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Destruction of Judaic Documents

"I don't know how much book (or scroll) destruction went on in those days, 
but (hypothetically) if a succession of groups inhabited Qumran, would they 
destroy manuscripts that they found there, or would they tuck them away into 
a cave...." (Archbishop Adam C. Bacon, Comparative Religion, Univ. of 

"Are there any other examples of 1st Century 'book-burnings'?" (Daniel 

"Is there evidence that the Romans destroyed texts at other sites?  I do not 
know what group might not have like the Qumran group.  I simply do not 
understand why the Romans cared about texts." (David Jay Kaufman)

      I think this is related to the Romans' Judaeomisicism (hatred of Jews 
and all things Judaic) resulting from Jewish rejection of emperor-worship 
(cf. "Antisemitism," Ency. Jud., 3:89), plus two wars with the Jews (though 
I recognize that this pushes the envelope beyond the first-century in the 
question), plus the Romans' "hunting out and execution of all who claimed 
Davidic descent" in the reigns of Vespasian, Domitian and Trajan (Baron, _A 
Social and Religious History of the Jews_, p. 121).  
      "Herod, who also had to face a challenge to the legitimacy of his 
rule, forged for himself a pedigree going back to David, after first 
destroying the genealogical records maintained in the Temple (according to 
the third-century Christian historian Africanus)." ("Genealogy," Ency. Jud.,
7:381).  This is particularly interesting since Herod was a Roman vassal and 
Christian Africanus later treats him as a scheming Jew.
	Eusebius writes (EH III.xi-xii): "Hegesippus relates ... that 
Vespasian, after the capture of Jerusalem, ordered a search to be made for 
all who were of the family of David, that there might be left among the Jews 
no one of the royal family and, for this reason, a very great persecution 
was again inflicted on the Jews."
      While Schurer almost dismisses any historicity in this because only 
Hegesippus writes of it (The History of the Jewish People in the Age of 
J---- Christ, I:528), he ignores the fact that Roman historians had a vested 
interest in not acknowledging a rival to Rome.  Hegisippus, writing later in 
life, would not want to acknowledge anything that might authenticate Jews, 
another messianic candidate, or Judaism -- all of whose very existence 
contradicted the replacement theology of the emerging post-135 CE 
(non-Jewish) Christian Church (see also the N'tzarim Virtual Community 
Center below, and my books _Who Are the N'tzarim?_ and _The N'tzarim 
Reconstruction of Hebrew Matiytyahu_).  Nor does Schurer give any credible 
reason why Hegesippus would fabricate such a story.
	Davidic genealogy, the basis for any claim to being the Mashiyakh, 
changed from what had been a public record (Josephus, Vita I:6 in note to 
Schurer II:240) to tightly-held secrets and no remaining scientifically 
credible public documents genealogically connecting Jews today to David or 
      As part of their hunt to preclude any potential successor messianic 
rivals to the emperor (and later to the Church's claim to Christ), 
eliminating the prerequisite public genealogical records seems a virtually 
certain step.  This is especially compelling since, before the Romans'
hunted down all of the Davidic offspring they could find, public 
genealogical records were well documented.  After this period, unless a UFO 
took them, it seems real likely the Romans had something to do with their 
disappearance.  This same Judaeomisic fervor would be likely to manifest 
itself in the destruction of all Jewish texts -- especially Hebrew and 
Aramaic texts which they couldn't read.  The Romans perceived Judaism as a 
threat to emperor-worship and later to their replacement theology.

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Yirmiyahu Ben-David, Pakiyd 16
K'hiylat Ha-N'tzarim
(World-wide Congregation of Nazarene Jews)

N'tzarim Virtual Community Center in
Ra'anana, Israel at
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