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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52733
Doc. No:TL22687
Call number:‭3219555‬
Main Entry:Sharon Lea Mattila
Title & Author:Jesus and the “middle peasants”: Challenging a model of this socioeconomic contextSharon Lea Mattila
College:The University of Chicago
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:306
Abstract:In this dissertation, I critique Richard Horsley's model of socioeconomic relations in Jesus' Galilee. The paucity of direct evidence presents a relatively blank screen, which cannot provide a proper check against the largely theoretical constructs that Horsley projects upon it. These include a common social-scientific concept of "historical peasants" as a distinct cultural and socioeconomically homogeneous human type, essentially the self-sufficient "middle peasants" of A. V. Chayanov's highly influential microeconomic analysis. This concept of "peasants" has been increasingly challenged in the social sciences themselves. Likewise contested has been the theoretical framework, virtually identical to Moses Finley's modification of Karl Polanyi's theories on pre-industrial economies, which Horsley uses to buttress his argument that most of Jesus' fellow Galileans were "middle peasants." This Polanyian-Finleyan view of the ancient world---which posits a dichotomy between the Greco-Roman Mediterranean basin and the market-less "oriental despotic" inland regions---is dated, dangerously Hellenocentric, and flawed. As for the sparse and ambiguous evidence that is available from the reign of Antipas itself, it can be interpreted in an entirely opposite way to how Horsley has construed it. Antipas may not have had to rely almost entirely on an unprecedented efficiency in the taxation of "middle peasants" in order to fund his building projects in Sepphoris and Tiberias, but may have held a considerable number of royal estates, especially in the Great Plain. The tetrarch's urban projects, moreover, may have benefited the local economy rather than inducing an economic crisis in the countryside. Indeed, a rather sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous network of socioeconomic relations in the Galilee is attested by the tannaitic rabbis only a century after Jesus' time. The basic socioeconomic structure of the Galilee may not have changed dramatically between the first and second century, as is corroborated by recently published archaeological data from Jotapata, Gamala, and Tel Anafa, as well as by a closer reading of Josephus. Hence, many of Jesus' fellow Galileans may not have been "middle peasants," but may have participated in a much more complex network of socioeconomic relations than depicted by Horsley's model.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Horsley, Richard; Israel; Jesus Christ; Middle peasants; Palestine; Richard Horsley; Roman Empire; Socioeconomic context; Bible; Ancient civilizations; Economic history; 0579:Ancient civilizations; 0509:Economic history; 0321:Bible
Added Entry:M. M. Mitchell
Added Entry:The University of Chicago