|Author||Rose Mary Sheldon|
|Publication Date||December 31, 2007|
In Spies of the Bible, Rose Mary Sheldon highlights the importance of espionage and traces the role intelligence has played from the Jewish exodus from Egypt to the Bar Kochba Revolt. The Near East has been fiercely contested by various parties for thousands of years, and much of the fighting was conducted not in large-scale battles and confrontations, but in smaller guerrilla operations of low-intensity conflict. Since the very key to guerrilla operations or surprise attacks is knowing where the enemy will be, timely and accurate intelligence is essential. The Jews fought as guerrillas when they were nomads in the desert trying to take over the cities of Canaan. As an occupied state, they fought three wars of liberation against the Greeks and Romans. This too meant fighting as guerrillas, employing terrorist tactics and organizing clandestinely. The modern irony is that it is the Jews who are the established power in their homeland, and it is the Palestinians who are fighting a guerrilla war in the form of the intifada. This type of warfare seems to be endemic to the region because of its small size, and therefore intelligence will always play a large part in any conflict. Rose Mary Sheldons book is the first substantial work to examine warfare in the ancient Near East and the crucial role of intelligence gathering in the Holy Land. Her text includes an analysis of the Last Supper, the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate, the attack on Masada, the Maccabees and the Battles of Beth Horon, Emmaus and Beth Zur.