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Herod the Great: Jewish King in a Roman World

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A vivid account of the political triumphs and domestic tragedies of the Jewish king Herod the Great during the turmoil of the Roman revolution
Herod the Great is typical of Yale’s Jewish Lives series: short, clear, deeply knowledgeable, deeply illuminating.”—Dominic Green, Wall Street Journal

Herod the Great (73–4 BCE) was a phenomenally energetic ruler who took advantage of the chaos of the Roman revolution to establish himself as a major figure in a changing Roman world and transform the landscape of Judaea. Both Jews and Christians developed myths about his cruelty and rashness: in Christian tradition he was cast as the tyrant who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents; in the Talmud, despite fond memories of his glorious Temple in Jerusalem, he was recalled as a persecutor of rabbis.
The life of Herod is better documented than that of any other Jew from antiquity, and Martin Goodman examines the extensive literary and archaeological evidence to provide a vivid portrait of Herod in his sociopolitical context: his Idumaean origins, his installation by Rome as king of Judaea and cultivation of leading Romans, his massive architectural projects, and his presentation of himself as a Jew, most strikingly through the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple. Goodman argues that later stories depicting Herod as a monster derived from public interest in his execution of three of his sons after dramatic public trials foisted on him by a dynastic policy imposed by the Roman emperor.

Author: Goodman Martin
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9780300228410
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2024

Martin Goodman is Professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford and President of the Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies. He is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and the British Academy. His Rome and Jerusalem, published in 2008, was acknowledged as a landmark in the study of the Jewish people in the Roman Empire, and has been translated into six languages. In 2002 he edited the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, which was awarded the National Jewish Book Award for Scholarship.

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