Biblical Studies Galilee
by
Mark Chancey
  • LAST REVIEWED: 18 June 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 13 September 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0043

Introduction

Galilee is a region in northern Israel bounded to the south by the Jezreel Valley; to the north by the mountains of Lebanon; to the east by the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, and the Golan Heights; and to the west by the coastal mountain range. By the Roman period, its northern area was known as Upper Galilee and its southern parts as Lower Galilee. The Hebrew Bible associates it with the areas settled by the tribes of Zebulon, Naphtali, and Asher. After the dissolution of the United Monarchy, it was part of the kingdom of Israel until its conquest by the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE. Its population declined due to Assyrian deportations but grew slowly in the following centuries. The Hasmoneans conquered it in the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE. It is famous as Jesus’ native region. After the two Jewish Revolts against Rome (66–70 and 132–135 CE), Galilee became the center of Palestine’s Jewish population and the home of the rabbinic movement as Jews moved north from Judea. Within the field of biblical studies, the overwhelming majority of the literature on Galilee has been motivated by interest in the Historical Jesus and early Judaism. For this reason, this article focuses primarily on 1st-century CE Galilee, although it includes some discussion of earlier periods and of early rabbinic Judaism. Major topics of investigation include the ethnic composition of its population, the nature of Galilean Judaism, the economic impact of Roman and Herodian rule, and the extent of Hellenistic and Roman culture. Archaeological excavations in recent decades have greatly enhanced our knowledge of the area, which was previously limited to the information provided by the Jewish historian Josephus, rabbinic sources, and the New Testament.

Reference Works

The following standard reference works include articles on various aspects of ancient Galilee. Stern, et al. 1993 and Meyers 1997 focus on archaeological materials. Stern, et al. 1993, which consists primarily of entries on particular sites, is impressively thorough, technical in tone, and has lengthy bibliographical references. Meyers 1997 is more accessible to a broader readership and includes entries on not only sites but also other aspects of Near Eastern archaeology. The other works each have their own distinctive focuses: Collins and Harlow 2009 on early Judaism, Evans 2008 on the Historical Jesus and the 1st century CE, and Sakenfeld, et al. 2006–2009 on the broad spectrum of biblical studies. Tsafrir, et al. 1994 is a gazetteer of sites identifying modern and ancient site names and providing ancient and modern textual references; it will be most useful to scholars and advanced students. Grootkerk 2000 is an excellent resource for historical geography and toponymy.

  • Collins, John J., and Daniel Harlow, eds. The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009.

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    Topics of articles include particular sites, religious and social practices, and types of artifacts.

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  • Evans, Craig A., ed. Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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    Contains articles on all aspects of Historical Jesus research; for example, various facets of Judaism, specific archaeological sites, and influential scholars (including several who are pertinent to Galilean studies).

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  • Freedman, David Noel, et al., eds. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

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    This classic resource aimed at scholars has entries covering the spectrum of biblical studies. Includes articles on sites mentioned in the Bible.

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  • Grootkerk, Salomon E. Ancient Sites in Galilee: A Toponomic Gazetteer. By Salomon E. Grootkerk. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2000.

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    Provides a wealth of information about site identifications and names using sources ranging from Antiquity to the Ottoman period.

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  • Meyers, Eric M., ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the New East. 4 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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    Includes entries on not only archaeological sites but also the history of research (“French archaeological missions”), various aspects of culture (“fishing,” “food storage”), and specific types of artifacts (“furniture and furnishings”).

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  • Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob, et al., eds. The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. 5 vols. Nashville: Abingdon, 2006–2009.

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    Replaces the older series by the same name from 1962, with entries on all aspects of biblical studies. Includes articles on sites mentioned in the Bible. Designed for scholars and clergy alike, it is very accessible in tone.

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  • Stern, Ephraim, et al., eds. The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Carta, 1993.

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    This set provides technical discussions of archaeological sites in Israel and ample bibliographical references. It has recently been updated with a supplementary volume (Vol. 5, Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Review, 2008).

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  • Tsafrir, Yoram, Leah Di Segni, and Judith Green. Tabula Imperii Romani: Iudaea, Palaestina: Eretz Israel in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994.

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    A gazetteer of sites identifying modern and ancient site names and providing ancient and modern textual references; it will be most useful to scholars and advanced students.

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Essay Collections

A number of volumes include essays that span the chronological spectrum and are thus relevant for a broad range of fields, including biblical studies (both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament), early Judaism, early Christianity, and Syro-Palestinian archaeology. Aviam 2004 and Gal 2002 present specialized studies by Israeli archaeologists. Fassbeck, et al. 2003 (cited under Pre-Hellenistic Galilee [Prior to 323 BCE]) focuses on Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). Levine 1992, Meyers 1999, and Zangenberg, et al. 2007 consist of papers written for conferences focusing on Galilee. The wide-ranging essays on Late Second Temple Judaism and the emergence of the Jesus movement in Freyne 2002, written over two decades, are interesting not only for their own sakes but also because they illuminate the evolution of Freyne’s work and of scholarly images of Galilee. Edwards and McCollough 1997 underscores the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to Galilee that include both archaeological and literary methods.

  • Aviam, Mordechai. Jews, Pagans, and Christians in Galilee. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2004.

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    Aviam’s essays cover broad topics (e.g., viticulture), specific categories of finds (e.g., columbaria), and specific sites, from the Hellenistic through the Byzantine period.

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  • Edwards, Douglas R., and C. Thomas McCollough, eds. Archaeology and the Galilee: Texts and Contexts in the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997.

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    Essays on the Historical Jesus, rabbinic Judaism, and archaeological finds from the Hellenistic through the Byzantine period.

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  • Freyne, Seán. Galilee and Gospel. Boston: Brill, 2002.

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    Collection of influential essays by one of the world’s foremost experts on Galilee, with emphases on economic questions and understanding the Jesus movement and early Judaism within their Galilean context.

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  • Gal, Zvi, ed. Eretz Zafon: Studies in Galilean Archaeology. Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2002.

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    Articles in English and Hebrew on various sites from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period.

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  • Levine, Lee I., ed. The Galilee in Late Antiquity. Papers presented at the First International Conference on Galilean Studies in Late Antiquity, Kibbutz Hanaton, Israel, 13–15 August 1989. New York and Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1992.

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    Topics include the social, economic, and linguistic environment; rabbinic Judaism; early Christianity; and the nature of Roman rule.

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  • Meyers, Eric M., ed. Galilee through the Centuries: Confluence of Cultures. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1999.

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    Focuses on archaeological material, inscriptions, and Jewish and Christian literary sources.

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  • Zangenberg, Jürgen, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, eds. Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.

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    Essays revolving around the issue of identity formation focus on topics such as numismatic images, personal names, descriptions of Jews by ancient non-Jewish authors, and responses to the imperial cult.

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Pre-Hellenistic Galilee (Prior to 323 BCE)

Most of the literature on ancient Galilee focuses on the centuries between the conquests of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE and the Arabs in 640 CE, but a considerable amount is known nonetheless about the Bronze and Iron Ages as well as the Persian period. Gal 1992 and Frankel, et al. 2001 offer a remarkable amount of survey data that illustrate the region’s development. Gal 1992 provides the most detailed discussion of Galilee in the time of the Hebrew Bible, focusing primarily on the region’s settlement history during the Iron Age (1200–586 BCE). Frankel 1992 and Gal 1992 consider the biblical reports in Joshua 19 of tribal settlements in Galilee. Mazar 1990 and Stern 2001 occasionally discuss Galilean sites such as Megiddo and Hazor, although both pay considerably less attention to sites in Galilee than to more southern sites. Fassbeck, et al. 2003 includes brief essays on sites near the Sea of Galilee as well as an overview of Galilee in the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian eras. The most useful starting points for research are articles in reference works such as Frankel 1992, Gal 1993, and Gal 1997.

  • Fassbeck, Gabriele, Sandra Fortner, Andrea Rottloff, and Jürgen Zangenberg, eds. Leben am See Gennesaret: Kulturgeschichtliche Entdeckungen in einer biblischen Region. Mainz, Germany: von Zabern, 2003.

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    Short, well-illustrated essays on the sites of Kinneret and Et-Tell near the Sea of Galilee.

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  • Frankel, Rafael. “Galilee (Prehellenistic).” In The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Vol. 2. Edited by David Noel Freedman, et al., 879–895. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

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    Detailed overview of the Chalcolithic through Persian periods summarizes archaeological data and literary references. Devotes particular attention to tribal allotments described in Joshua 19. Rich bibliography.

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  • Frankel, Rafael, Nimrod Getzov, Mordechai Aviam, and Avi Degani. Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity in Ancient Upper Galilee: Archaeological Survey of Upper Galilee. Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2001.

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    Using survey finds from 390 sites, Frankel illuminates occupation history from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) to Ottoman period and shows how the decline and development of sites reflect larger population shifts. Numerous tables, graphs, and maps make technical data accessible.

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  • Gal, Zvi. Lower Galilee during the Iron Age. Translated by Marcia Reines Josephy. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1992.

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    Summarizes results of surface surveys and excavations and argues that Galilee’s population declined after the Assyrian invasion in the 8th century BCE. Additional chapters on Bronze Age, ecology, tribal allotments under Joshua, and the United Monarchy.

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  • Gal, Zvi. “Galilee: Chalcolithic to Persian Periods.” In The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. Vol. 2. Edited by Ephraim Stern, et al., 450–453. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Carta, 1993.

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    Somewhat technical in tone.

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  • Gal, Zvi. “Galilee: Galilee in the Bronze and Iron Ages.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the New East. Vol. 2. Edited by Eric M. Meyers, 369–370. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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    Brief general overview.

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  • Mazar, Amihai. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (10,000–586 BCE). New York: Doubleday, 1990.

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    This classic overview of the early periods includes numerous scattered references to specific Galilean sites but little sustained discussion of their regional context.

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  • Stern, Ephraim. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. Vol. 2, The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732–332 BCE). By Ephraim Stern. New York: Doubleday, 2001.

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    An authoritative overview of the archaeology of Palestine, although less attention is paid to Galilean sites than to those in other regions.

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Galilee, 300 BCE–200 CE

A host of studies have focused on this time period because of its importance as the setting for the Historical Jesus, early Christianity, and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism. The fundamental starting point for research remains Freyne 1980, the first major monograph devoted wholly to the region, although it should be read in light of his more recent works that are listed elsewhere in this bibliography. Aviam 1993 offers a synthesis of the archaeological data, whereas Aviam 2004 (cited under Essay Collections) focuses on the 1st century BCE–1st century CE. Strange 1994 considers both archaeological data and literary sources. Horsley 1995 and Horsley 1996 cover a range of topics including the historical development of the region’s population and government, urban-rural relations, economics, the rise of synagogues, the question of social protests and unrest, the first Jewish revolt (66–70 CE), and the linguistic milieu, but some of their arguments have experienced a mixed reception, particularly the claim that Galileans in the Hellenistic and Roman periods were mostly descendents of ancient Israelites.

  • Aviam, Mordechai. “Galilee: The Hellenistic to Byzantine Periods.” In The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land Vol. 2. Edited by Ephraim Stern, et al., 450–453. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993.

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    Provides a general overview of the archaeological data from the region.

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  • Bösen, Willibald. Galiläa als Lebensraum und Wirkungsfeld Jesu: Eine zeitgeschichtliche und theologische Untersuchung. Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: Herder, 1985.

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    Well-illustrated overview discusses topics such as geography, the ethnic identity of Galileans, the role of synagogues, and specific communities. Includes excurses relating the discussion to the Historical Jesus.

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  • Freyne, Seán. Galilee from Alexander the Great to Hadrian: 323 BCE to 135 CE. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1980.

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    Examines political history, urbanization, economics, anti-Roman resistance, Galilean Judaism, and early Christianity. Because it was written before much archaeological data was available, it should be read in conjunction with the author’s more recent works. Reprinted in 1998 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark).

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  • Habbe, Joachim. Palästina zur Zeit Jesu: Die Landwirtschaft in Galiläa als Hintergrund der synoptischen Evangelien. Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany: Neukirchener Verlag, 1996.

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    An impressive overview of sources (particularly literary materials) for the study of Galilee, with attention to issues such as government, taxation, and agriculture. The latter section mines the Synoptic Gospels for data in a pericope-by-pericope analysis.

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  • Horsley, Richard A. Galilee: History, Politics, People. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity, 1995.

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    Emphasizes the regional distinctiveness of Galilee by highlighting its cultural, historical, and political separateness from Judea. Discusses the nature of Roman and civic rule and various aspects of village life. Its construal of Roman-period Galileans as primarily descendants of ancient Israelites is generally regarded as unlikely in light of the archaeological evidence.

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  • Horsley, Richard A. Archaeology, History and Society in Galilee: The Social Context of Jesus and the Rabbis. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity, 1996.

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    A continuation of the arguments in Horsley 1995 that incorporates more archaeological data. Also includes discussion of Galilean cities, economics, the emergence of synagogues, and the linguistic milieu.

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  • Leibner, Uzi. Settlement and History in Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Galilee. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 127. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.

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    Survey data from eastern Galilee, well accompanied by maps, line drawings of pottery findings, photographs, and other illustrations. Summary essays consider population demographics and economics.

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  • Strange, James F. “First-Century Galilee from Archaeology and from Texts.” In Society of Biblical Literature 1994 Seminar Papers: 130th Annual Meeting, November 19–22, 1994, the Chicago Hilton and Towers, Chicago, IL. Edited by David J. Lull, 81–90. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994.

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    A helpful overview illustrating the growing attention to archaeological materials in the 1990s.

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Ethnicity of Galileans

Older scholarship included a variety of images of Galilee’s population, with some studies suggesting that Gentiles comprised a sizable portion or even majority. One of the strongest points of consensus among more recent studies, however, is that the population was predominantly Jewish, a position that takes into account literary sources (Josephus, the rabbis, the New Testament) and archaeological data (the presence of stone vessels and ritual baths, both of which reflect purity concerns, the practice of secondary burial, and the lack of explicit evidence for pagan cultic practices) (Freyne 2002, Reed 2000, Aviam and Richardson 2001, Chancey 2002, and Chancey 2009). Cromhout 2007 emphasizes the importance of Judean origins for understanding Galilee’s population, making strong use of social-scientific studies of ethnicity. Relying on a range of evidence, Aviam 2007 tries to establish zones of pagan and Jewish settlement. Horsley 1995 (cited under Galilee, 300 BCE–200 CE) offers an alternative argument that more sharply differentiates Galileans from Judeans but emphasizes the ancient Israelite origins of both.

  • Aviam, Mordechai. “First Century Jewish Galilee: An Archaeological Perspective.” In Religion and Society in Roman Palestine. Edited by Douglas R. Edwards, 7–27. New York: Routledge, 2004.

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    Broad archaeological introduction discusses Hasmonean and Herodian periods, with attention to specific sites such as Sepphoris, Tiberias, Yodefat and to specific finds such as figurines, stone vessels, tombs, ritual baths, and local pottery.

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  • Aviam, Mordechai. “Distribution Maps of Archaeological Data from the Galilee: An Attempt to Establish Zones Indicative of Ethnicity and Religious Affiliation.” In Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee. Edited by Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, 115–132. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.

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    Argues that Jewish and pagan areas of settlement can be differentiated by patterns in the material culture. Numerous maps support the case.

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  • Aviam, Mordechai, and Peter Richardson. “Josephus’ Galilee in Archaeological Perspective.” In Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary Vol. 9. Life of Josephus. Edited by Steve Mason, 177–209. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001.

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    Discusses the archaeological evidence for Jewish life in light of the ample material included in the works of the Jewish historian Josephus, who commanded forces in Galilee during the first Jewish revolt against Rome (66–70 CE).

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  • Chancey, Mark A. The Myth of a Gentile Galilee. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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    Traces the region’s history, emphasizing the likelihood of Hasmonean colonization. Descriptions and bibliographies for Early Roman sites, highlighting literary references to and archaeological evidence for Jewish practices. Compares Galilean sites with those of neighboring regions.

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  • Chancey, Mark A."A Wandering Galilean: Essays in Honour of Seán Freyne". In Archaeology, Ethnicity, and First-Century CE Galilee: The Limits of Evidence. Edited by Zuleika Rodgers with Margaret Daly-Denton and Anne Fitzpatrick McKinley, 205218. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004173552.i-622Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A review of recent studies, with attention to unanswered questions raised by archaeological data, such as the relationship between use of stone vessels and particular Jewish sects.

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  • Cromhout, Markus. Jesus and Identity: Reconstructing Judean Ethnicity in Q. Matrix: The Bible in Mediterranean Context. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2007.

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    An interesting exploration of Galilean ethnicity that incorporates the insights of ethnicity theory and socio-cultural models, arguing that Galileans perceived themselves as Judeans. Special attention is devoted to Q materials and implications for Historical Jesus research.

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  • Freyne, Seán A. “Archaeology and the Historical Jesus.” In Galilee and Gospel. By Seán A. Freyne, 160–182. Boston: Brill, 2002.

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    Underscores the importance of archaeology for understanding the Galilean context of Jesus. Considers the geographical extent of Jesus’ ministry, the nature of Herodian rule, and the ethnic composition of the population.

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  • Moreland, Milton. “The Inhabitants of Galilee in the Hellenistic and Early Roman Periods.” In Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee. Edited by Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, 133–159. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 210. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.

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    Accepts the view that the population was predominantly Jewish but argues that the population boom is best explained by as a result of heightened stability, not migration from Hasmonean Judea. Calls for a thicker description of Galilean Judaism.

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  • Reed, Jonathan L. Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-Examination of the Evidence. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity, 2000.

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    Contends that widespread abandonment of sites at the end of the Iron Age is best explained as the result of the Assyrian conquest, and that an increase in sites beginning in the Late Hellenistic period reflects Hasmonean settlement. The comparison of strata from different sites is particularly persuasive. Highlights the importance of stone vessels, ritual baths, and secondary burial.

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Galilean Judaism

Debates on the nature of Galilean Judaism have focused on issues such as fidelity in Torah observance, regionally specific ways of interpreting Torah, the emergence of the synagogue, and attitudes toward the temple in Jerusalem. Freyne 1980 (cited under Galilee, 300 BCE–200 CE) is still a very useful introduction to the subject. Goodman 1999 and Schiffman 1992 note distinctive Galilean customs regarding issues such as marriage and tithes but suggest that such practices should be considered regional variations rather than indications of less careful observance of the Torah. Goodman 2000 provides the most detailed consideration of Galilean life as portrayed in the Mishnah. Meyers 2009 explores the early development of Galilean synagogues, and Runneson, et al. 2008 presents related data.

  • Goodman, Martin. “Galilean Judaism and Judaean Judaism.” In The Early Roman Period. Vol. 3 of The Cambridge History of Judaism. Edited by William Horbury, W. D. Davies, and John Sturdy, 596–617. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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    Emphasizes that nothing in ancient literary sources suggests Galileans perceived themselves as anything but Jews. Questions claims of earlier scholarship that revolutionary sentiments and messianic expectations were exceptionally strong in Galilee.

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  • Goodman, Martin. State and Society in Roman Galilee, AD 132–212. 2d ed. Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2000.

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    The most thorough discussion available in English of Galilean village life in light of early rabbinic traditions, with discussions of economic, administrative, and other cultural practices.

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  • Meyers, Eric M. “Early and Late Synagogues at Nabratein: Regional and Other Considerations.” In A Wandering Galilean: Essays in Honor of Seán Freyne. Edited by Zuleika Rodgers, Margaret Daly-Denton, and Anne Fitzpatrick McKinley, 257–278. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 132. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

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    Discussion of the emergence of architecturally distinct synagogues in Galilee, focusing on the evidence from the Upper Galilean site of Nabratein.

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  • Miller, Stuart S. “Priests, Purities, and the Jews of Galilee.” In Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee. Edited by Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, 375–402. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.

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    Considers the priestly presence in Galilee from the Late Second Temple period through Late Antiquity, emphasizing that some scholarship has exaggerated its size. Discusses the cities, ritual baths, and traditions regarding priestly courses.

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  • Runesson, Anders, Donald D. Binder, and Birger Olsson, eds. The Ancient Synagogue from Its Origins to 200 C.E.: A Source Book. Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 72. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004161160.i-332Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A site-by-site survey of evidence for synagogues drawing on both literary sources and archaeological materials that includes discussion of Cana, Capernaum, Chorazin, and nearby Gamla.

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  • Schiffman, Lawrence H. “Was There a Galilean Halakha?” In The Galilee in Late Antiquity. Edited by Lee I. Levine, 143156. Paper presented at the First International Conference on Galilean Studies in Late Antiquity, Kibbutz Hanaton, Israel, 13–15 August 1989. New York and Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1992.

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    The Mishnah reveals that Galilean practice of Jewish law closely resembled Judean practice, although Galileans had distinctive customs in regard to marriage, vows, and tithes.

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Greek and Roman Culture

Many of the items listed in this bibliography address the issue of the extent of Greek and Roman culture, but the following focus specifically on it. Berlin 2002 is very attentive to how changes in material culture reflect patterns of daily life, and she is sensitive to the importance of pottery usage, dining customs, and decorative techniques. Chancey 2005 discusses languages used, art, coins, and architecture, arguing that Greco-Roman culture is far more visible in the material culture of the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE than in the preceding centuries. Chancey 2007 provides a brief summary of this same argument in a popular tone with accompanying illustrations. Reed 2000 (cited under Ethnicity of Galileans) is an essential study.

  • Berlin, Andrea M. “Romanization and Anti-Romanization in Pre-Revolt Galilee.” In The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, and Ideology. Edited by Andrea M. Berlin and J. Andrew Overman, 57–73. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

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    Argues that 1st-century CE Galileans rejected red-slipped plates and mold-made lamps as a way of expressing local Jewish identity in the face of growing Roman influence. Galileans were less resistant to other aspects of Roman culture such as stucco decoration, painted walls, and the use of a certain style of cooking pan.

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  • Chancey, Mark A. Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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    Emphasizes the importance of variations between locales, time periods, and social classes as essential for understanding the influence of Greco-Roman culture in Galilee. Considerably more evidence for certain forms of Greco-Roman influence (the use of Greek, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations, numismatic designs, architectural forms) exists in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, after the arrival of a Roman legion, than in the time of Jesus.

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  • Chancey, Mark A. “How Jewish Was Jesus’ Galilee?” Biblical Archaeology Review 33.4 (2007): 42–50, 76.

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    A short, illustrated summary of the arguments of Chancey 2005, written for a popular audience.

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    • Nagy, Rebecca Martin, Carol L. Meyers, Eric M. Meyers, and Zeev Weiss, eds. Sepphoris in Galilee: Crosscurrents of Culture. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1996.

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      Excavations at Sepphoris have driven much of the discussion of Greco-Roman culture in the region. This museum exhibit catalogue is invaluable for its photographs and discussions of particular artifacts as well as its accompanying brief essays.

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    Herod Antipas

    Herod Antipas was the Roman client king who ruled Galilee 4 BCE–39 CE. He devoted much of his energy to construction projects in Sepphoris and his new city, Tiberias. Only a few studies focus specifically on him and his reign. Hoehner 1972 focuses on literary references to Antipas; it is dated but still useful. Jensen 2006 provides an authoritative overview that considers both literary sources and archaeological data, and Jensen 2007 considers what the coinage of Antipas reveals about the ruler.

    • Hoehner, Harold W. Herod Antipas. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1972.

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      Survey of information provided by Josephus and the Gospels discusses Antipas’s biography; the boundaries of his realm; economic policies; and encounters with Jesus, John the Baptist, and Pontius Pilate.

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    • Jensen, Morten Hørning. Herod Antipas in Galilee. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.

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      Authoritative treatment of literary sources and archaeological data, with a thorough review of earlier scholarship and a detailed consideration of the economic impact of Antipas’s rule. Concludes Antipas was a “minor ruler with a moderate impact” and finds little evidence for extreme economic exploitation of the masses. The best study available.

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    • Jensen, Morten Hørning. “Message and Minting: The Coins of Herod Antipas in Their Second Temple Context as a Source for Understanding of the Religio-Political and Socio-Economic Dynamics of Early First Century Galilee.” In Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee. Edited by Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, 277–313. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.

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      Considers coins of Antipas in their local context, comparing them to coins of the Hasmoneans, other Herodian rulers, and the procurators. The designs on Antipas’s coins reflect sensitivity toward Jewish concerns about figural representations. Antipas minted only a small amount of coinage and thus did not monetize the region.

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    Galilee and the New Testament

    Freyne 1988 is an excellent starting point for research, considering each gospel’s portrait of Galilee before turning to the Historical Jesus. Freyne 2006 summarizes how excavations in Galilee have affected Jesus research, discussing key issues such as ethnicity and economics and noting the need for attention to issues of class and gender. Meyers 1997 and Sanders 2001 emphasize the Jewishness of Galilee. Several articles offer literature reviews on issues such as ethnicity, urban-rural relations, the impact of Roman rule, and the economic situation. Moxnes 2001a and Moxnes 2001b have written two provocative reviews of the different ways scholars have constructed Galilee, both highlighting the ideological implications of different interpretations. The first is distinctive for its 19th-century focus and attention to constructions of race, ethnicity, and nationalism among European explorers, while the second summarizes more recent studies. Moxnes 2003 extends the discussion with an emphasis on conceptions of the household. Rapinchuk 2004 treats economics, ethnicity, attitudes toward Roman rule and Jerusalem temple, and the role of synagogues and Pharisees, also noting the differing interpretations produced by the application of different methodologies.

    • Freyne, Seán. Galilee, Jesus, and the Gospels. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.

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      Early but influential study that showed the usefulness of drawing on both archaeological and literary data, and still an important resource. Approaches each gospel from a literary perspective and then compares literary images of Galilee with what can be determined historically from excavations and other sources.

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    • Freyne, Seán. “Archaeology and the Historical Jesus.” In Jesus and Archaeology. Edited by James H. Charlesworth, 64–83. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006.

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      Discusses impact of archaeology on recent Historical Jesus literature, contextualizing it within the larger history of scholarship and devoting particular attention to Galilean social life.

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    • Meyers, Eric M. “Jesus and His Galilean Context.” In Archaeology and the Galilee: Texts and Contexts in the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods. Edited by Douglas R. Edwards and C. Thomas McCollough, 57–66. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997.

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      One of the most influential archaeologists of Galilean sites considers the importance of the regional distinctiveness of Galilee and the impact of new cities on the social context of Jesus.

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    • Moxnes, Halvor. “The Construction of Galilee as a Place for the Historical Jesus Part 1.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 31 (2001a): 2637.

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      A literature review that is unusual in its attention to 19th- and early-20th-century images of Galilee and in its sensitivity to ideological implications of particular constructions of Galilee and Jesus.

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      • Moxnes, Halvor. “The Construction of Galilee as a Place for the Historical Jesus Part II.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 31 (2001b): 6477.

        DOI: 10.1177/014610790103100205Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        A review of images of Galilee in recent Historical Jesus scholarship, with special attention to the ideological implications of different reconstructions.

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        • Moxnes, Halvor. Putting Jesus in His Place: A Radical Vision of Household and Kingdom. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2003.

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          Devotes particular attention to Jesus’ relation to the household contexts of Galilee, arguing that Jesus envisioned the Kingdom of God as God’s household.

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        • Rapinchuk, Mark. “The Galilee and Jesus in Recent Research.” Currents in Biblical Research 2.2 (2004): 197–222.

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          Engaging review that stresses the relationship between scholarly understandings of Galilee and scholarly portraits of Jesus.

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          • Sanders, E. P. “Jesus’ Galilee.” In Fair Play: Diversity and Conflicts in Early Christianity. Edited by Ismo Dundergerg, Kari Syreeni, and Christopher Tuckett, 3–41. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001.

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            A strong treatment of the social and historical setting in 1st-century CE Galilee, with particular attention to issues of government, urbanization, the extent of the Roman presence, and the influence of Greco-Roman culture.

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          The Political Economy of Galilee

          The nature of economic relations in Galilee remains a focal point of research and dispute. Jensen 2006 (cited under Herod Antipas) provides the most thorough overview of recent scholarship. Some scholars argue that the policies of Herod Antipas, the imposition of Roman rule, and the domination of villages by the cities of Sepphoris and Tiberias resulted in high taxation, land transfer, and impoverishment of the masses (Crossan 1998, Hanson and Oakman 2008, Crossan and Reed 2002, Freyne 2002 [cited under Essay Collections], Horsley 1996 [cited under Galilee, 300 BCE–200 CE]), whereas others argue for more positive economic relations between the various parties and depict an economic environment in which cities and villages alike prospered (Edwards 2007, Jensen 2006). Overman 1997 cautions against overreliance on analogies that compare Galileans to peasants from other time periods. Safrai 1994 is useful for its engagement with rabbinic materials, although much of its content relates to later periods. Schwartz 1994 offers an interesting exploration of the intersection of urbanization, economics, and patronage patterns.

          • Crossan, John Dominic. The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately after the Execution of Jesus. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998.

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            Using the lenses of the anthropological theories of John H. Kautsky and Gerhard E. Lenski, Crossan villages and Roman commercialization of the economy.

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          • Crossan, John Dominic, and Jonathan L. Reed. Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts. Rev. ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002.

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            Argues that Galilee was increasingly commercialized through monocropping, monetization, urbanization, and shifts in land ownership, to the detriment of the masses. Many illustrations and very accessible.

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          • Edwards, Douglas R. “Identity and Social Location in Roman Galilean Villages.” In Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee. Edited by Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, 357–374. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.

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            Galilee experienced a vibrant economy, with ample produce, diversity in occupations, an intricate road network, and increasing numbers of public buildings. Urban-rural relations were generally positive and market-oriented.

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          • Hanson, K. C., and Douglas E. Oakman. Palestine in the Time of Jesus: Social Structures and Social Conflicts. 2d ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2008.

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            Well-known discussion of the social context of Jesus, applying sociological conflict theory that emphasizes rural-urban tensions and wealthy exploitation of the poor. Suitable for scholars and students alike. A good introduction to this perspective.

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          • Jensen, Morten Hørning. Herod Antipas in Galilee. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.

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            Scholars have relied too quickly on sociological conflict theory to understand Galilee’s economy. The archaeological and literary evidence does not support claims of rapid change, increased commercialization, or widespread impoverishment during the reign of Antipas.

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          • Overman, J. Andrew. “Jesus of Galilee and the Historical Peasant.” In Archaeology and the Galilee: Texts and Contexts in the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods. Edited by Douglas R. Edwards and C. Thomas McCollough, 67–73. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997.

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            Argues for a more critical approach to the application of peasant studies to ancient Galilee, noting that the “peasant” is not a universal type that is consistent across societies and time periods. An important argument, given the frequent characterization of Galileans as peasants in contemporary scholarship.

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          • Safrai, Ze’ev. The Economy of Roman Palestine. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

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            Richly detailed study relies on Talmudic materials but is nonetheless relevant for the study of the Late Second Temple period. Considers settlement patterns, modes of production, aspects of trade, agricultural practices, economic growth, and the question of whether Palestine had an open or closed economy.

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          • Schwartz, Seth. “Josephus in Galilee: Rural Patronage and Social Breakdown.” In Josephus and the History of the Greco-Roman Period: Essays in Memory of Morton Smith. Edited by Fausto Parente and Joseph Sievers, 290–306. Studia post-Biblica 41. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1994.

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            Argues that the region’s nascent urbanization under Antipas disrupted traditional patronage networks and fostered new ones, led to an increase in absentee landlords, and contributed to the poverty of small farmers.

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          The Historical Jesus

          A distinguishing feature of recent Historical Jesus research is its attention to Galilee. Vermes 1981 is a scholarly milestone in this regard, although many of its arguments have not stood the test of time. Theissen 1989 is also notable for its emphasis on northern Palestine as the setting of Jesus’ ministry. Crossan 1991 emphasized the Greco-Roman cultural milieu of Galilee and suggested that Jesus resembled the Cynic philosophers known from elsewhere in the Roman world. Though the latter suggestion has now been largely rejected, other aspects of the book remain very influential, such as its argument that the imposition of Roman rule brought economic strain and its suggestion that Jesus’ message of a Kingdom of God was a response to imperial rule. Crossan and Reed 2002 explore these issues further, with greater attention to archaeological materials and economics. Reed 2000 illustrates the types of issues in Historical Jesus research that archaeology has illuminated. Freyne 1988 (cited under Galilee and the New Testament) analyzes each gospel’s portrait of Galilee before turning to the Historical Jesus. Freyne 2004 highlights the importance of ancient Israelite attachment to Galilee, considers the impact of Roman imperialism, and discusses ecological aspects of Galilee. Freyne 2006 (cited under Galilee and the New Testament) discusses the application of different theoretical models to Galilee and draws attention to issues of class and gender. Meyers 1997 and Sanders 2001 (both cited under Galilee and the New Testament) emphasize the importance of the Jewishness of both Jesus and his context. Cromhout 2007 (cited under Ethnicity of Galileans) explores how an emphasis on understanding Galilean Jews as ethnic Judeans illuminates Jesus’ ministry. Claussen and Frey 2008 offers a good overview of the relevance of the archaeology of Galilee to various aspects of Historical Jesus research.

          • Claussen, Carsten, and Jörg Frey, eds. Jesus und die Archäologie Galiläas. Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008.

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            Collection of essays explores issues such as the comparison of archaeological data with Josephus, Jesus’ activity in the Golan, and the use of the Synoptic Gospels as a source for understanding Galilee.

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          • Crossan, John Dominic. The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

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            Influential in its intentional interdisciplinarity, particularly its use of anthropological theory.

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          • Crossan, John Dominic, and Jonathan L. Reed. Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts. Rev. ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002.

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            Argues that Gospel traditions and physical remains alike must be excavated to understand Jesus. Accessible and illustrated.

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          • Freyne, Seán. Jesus: A Jewish Galilean: A New Reading of the Jesus-Story. London and New York: T & T Clark, 2004.

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            Considers the importance of biblical traditions about Galilee for later Jewish inhabitants and the impact of Roman imperialism, but is perhaps most distinctive for its focus on Galilee’s ecology.

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          • Reed, Jonathan L. Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity, 2000.

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            Widely read survey of the ways archaeology illuminates Historical Jesus research, with discussions of ethnicity, population numbers, urbanization, and Q.

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          • Theissen, Gerd. Lokalkolorit und Zeitgeschichte in den Evangelien: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition. Novum Testamentum et orbis antiquus 8. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1989.

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            An influential study that emphasizes the presumed Galilean setting of many Jesus sayings, including those regarding Israel and the nations, and of the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman. Translated by Linda M. Maloney as The Gospels in Context: Social and Political History in the Synoptic Tradition (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1991).

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          • Vermes, Geza. Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981.

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            Among the first studies to emphasize that Jesus’ teachings should be understood within the context of Judaism, rather than juxtaposed against it. Three chapters focus on the Galilean setting, arguing that it was primarily rural and that charismatic holy men were an important part of the religious milieu. Now dated, but important for understanding the history of scholarship.

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          Q Studies

          Q is the hypothetical sayings source used by Matthew and Luke. The majority viewpoint of North American scholars who specialize in Q studies is that the document was written in Greek in Galilee. Kloppenborg 2000, Reed 2000, and Arnal 2001 argue for this position. Kloppenborg 2000 and Arnal 2001 especially draw attention to what they perceive as evidence in Q of the economic pressures generated by the reign of Antipas. Horsley and Draper 1999 differs from some Q studies in its emphasis on the oral aspects of the Q material. Moreland 2007 is a good, relatively brief example of how anthropological theory can be applied to the Q material. Cromhout 2007 (cited under Ethnicity of Galileans) understands Q as produced by ethnic Judeans in Galilee. The theory that Q was produced by Galilean Christians is not universally accepted in the larger field of New Testament studies. Pearson 2004 and Taylor 2003 offer some of the most detailed critiques, questioning among other things why Galileans would have written Q in Greek when the region’s primary language appears to have been Aramaic.

          • Arnal, William E. Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2001.

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            Argues that Q’s emphasis on communal values was prompted by economic distress produced by Antipas’s policies.

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          • Horsley, Richard A., with Jonathan A. Draper. Whoever Hears You Hears Me: Prophets, Performance, and Tradition in Q. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity, 1999.

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            Suggests that Q reflects the “little tradition” of agrarian villages in Galilee and Judea as opposed to the “great tradition” of the urban elites in Jerusalem and interprets it as reflecting an attempt to renew village culture and restore Israelite identity in the face of social pressures.

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          • Kloppenborg, John S. Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2000.

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            A major work arguing that Q reflects the social pressures created by urbanization, monetization, and land transfer under Antipas and the Roman procurators.

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          • Moreland, Milton. “The Jesus Movement in the Villages of Roman Galilee: Archaeology, Q, and Modern Anthropological Theory.” In Oral Performance, Popular Tradition, and Hidden Transcript in Q. Edited by Richard A. Horsley, 159–180. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007.

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            Examines Q through the lens of anthropologist James C. Scott’s model of peasant societies, arguing that Jesus’ appeals to give up possessions and abandon traditional kinship ties reflected an ideology and ethic quite different from the “safety first” ethic typical of peasants. The discrepancy may explain why Jesus’ movement was not more successful in Galilee.

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          • Pearson, Birger A. “A Q Community in Galilee?” New Testament Studies 50.4 (2004): 476–494.

            DOI: 10.1017/S002868850400027XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            A thoughtful and provocative critique of efforts to reconstruct the community that developed and used the Q materials, arguing (among other things) that the composition of Q in Greek is an argument against its Galilean provenance.

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            • Reed, Jonathan L. Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity, 2000.

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              An important attempt to establish a Galilean provenance for Q and the community that produced it, based on references to place names and themes of urban-rural tensions, distrust of the wealthy, and ambivalence toward civic courts.

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            • Taylor, Nicholas H. “Q and Galilee?” Neotestamentica 37.2 (2003): 283–311.

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              Notes that the Greek source Q is unlikely to have originated in Galilee, where Aramaic was the predominant language. Rejects the suggestion that place names in Q reflect its Galilean provenance, since the presence of those names is easily explainable as a reflection of Jesus’ actual area of activity.

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