[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Walls not a fortress make

>The Romans
may have destroyed manuscripts, along with buildings, just because they
belonged to Jews<

One needs to be careful not to overemphasize this presumed implacable Roman
hatred of Jews -- it's a rabbinic myth!  Most of the time it's more likely
that they didn't give a damn one way or the other -- the Jews were not that
important to the Romans, except on the two or three occasions that they
revolted against the Empire (in 66, 117, and 132).  Even then, the main concern
was simply to put down the insurrection    (i.e., "The peasants are revolting"
would have been a matter of fact, not opinion!). Even the Roman antipathy to
Christians (which was greater in principle than their dislike of Jews, to whose
religion they granted at least the imprimatur of hoary antiquity, as opposed to
a johnny-come-lately), seems to have been more political than philosophical
(i.e., they seem to have reviled the Christians as a fifth column rather than
as a "fifth philosophy" -- to borrow an idiom  from Josephus). It seems to me
that it is simply a talmudic viewpoint to assume  that the Romans may have
thought Jewish beliefs of sufficient consequence to destroy their manuscripts
on principle.

Judith Romney Wegner, Providence