Re: [XTalk] Depopulation of Galilee
I think this is an excellent question and will be interested to hear various
folks assessment of the whole issue of "naming" and what's involved in
claiming a name. Thinking forward to after Jesus... at least according to
Acts... the followers of Jesus weren't called "Christians" until the name
took hold in Antioch during Clauius' reign. So... comments?
>Would the Galileans of Jesus' time have called themselves Jews?
>How would they have named themselves religiously (if that is not too
>anachronistically formulated question)?
- Gordon Raynal wrote, inter alia, in response to Brian McCarthy:
>I think this is an excellent question >and will be interested to hearvarious
>folks assessment of the whole issue of >"naming" and what's involved inI wrote in one of my articles with(footnotes in () ):
>claiming a name.
The Jewish establishment considered the earliest Christians to be another
Jewish sectarian group.(Jews acknowledge the Way as a party within Israel,
Acts 24:5, 14; 28:22.) Jewish Christians held the same view of themselves.
In the formative period the problem of the law was closely related to the
question of their identity as part of the people of God. Luke employs terms
that are decidedly Old Testament and among New Testament writers unique to
him. Only Luke employs terms like 'the law of the lord' (God) and 'the law
of the fathers'.(Lk. 2:23, 24, 39 and Acts 22:3.) No one but Luke refers to
the mosaic law as 'the customs which Moses delivered to us' and similar
expressions.(Acts 6:14; 15:1; 21:21; and 28:17) Only Luke talks about 'Moses
being preached'.(Acts 15:21) There are numerous examples to show that for
Luke Moses is associated with the law. This identity is also established
first of all by the names attributed by Christians to themselves and their
movement in Acts. These names as shown by Esler 'nearly always denote a
connection with, or even an intensification of Judaism.' Esler has provided
a number of examples: disciples, brothers, saints, the believers, the saved,
ekklesia, the flock and the way.(Philip Francis Esler, Community and Gospel
in Luke-Acts: The Social and Political Motivations of Lucan Theology,
(Cambridge, 1987), 68.) The intra-Jewish status of Christians in Acts is
also revealed in the names applied by other Jews to them, such as nazarenes.
Meeks has shown that the Pauline communities also developed 'language of
belonging.'(Wayne A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians, (New Haven and
London, 1983), 85 ff.)
Richard H. Anderson
- Dear Brian,
A good question! One should realize, however, how this question would have been
stated in Aramaic or Hebrew. Should one ask, "Would they have calledl themselves
'benei berit', or 'benei Jaakov'? Better still, "Did many of them participate in
the annual pilgrimmage to celebrate Pesach and Shabuot in the city of David?"
> Would the Galileans of Jesus' time have called themselves Jews?
> How would they have named themselves religiously (if that is not too
> anachronistically formulated question)?
> Brian McCarthy
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