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Zealots (ZEAL·ots). The pre-70 CE first century Jewish patriotic front, founded by Judas of Gamala, determined to end Roman rule. Fanatically opposed to Roman rule the Zealots were influential in brining on the Jewish War of CE 66-70 resulting in the CE 70 destruction of Jerusalem.


A well-preserved stepped pyramid, called a ziggurat, at Ur in Iraq. Photo courtesy of Ferrell Jenkins.

ziggurat (ZIG·gu·RAT). From Assyrian zigguratu, summit. A stepped Assyrian and Babylonian temple.

Zion (ZI·on). Originally the Jebusite stronghold on the eastern hill captured about 1000 BCE by King David. It became the venue of the residence of David, various public buildings, and the center of Jewish spiritual life. The western hill became known as Mt. Zion due to its erroneous identification by medieval Jewish pilgrims as the "City of David". Today the name of the western hill is Mt. Zion and the eastern hill, the "stronghold of Zion" (II Samuel 5), is known as the City of David.

zodiac (ZO·di·ac). An imaginary circular band in the heavens devised ca. 6th century BCE. by the Babylonians (Chaldeans) later configured as a mathematical concept by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus (ca. 190–125 BCE). The band extends for about nine degrees on either side of the ecliptic, that is, the apparent path of the sun and including the paths of the moon and the principal planets except Pluto, arbitrarily divided into12 equal sections or signs. For each section, occupying 30 degrees of the circle, the Babylonian priest-astrologers assigned a constellation and an accompanying symbol for use in astrology. Except for Pluto the moon and planets never stray more than 8 degrees from the elliptic and therefore remain within the zodiac. The ancient Greeks referred to the band as zodiakos which means "of living things," since most of the zodiacal constellations represent animals.

Page last edited: 02/18/07 10:18 PM

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