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Ruler Or God? The Demolition Of Herod's Eagle

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers an introduction to the eagle episodes in The Jewish War and The Jewish Antiquities, a translation of version in the Antiquities, discussions of the symbolic meaning of the eagle as well as the perpetrators' motivations for its demolition, and briefly determines the relevance of the episode for the interpretation of Revelation's persecution passages. There are two versions of the destruction of the golden eagle episode in Josephus. The big, golden eagle was apparently the pièce de résistance for the sages and their followers. Why did sages and followers object to the eagle so much that they decided to risk their lives by taking it away? One motive is explicit in Josephus' report: the eagle was considered a violation of the second commandment, and, therefore, a severe transgression of Jewish law.

Keywords: demolition of Herod's eagle; Jewish War; Josephus' golden eagle episode



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