John 7:52

New Testament

45 Then the officers returned to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him back with you?” 46 The officers replied, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 Then the Pharisees answered, “You haven’t been deceived too, have you? 48 None of the members of the ruling council or the Pharisees have believed in him, have they? 49 But this rabble who do not know the law are accursed!” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before and who was one of the rulers, said, 51 “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless it first hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?” 52 They replied, “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you? Investigate carefully and you will see that no prophet comes from Galilee!”

Sukkah 28a

Babylonian Talmud

The Gemara relates a similar incident. The Sages taught: There was an incident involving Rabbi Eliezer, who stayed in the Upper Galilee, and the people there asked him thirty halakhot in the halakhot of sukka. In response to twelve, he said to them: I heard an answer from my teachers, and he related what he heard. In response to the other eighteen, he said to them: I did not hear an answer. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: It was the reverse of these matters. In response to eighteen he said to them: I heard an answer; in response to the other twelve he said to them: I did not hear an answer.

 Notes and References

"... In John 7 there are denigratory expressions regarding Galilee. The question of verse 41, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee?”, is not an actual denigration of Galilee, but just an inference from the tradition that “the Messiah will come from the seed of David and from Bethlehem, where David was” (verse 42). At the end of the chapter, however, the Pharisees say to Nicodemus: “Are you also from Galilee? Search [i.e., expound the Scriptures] and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” ... It should not be forgotten that Galilee resembled Judea, and the Land of Israel in general, in being oppressed by government officials. Thus this vague rebuke cannot cancel or even lessen the generality of the proofs of the presence of the sages and their teaching of Torah, in great measure in Galilee as we shall see below. But even if we accept Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai’s authorship of this statement, we can draw no definite conclusions from its blunt language which was employed under specific circumstances. It may be simply an unobjective denigration of the kind we find elsewhere directed against the residents of other geographical areas. An example is another tradition in the Jerusalem Talmud ..."

Safrai, Shmuel The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the First Century (pp. 147-186) Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel, 1990

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