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Judea Fights For Its Independence
Israel took up arms to defend its Faith, not to win back a separate nation. But its triumph for a spiritual cause awakened the possibility of wresting Judea from the Syrian grasp. (Read More...)
The Apocrypha
In addition to the Book of Daniel there are other writings that throw light on these times; notably the collection known as The Apocrypha. This is a Greek word meaning hidden or obscure. (Read More...)
In The Diaspora
Having brought our story to the close of an epoch, we will pause and glance at the status of the Jew in other lands. The dispersion of Israel in a voluntary way had already begun, though Judea was still the centre of gravity. (Read More...)
Pharisees And Sadducees
The new kingdom acquired de jure (by treaty), must yet be fought for to be maintained de facto. The citadel of Jerusalem, as well as that key to the mountain passes, Gazara, had still to be mastered. Successful in both enterprises, Israel could enjoy some years of long needed peace. (Read More...)
A Royal House Again
The Pharisees on the whole we're the more democratic party, and decided that the maintenance of the Temple should be borne by all and not merely by voluntary offerings of the rich few. This new law brought enormous revenues to the Temple which later became its menace, attracting the covetous rather than the worshipful. (Read More...)
Rival Claimants For The Throne
Even before the good Queen Salome died storm clouds began to darken the horizon of Judah. Her second son, Aristobulus, inherited all-his father's fierceness and tyranny. The throne had been naturally left to the elder brother, Hyrcanus, but the headstrong Aristobulus seized the reins of power on the dangerous theory that he was more fit to rule. (Read More...)
Judea Under Roman Suzerainty
When Greco Syria—which had included Judea until the Maccabean independence—fell before its arms, it was to be expected that the never-satisfied Rome would not rest until the land of our fathers had been added to its possessions. (Read More...)
What had been the result of the attempt of Alexander Janneus to force Judaism upon Idumea? It had begun by giving the Idumean Antipater, from the intimate relations created, the opportunity to make Hyrcanus his puppet, and ended by placing the Jewish crown upon the head of Herod, who was absolutely un-Jewish in ancestry and sympathies, and really a pagan at heart. (Read More...)
Let us now take a glance at the religious life of Judah in this reign. The picture is brighter. Hillel was made president of the Sanhedrin in the year 30. A new direction was given to the development of rabbinic Judaism under his guidance. (Read More...)
Herod's Successors
The selfish Herod had split up his kingdom among his three sons--Archelaus, Antipas and Philip. Before Rome had yet confirmed the succession, and while a procurator was placed in temporary charge, already the sons were intriguing against each other. (Read More...)
Pilate The Procurator
The Procurators fall into two groups, with a Jewish king intervening. The table above is the first group of these administrators of Judea. Their seat of government was Caesarea, a city that had become Jerusalem's rival. (Read More...)
Jesus Of Nazareth
So far the rule of Pontius Pilate as it concerned Judea. But his rule has become of wide import because of his relation to Jesus of Nazareth, who was put to death during his administration, though born in the province of Galilee governed by Herod Antipas. (Read More...)
The Alexandrian School
Before resuming the story of Judea under the procurators, let us take another survey of Jews and Judaism in lands outside of Palestine. The voluntary dispersion still went on. The Jews were now scattered over all the Roman Empire, which included Asiatic and European lands from Syria to Spain. (Read More...)
Philo - Judeus
We are now ready to consider one to whom frequent reference has been made—the greatest of the Alexandrian Jewish missionary philosophers, styled the noblest Judean of his age - Philo-Judeus. (Read More...)
A Jewish King Once More
In taking up again the thread of Judea's story, let its relation to the Roman State be clearly understood. It was under the immediate supervision of the procurator. He in turn was subject to the higher power of the governor of Syria. Both were answerable to the supreme authority—the emperor at Rome. (Read More...)
The Last Procurators
Agrippa's death was a signal for general indignities by Greeks and Romans throughout Palestine against the people who had lost their defender. Burdensome taxation alone would have been borne ; but each in turn of the second group of procurators placed over them seemed actuated by the wanton purpose of trampling upon everything the Jews held sacred, holding their religion up to scorn, and forcing them into rebellion through the madness of despair. (Read More...)
Judea's War With Rome
These moderates, who represented the judicious, formed a Peace Party. Conflict arose between them and the advocates of war, in which Agrippa who aided the former with his troops, had his palace burned and his soldiers put to flight. (Read More...)
The Siege
Glance for a moment at the map of Palestine, so that a mental picture may be formed of the territory involved in the great struggle : Phoenicia, the Lebanon Mountains and Syria ran across the north. Immediately south was the province of Galilee, partly bordering on the Mediterranean and bounded on the east by the province of Gaulonitis and Decapolis, the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee being the dividing line. (Read More...)
The Fall Of Jerusalem
During all this time the daily sacrifices were continued in the Temple. In the presence of the grim monsters, war and starvation, this religious obligation was not forgotten. A proposition of surrender was made at this dire hour, but the besieged would not yield. For Titus chose an unfortunate ambassador—Josephus. (Read More...)
Josephus And His Works
What literature did this sad period produce? There was neither heart nor leisure to turn to poetry or philosophy, or even to write a second Lamentations. But in the prosaic field of history some important works were produced by one individual, who hardly deserves to be included in the fold of Israel—Josephus. (Read More...)
Jochanan Ben Zakkai
The Jews now belonged to no land, yet for that very reason, they, in a sense, belonged to all lands. They were cosmopolitans, citizens of the world. To follow their history after their dispersion by Rome, we shall have to turn to all the settled parts of the globe. (Read More...)
The Palestinian Academies
Jamnia was the first of many Palestinian schools; one was located at Sepphoris, another at Tiberias, both in Galilee; another at Lydda in the south not far from the Mediterranean. So the good work grew, and under sadder auspices the thread of life was taken up again. A new royalty, so to speak, was created in Israel. (Read More...)
Judaism And The Church
New ceremonials grew up in the new faith. Passover was turned into the Easter sacrificial service. The unleavened bread and wine were supposed to be transformed in some mystic way into the flesh and blood of the Savior (as Jesus was styled). Many Roman rites and symbols were consciously or unconsciously taken up by the new creed in the first few centuries of its foundation. (Read More...)
Rome's Regime After Judea's Overthrow
One of the most famous proselytes was Aquila, a Greek of scholarship and wealth. Dissatisfied with the later Greek translations of the Bible, distorted to fit Christian doctrine, Aquila made a literal translation from the Hebrew that so commended itself to the Rabbis that it became the authorized version, so to speak, for the Synagogue. (Read More...)
The man who now came to the fore was of a different mould-the famous Rabbi Akiba. He was born in Palestine in the year 50 C.E. that is, some 20 years before the Temple fell. Many a pretty legend is woven around his life. Have you ever realized that it is only around great men that legends most luxuriantly grow? Imagination does not seek to picture incidents in the lives of the commonplace. (Read More...)
Last Struggle For Liberty
Preparations for rebellion had been carefully planned for some years. Arms had been stored in caves. Akiba was the inspiration of the revolt, its Deborah, let us say. But who was to be its Barak? The times created the man. A hero appeared to lead the forces of Israel whom the multitude in admiration called Bar Cochba (son of a star). (Read More...)
R. Judah - The Saint - And His Times
Sorrowfully the Jews now took up the burden of life once more. In spite of dreadful devastation and dreary outlook the faith and spirit of the majority remained unbroken. Hadrian had tried to eradicate Judaism, but he had failed. The defeated were still the victors. In the year 138 Hadrian was succeeded by the more humane Antoninus Pius. (Read More...)
The Mishna
All the supplementary laws that grew up around the written Codes of the Bible were called, by distinction, the Oral Law. These included the decisions of the Scribes, the Pairs and the Tannaim Rabbi Judah the Nasi made a compilation of all of these and called it The Mishna. Derived from the Hebrew verb shanah, to learn or repeat, the Mishna is popularly known as the Second Law. (Read More...)
Babylonia And Its Schools
Ever since the Bar Cochba war, the numerical centre of gravity of the Jews had shifted to Babylonia, and soon after the compilation of the Mishna in Palestine, Babylonia became the religious centre too. This fertile country, in which history began, lay between the Euphrates and Tigris, with the Persian Gulf at the south. The name Babylon is sometimes used in Jewish annals to include the surrounding lands, with a southwestern boundary, as far as the Arabian Desert. (Read More...)
Christianity The State Church Of Rome
Now we must turn our glance westward again to Rome. At the death of Antoninus Pius in 161, two emperors reigned conjointly-Varus, a degenerate, and Marcus Aurelius, a philosopher. The Roman Empire was becoming steadily demoralized. It was at the mercy of a series of degraded creatures who engaged in scandalous conflicts for the bauble of royal power. (Read More...)
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