Sacred Writings

Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary : Life of by Steve Mason

By Steve Mason

Flavius Josephus is definitely crucial witness to historical Judaism from the shut of the biblical interval to the aftermath of the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. His 4 surviving works - "Judean War", "Judean Antiquities", "Life", and "Against Apion" - give you the narrative stucture for studying the opposite, extra fragmentary written assets and actual is still from this era. His descriptions of the Temple, the Judean geographical region, Jewish-Roman kin and conflicts, and teams and associations of historical Judea became integral for the coed of early Judaism, the Classicist, and the reader of the recent testomony alike. The priestly aristocrat Josephus used to be born in A.D. 37 and died round the yr a hundred. After struggling with opposed to the Romans within the warfare of 66-73/4 and surrendering within the earliest part of the crusade, he moved to Rome the place he begun a efficient literary profession. His 4 surviving works in thirty Greek volumes are extensively excerpted for historic reasons, yet nonetheless infrequently learn of their literary and ancient contexts. This undertaking goals to aid each severe reader of Josephus by means of offering a brand new literal translation, besides a remark suggesting literary and historic connnections.

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Cohen can see no way to unite all of these “disparate elements” in the Life (Cohen 1979:169). Of these five extraneous themes, the most important—because Cohen sees it as the main link between Life and Antiquities—concerns Josephus and the Pharisees. Cohen supports his argument that the Yavnean rabbis were one audience for the Life with the claim that Antiquities already presents a “nationalistic” and “religious-Pharisaic viewpoint” (Cohen 1979:148-51), emphasizing both the importance of Torah piety and the peerless influence of the Pharisees.

In response to the Galilean complaints and the delegation sent from Jerusalem to remove him, Josephus wrote the self-justifying statement of affairs mentioned above for the Jerusalem authorities, in which he tried to show that he had effectively pacified the Galilee. He wrote this somewhat before the Romans had arrived on the scene, therefore early in 67. In the end, he was confirmed in his post, but mainly because he was impossible to dislodge with the bandits at his disposal. Soon after his confirmation, the internal Galilean-Jerusalem struggle that he had been sent to resolve developed into full-fledged war with Rome, and Josephus promptly surrendered at Iotapata.

Even though Plutarch does not simplistically praise one and vilify the other, he uses comparison and contrast to help expose features in each life. In praising one life, then, an author more or less required the foil of another life in order to sharpen the features of the honoree. p65 40 11/21/00, 4:57 PM introduction to the LIFE of josephus xli Jerusalem, or Iustus of Tiberias—do not require that he actually felt threatened by active opposition from any of them. In the zero-sum game of prestige and authority (below), the more effectively he could belittle other potential leaders, the better he would appear by contrast.

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