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Title: Jesus the Galilean in his First Century context : a little tradition perspective
Author: Moran, Maureen
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2001
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More than two thousand years after his death the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth are still proclaimed, listened to and believed in. They form a part of the Great Tradition of Christianity in which Jesus is perceived as both "fully human and fully divine". In first century CE Palestine, however, they functioned very differently. In this thesis we seek to re-root Jesus of Nazareth, his teachings and his actions, in his first century Galilean context. In Chapter One of this study, we therefore examine Galilee, its economic, political, religious and social makeup in order not merely to provide a framework for Jesus' ministry, but rather to determine the milieu in which he was socialised and formed. The Galilee into which Jesus was acculturated was not, we conclude, a Hellenised region of trading and opportunity, as some modem scholars have suggested, but a land in which the peasantry struggled to meet their subsistence needs and in which an increasing number were forced into the forfeiture of their patrimonial land. In this light, we turn our attention, in our second chapter, to forms of non-elite resistance to elite oppression. We describe five forms of non-elite response. Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Social Banditry, The City Mob, Prophecy and Prophet Led Movements and Messiah/Deliverer Led Movements, each of which, we argue, coheres with the values inherent in the little tradition of the peasantry. The Prophet and Messiah Led Movements prove particularly significant in so far as they also provide the categories within which Jesus' social identity could be understood. In Chapter Three we reconsider four of Jesus' parables illustrating the extent to which they reflect the little tradition themes of reversal, abundance and condemnation of an exploitative elite. Similarly, we present his healings as a challenge to the religious elites' manipulation of the purity and debt codes, and his exorcisms as a condemnation of a social system which leaves the marginalised more vulnerable to demon possession. His practice of table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners not only foreshadows the messianic banquet, it also demonstrates the little tradition value of reversal (Chapter Four). In Chapter Five we illustrate that through his action in the Jerusalem temple, Jesus condemns the oppressive behaviour of the socio-religious elite and offers a new vision of the temple as a 'house of prayer' built on the values of the kingdom of God. The trial and crucifixion of Jesus, we present as the elite response (Chapter Six). The words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and his identification by at least some of his followers with the social role of messiah provoked the ire of the Judean elite. They also, we contend, led the Roman authorities to crucify him as 'King of the Judeans'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BT303.M7 ; Jesus Christ--Biography