Re: [John_Lit] Jews
- At 03:32 PM 12/7/01 -0600, FMMCCOY wrote:
>Dear Tom Butler:Frank,
>I am just finishing a book, by Gregory J. Riley, called The River of God.
>It is of uneven quality: having several brilliant insights, along with some
>great over-simplifications and distortions of history. I do, though,
>recommend it for reading.
>At one pont (p. 221), he cites I Maccabees 5:21-23, which he thusly renders,
>"Simon went to Galilee and fought many battles against the Gentiles, and the
>Gentiles were crushed before him....Then he took the Jews of Galilee...with
>their wives and children and all they possessed and led them to Judea with
>Regarding this passage, he (p. 221) states, "If we are to believe this text,
>Galilee was abandoned and left to the Gentiles; the Jews were repatriated to
>Judea. But the claim that all the Jews of Galilee were removed to Judah by
>Simon is simply not true. Later history shows quite clearly that Jews
>remained in Galilee long after Simon. Simon removed "the Jews of Galilee",
>yet Jews certainly remained behind. How is one to understand this
>His response (pp.221-22) is this, "The answer lies in the long history of
>antipathy between north and south. The very word 'Jew' comes from the name
>of the tribe of Judah. Simon took back to Judea those who had appealed to
>the south for deliverance, who felt threatened in Galilee and saw their
>natural home and place of safety in Judea. The reference must be to the
>portion of Jews among the larger community of Israelites of Galilee. These
>alone were recognized as 'genuine Jews' by Simon and the Jerusalem
>This raises several questions. For example, what is the definition of
>"Jews" in I Maccabees 5:21-23? Again, is this the same definition of "Jews"
>used by the author(s) of John?
>Do you or any other JL listers have any proposed answers to these two
It is my understanding that the modern term "Jew" is derived from the name
of the province of Judea, so that wherever you see the word "Jew"
(Ioudaios) in the NT or Greek Apocrypha, you can substitute the word
"Judean". There is ambiguity, because the topos was also used as an ethnos,
especially in the writing of Paul, but also probably in Roman law (I would
You should also keep in mind the history of Galilee as a separate province
from Judea: for most of its history, it has been independent of Judea.
Galileans were sometimes referred to as "Israelites," not only at the time
of the Divided Monarchy, but also at the time of Jesus (e.g., John 1:47).
Judea and Galilee were united only under the United Monarchy (probably
about 100 years) and for a brief time under the Macabees, if I recall
correctly. Of course, in the time of Jesus they were administratively
distinct parts of the Roman Empire. Consequently, Judea and Galilee were
united only for about 150? out of 1000 years from King Saul to Jesus.
Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
Northern Arizona University