This Jewish History lecture examines the Second Temple Period (Bayit Sheini), which spans from approximately the year -500 (or 500 BCE) to the theoretical year 0 (3260 to 3760 in the traditional Hebraic calendar).
The period is divisible into four distinct phases, named after whichever political power was in control of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel and the Temple in Jerusalem. These entities were:
The Persian (Achaemenid) Empire
The Hellenistic (Greek-based) dominions
The Hasmonean dynasty
The Rome Empire
Each of these phases includes several significant historical events or people that provide the keys to understanding the era as a whole. They were:
Zerubavel ben Sh’alti’el, Yehoshua ben Yehotzdak, and last of the prophets
Ezra and Nehemiah
The temple at Elephantine
Alexander the Great
The Ptolemaic and Seleucid dynasties
The translation of the Torah into Greek
The Antiochus III and Antiochus IV
Yehudah, Yonatan, Shimon, Yochanan Hyrkanus, Yehudah Aristobulous, Alexander Yannai, Shlomtziyon, Yochanan Hyrkanus II and Aristobulous II
The conversion of the Idumeans
The conflict between ‘Scribes’ and ‘Sadducees’ (Tzeduqim)
Herod and Roman subservience
The reconstruction of the temple
The rise of rabbinic leadership and the tradition of interpretation
The beginnings of political rebellion against Rome.
In the final lecture in his series on the twelve ‘minor’ prophets of Israel, the Trei Asar, David examines the prophets who lived during the period after Israel’s return to Zion, following the Babylonian exile, namely:
With their unique post-exilic messages, these three prophets addressed the concerns of a population grappling with rebuilding Jerusalem after generations away. Some of the ideas expressed in their powerful prophetic books include:
the need to rebuild the leadership of Israel
the importance of building a new temple in Jerusalem
a call to do teshuva
rebuilding oneself through dialogue with God
the failure of previous generations
creating righteous leadership
the implications of changing geopolitical realities
the end of the prophetic epoch.
David closely examines key passages of these biblical texts, explaining their meaning and the implications of their messages.
As always, he places the prophets, their lives, and their words in historical context. He also emphasises the lasting importance of their ideas for the Jewish people as a nation and for us all as individuals.
In this Jewish History lecture, David follows the chronological narrative of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible), outlining the key figures and events of the biblical period, including:
the patriarchs and matriarchs
the Egyptian exile and the going out of Egypt
the settling of the land and the period of the judges
the period of the kings
the rise of the prophets of Israel
the division of the united kingdom of Judah into northern and southern kingdoms
the destruction of the northern kingdom, Israel, by the Assyrian Empire
the destruction of Judah, the southern kingdom, and the temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonian Empire
the 70-year Babylonian exile
the return to Zion and the rebuilding of the temple.
David provides an overview of the spiritual and geopolitical driving forces behind the events of this period. He also explains the historiographical status of the various phases of the bible.
This lecture, recorded in Israel in 2009, is an adaptation of David’s popular talk “The Whole of the Bible in One Hour.” It provides a concise historical overview of the biblical period but, unlike The Bible in One Hour, does not explore the ideas and themes of Tanach in depth.
In this fascinating lecture, David explores the timeline of Jewish History in search of a period that most resembles the current situation for the Jewish people.
Roving from biblical times to an era commonly referred to as the Dark Ages, David analyses the situation of the Jewish people during six distinct historical moments. As part of this analysis, he also compares and contrasts Jewish political and territorial autonomy in the land of Israel with that experienced in contemporary times.
Additionally, David outlines the broader geopolitical situations of these eras and how such background considerations reflect our own.
The lecture also explores ethical and philosophical factors of interest, ending with an inspiring note for a possible alternative picture for Israel and the Jewish people in the future.
David delivered this lecture in 2020 as a Zoom presentation for Chabad Glen Eira. While no visual recording of the talk was made, the Youtube video for this episode combines an audio recording of the lecture with graphics David shared during his Zoom presentation. Visit https://youtu.be/CcnddTlJdRo
In the first millennia BCE, the prophets of Israel launched an unprecedented spiritual revolution, the impact of which has resonated throughout the ages and across the world. In this fascinating lecture, David presents an overview of the twelve ‘minor’ prophets of Israel. Although their messages contained profound insight, analysis, and inspiration, these prophets are known in English as ‘minor’ because their books are short compared to those of the ‘major’ prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. With lightning speed and characteristic clarity, David takes us through the story of these prophets and reminds us of the remarkable relevance of their words for us today.
In this podcast episode, David examines the life and ideas of the following prophets:
He places these prophets in their historical context, looking at the following periods and events:
life in the northern Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judea (Judah)
the destruction of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians
the assault on Jerusalem by the Assyrians
the defeat of the Assyrians by the Persians
the Babylonian exile
the return to Zion and the rebuilding of Jerusalem under the proclamation of Cyrus
From deep within the Babylonian exile, the prophet Ezekiel became the extraordinary conduit for the voice of Gd outside of the Land of Israel. In this podcast episode, David Solomon explores the life and setting of the prophet Ezekiel; his profound messages of teshuva and the importance of individual responsibility; and his remarkable visions – including those of the divine chariot, the Temple, and the valley of the dry bones – which have been a source of fascination and controversy for two and a half thousand years.
Following the return to the Land of Israel from the Babylonian exile, the Jewish nation found itself grappling with issues associated with the reconstruction of a society and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Two extraordinary figures to emerge at this crucial juncture in Jewish history were the prophets Ḥaggai and Zechariah. In this podcast episode, the final instalment in his series on the Rise of the Prophets of Israel, David Solomon looks at the incredible lives and messages of Ḥaggai and Zechariah; their historical and geopolitical contexts; and the powerful words they uttered to the Jewish people during the period of the return to Zion – many ideas and insights which continue to resonate for us today.
The period of the Josianic kings, from Menasheh to Zedekiah, was the last chapter for the Judean Kingdom before the Babylonian exile. This podcast explores the personalities and actions of these kings and the overall historical setting of their reigns, including the domination and fall of the Assyrian Empire, the defeat of Egypt, and the rise and supremacy of Babylon. David looks at the lead up to the destruction of the Temple, the Babylonian exile, the return to Zion and the project to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
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