The Jewish-Roman War and Jewish-Christian Relations

By Sean Finnegan

Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100)

- primary source for first-century Jewish history
- Antiquities of the Jews
- The Jewish War

Revolutionary Movements

- Athronges (4 BC)
- Judah the Galilean (AD 6)
- The Samaritan Prophet (AD 36)
- Theudas (AD 45)
- The Egyptian Prophet (AD 58).

Four Types of Judaism

- Pharisees
- Sadducees
- Essenes
- Fourth Philosophy
- Sicarii

The First Jewish-Roman War (66-73)

- Began in 12th year of Nero’s rule
- anti-taxation protests
- Roman governor, Gessius Florus, plundered the temple
- rebellion took Antonia fortress, forcing King Agrippa II and his government to retreat from the city
- Nero sent Vespasian with four legions
- In 69 Vespasian went to Rome to become emperor, leaving his son, Titus, to conquer Jerusalem
- Titus breached the city in 70
- He plundered and burned the temple, leaving for Rome in 71 at the head of a Roman triumph
- The last holdouts fell at Masada in 73

Christians Fled from Jerusalem
- Jesus warned his followers to flee “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies” (Luke 21.2-24)
- Eusebius (AD 324) and Epiphanius (AD 375) both mention the desertion of Christians from Jerusalem

Exclusion of Christians from
Synagogue

- Berkat haMinim = blessing the heretics
- actually a curse upon Christians whom the Jews called “Nazarenes”
- late first century or early second century
- In AD 160, Justin Martyr mentions the curse in the synagogues Rabbinic Judaism
- organized at Yavneh (Jamnia) at the end of the first century
- Mishna (AD 200)
- Talmud (AD 500)

Three Total Jewish-Roman Wars

- 66-73 First Jewish-Roman War
- 115-117 Kitos War
- 132-135 Bar Kokhba Revolt

These wars made Christians less likely to befriend or interact with Jews throughout the Roman Empire in the late-first and early-second centuries. Jews had the reputation of being rebels. Jewish synagogues made it hard for Christians, even those of Jewish ethnicity, to attend since they regularly pronounced a curse on the Nazarenes. Still, Jews and Christians continued to interact and affect each other for the first several centuries of Christianity. Even so, Christianity from the second century onwards gradually adopted Greco-Roman categories of thought, leaving behind our Jewish roots.

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The Jewish-Roman War and Jewish-Christian Relations
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