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Moses of Crete

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Moses of Crete was a Jewish Messiah claimant and apocalyptic prophet in the 5th century C.E.

After the unsuccessful Bar Kokba war, there was an end to Messianic movements for several centuries. However, the hope of a coming messiah nonetheless continued. In accordance with one interpretation of the Talmud, the Messiah was expected in 440 (Sanh. 97b) or 471 ('Ab. Zarah 9b).

This expectation in connection with the disturbances in the Roman empire attendant upon invasions may have raised hopes in a messiah claimant who appeared about this time in Crete, and who won over the Jewish population to his movement. He called himself Moses, and promised to lead the people, like the ancient Moses, dry-shod through the sea back to Palestine. His followers, convinced by him, left their possessions and waited for the promised day, when at his command many cast themselves into the sea, some finding death, others being rescued.

The Moses himself disappeared.[1] Socrates states that Moses of Crete fled, while the Chronicle of John of Nikiu claims that he perished in the sea. While he called himself Moses, the Chronicle gives his actual name as 'Fiskis' [2][3]

  1. Socrates, "Historia Ecclesiastica," vii. 38; Grätz, "Gesch." 3d ed., iv. 354-355
  2. John of Nikiu, "Chronicle," LXXXVI.1-11
  3. Donna Kossy, Kooks

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