The Flavius Josephus
Home Page

Welcome!

This site is dedicated to the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37 CE - circa 100 CE).

For centuries Josephus' works were more widely read in Europe than any book other than the Bible. They are an invaluable eye-witness to a momentous turning point in Judaism, Christianity, and Western civilization.

Flavius Josephus Home Scroll
"I present to Greeks and Romans this memorial of great achievements."
 YOSEF BEN MATTITYAHU
Email gary@Josephus.org
 

The Works of Josephus

A note on how the works are referenced on this site.
 

Downloadable Files (Project Gutenberg)
The Jewish War (460 KB)
Antiquities of the Jews (1,030 KB)
The Life (60 KB)
Against Apion (90 KB)

The Works of Josephus 
The Whiston translation online (external link).

The Works of Josephus in Greek 
The Greek text of B. Niese at the Perseus Project.

Brill Translations with Commentary
The essential internet site for Josephus scholars is PACE, the Project on Ancient Cultural Engagement, led by Professor Steve Mason. Incredibly, the Brill translation and commentary, which is very expensive in hardcover, is available FREE on the PACE site. The English translation appears parallel to the Greek text of Niese (provided by The Perseus Project) and commentary is seen by clicking on the footnote numbers. Clicking on a Greek word brings up the Perseus analysis tools. The published volumes of the Brill Josephus Project are now:

  • Life (Mason)
  • Ant. 1-4 (Feldman)
  • Ant. 5-7 (Begg)
  • Ant. 8-10 (Begg, Spilsbury)
  • Ant. 11 (Spilsbury, Seeman)
  • Ant. 15 (van Henten)
  • Against Apion (Barclay)
  • War Book 2 (Mason)
  • War Book 4 (Mason)
See the previously posted reviews of the volumes of the Brill Commentary Life and Antiquities 1-4.



The Life of Josephus

Biography 

Timeline 
Josephus' life in the context of events in Rome and early  Christianity. 

Genealogy 
Descent from the Hasmoneans (Maccabees).



The War

Temple Mount seen from Antonia Fortress

       Image by Ritmeyer Archaeological Design.

Josephus on the Destruction of the Temple

Josephus on the Causes of the War Against Rome

Josephus as a Source for a Military History of the Jewish Revolt 
 by Jim Bloom

Crane Brinton's Model of Revolution and the Jewish Revolt
 by Ken West

Lion Feuchtwanger and his Josephus Trilogy
 by Jim Bloom



Chronology of the War

 

Introduction


Part 1: Revolt in Jerusalem
    August-September 66 CE

Part 2: The Campaign of Cestius Gallus and the Defeat of the XIIth Legion
    October-November  66 CE

Part 3: The New Government
    November 66 - March 67

Part 4: Josephus in Galilee
    December 66 - May 67

Part 5:  The Success of Vespasian
    January 67 - December 69 

Part 6: The Factions Battle for Power
    January 68 - May 70


Part 7: The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem
    March 70 - September 70



Holidays

Passover 
   The collection of all occurrences of Passover stories in Josephus' writing; with commentary.

Pentecost / Shavuos 
    Everything Josephus has to say about the celebration of the festival of Pentecost (Shavuos) -- including the most violent protest prior to the War.

Sukkot
   The Feast of Tabernacles, with its great crowds in Jerusalem, often marked the beginning and end of dynasties. Here is a summary of these events in the works of Josephus

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 
   The holiest days of modern Judaism are barely mentioned by Josephus. Why?

Purim 
   Esther's story.

Hanukkah 
   Did Josephus censor his description of Hanukkah?



 

Women

 

Women in Josephus' Works
   An overview.

Queen Alexandra
   The female ruler of Judea.

Mariamme 
   The story of the the last Hasmonean princess, whom Herod married to secure his kingdom, and their stormy marriage.

Esther - Her Point of View 
   Josephus' retelling of the story of Esther.

"Trouble-quiet Sowers of Unrest": Representations of Women, from Josephus to Cary 
   by Maria M. Oberg. Elizabeth Cary, the 17th century English playwright, drew from Josephus to compose her work The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry.The manner in which these two authors portray the actions of speech of women is the subject of this engrossing study



 

Rulers and Nations

 

The Hasmonean Dynasty
   Genealogical chart of the Jewish rulers of Judaea, drawn from Josephus' account.

Ancient Jewish Coins Related to the Works of Josephus
   The history of the rulers of Judaea as revealed in ancient silver and bronze coins.

Gaza
   The relations between Judeans and the people on the coast have often been difficult, as Josephus relates.


Modern Aspects

The Campaign against Al Qaeda and the Jewish War: Some Parallels
   by Jim Bloom (December 2001)

Remarks on Josephus in the Light of Current Events: 2001
   by G. J. Goldberg (December 2001)




 

Links

Steve Mason at York University

Josephus Works at PACE: Brill, Whiston and Greek

Josephus Bibliography On-Line at PACE

Perseus Greek Texts and Translations

Resource Pages for Biblical Studies

New Testament Gateway

Ritmeyer Archaeological Design



Categorized Josephus Links

Josephus in General

Articles

Archaeology and Josephus

Judaism and Early Christianity

Language

Literary Works Connected to Josephus



Josephus' Account of Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum

The earliest description of Jesus outside of the Gospels is found in Josephus' Jewish Antiquities. Yet for centuries scholars have doubted that a Jewish writer could have written an account that contains basic tenets of Christian belief. This conflict is resolved by understanding the source of Josephus' composition.

In the following article published in 2022, Josephus's methods for paraphrasing his sources are examined in depth.

Josephus's Paraphrase Style and the Testimonium Flavianum

by Gary J. Goldberg

published in

Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus: Volume 20, Issue 1 (Feb 2022) 

This article is Open Access and available here for download: Josephus's Paraphrase Style and the Testimonium Flavianum(PDF). An online version can be read here.

Abstract

The controversial account of Jesus found  in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities 18.63-64, known as the Testimonium Flavianum, has puzzling similarities to Luke 24.18-24, a portion of the Emmaus narrative. This article proposes an explanation based on established research into Josephus's methods of composition.

Through a phrase-by-phrase study, this article finds that the Testimonium can be derived from the Emmaus narrative using transformations Josephus is demonstrated to have employed in paraphrasing known sources for the Antiquities. Precedents are identified in word adoption/ substitution and content modification. Consequently, I submit that the Testimonium
is Josephus' paraphrase of a Christian source. This result also resolves the difficulties that have raised doubts about the Testimonium's authenticity, with implications for the understanding of the historical Jesus.


The following articles summarize and expand on this research.

 

1. New Solution to the Josephus-Jesus Mystery Brings Fresh Evidence To a Problem Long Thought Unsolvable

In this  post, I give an introduction to the paraphrase article and its implications.

 2. Evaluating the Josephus-Jesus Paraphrase Model
I expand on the article by providing a convenient color-coded summary that displays the paraphrase evidence at a glance. I also elaborate on the difference between this model and earlier proposals and discuss some of the implications for the dating of the gospels and the nature of early relations between Christians and Jews.

 

 


The Basis for the New Approach to the Testimonium  

The 2022 article on Josephus's paraphrase makes reference to the 1995 article that first outlined the coincidences with the Emmaus narrative. The earlier article may be downloaded here (PDF file):

The Coincidences of the Testimonium of Josephus and the Emmaus Narrative of Luke,
by G. J. Goldberg
 


The Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 13 (1995) pp. 59-77
 
Note: The following articles elaborate on the 1995 article. They have yet to be upgraded to include the evidence and arguments of the 2022 article.

 Introduction. 
Josephus' Account of Jesus.

 1. The Mystery of Josephus' Jesus Account 
A summary of the history of the controversy.

  2. The Josephus-Luke Connection

  3. The Testimonium-Luke Comparison Table
At-a-glance view of the parallels between the two Jesus descriptions.

  4. Statistical Analysis of Jesus Texts
The statistical significance of the Testimonium-Luke relationship when compared with other Jesus descriptions from early Christianity.

  5. Quantitative Content Analysis of Jesus Texts
Further statistical studies.

  6. Critique of John Meier's Argument in A Marginal Jew in Light of the Lukan Connection

  7. Conclusions: Answers to Frequently Asked Testimonium Questions
How the past puzzles of the Jesus account of Josephus are resolved by the Lukan source.

 8. Testimonium Bibliography

Appendix: Robert Eisler on the Testimonium Flavianum


 



The New Testament

New Testament Parallels
   Side-by-side comparison of Josephus and the New Testament.
 
Jesus of Nazareth
   All of the references by Josephus to Jesus, James, and Pontius Pilate
 
John the Baptist 
   A discussion of Josephus' account of John the Baptist and its relation to New Testament passages.

The Star of Bethlehem
   Speculation on a prophetic image.

Honi the Circle-Drawer
   A popular miracle-worker is killed in Jerusalem at Passover. 



Mail and Frequently Asked Questions

How is the name "Josephus" pronounced?

Where does Josephus tell the story of Masada?

Does Josephus describe Jesus' physical appearance?

What are the oldest manuscripts we have of Josephus' works?

Did Josephus write the "Discourse on Hades?"

Could Luke and Josephus both be right about Lysanias, Tetrach of Abilene?

What are your credentials?

Josephus in America

Josephus on Audio

Archaeological Correction: Gamla and Cana

The Veil of the Temple

A Rope on the High Priest?

Michal's Idol

Translating the Sodomites





Books and Articles

Editions of Josephus

    Complete Works

    Condensed Versions

Josephus Studies

Bibliographies and Scholarly Aids

Josephus in Literary Fiction

MONTY PYTHON AND THE WORKS OF JOSEPHUS

"What Jesus blatantly fails to appreciate is that it's the meek who are the problem."

First-Century Judaea

Links to Book Reviews - Society of Biblical Literature

 



What's New

Note: To make use of newer technology, latest articles are currently being posted at
JosephusBlog.org.
 

   Latest post

 

 Evaluating the Josephus-Jesus Paraphrase Model

The origin of Josephus's passage about Jesus is best explained by the paraphrase model detailed in "Josephus's Paraphrase Style and the Testimonium Flavianum". In this post, I expand on the article with a convenient color-coded summary that displays the paraphrase evidence at a glance. I also elaborate on the difference between this model and earlier proposals and discuss some of the implications for the dating of the gospels and the nature of early relations between Christians and Jews.

 

Read the post


Recently Added

New Solution to the Josephus-Jesus Mystery Brings Fresh Evidence To a Problem Long Thought Unsolvable

In an article published in the February 2022 issue of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, I present extensive evidence for a new model that provides a simple and natural explanation of the composition of the Jesus passage.

  This explanation makes use of the copious research investigators of Josephus have made on his methods of composition used throughout his Jewish Antiquities.    In this blog post I give a summary of the article and its implications.

Read the post

 

The journal article is:

Josephus's Paraphrase Style and the Testimonium Flavianum

by Gary J. Goldberg

Published in the

Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus: Volume 20, Issue 1 (Feb 2022) 

This article is published on the Brill JSHJ site as Open Access and is available here for download: Josephus's Paraphrase Style and the Testimonium Flavianum(PDF)

 

 


King David's Pandemic

January 29, 2022

The Bible tells the story of a nation-wide pandemic under King David, circa 1000 BCE. The terrible plague was attributed to a mysterious sin by the king and ended with an act of redemption of great consequence to Jewish history: the establishment of the site of the Jerusalem Temple. When Josephus retold this story for a skeptical Roman audience in the first century CE, he struggled with having to explain the actions of a just Deity who unleashes a deadly disease upon an innocent populace. In this article I will examine how Josephus changed the story to emphasize the human suffering and heroism during the plague. And I will try to relate the story to the current global pandemic, which began circa November 2019 CE.

Read the post

 


Here is a recent article by Steve Mason, "Why Josephus Matters",  in The Marginalia Review:

https://themarginaliareview.com/why-josephus-matters/

The Christmas Journey and the Jewish Revolt

December 24, 2021

The journey to Bethlehem in Luke's story of the first Christmas is motivated by the Roman census. Jewish readers of Luke in the first century would remember the census as connected to the Jewish Revolt of the year 66. How would they have reacted to Luke's use of this event?

Read the post

 

The Asteroid, Sodom, and Josephus

  Dec 2, 2021

     The recent conclusion that an asteroid or comet caused the destruction of urban centers in the Jordan Valley over 3600 years ago leads to serious consideration as to whether the cataclysm was the source of the biblical story of the destruction of Sodom.  

  The plausibility of this identification depends on whether the time and place of the biblical story can be reconciled.

  On this, Josephus provides some critical information. He also wrestles with the plausibility and meaning of the mass destruction for his skeptical non-Jewish readers. And why was this event intertwined with the story of Abraham?

 

            Updated Link

Steve Mason's PACE website has a new home as of June 2021. 

 

 

 




The Flavius Josephus Home Page address is www.Josephus.org.

Please send comments to: gary@josephus.org

Last update: July 8, 2012

 

The image of Josephus at the top of this page is from the frontispiece of the 1792 edition of the works of Josephus translated by Thomas Bradshaw. It shows, oddly enough, the Roman goddess of wisdom Minerva "attending Josephus, who is Composing his WORKS according to the LIGHT of unerring TRUTH." 

The Flavius Josephus Home Page is edited by G. J. Goldberg
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Quotation of material is allowed if credit is given to the appropriate author and to this site.
 
 
Email gary@Josephus.org