Flavius Josephus

Steve Mason

in Jewish Studies

ISBN: 9780199840731
Published online August 2012 | | DOI:
Flavius Josephus

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When scholars speak of the history of Judaea in the early Roman period, they invariably depend on the work of Flavius Josephus. He is our main source for the later Hasmoneans, Roman administration of the region, the notorious King Herod, and figures of importance for the study of the New Testament such as Pontius Pilate or the high priest Caiaphas. Born in the year of the Emperor Caligula’s accession to the throne, Josephus (b. 37–d. c. 100 ce) lived through the extraordinarily important decades before Jerusalem fell to Roman armies (70 ce). As a thirty-year-old member of Jerusalem’s priestly elite, he was commanding Galilee’s defenses against the Roman onslaught in early 67 ce, when he was besieged and forced to capitulate. After spending the rest of the war in Roman custody and assisting the enemy with military intelligence, he was granted his freedom and maintenance in the city of Rome. There he began to write the history of his people—first, of the recent war and its causes (seven volumes on The Judaean War), and later, of Judaean history, law, and culture (twenty volumes on Judaean Antiquities plus an essay in two volumes known as Against Apion). To the longest work (Antiquities) he appended an autobiography, which, in the ancient fashion, focused on his personal status, character, and military-political achievements during the crisis with Rome.

Article.  14343 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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