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The Persian and Islamic conquests of Jerusalem

The Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614CE compared with Islamic conquest of 638CE.
Its Messianic nature and the role of the Jewish Exilarch
By Ben Abrahamson and Joseph Katz
Published 2007


Explores the conquests of Jerusalem in 614CE and 638CE within the context of previous attempts at Jewish restoration. Discusses reasons for a Persian-Jewish alliance and later a Judeo-Arab alliance. In an attempt to reconcile contemporary sources, an account is given of Babylonian Jewish Exilarch Nechemiah ben Hushiel, his brother Shallum (Salmaan Farsi) and nephew Yakov (Ka'b Al-Ahbar) who played pivotal roles in these conquests. Proposes that the twelve men who went to Mecca to meet with the Prophet were Jewish refugees from Edessa, by way of Medina. Suggesting that the authors of Sefer Zerubavel and of the Prayer of Shimon bar Yochai were Jews from Medina. Abstract:


  1. Preface
  2. Jerusalem and the Temple, attempts at restoration
  3. Rabbinic disregard and even opposition to Jewish attempts at restoration
  4. Origins of the Jewish Exilarch
  5. From the Hasmonean Priest-Monarchs to Herod's Judeo-Arab Kingdom
  6. Trajans' war and the Exilarch's rise to power under the Parthians
  7. The Coordinated Revolt of Bar Kochba
  8. The Exilarchs under the Sassanids: Friends of the Rulers, Enemies of the People
  9. The Jewish Exilarch’s relationship with the Rabbinical authorities
  10. The Politicization of Religion
  11. The Mazdakite Revolution and reduction of the power of the Nobles
  12. War between the Exilarch and the Mazdakites
  13. Waves of Israelites to Arabia bringing Judaism in various stages of development
  14. The introduction of Persian Rabbinism into Sadducean Arabia
  15. Declaration of Jewish Independence, first in Persia then Arabia
  16. After-effects of the Failed Attempts at Jewish Independence
  17. Phocas and the Final Persian-Roman War
  18. Nehemiah ben Hushiel and The Jewish Crusade
  19. Conquest and Disaster at Jerusalem
  20. The Pivotal Years
  21. Signs of the Coming of the Prophet
  22. The Jews seek a New Leader
  23. Changing of the Qiblah
  24. The Battle of Badr, 'Uhud and Khandaq; the Expulsion of the Priestly Tribes
  25. Christian followers antagonistic to Jewish followers of the Prophet
  26. Shallum ben Hushiel (Salmaan Farsi) finds the Prophet
  27. To Save the Jews of Israel from Byzantine slaughter
  28. Death of the Prophet, Abu Bakr's Appointment, and Shallum's Rebellion
  29. The Conquest of Persia and Shallum's Return
  30. Conquest and Victory at Jerusalem
  31. The Temple of Shallum (Solomon) and the Messianic Age
  32. Heman ben Shallum (Abdullah Ibn Saba)
  33. Yakub of Syria (Ka'b al-Ahbar) Last Jewish Attempt at Islamic Leadership
  34. Saba'iya, Khawarij, the Exilarch's men: a Question of Islamic Leadership
  35. Khalif 'Umar's Selection of Rabbinic Judaism as "true" Judaism
  36. Absorption of Islamic Christians under Mu’awiyah
  37. Khalif 'Ali' Attempts to bring back "authentic" Islam
  38. Hussein's attempt to recreate the Prophet's entry into Medinah
  39. Fading into Mysticism, the last Messiahs
  40. Concluding Remarks
  41. Table 1. Babylonian Exilarchs
  42. Appendix A: Joseph Schwartz quote on Shallum ben Hushiel (Salmaan Farsi)

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