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Holy War in JudaismThe Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea$
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Reuven Firestone

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860302.001.0001

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Holy War Fails

Holy War Fails

(p.42) Chapter 3 Holy War Fails
Holy War in Judaism

Reuven Firestone

Oxford University Press

With subsequent Roman domination and exploitation of Judea, Jewish leaders were divided over whether resistance should be through military means or otherwise. As is often the case in history, militant factions dominated and imposed their approach. Two great Jewish revolts in Late Antiquity were waged against Roman domination in a pattern not unlike the previously successful Maccabean wars against the Greeks. But not only did the uprising against the Romans fail to achieve their aim of independence, they resulted in the destruction of the beloved Jerusalem Temple, the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, and the end of biblical Judaism. The result was catastrophic destruction which convinced the emerging rabbinic leadership that military valour should be discouraged and military action proscribed.

Keywords:   Great Revolt, Bar Kokhba, Rabbi Akiba, Zealots, Jerusalem, Masada, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, Yavneh, Vespassian, Hadrian

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