In this Jewish History lecture given for the fast of Tisha B’Av, David examines Jewish discussions on the death of Titus, the Roman general who presided over the siege in Jerusalem which led to destruction of the Second Temple.
Unsurprisingly, many Jewish commentators throughout history have painted Titus, who followed his father into the role of emperor, in a negative light. However, others claimed that Titus was far from the worst Roman emperor or general for the Jewish people.
In this talk, David explores a Midrash which contends that Titus died from a gnat entering his brain via his nasal passage. This gnat, it suggests, was divine punishment bestowed upon Titus for his wicked behaviour towards the Jewish people.
David examines how this Midrash relates to historical accounts of Titus’ death as well as later discussions on this text. He also discusses kabbalistic ideas concerning this Midrash and the mystical power and purpose of Jewish history for the world.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 28:03 — 21.4MB)
Continue reading “#118 Why Titus Should Have Worn a Mask”
Messiahs of the post-Talmudic period to the Renaissance are the subjects of the third lecture in David’s series “The Messianic Idea in Jewish History.”
- The emergence of ‘the Midrashic Messiah’
- The concept of the false messiah
- The disappointment of Bar Kokhba
- The influence of Islam on the messianic idea
- Spiritual messianism
- The impact of the Spanish Inquisition and Expulsion on Jewish messianism
- Other messianic movements.
He examines several messianic figures, including:
- Nehemiah ben Ḥushiel
- David Alroy
- Avraham Abulafia
- Shlomo Molcho and David Ha Reuveni.
David also explores different messianic types, including:
- The ‘classic’ Rabbinic messiah
- Ishmaelic and Edomic models.
And discusses various ideas of messianic manifestations through Jewish history, including the messiah:
- as warrior
- as king
- as magician
- as persecuted
- as kabbalist and wonder worker
- as penitent
- with a plan.
David examines passages from key Jewish texts which chart discussions about the concept and role of the messiah. He also provides historical context to the people, events, and developments mentioned throughout the lecture.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:19:50 — 60.5MB)
Continue reading “#108 The Messianic Idea in Jewish History (3)”
Fervent messianism in the land of Israel in the first century CE is the focus of this lecture, the second in David’s series “The Messianic Idea in Jewish History.”
In the latter years of the second temple in Jerusalem, the atmosphere was rich with apocalyptic eschatology. As a result, several people emerged contending to be the messiah. In this talk, David examines the actions and impact of some of these contenders, with a particular focus on:
David also discusses factors contributing to this time of heightened messianic expectation and presentation, including:
- The welding of the pre-exilic ‘ideal ruler’ of Davidic descent with eschatological anticipations,
- The idea of the anointed one,
- The warrior spirit of redemption and the inspiration of the Maccabees in the past,
- The revival of Hebrew,
- The Dead Sea Scrolls,
- The promise of the prophets and the reality of Roman occupation.
David also explores two types of messianic figures presented in Jewish literature – Ben Yosef and Ben David.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:21:57 — 62.7MB)
Continue reading “#107 The Messianic Idea in Jewish History (2)”