I just spent the day enthralled in an excellent new book about Herod the Great. Its called The Many Faces of Herod the Great.
Herod the Great mesmerizes me. I have a fascination with his life and career. I’m impressed with this political acumen and his architectural prowess. He’s know as the patron saint of archaeology in Israel because he singlehandedly changed the face of the land of Israel during his over 30-year reign (37 BCE-4 BCE).
Adam Kolman Marshak taught me a bunch about Herod I did not know and gave me access to a significant about of secondary literature on him I was unaware of.
His last paragraph sums up the argument of the book:
Herod the Great proves that the power of image, and one’s political self-presentation, more than physical force and violence, determines a king’s fate. They enable the king to rise to the heights of power and glory or to sink to the debts of failure and ruin (341).
In addition, while surfing around for books on Herod I found another recent biography that looks very good: Herod the Great: Statesman, Visionary, Tyrant by Norman Gelb.
Recently Ryan Rotz at Logos Bible Software wrote an interesting Advent reflection on Herod inspired by some teaching I did for Logos’s Mobile Ed. The title of the post is: “What a Bloodthirsty Tyrant Taught Me About Advent.”
The Mobile Ed course was A Survey of Jewish History and Literature of the Second Temple Period.