Jesus and Identity: Reconstructing Judean Ethnicity in Q

By Markus Cromhout

A new approach to understanding cultural and ethnic identity in 1st Century Judea, with reference to the form of Judaism presupposed by the Q document.

ISBN: 9780227173220


New Testament scholarship lacks an overall interpretive framework in which to understand Judean identity. This lack of interpretive framework is quite acute in scholarship on the historical Jesus, where the issue of Judeanness (“Jewishness”) is most strongly debated. A socio-cultural model of Judean ethnicity is developed, being a synthesis of (1) Sanders’ notion of covenantal nomism, (2) Berger and Luckmann’s theories on the sociology of knowledge, (3) Dunn’s “four pillars of Second Temple Judaism” and his “new perspective” on Paul, (4) cultural or social anthropology in the form of modern ethnicity theory, and lastly, (5) Duling’s Socio-Cultural Model of Ethnicity.

The proposed model is termed Covenantal Nomism. It is a pictorial representation of the Judean “symbolic universe”, which as an ethnic identity, is proposed to be essentially primordialist. The model is given appropriate content by investigating what would have been typical of first-century Judean ethnic identity. It is also argued that there existed a fundamental continuity between Judea and Galilee, as Galileans were ethnic Judeans themselves and they lived on the ancestral land of Israel. Attention is lastly focused on the matter of ethnic identity in Q. The Q people were given an eschatological Judean identity based on their commitment to Jesus and the requirements of the kingdom of God.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 404

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Markus Cromhout is a research associate in the Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria.



1. Identifying the Problem
2. A Socio-Cultural Model of Judean Ethnicity
3. Judean Ethnicity in the First Century CE
4. Who Were the Galileans?
5. Judean Ethnicity in Q



Endorsements and Reviews

Splendidly conceived, sophisticated in its argument, and important in its conclusions
John S. Kloppenborg, University of Toronto

His study engages modern scholarship, is well organized, and eminently readable. Both advanced scholars and discerning students will benefit greatly from Cromhout’s synthesis.
Dennis C. Duling, Canisius College