Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Richard Horsley, Walter Grundmann and Guilt by Association

I recently had occasion to work through parts of Walter Grundmann's Jesus der Galiläer und das Judentum (Leipzig: Georg Wigand, 1940) and was reminded of Richard A. Horsley's argument in his much more recent Galilee: History, Politics, People (Valley Forge, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1995):
  • Grundmann begins his discussion in the Tel Amarna period, pointing to evidence in the Amarna archives that “arische Volkstämme” lived in Galilee during this period (166). Horsley begins with Deborah (Judges 5) and then turns to the Amarna archives (21).
  • Grundmann (166) and Horsley follow A. Alt (and many others) in arguing that Galilee “was a secondary shortening of an original galil ha-goyim, ‘circle of the peoples,’” which “was likely a reference to the ‘peoples,’ ‘city-states,’ and other rulers who surrounded and competed for political –economic domination in the area” (20).
  • Like Grundmann (166-7), but in more detail, Horsley argues that Galilee developed separately from Judaea and was only briefly under the unified rule of David and Solomon (22-25).
  • Grundmann argues that there was no peaceful time after the Hasmonean invasion of Galilee around 100 BCE for Jews to settle in Galilee (170); Horsley argues that there was no peaceful time after the Hasmonean invasion for the newly conquered Galileans to be integrated into the Judaean ethnos (51).
  • Both Grundmann (171) and Horsley (87-88) point to the fact that Galileans did not participate vigorously in the Jewish revolt as evidence for a separation between Judaea and Galilee.

There are differences too, the most important of which is that Grundmann argued most Galileans were not racially Jews, while Horsley thinks they were the descendents of Northern Israelites (39-40). And of course, while Grundmann was a Nazi, Horsley is not.

Horsley never mentions Grundmann. I presume he developed his theories independently or under the influence of a common tradition. Still, the similarity between their arguments is striking.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was raised to believe that Naziism and Communism were polar opposites, and that "fundamentalists" were closet Nazis.

Exposure to Walter Grundmann, first a Nazi, then a Communist lapdog in the GDR, taught me that the role of liberal revisionist theology in creating the horrors of the 20th century is one of the great areas of silence in modern historiography.