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Geza Vermes, whose work on the Historical Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls has made him one of the most recognizable names in Biblical and Jewish studies, provides a new portrait of Herod. Vermes examines Herod's legacy as a political leader, and a potentate, a man of culture, and an all-round smooth operator. Vermes opens up the fascinating character of Herod, from his sizable and fragile ego to his devastation at the execution of his beloved wife, an execution that Herod ordered himself. Beginning with the key historical sources (notably Josephus) Vermes moves on to consider Herod's greatest legacy and testament - his extensive building works, which include the Temple in Jerusalem, Masada and Herodium. Color images, combined with Vermes' lively prose make this new picture of Herod an enticing and informative guide to one of Ancient History's most misunderstood figures.
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Bloomsbury Academic
|Publication Date: 2014|
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Seventh EditionPenguin Classics / 2012 / Trade Paperback$16.49 Retail:3 Stars Out Of 5 2 Reviews
$23.00Save 28% ($6.51)
Géza Vermes was Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford, UK and was one of the world's greatest experts on the historical Jesus, Christian beginnings, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. With the publication of Jesus the Jew (1973) he introduced the idea of Jesus as a 1st century Jewish holy man to the general public. His book The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1962) introduced the English reader to the Scrolls, going on to sell over half a million copies.
Vermes (Professor Emeritus, Jewish studies, Oxford Univ.; Jesus the Jew), who died in 2013, uses archeological, historical, and religious sources to present a carefully nuanced portrait of a commoner-become-king, surpassed in the Roman Empire of his time only by his friends Augustus and Agrippa. Herod (d. 4 BCE) was generously concerned for the welfare of his subjects (Jewish and otherwise) but was also ruthless against his rivals and opponents who included his family members. Vermes refers to his subject as a "genuine tragic hero" and points out his dazzling architectural achievements (e.g., rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem), his raising the world prominence of the Jewish nation, and his very skillful diplomacy. Both Christian and rabbinic sources have denigrated Herod's memory, explains the author; none of his offspring accomplished-for great or ill-as much as he did. After his Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, Herod faded largely from prominence except in biased and often apocryphal accounts (e.g. the Gospel of Matthew's story of his slaughter of the innocent babies shortly after the birth of Jesus). VERDICT This lavishly illustrated text beautifully written "for all and sundry" justifies Herod's moniker, "the Great," revealing his almost larger-than-life deeds of both good and evil. For academic and lay readers. Carolyn Craft, emerita, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA,, Library Journal
What is most engaging about this volume isn't the historical information; it is the way that vermes tells the tale. His book is artistically beautiful and aesthetically amazing. The book is meant for all, with no prior requirement beyond a basic education. Students new to historical education will learn the facts of Herod's life and legacy from one of our generation's most gifted scholars. Seasoned academics will relearn facts long-forgotten and how to express those facts to readers in a sensible, clear and concise way. Savannah Jones, SirReadaLot.org