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Herod: King of the Jews and Friend of the Romans
From The Publisher:
Peter Richardson's biographical study of Herod (73-4 BCE) offers insight into the personality of the man who served as the most prominent member of the substantial Herodian family and whose rule shaped the world in which the Christian faith arose. Richardson reveals Herod to be far more complex and important than is generally perceived and demonstrates that an understanding of Herod holds great value for comprehending the relationship between Judea and Rome.
Setting his study against the crosscurrents of Jewish and Roman culture in the first century, Richardson emphasizes the social and historical context in which Herod's life unfolded and evaluates the family matters, patronage, religious developments, and ethnic issues that shaped his reign. Richardson details Herod's active participation in political events during the making of the Roman Empire and his close association with such prominent figures as Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Cassius, Octavian (Augustus), Cleopatra, and Marcus Agrippa.
In addition to telling Herod's life story, Richardson recounts the legends that grew up around the man including his responsibility for a massacre of young children in Bethlehem. Richardson's accessible, and relatively positive, assessment of Herod sheds new light on a fascinating but much maligned character.
"Herod the Great is one of the most fascinating and appalling figures of the ancient world. Peter Richardson's monumental study provides as thorough and as authoritative a documentation and analysis as one could wish for. Particularly valuable is the cataloguing of Herod's amazing achievements as a builder. This is a volume which ancient historians and biblical scholars will want to have readily accessible on their shelves."
James D. G. Dunn University of Durham
"Richardson has studies Herod from early angle. He writes with verve and scholarly assurance. The result is a fascinating study of one of the great figures in history, in an informed and intelligent way which, together with the momentous events of Herod's reign, is an exciting read. The book is a must for all students of Hellenistic Judaism."
Alan F. Segal Columbia University
"Peter Richardon's Herod is history at its best---learned, disciplined, accessible, and full of fresh insights into the man and his time. The book vividly shows us the complex and exciting interplay between Herod's ambitions, abilities, and appetites and the historical forces that shaped Israel's politics and society under early Roman rule. Richardson's innovative and engaging reconstruction of Herod is meticulous, fact-based, responsible, and utterly credible. Without question, this book is the new standard against which all future work on Herod will be judged."
William Scott Green University of Rochester
"Richardson puts Herod's life into context, exploring Herod's family affairs, Hellenism in the Near East, the shaped of Herod's kingdom, his building projects, his relationship with various religious groups in Judea, and the Herodian family's involvement in Christian origins. . . . This book is aimed at both scholars and interested laypersons, and it will meet the needs of both."
Steve Mason York University
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About the Author
Peter Richardson is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Religion and past Principal of University College at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is also an honorary fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and an honorary member of the Ontario Association of Architects.
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