Jews, Church & Civilization
TimeLine Volume II
Common Era (CE) commences
Development of Christianity
the first 700 years:
a rough schematic
40-62 CE Paul: Embryonic Christianity
62-100 CE The Greek Paulines: Early Christianity
101-749 CE The Church Fathers
0 CE: ONE HUNDRED YEARS INTO THE FLOURISHING TANNNAIC PERIOD
– of the Talmud
The Tannaic period was of approximately 320 year duration – from c. 100 BCE – 220 CE
(This is entirely a Pharisee continuum, as is, almost by definition, the entire Talmud.)
Jewish law morphs via the Talmud from the written law*
of the Torah (the Old Testament) to the redacted law of the Talmud, to be known as the “Oral Law” (even though, as noted prior, the debates and conclusions are ultimately written down in the Talmud itself).
The debates on the Oral Law, and the decisions of the Tannaim (high level rabbinic scholars who are the actual debaters in the Mishnah), are contained in the Mishnah. [Also, supplemental to the Mishnah are the Baraita and the Tosefta.] Perhaps, see quick–reference Wikipedia online on keyword Talmud for easily–accessible explanations of each: Baraita, Tosefta and, as well, Aggadah].
The Talmud is hierarchical in its redaction. At the apex is the Torah, the Five Books of Moses.
Next comes the Mishnah.
Basically, the Mishnah will interpret the Torah.
Then, the Gemara will interpret the Mishnah.
Mishnah (plus its supplements) + Gemara = the core of the Talmud = “the Shas”
Basically, the conclusions of the Gemara become
halacha, or Jewish Law.
There are several important commentaries included in virtually all Talmuds. These commentaries would include, among others, Rashi and Tosefoth.
The major corpus of debate and discussion is the Gemara. The ratio of Mishnah to Gemara discussion is about 1:10.
[Note: the Baraita and Toefta are supplements to the Mishnah, and hierarchically come between the Mishnah and the Gemara.]
This is all somewhat difficult to understand, because in reality it is, indeed, complex.
As a historical note on the day–to–day reality, note that many of the Tannaim worked as craftsmen during business hours, as cobblers, charcoal burners, etc. In their parallel Jewish leadership world, they were teachers, rabbinics, judges, leaders of the people, and interlocutors with the Roman Empire.
6 CE: JUDEA OFFICIALLY BECOMES A ROMAN PROVINCE
The rise of the (Jewish) Zealots is a consequence.
6 CE TENSION: Tensions will now rise as pagan Rome now takes over direct control of much of Judea, including Jerusalem, as well as the appointment of the High Priest. A tax revolt by the Jews is the first riposte. Judea will not see peace further that century.
As of this point, Rome, not the Jews, controls the Temple hierarchy. (Rome will appoint the historically notorious High Priest Caiaphas 21 years later in 27 CE.)
Jewish–Roman fighting will break out years later, in 66 CE. First, there will be a Roman police action as a consequence. This will ratchet–up into a full–scale Roman assault by 68 CE.
20 CE: JESUS OF NAZARETH PREACHES
Neo–Pharisee Jewish rabbi, teacher and healer, Jesus preaches mostly in the Galilee area of Israel until his crucifixion by Rome in 33 CE.
Since there is no contemporaneous or near contemporaneous more than fragmentary documentation of the life of Jesus, the various gospels, primarily those crafted in the c. 70–110 CE period, roughly 37–77 years after his death, project him onto the world stage.
Historically, the Jews are voluminous writers and obsessive record–keepers, but no (more than fragmentary) Jewish or other credible contemporaneous record (even within several decades of his execution in Rome) has ever surfaced documenting the life of Jesus. Compounding the problem, the Catholic Church had a de facto hammerlock for many centuries on any archival material potentially surfacing regarding his life, with a severe conflict of interest as the de facto archive controller. In any event, no contemporaneous documentation is known to us. Thus, either documents never existed or they were lost or destroyed.
There is no reason to believe that Jesus was not, at least originally, one of several dynamic, humanistic, neo–messianic Jewish rabbinics/teachers of high–level consciousness in this spiritually hyper–intense era. Preaching to his Jewish flock, involved with healing and other spirituality, intersecting with John the Baptist, he was then crucified by Rome as a potential political threat.
Almost definitely of the Pharisee–Orthodox neo–Hillel–school, with a concomitant heavily humanistic thrust, Jesus had a religious–political following. The size of movement is unclear, but may have been small prior to crucifixion. With a religious–political following as a backdrop to his ‘in your face’ remonstrations in Jerusalem to the Romans and their lackeys in 33 CE, Jesus was perceived as over the Roman ‘red–line’ by the hyper–vigilant Roman military dictatorship of Pontius Pilate. It is not unlikely that Jesus was out of grace with the Roman–appointed, and hence co–opted, Sadducee High Priest Caiaphas, as well. There is no reason, however, to believe that the Sadducees conspired, let alone convened any assembly or court, to motivate Rome to execute him.
Note that sundry Temple and religious rabbinical authorities have been the subject of criticism and protest, often severe, by pluralistic Jewish religious groups for the past 3000 years. Indeed, at the time of Jesus, the (dominant, Temple–controlling Roman–co–opted) Sadducee priesthood of Judaism was under sustained and growing intellectual, political, and religious assault by the ascendant Pharisee wing of Judaism.
The then–challenging Pharisee wing has emerged as the overwhelming and exclusive corpus of Judaism subsequent to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
The Sadducee priesthood power base imploded with the First Roman War, c. 68–71 CE.
While the Canon Gospels consistently posture Jesus in opposition to the Pharisees, and while the Canon Gospels then demonize the Pharisees (Judaism) across the board, this is a major divergence from the thrust of the actual historical record. The Temple leadership was Sadducee, not Pharisee as portrayed in the Canon Gospels. The primary challenge of Jesus was versus Rome, and symbolically versus the Sadducees in Jerusalem. He did not challenge the Pharisees. The center of gravity of the power–nexus of the Sadducees was in Jerusalem. As was that of Rome in Judea. Jesus himself was Pharisee or neo–Pharisee.
There were two de facto alignments, however subtle, and notwithstanding disagreements, however severe, intra–alignment:
The “In–crowd” power:
the Sadducees (Jewish)
The “Out–crowd” theological–philosophical alignment:
the Pharisees (ultimately normative Judaism)
the (Jewish) Siccari (assassins)
the Jewish Essenes (ascetics)
the (Jewish) Zealots (armed rebels)
Trying to straddle both camps was Herod Antipater.
But, by and large Rome, which “had all the guns,” held all the cards, of course.
Jesus was clearly aligned with the “Out–crowd” camp. The (“Out–crowd”) Jews in due course launch full–scale rebellion against Rome, with, first insurgency in 66 CE, and then, by 68 CE, full–scale armed revolt against Rome, 33–35 years after the very same Roman leadership crucified Jesus. Thus, the (Pharisee–aligned) Jews are attacking the forces of the crucifier of Jesus. At this point, the allies of the gospel writers, political antagonists of the Jews, are well behind the lines. Back in the greater Turkey–area, the Gospel writers and associates commence composing and disseminating gospels.
While Jesus was thus Pharisee–aligned, the Gospels nevertheless cast Jesus as in opposition to the Pharisees (then, the insurgent Judaism, and today, normative Judaism).
Positioning Jesus as anti–Pharisee then breaches an opening for the gospels to paint normative Judaism in harsh brushstrokes. By flipping the very clear primary thrust of the historical role of the Pharisees vis à vis Jesus, the gospel writers are able to then position normative Judaism as adversarial to the teachings of Jesus. The historical truth, however, is that Jesus fought the (minority) Temple–controlling Sadducees, as did the Pharisees, a.k.a. the normative Jews.
Thus, the direct ancestors of the twentieth Century Jewish teenager and Nazi–victim Ann Frank, were these very Pharisees—who were, as well, politically and theologically opposed to the Roman–Sadducee High Priest. Components of the Pharisee alignment took on Rome step–by–step.
Jesus was aligned in parallel with this insurgent Pharisee (mainstream Judaism) current in Judaism. Both Jesus and the Pharisees—normative Judaism today—launched insurgencies—whether political or armed—of one intensity or another, and in one form or another against both the Sadducee High Priest and the Romans. All Jews today are, indeed of the Pharisee / Hillel / populist / Oral Tradition / humanistic school of Judaism.
The Sadducee sect was a short–lived 200–year interlude from c. 150 BCE to 70 CE intersecting with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The Sadducees aligned one wing of the priesthood with components of the Jewish social aristocracy, but never represented greater Jewish society at–large. The Sadducee power role steadily diminishes over the course of the First Century. The destruction of Temple II in 70 CE and the Roman onslaught/persecution/expulsions finalized the implosion of the Sadducees.
The Talmud (embracing the Oral Tradition of Judaism) was crafted ongoing during this period by Pharisee Judaism, i.e. normative rabbinic Judaism. The Sadducees rejected the Oral Tradition.
The Sadducees rejected concepts of the world–to–come. Jesus embraced concepts of this genre. The Pharisees as a whole embraced the concept, among other divergences from the Sadducees.
However, the important “salvation” thrust in Christian theology regarding the world–to–come, is not an outgrowth of Pharisee theology, nor was it part of Jesus’s theology.
Historian Josephus is dismissive of the Sadducees. Modern Orthodox Judaism probably considers them a short–lived, temporarily politically powerful, and overbearing (if not reactionary) group.
While evidence is not conclusive, the Essenes group of Dead Sea Scrolls fame was most likely a highly ascetic, purist, generally apocalyptic rabbinic breakaway (primarily) from the overbearing, possibly stifling, Sadducee priesthood group in Jerusalem.
Thus, the Jews are challenging the Sadducees on multiple fronts and in multiple formats –
- The Pharisees (current normative Judaism) challenged frontally theologically and philosophically, and ultimately prevailed.
- The ascetic Essenes challenged by self–imposed exile to the Qumran/Dead Sea area.
- The Jew Jesus challenged via a more highly–personalized, parochialistic approach. Jesus had common ground with normative Pharisee neo–Hillel Judaism, not with Sadducee, his antagonists, and the antagonists of what emerged as normative Judaism today.
- Meanwhile, the Jewish Zealots – de facto aligned and overlapping with Pharisee Judaism—are maneuvering to overthrow both Rome—and the “straddler” Sadducee High Priest, by violent means, ultimately by full–scale rebellion. To the (Jewish) Zealots, the Sadducee High Priest is a tool of the Roman Procurator and his Romans overlords. Both the High Priest and Rome are anathema. Two plagues joined–at–the–hip. But Rome held 99 percent of the levers of power; the Sadducees, one percent at most. The impotent Sadducees were a fig–leaf for Roman rule over the Temple. The Zealots will ultimately lead the (recalcitrant) Jews into war with Rome. They want Judea rid of Rome, and its lackey.
In the post–Temple II era the Sadducees then disappear from history. Their Temple II–base is gone, and they are anathema to the populace, at–large.
The Essenes disappear from history as well, but come back with a vengeance through their scrolls* 2,000 years later.
The Zealots ultimately provoke Rome—into onslaught.
The Pharisees prevail over the Sadducees. The Pharisees were persecuted/decimated/exiled by the Romans and then, post–Constantine, persecuted and dehumanized by the ascendant Christian powers that be. The Pharisees are the Jews. They are the subject and focus of this entire timeline.
Jesus’s original theology is apparently first morphed by Paul and then more radically morphed by the Greek Paulines. The emergent Greek Pauline sect, in turn, replete with a heavy influx of Mediterranean–area converts, morphs into what becomes normative Christianity.
In the four decades immediately commencing with the Roman assault on the Jews of 66–71 CE, the gospels emerge. The Jews are distracted at this point. The Jewish elite are being hunted and murdered by the Romans. At this point, the New Christian gospel–writers begin writing—about Jesus—and the Pharisees (normative Judaism). It would appear that the historical record is “textured” (i.e. distorted) in this 70 CE – 110 CE period by sundry gospel–tellers. While this is going on as a backdrop, Jesus is deified and the Jews are demonized in the Pauline Greek–aligned churches. The Virgin Mary starts to emerge as a central motif of the Christians. The Pharisee insurgent role in Judaism and Roman–controlled Judea is concomitantly turned inside out by the eventual gospel story tellers. The Pharisee role is inverted by the Canon Gospels as adversarial to Jesus, when, in reality, it is actually humanistically aligned with Jesus. All agree that the gospels were originally, as they are called, gospels, i.e. stories.
The de facto inversion of the historical alignments of Sadducee and Pharisee by the Canon Gospels opens the door for the gospels to demonize emergent normative Judaism. If emergent normative Judaism had been portrayed accurately as having been in basic humanistic alignment with Jesus, the gospel–demonization of those same Jews would have been awkward and unable to achieve traction.
That being said, with Christianity controlling the organs of the Roman Empire post–Constantine, and tailoring the history books of the Empire to suit their theological–historical–political objectives, and controlling the archives of 99.9 percent of the extant texts, and with the Jewish intellectual elite decimated, dispersed and under the heel of the Church, the actual reality of the life of Jesus will, respectfully, never be known to the world.
But the gospels not only invert the Pharisee and Sadducee roles, the voluminous gospels also neglect to mention five key points:
1) The High Priest Caiaphas was Sadducee
– and anathema to the Jews
2) A multi–faceted and almost wall–to–wall Jewish alignment
was poised against Rome and (the Sadducee High Priest) Caiaphas
3) The Sadducees were soon to be relegated to the dustbin of history by
the Jewish alignment
4) Caiaphas never had any independent power to
begin with, and most importantly –
5) Jesus was in humanistic alignment with emergent mainstream normative Judaism
Now, if a dozen New Christian activists had sat around a campfire on a hill overlooking the Bosporous waterway in modern day Turkey in August of 70 CE, as their political adversaries the Jews were being decimated by the Romans in Judea, and if the 12 told the story of a messianic Jesus, and elected to demonize their Jewish political adversaries via gospel–vignettes, and then each of the dozen dutifully missionizing activists went his own way, retelling the tale in his own words and spin, the result would not have been much different than the four later–edited Canon Gospels we have today.
Note: Combining any religious authority with any political power whatsoever is always a recipe for trouble, across all civilizations and religions. The greater the power, the greater the abuses. The eventual near–absolute political power of the Roman Catholic church over the Roman Empire, would have intense consequences.
The current wisdom regarding the Essenes is that they were a Jewish group that flourished primarily in the 200 BCE – 100 CE era, roughly paralleling the tenure of the Sadducees in Jerusalem. Symbolically, and very generally speaking, the worldly Sadducees in the Jerusalem capitol were counterpoised against the ascetic Essenes in the Judea desert just outside of Jerusalem.
Many separate but related and interconnected groups of that period and of the Qumran/Dead Sea area intersected in their mystical and/or eschatological (world–to–come) and/or messianic and/or ascetic beliefs. Collectively, they are referred to as Essenes. Clearly there were divergences between them, as well as theological–philosophical morphings over the pivotal 300–year time span.
26 CE: PONTIUS PILATE BECOMES (ROMAN) GOVERNOR OF JUDEA
He will have near total power on a day–to–day basis. His tenure will last over a decade (c. 26–36 CE). In 33 CE Pilate will unilaterally sentence Jewish teacher and political challenger Jesus of Nazareth to death by crucifixion.
According to the contemporaneous Alexandrian Jewish philosopher/chronicler Philo (20 BCE – 50 CE), Pilate was “inflexible, he was stubborn, of cruel disposition, He executed troublemakers without a trial.” Philo refers to Pilate’s “venality, his violence, his thefts, assaults, abusive behavior, endless executions, endless savage ferocity.”
–Philo, On the Embassy of Gauis Book XXXVIII 299–305
c. 26–29 CE: JOHN THE BAPTIST’S PREACHING AND BAPTIZING
29 CE: JOHN THE BAPTIST IMPRISONED
John the Baptist arrested by Herod Antipas (see Herodian Dynasty chart in appendix First Century).
John was imprisoned in the Herodian fortress of Machaerus, about 9 miles east of the Dead Sea (in modern–day Jordan).
At this time, there was one preeminent center of power: Rome, as personified by Pontius Pilate. There were two significantly subordinate, nominal centers of power in greater Judea given a modicum of deference by Rome: Herod Antipas to the northeast in secular matters, and the Sadducees at the Temple in Temple matters. Both Herod Antipas and the Sadducees High Priest were implanted in Judea by Rome, served at Rome’s pleasure, and generally did nothing which might conceivably antagonize Rome.
There was another power center—the Jewish religious/nationalist /Zealot–alignment—most certainly not given any standing by Rome. Quite the contrary; it was poised and coiled against Rome and the Sadducee High Priest.
John was beheaded by Herod Antipas in the early 30s CE (precise year unknown) as a threat to the local order.
33 CE: SHOWDOWN AT CAESAREA
Nonviolent/Passive Resistance #101
Pilate instructs his centurions to carry their official Roman ensigns (regimental battle standards bearing the Emperor’s image) into Jerusalem under cover of darkness and deliver them to Antonia Fortress, contiguous to the Temple Complex.
The Jews are furious, as it smacks of paganism at the Temple complex.
Angry Jews from Jerusalem and the countryside assemble in Jerusalem and then march in protest 90+ miles to Pilate’s seaside palace in Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast in protest.
Pilate refuses to budge. The regimental ensigns are to remain on the Temple Mount.
The protesters then bring the city center of Caesarea to a halt by staging a 5–day nonviolent sit–down strike – first opposite Pilate’s palace.
Pilate still does not budge.
Then, after 5 full days, they assemble peacefully in the main public Square (the agora) to attempt to present a petition to Pilate.
Pilate refuses to accept the petition.
But, Pilate does mass columns of centurions, and threatens to “slice the Jews into pieces” if they do not return home immediately to Jerusalem.
The protesters do not budge.
Pilate orders his troops to draw their swords.
The Jews lie down, face up, their throats exposed.
The Jewish protest leaders then announce to the Romans that all the protesters are fully prepared to die for their religious honor.
–then backs down—and advises that the offending ensigns on the Temple Mount will, indeed, be removed from Jerusalem forthwith.
The 33 CE the Jewish protest leaders understood that, in principle, Rome wanted no bloodshed of non–threatening protesters, that Rome would tend to back down every time, as long as Roman honor was not challenged, no violence threatened or enacted, and no provocations offered.
In retrospect and hindsight, clearly this was the optimal route to “force Rome’s hand,” but the approach required thorough discipline and very carefully chosen encounters—with fully committed, disciplined and motivated protesters prepared to die.
So to recapitulate on the tactical chessboard: If employed adroitly, moral authority + passive resistance + willingness to die + tight discipline, could trump Roman military might (peacefully).
Mohandas Gandhi and the legendary philosophy Satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through passive resistance civil disobedience—attributed to him in the mid–twentieth century had a clear predecessor 1,833 years earlier.
The astute First Century Jewish mastermind behind the “Caesarea Satyagraha,” whoever he/she was, understood full well that the Romans wanted total local “control” but that if one yielded this to them, they would be vulnerable to disciplined, nonviolent moral protest.
What the Romans truly feared most of all, was an out–of–control nationwide conflagration. Rome did not want any local “matchstick” to light up any out of control “bonfire.”
33 CE: JESUS CRUCIFIED
–by Roman procurator Pontius Pilate.
33 CE: The burial of JESUS
Jesus, Mary, John and all the Twelve Disciples are Jewish, and, to the best of our knowledge, are buried well within the norms of Jewish tradition. Only starting primarily in the fourth century, post–Constantine, at which time much of First Century history is retouched by the dominating and domineering Catholic Church, are these key personages somehow morphed out of their very explicit and clear–cut Orthodox Jewish identities into more universal identities.
Only the apostle Judas Iscariot, singled–out to be demonized by the Church, is first demonized, and then markedly left with his full Jewish identity intact.
To be more specific, in fact the entire group – Jesus, his disciples and his family – were all Orthodox Jewish (Pharisees).
33 CE: MARY MAGDALENE
–The sole asserted witness to the asserted resurrection of Jesus.
Mary is Jewish, like the rest of the Disciples of Jesus, but the sole female.
She is later to be severely vilified and trashed by Pope (Saint) Gregory the Great—one of the four Latin Fathers of the Church—in the latter half of the 500s CE.
The vilification is basically terminated presumably once–and–for–all, by liturgical changes made in 1969 (1400 years after Gregory) in the Catholic liturgy.
This matter is important because Mary Magdalene is the sole witness to the assorted Resurrection of Jesus – to one of the two key pillar miracles of Catholicism, the other being the asserted Immaculate Conception. It is far from clear what would motivate Gregory to undermine “the witness.”
c. 36 CE: KINGDOM OF ADIABENE
The conversion to Judaism of the kingdom of Adiabene (in the upper Tigris region, modern–day northern Iraq), initiated by Queen Helena and her son Izates, marks the apogee of Jewish proselytizing in the Second Temple period both in the Parthian East and in the Greco–Roman world.
(Eli Barnavi, A Histrorical Atlas of the Jewish People. New York: Schocken Books, 1992)
38 CE: bucking CALIGULA
Five years after the Roman execution of Jesus in Jerusalem, Emperor Caligula in Rome declares himself a god and orders his statue to be set up at every temple and synagogue across the empire. Jewish riots subsequently break out in Alexandria, Egypt.
40 CE: ALEXANDRIA
Riots by the Jews again break out over the same (pagan Caligula) issue in Alexandria.
40 CE: PHILO
Hellenistic–Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (a.k.a. Philo Judaeus) heads a delegation of Alexandrian Jews to Rome importuning Caligula regarding an anti–Semitic Alexandrian conflagration.
In Judaism, Philo is regarded more as a prominent historical hybrid (Jewish/Aristotelian) philosopher per se. The Alexandrian Philo himself may have liked being in that hybrid zone.
Philo is known for synthesizing Greek and Jewish thought.
40 CE: YAVNEH stirs
Jews in Jamnia (Yavneh, Central Israel) destroy an altar to Caligula (Emperor of Rome).
40 CE: CALIGULA plays GOD
Angered by the destruction of the statue of himself in Jamnia, Caligula, back in Rome, ups the ante and orders that a statue of himself be erected in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.
The Jews of Judea gear–up for revolt against Caligula and Rome. The Jews are “locked and loaded.”
Fearing a conflagration, Roman governor of Syria (with dominion over Judea), Publius Petronius, slows down and delays the construction of the statue for nearly a year, playing for time.
Caligula is made aware of the delaying action, but is strangely simpatico to Publius’s maneuver blocking his own (Caligula) request, inasmuch as while Caligula is somewhat mad, he is not suicidal. Quite the contrary. The salient point is that the Roman Governor is careful not to overplay his hand as regards Jewish religious honor. The local Roman rulers are attuned to the sensitivities of “Jewish honor,” and, as a matter of policy, wish to avoid going over Jewish “red lines.”
And the Jews of Judea in the first century have no shortage of red lines, of course. But the Romans, with dominion over the world’s greatest empire, are sometimes wont to over–reach, sometimes with deliberate orders from Rome, sometimes through overly impetuous subordinates.
On some level, with the hubris of empire, and with their own hyper–aggressive Roman legions as a backdrop, they are hard–wired to press to the max. The Jewish right–wing (or far right–wing), however, is not particularly interested in the nuances of the Roman macho psyche. With no referee to intervene, the two forces, one politico–military and one politico–spiritual, continuously grate against each other, intermittently skirmish, and are perhaps fated to eventually collide (not once, but three major times within a 70–year time–span, from 67 CE to 137 CE).
41 CE: CALIGULA ASSASSINATED
Caligula’s assassination (unrelated to the Jews) in Rome ends that particular (putative statue–in–the–Temple) incendiary issue.
46–48 CE: THE FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY OF (St.) PAUL and (St.) BARNABAS
49–62 CE: (St.) PAUL MISSIONS TO THE GENTILES
St. Paul’s Mission to the Gentiles: in Ephesus (53–56) (ancient Greece), and in Rome (60–62).
50 CE: NERO, 12, adopted by the Emperor CLAUDIUS
c. 62 CE: Council of Jerusalem
a.k.a. The Apostolic Conference
The Council of Jerusalem (led by Paul) exempts Christians from the precepts of Jewish law.
Inasmuch as the Greek Paulines Christians radically undermine—and indeed, overthrow—the Orthodox Judaism of Jesus, and his successor James the Just, the true details and even the date of the Council of Jerusalem are shrouded in political positioning. The Church would like to date the Council of Jerusalem as early as possible (to 50 CE), and portray James as yielding somewhat on Jewish law as regards a class of converts.
This author believes that James the Just never yielded on halachah—Jewish law—and that the Council of Jerusalem may have taken place closer to his murder c. 62 CE. Indeed, in my opinion, it was probably James’s stalwart defense of the Orthodox Judaism of his crucified brother, which resulted in his possibly politically–inspired lynch–murder.
60s CE: “Q”
A document, “Q” a.k.a. “the Logia” – hypothesized by some Christians to exist and to contain compiled writings concerning Jesus.
No document in part or in full is extant. Others believe that the hypothesis is but an attempt to date the roots of the Gospels closer to the time of Jesus. Additionally, a hypothesis is necessary to explain the too–close matching, often verbatim, of gospels “Matthew” and “Luke” (and “Mark”) if they are indeed, the result of witness to event accounts. Meaning, experts explain, asserted bona fide credible independent accounts should be similar, but not verbatim—unless there is a source–document. But, no source–document has ever been produced.
This author believes there was, indeed, a very carefully calibrated source document, “Q” – a document which shaped the future contours of Christianity, but which included an embedded determination to foster deep–rooted animus towards the Jews and laid the groundwork for the demonizations to come. Meaning, a highly politicized and manipulative document.
c. 60 CE: THE SICARII
–Extremist splinter–group of Jewish Zealots which attempts to expel the Romans from Judea (c. 6–70 CE, but primarily 50–70 CE).
The Sicarii concealed sicae—small daggers—under their cloaks, hence the name of the group. At assemblies and pilgrimages to Jerusalem, they assassinated their enemies, enemy sympathizers and purported enemy sympathizers. Apparently, they often “lamented” vociferously after the killings to conceal and distract from their own role in the killings. Sicarii means “dagger–men.”
They are associated historically (along with the Zealots) with the destruction of Jerusalem’s food supply when the city was under incipient Roman siege c. 66 CE—with their (difficult to understand) “logic” being that their actions would preclude negotiations with the Romans. This action has not been viewed kindly by Jewish history.
One of their leaders, Eleazar ben Ya’ir, escaped the Roman onslaught and fled with others to Masada, where he became a preeminent leader in that resistance saga and eventual mass–suicide.
62 CE: GESSIUS FLORUS
In Jerusalem, Roman procurator Gessius Florus steals Temple taxes, further bringing matters to a boil and strengthening the political position of the (Jewish) Zealots, who continue to ratchet–up for rebellion.
c. 62 CE: PAUL (beheaded)
Founder of Embryonic Christianity
–Executed by Rome – in Rome
c. 62 CE: JAMES THE JUST
–Murdered by parties unknown – in Jerusalem
c. 64 CE: PETER
–Crucified upside–down by Rome – in Rome
Early 66 CE: HELLENIST provocations
–of mainstream Jews in Galilee provoke a Jewish attack upon a small Roman garrison. It is hypothetically possible that Greek Paulines had a hand in the provocations.
This is the first shed blood. Roman blood.
It will prove a fateful turning point – both for the Jews at that time, and in the span of Jewish history. Shedding blood at any time is a very serious matter. Shedding the blood of the soldiers of the Roman Empire after Rome had given the Jews very considerable autonomy and (by Roman standards) prerogatives as regards the Temple State—was not, shall we say, optimal.
The Jews have just kicked “Superman” (i.e. the Roman Empire) in the shin. And “Superman” was not amused.
But, then again, neither was the Jewish politico–religious right–wing.
66 CE: first JEWISH insurgent actions
–against the Roman Empire.
Caesarea, Upper Galilee, Judea.
(Nero has been Emperor of Rome since 54 CE).
“Summer: Beginning of the Revolt. Resurgence of trouble in Caesarea; clashes with the procurator Florus in Jerusalem; Herod Agrippa II makes a public address in Jerusalem in a last attempt to prevent the insurrection; suppression by the Zealots of sacrifices in honor of the emperor; the Sicarii attacks Masada, killing the Roman garrison there. Moderate leaders ask for help from Agrippa and Florus, and 2000 Roman horsemen arrive in the capital [Jerusalem] and occupy the Upper City; the rebels, holding the Lower City and the Temple Mount, besiege the Roman garrison. During the siege, the rebels kill [Sadducee] high priest Hanania and his brother Hezekiah. On the same day several Jews are killed in Caesarea leading to reprisals perpetrated by their brethren in other Greek cities. The Roman garrison in Jerusalem is destroyed.”
– A Histrorical Atlas of the Jewish People
As noted, the price of internal civil war in Judea in the century before Jesus between (Maccabean dynasty) Hyrcanus II and (Maccabean dynasty) Aristobulus was a mortal weakness, which General Pompey of Rome exploited to gain control back in 63 BCE with relatively minimal effort. The proud Judeans bristled at the subsequent Roman rule, and the Zealots viewed the Occupation through their own lens. The end–result of the initial internecine Jewish fighting [in 63 BCE] was ultimately to be an unmitigated national disaster on a grand and historic catastrophic scale – commencing at this point.