Empire, Oil, and Disaster - blog about my new book

A religious sect getting more and more attention of the world. Jews in the Middle East already have problems with them. Coincidentally, a terrible terract happens in the largest city of the empire. The same religious sect is blamed for it. The year is 64 AD. The sect is Christians. The place is Rome of the emperor Nero.
Beware of September Ides!

Location: United States

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yosef bio details

Born 37 BC in Jerusalem. One version: Father of a priestly descent, mother claiming royal blood. Second version: a sadducee and aristocrat. Supposed to be very well educated. Assumed to live in a desert with a hermit Bannus for three years (until age of 19). Claimed to be a Pharisee in his autobiography, but showed dislike to them in his books.

In 64 at the age of ~27 (64-37=27) he went to Rome and negotiated the release of Jewish priests. Upon return found the country on a brink of revolt. Claims to be moderate, but joined (or was forced to join?) Zealots and Sicarii rebels once they killed Roman garrison of Jerusalem. Then he was sent North to organize resistance to Romans in Galilee,

John of Gischala (Yohanan mi-Gush Halav) was another leader there, who organized a privae militia of peasants. John and Joseph had a lot of quarrelling resulting in seize the city of Sepphoris. In the Spring 67 Joseph's men were defending Jotapata (Yodfat) that stood on the road to Sepphoris (on the plains of Zebulon?)

Surrendered to Legio XV Apploinaris under questionable circumstances.

Whatever the truth of this implausible story, Josephus was brought before Vespasian and his son Titus. To Vespasian, he explained about an ambiguous oracle that said that

a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth.
[Numbers 24.17-19]

Almost every Jew believed that this prophecy referred to the coming of the Messiah. However, who said that the ruler who was to rise out of Israel was to be a Jew? Why should Vespasian not become king or emperor? Ridiculous though this may seem to a modern reader, Vespasian was impressed. After all, in Gaul and Hispania an insurrection had started against the emperor Nero, and it was clear to any intelligent observer that civil war was bound to break out. Besides, everybody had observed the comet, resembling a sword, that had stood over the country during the preceding months. Instead of having Joseph crucified, the Roman general kept him in detention. The former Jewish commander became friends with Titus, who was of the same age.



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