In Class and Power in Roman Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Tony Keddie investigates the changing dynamics of class and power at a critical place and time in the history of Judaism and Christianity – Palestine during its earliest phases of incorporation into the Roman Empire (63 BCE–70 CE). He identifies institutions pertaining to civic administration, taxation, agricultural tenancy, and the Jerusalem Temple as sources of an unequal distribution of economic, political, and ideological power. Through careful analysis of a wide range of literary, documentary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence, including the most recent discoveries, Keddie complicates conventional understandings of class relations as either antagonistic or harmonious. He demonstrates how elites facilitated institutional changes that repositioned non-elites within new, and sometimes more precarious, relations with privileged classes, but did not typically worsen their economic conditions. These socioeconomic shifts did, however, instigate changing class dispositions. Judaean elites and non-elites increasingly distinguished themselves from the other, through material culture such as tableware, clothing, and tombs.
In Revelations of Ideology (Brill, 2018), Tony Keddie proposes a new theory of the social function of Judaean apocalyptic texts produced in Early Roman Palestine (63 BCE–70 CE). In contrast to evaluations of Jewish and early Christian apocalyptic texts as “literature of the oppressed” or literature of resistance against empire, Keddie demonstrates that scribes produced apocalyptic texts to advance ideologies aimed at self-legitimation. By revealing that their opponents constituted an exploitative class, scribes generated apocalyptic ideologies that situated them in the same exploited class as their constituents. Through careful historical and ideological criticism of the Psalms of Solomon, Parables of Enoch, Testament of Moses, and Q source, Keddie identifies an internally diverse tradition of apocalyptic class rhetoric in late Second Temple Judaism.
Co-authored with L. Michael White, Jewish Fictional Letters from Hellenistic Egypt (SBL Press, 2018) presents for the ﬁrst time a complete Greek text and English translation, with introduction, notes, and commentary, of the Epistle of Aristeas with key testimonia from Philo, Josephus, and Eusebius, as well as other related examples of Jewish ﬁctional letters from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.
The Epistle of Aristeas is a Jewish work of the late Hellenistic period that recounts the origins of the Septuagint. This Greek literary text has been caught up for many years in scholarly debates over dating and authenticity. As a result, its epistolary features, and especially those in which the putative author, Aristeas, addresses his brother and correspondent, Philocrates, have largely been ignored. In light of more recent scholarship on epistolary literature in the Greco-Roman world, however, this helpful volume illuminates the epistolary features of the Epistle of Aristeas and other Jewish texts from its milieu, shedding new light on the experience of Jews in Ptolemaic Egypt.
"Keddie's book is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the socioeconomic circumstances under which Jesus' movement emerged."
—Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"An excellent contribution to the study of the matrix of the Christian movement."
—John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale University
"This excellent study can be recommended to New Testament scholars, scholars of ancient Judaism, ancient historians and classicists. Many long-held assumptions about Jews, Jesus, and the early Jesus movement need to be reconsidered on its basis."
—Catherine Hezser, Professor of Jewish Studies, University of London
"I commend the book as nutritious and necessary to New Testament scholars."
—Laura Nasrallah, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale University