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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bar Kochba's Jewish Rebellion Against the Romans and the Aftermath in Arabia and Islam

Nadene Goldfoot
The Temple of the Jewish people in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE, and Jerusalem was under the rule of Hadrian who attempted to prevent circumcision in 130 CE with his beginnings to hellenize the city.    A leader arose by the name of Bar Kochba who had 200,000 men to command.  They recaptured Jerusalem and also many other towns and villages throughout the land.  A war raged for about 4 years against the Romans.  The enemy had to bring in legion after legion of reinforcements to suppress the Jews.  Israel had become a nation about 1220 BCE and wasn't about to lose their land so easily. 

Ultimately, the Romans sacked the city of Jeruslaem abt 132-135 CE  with an army of 35,000  whose commander was Julius Severus who was under Hadrian  and expelled a good many of the survivors. They destroyed 50 fortresses and 985 villages.   About 580,000 Jewish men were killed besides those that died of hunger and disease.  The Roman Emporer Hadrian changed the name of the city to Aelia Capitolina.  Then he ordered the building of a temple to Jupiter on the Jewish temple site and  excommunicated all Jews from the city and if found would be killed.  Judea then was called Syria-Palaestina.  Not only did Jerusalem become a pagan city, but Hadrian had a statue of himself placed on the site of the Holy of Holies. 

Jews may have stayed away from Jerusalem at that point, but not the rest of the land.  Others returned.  Some Jews left the land to go to places like Arabia where they formed new settlements or joined other Jewish Arabian communities that had been established around the time of their captivity in Babylon or even before then. 

Jews had probably settled in Arabia at the fall of Samaria in 721 BCE.  There was even a Jewish military colony in Aswan and upper Egypt founded just after the fall of Samaria.  In the 1st and 2nd centuries CE Arabia offered a near asylum to Jews victimized by the ruthless Romans.  By the 7th Century CE it would spawn Islam, but a number of Jewish and Christian settlements were established in different parts spreading Aramaic and Hellenistic culture.  A Christian center was Najran.  Jews and Judaised Arabs were everywhere, especially in Yathrib, later named Medina.  This was to become the Arab world's 2nd holiest city, first settled by the Jewish tribes from the north, the Banu Nadir and Banu Quraiza.  It's where Mohammad listened to Jewish stories from the Torah from readers on the streets. 

Resource: From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters pages 140-141

The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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