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Josephus

Josephus (AD 37 - AD 100) was a 1st century Jewish historian of priestly family who survived the Destruction of Jerusalem[?] in A.D. 70 and settled in Rome. He was originally known as Yosef Ben-Matityahu (Matthias in Greek), and is also referred to as Flavius Josephus.

Josephus wrote an account of the war addressed to the Jewish community in Mesopotamia in Aramaic which is now lost. He then wrote a history in Greek covering a broader period - from the Maccabees to the fall of Jerusalem. This book, the Jewish War[?], appeared by 79. The majority of the book is based on the events of his own life, including those of his own administrative experience.

Jewish Antiquities[?], composed again for Greek readers, is a history of the Jews from the Creation to the outbreak of the war in the late 60s. At the end of the Antiquities[?] is an autobiographical section in defense of Josephus's own conduct at the end of the war when he cooperated with the Roman forces of Vespasian.

Josephus's Against Apion is a defense of Judaism against classical religion and philosophy stressing the antiquity of Judaism and its scriptures against what Josephus pointed out was the relatively more recent traditions of the Greeks.

Jews have mixed feelings regarding Josephus. He was unquestionably an important apologist for the Jewish religion, particularly at a time of major upheaval, while his history of the Jewish Revolt, though sometimes questionable or self-serving, is an important source of information for the events at that time. Nevertheless, his personal conduct during the war is a point of contention because he abandoned his position as a rebel leader and joined the Roman camp.

See Josephus on Jesus

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e-texts of some of Josephus' works:



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