Fortress Press

Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q

Jesus and the Village Scribes

Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q

William E. Arnal (Author)


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This volume challenges Gerd Theissen's dominant thesis of "wandering radicals" as the earliest spreaders of the Jesus tradition. Several conclusions emerge: (1) the textual evidence for the "wandering radicals" hypothesis is not tenable and it must be replaced with one that more closely comports with the evidence: (2) the immediate context of the Jesus movement, and of Q in particular, is the socio-economic crisis in Galilee under the Romans; and (3) the formation of Q is the product of Galilean village scribes in the Jesus movement reacting to the negative developments in Galilee that affected their social standing.

Arnal moves decisively beyond earlier Q studies, which focused almost exclusively on literary history without dealing with the social realitites of the first century.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800632601
  • Pages 304
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Publication Date October 2, 2001


"This important monograph builds on Kloppenborg's Q-stratigraphy and examines the original material and ideological circumstances of the Synoptic Sayings Source."

"Arnal thoroughly reviews and rejects the widespread hypothesis that Q stems from 'wandering preachers,' and connects it instead to Herodian village scribes uprooted by the foundation of Tiberias around 20 C.E. Early Q's rhetoric urges a program of resistance and 'local reciprocity and communal values' within Galilean villages."

"Arnal's noteworthy contribution deserves careful study by every student of Christian origins."
Douglas E. Oakman, author of Palestine in the Time of Jesus

Table of Contents

1. Itinerant Preachers and the Didache
2. The Sayings Tradition and Itinerant Preachers
3. The Problem with Itinerant Preachers
4. The Socioeconomics of Roman Galilee
5. Q's Rhetoric of Uprootedness