Josephus: Complete Works

by Flavius Josephus

Other authorsWilliam Whiston
Book, 1978

Barcode

123458032

Call number

710 JOS

Collection

Publication

Grand Rapids, Mich. : Kregel Publications, 1978.

Description

(Revised and expanded edition; commentary by Paul L. Maier) Unabridged. Includes harmony of Greek and English numbering systems, table of Jewish weights and measures, Old Testament text parallels, twenty full-page illustrations, and an updated index.

User reviews

LibraryThing member sumer1
An interesting read about the history of the Jews from an actual historical Jew. The passage about Jesus Christ is incredible, and is quick proof of his historical existence. Well worth it for that alone.
LibraryThing member DubiousDisciple
I don’t know if this is a particularly good translation; I’ve nothing to compare it to, since I’ve never read any other. It’s not the translation I wish to promote, it’s the writings. Every Bible scholar, especially New Testament scholars, simply MUST read Josephus.

Josephus was a Jewish
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historian who wrote his books during the same years that most of the New Testament was being written. That is, the latter three decades of the first century. Josephus was not particularly well-liked among Jews; he abused his governorship, he defected to the enemy when captured by the Roman legions, and he wrote his history of the war to present the Romans in a good light. Given to exaggeration, he taints nearly every chapter of his War of the Jews with self-glorification and political and religious aims. Yet, he remains our most important historian for the war of 67-70 CE, which proved to be the springboard for the spread of Christianity, and to be honest, it’s his personal agendas that make his writing so interesting.

Oddly, as much as Josephus was hated, he became very important to Christians, because of his references to Jesus Christ. But scholars now doubt their authenticity. In one passage, the famed Testimonium Flavianum, Josephus names Jesus as the Messiah. Some through the centuries even claimed Josephus to be a Christian. (If you read my book about Revelation, you’ll come away with just the opposite opinion; Josephus may have played a surprising role in the story of Revelation!)

This book contains all four of Josephus’ writings:

The Jewish War, which describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

The Life of Flavius Josephus, his own autobiography, which ends up as little more than a defense against the various attacks on his integrity during his governorship in Galilee.

Jewish Antiquities, a Bible-driven history of the Jews from the beginning of time.

Against Apion, a defense of Judaism.
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LibraryThing member deusvitae
The works of Josephus as translated by William Whiston in the 1700s: Josephus' biography/defense, the Antiquities of the Jews, the Wars of the Jews, and Against Apion. The Kindle edition also features some defenses of Josephus by Whiston.

Josephus is attempting to tell the story of Israel to the
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Romans, attempting to make sense of the Jewish War, and above all, to justify himself and his conduct in relation to the Jewish War. History has not seen as many brazenly self-propagandistic writers like Josephus who go out of their way to justify themselves about anything and everything. Josephus must always be the hero; God forbid anyone question his decisions or judgment.

Josephus remains an important source for Jewish history from the days of Alexander the Great to his own time, particularly in his treatment of the Herods. He is a witness to the rise of early Christianity; the extent of that witness has been disputed for a long time. Josephus is quite biased against the Jewish zealots who instigated and perpetuated the First Jewish War; they're portrayed in a quite terrible light, but we're likely not to know any better since he remains the best source that comes down to us.

It must always be remembered that Josephus is trying to explain the Hebrews and Judaism to a Greco-Roman world, and he has no compunction in describing Jewish realities in Greek paradigms. Jewish sects are described as if different philosophical schools; Hebrew poetry is described as if it is like Homeric verse. For too long many have gone down unproductive rabbit trails in trying to legitimate the use of these descriptive systems; we do well to note that Josephus has no problem distorting the reality of his own heritage in order to make it comprehensible to the pagans to which he writes.

Another problem is the Whiston translation. It's not the best to begin with, and his notes and 1700s understanding is woefully out of date and likely inaccurate. Caveat emptor with all of his notes. Will someone please do us the favor of translating Josephus for the modern world?

An important source for Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity.
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LibraryThing member Paul_Brunning
This renowned reference book has served scholars, pastors, students, and those interested in the background of the New Testament for years. The insight given into the Essene community, the destruction of Jerusalem and the interpretations and traditions of the Old Testament in first century Judaism
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is invaluable. The outlook of Josephus, a late first century Pharisee and historian, on Jesus and the New Testament documents is enlightening and provocative. As an original reference, "The Works of Josephus" is essential to a full understanding of the first century, the time of Christ and the New Testament.Complete and unabridged, this is the best one-volume edition of the classic translation of Josephus' works. The entire text has been reset in modern, easy-to-read type; numbering corresponding to that used in the Loeb edition has been added to the text; and citations and cross-references have been updated from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers.
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ISBN

082542951X / 9780825429514
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