trial and tribulation: May ’68 …A.D.

The trial of Jesus. Was Christ condemned to death by the Jews, as tradition held for so long, or was he really executed by the Romans as a political offender? ….

The effect of the Jewish War in 66 A.D. upon the infant Christian church was profound. The community, which had been directed and controlled from Jerusalem, where the original community of apostles and disciples had been established, simply disappeared as a result of the conflict. The consequent situation was dangerous and perplexing for Christians elsewhere; they faced the very real danger of being regarded by the Roman government as “fellow travelers” with Jewish nationalism. At no place was this danger greater than in Rome itself, the capital of the empire that had been so sorely tried by the Jewish revolt. It was for the Chrsitian community in Rome that the Gospel of Mark was originally written.

—In 2004, the two chief rabbis of Israel, Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger, traveled to the Vatican for a historic meeting with Pope John Paul II. An ambitious interfaith agenda had been planned for the encounter, but Rabbi Amar had more on his mind than religious dialogue. “I could not resist,” he told Israeli radio. “I asked them about the Temple vessels and the menorah.” In so doing, Rabbi Amar reflected a belief common among many Jews: that the solid-gold candelabrum taken by the Roman ravagers of ancient Jerusalem remains in the city that was once the heart of the empire.—Read More:

The fact of the Roman origin of the Markan Gospel is of supreme significance for determining the date of its composition. The question that now faces us, in the light of the preceding considerations, is when, during the period A.D. 65-75, would the need have arisen among the Christians of Rome for a written record of the career of Jesus, seeing that this need had never been felt before? The evidence points to one answer: the need arose out of of the situation caused by the Jewish war against Rome.

The a priori probability that this was so finds remarkable confirmation when we examine the Gospel itself. But first we must notice another fact of great importance in this connection. In the year 71 the emperor Vespasian, together with his sons Titus and Domitian, celebrated a splendid triumph in Rome to commemorate their victory over rebel Judaea. The occasion was one of great significance for both the Roman people and the new imperial dynasty of the Flavii. Since the death of Nero in 68, the Roman state had suffered a series of disasters. It had been plunged into civil war shortly after the jews had revolted. The Jewish War itself had begun with the crushing defeat of a Roman army by the rebels.

—During his recent visit to Italy, the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav, asked the Prime Minister of the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sudano, to prepare a list of all the Temple treasurers, vessels and Judaica that are being held by the Vatican. The president asked for the Vatican’s cooperation on this issue which is sensitive to Israel.
The major importance of this request is that the Vatican holds the Temple Menorah of pure gold which, together with other holy vessels from the Temple, was stolen by the Romans and taken to Rome in 70 A.D. The Roman emperor built a triumphal arch in Rome portraying the Menorah and other vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Menorah and vessels were put in the basement of the Vatican and some priests have confirmed they are there.
President Katzav’s request was in the name of all the Jewish people as well as the State of Israel and has given the request official status.–Read More: image:

The consequences were likely to have been felt afar, for Judaea occupied an important place in the Roman strategical position in theNear East; the country lay athwart the main routes connecting Egypt with Syria. Also, there was a large Jewish population in Mesopotamia likely to make common cause with their Judaean brethren against Rome, a situation that the Parthians in turn, could have exploited to invade the Roman provinces. The Romans, had, accordingly, been badly frightened by the Jewish War, and they were profoundly grateful to Vespasian who had both put an end to the civil war and crushed the Jewish rebels.

—In the last part of the 1630s Poussin’s art underwent a rapid metamorphosis. One of the best examples of this is the Destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. It is dry in handling and agitated in composition, and has that peculiar unattractiveness of surface on which Poussin was to dwell so much in his later years. His denial of the sensual quality of painting was deliberate: this preoccupation with surface texture is found in all his pictures of around 1630. Yet the Vienna picture succeeds by the mood it creates. The subject is one of prime importance for Jewish as well as Christian history – the final and irrevocable loss of the Jews’ holiest place —Read More:

Their success in the Jewish War was important to Vespasian and his sons, for they were founding a new imperial dynasty. It would obviously be to their advantage to make the most of their victory by impressing the people of Rome with their achievements. Coins were issued, and through the streets of Rome on the day concerned, according to Josephus Flavius, the victorious legionaries paraded, with the trophies of their victory and multitudes of Jewish captives. The treasures of the Temple were borne in the triumphal procession, the great Menorah, or seven branched candelabra, the altar of shewbread, the silver trumpets, and the purple curtains that had veiled the Holy of Holies… ( to be continued)

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