bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,
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The Economy of First-Century Palestine: State of the Scholarly Discussion (Philip A. Harland)

"....Douglas E. Oakman (1991:34) suggests, "it is necessary to acquire a special set of conceptual lenses when reading ancient literature, including the Bible, in order to perceive appropriately the nature and character of ancient [512] economics." The definition of economy that is used here would not have occurred to a person in the ancient context. Scholars of antiquity must define the economy in their own terms, while being very aware that they do so, so that the overall workings of ancient societies can be made comprehensible in the present.

For purposes of surveying recent developments in the study of ancient economies and the social sciences, Carney (1975: 140) defines an economy as "that complex of activities and institutions through which a society manages the production and allocating of goods and services, and organizes and maintains its workers.... 'The economy' is not just an aggregate of individuals' actions. Groups, and overall societal interests, are involved." Politics, power and social structures are closely related to the nature of the economy since specific groups in a society may attempt to maximize society's utilities, production and distribution to their own advantage over against other groups. In connection with this, the economic situation of specific groups in society, whether groups of peasants or aristocrats, tenants or landowners, hired laborers or craftsmen, will be important...."

"...In surveying the secondary literature on the economy of Palestine, several ongoing issues of concern and debate stand out. These include 1) the agrarian nature of the economy; 2) the relative significance of trade; 3) the distribution or ownership of land; and, 4) the social-economic conditions of the peasantry, including the impact of taxation. Through a discussion of agreements and disagreements among scholars in these areas, we will gain a better picture of the state of our knowledge on the economics of Palestine around the beginning of the common era. The economy of Palestine should not be understood in isolation; despite [515] regional peculiarities that may be identified, this region was part of the larger economic world of the Roman empire, and social-economic conditions in the region have their counterparts elsewhere in many respects.

First, the ancient economy of Palestine was an under-developed, agrarian economy based primarily on the production of food through subsistence-level farming by the peasantry. The peasantry, through taxation and rents, supported the continuance of a social-economic structure characterized by asymmetrical distribution of wealth in favor of the elite, a small fraction of the population. Peasants made up the vast majority of the population in the social-structure of Palestine (over 90%; see Kreissig 1970:17-87; Fiensy 1990:155-76). The peasantry included small landowners who worked their own land for the subsistence of their families; tenants who worked the land of wealthy landowners and paid rent; and a variety of landless peasants who either worked as wage laborers on large or medium-sized estates or resorted to other activities such as banditry. The elites, consisting of the royal family, aristocrats, religious leaders and some priests, drew their primary source of income from medium-sized and large estates. Absentee landlords, living in the cities and benefiting from production in the countryside, were common in this social-economic structure.

Production in Palestine centered on the labor of the peasant household to produce essential foods. The principal products included grain (wheat, barley, millet and rice), vegetables (onions, garlic, leeks, squashes, cabbages, radishes and beets), fruits (olives, grapes, figs and dates), legumes (lentils and beans), spices (salt, pepper and ginger), and meat (fish, cows, oxen, lambs, goats; cf. Klausner 1975 [1930]:180-86; Hamel 1990 [1983]:8-56). The peasant's diet consisted mainly of bread and salt, along with olives, oil, onions and perhaps some grapes (Hamel 1990 [1983]: 34-35). Distribution of produce and wealth was unequal. And, as emphasized by Oakman (1986) and Halvor Moxnes (1988), the type of exchange or distribution within the economy of Palestine seems best characterized in terms of Polanyi's model of redistribution through a central institution. That is, wealth in the form of rents, taxes, and tithes flowed toward urban centres, especially Jerusalem (and the Temple) and was redistributed for ends other than meeting the needs of the peasantry, the main producers. The city's relation to the countryside in such an economy, then, would be parasitic, according to this view.

This overall agrarian quality of the Palestinian economy coincides with the general character of economies in other parts of the Roman Empire as portrayed by ancient historians. According to Rostovtzeff (1957 [1926]: 343) one of the most striking features of the economic and social life of the Empire

is the capital importance of the part played by agriculture. It is no exaggeration to say that most of the provinces were almost exclusively agricultural countries. . .  [We] may safely affirm that the largest part of the population of the Empire was engaged in agriculture, either actually tilling the soil or living on an income drawn from the land.

Yet, despite the general recognition that agriculture was of prime importance, there are several theoretical debates directly pertaining to the agrarian nature of the Roman economy. In particular, considerable scholarly discussion centers on the degree to which ancient economies were qualitatively and/or quantitatively similar to or different from later medieval, early modern and modern economic arrangements. Closely linked with this issue is the relative importance of trade or commercial activity alongside agriculture. This "modernist" vs. "primitivist" debate provides a context for our discussion of scholarly work on Palestine's economy.

On the one hand is the "modernizing" model or approach of Rostovtzeff. He believed that "the ancient world experienced, on a smaller scale, the same process of development which we are experiencing now...The modern development [including capitalism]...differs from the ancient only in quantity and not in quality" (cited by Reinhold 1946: 363-64). Hence his free use of terminology drawn from modern capitalistic economies (e.g. "capitalism", "bourgeoisie", "proletariat", "mass production") to speak of the ancient Roman economy, as well as his emphasis on trade or commercial enterprise as a principle source of wealth (cf. Reinhold 1946: 362-368; D'Arms 1981: 11-13).

The "primitivist" model of economy was developed, in part, as a reaction to this "modernizing" approach, but it also draws heavily on insights from economic anthropology. For Finley (1984 [1973]), who is quite representative and influential here, the ancient economy was fundamentally different from subsequent economies (e.g. medieval) not only in quantity but also in quality; it was primitive in line with what we know of other peasant economies. So much so that we are at a loss to make sense of the ancient situation in modern terms. According to this model, as Donald Engels (1990: 1) explains,

the classical world was innocent of many market values and institutions. Classical peasants lived at the margin of human existence and had little or nothing left over after they paid their taxes, rents, and maintenance. Therefore, classical cities could not have been supported by the voluntary exchange of peasant surplus for urban goods and services, since the peasant had little or no surplus at his disposal and no knowledge of a market.

In such a primitive economy, the city's relationship with the countryside was, primarily, a negative, parasitic one; this is the model of the "consumer city" drawing on resources of the countryside through taxation and rents. The primitivist model [517] has become the dominant view within scholarship in recent years, largely due to Finley's influence (cf. Garnsey and Saller 1987).

Naturally there is a range of scholarly opinion regarding the merits of these two models. Several recent studies propose a more nuanced approach to the question, challenging the primitivist model of the ancient economy as proposed by Finley while also rejecting the modernizing approach of Rostovtzeff (cf. D'Arms 1981). H.W. Pleket and his students, for instance, point out shortcomings in Finley's stark differentiation between ancient and other economies, suggesting that we "may have made the ancient economy too primitive and pre-industrial Europe too modern" (Pleket 1984:35; cf. Pleket 1983; van Nijf 1997:11-18). Engels' (1990) recent case study of the economy of Corinth criticizes the widespread acceptance of Finley's primitivist model, particularly regarding the dominant notion of the "consumer city." Instead he proposes further case studies testing alternate models, such as the notion of the "service city," which was "supported by the voluntary exchange of peasant surpluses for urban goods and services" (Engels 1990: 1-2). In light of such debates, scholars of Palestine's economy should keep in mind John H. D'Arms caution: "Granted that the Roman Empire was a preindustrial economy--it nonetheless exhibits signs of complexity, order, and system in its institutions, to an extent which makes labels like 'primitive' inappropriate unless they are carefully qualified." This theoretical debate concerning the nature of ancient economies brings us to the next key issue raised in studies of Palestine's economy.

Although the Palestinian economy centered on agriculture, trade was also important. Part of the difficulty in assessing the role of trade in Palestine, as with other aspects of the economy, deriving from the fact that our sources lack the qualitative and quantitative information necessary to evaluate the extent and level of trade on a local or "international" scale. Some scholars such as Grant (1926: 72-75) and S.W. Baron (1952: 250-55) tend to downplay involvement in external or foreign trade based partially on isolated references or prohibitions in the literature (cf. Hamel 1990 [1983]: 97-99 for critique). Josephus, for instance, states the following:

As for ourselves...we neither inhabit a maritime country, nor do we delight in merchandise, nor in such a mixture with other men as arises from it; but the cities we dwell in are remote from the sea, and having a fruitful country for our habitation, we take pains in cultivating that only (C. Ap. 1.60).

We need to remain attentive to the difficulties in moving from rhetoric to reality. Josephus' statement regarding Palestine's lack of foreign trade and later rabbinic restrictions on foreign trade may not be fully reflective of reality. Josephus is writing with an apologetic purpose in mind, and the rabbinic prohibitions should be understood  as representing the ideals of the rabbis rather than the real situation with respect to trade, which, evidently, was common enough to warrant the prohibitions. Those who take Josephus' reference at face value fail to recognize the apologetic motive in describing Palestine exclusively in terms of agricultural activities. There is a common favorable inclination among ancient authors who discuss agricultural activities, including Cato (Agr. 1.2-4), Cicero (Off. 1.150-51), Varro (Rust. 2.10.1-3) and Columella (Rust. 1.1-17); "treatises on agriculture and morality... manifest hostility in differing degrees to trade as a source of income" (Garnsey and Saller 1987: 45). D'Arms' study, Commerce and Social Standing in Ancient Rome (1981), for instance, shows how attitudes among, or statements by, elite authors (concerning the need for aristocrats to remain aloof from trade) are quite distanced from the social realities of actual conduct (contra Finley); there is considerable evidence that equestrians and even senators were participants in trade to various degrees (cf. Pleket 1983, 1984 on elite businessmen in the Greek East). So actual trade in Palestine would likely be more significant than Josephus' rhetoric would lead us to believe, as we shall see further below.

In contrast to those who consider trade negligible, scholars such as Klausner (1975[1930]:199-200), Kreissig (1970:57-74) and Applebaum (1976) give more attention to evidence that foreign trade was a significant, though not predominant, aspect of economic activity in Palestine. A distinction should be made between evidence of trade within Palestine and of trade on a more international scale; it is the degree of international trade that is most debated.

Applebaum's survey of archeological and literary evidence for imports and exports, for foreign or international trade, is illustrative of the situation, though his conclusion that "[e]conomic activity was predominantly internal" is debatable (1976:669-680, largely followed here). Regarding imports, Egyptian grain was, from time to time, imported in times of shortage or famine (e.g. Josephus, Ant.15.299-316 [25 BCE], 20.51-52 [46-47 CE]), but Palestine was largely self-sufficient for such food staples. The Temple cult required considerable imports, as I discuss below. With respect to clothing, later references in rabbinic literature to sandals from Tyre and Laodicea, goat-hair from Cilicia, and fine linens from Pelusium and India are suggestive of possibilities in the 1st century. Among the most common items in daily use in antiquity was pottery, so it is significant that archeological excavations at Samaria, Schechem, Ptolemais and Ashdod uncovered red glaze both from the east (in the Hellenistic and Roman eras) and from Italy and Gaul (in the Roman era); a stamped jar from Colonia Hadrumetum in North Africa found at Joppa (2nd century or earlier) is also suggestive of such imports. As Applebaum notes, Palestine was lacking in metals (except copper) and we can assume the import of all necessary metals. The principal exports from Palestine were olive oil (cf. Josephus, B.J. 2.591; Vita 74-76), dates, opobalsam and spices. The [519] Jericho region was renowned for its dates and date-wines, which were in high demand in Rome (cf. Strabo, Geogr. 16.763.41; Pliny the Elder, Nat. 13.44-49). Products from the opobalsam bush, grown in the Dead Sea area, were exported, including the sap, twigs and bark, which were used as medical remedies for headaches and problems with eye-sight (cf. Pliny the Elder, Nat. 12.111; Strabo, Geogr. 16.763). By the 4th century, Gaza and Ascalon became well-known for their wines. Long-distance luxury items from East Africa, Arabia, India and the Far East would also pass through Palestine following the usual trade routes.

After surveying this evidence for imports and exports, Applebaum concludes that, although there are indications of limited trade, economic activity in Palestine was "predominantly internal." We need to be more cautious, however, in generalizing from partial and fragmentary evidence; it is often difficult to know whether a particular item among the limited evidence we have should be viewed as representative or exceptional. I would suggest that we need to leave open the possibility that future archeological work and regionally-focused studies may show that trade, including international trade, was more significant than scholars have often thought.

There are other indications of the significance of trade that are worthy of mention here. In many respects, Jerusalem and the Temple were the hub of commercial activity and trade in Judea. Heavy demands for sacrificial victims for the temple cult meant that cattle and sheep would have to be imported from elsewhere when local supplies of livestock were short, and incense, consisting of ingredients from various localities (including Ethiopia and India; cf. Applebaum 1976: 674) would also need to be imported. Peter Richardson notes the demands for goods, both domestic and international, associated with the Temple:

There was heavy traffic from pilgrims to Jerusalem at the major festivals, probably in increasing numbers through the first century BCE and CE as the pax Romana brought easier travel, more disposable income, and fewer border problems. This meant that Judeans had very large demands made upon them for good roads, lodgings, food, water, and sacrificial victims such as pigeons (doves), sheep, and cattle. Jerusalem was...the economic center for taxation, trade, and international links. (Richardson 1996: 135)

The influx of large numbers of Jews from cities throughout the Mediterranean diaspora would likely bring with it important social and business network connections to other regions of the empire.

Furthermore, some of Herod's large-scale constructions were designed to foster an increase in trade of a more international character. Richardson (1996: 188-91) notes several potential areas where Herod's attention was drawn to commerce and trade, including the area north of the Winter Palace at Jericho; but most significant was the artificially constructed harbor at Caesarea Maritima, with its harbor installations, warehouses, and stores. This was Herod's "showpiece city;  it was a major outlet to the Mediterranean, home for the Judean navy, the largest harbor in the Mediterranean. Produce, trade, and people flowed in both directions" (Richardson 1996: 178). Projects and activities of this sort would set the stage for an increase in international trade to, from and through Palestine in the 1st century. Trade was likely more significant than often recognized.

But why was international trade not even more predominant in such an economy? The answer appears to lie in the subsistence orientation of much agricultural production in Palestine as in other areas of the empire. According to a qualified primitivist model of economy, the majority of the population lived from the produce of the land with little surplus to sell. As well, the economic situation of the peasantry was not conducive to the regular purchase of imported goods, which would be purchased mainly by the wealthy. Much of the produce extracted by large landowners would be sold to the non-agricultural populations of the city on a local basis if possible rather than exported. Once again, this characteristic seems reflective of other provinces in the Roman Empire, as Garnsey and Saller (1987:44) note, where "agricultural areas inevitably aimed at subsistence rather than the production of an exportable surplus.... In general, the backwardness and expense of transport and the relatively low level of demand limited opportunities for profitable investment in commerce." This statement should be qualified somewhat in connection with our earlier discussion of the primitivist model. Still, in light of this picture of the empire generally, the suggestion that Palestine is a special case in regard to limited trade due to religious factors or prohibitions, as Grant and Baron suggested, is unnecessary.

Returning to the characteristics of the agrarian economy, a third issue addressed by scholars relates to trends in land ownership. Many scholars argue that there was a tendency toward the concentration of more land in Palestine into the hands of fewer large landowners at the expense of peasants.(3) Grant (1926: 66) identifies lack of land as a cause of economic distress in the years preceding and during the 1st century, and Klausner (1975[1930]:188-89) identifies forfeiture of land due to indebtedness as a main cause of peasants losing their land and of larger landowners increasing the size of their estates. Kreissig (1970:26-27, 31), too, points to the trend toward large estates and an increasing gap between small and large landowners, though he is hesitant to identify any of the large estates as official "royal lands" (i.e. lands in the possession of the current monarch or emperor, often inherited from the preceding dynasty). Applebaum (1976:633-38, 660-61), Freyne (1980:165) and, above all, Fiensy (1991:21-73) convincingly argue that large estates were prominent and on the increase in the years preceding the 1st century and that they included both royal lands, some of which were given to loyal aristocrats as gifts, and aristocrats' large estates. Fiensy does a good job of plotting out the locations and extent of royal estates known from archeological and literary information. He identifies royal estates in the Jericho region; the Plains of Esdraelon; western Samaria; Batanea, Gaulanitis and Trachonitis; the coastal regions; and in Idumea and Perea. According to many scholars, the main consequences of this direction in land tenure included an increase in landless peasants and hence of tenancy, day labor, and banditry (cf. Horsley 1999 [1985]: 48-87; Hamel 1990 [1983]:151-163; Oakman 1986:72-77; Fiensy 1990; on banditry in Palestine and the empire see Richardson in this volume; Isaac 1984; Shaw 1984).

Once again, this concentration of land ownership within Palestine was part of the larger picture of the Roman Empire as identified by several ancient historians, including Rostovtzeff, MacMullen and Finley. Rostovtzeff (1957 [1926]:344), for instance, notes that there was a

general tendency throughout the Empire towards the concentration of land in the hands of a few proprietors who lived in the cities...The land was owned by men who were not themselves experts in agriculture but were townsmen for whom land was a form of investment.

The issue of peasant landlessness brings us to a fourth main point regarding the economy: namely, the social-economic conditions of the peasantry in Palestine. It is generally acknowledged by most scholars that the economic situation of the peasantry was a precarious one due to subsistence-level farming and various expenses including taxes, rents and seed, as well as the threat of natural disasters and famine.

The fragmentary nature of the evidence when it comes to quantifiable estimations of taxation, rents and other expenses helps to explain the difficulty in assessing the economic situation of the peasantry and the varying results of scholars on the extent of the tax burden. In general, Grant, Klausner, Horsley, Applebaum and Freyne tend to emphasize the extremely burdensome economic situation of the peasantry. New Testament scholars following the lead of Grant, including Horsley and Hanson (1999 [1985]:52-63), are inclined to provide, without explanation, a high estimate of as much as 40% or more of produce going for taxation and religious dues. On the other hand, scholars such as E.P. Sanders, Hamel, and Oakman are more explicit in stating the calculations behind their estimates. In Sanders' (1992:146-69) calculation, which seems reasonable, the estimated total burden on the average peasant (assuming a 12.5% yearly land tax including taxes and tithes) was no more than 28% in most years and, in the worst case scenario, a total of about 33%, considerably less than Horsley's calculation of well over 40% for the average peasant each year.

Oakman's (1986:68-72) calculation of taxation is similar to Sanders', ranging from 20% to 35%. Oakman suggests that the average amount of produce remaining for subsistence may have ranged from one-fifth to as low as one-thirteenth [522] of the produce based on a yield of 1:5. Oakman (1986: 61) provides some useful estimates regarding the peasant family's various expenses, including rents and seed, and regarding the land that would be necessary to fulfill a peasant family's expenditures and food needs. By his estimate (Oakman 1986: 61-66), a minumum subsistence plot would have been 1.5 acres per adult, not including land that would lie fallow (an additional 1.5 acres per adult) and not including land for the added expenditures of seed, taxes and rents.(4) Oakman suggests that the average seed-to-yield ratio for the Palestinian peasant would have been about 1:5 (cf. Heichelheim 1938:128; Hamel 1990 [1983]:127-29). One-fifth of unit production (of each year's yield), therefore, would go toward the seed replacement fund of the next year. Oakman checks his original estimate of 11 bushels of wheat necessary for subsistence per person per year against these hypothetical yield ratios and finds that the calculation is about the same: 1.8 bushels of seed per acre (amount of seed known to have been used in planting) x 1.5 acres (subsistence plot per person) x 5 (fivefold yield) = 13.5 bushels - 1.8 bushels (seed replacement fund) = 11.7 bushels available per year. However, further expenses would be drawn from this amount, including fodder for the peasant's livestock, a reserve for bartering and purchasing various goods and services, and the Temple tithe of 1/10. These expenses, together with seed replacement, would equal approximately 3/10 of the harvest not including rents and taxes, which would range from 20-35% of total produce by Oakman's estimate. Having outlined these conditions for peasants, it is important to point out that Palestine was not exceptional in its subsistence-level farming and in the various expenses including taxation and rents, which were also faced by peasants in other provinces of the empire....".

"Future directions for research
Although a considerable amount of study has been done on economics in Palestine (particularly in the 1st century but also in rabbinic times), there are several areas that deserve more attention. First, archeological findings need to be more fully integrated into our understanding of the economy (cf. Applebaum 1976:631). [526] Some scholars tend to focus on literary evidence to the neglect of artefactual evidence, and when archeology is used there is a tendency to interpret it in light of literature (e.g. Finley 1984[1973]; see the critique by Frederiksen 1975: 170). Artefactual evidence should be considered on its own terms and may, instead, provide alternate perspectives on social and economic life to those we encounter in the literature. Archeological finds may, for instance, provide important clues regarding the degree to which international trade was important in particular localities of Roman Palestine. Regionally-focused case studies of particular cities, villages and regions may provide a more nuanced picture of local and international trade and commerce.

Second, further research of economic issues in Palestine should be done on macro- and micro-levels and on relating the results to historical developments. On the macro-level, further steps can be taken, along the lines of the research of scholars such as Oakman and Fiensy, to conceptualize the overall structures of the economy and social-economic arrangements in Palestine, particularly with help from the social sciences. Developing explicit models of the ancient economy in Palestine in light of research on the nature of economic arrangements in other ancient Mediterranean societies and in view of the specific economic aspects of Palestine may assist in making sense of disparate economic "facts"; this may be helpful in drawing attention to some of the otherwise less visible dynamics of the economy and of social-economic activities.

On the micro-level, further research into economic aspects of daily village life or the "economy" of the average peasant, along the lines of Hamel's research on food and clothing, will shed further light on the activities and situation of the vast majority of the population. A deeper knowledge of the economic situation of the peasantry will also assist in understanding various phenomena such as banditry, which was also quite common in other areas of the empire.

A third main area requiring further research is comparison of the economy and social-economic situation of Palestine with other regions of the Roman Empire. The economic situation of the peasantry deserves comparative attention since some scholars, such as Kreissig and Horsley, appear to place considerable importance on the social-economic plight of the peasantry in explaining social and religious movements particular to Palestine, as well as the Jewish war itself. Such comparative study would help to place the economy of Palestine as we understand it into the overall economic arrangements of the empire, shedding light on both the unique and the typical in regard to economic issues in Palestine.

Finally, the majority of studies on the economy of Palestine concentrate primarily on the situation in the 1st century and take a synchronic approach to their study. Several scholars utilize their synchronic analysis of economic conditions in explaining key events of the time, especially the Jewish war. Still needed, however, [527] is a more broadly based diachronic analysis of the economy of Palestine, making note of the key points in the history of that region which shaped social-economic arrangements. Such an attempt, though admittedly difficult due to the fragmentary nature of our evidence, may help to show how changes in economic aspects influenced other socio-historical developments over time, again in relation to trends in the empire as a whole."

"...3. Scholars are not always clear on the meaning of their terminology for the size of plots of land. H. Dohr's definition of plots is useful (see Fiensy 1991:24): small = 6-50 acres; medium = 50-315 acres; large over 315 acres.

4. This figure can be compared with Ben-David's (1974:44) estimate of 16.8 acres for a family of six to nine people, which, unlike Oakman's figure, includes half the land as fallow as well as produce from the land necessary to pay taxes and rent while subsisting comfortably (cf. Hamel 1990 [1983]:134-36). Fiensy (1991:94-95), on the other hand, is more inclined toward the more modest estimate of S. Dar who, based partially on archeological findings, suggests that peasant (freeholder) families sometimes owned just 6 acres of land. Fiensy suggests that many peasant families would be required to seek supplementary income from other sources in order to subsist.

References


Applebaum, S.
1976 "Economic Life in Palestine." In S. Safrai and M. Stern, eds.: The Jewish People in the First Century: Historical Geography, Political History, Social, Cultural and Religious Life and Institutions. Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum, 1. Assen: Van Gorcum & Comp., pp. 631-700.


Fiensy, D.A.
1991 The Social History of Palestine in the Herodian Period: The Land is Mine. Queenston: Edwin Mellen Press.


Freyne, Sean
1980 Galilee from Alexander to Hadrian. Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier.

Goodman, Martin
1983 State and Society in Roman Galilee, A.D. 132-212. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Allenheld.

Grant, F.C.
1926 The Economic Background of the Gospels. London: Oxford University Press.

Hamel, Gildas
1990 [1983] Poverty and Charity in Roman Palestine, First Three Centuries. Berkeley: University of California Press.

1981 "Ancient Jewish Banditry and the Revolt Against Rome, A.D. 66-70." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 43:409-432.

1999 [1985] Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs: Popular Movements in the Time of Jesus. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press.

1986 "The Zealots: Their Origin, Relationships and Importance in the Jewish Revolt." Novum Testamentum 28:159-192.

1987 Jesus and the Sprial of Violence. San Francisco: Harper and Row.


Moxnes, H.
1988 The Economy of the Kingdom: Social Conflict and Economic Relations in Luke's Gospel. Overtures to Biblical Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Oakman, Douglas E.

1986 Jesus and the Economic Questions of His Day. Queenston: Edwin Mellen Press.

Pleket, H.W.

1983 "Urban Elites and Business in the Greek Part of the Roman Empire." In Peter Garnsey, Keith Hopkins and C.R. Whittaker, eds.: Trade in the Ancient Economy. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 131-144, 203-207.

1984 "Urban Elites and the Economy in the Greek Cities of the Roman Empire." Münsterische Beiträge zur antiken Handelgeschichte 3:3-36.

Richardson, Peter

1996 Herod: King of the Jews and Friend of the Romans. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

All content is copyright Philip A. Harland 2007, unless otherwise stated.

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The Economy of First-Century Palestine: State of the Scholarly Discussion (Philip A. Harland)

T
his is a bleaker view of first century Galilee than Jensen's, also an earlier view.

Many important source materials and methodological discussions have been deleted but are retained behind the link.
I have shortened the bibliography to include only references to first century Galilee.
Tags: detective story, gnosis and agnosis, q, sermon on the mount
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