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Content[ edit ] In the preface of Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus provides his motivation for composing such a large work. He writes: Now I have undertaken the present work, as thinking it will appear to all the Greeks worthy of their study; for it will contain all our antiquities, and the constitution of our government, as interpreted out of the Hebrew Scriptures.
In particular, the Jews were thought to lack great historical figures and a credible history of their people. They were also accused of harboring hostility toward non-Jews, and were thought to be generally lacking in loyalty, respect for authority, and charity. Such a work is often called an " apologia ," as it pleads the case of a group of people or set of beliefs to a larger audience. In order to accomplish this goal, Josephus omitted certain accounts in the Jewish narrative and even added a Hellenistic "glaze" to his work.
Thus, in an attempt to make the Jewish history more palatable to his Greco-Roman audience, the great figures of the biblical stories are presented as ideal philosopher-leaders. In another example, apparently due to his concern with pagan antisemitism, Josephus omitted the entire episode of the golden calf from his account of the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
Apion , , ; Tacitus, Histories Antiquities of the Jews contains a lot of valuable, sometimes unique, historical material. This applies, for example, to the history of the Hellenistic states, Parthia , Armenia , the Nabatean kingdom. It is no accident that in the Middle Ages and in modern times this book of Josephus was considered one of the most important sources in ancient Roman history, along with the works of Titus Livius , Tacitus , Suetonius , and one of the most erudite Christian authors of the IV-V centuries, Jerome called Josephus Flavius "Titus Livius of the Greeks".
The extant copies of this work, which all derive from Christian sources, contain two disputed passages about Jesus. The long one has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum. If genuine, it is an early extrabiblical record of Jesus, and as such is sometimes cited as independent evidence for the historical existence of Jesus.
Manuscripts[ edit ] The earliest Greek manuscript of Books of the Antiquities dates from the eleventh century,  the Ambrosianus F ; preserved in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan.
However, the manuscript tradition is complex and many manuscripts are incomplete. Then appeared the translation of "Antiquities of the Jews" into Latin. It is attributed to either Jerome or his contemporary Tyrannius Rufinus. In medieval Europe, "Antiquities of the Jews" circulated widely, mainly in Latin translation.
In the 9thth centuries, the so-called " Josippon ", written in Hebrew , appeared in Italy. It described the events of world and Jewish history from the time of the construction of the Tower of Babel to the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD.
Essentially, this chronicle was an abbreviated translation of Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish War , but Joseph ben Gorion was named the author. Josippon gained no less popularity than Antiquities of the Jews. With the advent of printing, it was published even before this major work of Josephus Flavius - in This volume amounted to over pages. Other publications followed - and Cologne , Oxford , Leipzig , Oxford , Leiden and so on.
The book was published both in modern languages and in Latin. The first Russian translation of "Jewish Antiquities" appeared in John Thackeray and Ralph Marcus, normally preferred academically. A cross-reference apparatus for the Works of Josephus and the Biblical canon also exists.
The Antiquities of the Jews
Aragis Works by Josephus 1st-century history books. In particular, the Jews were thought to lack great historical figures and a credible history of their people. Enter a Perseus citation to go antiquitatfs another section or work. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It seems likely that there were additional extraordinary taxes…. Discover some of judacae most interesting and trending topics of In using these works for historical reconstruction, allowances must be made for the known tendencies of each writer.
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