Saturday, 31 August 2013

Economy of Galilee in the time of Jesus

Neil Godfrey looks at the great wealth and large estates in the time of Jesus and writes that the presence of large estates in Lower Galilee is crucial for understanding the society in the early decades of the first century because their existence implies exploitation and dispossession of the small farmers and laborers. If they did not exist then we can infer “most peasants still lived on their own land and controlled their own economic destiny.”
English: This is a map of first century Iudaea...
First century Iudaea Province (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the discussions on the economy of Galilee in the time of Jesus, the presence or absence of large land-estates must play a significant role. Based on a reading of the parables attributed to Jesus, one could conclude that there were many estates of significantly large size and that they contributed to the economic conditions of Galilee causing loss of land and a growing rural proletariat. (From the abstract to “Did Large Estates Exist in Lower Galilee in the First Half of the First Century CE?” by David A. Fiensy, published in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 10 (2012) 133-153)
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The Rich-Poor Divide Not So Extreme in Jesus’ Day

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