98 books like Masada

By Jodi Magness,

Here are 98 books that Masada fans have personally recommended if you like Masada. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Josephus: The Historian and His Society

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

Flavius Josephus was a first-century CE Jewish-Roman priest and general and the author of several works about the history of the Jews and Rome, including one about the Jewish Revolt of 66-74 CE. Famouslyor infamously—Josephus fought on the side of the Jewish rebels at the beginning of the war, but then changed over to the Romans after his failed defense of the Jewish fortress of Iotapata. In her biography of Josephus, Tessa Rajak provides an accessible, balanced, and brilliant portrait of Josephus and his world. Rajak’s biography helped me to understand how and why the writings of Josephus, Jewish patriot and traitor, are essential to understanding the causes, course, and outcome of the greatest revolt in Roman imperial history.

By Tessa Rajak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Josephus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Josephus, author of the "Jewish War" and the "Jewish Antiquities", belongs equally to Jewish and to Greco-Roman history. A well-to-do priest and Pharisee at Jerusalem, he was a contemporary and chronicler of the great changes which took place in the Roman Empire in the first century AD and a controversial general in the great Jewish revolt of 66-73 against Rome. Tessa Rajak, an ancient historian versed in both Greek and Hebrew, assesses the varied source material to produce a sociological account of the Jewish revolt which casts fresh light on Josephus' attitudes, placing his achievement in the context of both…


Book cover of Jerusalem Under Siege: The Collapse of the Jewish State, 66-70 C.E.

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

Based upon a stellar doctoral dissertation written at Princeton University Jonathan Price’s monograph about the first four years of the war of Jews against Romans is a treasure trove of information and insights about Jewish history, the various factions within Jewish society, and the tragic destruction of the Jewish Temple and a large part of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Sharp intelligence, learning, engagement, and balanced judgment can be found on every page of this impressive and readable book.

By Jonathan J. Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jerusalem Under Siege as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This internal history of the Jewish rebellion traces factionalism among the Jews from the decades before the war's outbreak through the constantly shifting and dangerous alliances that reigned in Jerusalem from 66 to 70 C.E.; rivalries and divisions are revealed even in the structure of the Jewish army and in the patterns of famine and desertion during the siege. Classical, rabbinic, archaeological and numismatic evidence are brought to bear on a new interpretation of Josephus' Bellum Judaicum.


Book cover of Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

This book provided me with a magisterial overview of how Jewish writers both in the diaspora and Judaea during the period from c. 300 BCE until 100 CE produced a variety of texts that simultaneously engaged with Hellenic culture and traditions, and, with amazing creativity, imagination, and often playful humor, used the rich religious and philosophical traditions of Hellenism to assert the superiority of the Jews’ diverse, yet unique heritage. Written by one of the greatest contemporary historians of the ancient world this elegant and beautifully written book was a delight to read.

By Erich S. Gruen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heritage and Hellenism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The interaction of Jew and Greek in antiquity intrigues the imagination. Both civilizations boasted great traditions, their roots stretching back to legendary ancestors and divine sanction. In the wake of Alexander the Great's triumphant successes, Greeks and Macedonians came as conquerors and settled as ruling classes in the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. Hellenic culture, the culture of the ascendant classes in many of the cities of the Near East, held widespread attraction and appeal. Jews were certainly not immune. In this thoroughly researched, lucidly written work, Erich Gruen draws on a wide variety of literary and historical texts of…


Book cover of Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations

Guy MacLean Rogers Author Of For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

From my list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for the topic of relations between Jews and Romans goes back to my introduction to the subject in an undergraduate seminar at University College London taught by the late, great Oxford historian Sir Fergus Millar. Taking the seminar with Millar and reading Josephus’ detailed account of the great revolt of Jews against Romans in 66 CE fascinated me: how and why would a small group of Jews take on the ancient world’s only superpower? This is a question that I've been thinking about for almost 50 years and have now written up my answers to in my book For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE

Guy's book list on history of Jews and the Roman Empire

Guy MacLean Rogers Why did Guy love this book?

This is a work on a grand scale about Rome and Jerusalem and relations between Romans and Jews written by a scholar of both Jewish and Roman history. It goes into great depth about the cultural, political, and religious beliefs and practices of Romans and Jews and uses the evidence for them to explain how and why these two ancient civilizations repeatedly came into tragic conflict. This book is probably the best and most informative guide to the antecedents of the great revolt of Jews against Romans.

By Martin Goodman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rome and Jerusalem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial history of the titanic struggle between the Roman and Jewish worlds that led to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Martin Goodman—equally renowned in Jewish and in Roman studies—examines this conflict, its causes, and its consequences with unprecedented authority and thoroughness. He delineates the incompatibility between the cultural, political, and religious beliefs and practices of the two peoples and explains how Rome's interests were served by a policy of brutality against the Jews. At the same time, Christians began to distance themselves from their origins, becoming increasingly hostile toward Jews as Christian influence spread within the empire. This is the…


Book cover of Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt Against Rome AD 66-73

Martha Marks Author Of Rubies of the Viper

From my list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made my first visit to Pompeii at age seven. That day, I told my parents that I had been there before. It was all very familiar. And that sense of déjà vu has never left me. I feel it whenever I go back to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but... As an adult, I’ve returned many times to those places and visited others featured in my books: the Etruscan necropolis at Caere, which was already 1,000 years old at the time of my novels; Athens; and the ancient ports of Piraeus in Greece and Itanos in Crete. I earned a Ph.D. at Northwestern University, taught for many years, and enjoyed a million marvelous experiences, but my lifelong love of ancient Rome is the direct result of that long-ago visit to Pompeii with my parents.

Martha's book list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD

Martha Marks Why did Martha love this book?

The empire-shaking Great Revolt looms over my second and third novels, and Faulkner’s book illuminated it for me in a way that nothing else did. He unravels the interwoven historical, social, religious, ethnic, cultural, and political conflicts that led to the disastrous Jewish rebellion against Rome. His work is controversial in some quarters because it goes against the grain of Christian thinking about this time and place. Personally, I found it revealing and eloquent. To me, this a must-read for anyone trying to understand the “why” behind the cataclysm that befell the Jewish people between 66 and 73 AD and still impacts our world today.

By Neil Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Apocalypse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ancient Palestine was a ferment of social and ideological conflict. Full-scale insurrectionary revolt exploded in AD 66 and took on a revolutionary character as moderate upper-class leaders were pushed aside and replaced by popular radicals. The war that followed was bitterly fought, and culminated in the five-month siege of Jerusalem in the summer of AD 70. which ended with the fall and destruction of the city amid appalling atrocities. Mopping-up operations concluded with the spectacular siege of Masada in AD 73. First published in 2002. Dt Neil Faulkner's acclaimed Apocalypse is a gripping account of a series of events that…


Book cover of Flavius ​​Josephus: Eyewitness to Rome's First-Century Conquest of Judea

Martha Marks Author Of Rubies of the Viper

From my list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made my first visit to Pompeii at age seven. That day, I told my parents that I had been there before. It was all very familiar. And that sense of déjà vu has never left me. I feel it whenever I go back to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but... As an adult, I’ve returned many times to those places and visited others featured in my books: the Etruscan necropolis at Caere, which was already 1,000 years old at the time of my novels; Athens; and the ancient ports of Piraeus in Greece and Itanos in Crete. I earned a Ph.D. at Northwestern University, taught for many years, and enjoyed a million marvelous experiences, but my lifelong love of ancient Rome is the direct result of that long-ago visit to Pompeii with my parents.

Martha's book list on the Roman Empire in 1st Century AD

Martha Marks Why did Martha love this book?

Hadas-Lebel’s fine biography brings to life one of history’s most charismatic and controversial authors, generals, and traitors. The Jewish scholar turned Roman collaborator known today as Flavius Josephus was born Yosef ben Matityahu. His evolution from Yosef the aristocrat of Jerusalem to Josephus the “Jew of Rome” is a classic truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale. As Yosef, he plays a key role in my second novel. As Josephus, he does the same in my third. So I had to internalize as much about his life, character, and personality as possible. This book gave me the level of detail that I needed to make Yosef/Josephus “real” in my own way.

By Mireille Hadas-Lebel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flavius ​​Josephus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Miller translates this narration of an eye-witness account of Rome's first-century conquest of Judea.

Through the eyes of a Jewish priest, general, Roman captive, and historian, Miereille Hadas-Lebel, comes this narration of the key first-century events in Judeo-Christian culture.


Book cover of Masada: Herod's Fortress and the Zealots' Last Stand

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

As Leen Ritmeyer has done for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Yigael Yadin has done for the fortress of Masada in the Judean wilderness. Through the findings of his excavations of Masada from October 1963 to May 1964, he transports you back in time to when the defenders of Masada, the last holdout of the Jewish rebellion, held off the Roman military for a time in AD 73. When the Romans finally breached the fortress, all they found were dead bodies. The Jewish defenders chose to end their own lives and those of their families to escape being killed, tortured, or sold into slavery. Yadin also presents the history of the fortress back to its founding by the Hasmonean, Alexander Jannaeus. 

By Yigael Yadin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the account of Yadin's excavation of the hill fort of Masada. What he found there confirmed Josephus's account of the siege. The spectacular discoveries included Herod's three-tiered palace, the earliest-known manuscript of "Ecclesiasticus" and potsherds that may have been suicide lots.


Book cover of In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination

Paul Mendes-Flohr Author Of A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs

From my list on truth and Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My engagement in the topic has two distinct vectors, academic, and personal, or, if you wish, existential. My academic engagement began when Buber's son Raphael (1900-91), who served as the Executor of  the Martin Buber Literary Estate, invited me to assemble and edit his father's writings on the "Arab Question." He explained that of all of his father's publications, his ramified writings promoting the political and human dignity of the Palestinian Arabs spoke most dearly and, as a citizen of the State of Israel, most immediately to him. I accepted Rafael's invitation with alacrity, for like Raphael I'm an Israeli by choice, having emigrated to the country in 1970. 

Paul's book list on truth and Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation

Paul Mendes-Flohr Why did Paul love this book?

Partition—the idea of separating Jews and Arabs along ethnic or national linesis a legacy at least as old as the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. Challenging the widespread "separatist imagination" behind partition, Gil Hochberg demonstrates the ways in which works of contemporary Jewish and Arab literature reject simple notions of separatism and instead display complex configurations of identity that emphasize the presence of alterity within the selfthe Jew within the Arab, and the Arab within the Jew. In Spite of Partition examines Hebrew, Arabic, and French works that are largely unknown to English readers to reveal how, far from being independent, the signifiers "Jew" and "Arab" are inseparable.

By Gil Z. Hochberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Spite of Partition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Partition--the idea of separating Jews and Arabs along ethnic or national lines--is a legacy at least as old as the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. Challenging the widespread "separatist imagination" behind partition, Gil Hochberg demonstrates the ways in which works of contemporary Jewish and Arab literature reject simple notions of separatism and instead display complex configurations of identity that emphasize the presence of alterity within the self--the Jew within the Arab, and the Arab within the Jew. In Spite of Partition examines Hebrew, Arabic, and French works that are largely unknown to English readers to reveal how, far from being independent, the signifiers…


Book cover of The Jewish War

Lena Einhorn Author Of A Shift in Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesus

From my list on ancient religious texts and actual history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lena Einhorn is a writer and filmmaker, with a background in medicine. She has portrayed Greta Garbo’s life before the breakthrough, in the novel Blekinge Street 32, and in Nina’s Journey, she told the story of her mother, one of the last to leave the Warsaw ghetto alive. Nina’s Journey also became a feature film, written and directed by Einhorn. The book received the National Book Award of Sweden, and the film received the National Film Award for best picture and best script, as well as a number of international awards. In 2019 the critically acclaimed autobiographical novel The Thin Ice came out.

Lena's book list on ancient religious texts and actual history

Lena Einhorn Why did Lena love this book?

This is the parallel companion book to the New Testament, for anyone who wants to try to discern "the true story behind the religious text." And it is also the biggest impediment to all historians and biblical scholars who have attempted to portray Jesus and his disciples as historical individuals. He simply does not seem to be there (if one excepts the paragraph "Testimonium Flavianum", which has been added or amended by later scribes). But perhaps he does... If one looks slightly beneath the surface....

By Flavius Josephus,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Jewish War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Josephus' account of a war marked by treachery and atrocity is a superbly detailed and evocative record of the Jewish rebellion against Rome between AD 66 and 70. Originally a rebel leader, Josephus changed sides after he was captured to become a Rome-appointed negotiator, and so was uniquely placed to observe these turbulent events, from the siege of Jerusalem to the final heroic resistance and mass suicides at Masada. His account provides much of what we know about the history of the Jews under Roman rule, with vivid portraits of such key figures as the Emperor Vespasian and Herod the…


Book cover of The New Complete Works of Josephus

Denny Sissom Author Of The Bridge to the New Testament: A Comprehensive Guide to the Forgotten Years of the Inter-Testament Period

From my list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I sought material to teach a class on the inter-testament period back in 1994, I discovered there was not much written on the subject. So, I decided to change that. From the creation of the world to the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel and reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, nothing has piqued my interest as much as what happened after these events. The study of inter-testament history is fascinating, important, and lacking in most Christian educations. Through our learning of the inter-testament, we can better understand the people, politics, and history of the New Testament.  

Denny's book list on the inter-testament period and the New Testament

Denny Sissom Why did Denny love this book?

Our knowledge of Jewish history would be sorely lacking if not for Titus Flavius Josephus. Josephus was a Hellenistic Jew who lived from AD 37-100, just a few decades after the end of the inter-testament period. He was a leader of the Galilean rebels during the Jewish revolt against the Romans. When the Jews led by him were soundly defeated in AD 67 in the town of Jotapata, he appealed to Vespasian, the Roman commander at the time, to spare his life and not send him to the emperor, Nero, for enslavement.  Josephus predicted that Vespasian and his son, Titus, would both become emperors. In time, Josephus became a patron of Vespasian and a prolific historian of the time.

By Flavius Josephus, William Whiston (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Complete Works of Josephus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No source, other than the Bible itself, provides more relevant information on the first century than the work of Flavius Josephus. This newly edited version updates the original 18th century language; includes commentary by the award winning author and historian, Dr. Paul L. Maier; features over forty photos of ancient sites and artifacts mentioned by Josephus; cross references numbers throughout to the Greek text of Josephus in the Loeb Classical Library; and offers revised indexes of subjects and Old Testament texts.


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