“The Riddle of Joseph Ben Matityahu,” A Historical Novel Based On The Jewish Struggle Against The Roman Empire By Doron Ben Shimon

“The Riddle of Joseph ben Matityahu” brings to life with vivid colors the hopeless struggle of the Jews against the superpower of antiquity, the Roman Empire

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Soon another day of excavation would end. A group of excavators were gathered around the wall of a second century house, laboring to fully expose it.

“Watch out, the wall is about to collapse!” one of the excavators suddenly cried out. He barely finished the sentence before portions of the wall collapsed in a terrible cloud of smoke. One of the excavators examined the remaining portion of the collapsed wall and noticed a vase poking out of the ruins, which contained within it a rolled-up scroll. This was how the riddle of Joseph Ben Matityahu was born.

“The Riddle of Joseph ben Matityahu” is a breathtaking historical novel well-grounded in facts. It brings to life with vivid colors the hopeless struggle of the Jews against the superpower of antiquity, the Roman Empire. It was a struggle which dramatically ended in an event seminal for both Judaism and Christianity –the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

The book illuminates with fierce hues the moments of heroism, alongside the despair, madness and cruelty which prevailed during the great Jewish Rebellion against the Romans, and even more so in Jerusalem during the siege.

The book presents the story of people led by the hand of fate through a great storm to a safe harbor, from despair to hope, and then back to the depths of a new despair.

The novel opens up a window into the tormented, enigmatic and multifaceted soul of Joseph Ben Matityahu, a man sent by the Sanhedrin to Rome at the age of twenty six and returned to the Land of Israel after spending over two years in the Empress’s court. He was appointed Commander of the Rebellion in the Galilee and was captured by the Romans in Yodfat. Instead of being executed, as might be expected, Emperor Vespasian appointed him his senior intelligence officer.

The Author Doron Ben Shimon worked for many years in the acquisition and rehabilitation of ailing companies, until he traded in his business briefcase for a backpack and became an accredited tour guide. His tour guide course and the hundreds of tours he guided gave him a deep perspective of the land of Israel and its legacy. The dramatic event of the Jewish War against the Romans has fascinated him form many years.

As a lifelong photographer, he could almost visualize the terrible screams and stench of defeat, as if he had been there himself. To write the novel The Riddle of Joseph Ben Matityahu, the History book of the Jewish War Against the Romans has been his guiding light, accompanying him on a nearly daily basis. The author has delved into additional sources, as well as various interpretations of Joseph ben Matityahu’s writings.

Doron Ben Shimon

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1 comment

Margo Berg June 23, 2021 at 5:51 pm

I read your review of Doron Ben Shimon’s “The Riddle of Joseph Ben Matityahu” and sent it to my whole family. When will it be available in English? We can’t seem to find it anywhere. It sounds like a most fascinating read and seems like it would make for the quintessential epic film on a grand scale. I should like to have this for my summer read at the beach. When is it coming out in English? We are all now waiting…


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