History

The First Middle East Crisis

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations, by Martin Goodman; Vintage Books, 2008, 640 pages, $34.95. This book helps us understand the relationship between the ancient Romans and the ancient Jews. As history from above, it describes the geopolitical relationship between the Julio-Claudian dynasty (49 BC to 68 AD) and the Herodian dynasty (37 BC to 92 AD) and the way the landscape changed after Nero’s death in 68 AD. As history from below, it tells us something about the people the Herodians tried to govern, including the religious establishment, and nationalistic elements that supported insurrection when they weren’t…

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