Jewish View of AD 70

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morbo3000
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Re: Jewish View of AD 70

Post by morbo3000 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:36 pm

I asked the question on r/academicbiblical. Here is the answers so far

https://www.reddit.com/r/AcademicBiblic ... _reaction/


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Singalphile
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Re: Jewish View of AD 70

Post by Singalphile » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:01 pm

Thanks, morbo3000. Those are interesting comments, and the Josephus excerpts are interesting as usual. Again, what I'm really wondering is this: From a religious Jewish perspective, why didn't God provide any specific warning or prophecy regarding the AD 70 (and beyond) calamities? Of course from a Christian perspective, He did.
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Re: Jewish View of AD 70

Post by StevenD » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:32 pm

In response to the question posited by the original post, the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 9b) alleges that the Second Temple was destroyed for senseless hatred (שנאת חנם). The record adds that such baseless hatred is tantamount to committing “the three sins of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed” (שלש עבירות ע׳׳ז גלוי עריות ושפיכות דמים).

The rabbinic description is particularly notable in view of Jesus’ response to those who sought an explanation for his purpose in expelling the commerce from the Temple (cf. John 2:13-22).

Elsewhere in the Talmud, some unusual phenomena is recorded concerning the Second Temple.
“Our Rabbis taught, Throughout the forty years that Simeon the Righteous ministered, the lot ['For the Lord'] would always come up in the right hand; from that time on, it would come up now in the right hand, now in the left. And [during the same time] the crimson-coloured strap would become white. From that time on it would at times become white, at others not. Also: Throughout those forty years the westernmost light was shining, from that time on, it was now shining, now failing; also the fire of the pile of wood kept burning strong, so that the priests did not have to bring to the pile any other wood besides the two logs, in order to fulfill the command about providing the wood unintermittently;”… (Yoma 39a [Soncino edition])
Evidently some noteworthy changes took place about a generation before the Second Temple was destroyed. Another segment drawn from the same text:
“Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot ['For the Lord'] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal [i.e. the Temple] would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself? I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee: Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.” (Yoma 39b [Soncino ed.]; also cf. y. Sota 6.3)
The citation from Zechariah is from chapter 11:1. As Johanan ben Zakkai was a late 1st century figure, perhaps his understanding of Zechariah 11 with reference to the destruction of the Second Temple is worth mention.

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Re: Jewish View of AD 70

Post by morbo3000 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:10 am

Singalphile wrote: Why didn't God provide any specific warning or prophecy regarding the AD 70 (and beyond) calamities? Of course from a Christian perspective, He did.
He may have.

The reason Christians believe that God announced the future destruction of the temple and what it meant is because we have a holy book that recorded it. God may have said things to other people, but their stories were lost to time.
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Re: Jewish View of AD 70

Post by StevenD » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:15 am

Among legends related to Johanan ben Zakkai and his escape from the Roman siege of Jerusalem is a claim that he forecasted that Vespasian would rise to the status of emperor and destroy the temple. The Talmud contains the following record of an exchange that took place after Johanan b. Zakkai addressed Vespasian as a king:
He said to him, “You deserve death on two [counts]. First, I am not a king. Second, if I am a king, why did you not come to me until now?”

He said to him, “As for what you said, ‘I am not a king,’ in truth you are a king. For if you were not a king, Jerusalem would not be delivered into your hands, for it says, Lebanon shall fall to the mighty one (Isa. 10:34) and ‘mighty one’ refers to a king, as it says, His mighty one shall come from his midst (Jer. 30:21), and ‘Lebanon’ refers to the temple , as it says, That good hill country and the Lebanon (Deut. 3:25). And as for what you said, ‘If I am a king, why did you not come to me?’ – the thugs among us would not let me.”

(Trans. by Rubenstein, Rabbinic Stories, p. 44. A later rabbinic work Avot d’Rabbi Natan 4 notes that within three days time the previous emperor died and Vespasian was promoted to the position.)
Mention of "Lebanon" with reference to the temple is similar to Johanan's citation of Zechariah 11:1 included in b. Yoma 39 (see previous post). Although the Talmud was compiled long after 70 ad, the tradition that relays Johanan's views may date back to the first century. Johanan may have anticipated the destruction of the Second Temple in accord with the material recorded after the fact.

Meanwhile, the story suggests that Johanan received favor from Vespasian after the latter gained further status. Eventually Vespasian extended a favor to the Jewish dignitary, so Johanan requested Yavneh and the sages of Israel. As the city and temple were toppled by Rome, two of Johanan's students then delivered him from the wartime chaos by carting him out of Jerusalem in a casket. His rescue gave birth to an academy of religious Jewish learning at a town called Yavneh and--as some claim--rabbinic Judaism. The larger narrative is contained in the Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 55b-57a).

[Note: Toward the end of the text one recognizes that Titus, Balaam, and Jesus are all described as subject to shameful torturous fates. The description of Titus isn't difficult to account for as the representative of Rome. Balaam attempted to curse Israel. Possibly Jesus is associated with the villains in part due to his accurate prediction of the demise of the Second Temple as well as his having pointed out why the temple was to be demolished.]

Interestingly, Josephus appears to have also predicted Vespasian's rise to power (cf. Wars 3.1-8).

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