IV  8   The completion of the Old Testament after 70 AD

The destruction of Jerusalem and of the Yahweh temple in Jerusalem

Capernaum, Church of the Multiplication, mosaic
Capernaum, Church of the Multiplication, mosaic

seemed to many Jews to be the end of an era.

The individual Old Testament writings were revised, expanded and completed after 70 AD.

The cut-off point of the Old Testament canon came after the end of the Bar Kochba rebellion (after 135 AD) and under the influence of the formation of the Christian canon.


The decision made by the Jewish prince Antipas

Gerizim, ancient ruins
Gerizim, ancient ruins

in favour of a national Jewish religious and cultural identity led to the creation of the Old Testament literature and the formation of a Jewish identity based on these writings.

The monarchist model with the idea of the Messiah as the ideal monarch appealed to a range of religious and social groups. It led via Jesus and the Apostles, who led these groups, to Christianity.


Public buildings: Herod the Great competed with the Romans in the field of public buildings. He had fortresses, cities, harbours,

Thebes West, Hatshepsut
Thebes West, Hatshepsut

temples and theatres built all over the country. He had the temple area of the Jerusalem temple enlarged to match the dimensions of the Forum Romanum, the inner-city temple district in Rome.

National Literature: During the time of Herod’s successors, the Jews started to compete with Rome in the field of literature. Up to then, they had no written cultural tradition; now they created a new national literature, the writings we know as the Old Testament. They oriented their writing on Roman texts of the republican period that were still much admired in the imperial period.