When Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, the site of what would one day be the Holy Sepulchre Church was an abandoned stone quarry. A catacomb cut into the western side of the quarry attests that the quarry had fallen into disuse. The innermost chamber of the catacomb contains kokhim tombs. These deep recesses into the […]
Archive for December, 2015
Unlike the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 C.E.), which was chronicled in detail by the first-century historian Josephus, the Second Jewish Revolt, the so-called Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132–135 C.E.), is known only from scraps of ancient literature.1 Archaeology alone can fill in the gaps. And it has been doing so in an amazing way in […]
Personal archive offers a glimpse of ancient Jewish life The column of Roman soldiers marched slowly south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward En-Gedi, one of the region’s major governmental and commercial centers and a stronghold of Simon Bar Kosiba,a leader of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome. Two years earlier, in […]
At Herodium, the isolated mountain palace-fortress complex originally created by Herod the Great in the midst of the Judean desert,1 an underground tunnel system dating to the Bar-Kokhba revolt, the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132–135 A.D.), has recently been discovered. Unlike the low, narrow underground burrows Amos Kloner describes in “Name of Ancient Israel’s […]
Amos Kloner. “Name of Ancient Israel’s Last President Discovered on Lead Weight.” Biblical Archaeology Review 14, 4 (1988).
An extraordinary artifact has recently been discovered in the Judean foothills south of Jerusalem, dating from the time of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132–135 A.D.). It is a lead weight bearing the name, in Hebrew letters, of the leader of the revolt and head of state of the then newly declared nation of […]
Kenneth G. Holum. “Iter Principis- Hadrian’s Imperial Tour.” Biblical Archaeology Review 23, 6 (1997).
The early Greek rulers did it. And the Roman emperors followed suit: making a royal tour of the provinces, showing the flag, as it were, accepting the plaudits of the crowds at each stop and connecting with the people according to carefully prescribed customs and rituals. The Romans called it the iter principis, the “itinerary […]
The second–third-century Roman historian Cassius Dio claimed that the Romans destroyed 985 Jewish villages while suppressing the so-called Bar-Kokhba Revolt, the Second Jewish Revolt. I believe we have excavated one of those villages at a site now known as Horvat ‘Ethri, just 15 miles southwest of the rebel capital at Bethar.1 At the end of […]
Werner Eck. “Hadrian’s Hard-Won Victory- Romans Suffer Severe Losses in Jewish War.” Biblical Archaeology Review 33, 5 (2007).
The First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 A.D.), which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, was chronicled by the great Jewish historian Josephus. Much of his Jewish War, which extends to 681 pages in the standard Loeb Classical Texts edition, is an eye-witness account: Josephus commanded the Jewish forces […]
Steven Fine. “From Meeting House to Sacred Realm- Holiness and the Ancient Synagogue.” Sacred Realm- The Emergence of the Synagogue in the Ancient World. Ed. Steven Fine. New York; Oxford- Oxford University Press, 1996.
The synagogue is among the most influential religious institutions in the history of Western civilization. In this place of “coming together” (Greek synagoge, Hebrew beit haknesset), Judaism created a communal religious experience that previously was almost unknown. 1 Within the ancient synagogue believers assembled to read the Sacred Scripture, to pray, and to form community with their God. This “democratic” […]
In 70 C.E. Roman legions destroyed the Jerusalem Temple, Judaism’s holiest structure and the “dwelling place of God’s name.” Despite this loss, Judaism was to survive and prosper. In the following centuries, the synagogue itself came to be seen as a “holy place.” Does this mean, as some people suppose, that the synagogue as we […]