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Roman Empire

<i>As a Driven Leaf</i> As a Driven Leaf
Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Phil Cohen | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Milton Steinberg's As a Driven Leaf is no literary masterpiece.  But the novel, with its story of a notorious 2nd-century, C.E. heretic, has been in print for 75 years.  What accounts for the book's appeal to generations of modern Jews? 
Opening the Gates of Judaism Opening the Gates of Judaism
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by Motti Inbari | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Given the demographic and spiritual decline among “biological” Jews in America, if we want to keep Judaism alive, we must do something that we haven't done for 2000 years: proselytize.
Warfare on Shabbat: The Legacy of the Maccabees Warfare on Shabbat: The Legacy of the Maccabees
Friday, December 14, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ezra and Nehemiah were so successful in instilling Shabbat observance that Jews refused to take up arms on Shabbat to defend themselves—with disastrous results.
Chemical Warfare in the Middle East: A Brief History Chemical Warfare in the Middle East: A Brief History
Thursday, December 13, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At this time of Hanukkah’s memories of Syrian tyrants past, the Syrian tyrant present, Bashar al-Assad, has reportedly assembled chemical weapons for use against the rebellion.
A Meditation on <i>Maoz Zur</i> A Meditation on Maoz Zur
Monday, December 10, 2012 by Ismar Schorsch | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In this 1988 essay, Ismar Schorsch writes that the much maligned final stanza of  Maoz Zur, which calls for divine retribution against Israel’s enemies, illustrates a distinction between redemption within history and the ultimate redemption, which must come from without.
Editors' Picks
Was Crucifixion a Jewish Penalty? Geza Vermes, Standpoint. Although never enumerated among biblical forms of capital punishment, both Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that during the Hasmonean era, crucifixion was part of Jewish penal legislation.
Learning from Herod Shmuel Browns, Popular Archaeology. King Herod’s legacy is problematic, but his standing as a master builder is not.  The current Israel Museum exhibit on his architecture and artifacts would have made Herod himself proud.
Masada’s Unscorched Earth Ehud Netzer, Biblical Archeology Review. Josephus records that Masada’s Jewish defenders set it ablaze before the Romans broke in. But the archeological evidence shows a more sophisticated, though futile, defense strategy.
The Truth About Crucifixion Hershel Shanks, Bible History Daily. New analysis of the only remains of a crucified man, discovered in Jerusalem, suggests that victims were not nailed to the cross but tied to it.  Either way, death was by asphyxiation.
Move Over, Jerusalem and Athens Joseph Bottum, Weekly Standard. "We may still derive an intellectual and spiritual geography from such ideas as Athens and Jerusalem.  But we are able to do so only because they are nodes in the empire of Ancient Rome."
Budget-Balancing, Roman-Style , Bible History Daily. The Emperor Vespasian took office amid a fiscal deficit.  But plunder from the Jewish Revolt not only filled the budget hole but financed the construction of the Colosseum.
Josephus the Jew Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal. Yigael Yadin called Josephus “a great historian and a bad Jew.”  But a new book argues that if Josephus was a traitor, “it was to a reckless nationalism he never favored, not to Judaism.”
Of Rabbis and Maccabees Reuben Livingstone, Jewish Chronicle. The rabbis never deny the necessity of self-defense.  So, why does the Talmud’s discussion of Hanukkah downplay the military exploits of the Maccabees?
Under A Tax Shaye J. D. Cohen, Bible History Daily. Vespasian's fiscus judaicus not only undermined the Temple by diverting tithes to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, but may also have accelerated the break between Judaism and Christianity.