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‘A Star Shall Come Out Of Jacob’: A Critical Evaluation Of The Balaam Oracle In The Context Of Jewish Revolts In Roman Times

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Chapter Summary

The fourth oracle of Balaam the prophet is one of the most important messianic proof texts in the Judaisms of Hellenistic-Roman times. Much has been written and still little is known about the so-called revolt of Bar Kokhba or 'Second Jewish War' and its military leader Simeon Bar Kosiba. Compared to the Bar Kokhba revolt, the events of the diaspora revolts are reconstructed from a much more meager textual evidence. This chapter examines the reception of the fourth oracle of Balaam in the light of its socio-political background. This approach is justified by the evidence. Hence, the references occur in the context of Jewish revolts in early Christian times. But the results provide no unequivocal nexus between the so-called messianic interpretations of Num 24:17 and the revolts at Palestine under Bar Kokhba or in the diaspora.

Keywords: Balaam; Bar Kokhba; Hellenistic-Roman times; Jewish revolts; Palestine



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