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Source: (consider it) Thread: The last Days of Jesus
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
It's also difficult to map modern societal status onto the ancient world. For one thing, there was an entire layer of people below the classes we know: slaves. The slaves were really at the bottom of the heap in the Roman Empire, expendable bots to be worked out and then discarded.

For the most part. There is evidence of some freed slaves getting quite wealthy. The House of the Vettii in Pompeii is believed to have been owned by freed slaves. It is famous for a painting of Priapus weighing part of his anatomy. Judging by tombstones they weren't the only ones.
But yes, mostly slaves were pretty badly off. More so if their masters set them free once they'd reached retirement age and couldn't work or earn a living.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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A quick glance through the historical record shows you that slaves were -vastly- in worse shape that almost everybody now alive today (except possibly for people who are still enslaved, like those boat people in Libya). If you were a Roman citizen, you could not only own slaves. You could have sex with them, at will. You could lend them to friends and relatives or lease them to brothels (and keep their fees). You could not only beat and abuse them while working them to death, but murder them outright. You could sell the hair off their heads to wigmakers, and (when they had babies) sell their children off as slaves.
We have progressed. A little.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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rolyn
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# 16840

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I guess the one thing most can agree has been airbrushed out of Scripture is just how dispicable, cruel and sordid the oft since revered Romans actually were. The coded text of Revelation is the nearest anyone at that time could get to calling out Roman culture as evil.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Probably it's not quite fair to say 'airbrushed.' Because that was just how life was. Nobody had known anything other than Roman culture and its undergirdment with slave labor. Recall that Paul doesn't suggest that slaves deserve better, or that they should rise up and seize their status as real human beings. He abjures them to obey their masters. There was no other way to be.
We, a couple of millennia later, can hardly climb back into that mindset.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Anglican_Brat
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# 12349

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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I guess the one thing most can agree has been airbrushed out of Scripture is just how dispicable, cruel and sordid the oft since revered Romans actually were. The coded text of Revelation is the nearest anyone at that time could get to calling out Roman culture as evil.

The Romans get good press because people confuse them with the ancient Greeks, particularly the Athenians, so they get the reputation of being enlightened and progressive.

Come to think of it, Athens wasn't really that progressive, either. [Big Grin]

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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Galloping Granny
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# 13814

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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
I'm not sure I've ever heard of Jesus being a peasant, but a tradesman.

M.

I've read, or had it pointed out to me,that carpenter in this context was almost certainly someone who had lost or had taken away the last of what remained of the family's land (debt, unscrupulous tax-collectors) and who survived by doing small carpentry jobs for neighbours as well as day labouring work.

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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M.
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# 3291

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I've never heard that before. Is that just a view as to what 'carpenter' implied? Or anything more specific? I need to up my reading.

M.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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I ran into this yesterday too, by somebody to whom "artisan" meant simply "peasant pushed off his land and forced into even lower status work making stuff." That doesn't sound right to me. Presumably there have always been fifth sons, etc. who grew up expecting to make their way doing something other than farming land that would go to their elder brothers. There would also be those who just didn't want to be farmers or who were physically or temperamentally unfitted to it. A skilled and prudent craftsman can make pretty good money if he(she) manages his time and supplies well, takes orders ahead, and so forth. There's more flexibility than in farming where the bulk of the work is constrained by natural limits. All in all, I'd expect craftsmen like carpenters to be on basically the same level as the farmer families they originally came from, though most likely they'd be living in villages or towns.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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And even a society of farmers needs stuff. Houses, roofs, plows. Tables, benches, cups, plates. In every preindustrial culture the mainstay of life (farming or fishing or whatever) is supported by many craftworkers or artisans or handypersons.

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hatless

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# 3365

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I ran into this yesterday too, by somebody to whom "artisan" meant simply "peasant pushed off his land and forced into even lower status work making stuff." That doesn't sound right to me. Presumably there have always been fifth sons, etc. who grew up expecting to make their way doing something other than farming land that would go to their elder brothers. There would also be those who just didn't want to be farmers or who were physically or temperamentally unfitted to it. A skilled and prudent craftsman can make pretty good money if he(she) manages his time and supplies well, takes orders ahead, and so forth. There's more flexibility than in farming where the bulk of the work is constrained by natural limits. All in all, I'd expect craftsmen like carpenters to be on basically the same level as the farmer families they originally came from, though most likely they'd be living in villages or towns.

I would think you're right. However, in times of economic stress, it would be those without land who were most vulnerable. Too many of them competing for too few jobs and there would be destitution. I believe peasant, i.e. land owning families would do their best to keep the farm in one parcel and not split it up. The prodigal son story comes to mind.

Some scholars have suggested that the time of Jesus with both Herod and the Romans taxing heavily would have seen an increase in former peasants reduced to selling their labour.

It's a bit of a mystery to me why Jesus is described as a carpenter, because the word tekton seems to mean builder.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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Finally put my finger on what was bothering me about it. Getting kicked off one's land does not automatically endow one with the skill to create tables, build houses, etc. which is what a craftsman does. Anyone kicked off the land who did not make very full and fine preparation for it would most likely end as a day laborer, which is indeed a step down. But being a craftsman is not.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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leo
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# 1458

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I am half way through.

Melodramatic music foreboding…nothing we didn’t know already.

Same old, hackneyed ‘scholars’ who are television whores trying to out-sensationalise one another rather than to contribute to serious, academic study.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Tabernacles is an autumn festival, so you get a six month Holy Week.

Not necessarily - for the 4th gospel, it was the Raising of lazarus which started off the plotting to get rid of Jesus.

And the closely-linked cleansing of the temple takes place 3 years earlier - but that doesn't imply a 3 year holy week.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

Posts: 23075 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged



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