Understanding the Jewish World from Roman to Byzantine Times by Michael Avi-Yonah tells the intriguing story of the revival of Jewish life in the land of Israel after the brutal suppression of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. After the revolt, the Romans began to eradicate Jewish settlements in Judea, and made great efforts to blur the national identity of the Jews in the land. They plowed up the Temple and founded the Roman city Aelia Capitolina on the ruins. Exiled from Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin moved from place to place, settling finally in Tiberias.
In the mid-2nd century the Romans gave up on their attempt to eradicate the Jews, and gradually Jewish life saw a resurgence in the land that brought with it urbanization, and the revival of spiritual life. The generations of the sages, Tannaim, Amoraim, elders and rabbis who gave us the compilation of the Oral Law and literature are listed in detail in Understanding the Jewish World from Roman to Byzantine Times, as are the newly-founded cities, migrations and the links between the Diaspora and the Land of Israel, right up to the 5th century. The political and ecclesiastical divisions of Palestine in the Byzantine era further illustrate the physical and political backdrop to this fascinating saga. The final map details the dispersion of the Jewish people over three continents.
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