Below, translated excerpts from the first volume of Karlheinz
Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums
(“Criminal History of Christianity”)
Bar Kokhba and the “Last War of God” (131-136)
To this new uprising, in 115 C.E. different uprisings were added among the Jews of the diaspora, which were very numerous in the Mediterranean area according to Philo. Only in Alexandria there was more than a million. They were still not disillusioned with the Messianic dream. During the war of Trajan against the Parthians (114-117 C.E.), the rumour of a disastrous defeat of the empire ran, and there was also a great earthquake that destroyed Antioch and other cities of Asia Minor. In the face of these disasters, the Zealots believed their time had come.
In the province of Crete and Cyrene, where 200,000 non-Jews were reported to have died, the “king” and “Messiah” Lukuas destroyed the capital, Cyrenaica. In Cyprus, the insurgents devastated Salamis and, according to the chronicles, killed 240,000 non-Jews, an obviously exaggerated figure. From then on, however, the Jews were barred from access to the island and even the castaways, if they were Israelites, were executed. In Egypt, where the Romans liquidated all the Jews of Alexandria in reprisals, the fighting lasted for years. In all places, the Jewish diaspora was severely punished.
In the same Palestine, the successor of Trajan, Emperor Hadrian (reign 117-138 C.E.), a great devotee of the gods, built a new city on the ruins of Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina, and on the site of the Temple built an altar to Jupiter And a temple of Venus.
And here it is that in the year 131, Simon ben Kosevah (Bar Kokhba) begins a war of guerrillas so generalized and so deadly, that forces the very emperor to take command of the Roman troops. Bar Kokhba (in Aramaic means “son of the star,” so named after the success of his uprising; in the Talmud, the loser received the name Ben Koseva, “son of lies”) takes power in Jerusalem. His principal counsellor is Rabbi Aqiba, who greets him with a classic messianic appointment calling him “star of Jacob,” the saviour of Israel. He is also supported by the high priest Eleazar, later killed by Bar Kokhba himself because he advised surrender.
There were two years of high morale in Jerusalem, resuming worship in the Temple and proclaiming a new era of freedom until the Emperor Hadrian sent four legions under the command of his best general, Julius Severus, with large numbers of auxiliary troops and a large fleet.
The Romans start regaining ground little by little.
According to Dion Casio, whose exaggerations are notorious, 580,000 Jewish fighters were killed and 50 fortresses destroyed, 985 villages destroyed, and tens of thousands of prisoners sent to captivity. Mommsen believes that these figures “are not unlikely,” since the fighting was fierce and surely led to the extermination of the entire male population.
Women and children flooded the slave markets, leading to lower slave prices. The last population to fall was Beth-Ter (the present Battir), west of Jerusalem, where Bar Kokhba himself died in circumstances not well explained.
The site of the Temple and its surroundings were ploughed with oxen. As for the Zealots, the Romans utterly exterminated them, for at last they understood that the religious fanaticism of the Jews was the true cause of the revolt. “For the next fifty years we did not see the flight of a bird in Palestine,” says the Talmud.
The Israelites were forbidden under penalty of death to enter Jerusalem, and the garrison doubled. Until the fourth century the Jews could not return there to weep once a year, on the 9th day of the Aw month, the loss of the “holy city.” And until the twentieth century, or more precisely until May 14, 1948, they failed to found a Jewish state, Eretz Yisrael.