Destruction Of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem
In the year 70 B.C.E. Pompey the Great, a powerful Roman military leader, conquered Jerusalem, the capital of Judea. Pompey defiled the Jewish temple, killed the Cohanim (priests), and ordered the Jews denounce the religion and start worshipping the Roman gods. Most Jews resisted, but pressure to worship the Roman gods only mounted, and as the pressure increased, so did conflict within the Jewish community. Many Jews called for open rebellion against Rome, while others argued that Jews must be willing to adapt.
A hundred years after the start of The Roman occupation of Jerusalem, Jesus, a Jew from Nazareth, began his ministry and travels in Judea. The debate between the rival Jewish factions grew increasingly heated, and the climax of the conflict was triggered by the death of Jesus. Immediately afterwards, the followers of Jesus renounced Judaism, and Christianity was born as distinctively separate religion.
Although Jesus' death had been ordered and carried out by non-Jews, most Christians believed that the Jews and the cohanim (the holy priests) were responsible. St. Paul later proclaimed that the Jews "killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out, the Jews who are heedless of God's will and enemies of their fellow men..." (I Thessalonians 2:15-16) (Johnson, 1987, pg 109)
As Christianity spread, the differences between Christianity and Judaism became more and more pronounced. But it was not until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire that anti-Judaism became a serious threat to Jewish existence.
The Rise of Christianity
By the fourth century, Jews were generally despised by Christians... [continues]
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