[Excavating-Q] Response to KC Hanson
- KC Hanson asks two questions: "Can you comment on what
you perceive to be the most important results of your research
regarding the social setting of Q? "How does this impact our
reading of Q: is it just more depth of what we previously knew,
or has this analysis substantively changed your own
perspective on Q?"
Chap. 5, on Reading Q in Galilee, gave me the opportunity to
work through various archaeological and social-historical
analyses of the Galilee and to wrestle with various conflicting
characterizations. In the end, I found myself in more
agreement with Freyne and Arnal on seeing urbanization and
monetization as important factors (adversely) affecting the
social and political economy of the Galilee (from the point of
view of the "Galileans", not the various elites in whose interest
it was to monetize and urbanize); with S. Schwartz (and to
some extent Horsley) on Jerusalem-Galilee tensions; with
Goodman on debt spirals; and in disagreement with Meyers
and Sanders on a Torah-true Galilee, and with Horsley on
"social banditry." I was concerned to reconstruct the social
and economic situation of the Galilee(s) independently of any
reading of Q, and to "read Q in Galilee" only once the
reconstruction was done, as a kind of test to see whether Q's
particular rhetoric appeared to fit this situation. As it turned
out, it seemed to me that Q can be read sucessfully in
Galilee, with Q's focus on issues such as loans and debt
forgiveness (not a problem exclusive to Galilee, but clearly a
problem there); its ambivalent attitudes toward Jerusalem, the
Temple, tithing, and purity distinctions; and Q's negative
characterization of urban life.
This reading of Q, I think, gives some concreteness to a
reading of Q and if the reading is cogent, that is its advantage.
The reconstruction of the situation of the Galilee, caught
politically between the pagan cities of the coastal region
(Ptolemais, Tyre, Sidon) to the north and west, and Jerusalem
to the south helps to make sense for me of certain elements
of Q's rhetoric, which plays Gentiles against Jews in its
shaming strategy. A setting the Galilee, where southern
influence via the presence of Pharisees and others was neither
strong nor uniformly wecome, makes sense of other features
of Q's rhetoric. On the one hand, Q takes for granted the
markers of Jewish identity (circumcision; sabbath observance;
some forms of purity distinctions), but problematizes precisely
those markers that were associated with a temple-oriented
economy: tithing; and purity of vessels vs. the rapacity of
representatives of the south.
My reading of Q and reconstruction of the situation of the
Galilee certainly does not solve all of the questions. I have
wondered why Q shows so few signs of the upheaval that
characterized the first revolt. It take it that the lack of such
signs is an indication of a date prior to 66 CE. Unfortunately,
we know very little of the situation prior to Josephus' very
short sojourn in the Galilee in 66/67 (and very little about it
This is the _Excavating Q_ Seminar (Oct. 23 -- Nov. 10 2000).
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