Common Judaism Most Jews were not members of parties because they were too busy surviving and keeping up with heavy taxes. Religion for the common Jew consisted of: • Keeping the Sabbath • Attending the Synagogue • Praying • Keeping the food laws (from the time of Moses) • Celebrating festivals • Circumcising baby boys on the 8 day after birth • Hoping, yearning for a Messiah who would free them and set everything right. They thought he would be a political, priestly, King figure. th Lifestyle Occupations in Jesus’ time (See pp. 35 in Goosen): • Shepherds • Field workers • Vineyard workers • Fishermen • Craftsmen - carpenters, dyers, tailors, sandal makers, tent weavers, potters and goldsmiths • Merchants • Professionals – e.g. scribes and priests On the whole, Jews were not rich, but poverty was largely unknown. In saying this, there was a heavy tax that burdened the people and caused particular resentment towards Tax collectors, who were often Jews that worked for the Romans. Daily Life in the book of Luke In the book of Luke, we can pick up a picture of what daily life was like in Palestine at the time of Jesus: Luke • 8:4-15 - Farming is a common occupation. Soil was shallow, the rocks underneath it were tough • 11:5-8 – basic houses with a few rooms • 12:13-21 – country of contrast. Big difference between the very poor and the very rich • 14:7-11 & 15:25 – celebrated with feasts, music and dancing • 15:8-10 – money is precious. For many it is a very humble existence. Backdrop: The First Century Mediterranean Culture 1. Perception of Limited Good a. The idea that there was only so much food and honor to go around b. If one person gets more, others will be missing out c. This applied to everything – to all goods d. Remember that life was threatening, and some people didn’t make it. There was an element of desperation to life! 2. Honor and Shame a. Honour = male. Like having a good reputation. The opposite of this is dishonor, which happens when you aspire to a certain status and that status is denied by public opinion b. Shame – has two meanings i. Disgrace and dishonor ii. The female quality of modesty, a good thing to HAVE. If a female lost her shame, she would be shameless, (which would be a state of disgrace and dishonor) c. Because of the perception of limited good, it was believed that there was only a certain amount of honour to go around. This meant that underlying most social interactions was a challenge to honour, with someone trying to take some of another person’s for themselves. d. To clarify: i. a male can be shamed in a bad way ii. a female finds her honor in shame in a good way Because it has two meanings. 3. Clean and unclean a. Rules of purity. Everything was based on these rules. b. Enabled people to make sense of what was around them, to make sense of everything c. It informed them about themselves, the environment, relationships with people and things d. It gave order to society, by identifying what was good, and what was bad e. A SUBSET of purity rules dealt with the sacred and the non-sacred. Not all purity rules (clean and unclean) were to do with religion, but society itself was based on these ideas. i. E.g. rules about exclusivity (like no you can not come into the temple because you are unclean) and temple worship. People in the Mediterranean world gained their meaning and their identity through interaction with other people. A meaningful human existence depended on being sensitive to what others thought and expected about you, and you living up to those expectations. This meant that all individuality was not valued – because all expectations, which were the driving force behind what motivated the people in life, came from stereotypes and generalizations from society. Living up to those expectations was the path to honor, which was the path to higher and higher social status, which was the path to more food and a better life. Remember that times were tough – there was not enough food for everyone. This was a desperate scenario!