Speech by Eleazar son of Jairus, the Last Leader of the Fourth Philosophy at Masada

Long since, my brave men, we determined neither to serve the Romans nor any other save God, for He alone is man's true and righteous Lord; and now the time is come which bids us verify that resolution by our actions. At this crisis let us not disgrace ourselves; we who in the past refused to submit even to a slavery involving no peril, let us not now, along with slavery, deliberately accept the irreparable penalties awaiting us if we are to fall alive into Roman hands. For as we were the first of all to revolt, so are we the last in arms against them. Moreover, I believe that it is God who has granted us this favor, that we have it in our power to die nobly and in freedom - a privilege denied to others who have met with unexpected defeat… For it is death which gives liberty to the soul and permits it to depart to its own pure abode, there to be free from all calamity; but so long as it is imprisoned in a mortal body tainted with all its miseries, it is, in sober truth, dead, for association with what is mortal ill befits that which is divine.

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The Fourth Philosophy was a Jewish sect that refused to submit to Rome that probably started in 6 C.E. when the Romans declared Judea a province of Rome.

 

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