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The Myth of a Gentile Galilee
The Myth of a Gentile Galilee By Mark A. Chancey
Dept. of Religious Studies
Southern Methodist University

Quote:A perusal of articles on Galilee in Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias reveals that the belief that Galilee's population in the time of Jesus included a large number of gentiles?perhaps even a majority?is common. This view is certainly not universal, as an examination of the writings of scholars like Sean Freyne, Eric Meyers, and E. P. Sanders shows. It is, however, widespread, and one frequently encounters it in works on the Historical Jesus or in studies that assign a Galilean provenance to Q. What is less frequently acknowledged, however, is just how little data there is to support such a claim. The overwhelming majority of our literary and archaeological evidence suggests just the opposite: Galilee's population was predominantly Jewish, with gentiles forming a small and relatively uninfluential minority. In this essay, I'll outline the currently available evidence, summarizing some of the findings of my book, The Myth of a Gentile Galilee (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 118, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002).

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