From the Herodians to Hadrian: The Shifting Status of Judean Religion in Post-Flavian Rome

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper builds on the work of scholars who have attempted to theorize the complex and shifting negotiations of Jewish or Judean and Christian as categories of self-identification and opposition with a view to key historical developments that occurred between the Judean War and the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Elsewhere I have argued that despite the considerable tolls of the war, it created a pretext for widespread interest in the religion of Judeans—at least particular forms, namely ones rooted in Judean texts and their specialized exegesis, especially for prophetic or esoteric purposes—and for specialists claiming expertise therein. The favorable status of Judaic texts and practices in these decades has been overshadowed, and understandably so, by the events of the Judean War and Flavians’ roles in the destruction and decommissioning of the temples of Jerusalem and Leontopolis, respectively, among other factors. Notwithstanding, the Flavian period holds important implications for theorizing the heightened, and not wholly negative, profile of Judean religion—which I will define momentarily—at this time, as well as Christian outgrowths of the specific form of religious activity that I have in mind.


Presented at the Westar Institute's Fall Seminar, Atlanta, GA, November 20-24, 2015.