This thesis focussed on the matter of Judean ethnic identity in the first century CE. At first we pointed out that New Testament scholarship lacks an overall interpretive framework to understand Judean identity. There is not an appreciation of what informed the entire process of Judean ethnic identity formation in the first century, or at any period for that matter. This lack of interpretive framework is acute in scholarship on the historical Jesus, where the issue of Judeanness is most strongly debated. We investigated the reconstructions of John P Meier and John D Crossan, and attempted to identify what content, be it explicitly or implicitly, or by omission, do they assign to Jesus’ Judean identity. But as yet, we were not in a position to say just what kind of Judean Jesus was. We then proceeded by developing a Socio-Cultural Model of Judean Ethnicity. At first Sanders’ notion of covenantal nomism was explored and redefined to function primarily as an ethnic descriptor. We combined the notion of covenantal nomism with Berger and Luckmann’s theories on the sociology of knowledge, and saw that covenantal nomism could function as the Judean construction of reality. It is a convenient way to define the Judean “symbolic universe”. Dunn’s “four pillars of Second Temple Judeanism” was then reviewed, which looked at the importance of the Temple, God, Election and the Torah. The “new perspective” on Paul as developed by Dunn also proved useful, as he brought attention to the importance of traditional customs (e g circumcision and food laws), and how it served as “badges” for Judean identity. The approaches of Sanders and Dunn, however, lacked the insights of ethnicity theory. Ethnicity theory has identified two primary alternatives when it comes to ethnicity formation: constructionism and primordialism. We looked at the attempt of Jones to integrate the various approaches by her incorporation of the concept of the habitus. An overview of Duling’s Socio-Cultural Model of Ethnicity followed, which lists all the relevant cultural features and which emphasises the predominant constructionist approach. We integrated all of the above into our own proposed model, which we termed covenantal nomism. It is a pictorial representation of the Judean symbolic universe, which as an ethnic identity, was proposed to be essentiall primordialist. The model was then given appropriate content, by investigating what would have been typical of first century Judean ethnic identity. It was also demonstrated that their existed a fundamental continuity between Judea and Galilee, as Galileans were ethnic Judeans themselves and they lived on the ancestral land of Israel. Attention was then focussed on the matter of ethnic identity in Q. We investigated the stratification of Kloppenborg and suggested that the third stratum which refers to the Torah properly belongs to the polemical and apologetic strategy of the main redaction. After analysing the two stratums it was concluded that Q points to a community whose Judean ethnic identity was in (re)construction. Apart from the cultural features of name and land, all cultural features demonstrated strong elements of discontinuity with traditional covenantal nomism. The Q people were given an eschatological Judean identity based on their commitment to Jesus and the requirements of the kingdom/reign of God.
Thesis (PhD (New Testament Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2007.