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June 11, 2021 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Friday, June 18, 12-1
Fourteen participants got off to a good start last Friday as we began our examination of Dr. Jodi Magness’s MASADA: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth. We started this initial session with a consideration of whether the two-thousand-year legend of Masada, as recorded in Josephus’s The Jewish War was trustworthy–or a bit of fake news.
According to the romantic story, in 73 CE to die free rather than live as slaves, the defenders of Masada each killed their own families, and then drew lots to determine who would kill their compatriots. Only two women and five children were supposed to have survived, by hiding. Archaeologist Yigael Yadin, who led the 1963 excavations of the fortress built by King Herod, felt that the archaeological evidence supported Josephus’ account. However, despite the general acceptance of this account among Israelis as fact, scholars do not all agree. The truth is that Yadin’s excavations yielded little archaeological material to corroborate, or negate, the account of the siege laid out by Josephus. The finds remain open to interpretation. And developing our interpretation is what our group will be engaged in during the next several weeks.
We concluded our discussion last week with participants’ sharing their experiences of their visit/s to Masada (over half of those present had visited this historic site at least once).
This week, we will begin discussion of MASADA: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth in earnest by considering the book’s Acknowledgments, Prologue, and Chapters 1 and 2 (pp ix-38).
Jodi Magness’s book is available for sale on a variety of internet outlets. Our informal discussion group meets online via Zoom every Friday from 12 – 1. All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise. If you have questions, please contact Jay Jacoby at email@example.com.
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