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Between Fact And Fiction: Josephus’ Account Of The Destruction Of The Temple

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Chapter Summary

According to Josephus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed against the wishes of Titus (War 6. 266). While dealing with the final confrontation between the Jews and the Romans in the area of the Jerusalem Temple, Josephus states that Titus called together his generals and brought forward for debate the subject of the Temple. As for the Jerusalem Temple, Rives observes that the decision to destroy it would have attained many and good results: wipe out Jewish religion, gain control of the wealth stockpiled in the Temple and transform the Temple tax into a lasting source of income, demonstrate the absolute victory of the Roman god Jupiter, and thereby obtain legitimacy for the new dynasty. The pillage and the final demolition suggest that Titus was interested in not leaving anything on the spot which would allow a later rebuilding of the Temple and a revival of its cult.

Keywords: Jerusalem Temple; Josephus; Rives; Roman world; Titus



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