Friday, November 14, 2014

Jewish History: Six Challenging Times

Norman Cantor (1929-2004), a Jewish medieval historian, wrote a book entitled The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews (HarperCollins, 1994). In its first chapter, he mentions six particularly painful times in Jewish history that we do well to keep in mind.

AD 66-70 Jews in Judea rebel against the Roman state. This results in the massive deportation, enslavement, and death of Jews in Judea and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions sent in response.

115-117 Following the first destruction of Jerusalem in 588 BC by Babylonian armies, significant communities of Jews lived outside the territories of what had been the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. These communities came to be known as the Diaspora (Dispersion, Scattering).

By 250 BC, the Jewish community of Alexandria had grown large and wealthy enough to desire and sponsor the translation of Jewish Scripture from Hebrew into Greek. This translation became known as the Septuagint.

Between AD 115 and 117, Jewish communities in cities across eastern Olympia rebel against the Roman state. This rebellion is especially intense in Alexandria and results in the destruction of the Jewish community there.

1096 Crusaders massacre Jewish communities in the Rhine Valley on their way to Jerusalem.

1492 The large, creative, thriving Jewish community in Iberia is expelled by rulers Ferdinand and Isabella.

1648 Cossacks massacre Jewish communities in Sarmatia.

1660s The messianic claims of Sabbatai Zebi agitate Jewish communities throughout eastern Olympia.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.