Abstract: Revolt! Why the Jews Took on Rome


What is the real story behind the animosities that eventually led to the catastrophe of the Jewish Revolt against Rome? Why would a small population without military capabilities or political allies dare to challenge a ruling power of such might? New archaeological evidence reveals a growing cultural divide beginning about two generations before the Revolt broke out, and sheds new light on the prehistory of this explosive event. This lecture will begin with the constructions of Herod the Great and his sons, with a focus on the the places that he built to impress his patrons. The appearance and character of some of those buildings created the conditions that led Jews throughout the land to band together more intensively and eventually persuade some to organize against Rome.


Short bibliography on lecture topic:

Andrea M. Berlin, “Power and Its Afterlife: Tombs in Hellenistic Palestine.” Near Eastern Archaeology 65.2 (2002). Pp. 138-48.

Andrea M. Berlin and J. Andrew Overman, eds. The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, and Ideology. Routledge, London: 2002.

Andrea M. Berlin.  “Jewish Life Before the Revolt: The Archaeological Evidence,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 36.4 (2005). Pp. 417-70.

Andrea M. Berlin  “Identity Politics in Early Roman Galilee,” The Jewish Revolt Against Rome: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism vol. 154. M. Popović, ed. Brill, Leiden (2012). Pp. 69-106.

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