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The True Herod (Hardback)
  • The True Herod (Hardback)
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The True Herod (Hardback)

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£30.00
Hardback 216 Pages / Published: 22/05/2014
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Who was Herod the Great? How did he come to govern one of the most politically tumultuous regions in the world? Was he the heartless baby-killer of Matthew's Gospel, or does this popular tale do Herod a great disservice? Geza Vermes, whose work on the Historical Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls has made him one of the most recognisable names in Biblical and Jewish studies, provides a new portrait of Herod. Vermes examines Herod's legacy as a political leader, and a potentate, a man of culture, and an all-round smooth operator. Vermes opens up the fascinating character of Herod, from his sizable and fragile ego to his devastation at the execution of his beloved wife, an execution that Herod ordered himself. Beginning with the key historical sources (notably Josephus) Vermes moves on to consider Herod's greatest legacy and testament - his extensive building works, which include the Temple in Jerusalem, Masada and Herodium. Colour images, combined with Vermes' lively prose make this new picture of Herod an enticing and informative guide to one of Ancient History's most misunderstood figures.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780567575449
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 624 g
Dimensions: 216 x 170 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This beautiful book has been produced with the dedicated skill of Geza Vermes' widow Margaret and a fine team at Bloomsbury/ T&T Clark. Assembling an array of gorgeous illustrations to match the lively text, they have created a lush product befitting Herod's aesthetic. This is a rich read, despite its brevity, demonstrating the knowledge and understanding of an author at the peak of his powers, even so close to his death. In this book that honours the complex character of Herod, we have also an honourable tribute to the exceptional historian who wrote it. * History Today *
If the name Herod elicits the static image of a two-dimensional villain for you, read this by the late Vermes ... Generously illustrated with images from the time ... as well as maps, later paintings, sculptures, and reliefs, and based on the author's lifetime of scholarship, the text fleshes out this much maligned character from biblical history. Vermes not only gives context for Herod's negative reputation but also provides a fresh perspective for appreciating admirable accomplishments (for example, renovating the Jerusalem temple) and qualities (loyalty, savvy political instincts, fondness for the learned Jews of his time) ... a clear and winning introduction to a man both larger than life and fully human. * Publishers Weekly *
A gripping and scholarly work. -- Justin Cartwright * The Spectator *
Geza Vermes died in 2013. He left behind him an astonishing corpus of writing about Jewish and biblical history. This final little book is very different from the mighty, ground-breaking scholarly tomes, but it shares the same determination to challenge preconceptions. It is intended, Vermes wrote in his introduction, for "all and sundry", and there is comfort in knowing that the widest possible readership will, or should, encounter Vermes one last time. You may, all along, have disagreed with some things that he wrote, but you'd have been a fool to ignore them. -- Jonathan Wright * Catholic Herald *
Vermes describes this intimate side of Herod's life with more gusto than is usual for serious scholars, but it is somewhat refreshing. The True Herod is altogether an attractive volume, with numerous color photographs, maps and genealogical trees. It should be a welcome addition to any library. -- David M. Jacobson * Biblical Archaeology Review *
Knowing that this book was to be his last, [Vermes] poured into it the accumulated research of decades, but at the same time fashioned it into an elegant and entertaining account of the life and times of one of the most fascinating and maligned figures in Jewish history ... Vermes skilfully reduces the political intrigues and military campaigns of this long reign to a succinct and readable narrative. He also conjures up the magnificence of Herod's main building works. * Standpoint Magazine *
[In this book] Vermes opens up the fascinating character of Herod ... Colour images, combined with Vermes' lively prose make this new picture of Herod an enticing and informative guide to one of Ancient History's most misunderstood figures. -- John Painter * Review of Biblical Literature *
Lavishly illustrated ... [This book] tells the story of Herod the Great, the king of the Jews, and his successors ... [with] more than seventy illustrations and pictures throughout. * The Expository Times *
[A] delightful book ... on an interesting character, one of the foremost men of his generation, which deserves to be widely read. * The Heythrop Journal *
This book is well researched and covers a huge area of material ... [yet] Vermes sets out the historical background with brevity and clarity that should be very welcome by all readers. -- Bede Wear * New Directions *
In this final book of his career, published posthumously, Geza Vermes's insightful eye remains as sharp as ever. Rejecting the traditional villainous presentation of Herod the Great, and drawing on both literary and archaeological evidence, Vermes argues that Herod was a complex figure, capable of terrible acts but also of loyalty and diplomatic brilliance. Beautifully illustrated, and written with a real relish for presenting a personality almost larger than life, this book vividly explores the history of the Jews, Herod's stunning rise to power, the convolutions of Herod's personal and political life, his maniacal murders, monumental architecture, death and legacy. Herod has both horrified and fascinated us throughout the centuries, and this book superbly captures why. * Joan E. Taylor, King's College London, UK *
In The True Herod, his richly illustrated account of this much-maligned king of the Jews, Geza Vermes once again teaches us that to write great history is also -- perhaps first of all -- to tell a great story. * Paula Fredriksen, Boston University, USA *
This is a fascinating journey into the past; the stimulating narrative causes the reader to ponder, wonder, and speculate about human frailties and fortunes. How does an evil genius succeed in building monumental cities and the Temple, even bringing peace to a tortured land? This biography of Herod, 'a genuine tragic hero,' is another of Vermes's monumental achievements from a life devoted to research, study, and reflection. * James H. Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA *
Few volumes of 181 pages have managed to say as much about Herod as Vermes managed. In fact, none, known to me, have done so. What's most engaging and most important about this slim volume, though, isn't the historical information ... What's most important here is the way that Vermes tells the tale. His book is, if I may be so bold, artistically beautiful and aesthetically amazing. It is a genuine pleasure to read- unencumbered by unnecessary rabbit chasing or reference to irrelevancies ... Students beginning historical studies and seasoned academics should pick up a copy of this book. The former because they will learn the facts of Herod's life and legacy from one of our generation's greatest most gifted scholars. And the latter because they will re-learn facts long forgotten and how to express those facts to readers in a sensible and clear and concise way * Zwinglius Redivivus blog *
Featured * Minerva *

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