Caligula and the Jews

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Last night here in the UK, the BBC broadcast another interesting programme on things Roman, written and “starring” Prof. Mary Beard (whom I respect enormously), this one on Gaius Caesar, better known as Caligula.  It was, of course, selective, and as necessary for TV audiences (even BBC audiences) “jazzed up” just a bit and kept light and breezy. But some information did get through on the man and his brief reign (37-41 CE), which was cut short by assassination done by his own guards.

As is now standard procedure, Prof. Beard queried the historic picture of Caligula, as a cruel, paranoid, vain, morally corrupt ruler, observing that there were no contemporary references to him of this nature and that we depend on treatments in writers such as Suetonius (ca. 69-122 CE), who wasn’t even born in Caligula’s lifetime.  But we aren’t limited to Suetonius and writers of his ilk or date.  There were…

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