The Writings Of The Jewish Historian Josephus

Josephus - Jewish Historian

The Writings Of The Jewish Historian Josephus


Titus Flavius Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War, including the Siege of Masada. His books offer an invaluable eye-witness testimony to a momentous turning point in Judaism, Christianity, and Western civilization.  He is the primary literary source for reconstructing history in the late second temple period and in the time of Jesus and the first century.

His most important works were The Jewish War  and Antiquities of the Jews.  His book, The Jewish War, recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation.  Originally a rebel leader, Josephus changed sides after he was captured to become a Rome-appointed negotiator, and so was uniquely placed to observe these turbulent events, from the siege of Jerusalem to the final heroic resistance and mass suicides at Masada. His account provides much of what we know about the history of the Jews under Roman rule.

His treatise,  Antiquities of the Jews, recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective.  It offers an account of Jewish history from its early beginnings to the revolt against Rome in ad 66 for an ostensibly Roman audience.  In the first ten volumes, Josephus follows the events of the historical books of the Hebrew Bible beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve. The second ten volumes continue the history of the Jewish people beyond the biblical text and up to the Jewish War.

Josephus’ work is often the source of history that appears in books, documentaries and television shows that delve into happenings in the Middle East in the Roman era.

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