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Problems with this page[edit]

There's some great information on this page, but it has a number of problems, as I see it:

  1. The whole introduction is actually a dictionary-style definition of the word 'Zealotry'. Wikipedia isn't a dictionary.
  2. The second section is about the Jewish sect called the 'Zealots'. Shouldn't this be on a seperate page called 'Zealot'?
  3. The Christian Youth section is very short on context. Are they a defined group or just a school of thought amongst Xtian youth? Is it a sub-set of Pentecostalism/Catholicism etc? Is it globe spanning or restricted to one country?

Regards,Ashmoo 05:06, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Plus, the grammar is awful and there are some fairly nonsensical parts. See, for instance, the section on Masada

I reverted a revision that made no sense. It changed "Zealotry was a movement in first century Judaism, described by Josephus as one of the "four sects" at this time." to " Zealotry was a movement not in the first century Judaism, described by Josephus as one of the "four sects" at this time."

A) The original sentence correctly summarizes Josephus. The revision is surely wrong as to Josephus. B) It's also wrong historically. C) And it's not grammatically correct either. David in DC 18:50, 22 May 2007 (UTC)


Few points: This article is very against the zealots and makes them look like scum. This is not NPOV. Secondly, when claiming to present a POV it incorrectly presents that view. Such as with the Talmud's POV, it claims to be the Talmud's POV but the very basis of the Talmud is made up by many POVs and secondly its wording doesn't seem "Talmudish." ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 17:38, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree that this article is unfairly harsh to the historical Zealots, taking the corrupt colloquial meaning of the term rather than the historical group. Some people see them as heroes! My personal ethical option, for example, is: "Even though they were religious fanatics amongst themselves, that doesn't give Romans the right to invade their land, force their 'emperor cult' on them, tax them, disarm them, and persecute them! They stood up against Rome, and they died fighting for freedom as they saw it!" This article should try to balance those multiple points of view, and avoid terms like "fanatic" or "terrorists" - that should be clarified in Zealot (term). - AlexLibman 13:09, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Can anyone verify the recouting of the seige of Masada? (Citation?) It's details do not seem to reflect events as I was aware of them. -Reworded some of the text to say the same thing with a more NPOV.

Calling the people killed by Zealots "collaborators" doesn't sound like a neutral point of view either. It sounds like the writer is adopting the Zealots point of view.

[Bracketed Comments][edit]

Objections to the article's NPOV inserted all over the place make the article bery hard to read, and AFAIK have no precedent on Wikipedia. The article may well not be neutral, however this should be discussed on the talk page, not on the article itself. The NPOV tag should be enough to warn casual readers about possible bias.

I have therefore removed all the bracketed comments, and copy them here where they are more appropriate.

Zealotry was a movement in first century Judaism, described by Josephus as one of the "four sects" at this time. The term Zealot, in Hebrew kanai, means one who is jealous on behalf of God. In modern English it is used to refer to any form of zeal in excess, especially to cases where activism and ambition in relation to an ideology have become excessive to the point of being harmful to others, oneself, and one's own cause. A zealous person is called a zealot.

The page is fine as long as it is not critical of Jews. Any such comments would be construed as anti-semitic.


Zealotry denotes zeal in excess on behalf of God. The original Zealots were a Jewish political movement in the 1st century AD which sought to incite the people of Iudaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the country by force of arms during the Great Jewish Revolt (AD 66-70). When the Romans introduced the imperial cult, the Jews had rebelled and been put down. The Zealots continued to oppose the Romans, on the grounds that Israel belonged only to a Jewish king descended from David, see Jewish Messiah. [Characterizing this action as rebellion would seem to coincide with a Roman point of view (although it is possible that the earlier article writer is one of those who uses the word rebel in the fairly modern (and thoroughly untraditional) fashion as having positive connotations. From the Zealots point of view they would be rightfully expelling a wicked occupying power in accordance with the will of God, the ultimate authority. Furthermore, the term rebel implies a lack of right, and from a neutral point of view, I don't see how one can characterize their war against Rome at all— in terms of right and wrong. Only in terms (lacking not-so-subtle moral connotations) of what is believed about the participants in the war and their beliefs can this event be described neutrally.]

Josephus' Jewish Antiquities book 18 states that there were three main Jewish sects at this time, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Zealots were a "fourth sect", founded by Judas of Galilee (also called Judas of Gamala) and Zadok the Pharisee in the year 6 against Quirinius' tax reform, shortly after the Roman state declared what had most recently been the territory of the tribe of Judah a Roman Province, and that they "agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord." (18.1.6) According to the Jewish Encyclopedia article on Zealots[1]: "Following Josephus ("B. J." ii. 8, § 1; "Ant." xviii. 1, §§ 1, 6), most writers consider that the Zealots were a so-called fourth party founded by Judas the Galilean (see Grätz, "Gesch." iii. 252, 259; Schürer, "Gesch." 1st ed., i. 3, 486). This view is contradicted, however, by the fact that Hezekiah, the father of Judas the Galilean, had an organized band of so-called "robbers" which made war against the Idumean Herod ("B. J." i. 10, § 5; "Ant." xiv. 9, § 2), and also by the fact that the system of religious and political murders practised by the Zealots was in existence during the reign of Herod, if not long before (see below)."

The Zealots had the leading role in the Jewish Revolt of 66. They succeeded in taking over Jerusalem, and kept control of it until 70, when the son of Roman emperor Vespasian, Titus Flavius, retook the city and destroyed Herod's Temple during the destruction of Jerusalem.

The Zealots objected to Roman rulership and sought to violently eradicate it; Zealots engaged in violence were called the Sicarii. They raided Jewish habitations and killed Jews they considered collaborators, they also urged Jews to fight Romans and other Jews for their religiopolitical cause. Josephus paints a very bleak picture of their activities as they instituted what he characterized as a murderous "reign of terror" prior to the Jewish Temple's destruction.

According to Josephus, the Zealots followed John of Gischala, who had fought the Romans in Galilee, escaped, came to Jerusalem, and then inspired the locals to a fanatical position that led to the Temple's destruction.

According to Josephus, the names of Judas's sons were "james and simon", not Jacob and simon. 20.5.2, Complete Works, Whiston, ed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

The Talmud[edit]

In the Talmud, the Zealots are also called the biryonim meaning "boorish" or "wild", and are condemned for their aggression, unwillingness to compromise to save the living survivors of Jerusalem besieged by the Romans, and blind-militarism and are blamed for having contributed to the demise of Jerusalem, the second Jewish Temple and of ensuring Rome's retributions and stranglehold on Judea. [source? The Talmud is very very large, a citation for this would be nice]

The Jewish zealots of the late New Testament times advocated killing, stealing, and many other crimes. Zealots were known to commit acts of terrorism [Terrorism is a politically loaded word; heavy with connotation, it doesn't keep a neutral point of view. It's also vague.] against Romans and Jews alike. One Sadducee family in favor of the Romans was brutally [characterizing the murder in moralistic terms is not a neutral point of view] murdered by the zealots. After torching the Sadducee house, they captured its occupants and threw them in a pit of poisonous snakes. When the children were almost dead, the zealots took them out of the pit and began beating them. Finally, the children's bodies were ripped apart by the savage zealots. Intestines and blood spilled all over the ground. [again, source? And could "late New Testament times" be clarified? Like, approximate dates? By the way, assuming that this is all from somewhere in the Talmud, not only should the source be stated, but it should be made clearer that this information presented as a fact is actually a talmudic account of questionable factuality. In other words, just as with the account of Josephus, something along the lines of "According to Talmud Babba Kama daf whatever,artscroll-page-who-knows-what] the Jewish zealots etcetra."]


The Zealots took the Roman fortress, Masada, and killed everyone inside. Thousands of Roman soldiers died attempting to re-take the stronghold, and even after inventing new types of seige engines, the Zealots retained control of the fortress. The Romans eventually gave up and burned the walls down. When they stormed in, all they found were corpses. The Zealots had committed suicide rather than continue in servitude. [continue in servitude is not neutral point of view, also, servitude is vague] One of their leaders, Elazar ben Yair escaped to the desert fortress of Masada and fought alongside the Sicarii Zealots until Masada was captured in 73. The Jewish Revolt was quickly suppressed and the Zealots lost all their influence and finally vanished. [according to the Masada section of wikipedia, this paragraph is not only confusing— it makes it sound like there are two Masadas— a Roman fortress and a desert fortress, which I don't think is the case, although if it is, someone should clarify it— it is also inaccurate and misleading, having confused facts, e.g. that the Romans burnt the walls down. It says they broke through with a battering ram, and the only mention of burning is how the Zealots, not Romans, set fires to the fortress from the inside]

→ Added link for the main page about Masada. If this page isn't itself totally NPOV, it does provide some better estabilished information. --Chalom 14:44, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Added a sentence about the contemporary significance of Masada and it's role in Israel Defense Forces basic training graduation. David in DC 21:39, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


One particularly extreme group of Zealots was also known in Latin as sicarii, meaning "daggermen" (sing. sicarius, possibly a morphological reanalysis), because of their policy of killing Jews opposed to their call for war against Rome. Probably [according to who? perhaps plausibly?] many [how many? how can you characterize their quantity if you have no idea as to their actual numbers besides speculation?] Zealots were sicarri simultaneously, and they may be the baryonim of the Talmud [earlier in the article it says they are, so are they? or may they be? or might they be? or aren't they? If we are uncertain, can we not say "Some speculate they might be the "baryonim" mentioned in the Talmud" ?] [that were feared even by the Jewish sages of the Mishnah, such as Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai who feared assassination for suggesting a truce with the Roman forces besieging ancient Jerusalem, and had to feign death in a casket to escape being stabbed.

Change to this talk page[edit]

While cleaning up POV Articles, I came across this talk page. I removed the NPOV and not verified tags from this article, as they were categorizing the talk page as NPOV. I also removed a few uncontested lines that were copied in. -- Irixman (t) (m) 19:56, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Redirection issues[edit]

Zealot redirects to this page. But as can be seen from the wikipedia dictionary and other sources, the actual historical zealots are but a minor meaning of the word today. A moder zealot need not be Jewish, or even religious at all.

I suppose the best way to do this is to divide the page into different pages for Zealotry and Zealousness and perhaps even Zeal. 12:31, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

This page should be retitled Zealots (Judaism) or something similar, which is mostly what it is about. (talk) 21:22, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

etymologies and how not to describe words[edit]

"The term [zealot] derives from Greek ζηλωτής (zelotes), "emulator, zealous admirer or follower"." Terms cannot derive from themselves, even in other parts of speach. The definition of a word cannot contain the word itself, even in another part of speech. The word "zealous" in the definition of zelotes is absurd. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:38, 11 June 2010 (UTC)