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[HJMatMeth] Re: Cross-Cultural Anthropology

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  • David C. Hindley
    Professor Crossan, ... to work on two levels, one of which I find legitimate, and the other which I reject flatly. You mention about the Lenski-Kautsky model
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 15, 2000
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      Professor Crossan,

      >>I find it difficult, David, to answer your post because it seems to me
      to work on two levels, one of which I find legitimate, and the other which
      I reject flatly. You mention about the Lenski-Kautsky model that I have
      been "selectively reading them and adding your own interpretations into
      the description of their positions." On the one hand, I want to say: of
      course, and welcome to scholarship. But on the other, I sense an undertone
      that I am doing something invalid, if not unethical. Something akin not to
      research, but, as you say, to "spin." <<

      No, no, I would not characterize it as unethical.

      In Chapter 7 of BOC, where you discuss presuppositions as they relate to
      textual criticism, you indicate that "[P]resuppositions ... will crucially
      dictate and control one's method for research ...". While this was made in
      reference to gospel materials, I think it is analogous to the use of
      cross-cultural anthropology.

      If one permits himself/herself to pick the presuppositions without
      restriction, then one is more than likely to pick the one that validates
      one's own belief system, whatever that may be. In the example of your four
      hypothetical models within which to study the gospels, you note the focus
      that each hypothesis would likely have as follows:

      1) Four witnesses giving legal testimony.
      Focus is on consensus as the factor that gives the greatest security.
      2) Four scholars doing basic research.
      Focus is on the latest stratum as giving the greatest security.
      3) Four historians conducting oral interviews.
      Focus is on diversity, as all versions are equally secure.
      4) Four evangelists rewriting earlier tradition (which you personally
      adopt).
      Focus is on the earliest stratum as giving the greatest security.

      Now in the real world, nobody involved in HJ research has never heard
      about the gospels or reached no conclusions about them. If the researcher
      is anxious to preserve his tradition, s/he will likely adopt #2 above.
      Alternately, if the researcher takes delight in a broader expression of
      faith, then #4 may well be the pick of choice.

      You note that N. T. Wright offers his alternative method of Hypothesis and
      Verification, in which "serious historical hypotheses" are formed by
      working out critical but synthetic harmonization of the source accounts,
      and then verifying them by "examination of the *prima facie* relevant data
      to see how they fit." There does not seem to be much room for anthropology
      or history there, at least as you describe his position. In practical
      fact, this is essentially conservative Christian exegesis: The NT books
      mean what they say, and should only be interpreted in relation to one
      another. Examples from history or anthropology are easily interpreted as
      supporting the "prima facie" accounts, and probably everyone can think of
      at *least* one commentary that manages to do just that.

      But how different is the case of the scholar who makes use of normal
      critical tools (without quotes)? Although the critical path taken is
      different, when it comes to comparing the results against anthropological
      or historical evidence, it is just as easy to interpret it so as to
      confirm your earliest strata accounts. He is probably no more conscious of
      doing it as is a conservative Christian, and both the conservative and the
      higher critic can confidently say, as you did, that "other scholars ...
      use it in much the same way and with much the same understanding as I do."

      I think that this is an inherent weakness with "no holds barred"
      methodology. When the methodological brush is too wide, the volume of
      paint hides the poor surface preparation work. In time, it is only natural
      that the paint will peel.

      Alternatively, I think that if we want to accept the hypothesis that the
      gospels represent the products of four evangelists rewriting earlier
      tradition, then we must start by breaking down the hypothesis into smaller
      parts that are *less open to interpretation.*

      For what purpose did they rewrite earlier accounts? Edification? History?
      Biography? Polemic? Defense? There are probably dozens of other reasons
      that may have motivated their writing, either from their perspective as
      writers or from the perceived perspective of the readers. Any combination
      of these motivations may have been in play. But if taken individually,
      examples can be found in the sources that support or do not support each
      small hypothesis. When these are considered in conjunction, they can be
      analyzed statistically as a matrix. Our focus becomes the cells of the
      matrix with the highest correlations, and these complexes will offer us
      the framework in which to interpret the sources.

      It is just an idea, maybe even one that has been proposed before, but I am
      convinced that some sort of safeguards need to be applied to help reduce
      bias to an absolute minimum, yet still yield relatively secure
      relationships that can be used to construct more general hypotheses. What
      problems might you see in such an approach?

      Regards,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    • John Dominic Crossan
      You say, David, that If one permits himself/herself to pick the presuppositions without restriction, then one is more than likely to pick the one that
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 18, 2000
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        You say, David, that "If one permits himself/herself to pick the
        presuppositions without restriction, then one is more than likely to pick
        the one that validates one's own belief system, whatever that may be. In the
        example of your four hypothetical models within which to study the gospels,
        you note the focus that each hypothesis would likely have as follows:
        1) Four witnesses giving legal testimony.
        Focus is on consensus as the factor that gives the greatest security.
        2) Four scholars doing basic research.
        Focus is on the latest stratum as giving the greatest security.
        3) Four historians conducting oral interviews.
        Focus is on diversity, as all versions are equally secure.
        4) Four evangelists rewriting earlier tradition (which you personally
        adopt).
        Focus is on the earliest stratum as giving the greatest security."

        That is a rather basic misunderstanding of my position. I chose option 4 of
        those four alternatives not because it validated my "belief system" in any
        way that I can possibly imagine. Why on earth would I presume plagiarism
        (let alone inspired plagiarism) unless I had found it. You must be aware
        that what somebody like myself was doing in the 60s and 70s was a
        painstaking reading of the gospels in parallel columns to see if that was
        actually the best way to understand the relationships between them. Of
        course, I was influenced in those processes by the various alternatives that
        source criticism and redaction criticism had offered to me. I did not have
        to start from scratch and I was very happy not to have to do so. I do not
        know whether you would accept such work as acceptable to statistics within a
        matrix. But, having to go through Matthew, for example, word for word in
        comparison with Mark and seeing if I could explain to myself why Matthew
        added, subtracted and changed whatever it did on some consistent principles
        of Matthean mind, is quite close enough for me to what you described in
        terms of analyzing it statistically as a matrix. Have you ever done that
        yourself? Put another way, and as I said before in an earlier posting, it
        was redaction criticism that made me ultimately become convinced of source
        criticism.
        ----------
        >From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
        >To: <hjmaterialsmethodolgy@egroups.com>
        >Subject: [HJMatMeth] Re: Cross-Cultural Anthropology
        >Date: Tue, Feb 15, 2000, 11:50 PM
        >

        > Professor Crossan,
        >
        >>>I find it difficult, David, to answer your post because it seems to me
        > to work on two levels, one of which I find legitimate, and the other which
        > I reject flatly. You mention about the Lenski-Kautsky model that I have
        > been "selectively reading them and adding your own interpretations into
        > the description of their positions." On the one hand, I want to say: of
        > course, and welcome to scholarship. But on the other, I sense an undertone
        > that I am doing something invalid, if not unethical. Something akin not to
        > research, but, as you say, to "spin." <<
        >
        > No, no, I would not characterize it as unethical.
        >
        > In Chapter 7 of BOC, where you discuss presuppositions as they relate to
        > textual criticism, you indicate that "[P]resuppositions ... will crucially
        > dictate and control one's method for research ...". While this was made in
        > reference to gospel materials, I think it is analogous to the use of
        > cross-cultural anthropology.
        >
        > If one permits himself/herself to pick the presuppositions without
        > restriction, then one is more than likely to pick the one that validates
        > one's own belief system, whatever that may be. In the example of your four
        > hypothetical models within which to study the gospels, you note the focus
        > that each hypothesis would likely have as follows:
        >
        > 1) Four witnesses giving legal testimony.
        > Focus is on consensus as the factor that gives the greatest security.
        > 2) Four scholars doing basic research.
        > Focus is on the latest stratum as giving the greatest security.
        > 3) Four historians conducting oral interviews.
        > Focus is on diversity, as all versions are equally secure.
        > 4) Four evangelists rewriting earlier tradition (which you personally
        > adopt).
        > Focus is on the earliest stratum as giving the greatest security.
        >
        > Now in the real world, nobody involved in HJ research has never heard
        > about the gospels or reached no conclusions about them. If the researcher
        > is anxious to preserve his tradition, s/he will likely adopt #2 above.
        > Alternately, if the researcher takes delight in a broader expression of
        > faith, then #4 may well be the pick of choice.
        >
        > You note that N. T. Wright offers his alternative method of Hypothesis and
        > Verification, in which "serious historical hypotheses" are formed by
        > working out critical but synthetic harmonization of the source accounts,
        > and then verifying them by "examination of the *prima facie* relevant data
        > to see how they fit." There does not seem to be much room for anthropology
        > or history there, at least as you describe his position. In practical
        > fact, this is essentially conservative Christian exegesis: The NT books
        > mean what they say, and should only be interpreted in relation to one
        > another. Examples from history or anthropology are easily interpreted as
        > supporting the "prima facie" accounts, and probably everyone can think of
        > at *least* one commentary that manages to do just that.
        >
        > But how different is the case of the scholar who makes use of normal
        > critical tools (without quotes)? Although the critical path taken is
        > different, when it comes to comparing the results against anthropological
        > or historical evidence, it is just as easy to interpret it so as to
        > confirm your earliest strata accounts. He is probably no more conscious of
        > doing it as is a conservative Christian, and both the conservative and the
        > higher critic can confidently say, as you did, that "other scholars ...
        > use it in much the same way and with much the same understanding as I do."
        >
        > I think that this is an inherent weakness with "no holds barred"
        > methodology. When the methodological brush is too wide, the volume of
        > paint hides the poor surface preparation work. In time, it is only natural
        > that the paint will peel.
        >
        > Alternatively, I think that if we want to accept the hypothesis that the
        > gospels represent the products of four evangelists rewriting earlier
        > tradition, then we must start by breaking down the hypothesis into smaller
        > parts that are *less open to interpretation.*
        >
        > For what purpose did they rewrite earlier accounts? Edification? History?
        > Biography? Polemic? Defense? There are probably dozens of other reasons
        > that may have motivated their writing, either from their perspective as
        > writers or from the perceived perspective of the readers. Any combination
        > of these motivations may have been in play. But if taken individually,
        > examples can be found in the sources that support or do not support each
        > small hypothesis. When these are considered in conjunction, they can be
        > analyzed statistically as a matrix. Our focus becomes the cells of the
        > matrix with the highest correlations, and these complexes will offer us
        > the framework in which to interpret the sources.
        >
        > It is just an idea, maybe even one that has been proposed before, but I am
        > convinced that some sort of safeguards need to be applied to help reduce
        > bias to an absolute minimum, yet still yield relatively secure
        > relationships that can be used to construct more general hypotheses. What
        > problems might you see in such an approach?
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Dave Hindley
        > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
        >
        >
        >
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      • Bob Schacht
        Professor Crossan, I want to preface my remarks by expressing my appreciation for your introduction of cultural anthropology as a major feature of the study of
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 19, 2000
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          Professor Crossan,
          I want to preface my remarks by expressing my appreciation for your introduction of cultural anthropology as a major feature of the study of the historical Jesus and the Birth of Christianity. This is a matter of special interest for me, as my doctorate was in Anthropology at the University of Michigan at a time when the dynamics of pre-industrial agrarian societies were a subject of keen interest. I also want to thank David Hindley for his close reading of BOC Chapter 11, which is devoted to this subject, and for bringing to my attention in his post dated Sun, Feb 13, 2000, 10:58 PM, several things that had escaped my attention. Furthermore, I wish to stress that my interest here is not to write a series of "gotcha!" statements based on quotes from BOC, which would only elicit a defensive response. What I am hoping to do here is to see where we can go from the considerable edifice you have constructed in BOC: that was then, this is now, and my point is, where can we go from here?

          You responded to Hindley (in part):

          At 11:53 AM 2/15/00 -0800, John Dominic Crossan wrote:
          ... First, the Lenski-Kautsky model is not something either of those scholars proposed, but something that was created by combining them.

          In general, this model does not differ radically from those I was studying as a grad student. It was fairly mainstream, I think, for the times (the 1970s). And I'm glad you chose it rather than the alternative you considered (Eisenstadt's, which you summarized on p. 152f).

          Second, that was not done by me alone or first, but by other
          scholars who, as far as I can see in general, use it in much the same way
          and with much the same understanding as I do.

          I mostly agree, with some exceptions noted below.

          Third, the system of
          monetization-scribalization-industrialization-romanization is different from
          a big city to a small town.

          I'm a bit concerned here by your inclusion of "industrialization" into the schema at this point, as it seems anachronistic to me. Don't you mean "commercialization"? The only relevant reference I see to industrialization in BOC is on p. 157 where you quote Kautsky  where he lumps together "commercialized, colonial and industrial societies" under the rubric "modern", to contrast them with "traditional" agrarian societies. You then cite Kautsky to the effect that ancient Athens and Rome were commercialized agrarian empires. But to say that they were commercialized is not at all the same thing as asserting that they were industrial. Kautsky's category "modern" is much too broad to be useful except as counterpoint to "traditional" agrarian societies.

          But my point is that that systemic process hit
          Galilee finally in the 20s with the arrival of Tiberias. Of course it is a
          process, of course it is more or less present in different places.

          This last sentence is an important point, and not to be glossed over, especially as one went further into the countryside. The degree of monetization  and scribalization (and I gather that this is what you mean by the "systemic process") varied considerably from one locality to another on the Galilean landscape. But I'm not sure whether you are including commercialization in this process (it is not included in your summary of Lenski). It is also not clear to me if you are including Lenski's "urbanization" in your application of this "systemic process" to Galilee. Surely one of the most anomalous features of the gospels is their absolute silence regarding Sepphoris and Tiberias. I think "commercialism" would be appropriate, especially as regards the fishing industry around the Lake, but is urbanization (in Lenski's sense) is appropriate? As David Hindley noted,
          > Your quote that illustrates the mushrooming process of urbanization in
          > newly agrarian societies does not mention that Lenski elsewhere on the
          > same page of his book (199) indicated that these "fairly large" cities
          > were more often than not national capitals, with perhaps five hundred
          > thousand permanent residents at the very most, with the vast majority of
          > towns being much more modest in size.

          Do you regard Sepphoris and Tiberias as urban centers, and not merely as towns?

          But without, for example, what Antipas was doing from Sepphoris to Tiberias, I
          am not sure I could use it at all for Galilee in the 20s.

          agreed.

           "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...> had also written (in part):


          > Professor Crossan,
          >
          > In support of the feature of monetization, Lenski is quoted to the effect
          > that the introduction of money in agrarian societies offered aristocrats
          > the opportunity to use it to indebt and consequence exploit the peasants.
          > However, Lenski also says (again on the same page, 207) that "in the rural
          > areas especially, the use of money was an infrequent experience,
          > especially for peasants." In other words, while money lending could be
          > "highly rewarding", it appears also to have been the exception rather than
          > the rule.

          My own study of monetization in agrarian states suggested that its impact was highly variable on the local level. You make much of the appropriation of land from the peasantry (bottom of p. 157), but in practice the history of land tenure practices in agrarian states in the Middle East is long and complex, and given to cycles not reducible to simple formulae. Furthermore, even in the same region, some rural areas may have been rural estates held by absentee landlords while others may have been locally owned by wealthy peasant families, and which is which can shift from one generation to the next. It is for this reason that I am glad you included a chapter on Galilean archeology in BOC (Chapter 13), and that you relate it to this chapter on Cultural Anthropology. But I'd better leave discussion of that for another post.

          Hindley also wrote:

          > You also quote Lenski (pg 155) to the effect that "[t]he Peasant Class,
          > that vast majority of the population, was held "at, or close to, the
          > subsistence level" (271)", ignoring the fact that all his examples are
          > drawn from medieval Europe, China and Japan, and then add your comment "so
          > that their appropriated surplus could support elite conspicuous
          > consumption"...
          >

          I agree with Hindley's implication that there is some danger in mixing peasant models from so many later and disparate cases and using them as a model for Galilee in the first century. I do not argue with Lenski's basic point. However, the degree to which peasants were hard pressed is also somewhat variable and cyclical. The legend of Joseph's sojourn in Egypt, while probably not historical, still illustrates how peasant economics can fluctuate at a time long before the first century. And historical examples from ancient Mesopotamia would be easy to find.

          Hindley continued (in part):
          > .... G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, who you earlier cited
          > approvingly for a definition of "class", published _The Class Struggle in
          > the Ancient Greek World_ in 1981, a year before Kautsky. De Ste. Croix,
          > who does a brilliant job of relating classes to socio-economic factors,
          > takes a far more lenient view of the exploitative relationship between
          > aristocrats and peasants than does Kautsky, ... Why is de Ste. Croix so reliable
          > when he defines "class" but not so reliable when he defines economic
          > relationships between classes?
          >

          The problem I have with these definitions of class is that they focus too much on economic relationships-- which are surely important and must be included-- and sound to my ear parochially Marxist (i.e., committed to the Marxist paradigm as the way to look at everything). I would  recommend Morton Fried's Evolution of Social Stratification and the State as a more balanced-- and more anthropological-- assessment.  To speak of classes is to speak of social stratification, which can be defined not only in economic terms but also in terms of social status, privilege, inheritance, etc. The degree of mobility among classes is an important issue, too.

          With this in mind, your discussion of classes (BOC, especially pp. 154-155) seems overly elaborate for Judea and Galilee in the First Century C.E. I am especially concerned about the appropriateness of the "Unclean and Degraded" class and "Expendable Class," based on examples from the Hindu caste system and other late, highly evolved class systems. I do not quarrel with the idea that there were unclean, degraded, or expendable individuals in Judea & Galilee; at issue here is whether or not they formed an identifiable class in any meaningful sense in the First century C.E. What evidence is there for this? Using Lenski, you write of the "great divide"  between an "upper stratum" consisting of Ruler, Governing Class, Retainer Class, Merchant Class, and Priestly Class" and a "lower stratum" consisting of the Peasant Class, Artisan Class, Unclean and Degraded Class, and Expendable Class. What evidence is there that this "great divide" existed in the first century C.E. in Judea and Galilee? It is my impression that this system is far too elaborate for this sitz in leben. I would argue for fewer classes, and for a not so great "divide". The issue is *not* about whether there were retainers, merchants, peasants, artisans, etc. The issue is whether each of these formed separate classes,  and to what extent they were truly divided.

          So where do we go from here? You call your method "interactivism."  One part of your method is the use of "models", in this case a model provided by cultural anthropology. I realize that your reason for introducing the models is to fill the gaps in the historical data with credible structures. This I regard as an important and valuable part of your methodology. But methodologically, how do your "models" "interact" with the data of history? Can we "test" these models with historical data?

          Bob
          Robert M. Schacht
          Northern Arizona University
        • John Dominic Crossan
          We seem to be in fairly wide agreement, Bob, on many details so I will not repeat them, but make only one minor and one major point. The minor point is this.
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 21, 2000
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            Re: [HJMatMeth] Re: Cross-Cultural Anthropology revisited We seem to be in fairly wide agreement, Bob, on many details so I will not repeat them, but make only one minor and one major point. The minor point is this. You notice that I said "monetization-scribalization-industrialization-romanization" and wondered if I had intended to say commercialization rather than industrialization. You are absolutely correct. While it might be possible, in abstract theory, to defend the term industrialization in a very limited and proleptic sense, I had no intention of doing so. Erase it, and replace it with commercialization.
            The major point concerns "my methodology." In a recent review Bruce Malina rebuked me for calling cross-cultural anthropology "my methodology." I never have and never would have done so. Cross- cultural anthropology is much more his and the Context group's methodology than "mine." This, however, is what I mean by "my methodology" and it is clearly and completely outlined in BofC.  
            First,  I try to separate context from text as an opening gambit (by text I mean our Christian texts). I know I cannot let on I do not know those texts nor could I determine a context without having known them. But I wish it were possible, and I try to do it as if it were possible, to do a double blind experiment on context and text. Here is what I mean. Imagine you cold get a panel of experts (anthropologists, historians, archeologists, etc.) who have never heard of JB or JC, but whose assignment is to write the thickest possible description of the 20s in the territories of Antipas. If they ask why there, why then, you would tell them that it was just a random experiment to see what could be done. That is what I would like to get from them for my context,  
            Second: it involves an interactive matrix and an interdisciplinary model. The three components of that matrix-model are, from widest to narrowest focus, cross cultural anthropology, Judeo-Roman history, and Galilean archeology. I need all three and I need them in that mode of interactive and ever narrowing focus. Take away that triadic interrelation and I cannot imagine the connection between context and text. For example, everything in Lenski and Kautsky might be correct and I might have even taken it correctly, but one could easily object: (a) none of this applies to the Jewish homeland in the early 1st century and/or (b) all of that applies only to Judea, but not Galilee in the early 1st century. Maybe, for instance, Galilee was an unchanged and undisturbed rural backwater far off the beaten track of imperial incursion. What I did notice, in putting those three layers together, and what jumped out at me was the phenomenon of commercialization which in Greco-Roman times meant urbanization. That is the lynch pin which holds all three layers in tight conjunction. That is "my methodology" (no emphasis on the "my" beyond an attempt to be as self-conscious and self-critical as possible), for establishing context and I do not want it restricted or limited to cross-cultural anthropology alone.
            I do conclude, from the integration of those three layers, that one could "predict" or "expect" some sort of resistance to what is happening in Antipas' Galilee by the 20s. What types of resistance, or how much resistance, or whether it is overt or covert, violent or nonviolent, is not predictable forwards in human affairs (although it may be explicable backwards).  But then when I turn from that context to the earliest discernable JC tradition, (or JB tradition, for that matter) I think I am seeing certain types of resistance. That is how context and text come together for me. But in this post I wanted to emphasize the establishment of context as a prior step to the analysis of text.

            ----------
            From: Bob Schacht <Robert.Schacht@...>
            To: hjmaterialsmethodolgy@egroups.com
            Subject: [HJMatMeth] Re: Cross-Cultural Anthropology revisited
            Date: Sun, Feb 20, 2000, 1:09 AM


            Professor Crossan,
            I want to preface my remarks by expressing my appreciation for your introduction of cultural anthropology as a major feature of the study of the historical Jesus and the Birth of Christianity. This is a matter of special interest for me, as my doctorate was in Anthropology at the University of Michigan at a time when the dynamics of pre-industrial agrarian societies were a subject of keen interest. I also want to thank David Hindley for his close reading of BOC Chapter 11, which is devoted to this subject, and for bringing to my attention in his post dated Sun, Feb 13, 2000, 10:58 PM, several things that had escaped my attention. Furthermore, I wish to stress that my interest here is not to write a series of "gotcha!" statements based on quotes from BOC, which would only elicit a defensive response. What I am hoping to do here is to see where we can go from the considerable edifice you have constructed in BOC: that was then, this is now, and my point is, where can we go from here?

            You responded to Hindley (in part):

            At 11:53 AM 2/15/00 -0800, John Dominic Crossan wrote:
            ... First, the Lenski-Kautsky model is not something either of those scholars proposed, but something that was created by combining them.

            In general, this model does not differ radically from those I was studying as a grad student. It was fairly mainstream, I think, for the times (the 1970s). And I'm glad you chose it rather than the alternative you considered (Eisenstadt's, which you summarized on p. 152f).

            Second, that was not done by me alone or first, but by other
            scholars who, as far as I can see in general, use it in much the same way
            and with much the same understanding as I do.

            I mostly agree, with some exceptions noted below.

            Third, the system of
            monetization-scribalization-industrialization-romanization is different from
            a big city to a small town.

            I'm a bit concerned here by your inclusion of "industrialization" into the schema at this point, as it seems anachronistic to me. Don't you mean "commercialization"? The only relevant reference I see to industrialization in BOC is on p. 157 where you quote Kautsky  where he lumps together "commercialized, colonial and industrial societies" under the rubric "modern", to contrast them with "traditional" agrarian societies. You then cite Kautsky to the effect that ancient Athens and Rome were commercialized agrarian empires. But to say that they were commercialized is not at all the same thing as asserting that they were industrial. Kautsky's category "modern" is much too broad to be useful except as counterpoint to "traditional" agrarian societies.

            But my point is that that systemic process hit
            Galilee finally in the 20s with the arrival of Tiberias. Of course it is a
            process, of course it is more or less present in different places.

            This last sentence is an important point, and not to be glossed over, especially as one went further into the countryside. The degree of monetization  and scribalization (and I gather that this is what you mean by the "systemic process") varied considerably from one locality to another on the Galilean landscape. But I'm not sure whether you are including commercialization in this process (it is not included in your summary of Lenski). It is also not clear to me if you are including Lenski's "urbanization" in your application of this "systemic process" to Galilee. Surely one of the most anomalous features of the gospels is their absolute silence regarding Sepphoris and Tiberias. I think "commercialism" would be appropriate, especially as regards the fishing industry around the Lake, but is urbanization (in Lenski's sense) is appropriate? As David Hindley noted,
            > Your quote that illustrates the mushrooming process of urbanization in
            > newly agrarian societies does not mention that Lenski elsewhere on the
            > same page of his book (199) indicated that these "fairly large" cities
            > were more often than not national capitals, with perhaps five hundred
            > thousand permanent residents at the very most, with the vast majority of
            > towns being much more modest in size.

            Do you regard Sepphoris and Tiberias as urban centers, and not merely as towns?

            But without, for example, what Antipas was doing from Sepphoris to Tiberias, I
            am not sure I could use it at all for Galilee in the 20s.

            agreed.

             "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...> had also written (in part):


            > Professor Crossan,
            >
            > In support of the feature of monetization, Lenski is quoted to the effect
            > that the introduction of money in agrarian societies offered aristocrats
            > the opportunity to use it to indebt and consequence exploit the peasants.
            > However, Lenski also says (again on the same page, 207) that "in the rural
            > areas especially, the use of money was an infrequent experience,
            > especially for peasants." In other words, while money lending could be
            > "highly rewarding", it appears also to have been the exception rather than
            > the rule.

            My own study of monetization in agrarian states suggested that its impact was highly variable on the local level. You make much of the appropriation of land from the peasantry (bottom of p. 157), but in practice the history of land tenure practices in agrarian states in the Middle East is long and complex, and given to cycles not reducible to simple formulae. Furthermore, even in the same region, some rural areas may have been rural estates held by absentee landlords while others may have been locally owned by wealthy peasant families, and which is which can shift from one generation to the next. It is for this reason that I am glad you included a chapter on Galilean archeology in BOC (Chapter 13), and that you relate it to this chapter on Cultural Anthropology. But I'd better leave discussion of that for another post.

            Hindley also wrote:

            > You also quote Lenski (pg 155) to the effect that "[t]he Peasant Class,
            > that vast majority of the population, was held "at, or close to, the
            > subsistence level" (271)", ignoring the fact that all his examples are
            > drawn from medieval Europe, China and Japan, and then add your comment "so
            > that their appropriated surplus could support elite conspicuous
            > consumption"...
            >

            I agree with Hindley's implication that there is some danger in mixing peasant models from so many later and disparate cases and using them as a model for Galilee in the first century. I do not argue with Lenski's basic point. However, the degree to which peasants were hard pressed is also somewhat variable and cyclical. The legend of Joseph's sojourn in Egypt, while probably not historical, still illustrates how peasant economics can fluctuate at a time long before the first century. And historical examples from ancient Mesopotamia would be easy to find.

            Hindley continued (in part):
            > .... G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, who you earlier cited
            > approvingly for a definition of "class", published _The Class Struggle in
            > the Ancient Greek World_ in 1981, a year before Kautsky. De Ste. Croix,
            > who does a brilliant job of relating classes to socio-economic factors,
            > takes a far more lenient view of the exploitative relationship between
            > aristocrats and peasants than does Kautsky, ... Why is de Ste. Croix so reliable
            > when he defines "class" but not so reliable when he defines economic
            > relationships between classes?
            >

            The problem I have with these definitions of class is that they focus too much on economic relationships-- which are surely important and must be included-- and sound to my ear parochially Marxist (i.e., committed to the Marxist paradigm as the way to look at everything). I would recommend Morton Fried's Evolution of Social Stratification and the State as a more balanced-- and more anthropological-- assessment.  To speak of classes is to speak of social stratification, which can be defined not only in economic terms but also in terms of social status, privilege, inheritance, etc. The degree of mobility among classes is an important issue, too.

            With this in mind, your discussion of classes (BOC, especially pp. 154-155) seems overly elaborate for Judea and Galilee in the First Century C.E. I am especially concerned about the appropriateness of the "Unclean and Degraded" class and "Expendable Class," based on examples from the Hindu caste system and other late, highly evolved class systems. I do not quarrel with the idea that there were unclean, degraded, or expendable individuals in Judea & Galilee; at issue here is whether or not they formed an identifiable class in any meaningful sense in the First century C.E. What evidence is there for this? Using Lenski, you write of the "great divide"  between an "upper stratum" consisting of Ruler, Governing Class, Retainer Class, Merchant Class, and Priestly Class" and a "lower stratum" consisting of the Peasant Class, Artisan Class, Unclean and Degraded Class, and Expendable Class. What evidence is there that this "great divide" existed in the first century C.E. in Judea and Galilee? It is my impression that this system is far too elaborate for this sitz in leben. I would argue for fewer classes, and for a not so great "divide". The issue is *not* about whether there were retainers, merchants, peasants, artisans, etc. The issue is whether each of these formed separate classes,  and to what extent they were truly divided.

            So where do we go from here? You call your method "interactivism."  One part of your method is the use of "models", in this case a model provided by cultural anthropology. I realize that your reason for introducing the models is to fill the gaps in the historical data with credible structures. This I regard as an important and valuable part of your methodology. But methodologically, how do your "models" "interact" with the data of history? Can we "test" these models with historical data?

            Bob
            Robert M. Schacht
            Northern Arizona University




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          • Bob Schacht
            ... It is a mark of the immaturity of this branch of NT scholarship that anyone or any group can lay claim to cross-cultural methodology as theirs. You have
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 26, 2000
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              At 10:45 AM 2/21/00 -0500, John Dominic Crossan wrote:
              We seem to be in fairly wide agreement, Bob, on many details

              Yes. Thank you for your response regarding this major point:

              ...The major point concerns "my methodology." In a recent review Bruce Malina rebuked me for calling cross-cultural anthropology "my methodology." I never have and never would have done so. Cross- cultural anthropology is much more his and the Context group's methodology than "mine."

              It is a mark of the immaturity of this branch of NT scholarship that anyone  or any group can lay claim to cross-cultural methodology as "theirs." You have as much right to use it as they do, and I'm glad you have made it an important part of your methodology.

              This, however, is what I mean by "my methodology" and it is clearly and completely outlined in BofC. 
              First,  I try to separate context from text as an opening gambit (by text I mean our Christian texts)....

              Several things interest me about the above narrative. As an opening gambit, this makes good sense. I see this effort as a worthwhile attempt to create a kind of "multiple attestation" from different independent sources (e.g., text, cultural anthropology; Galilean archaeology). If all these point in the same direction on a particular matter, we can be more confident about it. But my question is how you bring the components of your model together so that they do, in some sense, interact. There is no problem if all the components are in agreement; those can become the rivets that hold the whole together. However, what do you do when components are not in agreement?  In your methodology, do the models stand together as  "independent variables," as it were, with text as the dependent variable?

              Also, I am uneasy about the "context/text" dichotomy. After all, is not our knowledge of Judeo-Roman history also dependent on texts? And where does one draw the line between text and context? Presumably, Josephus is context rather than text. But are 1-4 Maccabees context or text? Are the Dead Sea Scrolls context or text? Or do we divide them up so that the Biblical scrolls are text, but the non-Biblical scrolls are context? In fact, do not our NT texts contribute significantly to our understanding of First Century Judeo-Roman history? So the boundaries between these models do not always seem clear to me.

               Second: it involves an interactive matrix and an interdisciplinary model. The three components of that matrix-model are, from widest to narrowest focus, cross cultural anthropology, Judeo-Roman history, and Galilean archeology. I need all three and I need them in that mode of interactive and ever narrowing focus. Take away that triadic interrelation and I cannot imagine the connection between context and text. For example, everything in Lenski and Kautsky might be correct and I might have even taken it correctly, but one could easily object: (a) none of this applies to the Jewish homeland in the early 1st century and/or (b) all of that applies only to Judea, but not Galilee in the early 1st century. Maybe, for instance, Galilee was an unchanged and undisturbed rural backwater far off the beaten track of imperial incursion.

              This is a key point. Methodologically, at some point, these models must interact. Taking your hypothetical illustration here as an example, what happens next, methodologically? Say, for example, that your last sentence above was the result of  your "Galilean archaeology" model. I would suggest that what should happen is that we go in two directions: First, to return to Lensky and Kautsky and ask, what happens in provincial backwaters? Second, to return to the Galilean archaeology sources and ask, are we missing something here? Have we overlooked evidence of commercialization or urbanization? And then to the Judeo-Roman sources for information about Sepphoris and Tiberias. And thereby, potentially in both cases, to refine the models. Is that what you envision? If not, what is your alternative?

              What I did notice, in putting those three layers together, and what jumped out at me was the phenomenon of commercialization which in Greco-Roman times meant urbanization. That is the lyn h pin which holds all three layers in tight conjunction.

              It is interesting to me that your 'lynch pin' is "the phenomenon of commercialization which in Greco-Roman times meant urbanization." What do you really mean here by "urbanization"? Do you mean to compare Sepphoris and Tiberias to Rome and Alexandria? Sepphoris was being rebuilt from the ashes of its destruction early in Jesus' lifetime, and already in 20 C.E. Tiberias was established to replace it as capital. This most likely means that their social systems were young and fluid, in contrast with the older established cities. These seem more like political boom towns on the frontier than "cities" in the sense meant by your sources. So it is hard for me to see your elaborate stratified class system articulated in your chapter on cultural anthropology in BOC, characteristic of large, mature cities, as comporting well with the nascent urbanization in Galilee.

              That is "my methodology" (no emphasis on the "my" beyond an attempt to be as self-conscious and self-critical as possible), for establishing context and I do not want it restricted or limited to cross-cultural anthropology alone.
              I do conclude, from the integration of those three layers, that one could "predict" or "expect" some sort of resistance to what is happening in Antipas' Galilee by the 20s. What types of resistance, or how much resistance, or whether it is overt or covert, violent or nonviolent, is not predictable forwards in human affairs (although it may be explicable backwards).  But then when I turn from that context to the earliest discernable JC tradition, (or JB tradition, for that matter) I think I am seeing certain types of resistance. That is how context and text come together for me. But in this post I wanted to emphasize the establishment of context as a prior step to the analysis of text.


              Thank you for this elucidation. I worry, however, over your meaning of "establishment" in the last sentence above. Do you mean that, once "established", the context must remain fixed and cannot be refined?

              I also worry about the temptation to read Josephus into the Gospels. Josephus is replete with a record of the Jewish "resistance," both before and after the life of Jesus. I think that unless we throw Josephus (and even Tacitus?) out entirely, we must assume an on-going resistance by some parties in some parts of Judea & Galilee throughout the first century. And I think there is a good case that the commercialization of Galilee added something to that. In fact, given Josephus' interest in tracing the history of Jewish resistance, it is surprising that he doesn't say more about Jesus, given the data of his crucifixion. One possibility that occurs to me is that Josephus knew very well about Jesus, and was very clear in his own mind that Jesus was *not* just another in the line of resisters that he was chronicling. But how could we test such an idea?

              In short, I am concerned about how the models (context) interact with our texts, methodologically. I am concerned with how our conclusions might be tested, and how we can use this set of methods to distinguish between competing explanations. Any guidance you can give on these matters will be appreciated.

              Thanks,
              Bob

              Robert M. Schacht
              Northern Arizona University
              Flagstaff, AZ
            • John Dominic Crossan
              You are quite right, Bob, that the context/text dichotomy raises certain problems. But I do not know how to avoid them in any absolute sense. First of all, by
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 28, 2000
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                Re: [HJMatMeth] Re: Cross-Cultural Anthropology revisited You are quite right, Bob, that the context/text dichotomy raises certain problems. But I do not know how to avoid them in any absolute sense. First of all, by text I do mean, as I think you guessed, the Christian texts and especially the gospels. I do not want to work out the context of Jesus from those gospels because they are quite obviously and appropriately interested in situating Jesus in their own contexts of the 70s, 80s and 90s.  When I use the term context, therefore, it does include all other texts except those Christian ones. I hope it is clear that that is a methodological discipline and not some sort of offensive attack. In other words, my context would include all those other non-Christian texts that you mention.
                Second, I did not experience the elements of my context model as dependent variables. What I found was that by looking at cross cultural anthropology, Judeo-Roman history and Galilean archeology, I found a major linking element in commercialization-as-urbanization. I did not put it there because I did not even know of its importance until I saw it in different ways in all those three disciplines of anthropology, history, and archeology focused on Antipas' Galilee (of course, I am utterly aware that if I did not know the Christian texts I would not have even known what context to work on).  As I said before, I wish we could get a group of experts in all those fields who never heard of JB or JC, but who were ready to give as thick a description as possible of the 20s in Antipas' territories. That is the "ideal" I am looking for in what I call context.
                Third, of course, I do not think that Sepphoris and Tiberias are on the same level as Jerusalem and Caesaria or even Bethshean before you go outside to the big world's Antioch, Alexandria, or Rome.
                It is not so much the smaller size, but the newer arrival of a city like Tiberias that will cause a general dislocation in the peasant economy all around it.
                Finally, I do not think, and never did, that the context model is static and fixed. It can be changed by new discoveries or interpretations on the level of anthropology, history or archeology. It can be replaced by a better matrix. It cannot be replaced by a simple negation, nor do I think we can replace it by a model that omits anthropology.
                ----------
                From: Bob Schacht <Robert.Schacht@...>
                To: hjmaterialsmethodolgy@egroups.com
                Subject: [HJMatMeth] Re: Cross-Cultural Anthropology revisited
                Date: Sat, Feb 26, 2000, 4:50 PM


                At 10:45 AM 2/21/00 -0500, John Dominic Crossan wrote:
                We seem to be in fairly wide agreement, Bob, on many details

                Yes. Thank you for your response regarding this major point:

                ...The major point concerns "my methodology." In a recent review Bruce Malina rebuked me for calling cross-cultural anthropology "my methodology." I never have and never would have done so. Cross- cultural anthropology is much more his and the Context group's methodology than "mine."

                It is a mark of the immaturity of this branch of NT scholarship that anyone  or any group can lay claim to cross-cultural methodology as "theirs." You have as much right to use it as they do, and I'm glad you have made it an important part of your methodology.

                This, however, is what I mean by "my methodology" and it is clearly and completely outlined in BofC.  
                First,  I try to separate context from text as an opening gambit (by text I mean our Christian texts)....

                Several things interest me about the above narrative. As an opening gambit, this makes good sense. I see this effort as a worthwhile attempt to create a kind of "multiple attestation" from different independent sources (e.g., text, cultural anthropology; Galilean archaeology). If all these point in the same direction on a particular matter, we can be more confident about it. But my question is how you bring the components of your model together so that they do, in some sense, interact. There is no problem if all the components are in agreement; those can become the rivets that hold the whole together. However, what do you do when components are not in agreement?  In your methodology, do the models stand together as  "independent variables," as it were, with text as the dependent variable?

                Also, I am uneasy about the "context/text" dichotomy. After all, is not our knowledge of Judeo-Roman history also dependent on texts? And where does one draw the line between text and context? Presumably, Josephus is context rather than text. But are 1-4 Maccabees context or text? Are the Dead Sea Scrolls context or text? Or do we divide them up so that the Biblical scrolls are text, but the non-Biblical scrolls are context? In fact, do not our NT texts contribute significantly to our understanding of First Century Judeo-Roman history? So the boundaries between these models do not always seem clear to me.

                 Second: it involves an interactive matrix and an interdisciplinary model. The three components of that matrix-model are, from widest to narrowest focus, cross cultural anthropology, Judeo-Roman history, and Galilean archeology. I need all three and I need them in that mode of interactive and ever narrowing focus. Take away that triadic interrelation and I cannot imagine the connection between context and text. For example, everything in Lenski and Kautsky might be correct and I might have even taken it correctly, but one could easily object: (a) none of this applies to the Jewish homeland in the early 1st century and/or (b) all of that applies only to Judea, but not Galilee in the early 1st century. Maybe, for instance, Galilee was an unchanged and undisturbed rural backwater far off the beaten track of imperial incursion.

                This is a key point. Methodologically, at some point, these models must interact. Taking your hypothetical illustration here as an example, what happens next, methodologically? Say, for example, that your last sentence above was the result of  your "Galilean archaeology" model. I would suggest that what should happen is that we go in two directions: First, to return to Lensky and Kautsky and ask, what happens in provincial backwaters? Second, to return to the Galilean archaeology sources and ask, are we missing something here? Have we overlooked evidence of commercialization or urbanization? And then to the Judeo-Roman sources for information about Sepphoris and Tiberias. And thereby, potentially in both cases, to refine the models. Is that what you envision? If not, what is your alternative?

                What I did notice, in putting those three layers together, and what jumped out at me was the phenomenon of commercialization which in Greco-Roman times meant urbanization. That is the lyn h pin which holds all three layers in tight conjunction.

                It is interesting to me that your 'lynch pin' is "the phenomenon of commercialization which in Greco-Roman times meant urbanization." What do you really mean here by "urbanization"? Do you mean to compare Sepphoris and Tiberias to Rome and Alexandria? Sepphoris was being rebuilt from the ashes of its destruction early in Jesus' lifetime, and already in 20 C.E. Tiberias was established to replace it as capital. This most likely means that their social systems were young and fluid, in contrast with the older established cities. These seem more like political boom towns on the frontier than "cities" in the sense meant by your sources. So it is hard for me to see your elaborate stratified class system articulated in your chapter on cultural anthropology in BOC, characteristic of large, mature cities, as comporting well with the nascent urbanization in Galilee.

                That is "my methodology" (no emphasis on the "my" beyond an attempt to be as self-conscious and self-critical as possible), for establishing context and I do not want it restricted or limited to cross-cultural anthropology alone.
                I do conclude, from the integration of those three layers, that one could "predict" or "expect" some sort of resistance to what is happening in Antipas' Galilee by the 20s. What types of resistance, or how much resistance, or whether it is overt or covert, violent or nonviolent, is not predictable forwards in human affairs (although it may be explicable backwards).  But then when I turn from that context to the earliest discernable JC tradition, (or JB tradition, for that matter) I think I am seeing certain types of resistance. That is how context and text come together for me. But in this post I wanted to emphasize the establishment of context as a prior step to the analysis of text.


                Thank you for this elucidation. I worry, however, over your meaning of "establishment" in the last sentence above. Do you mean that, once "established", the context must remain fixed and cannot be refined?

                I also worry about the temptation to read Josephus into the Gospels. Josephus is replete with a record of the Jewish "resistance," both before and after the life of Jesus. I think that unless we throw Josephus (and even Tacitus?) out entirely, we must assume an on-going resistance by some parties in some parts of Judea & Galilee throughout the first century. And I think there is a good case that the commercialization of Galilee added something to that. In fact, given Josephus' interest in tracing the history of Jewish resistance, it is surprising that he doesn't say more about Jesus, given the data of his crucifixion. One possibility that occurs to me is that Josephus knew very well about Jesus, and was very clear in his own mind that Jesus was *not* just another in the line of resisters that he was chronicling. But how could we test such an idea?

                In short, I am concerned about how the models (context) interact with our texts, methodologically. I am concerned with how our conclusions might be tested, and how we can use this set of methods to distinguish between competing explanations. Any guidance you can give on these matters will be appreciated.

                Thanks,
                Bob

                Robert M. Schacht
                Northern Arizona University
                Flagstaff, AZ





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