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Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q
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Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q

by

Fortress Press 2001

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$21.99

Overview

This volume challenges Gerd Theissen’s dominant thesis of “wandering radicals” as the earliest spreaders of the Jesus tradition. Several conclusions emerge: (1) the textual evidence for the “wandering radicals” hypothesis is not tenable and it must be replaced with one that more closely comports with the evidence: (2) the immediate context of the Jesus movement, and of Q in particular, is the socio-economic crisis in Galilee under the Romans; and (3) the formation of Q is the product of Galilean village scribes in the Jesus movement reacting to the negative developments in Galilee that affected their social standing.

William E. Arnal moves decisively beyond earlier Q studies, which focused almost exclusively on literary history without dealing with the social realities of the first century.

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Key Features

  • Delves into the complexity and controversy involved with the text of Q
  • Presents two new critical claims in regard to nature of document Q, on which this work is based
  • Examines the New Testament Gospels in light of recent scholarship involving Q

Contents

  • Itinerant Preachers and the Didache
    • Harnack’s Thesis
    • Harnack’s World and Its Subtexts
  • The Sayings Tradition and Itinerant Preachers
    • Gerd Theissen
    • The Fate of Theissen’s Hypothesis
    • Significant Criticisms, Tangents, and Alterations
    • The Cynic Tangent
    • Context and Cultural Significance
  • The Problem with Itinerant Preachers
    • Methodological Shortcomings
    • A Realistic Context?
    • Textual and Evidentiary Weaknesses
    • The Evidence of the Didache
    • Itinerancy in Q?
    • Conclusion
  • The Socioeconomics of Roman Galilee
    • A Socioeconomic Description
    • Village Occupations and Production
    • Trade, Travel, and Transport
    • Coinage, Monetization, Debt, and Taxes
    • The Cities and Urbanization
    • Social Effects on Galilean Village Life
  • Q’s Rhetoric of Uprootedness
    • The Immediate Setting of Q
    • The Dating of Q
    • The Q People as Village Scribes
    • Travel in Q
    • The Rhetoric of Uprootedness in Q
    • The Social Project of the Q Tradents
    • Conclusions

Praise for the Print Edition

Widely read recent interpreters have used the Harnack-Theissen construct of ‘itinerant charismatics’ to portray Jesus and his followers as innocuous Cynic-like ‘culture critics.’ In yet another devastating critique, William Arnal demonstrates that, in addition to being highly problematic as sociology, the ‘itinerant charismatics’ construct has no basis in ancient sources such as Q and the Didache.

Richard Horsley, distinguished professor of liberal arts and the study of religion, University of Massachusetts

This important monograph builds on Kloppenborg’s Q-stratigraphy and examines the original material and ideological circumstances of the Synoptic Sayings Source. . . . Arnal’s noteworthy contribution deserves careful study by every student of Christian origins.

Douglas E. Oakman, professor of religion, Pacific Lutheran University

Product Details

  • Title: Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q
  • Author: William E. Arnal
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 304

About William E. Arnal

William E. Arnal is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. He is co-editor of and contributor to Whose Historical Jesus?.