Temple Commerce and John 2:13-22 Open Access

Ruiz, Gilberto Alfonso (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5138jd91b?locale=en


This study argues that attention to the Gospel of John with a focus on its economic context makes a significant contribution for its interpretation. Turning to John 2:13-22 to prove this thesis, this dissertation uses literary and historical analytical methods to examine Jesus' disruption of the commercial activity in the Jerusalem temple with close attention to the economic realities that affect its interpretation. This study explores textual and archaeological evidence relevant to the contexts of John's readers with the text of John 2:13-22 in order to analyze its interpretative effects. It does so with respect to one topic--temple commerce--in relation to Judea, Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. For each of these contexts the following components of temple commerce are investigated, because they are all present in John 2:13-22: commerce related to religious pilgrimage; the sacrificial animal trade; moneychangers and their role in temple commerce, which includes changing coins for the purchase of sacrifices and for deposit into the treasury; temples as sources and centers of trade and commerce; the economic effects of temple construction and maintenance. Reading John 2:13-22 in light of its economic context shows the passage to be a cohesive unit, in which John's explicit attention to the temple's economic aspects reinforces the passage's claim for Jesus' authority as God's Son. Moreover, the commercial elements of John 2:13-22 speak across cultural contexts, enabling audiences more familiar with temple commerce outside Jerusalem to come to the same conclusions regarding Jesus' authority as those familiar with the sacred economy of the Jerusalem temple.

Table of Contents

Temple Commerce and John 2:13-22
Table of Contents
1 Economics and Johannine Studies...1

1.1 Engaging Economics in the Gospel of John?...1
1.2 John's Distinctive Attention to Monetary and Economic Matters and 2:13-22 as the Focus of this Study...3
1.3 Structure of John 2:13-22...7
1.4 Thesis: The Commercial Elements of John 2:13-22 Render an Integrated Interpretation of the Passage that Highlights the Role of this Pericope in Establishing Jesus' Authority at the Beginning of the Gospel of John...10
1.5 Previous Studies Reading John in Light of Economic Factors...11

1.5.1 Frederick C. Grant...11
1.5.2 Liberation Theology: Frederick Herzog, José Porfirio Miranda...16
1.5.3 Timothy J. M. Ling...21
1.5.4 Sjef van Tilborg...24
1.5.5 John and Empire Studies: Richard J. Cassidy, Warren Carter...34
1.5.6 Economics and Studies on John 2:13-22...38

1.6 Method and Plan of Study...46

1.6.1 Economic Evidence as a Resource for Interpreting John 2:13-22...46
1.6.2 Determining the Types of Economic Evidence Relevant for the Interpretation of John 2:13-22 and Defining Temple Commerce...47
1.6.3 The Sites of Economic Evidence for the Interpretation of John's Gospel...49 First-century Palestine...49 First- and Early Second-century Asia Minor, Egypt, and Syria...51

1.6.4 Plan of the Dissertation...53

2 Temple Commerce in First-century Judea...55

2.1 The Economic Context of John 2:13-22...55

2.1.1 A Note on Sources...55

2.2 The Economic Impact of Pilgrimage to Jerusalem During Passover...58

2.2.1 Population Increase During Passover...59
2.2.2 The Economic Impact of Pilgrimage Piety...65

2.3 The Sacrificial Animal Trade...73

2.3.1 The Demand for Cattle...73
2.3.2 The Demand for Sheep...74
2.3.3 The Demand for Doves...75
2.3.4 The Increase in Demand for Sacrificial Animals at Festivals...76
2.3.5 Meeting the Demand for Sacrificial Animals...78

2.4 Moneychangers...85

2.4.1 Facilitating Sales...85
2.4.2 Facilitating the Collection of the Temple Tax...87
2.4.3 The Temple Tax as One Source of Income for the Temple...89
2.4.4 The Wealth of the Temple Treasury...95
2.4.5 The Economic Impact of the Temple Treasury...99

2.5 The Temple as a Center of Trade...104
2.6 The Economic Impact of the Temple's Construction...109
2.7 The Temple as an Economic Institution...115

3 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of Temple Commerce in Judea...117

3.1 The Temple as Both the House of God and a Place of Economic Networks: Reevaluating the Consensus Interpretation...117
3.2 Johannine Studies and the Temple in the Gospel of John...119
3.3 John 2:13-22 in Light of the Jerusalem Temple's Commerce...137

3.3.1 John 2:13...138
3.3.2 John 2:14-16...140 John 2:14...140 John 2:15...142 John 2:16...148

3.3.3 John 2:17...155
3.3.4 John 2:18...160
3.3.5 John 2:19...162
3.3.6 John 2:20...164
3.3.7 John 2:21...166
3.3.8 John 2:22...169

3.4 John 2:13-22: Jesus' Authority as God's Son...174
3.5 The Hermeneutical Significance of Attending to the Economic Realities of the Jerusalem Temple for the Interpretation of John 2:13-22...175

4 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of Temple Commerce in Asia Minor, Egypt, and Syria...178

4.1 The Question of John 2:13-22's Communicability Beyond Judea...178
4.2 The Ancient Reading Contexts of John's Gospel...179
4.3 The Economics of Cult in Ancient Greek and Roman Contexts...186
4.4 The Economic Impact of Pilgrimage Piety...193

4.4.1 The Temple of Artemis...193
4.4.2 The Serapeum...200
4.4.3 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of the Economic Impact of Pilgrimage Piety in the Contexts of John's Readers...203

4.5 The Sacrificial Animal Trade...205

4.5.1 The Temple of Artemis...205
4.5.2 The Serapeum...210
4.5.3 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of the Sacrificial Animal Trade in the Contexts of John's Readers...211

4.6 Money Changing...212

4.6.1 The Temple of Artemis...212
4.6.2 The Serapeum...216
4.6.3 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of Money Changing in the Contexts of John's Readers...217

4.7 The Temple as a Source and Center of Trade...219

4.7.1 The Temple of Artemis...219
4.7.2 The Serapeum...222
4.7.3 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of Temples as Sources and Centers of Trade in the Contexts of John's Readers...223

4.8 The Economic Impact of Temple Construction...226

4.8.1 The Temple of Artemis...226
4.8.2 The Serapeum...231
4.8.3 Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of Temple Construction in the Contexts of John's Readers...234

4.9 The Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Antioch...237
4.10 Temples as Economic Institutions and Physical Places...242

5 Conclusion...244

5.1 Engaging Economics for Interpreting the Gospel of John...244
5.2 The Cohesiveness of John's Temple Scene...246
5.3 Reading John in Light of its Economic Context as a Fruitful Undertaking for Exegesis of the Fourth Gospel...249
5.4 Implications of Reading John 2:13-22 in Light of Temple Commerce for Understanding the Gospel as a Whole...253


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