- Published on Sunday, 14 July 2013 00:00
- Category: Literature
This is the first chapter of Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, to be published next week. Aslan, a contributing editor of LARB, will be appearing at a benefit for LARB on July 25, his only Los Angeles public appearance on this book tour. Details here.
THE WAR WITH ROME begins not with a clang of swords but with the lick of a dagger, drawn from an assassin’s cloak.
Festival season in Jerusalem: a time when Jews from across the Mediterranean converge upon the holy city bearing fragrant offerings to God. There are in the ancient Jewish cult a host of observances and celebrations that can only be performed here, inside the Temple of Jerusalem and in the presence of the High Priest, who hoards the most sacred feast-days — Passover, Pentecost, the harvest festival of Sukkot — for himself, all the while pocketing a healthy fee, or tithe, as he would call it, for the trouble. And what trouble it is! On such days the city’s population can swell to more than a million people. It takes the full force of the porters and lower priests to squeeze the crush of pilgrims through the Hulda Gates at the Temple’s southern wall, to herd them along the dark and cavernous galleries beneath the Temple plaza, and guide them up the double flight of stairs that lead to the public square and marketplace known as the Court of Gentiles.
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