise is simply to succumb to science-envy,
                                  or to try universalize universalize one's own subjectivity
                                  and evaluations. If I say "Jesus was/wasn't important
                                  because . . ." that's a different kind of statement than
                                  "the orbits of the planets are elliptical." The latter is a
                                  statement than anyone informed ought to assent to. The
                                  former is really a kind of self-expression.

                                  Bill
                                  ________________________________________
                                  William E. Arnal e-mail: wea1@...
                                  Religious Studies/Classics Check out my web page, at:
                                  New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                                • William E. Arnal
                                  ... Well, and arguably the Jewish war was just such an instance, rather later, of this kind of revolutionary response. And of course the Christian data itself
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Feb 20, 2000
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                                    On Sat, 19 Feb 2000, David C. Hindley wrote:

                                    > But I was *not* questioning the *fact* that Galilee was being urbanized,
                                    > or that there was an increased demand by aristocracy and retainers for
                                    > peasant surplus production, or even that innovations in fish processing,
                                    > etc, introduced commercialization into Antipas' realm. I questioned
                                    > whether these things *actually* triggered a counter-cultural response
                                    > featuring social criticism of the type Crossan speaks of. I feel that, on
                                    > a social level, political revolution would be the more expected response,
                                    > and of this there are several known examples.

                                    Well, and arguably the Jewish war was just such an instance,
                                    rather later, of this kind of revolutionary response. And of
                                    course the Christian data itself would be precisely the
                                    thing that indicates that there WAS some sort of protest
                                    response. But now that (I think) I understand your point a
                                    little more clearly, I think I may just agree with you. That
                                    is, I do suspect that the particular character of the
                                    "counter cultural protest" that is exemplified in Q, Thomas,
                                    the early sayings tradition, etc., is not exactly what one
                                    might expect from a peasant protest over increasing
                                    exploitation. If this is your point, I agree.

                                    > As far as I can tell, Kloppenborg characterizes what he calls the second
                                    > stage of Q's compositional history as the addition (to the basic wisdom
                                    > sayings) "of groups of sayings, many framed as chriae ... [and] this [2nd]
                                    > recension of Q falls within the parameters of other chriic collections,
                                    > especially those current in Cynic circles [_The Formation of Q_, 1987]."
                                    > Chriae are characteristically Hellenistic, aren't they? My use of the

                                    Judaism in our period is characteristically Hellenistic. I
                                    see no reason that the use of the chreia would have struck
                                    1st century Jews as as distinctively Greek usage any more
                                    than North American novel writers regard the genre of their
                                    works as typically French or English. Chreiae show up all
                                    over the Mishnah, by the way.

                                    > term "aphorism" is influenced by the usage of B. Mack. I understand that
                                    > Mack associates the earliest strata with Cynic-like "aphorisms" [_The Lost
                                    > Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins_, 1993, pp. 45-6, 114, 115,
                                    > 120-21]. I presume that there must be some sort of overlap between
                                    > Kloppenborg's second stage Q material and Mack's Q1.

                                    You presume wrong. On the contrary, Mack adopts
                                    Kloppenborg's stratification of Q (with some slight --and
                                    problematic -- adjustments). There is (almost
                                    complete) overlap between Mack's Q1 and Kloppenborg's first
                                    stage; and between Mack's Q2 and Kloppenborg's second
                                    stage. To the best of my recollection, there is NO overlap
                                    between Kloppenborg's second stage and Mack's Q1.

                                    > that I doubt, but that it DID produce a Cynic-like social-critical
                                    > movement *within* Judaism. Jesus' movement would probably not be the only

                                    But WHY? Cynic-like, by the way, doesn't mean "card-carry
                                    Cynics" or "self-consciously seeing themselves as Cynics" or
                                    any such thing. These comparisons between Jesus and the
                                    Cynics are ALL (well, maybe Downing is an exception)
                                    indebted to the methodological comments on comparison
                                    offered by Jonathan Z. Smith in _Drudgery Divine_ and
                                    elsewhere. The point is that the pattern of similarities and
                                    differences between the Jesus movements and Cynics shed
                                    light on what the Jesus people were up to. In particular,
                                    the comparison shows the potential that appeals to the
                                    workings of nature have for social criticism.

                                    > peasants to guide us, I still think we could expect to see a Josephus or a
                                    > Pliny, someone of the retainer class, speak of such a movement in dress
                                    > familiar to Greek thought (like he does with Essenes, Pharisees and
                                    > Sadducees) if they were occurring with any frequency. If Jesus' movement

                                    But doesn't his characterization of the Essenes and
                                    Pharisees precisely fit the bill? Don't we have here
                                    Josephan testimony to social movements ("revolutionary" may
                                    be an overstatement, but certainly groups with distinctive
                                    social agenda) which at least Josephus views as analogous to
                                    philosophical schools?

                                    > "Science" builds hypotheses from observable, repeatable data, which is
                                    > exactly what we do *not* have in historical documents from the 1st century
                                    > CE. The investigator working in a "hard" science (the experimental
                                    > approaches) satisfies himself in the planning stage if investigation "that
                                    > the necessary measuring devices, recorders, and other instruments to be
                                    > used are accurate, dependable, and will not influence the outcome of the
                                    > study." In contrast, "the investigator involved in a historical
                                    > investigation ... has no control over his data gathering devices. He must
                                    > take his data where he can get them. As a result, no matter how carefully

                                    The contrast is greater than simply the ways in which
                                    data is accumulated. I would regard it to be naive to
                                    suggest that all modes of knowledge or discourse should
                                    treat the form of scientific knowledge as paradigmatic. The
                                    goals and assumptions of history share little with those of
                                    science, and so I'm completely unsympathetic to attempts to
                                    make history more "scientific." What I would like to know
                                    is, if one grants (and you may not be willing to grant any
                                    such thing) that the mode of historical inquiry is not
                                    fundamentally analogous to that of science, what
                                    justification is there for seeking to eliminate or minimize
                                    bias?

                                    Bill
                                    ________________________________________
                                    William E. Arnal e-mail: wea1@...
                                    Religious Studies/Classics Check out my web page, at:
                                    New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                                  • Robert M Schacht
                                    On Sun, 20 Feb 2000 09:05:03 -0500 (EST) William E. Arnal ... to ... we ... Well, mea culpa, Bill; my meagre knowledge of postmodernism has not graduated
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Feb 20, 2000
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                                      On Sun, 20 Feb 2000 09:05:03 -0500 (EST) "William E. Arnal"
                                      <wea1@...> writes:
                                      >
                                      > On Sat, 19 Feb 2000, Robert M Schacht wrote:
                                      >
                                      > > This is one of your sly pomo challenges, isn't it?
                                      > > As a (slightly) repentant logical positivist, I have learned enough
                                      to
                                      > > respond to such questions thusly: I accept the pomo challenge that
                                      we
                                      > > cannot *eliminate* bias from our historical work. In fact, as a
                                      >
                                      > I actually think this is a bit of a mischaracterization,
                                      > Bob, and certainly a simplification of postmodernism, which
                                      > is not coextensive with epistemological relativism.

                                      Well, mea culpa, Bill; my meagre knowledge of postmodernism has not
                                      graduated past equating it with epistemological relativism.

                                      > Relativism has a LONG history that certainly stretches back
                                      > before the last few centuries. And postmodernism refers,
                                      > inter alia, to an aesthetic (and one with which I am very
                                      > little in sympathy, in fact) as much as, or more than, to an
                                      > epistemological stance.
                                      >

                                      This is interesting. In fact, I confess to having baited you a little in
                                      hope for some such enlightenment on the subject. I had thought that
                                      postmodernism posed a more serious epistemological challenge than this.

                                      > > However, as a not entirely reformed logical positivist, I see the
                                      > > *reduction* or *minimization* of bias as an important goal. And
                                      since we
                                      > > cannot eliminate bias, the only honest thing to do is to confess our
                                      > > biases up front-- something which few of us choose to do.
                                      >
                                      > But WHY? This was my question. I actually was not arguing
                                      > that we COULD not elminiate bias (although I agree that this
                                      > is true) but was wondering why this elimination (or
                                      > minimization, if elimination isn't possible) is viewed as a
                                      > goal in historical work. To assert that this is a worthy (or
                                      > necessary) goal still doesn't explain to me the "why" of the
                                      > matter.... You're still assuming here in your
                                      > argument the very thing I'm asking about. To say,
                                      > "the impossibility of the elimination of bias does not mean
                                      > that the reduction of bias is an unimportant goal" may be
                                      > logically quite correct, but it still doesn't explain to me
                                      > why one should think that the elimination/reduction of bias
                                      > was an important goal in the first place....
                                      [snip]
                                      > But the reasoning
                                      > here, whether pomo or not, strikes me as basically correct.
                                      > We study material (cynically or otherwise) that strikes us
                                      > as important. The claim that it's important is really a
                                      > subjective one, which relates to our own time and situation.
                                      > Joe's grandmother's premature death as a result of blood
                                      > poisoning affected HIM as much as Jesus' death affected his
                                      > immediate followers, but we do not treat the former as
                                      > historically significant in its own right. That's a judgment
                                      > call that only be justified retrospectively. Look, the
                                      > reason I brought this up in the first place is because the
                                      > notion that humanities ought to model themselves on the
                                      > sciences annoys me, and strikes me as indefensible.

                                      Oh, good! I can always count on you, Bill, to get to the heart of the
                                      matter!
                                      Thanks for elucidating your question and its background. This is really
                                      the crux, isn't it?
                                      Is the quest for the historical Jesus to be done according to a
                                      humanities paradigm, or according to a (psuedo-)scientific paradigm? In
                                      fact, I think this might be the solution to Mark Goodacre's didactic
                                      problem about the Third Quest. That is, I think during the 20th Century
                                      (may it rest in peace), some Biblical scholars entertained the notion for
                                      a while that they *should* model themselves on the sciences, insofar as
                                      that is possible. And that has been my scholarly inclination. The social
                                      sciences, when I was undergoing my university training were split between
                                      those who had succumbed to "science-envy," as you cleverly put it, and
                                      those who were clinging to a humanities paradigm for the social sciences.
                                      I think the same thing was happening in critical scholarship, and is
                                      still a factor.

                                      > We study
                                      > art or literature or culture to attain an *understanding* of
                                      > it, not a series of universal laws or replicability or
                                      > prediction. And understanding, in this case, implies an
                                      > interface between the subject and object of study. To
                                      > pretend otherwise is simply to succumb to science-envy,
                                      > or to try universalize universalize one's own subjectivity
                                      > and evaluations.

                                      Yeah. Here's where I have a problem, because I never got a handle on how
                                      one could "understand" something in this way. I think one of our basic
                                      scholarly problems is that the scientists and the humanists have
                                      different ideas about what it means to "understand" something. Please
                                      tell me: is "understanding," in the humanist perspective, something that
                                      is subjective, intersubjective, or objective? That is, to what extent,
                                      and how, can we share the same "understanding"? Or is understanding
                                      always subjective?

                                      We have a tradition on CrossTalk of demanding that opinions be tested by
                                      *evidence.*
                                      I guess what I'm not clear about is how humanists deal with evidence, and
                                      what place it has in their philosophy of knowledge. If you have any good,
                                      currently valid, concise references on this subject, I would appreciate
                                      it as my education regarding the humanities is deficient in this area.

                                      Thanks,
                                      Bob
                                      Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
                                      Northern Arizona University
                                      Flagstaff, AZ
                                    • William Arnal
                                      ... Well, all you re going to get here from me in answer to these questions are my assertions about what *I* think to be the case. I m sure you ll take it all
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Feb 20, 2000
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                                        At 09:41 AM 2/20/00 -0800, Robert M Schacht wrote:

                                        >Yeah. Here's where I have a problem, because I never got a handle on how
                                        >one could "understand" something in this way. I think one of our basic
                                        >scholarly problems is that the scientists and the humanists have
                                        >different ideas about what it means to "understand" something. Please
                                        >tell me: is "understanding," in the humanist perspective, something that
                                        >is subjective, intersubjective, or objective? That is, to what extent,
                                        >and how, can we share the same "understanding"? Or is understanding
                                        >always subjective?

                                        Well, all you're going to get here from me in answer to these
                                        questions are my assertions about what *I* think to be the case. I'm sure
                                        you'll take it all with the usual and requisite grain of salt.
                                        Anyway, how "subjective" humanistic understanding might be, IMHO,
                                        depends to a large degree on how refined a notion of objectivity you're
                                        assuming. Strictly speaking, I imagine that none of us are capable of
                                        sharing the same understanding -- what we do is intervene in the
                                        understandings of others, so as to affect them. What you say, I never
                                        receive just as you say it -- in my reception I turn it into something else.
                                        But it affects me, it changes my thinking, and it will do so in ways that
                                        you may find agreeable or not so agreeable. Typically (though not always),
                                        if I say, "I agree with you, Bob," I'm indicating that your communication
                                        has impacted on me in the way I think you intended. And should you reply,
                                        "No, Bill, you actually are not agreeing with what I said," you're just
                                        telling me that the way your communication has impacted on me is NOT what
                                        you actually intended.
                                        But this strikes me as too refined, abstract, absolute, or rigid a
                                        notion of understanding and communication, largely because I think human
                                        subjets are socially created. It may be true that two human beings never
                                        fully communicate, but only trivially so. I assume that, de facto,
                                        communication actually does take place, and that when it does, it's a
                                        function of some form of shared social ground (how one might theorize the
                                        RELEVANT social factors, I leave open). So, to the extent that you and I
                                        share a certain social basis in the formation and structure of our
                                        subjectivities (e.g., we are both products of North American, capitalist,
                                        liberal culture, we both have lived our lives under conditions of relative
                                        prosperity, we share a common intellectual "toolkit," and so on), then, I
                                        think, de facto, we are quite cabable of achieving a solidly
                                        *intersubjetive* common understanding of this or that, precisely because our
                                        subjectivities are formed on the same basis. And to the extent that you and
                                        I FAIL to share such common features in the formation of our subjectivities
                                        (e.g., due to age differences, differences in nationality. or whatever) we
                                        may be quite unable to communicate effectively at all.

                                        >We have a tradition on CrossTalk of demanding that opinions be tested by
                                        >*evidence.*
                                        >I guess what I'm not clear about is how humanists deal with evidence, and
                                        >what place it has in their philosophy of knowledge. If you have any good,
                                        >currently valid, concise references on this subject, I would appreciate
                                        >it as my education regarding the humanities is deficient in this area.

                                        Off the top, none whatsoever. Again, just to clarify: I am by no means
                                        suggesting that evidence or demands for evidence are illegitimate. What
                                        frustrates me are pleas for the elimination of bias, generally. I'm happy
                                        enough to decry this or that bias; e.g., what I see to be a general
                                        canonical bias in our field. But bias itself is woven right into the way we
                                        know -- at least the way we know ourselves and our (human) products
                                        (society, culture, religion, history). Academic disciplines have their own
                                        criteria of adequacy, and the demand for evidence is really, I think, a
                                        demand to conform one's conclusion to these criteria, to give, in other
                                        words, grounds appropriate to the discourse in question for preferring one
                                        way of looking at things to another way.

                                        obfuscatorily,
                                        Bill
                                        __________________________________
                                        William Arnal wea1@...
                                        Religion/Classics check out my web page, at:
                                        New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                                      • David C. Hindley
                                        Sukie, ... one who sees oppressive exploitation in Lower Galilee of the 20s and some form of non-violent resistance in Jesus? I m thinking of Horsley and
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Feb 21, 2000
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                                          Sukie,

                                          You said:

                                          >>Does it make any difference to you, David, that Crossan is not the only
                                          one who "sees" oppressive exploitation in Lower Galilee of the 20s and
                                          some form of non-violent resistance in Jesus? I'm thinking of Horsley and
                                          Silberman's _The Message and The Kingdom_, albeit a more popular level
                                          book, but their conclusions seem remarkably similar to Crossan's, yet
                                          reached from
                                          a slightly different route. Would you assume the same bias there?<<

                                          Well, I finally found the book referenced above (at the local public
                                          library, the larger ones do not even stock it). However, I'm a bit
                                          confused. Horsley does not appear to bear anything close to Crossan's
                                          vision. Horsley seems to view the Jesus movement as a Renewal movement
                                          based on the teachings of the Hebrew prophets (and excuse me if I have
                                          simplified this portrayal a bit).

                                          Horsley appears to say that Jesus was an advocate for a renewal movement,
                                          which did include non-violent resistance, yes. Even so, he does not seem
                                          to come anywhere close to Crossan's vision, if his statements on pages
                                          59-59 and 92-94 are any indication.

                                          Or is this what you meant? That is, that Horsley sums up Crossan's
                                          position (without naming him, but seemingly including him a clique within
                                          the Jesus Seminar) somewhat accurately as a "Galilean guru of
                                          nonpolitical, countercultural wisdom ... [with his followers being]
                                          free-thinking vagabond philosophers who spoke out brazenly in public
                                          places, contesting the conventional wisdom and preaching a
                                          counter-cultural lifestyle of radical individualism, free of property,
                                          parents, and propriety." Ouch! <but very, very, groovy, man>

                                          I think those are overstatements on Horsley's part, but they do suggest
                                          that Crossan might be projecting "modern" 1960's era counter-cultural
                                          philosophy and phenomenon back into the early 1st century CE. But then,
                                          how much of the exegesis concerning Jesus' participation in dinner and
                                          wedding parties (going on as normal it seems, despite the depressed and
                                          oppressed regional economy) actually reflect characteristics of modern
                                          academic politics and seminars projected back to the same period?

                                          Regards,

                                          Dave Hindley
                                          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                                        • Sukie Curtis
                                          ... David, Let me say first that I m sure this would be a more fruitful conversation if I had read more of Horsley s more detailed works, but since I haven t,
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Feb 22, 2000
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                                            David wrote:
                                            > Sukie,
                                            >
                                            > You said:
                                            >
                                            > >>Does it make any difference to you, David, that Crossan is not the only
                                            > one who "sees" oppressive exploitation in Lower Galilee of the 20s and
                                            > some form of non-violent resistance in Jesus? I'm thinking of Horsley and
                                            > Silberman's _The Message and The Kingdom_, albeit a more popular level
                                            > book, but their conclusions seem remarkably similar to Crossan's, yet
                                            > reached from
                                            > a slightly different route. Would you assume the same bias there?<<
                                            >
                                            > Well, I finally found the book referenced above (at the local public
                                            > library, the larger ones do not even stock it). However, I'm a bit
                                            > confused. Horsley does not appear to bear anything close to Crossan's
                                            > vision. Horsley seems to view the Jesus movement as a Renewal movement
                                            > based on the teachings of the Hebrew prophets (and excuse me if I have
                                            > simplified this portrayal a bit).
                                            >
                                            > Horsley appears to say that Jesus was an advocate for a renewal movement,
                                            > which did include non-violent resistance, yes. Even so, he does not seem
                                            > to come anywhere close to Crossan's vision, if his statements on pages
                                            > 59-59 and 92-94 are any indication.
                                            David,

                                            Let me say first that I'm sure this would be a more fruitful conversation if
                                            I had read more of Horsley's more detailed works, but since I haven't, I
                                            spoke on the basis of what I HAVE read. I understood your primary question
                                            about Crossan's "method and bias" to have been about his conclusions that
                                            there was sufficient economic exploitation and hardship in Lower Galilee of
                                            the 20s to produce/incite/inspire resistance among peasants. And in my
                                            reading of Horsley and Silberman, they too conclude that such is/was the
                                            case. That was what I had primarily in mind (and memory).

                                            However, I don't see Horsley's descriptions of what Jesus was up to as so
                                            far different from Crossan's as you do, especially as this on page 51: "And
                                            here is our main historical hypothesis about the Galilean phase of Jesus'
                                            public career: he directly addressed the painful specifics of peasant life
                                            under the rule of Herod Antipas, offering his listeners far more than just
                                            generalized promises or threats. He showed them that they were not
                                            condemned to be powerless victims. This was not political protest in the
                                            sense of making overt, anti-government speeches or secretly plotting armed
                                            rebellion, but it was political in a far more powerful way. In Jesus'
                                            presence or under his influence, people who had been previously paralyzed or
                                            crippled by forces beyond their control began to piece their lives back
                                            together, for he offerend them both a new feeling of community [Crossan
                                            would say, an alternative community, not just a feeling of community] and a
                                            new personal confidence."

                                            Sounds to my ears like resistance of a creative kind, involving healing very
                                            much as Crossan describes "The Meaning of Healing" on pp. 293-302 in TBofC,
                                            especially about covert resistance in terms of Scott's three layers of
                                            ideological, status, and material resistance. Perhaps I'm seeing agreement
                                            where there is none, but it was that kind of congruence I was thinking of.

                                            Sukie Curtis
                                            Cumberland Foreside, Maine
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