Rome and Jerusalem (book review)

From The Movie Snob

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations, by Martin Goodman (Vintage 2007). I have really taken a shine to popular history books about ancient Greece and Rome, and this recent book is squarely in that vein. The focal point of this book is the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire in 66 A.D., and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70. After a brief sketch describing the fall of Jerusalem, Goodman spends most of this book comparing and contrasting almost every aspect of Roman and Jewish culture in the decades leading up to the disaster, trying to understand why such staggering violence erupted after many decades of relative peace. At the end of the book, he describes the aftermath of the struggle, the political reasons that led Rome to take the unusual step of forbidding the reconstruction of the Temple, and the response of the young Christian movement to the events and aftermath of 70 A.D. It is a long and dense book–557 pages of very small type–but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


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