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The Roman-Jewish Wars and Hebrew Cultural Nationalism Hardcover – August 19, 2000

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Hardcover, August 19, 2000
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Editorial Reviews


...provides a readable introduction to many issues that have been widely discussed by scholars. History:Reviews of New Books

About the Author

Moshe Aberbach is Professor Emeritus at the Baltimore Hebrew University.

David Aberbach is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at McGill University, Montreal.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (August 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312231911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312231910
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,292,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In this work the Aberbachs conceive of the roots of the Jewish revolts in 66-70, 115-17 and 132-5 as primarily a clash between Jewish culture on the one hand and Greco-Roman on the other.

The authors view Judaism as a proselytizing force in the years before the first revolt, and a direct competitor to various official and unofficial Roman religions. Unfortunately, the evidence for widespread conversion to Judaism in the Roman Empire at this time period is slim; the authors even point out, on several occasion, the lack of direct evidence. They seem to find implied fear on the part of Roman officials of the spread of Judaism in the empire, and proof of this is the purposeful mismanagement of Judea by Roman prefects who were sure to foment revolt. Other sources show how Jews and Judaism and their revolt were a relatively minor matter for Roman officials. Their revolts needed to be put down, certainly. But they were not a threat to Roman hegemony such as the Germanic tribes to the north of Parthia to the east.

However the second half of this book is an excellent overview of the rise of the rabbinical movement following the destruction of the Temple and the even more crushing defeat of the 132-5 rebellion. Here the Aberbachs show how the rabbis refashioned Jewishness in the face of defeat, developing strategies that would evolve through the centuries and keep alive a form of Jewish nationalism in a less political and volatile and more spiritual form. They draw interesting parallels between Stoic and Rabbinical literatures, illustrating how the Rabbis did not evolve their ideas in an historical vacuum.
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