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.
The early victories of the Maccabees over the Seleucid armies have been etched into Jewish memory in the form of the festival of Hanukkah. In this podcast episode, David examines the first four of these Maccabean victories with a focus on the insight, bravery, and military ingenuity of Judea’s guerrilla fighters. Continuing with his exploration of the role played by the geography and topography of the land of Israel in these battles, David offers a rare insight into why, how, and what was involved in these historic events. He also shares his view on the place these victories should take in our historical celebration of the miracle of Hanukkah.
For listeners to the podcast who can not see the maps David draws in this lecture, we have provided a series of graphics in pdf that capture the information provided on the whiteboard. To gain the most from this lecture, we recommend referring to these maps as you listen.
Released in advance of Chanukah is David Solomon’s exciting exploration of the extraordinary (and miraculous) religious revolt led by the Maccabees between 167 and 160 BCE against the Seleucid Empire – the first installment of a two-part series on the rise and fall of the Hasmonean Dynasty. In this episode, David discusses the key figures of the time and examines the revolutionary military tactics used by Jewish guerrilla fighters to defeat an army that was viewed as invincible.
David provides an in-depth discussion of a number of the battles occurring during the period examined in this series. The video below may help listeners gain a clearer picture of the information provided, particularly in relation to the geography and topography of the Land of Israel and how it impacted on military campaigns.
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