Jerusalem In The Time Of Jesus Was A Taker Of Wealth, Not A Maker
Ancient societies tend to be made up of Makers and Givers. Hey, you know what, so do many modern societies. A small class of people, maybe 1-5% basically live off of the sweat of everybody else. What about the world in which Jesus came of age? It too, was an extractive society. But not all parts of ancient Israel were equally extractive. For example, it appears that Judea in the south was probably more exploitative then Galilee in the North.
The Great Plain which is found South of Galilee was made up of large, sometimes gigantic farms. Nobility of wealthy men of prominence who were not noble-born would use political connections to build these great estates. We have many references in history to large land grants from the state either from Herod of the Judean state or of Caesar from the Roman State to their political friends. Once that large estate is formed, and with no countervailing effect from the debt release laws (which were ignored) it was almost impossible for smaller farmers to avoid having their property gobbled up by larger farmers. This system was based on political cronyism, not market forces. When Jesus cross out of Galilee, and down through Samaria into Judea, he moves from a world of small entrepreneurs to a world of gigantic crony combines.
In this short video, Dr. David Fiensy, author of Christian Origins and the Ancient Economy and experienced (with eight digging sites under his belt-almost all of them in Galilee) talks about the kind of extractive society which Jesus confronted in His dealings with the ruling class of ancient Israel.
Originally published on Townhall Finance.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.