Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Link to Elliott's article

Bob Webb sent me the e-link to Elliott's article, "Jesus the Israelite Was Neither a 'Jew' nor a 'Christian': On Correcting Misleading Nomenclature." He says that there were some problems with getting the online version uploaded, but that has been corrected, and it is now available electronically - for free from university libraries that have subscriptions for the journal. Thanks Bob.

I also want to point out another reference if you wish for help sorting out the use of Jew/Judean in the ancient world. I recommend reading Shayne Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (1999). Cohen covers what made or did not make Jewish identity during our period. He even discusses Herod the Great as a Jew. He handles tough questions like conversion, intermarriage, martrilineal descent, etc. His conclusion is that Jewishness is a construct created by the Hasmoneans in order to try to separate the Jew from the Greek.

5 comments:

Brandon said...
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Brandon said...

We've been discussing this topic a little bit in one of the courses I'm taking. Fortunately, Shaye Cohen is coming to our class on Monday which will benefit our conversation, I'm sure. Thanks for the link to the article.

Jared said...

I think part of the point in Shaye's book is that conversion does not make sense as a concept until the Hellenistic period, the idea of becoming Jewish grew in response to and in tandem with the idea of becoming Greek.

Alan Segal's advanced graduate seminar this semester is on conversion.

Geoff Hudson said...

Even with all its strategic support, to have any real impact in Iraq, the US has had to increase its troop numbers to approximately 150,000. So one may well wonder what impact a mere 12 odd bods (Mt.10.1-5) from Galilee could have had, especially when they were sent on a suicide mission apparently with no money (10.9) and no other items to sustain them, supposedly relying on the promise that the world owed them a living. (10.10)

These Galileans were to avoid Gentiles (10.5) which presumably meant Galilee was off limits. They were also to avoid any town of the Samaritans implying Samaria was off limits too. Perhaps the editors were trying too hard to convince the reader that the prophet was strictly Jewish and wanted nothing to do with non-Jews. More likely, the editors knew full well that dealings with Gentiles would be managed by their new kid on the block, master Paul. So I don’t’ accept the literal reading of Mt.10.5. I don’t accept the idea of 12 disciples either. Mt.10.2-5 looks like interpolation in its entirety.

To have had any impact in a country, the group sent out must have been in the thousands, not tens. We are more than likely looking for a group highlighted in the writings attributed to Josephus. The obvious one is the Essenes who to my mind were the prophets. Essenes travelled and were in every city of Judea. I see the prophet and his followers as Judean Essenes, and their base city En gedi.

It wasn’t Jesus who sent out the twelve, it was the Spirit, may be speaking through the prophet, who sent out the Essenes or prophets. And they were to travel well equipped to help the poor. The Spirit’s instruction was “Go to the house of the poor”, not “Go rather to the lost sheep (i.e. house) of Israel”. Every city had its house of the poor. In the houses of the poor were the sick. (10.8). ‘Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts’ (10.9) was an editor’s romantic nonsense. 10.8 and 10.9 should be combined thus: ‘Freely you have received THE SPIRIT, freely give any gold or silver or copper in your belts’ (‘Do not take along’ is interpolation). We know that the prophet had his own purse.

Similarly, 10.10 was originally about being fully prepared for a journey thus: ‘take a bag for the journey, an extra tunic, sandals and a staff, for a prophet (not a worker) is his own keeper’.

Geoff Hudson said...

Judas' movement also 'had a great many followers'. The 'infection' (an editor's speak for the Spirit) spread (what spirits do). Supposedly 'the infection' spread among the 'younger sort' - presumably the editor wanted to give the impression that the 'younger sort' would be hot-headed and violent. I suggest that 'the younger sort' were, in Josephus' original text, 'the poorer sort'. (Ant.18.1.1). I sometimes wonder if some scholars ever left Sunday School.