Civil War: The reigns of Yanai, Salome, Aristobolus and Hyrcanus. The
influence of Shimon ben Shetach.
The conversion of Yochanon Hyrcanus to the beliefs of the Sadducees, as described in the previous lecture, was the beginning of a precipitous slide that led to repeated civil wars, the Roman conquest of Judea, the enslavement of the Jews, and the destruction of the Temple. Yochanon’s sons, true Sadducees, were involved in the most hideous of crimes. His grandsons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, continued this tradition and entered into a conflict that eventually caused Judea to lose its independence and become absorbed into the Roman empire. One shining exception through this bleak period was the rulership of Salome, Yochanon’s daughter-in-law, under the influence of Shimon ben Shetach, her brother, and leading member of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees. The intrigues and conflicts of the period as well as the steps taken by Shimon ben Shetach to weaken the influence of the Sadducees and to ameliorate the situation are the subjects of this lecture.
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