The Myth of a Non-Jewish Galilee Must End!, 2 — J.P. Garcia

A continuation of our last post…

3. Politically Galilee had been under separate administration from Judea during almost all its history since the tenth century B.C. (apart from a period of “reunification” under the Maccabees), and in the time of Jesus it was under a (supposedly) native Herodian prince, while Judea and Samaria had since A.D. 6 been under the direct rule of a Roman prefect.

This administrative difference does not necessarily affect the JEWISH Galilean identity. At the end of the day, although Antipas was in control of Galilee (since the death of his father Herod) and a procurator (e.g., Pilate) was in control of Judea, ROME WAS ALWAYS IN CONTROL. The political reality  did not change Galilean religious identity.

4.     Economically Galilee offered better agricultural and fishing resources than the more mountainous territory of Judea, making the wealth of some Galileans the envy of their southern neighbors.

While there were surely wealthy villagers in the cities of the Galilee, Jerusalem was no stranger to wealth. Discoveries from the Second Temple period in what is now the Old City have revealed massive homes, which were apparently occupied by the Jerusalem priests and other wealthy villagers.

5.  Culturally Judeans despised their northern neighbors as country cousins, their lack of Jewish sophistication being compounded by their greater openness to Hellenistic influence.

images-1Not so. Hellenism abounded in Eretz Israel. In fact, Josephus remarks that within the Holy City of Jerusalem there was an amphitheater and a theater—clear signs of Hellenistic influence upon a city. In fact, Josephus remarks that these were opposite of Jewish customs (Ant 15:268). This is not to say that Jerusalem was more Hellenized than the Galilee but to note that Hellenization was a normal part of Greco-Roman society and that Jewish Communities regularly thrived, as Jewish, in these settings.

Check back on Friday for part 3.


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