The Destruction of Jerusalem

  • by Josephus
  • Narrated by Norman Dietz
  • 4 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The writings of Josephus contain one of the few historical accounts of the wars of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem during the Roman occupation of Palestine in 70 A.D. Born in Jerusalem in 37 A.D. and raised in both the Hellenic and Jewish traditions, Josephus spent his life trying to accommodate his admiration for the Romans with his loyalty to his Jewish heritage. Josephus was a priest who served as a general in the Jewish army during a revolt against the Romans, and a mediator whose attempt to find accommodation between the Jews and the Romans in Palestine led the Jews to consider him a traitor. His historical work, The Wars of the Jews, which was published in 75 A.D., is one of the few historical accounts of the Roman army, the city's temple and fortifications, the sack of the temple, and the siege of Masada.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Josephus Flavius was a complex, renegade Jew who was with the Romans during the fall of the second Temple in Jerusalem. He is our only eyewitness outside scripture of that destruction and the battle of Masada, which is also excerpted here. Narrator Dietz's voice is somewhat heavy and slow; one wishes he would get on with it, though one hears echoes of Josephus himself, immensely weary and discouraged. The narration does not reflect the ebb and flow of the story; there is no audible excitement, for example, when the breaching of the wall occurs. Unfortunately, too, the translation itself is anachronistic, with "thee's" and "thou's" bringing forth the memory of boring preachers.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Jerusalem falls. The Temple is destroyed.

This is a heart-breaking story of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus was an eye-witness, even a participant, in the tragic events that started this long and bitter exile. He describes how the Jews were engaged in a struggle of one faction against another: truly, causeless hatred led to the destruction of the Temple. Josephus was a Roman captive at the time. He tried to persuade his people to surrender, so as to avoid the destruction of the city, their lives, and the Temple. All to no avail. The reader can hear the sincerity of Josephus' plea, and also see how his words would seem to be those of a traitor to those who were defending the city against the merciless Romans. Of course we know how the story ends, and that makes the story all the more tragic to hear.

As an addendum to the story, Josephus brings the only classical account of the resistance and martyrdom at Massada. The Jews chose mass suicide rather than decimation and slavery at the hands of the Romans. A pottery shard now in a museum in Jerusalem bears the name of the leader of the Zealots who defended Massada. This was probably the token by which was chosen the man who would be the last to take his own life at Massada.

This is ideal reading for Jews who want to prepare themselves spiritually during the three weeks leading up to the observance of Tisha B'Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple. Christians will find it an interesting account of the military and political scene in Jerusalem just a few decades after the ministry of Jesus. People of a more secular bent will also find this an interesting account of a major turning point in history.
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- Eric Chevlen

Great book! HORRIBLE RECORDING!!!!!

This is a great book, but the sound is horrible! I only was able to bear the strugle to listen to the words because I was really interested in listening to Josephus. Honestly you really have to pay much attention ( a real struggle ) to really understand certain parts of the book.
Anyway, the book itself shows by the words of Josephus himself how that wicked generation of 70AD was brought to destruction. It's hard not to feel indignation against that generation as you listen to Josephus eyewitness account of what they did to each other. According to Josephus, it was like God himself was bringing destruction upon these people and the temple. Apparently a repeat chastisement as took place by the Babylonians of 607BC. Wether you are a Jew or a Christian, this is a very good book to read. Although I would rather read the written version rather than listening to this horrible recording.
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- Igor

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-16-1999
  • Publisher: Recorded Books