The Romans crushed the first century Jewish Revolt. Following the brutal suppression, Rome moved to lessen the chance of another rebellion. The surviving Jewish population dispersed throughout the region. Christians got caught in the wake leaving Rome as the center of the new religion. As a result of the failed revolt, both Christianity and Judaism changed dramatically. Judaism became more democratic and splintered with the diasporas while Christianity separated forever from its Jewish roots.
The Romans claimed to have killed over a million Jews during the revolt. However, ancient generals often overestimated casualties inflicted upon an enemy. Despite the questionable Jewish casualty rate, it is certain that the Romans killed a multitude. The infighting between Jewish factions added to those killed by the Romans. In addition to the dead, Rome captured a number of Jews. The captives were sold into slavery, fought in gladiatorial contests, or marched through the streets of Rome. Whatever the actual casualty figures, the Jewish Revolt decimated the Judean population.
The decimation went beyond the dead and captured. While some Jews ended up captives, others fled the region for their lives. They left Judea for other Mediterranean countries. This added to the diasporas that already existed. By the first century, Jews lived in Antioch, Beirut, and Alexandria. After the revolt, Jews lived throughout the Mediterranean.
The diasporas and the Temple’s destruction decentralized the religion. Prior to the revolt, rabbis inherited their positions. After the revolt, bloodlines no longer dictated religious leadership. Instead, scholars became rabbis. This opened religious leadership to anyone capable of doing scholarly work. Additionally, the Temple no longer existed to serve as the center of Judaism.
While the Jewish Diaspora splintered the Israeli people and led to changes in the religion, Christianity moved to Rome. Many Christians in the Holy Land died during the revolt. It broke the power of the so-called “mother church” in Judea. The Romans did not distinguish between Christians and Jews. They viewed Christianity as a form of Judaism. The chaos in Judea left Rome as the center of Christianity.
Christians in Rome felt the need to distinguish themselves from the Jews. They just survived a persecution under Nero which resulted in many deaths, but did not wipe out the religion. Early Christians worshipped underground and out of sight. In order to avoid being confused with the Jews, and experiencing another great persecution, they worked to play up the differences between the two religions. The gradual process began with Paul’s rejection of circumcision before the revolt and continued through the century. Additionally, some synagogues persecuted Christians because they believed Jesus was the Messiah making it easier for early church leaders to distinguish their religion.
The Jewish Revolt changed two religions. The Roman victory created another Jewish Diaspora and decentralized the religion. This allowed some democratization within the temple leadership. It also wiped out the Christian mother church transferring power to Rome. Roman Christians began distinguishing themselves with the Jews and some synagogues helped through their own persecutions.