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The Myth of a Gentile Galilee (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series) Paperback – December 23, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0521609487 ISBN-10: 0521609488

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Product Details

  • Series: Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series (Book 118)
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521609488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521609487
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,745,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...clear and elegant...a nuanced discussion...makes a convincing case...The volume is a good inoculation against the 'myth of a Gentile Galilee.'" John S. Kloppenborg, University of Toronto, Toronto Journal of Theology

Book Description

This investigation of Galilee during the time of Jesus demonstrates that, contrary to the perceptions of many New Testament scholars, the overwhelming majority of Galilee's population were Jews. Utilizing the gospels, the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, and published archaeological excavation reports, it traces the historical development of the region's population and examines in detail specific cities and villages. It is the only book-length treatment of this subject and is the fullest synthesis available of archaeological and literary evidence for first-century CE Galilee.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Emily Jamison on January 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a well-researched book by a Cambridge scholar on the religious and ethnic make-up of the society that Jesus lived in. There are two common conceptions - the less educated one stresses that Jesus grew up in Hicksville; the other, more scholarly one, that he would have been exposed to a great deal of foreign culture because trade routes passed through Galilee, Gentiles lived in the area, there were Roman soldiers there, etc.

Chancey refutes the scholarly opinion by looking at the archaeological and literary evidence. First of all, although trade routes went through Galilee, they were not the major ones and were probably used mostly for intra-Galilee purposes. Second, archaeology has turned up extraordinarily little evidence anywhere in the interior of Upper and Lower Galilee that would prove that there was a pagan influence. It appears to have been almost exclusively Jewish, even in the cities, until you reach the borderlands. And third, Roman soldiers weren't present until after the Jewish Revolt in 70 CE. None of that is to say that Jesus did grow up in Hicksville - Sepphoris, the previous capital of Galilee, was just an hour from Nazareth.

He researches towns, villages and cities in Upper and Lower Galilee, giving any evidence of what that town specialized in, its character, archaeological evidence, etc. in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. I wish he had gone into more detail regarding the trade of some of them - the book was short and it would have added a lot to it, especially in the case of Kefar Hananyah (it produced a lot of the pottery used in Galilee). Similarly for Capernaum I would like a description of what made the town tick - more on the fishing industry, the tax collection that went on there, the results of being a border town with Philip's territory, etc. But since it was already $40, I might not have bought it in that case!
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The Myth of a Gentile Galilee (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
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