THE MILITANT DAVIDIC MESSIAH AND VIOLENCE AGAINST ROME: THE INFLUENCE OF POMPEY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN MESSIANISM
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In 63 BCE the army of the Roman General Pompey the Great invaded ancient Palestine, destroyed part of the Jerusalem temple, and ended the nearly eighty-year-old Hasmonean state. The Romans thereafter ruled ancient Palestine either directly or through a series of client kings. The great Jewish War against the Romans of 66–70 CE was largely an effort to restore independent Jewish rule. The Jewish historian Josephus, who served as a general in this conflict, tells us that a messianic oracle inspired many Jews to take up arms against the Romans.1 This nearly five-year conflict ended with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple. Sixty-two years later, Simeon bar Kochba – presumed by many Jews to be the messiah – led Jewish rebels in a second ill-fated revolt against Roman rule. After this failed war, the Jewish community abandoned nationalism and the active hope that a messiah would violently overthrow their oppressors.
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