- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; First Paperback Edition edition (June 25, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521447828
- ISBN-13: 978-0521447829
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ruling Class of Judaea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt against Rome, A.D. 66-70 First Paperback Edition Edition
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"This brief review cannot do justice to Goodman's substantive and provocative book. He has presented a plausible, well-argued, and significant contribution to the debate surrounding the reasons for the Jewish War. I heartily recommend it." Journal of Biblical Literature
"This is a well-written and persuasive book. Goodman reads Josephus with considerable political insight and a keen eye for detail. Re-read Josephus on the War; then read Goodman." The Expository Times
"This is one of those rare books from which one learns something new on almost every page. It goes without saying that it will be required reading for all students of Judaea in the intertestamentary period. It should also be on the desk of anyone with a serious interest in Roman provincial history and society." Journal of Jewish Studies
This examination of the background of the AD 66 Judaean revolt against Rome attempts to explain the rebellion as well as its temporary success by discussing the role of the Jewish ruling class sixty years preceding it and in the dependent state that lasted until AD 70.
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The Romans had a brilliant technique for dealing with their conquered territories. They would "build upon existing institutions, and depose the existing local leaders from power only when it seemed absolutely necessary" (p 29).
But there was a problem when it came to the Jews. Throughout most of the Roman world, rich landowners drew much of their prestige from patronage. Among the Jews, status was more likely to be tied to priestly function, and even a very poor man could be highly respected if he knew the scriptures well. On the other hand, the vast wealth of a tax collector or the power of a Herod drew no respect from the populace.
Religion and ideas--that was what counted in Jewish society. Many believed God would intervene and bring about a ruler from David's line. Josephus blames Judas of Galilee for the argument that "Jews should prefer death to submission to any mortal master instead of God" (p 93).
Goodman argues that the ruling class, for the most part, supported the war, and he gathers an impressive set of facts to prove it. Josephus suggested that the rulers stayed in Jerusalem only due to a pious wish to save the temple from destruction. Yet not only is this not true, as Goodman shows, the rulers, were, in fact, in charge throughout most of the war.
Over a million Jews died in the war. The few survivors were either crucified or shipped to Rome as slaves.
And afterwards, so much was changed. The temple was gone, and with it, all sacrifice and the entire priestly structure. To be a priest you had to prove your lineage, and all these papers were burned with the fire that destroyed the temple.