The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:03 pm

Stuart wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:58 pm
Ben,

There is no "they" but an implied they.
I agree. It is an implied "they."
Also there is no mention in the OP of the added words in Greek by Matthew to the story, and no examination of the harmonizing process from which the entire misguided military formation talk is derived. There is no mention of Elijah or other bread multiply parallels, nor of the meaning of desolate place. In short the entire context if lost.
I feel no need to defend the OP against any of these charges. I pointed out a single point concerning "they" versus "people," and I pointed out the lack of some analysis myself, for better or worse.
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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by FransJVermeiren » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:52 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:15 am
FransJVermeiren wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:25 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:16 pm
It seems remiss not to include Matthew 14.21 = Mark 6.44 (the feeding of the five thousand) and Matthew 15.38 = Mark 8.9 (the feeding of the four thousand) in the reckoning. In the first, both Matthew and Mark have 5000 "men" being fed, and Matthew adds "besides women and children." In the second, Matthew has "4000 men, besides women and children" again, but Mark fails to specify the sex of those who ate.
I discussed the military context of the feeding of the five thousand elsewhere. That pericope describes the same rebellious reality as Josephus in Life 212: So I consented to remain; and, giving orders that five thousand of them were to join me in arms, bringing their own provisions, I dismissed the rest to their homes. (my underlining) I believe that in this case also the shorter version is original. Just like the Markan version of the Gennesaret story obscures the real course of events by generalizing from ‘males’ to ‘they’, here also the longer version in Matthew tries to eliminate the military context by introducing women and children alongside the soldiers.
Do you mean this? If so, what are you doing with the 4000? Why does that pericope seem to lack the connections that the one about the 5000 bears?
In the first place I mean p. 47 to 50 of my A Chronological Revision of the Origins of Christianity.


About the 4000

For the feeding of the 4000 there is no direct link between the gospels and Josephus, but some interesting observations can be made on the troop strength of the Galilean rebels.

• Above I quoted Josephus’s Life 212 (my emphasis): So I consented to remain; and, giving orders that five thousand of them were to join me in arms, bringing their own provisions, I dismissed the rest to their homes. This verse is followed by the following sentence: When the five thousand arrived, I set out with them, the three thousand infantry already with me and eighty horse, and marched to Chabolo …
Here we have 8000 soldiers in total, probably all infantry, and 80 horse.

• In Life 354 Josephus asks the following question: Again, were there not two thousand Tiberians found at the siege of Jerusalem, of whom some fell and others were taken prisoners?
Considering their fate, these 2000 from the Galilean capital were soldiers.

Life 368-371 describes the dissention between John and Josephus. Verse 371 goes as follows: On hearing this they were in the utmost alarm, deserted John, flung down their arms, and joined me, to the number of four thousand. So here we have 4000 defecting soldiers.

In my opinion these three fragments sufficiently show that the troop strength of the Galilean rebels was in the several thousands. This brings us to another interesting verse, verse 242 (my emphasis): Having given these orders, I sent directions to the Galileans to join me on the following day at the village of Gabaroth, with their arms and three days provisions. I then divided my troops into four companies, …

The question then arises how big these companies could have been. The War Scroll divides the messianic army into 10’s, 50’s, 100’s, 1000’s and 10000’s. If this subdivision applies here, which one is most probable given the numbers above? In my opinion the thousands are most probable, giving 4000 in total for this concentration of troops. Note that, just like in verse 212, provisions are mentioned.

The feeding of the 5000 and the feeding of the 4000 describe two different concentrations of revolutionary troops in Galilee at the beginning of the war against the Romans, the soldiers bringing their own provisions in both cases.
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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by FransJVermeiren » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:58 am

Recently I read Jesus and the Urban Culture of Galilee, chapter 9 (p. 183-207) of Séan Freyne’s Galilee and Gospel: Collected Essays. This essay paints the rapidly changing social situation in Galilee during the first century CE, and the decline of a supportive agricultural system in particular. Freyne’s analysis reminded me of the OP of this thread. Therefore I give the following quotes:

Page 194
The question is whether there was an appreciable move away from small family-run holdings, in which reciprocity was still the basic mode of exchange, towards a situation of land used as a revenue-generating resource. Previously, I have maintained that on the literary evidence (Josephus, the gospels, the Jewish writings and the Zenon papyri), landownership patterns in Galilee were mixed – large estates such as Beth Anath and small, family-run holdings that were part of the Jewish ideal as we have seen (1 Mac 14:10; cf. Neh 5:1-11). Undoubtedly, pressure had come on these latter since the Hellenistic age, as increased taxation and narrow margins in terms of yields left the small landowner increasingly vulnerable. Once a person was caught in the situation of having to borrow money for whatever reason, thus mortgaging their holding, it was extremely difficult for them to recover.

Page 196
The tensions between the two types of economic system and the increasing dominance of the latter in Herodian Galilee generated the social situation that many gospel parables depict – day labourers, debt, resentment of absentee landlords, wealthy estate owners with little concern for tenants needs, exploitative stewards of estates, family feuds over inheritance etc.

Page 205
For those who were exposed to these harsh realities and who had the will to resist, there remained only a downward spiral of options – from landowning to leasing, to day-labouring, to slavery or banditry.

Freyne’s essay as a whole breaths a prerevolutionary atmosphere. The declining social situation evolved to a revolution, of which the recruitment of revolutionary soldiers was a part.
www.waroriginsofchristianity.com

The practical modes of concealment are limited only by the imaginative capacity of subordinates. James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance.

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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by DCHindley » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:06 pm

Frans,

I seriously question the "crushing exploitation of the peasantry by Herodian and Roman rules" assumption as even really existing in their times. Sure peasants are generally the poorest, in terms of material things, but they also had their social outlets and could accumulate enough wealth to volunteer in the tens of thousands to fight for Aristobulus II or his sons Alexander and Antigonus, with armor and their own supplies!

But as to the question of why so many scholars believe the old myths, there is a long history of thinking that spans back to the 19th century that built upon itself to create what the critics wanted to see.

It all started with:
• Karl Marx, of coursetm, who developed the socio-economic model in journal articles, etc., of his day, and published formally as "Capital" (Das Kapital, v1, 1867; v2 posthumously published by Engels, 1885; v3 by Engles, 1894).
• F. Engels, Marx's closest protégé, "Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity," in Sozialdemokrat, 1882; "The History of Early Christianity" in Neue Zeit,1894). Engels dies in 1895.
• Karl Kautsky, a follower of Marx who looked at things a bit differently than Engels did, "Origins of Christianity" in Neue Zeit, 1885; 'Primitive Christian Community,' ch 2 of Forerunners of Mod Socialism, 1893); Der Ursprung des Christentums "The origins of Christianity," book, 1908.

Sociologists (Anthropologists, mate) became interested in Judean society and the realized economics of various eras, epitomized in Max Weber:
• "The Theory of Social and Economic Organization", original article 1915?, translated by Talcott Parsons' in his translation of vol 1 of Economy and Society, 1947
• "General Economic History - The Social Causes of the Decay of Ancient Civilisation," in "Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion 1920 to 1921," tr 1950, Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Religionssoziologie in 1920-1921, pub. 1927
• "Ancient Judaism" (original articles 1917-1920, collectively published in "Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion 1920 to 1921," tr 1952, Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Religionssoziologie in 1920-1921, pub. 1927
The City, tr 1958, Die Stadt, 1921 [on the Western style City or Town]
• "Economy and Society," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, 1922
• "Collected Essays on Sociology and Social Policy," Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Soziologie und Sozialpolitik, 1924
• "General Economic History," Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 1924

Weber's ideas were championed by Gerhard Lenski,
Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification (1966).

When the Didache began to come under modern scrutiny, some scholars again took some Marxist assumptions developed by Karl Kautsky and mixed them with sociological theory proposed by Max Weber and Gerhard Lenski:
• Theissen, Gerd, "Itinerant Radicalism: The Tradition of Jesus Sayings from the Perspective of the Sociology of Literature," Radical Religion 2, 1976 ET, 1973 German
• Theissen, Gerd, "Legitimation and Subsistance: An Essay on the Sociology of Early Christian Missionaries," in The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Essays on Corinth, 1982 ET, 1974 German
• Niederwimmer, Kurt, "An Examination of the Development of Itinerant Radicalism in the Environment and Tradition of the Didache," The Didache in Modern Research, 1996 ET, 1977 German
• Theissen, Gerd, The First Followers of Jesus: a Sociological Analysis of Earliest Christianity, 1978 ET, 1977 German
• Theissen, Gerd, The Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity aka The First Followers of Jesus, 1978 ET, 1977 German
• Theissen, Gerd, "'We Have Left Everything...' (Mark 10:28): Discipleship and Social Uprooting in the Jewish-Palestinian Society of the First Century," in Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament, 1992 ET, 1979 German
• Theissen, Gerd, "Christology and Social Experience: Aspects of Pauline Christology in the Light of the Sociology of Knowledge," in Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament, 1992 ET, 1979 German
• Theissen, Gerd, "Jesus' Temple Prophesy: Prophesy in the Tension between Town and Country," in Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament, 1992 ET, 1979 German)
• Theissen, Gerd, "Sociological Theories of Religion and the Analysis of Early Christianity: Some Reflections," in Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament, 1992 ET, 1979 German
• Theissen, Gerd, "The Wandering Radicals: Light Shed by the Sociology of Literature on the early Transmission of Jesus Sayings," Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament, 1992 ET, 1979 German
• Halleux, Andre de, "Ministers in the Dicache," in The Didache in Modern Research, 1996 ET, 1980 French
• Draper, Jonathan A, "The Jesus Tradition in the Didache," in The Didache in Modern Research, 1996 reprint, 1985 English
• Theissen, Gerd, "Some Ideas about a Sociological Theory of Early Christianity," in Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament, 1992 English
• Draper, Jonathan A, "Social Ambiguity and the Production of Text: Prophets, Teachers, Bishops, and Deacons and the Development of the Jesus Tradition in the Community of the Didache," in The Didache in Context, 1995 English
• Patterson, Stephen J, "Didache 11-13: The Legacy of Radical Itineracy in Early Christianity," in The Didache in Context, 1995 English

In more modern times, those who continued to carry the Marxist torch were:
• John H. Kautsky, The political consequences of modernization, 1972; The politics of aristocratic empires, 1982
• G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World, 1981

Last but not least, there was John Dominic Crossan:
• Crossan, John D, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, 1991, ISBN 0-06-061629-6
• Crossan, John D, The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images, 1994, reprinted 1998, ISBN 0-7858-0901-5
• Crossan, John D, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, 1994
• Crossan, John D, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus, 1998, in which he cobbled together his own socio-economic theory from elements of John Kautsky's The Politics of Aristocratic Empires (above) and also Gerhard Lenski, Power and Privilege (above).
• Crossan, John D, The Jesus Controversy: Perspectives in Conflict (Rockwell Lecture Series), with Luke Timothy Johnson, Werner H Kelber, 1999
• Crossan, John D with Jonathan L Reed, Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts, 2001
• Crossan, John D with Jonathan L Reed, In Search of Paul: How Jesus's Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom, 2004
• Crossan, John D, God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now, 2007
• Crossan, John D, co-authored with Marcus Borg, The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon, 2009.

While I have not read but a fraction of all these, I have read a lot. There are trends that can be picked up on by reading the titles.

All I can say is that before anyone buys into the myth that Herod and Romans systematically crushed the poor helpless peasants into the ground economically at every step, find a copy of Fabian E Udoh's, To Caesar What Is Caesar’s: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E.–70 C.E.) (2005). This will quickly make it clear that almost all of what we think we "know" about Herod and Roman taxation policy is complete hogwash.

The realities were quite different than what we were told in Sunday School or even in many college level biblical history or criticism classes. Personally, I also found James C. Scott's The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (1976), and some of his other works centered on subsistence farming in SE Asia in the 1950s-60s near the end of the colonial period and beginning of independence from British and French rule, to be very enlightening.

Fun, fun ...

DCH

PS: Sorry about the mixed citation styles, but that is what I get from copying the lists from Wikipedia pages!
FransJVermeiren wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:58 am
Recently I read Jesus and the Urban Culture of Galilee, chapter 9 (p. 183-207) of Séan Freyne’s Galilee and Gospel: Collected Essays. This essay paints the rapidly changing social situation in Galilee during the first century CE, and the decline of a supportive agricultural system in particular. Freyne’s analysis reminded me of the OP of this thread. Therefore I give the following quotes:

Page 194
The question is whether there was an appreciable move away from small family-run holdings, in which reciprocity was still the basic mode of exchange, towards a situation of land used as a revenue-generating resource. Previously, I have maintained that on the literary evidence (Josephus, the gospels, the Jewish writings and the Zenon papyri), landownership patterns in Galilee were mixed – large estates such as Beth Anath and small, family-run holdings that were part of the Jewish ideal as we have seen (1 Mac 14:10; cf. Neh 5:1-11). Undoubtedly, pressure had come on these latter since the Hellenistic age, as increased taxation and narrow margins in terms of yields left the small landowner increasingly vulnerable. Once a person was caught in the situation of having to borrow money for whatever reason, thus mortgaging their holding, it was extremely difficult for them to recover.

Page 196
The tensions between the two types of economic system and the increasing dominance of the latter in Herodian Galilee generated the social situation that many gospel parables depict – day labourers, debt, resentment of absentee landlords, wealthy estate owners with little concern for tenants needs, exploitative stewards of estates, family feuds over inheritance etc.

Page 205
For those who were exposed to these harsh realities and who had the will to resist, there remained only a downward spiral of options – from landowning to leasing, to day-labouring, to slavery or banditry.

Freyne’s essay as a whole breaths a prerevolutionary atmosphere. The declining social situation evolved to a revolution, of which the recruitment of revolutionary soldiers was a part.

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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by FransJVermeiren » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:39 am

DCH

Your first sentence above could create the impression that the “crushing exploitation of the peasantry by Herodian and Roman rules” assumption comes from Freyne’s pen or mine, which is not the case. Freyne explicitly speaks of changes 'since the Hellenistic age'. Could you give the author of this phrase, or is this your own summary?

I believe that, amongst other elements (religious, cultural, ethnic, demographic), social problems were at the root of the rebellions during Herodian and Roman rule. Your contribution gives the impression that these social problems have been invented by Marx, Engels, Kautsky and others you mention in your literature list. Maybe some of these authors have focused on the social problems caused by Herodian or Roman rule alone (I have not read as much as you did), but that doesn’t mean these social problems were non-existent.

Gaaly Cornfeld (Josephus, The Jewish War, Zondervan 1982) comments as follows on the Josephus’s “crowds of rural folk who were ready to fight for Aristobulus” (War I:153) under the title "The rebellious peasantry and the Romans": Every Hasmonean rebel against Roman rule found powerful support among the Jewish peasantry, especially the discontented landless elements, who furnished the leaders with good human military material. A sign of things to come appeared in the uprising of Ezekias, father of Judas, several years before Herod’s accession, and the conflict was to be continuous until the rebellion of AD 66, of which it was an important component. (p. 38)

A bit further on Cornfeld gives the following comment under the title "What caused the rebellions in Galilee?" Studies in the past decade, referred to by A. Schalit, H. Kreissig and S. Appelbaum, on the agrarian and economic situation in Galilee and Judaea, from the beginning of the first century BC to the eve of the rebellion in AD 66, place new emphasis on the hitherto forgotten problem of overpopulation, and the restriction of average peasant’s land holdings in Galilee. (See S. Appelbaum, Eretz-Israel, p. 125). These vital factors, common everywhere, could not possibly fail to have an adverse effect on the rural masses of the thickly populated Galilee, as described by Josephus in War III:42-44.

In the NT the Letter of James chapter 5 for example is an eloquent social complaint (I only quote verse 4; the rest of the chapter is also worth reading): Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

Also in the gospels the social element is present, for examples in Luke’s sermon on the plain (6:20-26) and in Luke 12:22-34 where Jesus asks to endure poverty temporarily in the prospect of a better future.

I believe there is a fundamental difference between the official policy of imperial governments (for example taxation) and the new circumstances (religious, social, cultural, ethnic, demographic) these empires create. Recenty I read the Wikipedia article on the Syriam Muslim preacher and anti-colonial activist Izz ad-Din al-Qassam (1882-1935), who worked in Galilee (Haifa more precisely) for some time. This article quotes Edmund Burke III, who says the following about al-Qassam: An individual deeply imbued with the Islamic social gospel and who was struck by the plight of Palestinian peasants and migrants. Al-Qassam’s pastoral concern was linked to his moral outrage as a Muslim at the ways in which the old implicit social compact was being violated in the circumstances of British mandatory Palestine. This anger fueled a political radicalism that drove him eventually to take up arms and marks him off from the Palestinian notable politicians.

What Burke tells about al-Qassam can perfectly be applied to the Jewish rebellion leader Jesus son of Saphat, the Jesus of the gospels, almost two millennia ago. We only have to replace ‘Islamic by ‘Jewish’, ‘Muslim’ by ‘Jew’, ‘British mandatory Palestine’ by ‘Roman occupied Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian notable politicians’ by ‘Jewish priestly aristocracy’.

Burke seems to be describing a similar social reality as Freyne: rapidly and negatively changing social circumstances that disrupt the tradition social model of the peoples involved.

Thanks for the reading suggestions. Udoh was already on my reading list. Scott is added.
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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by DCHindley » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:06 pm

FransJVermeiren wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:39 am
DCH

Your first sentence above could create the impression that the “crushing exploitation of the peasantry by Herodian and Roman rules” assumption comes from Freyne’s pen or mine, which is not the case. Freyne explicitly speaks of changes 'since the Hellenistic age'. Could you give the author of this phrase, or is this your own summary?
I *thought* I was warning you (and whoever lurking who cares about what "really" happened) not to buy too deeply into the "extreme oppression for its own selfish sake" model. I'm not saying *you* were actively advocating it. I've read or at least perused Séan Freyne’s Galilee and Gospels book (it was a library loan), as well as works by Shaye J. D. Cohen on Josephus' description of Galilean politics. Maybe what I wasn't feeling warm & fuzzy about many of the essays in Freyne's book is because of the economic angle. This model is Marxist, and while I don't have a political position on Marx, I think it is commonly agreed that his theories have not been strongly confirmed. Not just his (and Engels) predictions of stages that lead to revolution (which Marxists were forced to modify a lot when the Russian revolution offered a bunch of "special cases"), but I think their basic economic model as well.
I believe that, amongst other elements (religious, cultural, ethnic, demographic), social problems were at the root of the rebellions during Herodian and Roman rule. Your contribution gives the impression that these social problems have been invented by Marx, Engels, Kautsky and others you mention in your literature list. Maybe some of these authors have focused on the social problems caused by Herodian or Roman rule alone (I have not read as much as you did), but that doesn’t mean these social problems were non-existent.

Gaaly Cornfeld (Josephus, The Jewish War, Zondervan 1982) comments as follows on the Josephus’s “crowds of rural folk who were ready to fight for Aristobulus” (War I:153) under the title "The rebellious peasantry and the Romans": Every Hasmonean rebel against Roman rule found powerful support among the Jewish peasantry, especially the discontented landless elements, who furnished the leaders with good human military material. A sign of things to come appeared in the uprising of Ezekias, father of Judas, several years before Herod’s accession, and the conflict was to be continuous until the rebellion of AD 66, of which it was an important component. (p. 38)

A bit further on Cornfeld gives the following comment under the title "What caused the rebellions in Galilee?" Studies in the past decade, referred to by A. Schalit, H. Kreissig and S. Appelbaum, on the agrarian and economic situation in Galilee and Judaea, from the beginning of the first century BC to the eve of the rebellion in AD 66, place new emphasis on the hitherto forgotten problem of overpopulation, and the restriction of average peasant’s land holdings in Galilee. (See S. Appelbaum, Eretz-Israel, p. 125). These vital factors, common everywhere, could not possibly fail to have an adverse effect on the rural masses of the thickly populated Galilee, as described by Josephus in War III:42-44.

In the NT the Letter of James chapter 5 for example is an eloquent social complaint (I only quote verse 4; the rest of the chapter is also worth reading): Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

Also in the gospels the social element is present, for examples in Luke’s sermon on the plain (6:20-26) and in Luke 12:22-34 where Jesus asks to endure poverty temporarily in the prospect of a better future.

I believe there is a fundamental difference between the official policy of imperial governments (for example taxation) and the new circumstances (religious, social, cultural, ethnic, demographic) these empires create. Recenty I read the Wikipedia article on the Syriam Muslim preacher and anti-colonial activist Izz ad-Din al-Qassam (1882-1935), who worked in Galilee (Haifa more precisely) for some time. This article quotes Edmund Burke III, who says the following about al-Qassam: An individual deeply imbued with the Islamic social gospel and who was struck by the plight of Palestinian peasants and migrants. Al-Qassam’s pastoral concern was linked to his moral outrage as a Muslim at the ways in which the old implicit social compact was being violated in the circumstances of British mandatory Palestine. This anger fueled a political radicalism that drove him eventually to take up arms and marks him off from the Palestinian notable politicians.

What Burke tells about al-Qassam can perfectly be applied to the Jewish rebellion leader Jesus son of Saphat, the Jesus of the gospels, almost two millennia ago. We only have to replace ‘Islamic by ‘Jewish’, ‘Muslim’ by ‘Jew’, ‘British mandatory Palestine’ by ‘Roman occupied Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian notable politicians’ by ‘Jewish priestly aristocracy’.

Burke seems to be describing a similar social reality as Freyne: rapidly and negatively changing social circumstances that disrupt the tradition social model of the peoples involved.
Nobody even agrees about what the "minimum" size plot to sustain a family of 4, or even what the population density was place to place. I haven't seen anyone look at studies of pre-industrial farms concentrating on wheat or barley, say in Turkey or in Russia or Eastern Europe or even the early 19th century American plains, to even see what they might tell us about Judean farm tenancies. Instead we get predictions based on out of date info (population density, amount of calories needed to sustain individuals, small landholders being the "norm," and New-Agey concepts (that they lived 99.9999999999% on grains, cheese, beans and pulse=grass - no meat, no no no!).

In that place and time, excepting the not as big as one might think lands subject to the Temple authority (people leased it from the temple state), about 20% of the arable land, the rest being "royal estates," which were "gifted" to various government officials and aristocrats as rewards. They didn't own it, but served as a substitute for salaries for services rendered.

That was what I find interesting about Scott. He looks at subsistence farming in Muslim dominated SE Asia, statistics and all, from records maintained by their colonial overlords and by the new political administrations as they became independent. The diet is quite different (rice based) but his descriptions of the large array of land tenancy agreements

I am kind of surprised that "lib'ral" NT scholars still use it. I am not sure that "revolution theology" of the 70s is still that popular, although there are still ideologues on all sides, just not so many as there used to be. I am firmly on the "liberal" side of the thinking spectrum but I don't have to agree with stuff that is as clearly "bubble" thinking as is much of conservative thought.

DCH

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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by robert j » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:36 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:06 pm
... small landholders being the "norm," and New-Agey concepts (that they lived 99.9999999999% on grains, cheese, beans and pulse=grass - no meat, no no no!).
You already mentioned beans, what's "pulse=grass"?

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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by DCHindley » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:58 pm

robert j wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:36 pm
DCHindley wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:06 pm
... small landholders being the "norm," and New-Agey concepts (that they lived 99.9999999999% on grains, cheese, beans and pulse=grass - no meat, no no no!).
You already mentioned beans, what's "pulse=grass"?
Well, mainly beans, which most folks didn't consider "real" food, but it includes "greens" (tasty grass) and peas, and probably tubers. Mainly, anything not wheat, oats, barely or rye was considered inferior food, as most folks did get by mainly on wheat/rye/barley bread which they dipped in sauces which were simmered down pulses with spices, and sometimes flavored by meat (like garum fish sauce). I would suggest that meat was a bit more prevalent than a once a year treat. I guess it depends on where you live (countryside folks probably caught what they could and field slaughtered them, while town dwellers would have to find a suitable meat market, but these certainly existed, catering to this or that community).

One book I read on Roman economy a while back, but now buried in the great bookshelf collapse of 2016, gave the contents of an expense account from the garbage dump of Oxyrhynchus where a couple of estate slaves who had traveled across parts of Egypt on their master's business, shamelessly recording how much they paid for sausages and a couple prostitutes, like this was not especially uncommon. They clearly felt that their master(s) was OK with these liberties.

That doesn't jive with the POV in which all but elites were starving slaves and tenant farmers who sleep on rocks covered by twigs and ate grass and carob pods, John the Baptist or Banus style.


DCH

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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by FJVermeiren » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:11 am

In his account of the siege and fall of Masada Josephus mentions its provisions (War VII:295-296): The provisions laid up inside were even more astonishing in their abundance as well as their perfect preservation. The stores included a large quantity of wheat that had been stored here, enough to last for many years, and an abundance of wine and oil, every kind of pulse, and dates in great piles.

Can these foodstuffs be considered to be a kind of basic diet?
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Re: The male inhabitants of Gennesaret or its people?

Post by DCHindley » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:13 pm

FJVermeiren wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:11 am
In his account of the siege and fall of Masada Josephus mentions its provisions (War VII:295-296): The provisions laid up inside were even more astonishing in their abundance as well as their perfect preservation. The stores included a large quantity of wheat that had been stored here, enough to last for many years, and an abundance of wine and oil, every kind of pulse, and dates in great piles.

Can these foodstuffs be considered to be a kind of basic diet?
I'd say fairly basic, although those items were chosen for storage because they would not be as likely to spoil in a dry barren region. There would still be rodents, but if you're being besieged, might be in sealed jars, and certainly the wine & oil would be in sealed jars, but the wheat was likely stored in bulk in "pits" cut into the rock, and maybe sealed up with rocks and plaster. That being said, the only thing they didn't have was preserved/smoked meats, but that kind of thing has a tendency to spoil, regardless of how you smoke it. Water would come from cisterns that fill during the rainy seasons, but there was a spring at the base I believe.

Supposedly, Jerusalem itself had been stocked by the rebels in anticipation of a Roman siege, but factions in the rebel movement sabotaged the storehouses (set them on fire), I guess to bring about God's intervention even sooner out of pity for the poor starving populace. Sometimes I think that there are modern saboteurs at work in my country, resisting any attempt to wisely manage the country's resources, "because Jesus will come again before things get critical!" It didn't work for the Judean rebels, and so I think it won't work for them either. Unfortunately, everyone has to go along for the runaway mine cart ride, knowing we'll crash to our doom in the end. What fun!

DCH

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