Thursday, May 11, 2017

On the Bar Kokhba Revolt

TIMES OF ISRAEL BLOG: Bar Kokhba: When (rabbinic) leadership fails (Aaron Koller). This essay gives a good summary of what we know about the Bar Kokhba Revolt. It also offers some plausible speculation about why the Tanaaitic literature (the Rabbinic literature up to the third century) says virtually nothing about it.

Incidentally, I have found one, and only one, reference to the Bar Kokhba Revolt in the Tannaitic literature. In Mishnah Tannaith 4.6 there is a brief list of bad things that happened on the 9th of the month Av in the Jewish calendar. These were very bad things, including the destruction of the Temples by the Babylonians and the Romans. One of the items in the list is "and Betar was captured." The city Betar, we learn from later Rabbinic traditions, was the center of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Bar Kokhba himself supposedly died there when it fell to the Romans. The Mishnah assumes that the reader knows the full story and this is all it has to say.

There are many past PaleoJudaica posts on the Bar Kokhba Revolt. I will have more to say about that tomorrow. Recent posts on the Babatha archive are here, here, and here.

UPDATE (12 May): the post promised above is now here.