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Journal Articles Electrum Year : 2019

Leḥerut Yerushalayim: The Temple at the Time of the Bar Kokhba War

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Abstract

In the third year of his fight against Rome (134/135 CE), Bar Kokhba minted coins with the slogan "leḥerut Yerushalayim: For the freedom of Jerusalem". In this paper, I argue that what was meant by this expression was not the geographic place but a powerful idea: the worship center of the Jewish identity. Jerusalem as a slogan seems to be a metonymy for the temple, and the temple was the link between God and the Jews. By proclaiming the necessity to liberate Jerusalem, Bar Kokhba actually tried to regroup all the Jews under his banner, exploiting the theocratic ideals and the eschatological hopes of the time. However, the documents found in the desert reveal that this propagandist expectancy was not universally shared by his own troops. For the political needs of the leader, "Jerusalem" was probably the best slogan possible, but it appears to have meant little in real life, even perhaps in the eyes of Bar Kokhba himself.
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hal-03543136 , version 1 (25-01-2022)

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Michaël Girardin. Leḥerut Yerushalayim: The Temple at the Time of the Bar Kokhba War. Electrum, 2019, Jerusalem and Judaea. Studies on history, archeology, and numismatics, 26, pp.159-176. ⟨10.4467/20800909EL.19.010.11213⟩. ⟨hal-03543136⟩

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