A study of land ownership in first-century Palestine with emphasis on the Little Tradition vis-a-vis the Great Tradition. Under the former, land was viewed in a somewhat traditional and egalitarian sense as a gift of God; in the latter, land was seen in an entrepreneurial, capitalistic light. The concepts of the Great Tradition led the Ptolemies, Seleucids, Herods, and Romans to form large estates - this movement cost many peasants their patrimonial farm plots, reducing them to day labourers and tenants and causing deterioration of the extended family. This study seeks to show that Palestine in the Herodian period was a typically agrarian ancient society with a very small group of wealthy and powerful aristocrats and rural masses that barely achieved subsistence.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd