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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Diaspora Judaism in Turmoil, 116/117 CE: Ancient Sources and Modern Insights
Pucci Ben Zeev, Miriam

Leuven: Peeters, 2005 pp. xiii +302. $44.00

Series Information
Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Culture and Religion, 6

Description: Between the two wars fought in Judaea against the Roman government—the “Great War” and that of Bar Kochba—the uprisings of Diaspora Jews toward the end of Trajan's reign constitute a unique event in the history of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. Generations of scholars accepted the statement of Eusebius that the uprisings started in 115 CE, but the possibility has been recently put forward that the revolt broke out, instead, only in 116. An assessment of the new theories is a must and involves a reconsideration both of the literary accounts and their own sources and of other kinds of information available, including the ostraca found in Egypt and a number of papyri either recently discovered or only now ascribed to the events of these upheavals. The first part of this work presents here, for the first time, a full collection of the epigraphical, papyrological, and historical sources of pagan, Christian and Jewish origin dealing with these events, in their original language and in English translation. In the second part, a fresh reading, both of the sources and of scholarly views, leads Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev to new interpretations of events in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Judaea and to a new chronology, which enables her to reach surprising conclusions concerning a possible interrelationship between the upheavals in the different countries.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism

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Review by Joshua Schwartz
Published 12/1/2007
Citation: Joshua Schwartz, review of Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism in Turmoil, 116/117 CE: Ancient Sources and Modern Insights, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2007).

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