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About us Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society Organization Staff PhD Research Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins

Marijn Vandenberge

The First Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE): a socio-anthropological study into its causes

This project examines the outbreak of the Judean revolt against Rome in 66 CE, culminating in the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Applying particular sociological insights, its aim is to overcome a deadlock in current research, which relies on the prevalence of one-sided models and perspectives. As an alternative, more attention is paid to the correlation between cultural-ideological developments, socio-political dynamics and aspects of Roman imperial politics in Judea society, which all had a crucial role to play in the development towards a violent civil war, ethnic conflict and armed rebellion against Rome.

After a study of the texts of Flavius Josephus (37-ca. 100 CE) as the literary main source of the present research from a literary-rhetorical perspective, the project applies a contextual approach to Judean politics in general and the conflicts attested by Josephus in particular. More precisely, the study of Josephus’s history of The Judean War sets out to understand this text in terms of form, content, meaning and authorial intent by drawing from ancient texts and theories of Greco-Roman rhetoric and classical tragedy, as well as Judean apocalyptic texts. Subsequently, Josephus’s account will be confronted with other Second Temple Period texts that address aspects of Judean political thought and practices, as well as epigraphic, numismatic and archaeological material, to focus on the spatial, temporal and social dimensions of three central institutions in Judean politics; the ethnic metropolis of Jerusalem, Judean temple cult and Torah assemblies, in order to study the relation between the different actors involved and their various political strategies.

Last modified:12 June 2023 8.33 p.m.