FIRST CENTURY GALILEE: A FRESH EXAMINATION OF THE SOURCES By Bradley W. Root. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 378. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. xvii + 228 pp.Bradley W. Root makes a significant contribution to ongoing conversations about the cultural, religious, and economic environment of first-century Galilee. His study, based on the 2009 University of California, San Diego history dissertation he wrote under David Goodblatt, focuses on seven issues: ethnicity, urbanization, economic conditions, political climate, religious ethos, Jewish-Gentile relations, and Galilean-Judean relations. In exploring these themes, Root argues that scholars often prematurely jump to historical reconstruction without sufficiently wrestling with the methodological problems posed by their sources. He thus devotes the bulk of his twelve-chapter book to critical analysis of individual sources, leaving historical synthesis for the end. He sifts through the writings of Josephus, the classic four sources of the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, the hypothetical sayings source Q, special Matthean material, and special Lukan material), the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of John, and published archaeological reports. He does not engage rabbinic texts in depth because of the methodological difficulty of identifying traditions that accurately preserve glimpses of the first century.In combing through Josephus's Jewish War, Jewish Antiquities, and Life, Root takes his methodological cues from scholars such as Steve Mason and Shaye J. D. ...
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