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[Excavating-Q] Response to KC Hanson

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  • John Kloppenborg
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2000
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      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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