Space and Regional History: The Problem of Roman Palestine

 

Hayim Lapin

University of Maryland

 

Last Spring, when I discussed with Jon Berquist how I might participate in the Constructions project, we decided that I might contribute a chapter from my recent book, Economy, Geography, and Regional History in Later-Roman Palestine (T\xFCbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001). In the event, selecting the appropriate chapter turned out to be harder than I expected. What follows, after this rather brief introduction, is an extended extract from\xA0 the introduction (pp. 1\x9614) and an extended section of the concluding Chapter 5 (pp. 175\x96194). Readers may want to skip over Chapter 5 Part C (\x93Cultural,\x94 pp. 175\x96191), but it does offer an example of the kind of argument I attempted in this volume.

The project began as a suggestion by a friend of mine\x97we were then both graduate students at Columbia\x97as a \x93quick\x94 paper. For better or for worse, it developed into a book-length project that attempted to bring together literary texts and archaeological material, and that attempted to think through what it meant to talk about \x93economic\x94 or \x93social\x94 history in Roman Palestine. The concerns that I brought to this project overlapped with the other issues I was pursuing concurrently, most prominent among them the question of Jewish ethnicity in Palestine in the Roman period, and the emergence of the rabbinic movement in particular. At some point\x97at this point, I\x92m not entirely sure when\x97I realized that what I was after was \x93provincialization,\x94 that complex set of interactions where agricultural and craft practices, consumption preferences, residence patterns, and identities took shape with reference to one another.

By calling it \x93provinicialization\x94 I am, of course, underscoring the imperial context in which these practices took place and changed. Each individual choice to relocate, to sow one plant over another, to marry in one way rather than another, might arguably be described in terms of rational economic choices, but the context for any given decision was always the particular political and administrative one of the Roman empire. From the point of view of the kind of cultural and social history I was trying to frame what was useful in the notion of \x93provincialization\x94 is the way in which seemingly autonomous aspects of culture\x97in the case of my project, \x93Jewishness,\x94 for example\x97could be described as products of a particular political, economic, and cultural conjuncture rather that as its motors. Let me stress that one of my goals was, and is, to avoid configuring the history of Palestine as one of disempowered provincials responding to\x97resisting!\x97the all-powerful, top-down state. My view of imperial power is as far more deeply embedded in the fabric of every-day life that such a dichotomous view would allow. Nor do I espouse a structure-superstructure dichotomy, certainly not in the sense that religion or ethnic identity are epiphenomena of, or crude masks for, \x93true\x94 material relationships. The payoff of thinking in terms of \x93provinicialization\x94\x97of thinking seriously about aspects of culture as \x93product\x94 rather than \x93motor\x94 of a particular political and administrative configuration\x97was that it helped to draw attention to features of the history of Palestine that were too often and too easily taken for granted.

Why space? In a sense, for me the question of space was fortuitous, the product of having read a few articles on central place theory (CPT) because a friend had suggested them for what, again, was supposed to be a \x93quick\x94 paper. What attracted me was the way in which CPT might help to bring episodic literary texts that might be set in one or another location and the results of archaeological surveys and excavations (overwhelmingly descriptions of individual sites) to bear on one another. Moreover, for me CPT had the advantage of being a set of analytical premises and questions that were not the product of scholarly work on Palestine: they could in principle be brought to bear on other regions of the Roman world (and in a few cases have been) and elsewhere. What CPT lost in specificity it gained in offering a frame of reference for comparison. That frame of reference was, for good or ill, a spatial one: Where did markets locate? How did they articulate with respect to other markets, and with respect to roads? Where scholars working in Palestine (and in similar ways elsewhere in the Roman world) argued over whether there was or was not a market economy (often on a priori grouds), CPT theory suggested to me that \x93market\x94 and \x93non-market\x94 economies might not only coexist or overlap but be spatial articulations of marketing networks.

My reading was highly specific. I am embarassed to say that the entire field of urban studies made no impression on me, and Soja\x92s Postmetropolis, which I read only to prepare for participating in this dialogue, was for that reason something of a revelation. I also learned from reading Soja that in seeking to locate a network of cities and countryside within a regional framework, I may have been reinventing the wheel. (I might add that Soja\x92s survey helped me place some of my readings\x97Berry and the Chicago School did indirectly frame the anthropological applications of CPT that I fell into\x97into a larger intellectual history.)

In the end, while this project had a lot to say about the construction of an ancient space, I understand my larger project as a history of people rather than of space, and a history of people that does still try to recover what people did. Within the areas that I work on, \x93space\x94 is a great unexamined variable, largely because it is treated as stable: the stage on which other things such as war, or urbanization, or population change were played out. Even if just provisionally, there is much to say, therefore, as Soja does of Cityspace, of provinicial space \x93as a dynamic process of (social) spatial construction, as a source of explanation in itself\x94 (E. W. Soja, Postmetropolis [Oxford:Blackwell, 2000], 11, italics in original). But this specific space was also an artifact, a thing made through use and wear and building, through planting and burial, through war and imperial rule. It is the dymamic interplay between space as constraining human activity and as the plastic product of human activities that continues to attract my attention.

 

* * *

 

Introduction

The cultural and social historiography of later Roman Palestine must be rebuilt from the ground up. By this I mean not only the writing of history \x93from below\x94 (a project against which both ancient literary evidence and contemporary practices of archaeology generally conspire), but also, quite literally, that a primary starting point for any reconsideration of the history of Palestine is the question of where and how people lived on the ground, and how their living spaces their inhabited landscapes were organized. Such a reconsideration requires a fundamental rethinking of household, local, and regional economies, of power within imperial and provincial political economies, and, ultimately, of such seemingly \x93primordial\x94 cultural or social ties as kinship, religion, or ethnicity that framed the moral economies of historical agents.

That all of these aspects of the history of later Roman Palestine, and their mutual connections, require rethinking may be illustrated through an examination of two quotations from recent works on ancient Palestine. Neither work is a full-fledged treatment of the Palestinian economic or social landscape in antiquity as such, but, precisely for this reason, they illustrate the dichotomous historiographical use of two rather standard views of the Palestinian economy. They therefore further demonstrate how assumptions about the economy are implicated in a series of judgments about the identity, culture, and history of the people whose economy they describe. The first of these quotations comes from Yizhar Hirschfeld\x92s study of rural settlements in Byzantine Palestine:

Another, more significant, example of the [typical or generalized] village\x92s lack of planning is the absence of public market squares. Among the many villages known to us, none contains a space that can be interpreted as a market square. This phenomenon corresponds well with the fact that the villages had no rows of shops. It appears, therefore, that the commercial activity reported in the rabbinic sources may have taken place in shops located in private dwellings as at Khirbet Susiya.... Another means of maintaining commercial relations between the cities and the villages was traveling salesmen, or peddlers, who are mentioned several times in rabbinic literature ....[1]

The second is from an attempt on the part of Richard Horsley to place Roman period Palestine within an imperial political economy in which relations of power are exploitative, and where agricultural production is \x93traditional\x94:

<p2>Virtually nothing indicates that towns and villages had established stores or even small markets. No buildings have been found in rural settlements that could be associated with stores or markets. No texts attest the appointment of an agoranomos (market inspector or supply officer) in villages. Rabbinic passages adduced for \x93market days\x94 refer instead to \x93days of assembly\x94 and court .... There would have been no need for a local village market since there was apparently little division of labor in village communities based on agricultural production.... As in agricultural production proper, so in the production of clothing and other crafts, the household members undertook most or all the stages themselves. The rabbinic ideals of a self-sufficient household and hostility to commerce simply reflect the traditional practices of peasant households attached to their ancestral lands. In this regard peasants in Galilee were no different from those elsewhere in the Roman empire. If there was a surplus or if craft-production was for sale, the producers apparently did most of the selling or bartering themselves .... At times the house functioned not only as \x93workshop,\x94 but as \x93store\x94 as well .... \x93Most transactions in the village [sphere] were between local householders.\x94 Far from the village being a market economy, it appears that most village communities as well as their constituent households were relatively self sufficient.[2]

It is only a slight rhetorical exaggeration to state that, in this refraction of the formalist/ substantivist debate, for Hirschfeld village marketing exists because it does, while for Horsley it does not exist because it does not. It is striking that despite their differing conclusions, both authors actually make similar claims, at least about material remains: the evidence for rural market places is lacking (do we know what these would have looked like?[3]) and the locus of rural production may have been in, or attached to, domestic spaces.

Underlying these two disparate readings of the Palestinian economy is a whole series of assumptions or questions that need revisiting, of which I will highlight here only a very few. One set of problems has to do with how literary texts are mined for meaningful or useful analytical concepts (\x93market\x94 or \x93assembly\x94?) or for what \x93people\x94 actually did (where did textually attested marketing, apparently largely invisible in the archaeological remains of the built environment, take place?). Another set, rather surprisingly (especially since Hirschfeld is particularly interested in the typologies of rural settlement[4]), is raised by the apparent willingness on the part of both authors to treat \x93villages\x94 as a fairly autonomous and undifferentiated field. Yet, need all (or typical) villages have \x93maintain[ed] commercial relations with cities\x94 (Hirschfeld) in the same ways, or, for that matter, at all? And why must we assume that villages in Palestine, let alone in the entire Roman world, typically were organized around the farming of \x93ancestral land\x94 (Horsley)? This last expression implies stability of both kinship structures and the distribution of property, and with them a mode <p. 3> of production (village and household autarky), lasting generations. Yet the extent to which agricultural land changed ownership in Palestine in late antiquity is in fact unknown, and evidence from tax registers from the Hermopolite nome in Egypt has been taken to suggest a fair amount of turnover through sale.[5] Furthermore, as I will argue in Chapter 2, there were substantial demographic shifts over the long period covered by the \x93Roman\x94 and \x93Byzantine\x94 periods, which saw the growth in the raw number of settlements throughout the region (and in some, perhaps, a later decline). Such shifts might plausibly be expected to have affected patterns of cultivation (including the bringing of new sub-regions under cultivation), and (although this is of necessity invisible to us) may well have impacted competition for agrarian resources and their expression at the regional, village, and household level.

In both cases, too, the respective views of villages carry with them assumptions about religious and ethnic culture and how these are manifested. For Horsley, villages are said to be structurally like villages throughout the Roman empire; but they are also presumed, in their particular northern Palestinian setting, to link back in a meaningful way to an Israelite (i.e., and not a Judaean/Jewish) historical identity.[6] For Hirschfeld, settlement patterns in \x93Jewish\x94 eastern Galilee and the Golan, and in \x93Samaritan\x94 Samaria, with few or no rural farmsteads, reflect cultural needs of Jews and Samaritans for communal institutions (synagogues) that regulated their religious and ethnic lives.[7] There are specific problems associated with these views. For instance, Horsley\x92s links between Roman period Galileans and Iron Age northern \x93Israel,\x94 for instance, are elusive at best.[8] And synagogues themselves emerged for the first time as distinctive buildings in the period that Hirschfeld is surveying, so that the phenomenon of synagogues might equally be described as the product of regional settlement patterns and rural economic structure and not their determining cause.[9] For present purposes, however, it is more important that neither author takes sufficient account of ethnicity as a changing, historically constructed, phenomenon. The relations that bind villagers to one another and to other villages, and that bind non-elites to elites \x96 whether in cities or villages \x96 are among the <p. 4> processes that need further elucidation if we are to develop a historically sensitive approach to Palestinian ethnicities in antiquity. These processes, in turn, are economic: they include, for instance, market-mediated ties where these exist, the distribution of landownership, and, with these, patterns of local or regional patronage. They are also inevitably spatial in that they span geographical space, and extend beyond the confines of the individual dwelling, farmstead, or village.

Finally, the place of political economy in all of this needs reconsideration. For Hirschfeld\x92s treatment here it appears to play no particular role (except to the extent that the Roman suppression of two revots is thought to have played a role in the demography and settlement pattern of Jews in Palestine). For Horsley, however, since the rural economy is subsumed under a regime of \x93traditional practices of peasant households and villages\x94 and their relationship, marked by exploitation, with cities and elites, political economy is all-important but under-examined. Exploitation, for instance, can take many forms and need not be limited to the direct exaction of tribute.[10] How might particularly Roman and late antiquee modalities of imperial rule have transformed the practices of labor, residence, and competition throughout the landscape? Might cities, for instance, have played a transformative role through their own peculiar consumption needs, including not only subsistence and luxury goods for consumption, redistribution, and display, but also labor for building and maintaining the urban agglomerations themselves, or for working the lands that provided the consumption or trade goods?

This book cannot not, of course, offer definitive answers to all these questions. It is offered, rather, as a kind of exploratory exercise: to sift through literary and archaeological evidence and to ask how we might begin to lay the groundwork for a different kind of historiography. In doing so, I have made use of central place theory, a set of models of geographical interaction, as a way of collecting and organizing material for further study. The pages that follow examine archaeological evidence for the distribution of sites of various kinds and sizes, some of the material evidence for economic activity in those sites, and literary evidence for the organization of economic activities across the northern Palestinian landscape. In this <p. 5> context I have asked, first, whether these remains from antiquity fit with ideal central place landscapes, and second, whether the fit (and its failures) might contribute to reframing the way we understand the regional and economic history of later Roman Palestine.

The book as a whole is organized as follows. Chapter 1 describes one of the standard formulations of central place theory and some of its implications for the study of a regional economy in later Roman Palestine. The archaeological material assembled for this study is reviewed in Chapter 2, with particular attention to five Archaeological Survey of Israel surveys. In addition, I have pointed out areas where archaeological material, as it is reported and published, poses interpretive problems for historians.

Chapter 3 offers hypothetical constructions of central place models for northern Palestine. Chapter 4 deals with geographically specific literary traditions about marketing, and with texts dealing with marketing and commercialization more generally. Initially the goal of this study was the construction and comparison of detailed central place \x93maps\x94 of northern Palestine based on archaeological and literary evidence respectively for the distribution of economic and other institutions. As I argue in Chapters 3 and 4, below the level of the very largest sites such maps are beyond the limits of the evidence available. However the theoretical framework discussed in Chapter 1 remains useful for thinking through the spatial aspects of the organization of the late antique Palestinian economy. In general I believe that central place considerations support a view of the regional economy in which the organization of a commercialized sector of the economy centered on cities may have structured rural production and exchange, but not necessarily or entirely through market mechanisms. Thus, although my general assessment is close to the view of an \x93embedded\x94 economy, associated among ancient historians particularly with Moses Finley,[11] I have also been interested in the way that markets may have participated in the making of particular patterns of embeddedness. Finally, Chapter 5 reconsiders the history the history of northern Palestine in late antiquity based on the results of the preceding chapters.

The discussion of archaeological material is based on a database of more than 900 records compiled from published surveys and archaelogical reports. The database covers roughly the Galilee, the Bet Shean valley, and the Golan. Initially, the study was to focus on Galilee alone, but for reasons both practical (most notably, the regions best covered by published archaeological surveys) and analytical (the question of the history of regions in relation to one another) it quickly became clear that I needed to expand my research to adjacent areas. For present purposes (particularly for the <p. 6> production of exensive archaeological surveys) those areas fell largely within the borders of the modern State of Israel or territory controlled by it \x96 but did not entirely correspond to late Roman organizations of territory. In this way the politics of contemporary nation-states (and the practices of archaeology within their territorial borders) have shaped my work, a feature whose significance was again underscored only late in the process of revision, when I was evaluating the possibility that what became the fifth century province of Palaestina Secunda, largely split between present-day Jordan and Israel, could be construed as the unit of regional economic integration (see Chapter 2).

The ancient literary texts that I have drawn upon, preserved in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin, were largely, although by no means exclusively, written or compiled by Jews and Christians working as such. As noted above, the initial plan was to draw a map based on literary evidence, that might be compared in detail to a map based on published archaeological evidence. Although it subsequently became clear the various literary corpora were too spotty in their coverage (or, to put it another way, too rooted in their own specific, and frequently urban and elite, concerns) to allow for such a comparison, this initial goal constrained the way material to be discussed in Chapter 4 was collected, and that chapter is therefore focused primarily on texts (descriptions, anecdotes, rulings and so on) that specifically localized certain kinds of economic activity in a particular city or village. In this regard, as in many others, given the geographical areas covered by this study, rabbinic texts were by far the richest body of material.

Central place theory was developed in the early part of this century to describe the distribution of production, exchange, and markets over a geographical space, and like all analytical models starts with \x93unreal\x94 assumptions, most notably the hypothesis of a flat featureless plain. Standard paradigms are based on assumptions about modern retail trade or production, precisely notions about whose relevance to the ancient economy historians are apt to disagree. Rather than simply provide normative or ideal models, therefore, I have spelled out in Chapter 1 my understanding of the \x93classical\x94 derivation of central place theory[12] and some of its implications for thinking through problems of economic history in Palestine.\xA0 However, two particular features have made central place theory useful for this study, and bear stressing here.

The first is that despite the ideal assumptions that theorists might make in laying out a model landscape, it is primarily a tool for describing the distribution of individual places over a geographical space and the different kinds of hierarchical relationships places may have to one another. It <p. 7> has therefore been useful for proposing possible analytical frameworks for discussing archaeological materials that are typically excavated, published, and interpreted first in connection with a given site, and where it is all too easy to elide the differences between artifacts (for instance, coins, imported pottery, or the presence or absence of pig bones) and the social formations such as trade or ethnicity that might account for their distribution. Slippages between individual examples and \x93the world\x94 are possible in the case of literary material as well. A case in point is the insistence on the part of some scholars on describing in terms of regional specializations in market crops or in terms of market oriented trade, an episode that Josephus narrates about John of Gischala and the sale of oil to Jews in \x93Syria\x94 under specific circumstances.[13]

The second feature (although one that will surely raise the hackles of some readers) is precisely the fact that central place theory neither derives from the disciplines that specialize in the study of ancient Palestine, nor was it developed with the geography of Palestine in mind. It has, however, been used productively to analyze the spatial organization of agrarian economies in both contemporary and historical settings, and to link other questions of social organization to regional economic patterns. Hence in \x93applying\x94 central place theory to late antique Palestine, one is constrained to articulate historical questions in terms that are somewhat more abstract, and therefore more readily comparable to other examples across historical and geographical divides, than the terms of a particular geography, a particular political, ethnic, or religious historiography, or particular bodies of textual evidence in which such questions are usually posed.

No amount of theorizing can replace the contextualized study of the data that are available, with all their vagaries, lacunae, and problems. Part of the burden of this book has been to address some of the textual and material data, and I have also attempted to show in the last section of Chapter 1 the extent to which some literary passages are readily interpretable in economic and geographical terms derived from central place theory and related fields. However, it is primarily the disciplining effects of working with an explicitly theoretical and generalizing framework, rather than pretending to no theoretical presuppositions and letting the \x93evidence\x94 \x93speak for itself,\x94 that I have found most productive for reexamining some of the conventions of the historiography of later Roman Palestine. Central place theory has been useful for disentangling the dichotomous terms in which the history of Palestine is frequently discussed \x96 between archaeological and textual scholarship or evidence,[14] between \x93historical\x94 and \x93literary\x94 <p. 8> understandings of texts,[15] between formalist and substantivist understandings of the ancient Palestinian economy (or in the somewhat cruder terms in which economic history in Roman Palestine is discussed, between assumptions of a free market and the firm knowledge of its absence[16]), not to mention such naturalized dichotomies as that between \x93Jew\x94 and \x93gentile\x94 \x96 and hopefully for setting them aside. Perhaps unwisely, given a complex of academic fields that resist \x93theory\x94 \x96 whether in the form of \x93positivist\x94 social science modeling or of \x93postmodern\x94 notions of indeterminacy, overdeterminedness, or multiplicity of meaning, as coming from outside the \x93evidence\x94 \x96 this study invokes one such social science model only to insist that the resulting reconstruction of a late antique landscape is at once fictive and at the same time productive for a regional history of later Roman northern Palestine.

The effects of this exploratory exercise \x96 manifested textually in the kinds of arguments about evidence and models made below, and graphically in occasional calculations, diagrams, graphs, or tables \x96 should not be confused with false claims to rigorous proof of historiographical hypotheses. The fit between \x93model\x94 and \x93evidence\x94 is never more than approximate or impressionistic. Moreover, it is a certainty (barring accidental resemblance) that no areas of later Roman northern Palestine matched in detail one of the models proposed in Chapter 3. However, the process of asking, for instance, what a maximal distribution of markets might look like, starting with certain kinds of base assumptions (Chapter 3), in turn has led to strategies for rereading texts that are frequently mobilized for discussions of the Palestinian economy, but with more explicit attention to regional contexts in which marketing and commercialization may be differentially distributed across the landscape (Chapter 4), and for placing both \x93commercial\x94 patterns and \x93cultural\x94 history within a regional political economy (Chapter 5). In focusing on a somewhat constraining set of analytical problems, I have thus tried to draw attention to how we go about asking the discursively powerful questions that make up the historiography of later Roman Palestine (itself a highly ideologically charged field), by bringing to bear on the conventional corpus of evidence a supplementary (\x93external\x94)\xA0 set of questions.

The chronological scope of this study is, nominally, the fourth century. This \x93nominality\x94 bears some discussion since it reflects both my understanding of the evidence and my methodological decisions about how best to address it. The fourth century present is the result of a somewhat <p. 9> artificial assignment of a variety of kinds of evidence to a period of apparent convergence. By the fourth century the distribution of poleis (juridically recognized cities) and roads was more or less fixed, although there were later adjustments. The period of densest settlement and richest archaeological attestation in the areas covered by this study is frequently dated as simply \x93Byzantine,\x94 by which archaeologists working on Palestine typically mean a period that begins in the early fourth century and extends to the early seventh century, although there are alternative periodizations (see Chapter 2). The fourth century also saw substantial overlap between a developing Palestinian Christian literature relating to the history of Palestine and \x93amoraic\x94 rabbinic texts. Christian texts with a distinct Palestinian connection began in the third century particularly with Origen but, in terms of the quantity and variety of material that has been preserved, intensify with Eusebius whose writings straddle the period before and after the triumph of Constantine. \x93Amoraic\x94 rabbinic texts, that is texts whose primary named tradents fall between the early third century and the middle fourth century, were compiled and edited no earlier than the end of the fourth century.\xA0

If the fourth century setting is thus artificial (and if, in addition, this study makes regular use of material both predating and postdating that century), the effort to locate the historical present of this study in what is by the general standards of Roman and late antique Palestinian historiography, a fairly circumscribed chronological framework, is significant for what it tries not to do. There is one tendency among scholars, although by no means universal, to assume a slow pace of social change and long periods of cultural continuity, and consequently to ascribe to literary texts and archaeological evidence relevance for elucidating extended chronological periods. Groh, for instance, has called upon scholars interested in the first century to creatively work backwards from later, more richly documented periods.[17] Safrai\x92s study of Jewish community structures in Palestine explicitly argues that institutions described in some detail in rabbinic texts may be read back on periods centuries earlier.[18] Although they may yield valuable results, such approaches are also fundamentally at odds with the view taken here in that they risk assuming precisely the naturalness, or at least the stability, of \x93primordialities\x94 such as ethnicity, kinship, or religious affiliation, or of modes of social interactions such as village organization or trade that need to be further historicized. Instead, I have attempted to theorize a historical \x93moment\x94 at which discrete bodies of material can be brought to bear on one another, while striving to be sensitive to patterns of both continuity and change. My approach has its own idealizing and leveling tendencies, <p. 10> and can offer no more than a fictive construction of a history (as any \x93historical\x94 work, at least on late antique Palestine, must ultimately be), but it is presented as one that may help to recast the terms in which we understand that history and the sources upon which we base it.

In part, this book is intended to lay preliminary groundwork for a reconsideration of the history of Roman Palestine as a history of provincialization.[19] The chapters that follow do not do justice to this question, but their geographical focus offers a point of entry. I have tried to show in what follows, and particularly in Chapter 5, that in aggregate, and over an extended period of time, Roman imperial administrative decisions \x96 the initial incorporation of territory into a province or its separation as part of a client kingdom; the placement or removal of soldiers; the elevation or reduction in status of particular sites \x96 transformed the human landscape of northern Palestine. The point is not to argue that Roman administrators systematically set about a coherent and systematic policy of provincial transformation. \x93Urbanization\x94 may serve as an example of the kind of process I am referring to, in the sense that it is difficult if not impossible to demonstrate an actual imperial policy of building cities,[20] yet cities were tied to imperial Roman administrative strategies on a number of different levels. Nor, in pointing to a process of provincialization, do I mean to suggest a series of inevitable stages that the territory went through. The point, instead, is to stress the consequences of imperial power \x96 manifested, on the ground, in which people were given or took upon themselves certain prerogatives; in where and how they lived; and, in a literal sense, in what and how much was planted, and, of that, where and how and by whom it ultimately was consumed \x96 in structuring the historical agencies of both the \x93rulers\x94 and the \x93provincials\x94 (neither forming a coherent or uniform group)[21] and in organizing the structures of everyday life.

The approach suggested here foregrounds broad structural problems such as long-term demographic changes or urbanization. This is, in part, making a virtue of necessity. Given the nature, paucity, and distribution of the literary and archaeological evidence that can be mobilized for a history of Roman Palestine it is much easier to speak in telescoped periodizations of generations or centuries, and of general historical trends that mark such periods. For northern Palestine, where so much depends on rabbinic literature, some scholars still attempt to draw out the intentionalities of agents <p. 11> whose actions or decisions are narrated in rabbinic texts.[22] However, by and large, scholarly convention has come to emphasize how texts, rather than agents, relate to historiographical problems or questions, rather than to lived events. This generalization on my part encompasses in its sweep practitioners as diverse in their respective methodological (and political) approaches as Daniel Boyarin\x92s study of sex and gender and more recently of martyrdom in rabbinic culture, Catherine Hezser\x92s application of network theory to the history of the rabbinic movement, Lee I. Levine\x92s work on the rabbinic \x93class\x94 and on the history of the Palestinian patriarchate, and Zeev Safrai\x92s works on economy or on Jewish community, or Richard Kalmin\x92s comparison of Palestinian and Babylonian rabbinic culture.[23]

One consequence of foregrounding long term developments, and particularly of thinking in terms of provincialization as an organizing question and framing the discussion of that question in regional terms, is a historiographical framework in which subject populations do not so much autonomously \x93make their own history\x94 as come to terms with a political economy that is only ever partly of their own making. In addition to my conviction that such factors as material relations, imperial rule, and ecology do in fact constrain both the day-to-day life of \x93subalterns\x94 and how this is understood or imagined, in the present instance such a limiting view of subaltern autonomy serves a specific purpose as well. In the case of ancient Palestine, where the autonomy and naturalness of ancient Jews and Judaism as historical entities, as well as the presence of both on the landscape, are easily taken for granted, a focus on ways in which ethnicity and territoriality are the products of a history and not its motors is a desideratum. In fact, even the notion of a history of Palestine, or of the land of Israel, or of the Holy Land, or of Eretz Israel, is already embedded in a series of competing claims on the identity of a geographical territory, as the variety of names by which one may name that territory illustrates. All of these locutions \x96 regardless of the antiquity of their formulation, their connections with contemporary sensibilities, or the conscious or unconscious ideological (religious or political) commitments of those who insist upon or refuse one or another of the names, or even who dismiss the significance of the debate over terminology \x96 in a sense assume the stability of \x93the land\x94 as the stage for the unfolding of the drama of history.\xA0

Yet \x93the land\x94 was far from stable, and it has been remade again and again through a history of human use, exploitation, and abandonment. The <p. 12> terracing of hillsides, the subdivisions of land into plots, the draining of valley floors, the diverting of water whether to feed (and wastefully) the urban populations or for irrigation, and the introduction or intensification of the production of crops, the quarrying of building stone, and the building or quarrying of agricultural installations in the countryside are some indications of the role that humans in Roman and late antique Palestine have had in shaping the ecological landscape. One line of historiography running from A. H. M. Jones through Avi-Yonah, to, in their different ways, Z. Safrai and Tsafrir makes note of the administrative aspects of that making and remaking through tracing the history of administrative subdivisions of territory and through the history of urbanization.[24] Perhaps less frequently explicitly addressed is the fact that there is no single, unambiguous set of boundaries for northern Palestine in the Roman and Byzantine periods. Galilee could be ruled from Jerusalem, Caesarea, or Scythopolis, or under Herod Antipas, perhaps locally. Under Herod\x92s sons Galilee was ruled separately from the Golan, while part of the territories under study here (at least the cities of Hippos and Scythopolis each, presumably, with a rural hinterland) were assigned to the province of Syria; and by the late first century Agrippa II, who ruled the present-day Golan as well as territories further to the East, was assigned at least some portion of eastern Lower Galilee. Within that territory, administrative strategies might shift \x96 perhaps most notably after the late first century from a system of toparchies in a royal territory to a provincial territory ruled through urban elites \x96 and might therefore differentially favor certain sites within the region as concentrations of local power or wealth. Such shifts at the local or the broader territorial levels have left their most obvious traces in \x93the land\x94 in the form of monumental city architecture and in the form of roads. However, to the extent that monumentalized cities were also centers of consumption, and that roads served not only trade between cities but at least in part the needs of a tax collecting provincial administration as well, the administrative history of northern Palestine was played out in generally (from our vantage point) imperceptible ways in the rural hinterland as well. \x93The land,\x94 far from simply a historical constant, is thus in many ways the product of its multiple and dialectical histories linking together the direct use or non-use of land, the groups of humans living on or working it, themselves shaped by complex patterns of cooperation, competition, and exploitation, and the wider political economies that have shaped the patterns of social organization, land use, and social integration on both a local and a broader regional level.

Beyond problematizing the way that we treat land in the history of Palestine in late antiquity, the goal here is to make use of a focus on human <p. 13> geography as an aspect of provincial history in order to problematize still other aspects of the historiography of later Roman northern Palestine. Most notably, contemporary histories of northern Palestine are conventionally elided into the history of Jews, and that, in turn, into the history of rabbis. To be sure, there are good reasons for this, primarily the fact that Palestinian rabbinic literature is both quite rich and also provides almost the only literary sources for reconstructing the history of the region, and thus inevitably skews our perspective. What a focus on provincialization may help to highlight, however, is the complexities of the social and cultural history of northern Palestine, including its Jews. Thus, for instance, S. Schwartz argues that in the second and third centuries, following the suppression of the Judaean revolts against Rome, \x93Judaism\x94 failed as a collective ideology of Palestinian \x93Jews\x94 and was replaced by a fairly conventional Roman paganism, at least among elites, only to be revived in late antiquity.[25] The very picture we can derive of Jewish ethnicity in later Roman Palestine, seemingly so stable, may in fact be the result of a long history of social and demographic change shaped in part by imperial administration of the province.

Eric Meyers, who first raised the question of Galilean regionalism that the present study attempts to address, continues to argue for \x93calling the Upper Galilee, and parts of the Golan, conservative, Semitic and overwhelmingly Jewish, and rural,\x94 although he has revised the details of this view a number of times since he first proposed it.[26] Yet, the ruralness of these two areas \x96 and in context Meyers seems to understand \x93rural\x94 as the absence of juridically recognized cities \x96 is an administrative feature, tied, no doubt, to the settlement history and relative ruggedness of the terrain, but certainly not inevitable. The long period to which Meyers refers saw sufficient changes throughout northern Palestine, at least in the number of settlements, to suggest substantial demographic transformations (see Chapter 2). At least in the Golan, Ma\x91oz has argued for late (i.e., fourth or fifth century) resettlement of the \x93Jewish\x94 areas.[27] If both that claim and Meyers\x92s characterization are correct, the \x93conservatism\x94 of the Golan, far from reflecting simply the persistence of ancestral practice by the native populations, may be the product of late settlers in an economic periphery tied to the \x93urbanized\x94 provincial core. There is, in addition, a certain irony in Meyers\x92s characterization of upper Galilee, since it is a site in upper Galilee that yielded a Greek inscription from the very end of the second century in honor of the imperial family with the involvement of \x93the Jews\x94 (in fulfillment of a vow?), discovered in a building that some have identified as a temple.[28] <p. 14> But if Meyers\x92s characterization remains basically correct for upper Galilee in the fourth century and later (and this requires reconsideration), the more interesting question is how such modes of religious acknowledgment of the imperial family, possibly expressed through participation in the building of rural temples, \x93worked\x94 in the lives of Palestinian Jews who identified themselves as Ioudaioi, and whether (and if so, when) they ceased to do so. In other words, provincialization not only may have promoted a kind of obvious \x93romanization\x94 or \x93hellenization\x94 (measured in the incidence of Greek inscriptions, architectural conventions, and so on) but also may have been productive of local, seemingly \x93indigenous\x94 and \x93conservative,\x94 cultures as well. In fact, the very dichotomy between such poles of cultural conformity may miss the construction of both \x93hellenized\x94 and \x93conservative\x94 as aspects of a provincial culture.[29]

The immediate project of the chapters that follow is not to study the cultural and social history of provincialization as such, but rather to provide a framework for further examining its geographical dimensions. The \x93Jewishness\x94 of upper Galilee and portions of the Golan offers an example, since here we may potentially have the intersection between the administrative history of the region including the subdivision of the province into urban territories, the differential economic development of some regions as \x93core\x94 and others as \x93periphery,\x94 and their correlation with a history of rural ethnicity as this emerges primarily on the basis of late antique synagogues and their distribution. So too do both the question of \x93Christianization\x94 in Tiberias and Sepphoris, and the emergence of the rabbinic movement in Palestine with particular connections to cities. But more than this, and somewhat paradoxically given my insistence upon \x93theory,\x94 the goal of the present study, with its attention to the distribution of villages and towns, and to the articulation of agriculture, exchange, and marketing with respect to that distribution is to ground a future study of social and cultural history in later Roman Palestine in the everyday lives of provincials.

* * *

 

From: Chapter 5

Towards a Regional History of
Northern Palestine in Late Antiquity

C. Cultural

The preceding sections have argued that the economic landscapes of northern Palestine \x96 in terms of patterns of production, and in terms of possible marketing patterns \x96 and the political and administrative landscapes were closely interconnected. The point bears repeating precisely because the <p. 176> distinction between town and country is sometimes too easily essentialized and reified. On one conventional analysis, the city \x93is,\x94 for instance, the locus of a pagan, graeco-roman, elite culture that sits at the edge of a gap on the other side of which resides \x93the\x94 autonomous, rural, local, indigenous culture, a gap bridged only by practices and relationships that are ultimately exploitative. There are, of course, good analytical reasons to address the very real gap (a \x93non-relationship\x94 as Brown described it) that may have existed between rural and urban cultures, particularly, as in the case of a now classic essay by Peter Brown on late antique Syria, where the goal is to assess how the terms in which the \x93village\x94 and the \x93town\x94 related to one another may have been transformed in late antiquity.[30] Such a view can be used to underwrite particular kinds of ethnic histories, especially in Palestine, such as Horsley\x92s attempt to view the Jesus movement as an authentic northern Israelite revitalization movement marking cultural resistance to Roman imperialism and to its Judaean carriers and enforcers; or such as Safrai\x92s attempt to describe the workings of an autonomous Jewish society organized through local, regional, and national structures, separate from a Roman imperial government and a pagan, urban society.[31]

One of the very real dangers of such a view, however, is that it does not give sufficient attention to the ways in which both the \x93rural\x94 and the \x93urban\x94 have been shaped by the same complex history. The material on settlement patterns discussed in chapter 2, and reviewed in the previous section, suggests that at least in northern Palestine rural peasantries did not, any more than did urban aristocracies, simply exist; they were made and remade in complex and historically contingent ways.[32] Without denying the reasonableness of historiographic attempts to trace the \x93trajectory\x94 of a particular social or cultural formation (e.g., of \x93the Jews\x94), it seems equally necessary to remember that that formation is not simply \x93there\x94 to \x93respond\x94 to an \x93external\x94 force (e.g., Roman imperialism; pagan cities; graeco-roman culture), but is rather in some very basic ways the product of the same historical processes that produced the local manifestations (e.g., these particular cities, within a given set of provincial boundaries, caught up in a specific web of economic and other relationships with rural settlements and groups of different kinds) of that \x93external\x94 force.[33]

These considerations underlie the following discussion which focuses more narrowly on examples in which aspects of Palestinian history may be further analyzed in terms of a provincial landscape that binds together <p. 177> villages and cities within a Roman provincial political economy. A fairly straightforward example has already been dealt with in the preceding section: the texts that appear in the inscription at Rehob. Here we have a group of texts that circulated in Hebrew for \x93local\x94 consumption, which addresses legal and ritual concerns of a group of local and apparently commercially aware provincials, engaged not only in regulating their own practices with respect to agricultural produce, but also in creating a \x93map\x94 of sanctified territory in Palestine. Indeed, this text decorated a village synagogue built by provincials. The borders of the \x93Land of Israel\x94 in this ritual sense do not appear to correspond directly to the political boundaries of Palestine in any specific period.[34] Yet the texts that the inscription brings together, in particular those sections listing villages permitted or prohibited within urban territories (lines 9\x9613, 26\x9629, see above), also make use of the Roman administrative division of space. There is room for teasing out a kind of \x93resistance\x94 here: an appropriation for the use of the local population of the political geography of the imperial power, but toward the ends of articulating an \x93indigenous\x94 (if geographically and temporally fragmented) territoriality. Whether or not this is the case, these sections suggest, at the very least, that imperial division of space gave rabbinic provincials a usable spatial vocabulary with which to pursue their own \x93theoretical\x94 interests.

Inasmuch as the preceding example stems from the work of elite men (rabbis) with a primarily urban locus of activity, but is found as part of a group of inscriptions (of which only this one has been published[35]) in a village synagogue near Bet Shean in the sixth or seventh centuries, we should be careful in assuming a sharp distinction between village and urban cultures as mutually autonomous and hostile realms. Yet it equally misconstrues the ways in which villages may differ from urban settlements to assume that all inhabitants of northern Palestine (or, what is more commonly assumed, all Jews) shared a common and homogeneous culture. An apparently innocent illustration of such differences was referred to in Chapter 4, in connection with a passage that explained a problematic legal tradition by associating it with \x93those small villages, whose practice is to leave while it is still day because they are afraid because of wild animals.\x92\x94[36] As noted there, this statement appears to assume that small villages have different Sabbath meal practices than other, larger, places. Ginzberg suggested that the apparent problem that this statement aims at resolving (i.e., that \x93the time that people go in and eat their bread on <p. 178> Sabbath eves\x94 is rather later than nightfall, with which it is claimed to be synchronous) stems from the development of a practice of synagogue-attendance on Friday evenings, which thereby delays the Sabbath meal.[37] If this is correct (and it need not be), and assuming that the statement in question is also related directly to synagogues,[38] the passage might in fact be taken to refer to a differential structuring of public ritual and sociability. Particularly if we allow (for the sake of argument) that these \x93small villages\x94 (k\xF4pra\xB5nay\xE2 deq\xEEqay\xE2) did not necessarily have their own synagogues, so that their inhabitants would have had to gather in local, central villages (and hence to return by walking through the countryside), the hierarchical ordering of settlements may have shaped the very rhythms of religious practice over the landscape, including distinctions in religious practice between \x93town\x94 and \x93country,\x94 and within the \x93country\x94 itself.

A differentially ordered culture structured in part by hierarchy of settlement presumably has implications for the organization of gender, and with it domestic structure and marriage patterns as well. In treating the question of the whether betrothal and marriage of a woman with disfigurements (m\xFBm\xEEn) about which the husband did not know constitutes an \x93erroneous purchase\x94 (meqah\ t\a\xB5>\xFBt) one view in the Mishnah is said to state: \x93but if there was a bathhouse in that village (>\xEEr), he is not even able to make a claim [of erroneous purchase] about hidden disfigurements, since he may inspect her through his female relatives.\x94[39] Here, a pattern of local marriage, cooperative relationships between kin, the relative position of men and women as agents, and the ability of a husband to inspect the object of what is explicitly treated as a commercial transaction, are linked to the practice of female bathing and especially the presence of public baths. These characteristically \x93Roman\x94 (and typically urban) institutions are understood not to be everywhere, and presumably were located where population density or wealth, as well as the adoption of \x93Roman\x94 bathing practices could support them.[40] Bathing patterns, marriage, and settlement <p. 179> hierarchy are connected elsewhere as well. A tradition cited in the Yerushalmi (perhaps as a Babylonian tradition?) distinguishes the period of time a husband may restrict his wife from bathing in a bathhouse \x93in cities\x94 (one week), from the period that applies \x93in villages\x94 (two weeks).[41] It is, perhaps, possible to see here a reflex of the differential availability of public baths as well, but it seems that assumed differential standards of female personal comportment are the primary issue, inasmuch as the same passage continues with a similar rule about the application of a husband\x92s vow to restrict a wife\x92s wearing of shoes (three days \x93in villages\x94; a twenty-four hour period \x93in cities\x94).

The concentration of third- and fourth-century rabbis in urban centers would arguably have allowed intensive relationships of discipleship without undermining domestic coresidence with spouses. That disciples from villages, by contrast, might have had extended stays with a master away from their home villages (assuming they returned to them), with some impact on the kinds of households, and the kinds of gendered division of labor or responsibilities in those households, such disciples established, is perhaps illustrated by a story told about second century rabbis, but in a substantially later text, one of whom spent thirteen years away from a wife and daughter without contacting them and whose sudden appearance at home caused the death of his daughter.[42] At any rate, it is perhaps no accident that one widely cited text that invokes active attendance by a woman of rabbinic sermons (a context that sets the narrative stage for domestic tensions and \x93proper\x94 gender roles) is a story set in second-century Hamat (presumably Hamat Tiberias), a site that by the time the Yerushalmi was edited had almost certainly been incorporated into the urban space of Tiberias itself.[43]

Rather than explore in detail the possible correspondences or differentiations between village and urban culture, I focus here on examples that may indicate how these might be tied to the political economy. I begin with the apparent hostility of \x93village\x94 inhabitants towards the \x93city.\x94

R. Yose taught: \x93Betar survived (?) fifty two years after the destruction of the Temple [in Jerusalem]. And why was it destroyed? Because it lit lamps [in celebration] after the destruction of the Temple.\x94 And why did they light lamps? Because the councilors of Jerusalem would sit in the center of the city, and when they would see a man going to Jerusalem, they would say to him: \x93For we have heard about you that you wish to <p. 180> be a ruler or a councilor.\x92\x94 And he said: \x93It is not my intention.\x94 [The Jerusalemites would say:] \x93For we have heard about you that you wish to sell a property.\x94 And he said: \x93It is not my intention.\x94 And his fellow would say to him [i.e., to one of the Jerusalemites?]: \x93What do you want from this one? Write and I will sign. And he would write and his fellow would sign. And they would send a bill of sale to a member of his household [in context, perhaps, a slave] and say to them: \x93If so and so [the owner] should come to enter his property do not let him for it is sold to us.\x94 And when he would hear this from them he would say: \x93Would that the leg of that man [i.e., myself] had been broken and that he had not gone to Jerusalem.\x94 And it is about this that it was written: \x93They hunted (s\a\xB5d\xFB) our steps so that we could not walk in our open spaces\x94 (Lam. 4:18)....[44]

Although the text purports to describe the relationship of Betar to Jerusalem in the first century CE, it better reflects a later period[45] that more directly informed the tradents and editors of the Palestinian Talmud and the related texts. The passage blames two destructions at the hands of the Romans, one of Jerusalem (70 CE), and the other of Betar (in the Bar Kokhba revolt, 132\x96135 CE), on the overreaching of the Jerusalem leaders and on the inappropriate response of their victims. However, this text does not articulate class conflict in any simple, dichotomous way: the victim of the Jerusalemite councilors is certainly a property owner, probably an estate (ousia) owner. Nor does it utilize a distinction between the \x93gentile\x94 urban elites and the \x93Jewish\x94 rural residents. Indeed, the rhetorical force of the passage, linking as it does the destructions of Jerusalem and Betar, requires the Jewishness of the oppressors. Yet the story frames this \x93internal\x94 Jewish narrative within a provincial political economy that is underscored by the use of Greek loanwords in text.[46] The text can be read against the background of attempts by cities to meet the pressure to fill the council or other magistracies left open by evasion of the wealthiest urban elites (certainly a recurring issue in the fourth century, if the Codex Theodosianus is any indication) by enlisting wealthy villagers who fell within the city\x92s territorium, possibly \x96 at least from the perspective of this passage \x96 through extortion.[47] Other rabbinic texts suggest that rabbis, whose ranks included relatively wealthy landowners, might have fit into the category of those who might sometimes be called upon to serve in this capacity,[48] so <p. 181> that the description here (with its sympathy for the unfortunate landowner, and the none-too-disguised threat towards city elites) is not innocent of rabbis\x92 own class interest. The significance of this passage for present purposes, however, is that social tension is given an explicitly geographical dimension that is more subtle than a simple hostility between \x93village\x94 and \x93city.\x94 The coercive ability of the city to coopt the human and material resources of the countryside translates also, and more pointedly, into tension between wealthy villagers and urban elites who might, under other circumstances, have been the villagers\x92 aspirational peers.[49] The passage is, thus, an example not so much of the natural antagonisms of town and country, as of the fact that both are caught up in the same larger political economy, one that could structure social tensions across the landscape.

The complement to the kinds of relationship described in the previous text, in which the councilors of Jerusalem are able to make use of their advantaged position with respect to other property owners (and also, it should not be overlooked, to the documentary mechanics of the ownership and registration of property) to extort property if not participation in urban magistracies, is the ability of urban elites to offer patronage. Despite the abiding utiltiy of the picture of the rural holy man drawn by Brown for rural northern Syria,[50] the lives of the Palestinian monks that Cyril of Scythopolis narrates frequently have their origins in urban and ecclesiastical society, including Cyril himself,[51] and some in those circles go on to become bishops or other holders of ecclesiatical offices.[52] Moreover, for all that the monks go off to monastic settlements in the desert, there remain carefully maintained connections to cities.[53] Christian holy men and rural patrons the leaders of these monastic movements may have been, but decidedly not because of a total disengagement from the city and its institutions.

For Galilee itself, we have a somewhat difficult account of the village rabbi who makes his way to town and suffers abuse for it (he is made to dance by children). The occasion for the visit is directly tied to the conventions of patronage: \x93A story happened involving one of the great ones (ged\xF4l\xEA) of Sepphoris, who had occasion to perform a circumcision, and the people of [>En (?)] Teenah came up to honor him, and R. Simeon b. <182> Halapta went up with them.\x94[54] In a public display of wealth and good will the father distributes good wine to his guests as a kind of downpayment for the hoped for wedding feast. In practice, the story is a subversion of these conventions since we are told that the angel of death was authorized to take the life of the child as an infant, and it is (apparently) the rabbi\x92s intervention that saves him. Nevertheless, this reversal of the flow of benefactions works against the patterns of movement (of the villagers to the city) and of generosity (from the \x93great one\x94 to the guests) that place this story within the wider context of networks of patronage ties centered on city elites and extending outward into the village populations.

The final examples relate to issues of cultural change that are widely discussed by historians and archaeologists: the rise and extent of the rabbinic movement, the distribution of churches and synagogues in northern Palestine, and \x93Christianization.\x94 Here, again, I address possible connections between geography, political economy, and \x93culture.\x94 Rabbis are of particular interest here because, although it is impossible to determine the number of rabbis, or the extent of their influence, rabbis remain a rather densely documented movement. Catherine Hezser has argued that for all the institutional language that Palestinian rabbinic literature uses, the rabbinic movement should be seen primarily as arranged through loosely configured networks of personal relations.[55] While there may be room for more real institution-building than Hezser allows, her argument is, over-all, illuminating. What I would hope to add to that analysis here is a particular focus on the geographical or spatial framework of those networks. Thus, for instance, on the basis of rabbinic texts rabbis of the third and fourth centuries appear to have been concentrated in cities in Galilee.[56] The archaeological evidence for rabbis appears to be scanty indeed, but the clearest attestations are from two villages: the inscription from Rehob (discussed above), and from Dabura in the Golan (a lintel inscription stating \x93This is the study house of R. Eliezer Ha-Qappar\x94).[57] How we handle the disjuncture in evidence depends in part on how we date the inscriptions. The Rehob inscription is perhaps to be dated to the sixth or seventh centuries.[58] The Dabura inscription was dated by Urman to the late second or early third century on the basis of the identification of the named person.[59] This is far from conclusive, since even if the identification of the rabbi is correct there is nothing that requires the dating of the <p. 183> inscription contemporaneous with him, or, consequently, that prevents the dating of this document of rabbinic \x93institutionalization\x94 to the fifth or sixth century, to which the synagogues of this area in the Golan tend to be dated.[60] On balance, and although there are uncertainties connected with this position, I am inclined to think that to the extent that the rabbinic movement ever became prominent in the countryside of Galilee and its wider environs in late antiquity, this was the result of a spread outward from urban concentrations.

If this is the case, it is worth considering the geographical dimensions of such a spreading of influence. To begin with, the view suggested above implies that it is particularly cities \x96 occupying peculiar positions in the regional political economy \x96 that were the staging ground for this local, provincial, and indigenizing (i.e., \x93Jewish\x94) movement of elite, literate, landowning men. As for the rabbinic reach into the countryside, \x93influence\x94 should presumably be measured not by whether people at large believed in rabbinic claims to authority or power or followed rabbinic hala\xB5k\xE2,[61] but whether they could convince those people who served as village judges, who ran synagogues, who wrote documents, or who taught the small percentage of children who ever learned to read at all, of the authenticity of the Torah of which rabbis claimed to be the guardians and transmitters. If we assume for the sake of argument that villages sufficiently large to serve as local marketing centers also provided other, non-market services such as scribes, local judges, or teachers (something like this may be the implication of such highly schematized traditions as m. Ta>anit 1:1\x963 and other passages assuming Monday-Thursday periodicity), the discussion in Chapter 3 of hypothetical models for how market-bearing sites might be distributed (see Table 3.4), may offer some sense of the limited scale of such an enterprise.

In terms of the ratio of cities to market-bearing villages, that table suggests that we might want to think in terms of between 11 (column III) and 35 (column I) additional market bearing sites for every city, not a very large number. Or, to go over the same ground another way, Chapter 3 estimated that the entire area in western Palestine covered by this study may have accounted for some 1,120 sites. That figure is almost certainly high, since it assumes that the density of sites in upper Galilee, or such marginal areas as the Gazit region, matched that in lower Galilee. For the Golan in the Byzantine period, the data collected for this study suggested <p. 184> some 180 sites (see Table 2.1).[62] Allowing a generous 250 (for a substantial amount of under-reporting), gives a total number of settlements of 1,370. Based on the proportion of market-bearing to non market-bearing sites in the models of Table 3.4, columns I and II of that Table assume a maximum of some 196 institution-bearing sites (1 in 7); the configuration in column III gives a maximum of 72 sites (1 in 19) for the entire area of northern Palestine covered by this study. If we restrict the area under consideration to those areas that are conventionally seen by contemporary scholars as predominantly \x93Jewish\x94 (i.e., where synagogues appear in concentration, namely lower Galilee, eastern upper Galilee, and the \x93lower\x94 Golan), the range of potential market-bearing sites should presumably be halved: between 36 and 98 sites.

The number of attested synagogues in the region \x96 a very provisional indication of whether a village might serve as a local \x93institutional\x94 center \x96 might perhaps tend to justify the higher range of numbers (98 for the \x93Jewish\x94 areas): Tsafrir estimated some 118 synagogues in western Palestine and the Golan;[63] by my rough count based on the synagogue map accompanying TIR, the narrower area under consideration here accounts for some 100 of these.[64] It is possible that upper Galilee and the Golan, with their relatively low settlement density (and, at least in the Golan, apparently a correspondingly high median size) may have supported a somewhat higher proportion of synagogue bearing sites than more densely populated areas.

However, caution is advisable here, and it may well be that a more modest number of active synagogues at any one time should be assumed. On the one hand, archaeological evidence for synagogues leaves out undiscovered or unrecognized synagogues, so that the number of preserved synagogues is a sample of an unknown larger number. On the other, it is not clear that all buildings or remains claimed as synagogues by archaeologists served that purpose. Based on the map accompanying one recent assessment, the areas of northern Palestine covered by the present study are deemed to have had as many as some seventy-six synagogue sites, but only about fifty are based on more than \x93single finds,\x94 and of these seven are marked with question marks.[65] Of the evidence collected by Chiat (in a 1982 <p. 185>publication) for ninety-seven \x93synagogues\x94 in roughly the area covered in this study, she deemed only some twenty four \x93validated\x94 (18 in western Palestine; 4 in the Golan) and an additional thirty one \x93attested\x94 (17 in western Palestine; 14 in the Golan), and rejected the attribution for thirty eight (18 western Palestine; 20 in the Golan).[66] By contrast Ilan and Urman appear to have a more expansive view of synagogues (in Urman\x92s case: \x93Jewish public buildings\x94) and their distribution.[67] Moreover, there is a fair degree of disagreement over the dating of synagogues, and, given the way they have been preserved in the first place, and subsequently dug or reported, it is rarely entirely clear whether any given synagogues were in use at precisely the same time. Nor is it clear, for instance, with what regularity any particular synagogue building was used, or whether it actually represents communal institutionalization (does the building represent a communal need to meet regularly in some capacity, or might it perhaps be the result of intercommunal competition and patterns of donation and benefaction?).

However the distribution of synagogues might have related to the distribution of local \x93central places,\x94 the numbers suggested for the latter, even at the expansive high of 196 across all of northern Palestine, are sufficiently small that a modest number of people (a total of several dozen to a few hundred), distributed in some or all of those institution-bearing villages, could reasonably have been cultivated by a small group of people centered in cities, through personal networks of affiliation, friendship, and patronage. To the extent that such \x93adherents\x94 also served as religious or cultural functionaries, local arbitrators, or drafters of documents, this minuscule proportion of the population would potentially have been of enormous local influence. Nor must we assume a high degree of village institutionalization or a proliferation of offices in order to account for the playing out of this influence.[68] Even if local power in villages was the product of a combination of kinship and wealth, the preserve, at any given moment, of a few privileged families,[69] what is of interest here is the question of the cultural and ideological baggage (including what we might define as \x93ethnic\x94 or \x93religious\x94 identity) such privileged families might have <p. 186> shared, how the transmission and transformation of that baggage (through marital ties, for instance, and through more explicit forms of enculturation such as education) might have been mediated across a geographical landscape, and to what extent an elite group of men in cities might have been able to play a decisive role in that mediation.

Whether and when in antiquity rabbis ever managed to play such a role with any intensity is unclear, and I leave this question open. At any rate, a focus on the intersection of ties of personal influence or patronage with their possible spatial distribution may help make sense of some of the terms in which rabbinic influence is expressed in rabbinic literature. Thus, a story about Judah the Patriarch\x92s assignment of a communal functionary to the village of Simonayans (an assignment with less than stellar results) casts that appointment as a response to a personal appeal.[70] Another example, involving Simeon b. Laqish and a community of Jews in Bostra (i.e., a city in this case), similarly involves a direct appeal to a rabbi who happened to be in town, and the choice of the candidate is also cast in personal (if perhaps dismissive) terms: \x93He [Simeon b. Laqish] saw a certain Babylonian and said to him: \x91I\x92ve seen a good place for you.\x92\x94[71] The scripture teacher of Tarbenet who clashed with his community over his teaching practices \x93went [and] asked Hanina\x94 (perhaps in Sepphoris?[72]); and upon being removed from his position turned up \x93here\x94 (perhaps Tiberias?) where he discussed his situation with Simeon b. Yusina,[73] again giving play to the direct interactions between individual people, and possibly to the movement of the scripture teacher between his home and a city.

At the same time, rabbinic passages that describe great rabbinizing undertakings may also be put into a somewhat more circumscribed framework. For instance, a widely cited passage states that \x93R. Judah [III] the Patriarch sent R. Hiyya [b. Abba] and R. Asi and R. Ami to go through the villages of the land of Israel and to appoint for them scripture teachers and mishnah teachers.\x94[74] As in the case of the story about Jerusalem and Betar, the point of the story presumably has less to do with its facticity than with its rhetorical claims: that the land of Israel is the purview of rabbis; that the patriarch directs such ventures; and that the teachers of Torah \x96 the rabbinic bailiwick \x96 are the true guardians of any village. Nevertheless, if the discussion above is useful for framing how we may think about <p. 187> rabbinic influence, this passage can be viewed as giving narrative expression to one of the strategies available to rabbis for gaining influence in rural settlements: organizing a series of personal visits. Imagining such a project in these terms does not require thinking in terms of national \x93government\x94 or \x93leadership\x94 or even of a high degree of institutionalization. Nor would the raw number of \x93schools\x94 need to be particularly high in order for the results of such an undertaking to mark the prominence of the rabbinic movement among those who claimed to read the texts of Israel\x92s sacred tradition. Presumably, success required more inducement than simply the pious lesson about the true guardians of the village (with the implication that some villagers, those without teachers, do not know this) to gain adherents. Here the entire rabbinic repertoire (claims to an authentic tradition; to ritual expertise; to successful prayers for adherents; to work collecting charity; to reputation as judges) might be mobilized; but one should not rule out material support for the hiring of teachers based on the formulation in the Palestinian Talmud (cf. the parallels cited above, which have the rabbis going merely to inspect \x96 a more circumscribed enterprise, and one that may fit better with the limits of rabbinic institutionalization).

There is an entire dimension, a depth, that is necessarily lacking in the preceding examples. Even granting the factual historicity of the stories cited (a dubious proposition), they may give us no more than a series of unconnected episodes involving individual rabbis and their interactions with some villagers, or one group of rabbis in a more or less systematic attempt to promote a religious agenda important to them. This lack of depth may be a function, at least in part, of the way that rabbinic literature uses stories: as anecdotes, giving the occasion for a particular legal, ethical, or other teaching, rather than designed to give detailed narrative histories. What I am suggesting, and where a focus on the geographical aspects of rabbinic relationships offers a point of entry, is that it is the forging or maintaining of such relationships in time, the cultivation of their intensity or their density \x96 precisely those investments of cultural (and material) capital that are not always given play in rabbinic narratives about their own activities and practices \x96 across a hierarchically marked landscape that may have at the same time structured divisions in agricultural and cultural practices, that may help us to frame the processes by which the rabbinic movement rose to prominence, to the extent that it did at all.[75]\xA0

As for \x93Christianization,\x94 the links between \x93culture,\x94 political economy, and its geography are perhaps more clearly seen in the more densely documented area of the Judaean Desert in the fifth and sixth centuries. I have already mentioned some of the links between cities (particularly Jerusalem) and developing monastic institutions in late antiquity as <p. 188> described in Cyril of Scythopolis. The very spread across the Judaean desert of monastic settlements is some measure of the impact upon the rural landscape,[76] an impact played out, for instance, in mouths to be fed and land to be worked to provide food, and extending beyond the individual monasteries in terms of the social or economic connections that brought skilled artisanship (e.g., mosaicists) and its products (e.g. woven textiles), donated food, or benefactions to monasteries.[77] The ties to a wider imperial politics and economy are evident not only in ties to cities but also in the role that Sabas himself is said to have played in conflicts over the council of Chalcedon and, more specifically, in trips made to Constantinople. These trips, whatever their result in terms of ecclesiastical structure in Palestine, are described as bringing material benefits for the monasteries and remissions of taxation.[78] On a more mundane level, and set a generation earlier, the multiple connections between imperial conflicts, economic support for monasteries, the power of monastic figures as holy men, and cultural transformation on the part of the \x93indigenous\x94 population (apparently partial sedentarization and Christianization) are all implicated in the stories about the healing by Euthymius of Terebon the son of Aspebetos (later Peter), the phylarch of treaty-bound Saracens in Arabia.[79]

In the northern areas covered by the present study at least some of these processes appear to be in evidence. Hirschfeld links the construction of the church on Mt Berenike at Tiberias, along with a sixth century wall (attested by Procopius) with imperial involvement in establishing pilgrim sites.[80] There is evidence for the spread of monasteries in both western and eastern portions.[81] In addition, a number of sites have been identified as <p. 189> monastic farms.[82] These sites, for the most part apparently to be associated with the fifth or sixth centuries, are an indication of possible intersections between the practice of agriculture, the rural inhabitants, and religious change that are worth pursuing further. More striking, because it appears quite clearly on maps of later Roman northern Palestine, is the geographical distribution of churches and synagogues.[83] In lower Galilee churches appear primarily (but not exclusively) in connection with Christian holy places (among the same places that pilgrim texts mention), sporadically in the Golan, and, in upper Galilee particularly in the western portion, at the outer reaches of the territory of Ptolemais, and Tyre.[84] By contrast, the two areas in which there appears to be a dense concentration of synagogue building and little or no church building are in eastern upper Galilee and the region of the Golan immediately to the East of upper Galilee.

Given the attention to central place theory throughout this study, it is worth noting that the areas of dense synagogue building (based on the synagogue map of TIR, more dense than lower Galilee, although this may be an artifact of surveying[85]), with fairly little overlap with church building, are precisely areas that in the list of Georgius Cyprius are labeled as areas separate from the urban territories of the cities of Palaestina Secunda[86] and that I have argued in Chapter 3 may have been peripheries in a central place system organized around cities: upper Galilee at the northern reaches of the territory of Tiberias; and Gaulanitis in the region that falls between the territories of Caesarea Paneas and Hippos. The <p. 190> differential distribution of synagogues and churches in northern Palestine is all the more striking if, as appears increasingly likely, Galilean synagogue building was more or less contemporaneous with that of the building of churches.[87] Nor, over the long term, should we dismiss the building of churches in the territories of Sepphoris and Tiberias as merely cosmetic. Tiberias was represented by a bishop at ecclesiastical councils by the mid fifth century; a bishop of Sepphoris appears in councils by the early sixth century (Jerusalem, 518);[88] and by some time in the fifth or sixth century a bishop of Sepphoris appears in an inscription commemorating what the excavators apparently understand as the rebuilding of a portion one of the main colonnades of the city.[89] The inscription from Sepphoris makes it at least possible that the bishop had emerged as a major benefactor with a local following, whatever its size.

The goal here is not to offer an explanation for the uneven distribution of synagogues and churches, much less to engage the question of whether there was a line that sharply divided Jews and gentiles in late antique Palestine.[90] Nevertheless, any explanation of that distribution will need to take into account not merely the putative regions of \x93Jewish\x94 and \x93gentile\x94 settlement throughout the territory of late antique Palestine, but also the extent to which that settlement distribution was caught within, even constructed by, complex political, economic, and social frameworks. Thus, particularly if Ma\x91oz is correct that there was a gap in settlement in the \x93lower\x94 Golan in the second and third centuries, with renewed settlement only in the fourth and fifth,[91] it is precisely in this later period that the region developed, and did so, I have suggested, as a periphery. In that case, we cannot attribute the \x93Jewishness\x94 of this region solely to a long history of ancestral religion among an indigenous population, to a failure of Christianity to \x93reach\x94 areas of greater difficulty of access, or, for that matter, to a resistance of \x93traditional\x94 village communities to religious change. The \x93Jewish\x94 Golan with its sizable number of synagogue-bearing villages developed as an area of expanding Jewish settlement precisely in the context of larger regional demographic changes, within an increasingly Christian empire.

As for churches, the story of Joseph of Tiberias, as told by Epiphanius, has Joseph, a former Jew and former member of the patriarch\x92s retinue, build a number of churches in Galilee.[92] The story is understood by some <p. 191> as an example of the imperial policy of promoting Christianity through the building of churches (\x93we note the hostility of the Roman government under Constantine towards Judaism, for all its supposed impartiality\x94[93]). That may perhaps be, and given that the building of churches is presented as more or less an end in itself and that local resistance is explicitly addressed in the story, the story may imply that the presence of churches in Palestine, and elsewhere as well, do not transparently represent the Christianity of the local population so much as an emerging attempt on the part of Christian emperors to mark Christian and imperial space through the erection of monuments.[94] However, the aspects that place this story within a regional and imperial economy of patronage should not be overlooked. Joseph, a Jew from Tiberias in the circle of the Palestinian Jewish patriarch \x96 a local aristocrat \x96 through Christian connections cultivated while an advisor and \x93apostle\x94 of the patriarch converts to Christianity and rises in the imperial administration, and in turn gets imperial support and funding to build churches in his home town and in nearby areas. But for the fact that this is a story about how the recalcitrant population resorted to any means including magic to prevent the completion of Joseph\x92s unwanted churches (and, indeed, perhaps because of this), it reads like a paradigmatic story of fourth-century benefaction.\xA0

The story of Joseph of Tiberias thus suggests the ties that link local expressions of church building with an emerging imperial ideology that favored Christianity, and that favored urban elites who converted to Christianity. The choices for the location of Joseph\x92s churches are also not accidental: Capernaum and Nazareth were significant places in the emerging notion of the Christian holy land;[95] but Tiberias and Sepphoris were cities, precisely the places where a local dignitary might be expected to make public displays of his allegiance to his imperial patron. It is not without irony that the site of Joseph\x92s building in Tiberias is said to have been an unfinished Hadrianeion, presumably the site of cult for the emperor.[96]

D. Towards a Regional History

This chapter has attempted to shift the focus from the fairly static constructions developed in preceding chapters to a reconsideration of the history of northern Palestine in the later Roman period. The point of this reconsideration, exemplified by a discussion of several key issues in the administrative, <p. 191> economic, and cultural history of the region, has been to draw attention to the geographical dimensions of that history. Thus, for instance, in reconstructing the second and third century province of Palaestina (and later), Roman administrators may have built on economic and administrative structures already in place under the Herodian rulers. However, the particular administrative choices made during this period reshaped social relations in the province, fostering a division of labor both within cities and across the landscape in terms of the development of \x93core\x94 and \x93peripheral\x94 areas. As noted in previous chapters, the extent to which the economy of Palestine was shaped by trade remains elusive, but a significant amount of material suggests both the role of cities in shaping both trade and the regional economy, and for the impact of the consumption needs of cities on production in the rural hinterlands. Nor can the cultural or social history of the region be separated from these phenomena. The impact of urbanization and provincialization may be seen in the way that rabbis understood the spatial dimensions of the ritual Holy Land, in the way such practices as public bathing were expected to be distributed in the countryside (with implications for patterns of marriage-making and the construction of gendered social expectations). Moreover, while the claim that \x93Christianization\x94 in northern Palestine, at least as measured by the construction of churches, was tied to imperial politics should surprise very few, Epiphanius\x92s story of Joseph of Tiberias suggests that the process of church building may have been more complicated, and more rooted in local patterns of elite status, than sometimes thought. Finally, by pointing to the connections between \x93Jewishness\x94 and a regional landscape, I have attempted to underscore that much of what we now, from a distance of sixteen or seventeen centuries, tend to see as naturally Jewish, such as synagogues and the rise of rabbis, is in fact the product of a complex provincial history that has itself been at least partly shaped by regional administrative and economic structures.

The Introduction described the present project as an exploratory exercise towards a different kind of historiography of Palestine. Partly as a result of the constraints of working with central place theory, but in part also of my own conviction that the material and day-to-day lives of people, much of the preceding discussion has focused on economy. The focus on trade and its limitations in the framework of a regional economy, the theoretical underpinnings of Chapters 1 and 3, and the nature of the data assembled in Chapter 2 paradoxically required a level of generality and abstraction that shifted focus away from those day-to-day lives. Yet they also helped to articulate the economic frameworks in which everyday lives were played out. Moreover, Chapter 4 attempted to bring the theoretical concerns of earlier chapters and the literary remains of ancient Palestinians to bear on one another, and <p. 193> Chapter 5 pointed towards ways that we might bridge the gaps between trade and a lived, historical, regional economy.

By way of conclusion, it is worth stressing some of the implications of this exercise. The history of Palestine in this period, as it is conventionally written, is a history of \x93peoples\x94 (e.g., Jews, Samaritans, Christians, \x93pagans\x94), institutions (e.g., the Church; the city of Scythopolis or Sepphoris; the Jewish patriarchate), or events (e.g., Jewish or Samaritan revolts). Such peoples, institutions, and events are, almost of necessity, treated as organic unities with life-histories all their own. The present study worked instead with a geographical or regional focus, asking, at least in a preliminary way, to what extent such features as the distributions of cities and villages and of trade or production might map onto religious, ethnic, or cultural history.

In suggesting the salience of such a focus, I am not proposing still another autonomous organic unity (\x93the land\x94). On the contrary, part of the burden of the preceding chapter has been to stress the transformation of northern Palestine as a historical landscape. Yet the material, territorial landscape was the staging ground for the history of Palestine as we have come to understand it. Because it can only be studied in spatial, and hence relational, terms, a regional history is, furthermore, one that facilitates the juxtaposition of seemingly autonomous entities in productive ways that underscore their embeddedness in wider historical processes: long term demographic or ecological shifts, patterns of consumption of agricultural products, craft goods, or cultural practices (e.g., epigraphy, benefactions, public bathing, or the use of Greek), and the impact of the spread of Christianity as imperially sponsored religious ideology. Nor should such a focus be used to level difference in favor of an \x93average\x94 Palestinian experience. The discussion of upper Galilee and the Golan suggested, in fact, that differential development \x96 in both economic and ethnic terms \x96 was in fact a feature of a regional history. Similarly, urbanization brought with it not only changes to the agricultural production of the countryside, but also possible differentiation between cities and villages in sociability, in bathing practices, and personal (and gendered) comportment.

Another feature that is underscored by such a geographical focus is what I have been calling \x93provincalization.\x94 The term is not entirely satisfactory (for one thing, by the fourth century Palestine had long been \x93provincial\x94), but it serves to stress the political economic dimension of a regional history. It is within the context of a Roman empire that Palestine came to have the political and economic landscape that it did, and in which the cities that dominated that landscape came to have their peculiar needs for consumption and display. Northern Palestine is particularly interesting in this respect because it was the the scene of two of the best attested late antique ethnic resurgences, that of Samaritans and of Jews. And the rabbinic movement \x96 that late antique Jewish group that we know best, as <p. 194> an urban, literate, movement of men, seems in significant ways to have recapitulated the uneven distribution of literacy and wealth in the provincial context. In this respect, the history of late antique Palestine, even of groups that stressed their \x93indigenous\x94 traditions and their difference from \x93the gentiles,\x94 is a history of people who have become \x93provincial.\x94

 

 



[1] Hirschfeld 1997: 63\x9664.

[2] Horsley 1996: 74\x9675; I have omitted parenthetical citations. The sentence in quotation marks is from Safrai 1994: 231.

[3] Cf. Hirschfeld 1997: 63 n. 118.

[4] Cf. Hirschfeld 1997: esp. 37\x9639.

[5] Bagnall 1993: 72; Bowman 1985 on the Hermopolite Nome in the fourth century; cf. Rowlandson 1996: 178; 192\x9698 on the Oxyrynchite.

[6] Cf., e.g., Horsley 1995: 172\x9675.

[7] Hirschfeld 1997: 42\x9643, 67; see also Pastor 1997, critiquing Hirschfeld 1996.

[8] See, e.g., Reed 1999; 2000:23\x9661.

[9] See, e.g., Magness 2000 for the late dating of Palestinian synagogues. It may also be worth pointing out that the phenomenon of \x93gathering day\x94 (discussed below in connection with m. Meg. 1:1\x962), even as an idealizing construct of rural religious interactions by rabbis, may presuppose the role of central villages serving the religious and cultural needs of a wider rural population that gathers there on a periodic basis.

[10] Cf. Wolf 1957, arguing that \x93closed corporate communities\x94 of the kind Horsley appears to be envisioning (as merely \x93traditional\x94) are the product of particular histories of exploitation. (Carlsen 1997: 47\x9650 discusses responses to Wolf, locating the closed corporate character of Mayan villages in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, rather than in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest as Wolf had argued, but even so, there is no need to assume that all \x93traditional\x94 villages everywhere are organized in this way.) Wolf 1966: 37\x9648 surveys a number of types of engagement of \x93peasants\x94 with markets. See also the comments on Wolf in Roseberry 1989: 117\x96118; Cancian 1989: 134\x96137, 158 n. 8; and compare the marketing systems elaborated for China in Skinner 1964, 1965.

[11] Finley 1985. The characterization of premodern economies as \x93embedded\x94 goes back to Polanyi 1944: 57.

[12] Based primarily on Christaller 1966, with Skinner 1964; 1965; C. A. Smith 1976b.

[13] Josephus BJ 2.591\x9692; Vita 74\x9676. See below, Chapter 4.

[14] See, e.g., the contributions to Edwards, McCollough, eds. 1997. Ma\x91oz 1997 is a peculiar contribution, written by an archaeologist but insisting on the primacy of literary evidence. See also Reed 2000: 1\x9622.

[15] Cf. Lapin 1995: 1\x9636. See also Hayes 1997: 1\x9630; 1998.

[16] The conventional terms of the discussion in recent years are given in the published debate: Horsley 1995a; Meyers 1995; Horsley 1995b. For a capsule description of the formalist-substantivist debate see Hodges 1988.

[17] Groh 1997: 33\x9634. Cf. Taylor 1993.

[18] Safrai 1995.

[19] My thinking on provincialization has been influenced by Mitchell 1993; Alcock 1993; Woolf 1998.

[20] Isaac 1992: 333\x96371.

[21] My thinking on power (imperial and local) and historical agency has been shaped by Wolf 1982; O\x92Hanlon 1988; Asad 1993: 1\x9624; Comaroff, Comaroff 1997: 1\x9662; Guha 1988; 1997.

[22] Recent examples, on related issues, include Habas 1996; Oppenheimer 1996: 214\x9618.

[23] Boyarin 1993; 1999; Hezser 1997; Levine 1979; 1987; 1996; Safrai 1994; 1995; Kalmin 1999.

[24] Jones 1931; 1971; Safrai 1980a; 1980b; Tsafrir 1986; TIR, Introduction.

[25] Schwartz forthcoming.

[26] E. M. Meyers 1997: 58\x9659. See also E. M. Meyers 1979; 1985; 1987; 1995.

[27] Ma\x91oz 1986: 96\x96101.

[28] CIJ 972; literature in TIR 209, s.v. Qis\ion. Identification as a temple: Kohl, Watzinger 1916: 209; Kitchener in Conder, Kitchener: 1881: 241. Schwartz forthcoming.

[29] Cf. Roseberry, O\x92Brien 1991.

 

[30] Brown 1982: 153\x9665; see also Mitchell 1993: 1, 195\x967 for the relative separation of rural and urban spheres in Roman period Anatolia.

[31] Horsley 1996; cf. Reed 1999; 2000: 23\x9661. Safrai 1995; see also, e.g., Applebaum 1989: 92\x9694.

[32] Sawicki 1997, with a rather different approach from that taken here.

[33] See, e.g., Roseberry, O\x92Brien 1991.

[34] Lines 13\x9618; cf. Sipre Deut. 51, ed Finkelstein 1939: 117; t. Sebi. 4:11; y. Sebi. 6:1 (36c); Sussman 1975\x9676: 252\x9653; Safrai 1984b.

[35] See, e.g., Vitto 1981: 91, photo.

[36] y. Ber. 1:1 (2a).

[37] Ginzberg 1941\x9661: 1, 8\x969.

[38] This is no more than a supposition, but it is worth noting that the inhabitants of the small villages are described not as \x93entering\x94 some place (as in the traditions that define the time of the reading of the shema>, nor as going home from their labors, but in terms of their habitual practice of \x93leaving\x94 or at least \x93going\x94 (<orh\\xEAh\xF4n mistaleq\xE2), although just what they might be leaving is not specified. The immediate sequel in the Yerushalmi, which does refer to synagogue practice, may perhaps strengthen the supposition: \x93It is taught: \x91One who reads [ the shema>] earlier than this has not fulfilled his obligation.\x92 If so why do they read it in the synagogues?...\x94 However, neither the direct connection with the preceding passage, nor any connection with Sabbath practice are made explicit.

[39] m. Ket. 7:8.

[40] For a bath at Capernaum see Laughlin 1993: 56\x9659. For references to other non-urban baths see TIR 103, s.v. Chorazin; 148, s.v. H|urfeish; 203, s.v. Philoteria; 211, s.v. Rama; 216, s.v. Rosh Pina; Urman 1985: no. 134, el Duga; 1995: 461\x9663, el Dura. See also Urman 1995: 528\x96530 citing Schumacher; Saarisalo 1927: no. 10.

[41] y. Ket. 7:4 (31b). The tradition is attributed to Zeira (who has traditional Babylonian associations) and is introduced ten\xEE tamma\xB5n, \x93it was taught \x91there.\x92\x94

[42] Gen. Rab. 95, ed. Theodor, Albeck 1912\x9636: 1232; Lev. Rab. 21:8, ed. Margaliot 1953\x9660: 485\x96487; b. Ket. 62b; see Boyarin 1995: 156\x9658.

[43] y. Sot\. 1:4 (16d); cf. Lev. Rab. 9:9, ed. Margaliot 1953\x9660: 191\x9693.

[44] y. Ta>an. 4:8 (69a); cf. Lam. Rab. 2 to 2:2; 4 to 4:18, ed. Buber 1899: 102.

[45] Cf. Safrai 1995: 248; see also Alon 1976: 1, 48 n. 50.

[46] \x93Councilor(s)\x94: bwlbwt\s/bwlwwt\y, Greek bouleute\xB5s, bouleutai; \x93ruler\x94: <rkwnts, Greek arkho\xB5n; \x93property\x94 (perhaps better: \x93estate\x94): <wsyy<, Greek ousia; perhaps better: an estate; \x93bill of sale\x94:<wnyt<, an Aramaic form based on Greek o\xB5ne\xB5, Sokoloff 1991: 40, s.v. <wny.

[47] The falsified sale in this passage may be related to the restrictions against decurions alienating property in order to evade service. See Cod. Theod. 12.9.49.1 (361); see also 12.3.1 (386), in this case apparently sale under constraint, 12.3.2 (423); see also Libanius, Or. 48.37; Jones 1964: 738 and n. 61.

[48] E.g., explicitly, y. B. Bat. 9:6 (17a); see also y. Mo>ed Qat\. 2:3 (81b); cf. y. Sanh. 8:3 (26a\x96b); Gen. Rab. 76:6, ed. Theodor, Albeck 1912\x9636: 904.

[49] Cf. MacMullen 1964: 47 and nn.

[50] Brown 1982: 103\x9665.

[51] V. Sabae 75, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 179\x96181; and V. Euth. 49, 71.10\x9672.8; V. Io. Hes. 20, 216.8\x9624; see also: V. Euth. 16, 26.1\x966, 11\x9614; V. Sabae \xA061, 163.5\x9613; 68, 170.1\x965; 86, 193.16; 88, 196.7\x9611; V. Kyr. 14, 231.9\x9610.

[52] V. Euth. 16, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 26.1\x966; 37, 55.20\x9656.5; V. Sabae 37, 127.4\x9614; 56, 150.8\x9611;\xA0 68, 1701.1\x965; 89, 197.19\x9623.

[53] E.g., hospices: V. Kyr. 7, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 226.17\x9619; also Patrich 1995: 165.

[54] Qoh. Rab. 3:4, ed. Hirshman 1982: 223\x969.

[55] Hezser 1995.

[56] Lapin 1999; cf. Hezser 1995: 157\x9684.

[57] Naveh 1978: no. 6; Gregg, Urman 1996: 129; see Cohen 1981\x9682.

[58] Sussman 1973\x9674: 153\x9655; Vitto 1981: 93\x9694.

[59] Urman 1970\x9671: 406\x968 = 1972: 21\x963.

[60] See Ma\x91oz 1981: 115, who dates the \x93heyday\x94 of Dabura to the fifth and sixth centuries; see more generally Ma\x91oz 1981: 101\x96109; 1993: 538\x9645; but cf. Ma\x91oz 1986: 99; 1993: 545.

[61] See, e.g., Oppenheimer 1977; Schiffman 1992; Safrai 1995: 24\x9626; cf. Goodman 1983

[62] Based primarily on Urman 1985; 1995; JSG Golan. See Chapter 2.

[63] Tsafrir in TIR 19.

[64] Cf. Levine 1985: 100, Map.

[65] Bloedhorn, H\xFCttenmeister 1999: 284\x96285; by my rough count the numbers appear to be fairly close to the text of H\xFCttenmeister, Reeg 1977 for the regions under consideration here, although that collection, in both the body (volume I) and in the map of synagogues (attached to volume II) divides the sites somewhat differently, distinguishing between synagogues that are arch\xE4ologisch sicher and those that are unsicher (see H\xFCttenmeister, Reeg 1977: 1, xv). Note also Dauphin 1998: Fig. 115 (which explicitly distinguishes archaeological and literary evidence), according to which the regions roughly corresponding to the area under discussion here had 24 sites with explicitly \x93Jewish\x94 remains in the fifth century and an additional 2 possible sites (assuming that all of the \x93mixed\x94 sites had Jewish remains, one can add an additional 5). For other periods see: Figs. 43\x9648; 116\x96117 (the latter with the corresponding maps); for the fourth century her assessment includes fewer than 40 sites.

[66] Chiat 1982: 263\x9694, 299\x96302, 305\x9613 for eastern portions; western portions summarized 332, Table 1, B.

[67] Ilan 1991; Urman 1995.

[68] Cf. Safrai 1995.

[69] See Grainger 1995: 192\x96193.

[70] y. Yeb. 12 (13a); cf. Gen. Rab. 81:2, ed. Theodor, Albeck 1912\x9636: 969.

[71] y. Sebi. 6:1 (36c); cf. Deut. Rab., ed. Lieberman 1974: 60\x9661.

[72] See y. Yoma< 3:7 (40d); cf. Qoh. Rab. to 3:11.

[73] y. Meg. 4:5 (75b).

[74] y. H|ag. 1:7 (76c); cf. Pes. Rab Kah., <\xCAk\xE2, ed. Buber, 120b, ed. Braude, 253; Lam. Rab., proem, to 1:1; see also e.g. Alon 1953\x9657: 2, 140; Levine 1979: 671\x9672; 1987: 161\x9662; 1996: 11\x9612; Jacob 1995: 185\x9687; Hezser 1995: 96, 424; Safrai 1995: 242 and n. 191.

[75] Cf. Bourdieu 1977.

[76] Maps: Hirschfeld 1992: 9; 1993b: 150; Patrich 1995: 52.

[77] See Hirschfeld 1992: 102\x9611; Binns 1994: 102\x9611; Patrich 1995: 194\x9695. Artisanship: e.g., V. Sabae 80, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 186; V. Kyr. 6, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 226.1\x963; food: e.g., V. Io. Hesych. 12, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 211.1\x964; benefactions e.g., V. Euth. 48, ed. E. Schwartz 1939: 69.30.

[78] V. Sabae 50\x9655, 70\x9673, ed. Schwartz 1939: 139\x9648, 173\x96178.

[79] V. Euth. 10, 15, ed. Schwartz 1939: 18\x9621, 24\x9625.

[80] Hirschfeld 1999.

[81] For example, the following (without aiming to be complete) are among sites in the Galilee and Bet Shean valley with remains that have been identified as monastic: Tiberias (Ovadiah 1977: nos. 178a\x96b); near Beth Shean (monastery of the Lady Mary, see Fitzgerald 1939); Bet ha-shitta (Ovadia 1977: no. 21); Kh. >Iribbin (TIR, 123, s.v. H|. \x91Erav); \x91Ein Bala (see TIR, s.v. Beella); Tel Basul (Ovadiah 1977: 175; Ovadiah, de Silva 1982: 165, no. 53); Yehi>am (see\xA0 TIR, \xA0s.v. Yeh\iam); Nazareth (Ovadiah 1977: no. 147); near <Iksal (see TIR 124, s.v. Exaloth); Mt. Tabor (Ovadiah 1977: no. 60; Ovadiah, de Silva 1982: 132, no. 17); Kh. el Deir (TIR 109, s.v.); Sede Nahum (Ovadiah 1977: no. 160); Magdala (Tarichaeae) (see TIR 173, s.v. Magdala); El Tabgha (Ovadiah 1977: 47). Possibly Mugharat el Rahab (Frankel, Getzov 1997: 2.42); Dar el >Arbiyeh (?) (Avi\x91am 1994: 108 possibly a monastery); Kh. el Ghureiyib (Avi\x91am 1988\x9689: 93); and in the Golan: Kursi (Urman 1985: 154\x9655); Na>aran (TIR 190, s.v. Na\x91aran; Dauphin, Schonfield 1983: 199\x96200); Deir Qrukh (TIR 111, s.v.); Duer el Loz (Ovadiah, de Silva, 1981 no. 15). See also Dauphin 1998; Avi\x91am 1999. Note also Avi\x91am\x92s use of the presence of oil presses (i.e., of some agricultural production) as among the criteria of rural monasteries, Avi\x91am 1999: 294\x96295.

[82] E.g., Dauphin 1977; 1979; 1993a; Bet ha-Shitta, TIR 82, s.v. Beth ha-Shittah; a site so identified in Zori 1977: no. 121; see also Avi\x91am 1994: 84\x9687; and the collocation of a church and agricultural installations at Qasr >Asheq (H|. Hesheq), Avi\x91am 1993b: 55. Avi\x91am 1995: 57\x9659 suggests a pattern of \x93monasteries\x94 in western Galilee (enclosures of some 2.5 dunams, some of which include the remains of churches) that also include agricultural installations (oil presses). Cf. Villeneuve 1985: 119\x96120, on the Hauran.

[83] See TIR Maps; see also Ilan 1987b; Avi\x91am 1995: 59 and 47 (map); Ma\x91oz 1985: 66,\xA0 fig. 5; Gregg, Urman 1996: 297, 298; and cf. the maps in Dauphin 1998: Figs. 56, 73, 90, 107, 115\x96117.

[84] See Di Segni 1991; 1993, who favors placing H|. Hesheq in the territory of Sepphoris, rather than Ptolemais.

[85] Again, some caution is advisable. Compare Chiat 1982: 21\x9665, 332: of the eighteen \x93synagogues\x94 in Galilee whose attribution she rejects, twelve are in \x93Tetracomia,\x94 i.e., upper Galilee.

[86] Descriptio 1028\x9642, Honigmann, ed., 1939: 67\x9668; Gelzer, ed., 1890: 52\x9653 (if Tetrakomia is to be identified with upper Galilee).

[87] See Magness 2000.

[88] References in Abel 1938: 201; Jones 1971: 547 and TIR.

[89] See Weiss, Netzer 1996b: 85.

[90] Dauphin 1982; Ma\x91oz 1985; Gregg, Urman 1996: 289\x96304; Isaac 1999: 186\x9688.

[91] Ma\x91oz 1986: 96\x96101; cf. Dauphin 1998: Figures 31\x9634.

[92] Epiphanius Panarion 30.4\x9612, ed. Holl 1915\x9633: 1, 338\x96348; see Rubin 1983; Thornton 1990. Goranson 1999.

[93] Avi-Yonah 1976: 168.

[94] Epiphanius Panarion 30.11.9\x9612.9, ed. Holl 1915\x9633: 1, 347\x96348.

[95] Walker 1990; Wilken 1992; Taylor 1993.

[96] Epiphanius Panarion 30.12.2, ed. Holl 1915\x9633: 1, 348.