Pompey's army storms the walls of Jerusalem. Some 100 years later, a woman from Natzaret mourns the death of her charismatic preacher son.
In her new novel, the award-winning writer Naomi Alderman provides a compelling and challenging fictional account of life in Roman-occupied Judea. Her novel begins in 63 BC with Pompey's Roman army assailing the fortifications of Jerusalem, and ends with the bloodshed of the Jewish-Roman war in the first century CE.
Within this context of Roman brutality and Jewish insurrection, Alderman presents the life and death of a charismatic Jewish preacher, Yehoshuah. A year after his death, four people tell their stories - his mother, Miryam; his former friend and follower Iehuda of Qeriot; the High Priest at the great Temple in Jerusalem, Caiaphas and the rebel, Bar-Avo.
In today's episode, Pompey's army storms the walls of Jerusalem. Some hundred years later, a woman from Natzaret mourns the death of her charismatic preacher son.
Read by Stephanie Racine and Tracy-Ann Oberman
Abridged by Sally Marmion
Produced by Emma Harding
Author Note: Naomi Alderman grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community in north-west London. Her first novel, 'Disobedience', was published in ten languages and won the Orange Award for New Writers; like her second novel, 'The Lessons', it was read on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.
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