Category Archives: Holy Land

Rising Star, Ruthless Rebel, and False Messiah: Bar Koseba, Bar Kokhba, Bar Koziba

Rising Star, Ruthless Rebel, and False Messiah: Bar Koseba, Bar Kokhba, Bar Koziba

Fifty-seven years ago today Yigael Yadin announced the discovery of letters written by Bar Kochba, the leader of the third Judaean rebellion against Rome (from 132-134 C.E.). These letters reveal that his real name was Shimon Bar Koseba. Tradition holds that the name Bar Kokhba was given to him by Rabbi Akiva, who believed that the rebel leader might be the Messiah. Bar Kochba means “son of a star” and alludes to a portion of Numbers 24:17as a Messianic prophecy: “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Continue reading

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