Dobrovolná smrt obránců Masady a proměny její interpretace

Title in English Voluntary Death of the Masada Defenders and Its Interpretative Transformations


Year of publication 2005
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Cesty na druhý svet : smrť a posmrtný život v náboženstvách sveta
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords voluntary death; Masada; Flavius Josephus
Description The article is focused on Flavius Josephus account about the fall of the Masada fortress at the end of the First Jewish Revolt. Its interpretative transformations are followed on two Eleazar ben Yair's speeches (Bell. VII, 323-336; VII, 341-388) suggesting a voluntary death to the Masada defenders who had been faced with a hopeless Roman siege. Eleazars exhortations are compared with Josephus speech pronounced under similar circumstances at Yotapata (Bell. III, 340-391). The confrontation of Masada and Yotapata speeches shows Josephus in his dual identity against the Jewish and Hellenistic background, as well as in his cosmopolitan prophetic bias which connects elements of biblical prophecy with the Hellenistic concepts of fortune (tyché) and divine compulsion (ananké). Regarding the fact, that Josephus story represents the only literary evidence about the last events at Masada, a due attention is paid to the archaeological excavations accomplished at Masada in 1963-1965 by Yigael Yadin. This prominent Israeli archaeologist provided not only new data for historical research but also took part in a modern political mythmaking which anchored Masada in the Zionist ideology of survival.

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