Josephus.

A Jewish historian.


Attributed text(s).
Wars of the Jews.
Antiquities of the Jews.
Against Apion.
Life.
On All Ruling Wisdom.
Discourse on Hades.

Available text(s).
Josephan texts, reception history, and parallel texts (Project on Ancient Cultural Engagement).
Perseus Greco-Roman Collection:

Wars (Greek and English).
Antiquities (Greek and English).
Against Apion (Greek and English).
Life (Greek and English).
CCEL:
Wars preface, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Antiquities preface, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 .
Against Apion 1, 2.
Life (autobiography).
Discourse on Hades (spurious).

Related text(s).
Testimonia.

Useful links.
Flavius Josephus Home Page (G. J. Goldberg).
Josephus and Yosippon (Josippon) in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Josephus in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
The Credibility of Josephus (Magen Broshi).
Research Homepage (Steve Mason).
Josephus' Writings and Their Relation to the New Testament (Greg Herrick).

Josephus on Jesus.
Josephus on John the baptist.
Josephus, Luke, and Tacitus.
The Testimonium as middle term.
Origen on Josephus.
Jewish background texts (Jim Davila).

Josephus was a Jewish historian who flourished in Rome late in century I. Refer also to Justus of Tiberias.

Jerome, On Famous Men 13:

Iosephus Matthiae filius, ex Hierosolymis sacerdos, a Vespasiano captus, cum Tito filio eius relictus est. hic Romam veniens septem libros Iudaicae captivitatis imperatoribus patri filioque obtulit, qui et bibliothecae publicae traditi sunt, et ob ingenii gloriam, statuam quoque meruit Romae. scripsit autem et alios viginti antiquitatum libros, ab exordio mundi, usque ad decimum quartum annum Domitiani Caesaris, et duos αρχαιοτητος, adversum Appionem grammaticum Alexandrinum, qui sub Caligula legatus missus ex parte gentilium, contra Philonem etiam librum, vituperationem gentis Iudaicae continentem, scripserat. alius quoque liber eius qui inscribitur περι αυτοκρατορος λογισμου, valde elegans habetur, in quo et Machabaeorum sunt digesta martyria. hic in [decimo] octavo antiquitatum libro manifestissime confitetur propter magnitudinem signorum Christum a Pharisaeis interfectum, et Ioannem baptistam vere prophetam fuisse, et propter interfectionem Iacobi apostoli dirutam Hierosolymam. scripsit autem de domino in hunc modum: Eodem tempore fuit Iesus, vir sapiens, si tamen virum oportet eum dicere. erat enim mirabilium patrator operum et doctor eorum, qui libenter vera suscipiunt; plurimos quoque tam de Iudaeis quam de gentibus sui habuit sectatores, et credebatur esse Christus. cumque invidia nostrorum principum cruci eum Pilatus addixisset, nihilominus qui primum dilexerant perseveraverunt. apparuit enim eis tertia die vivens. multa et haec alia mirabilia carminibus prophetarum de eo vaticinantibus, et usque hodie Christianorum gens ab hoc sortita vocabulum, non defecit.

Josephus, the son of Matthias, priest of Jerusalem, taken prisoner by Vespasian and his son Titus, was banished. Coming to Rome he presented to the emperors, father and son, seven books on the captivity of the Jews which were deposited in the public library and, on account of his genius, was found worthy of a statue at Rome. He wrote also twenty books of Antiquities from the beginning of the world until the fourteenth year of Domitian Caesar, and two of Antiquities against Appion, the grammarian of Alexandria who, sent as legate under Caligula on the part of the gentiles against Philo, wrote also a book containing a vituperation of the Jewish nation. Another book of his entitled On All Ruling Wisdom, in which the martyr deaths of the Maccabeans are related, is highly esteemed. In the eighth book of his Antiquities he most openly confesses that Christ was slain by the Pharisees on account of the greatness of his miracles, that John the Baptist was truly a prophet, and that Jerusalem was destroyed because of the murder of James the apostle. He wrote also concerning the Lord after this fashion: In this same time was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be fitting to call him man. For he was a worker of wonderful miracles, and a teacher of those who freely receive the truth. He had very many adherents also, both of the Jews and of the gentiles, and was believed to be Christ, and when through the envy of our chief men Pilate had crucified him, nevertheless those who had loved him at first continued to the end, for he appeared to them the third day alive. Many things, both these and other wonderful things are in the songs of the prophets who prophesied concerning him, and the sect of Christians, so named from him, exists to the present day.

The ancient Greek translation of this passage runs as follows:

Ιωσηπος Ματθιου υιος, Ιεροσολυμων ιερευς, παρα Ουεσπασιανου αλους, μετα Τιτου του υιου αυτου κετεληφθη· ος εις Ρωμην ελθων επτα λογους της Ιουδαικης αλωσεως τοις δυο βασιλευσι τω τε πατρι και τω υιω προσηνεγκεν, οι τινες και τη δημοσια βιβλιοθηκη παρεδοθησαν. και δια την δοξαν της ευφυιας ανδριαντος ηξιωθη. εγραψε δε και της αρχαιολογιας λογους εικοσι, απο της του κοσμου αρχης εως τεσσαρεσκαιδεκατου ετους Δομιτιανου Καισαρος, και δυο αρχαιοτητος κατα Απιωνος γραμματικου Αλεξανδρεως, ος επι Καλιγυλα πρεσβευτης αποσταλεις παρα του μερους τως εθνικων, κατα Φιλωνος λογον, περιεχοντα καταγνωσιν των Ιουδαιων εγραψε. εστι και αλλος αυτου λογος περι αυτοκρατορος λογισμου, εξαιρετος πανυ, εν ω και του παθους των Μακκαβαιων εμνησθη. ουτος εν τω οκτωκαιδεκατω της αρχαιολογιας λογω φανερως ομολογει δια τον ογκον των σημειων τον Χριστον εσφαχθαι παρα Φαρισαιων, και Ιωαννην τον βαπτιστην αληθως γεγενησθαι προφητην, και δια την σφαγην Ιακωβου του αποστολου τα Ιεροσολυμα πεπορθησθαι. εγραψε δε και περι του κυριου ουτως· Γινεται δε κατα τουτον τον χρονον Ιησους, σοφος ανηρ, ειγε ανδρα αυτον λεγειν χρη. ην γαρ παραδοξων εργων ποιητης, διδασκαλος ανθρωπων των ηδονη ταληθη δεχομενων, και πολλους μεν Ιουδαιους, πολλους δε και του Ελληνισμου επηγαγετο· ο Χριστος ουτος ην. και αυτον ενδειξει των πρωτων ανδρων παρ ημιν, σταυρω επιτετιμηκοτος Πιλατου, ουκ επαυσαντο οι το πρωτον αυτον αγαπησαντες. εφανη γαρ αυτοις τριτην εχων ημεραν παλιν ζων, των θειων προφητων ταυτα και αλλα μυρια περι αυτου ειρηκοτων, εις τε νυν Χριστιανων απο τουδε ωνομασμενων ουκ ελιπε το φυλον.

Faith and repentance.

Josephus, Life 22 §110 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Καγω τον Ιησουν προσκαλεσαμενος κατ ιδιαν ουκ αγνοειν εφην την επ εμε συσκευασθεισαν επιβουλην ουδ υπο τινων πεμφθειη, συγγνωσεσθαι δ ομως αυτω των πεπραγμενων, ει μελλοι μετανοησειν και πιστος εμοι γενησεσθαι.

I then called Jesus to me by himself and told him that I was no stranger to that treacherous design he had against me, nor was I ignorant by whom he was sent for, that, however, I would forgive him what he had done already if he would repent of it and be faithful to me hereafter.

Josephus, Life 33 §167 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Εγω δε πλησιον γενομενος αγκυρας μεν ετι πορρω της γης εκελευον βαλεσθαι τους κυβερνητας υπερ του μη καταδηλα τοις Τιβεριευσιν ειναι τα πλοια κενα των επιβατων οντα, πλησιασας δ αυτος εν τινι πλοιω κατεμεμφομην αυτων την αγνοιαν, και οτι δη ουτως ευχερεις ειεν πασης δικαιας ανευ προφασεως εξιστασθαι της προς με πιστεως.

But, when I had come near enough, I gave orders to the masters of the ships to cast anchor a good way off the land so that the people of Tiberias might not perceive that the ships had no men on board, but I went nearer to the people in one of the ships, and rebuked them for their folly and that they were so fickle as to revolt without any just occasion in the world from their faithfulness to me.

Josephus, Life 51 §262 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Ταυτ ακουσαν το πληθος σφοδρα παροξυνθεν επι τον Ιωναθην ωρμα και τους συν αυτω συμπαροντας ως διαφθερουντες καν επεπραχεισαν το εργον, ει μη τους μεν Γαλιλαιους επαυσα της οργης, τοις περι τον Ιωναθην δ εφην συγγινωσκειν των ηδη πεπραγμενων, ει μελλοιεν μετανοησειν και πορευθεντες εις την πατριδα λεγοιεν τοις πεμψασι ταληθη περι των εμοι πεπολιτευμενων.

When the multitude heard these things, they were greatly provoked at Jonathan, and his colleagues that were with him, and were going to attack them and kill them; and this they would have certainly done had I not restrained the anger of the Galileans and said that I forgave Jonathan and his colleagues what was past, if they would repent and go to their own country, and tell those who sent them the truth as to my conduct.

Josephus, Life 66 §370 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Ποιησαντων δ εκεινων γνους εγω τους ανθρωπους οιτινες ησαν εξεθηκα προγραμμα, δια τουτου πιστιν και δεξιαν προτεινων τοις μετα Ιωαννου θελησασιν λαβειν μετανοιαν, και ημερων εικοσι χρονον προετεινα τοις βουλευσασθαι θελουσιν περι των εαυτοις συμφεροντων. ηπειλουν δε, ει μη ριψουσιν τα οπλα, καταπρησειν αυτων τας οικησεις και δημοσιωσειν τας ουσιας.

And, when they had done this, and I thereby was apprised who the men were, I published an edict wherein I offered faith and my right hand to such of the party of John as had a mind to repent, and I allowed a time of twenty days to such as would take this most advantageous course for themselves. I also threatened that, unless they threw down their arms, I would burn their houses and expose their goods to public sale.

Judean troubles.

Josephus, Wars 2.4.1-3 §55-65 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Εν δε τουτω και τα κατα την χωραν πολλαχοθεν εταρασσετο, και συχνους βασιλειαν ο καιρος ανεπειθεν. κατα μεν γε την Ιδουμαιαν δισχιλιοι των υπο Ηρωδη παλαι στρατευσαμενων συσταντες ενοπλοι διεμαχοντο τοις βασιλικοις, οις Αχιαβος ανεψιος βασιλεως απο των ερυμνοτατων χωριων επολεμει υποφευγων την εν τοις πεδιοις συμπλοκην εν δε Σεπφωρει της Γαλιλαιας Ιουδας υιος Εζεκια του κατατρεχοντος ποτε την χωραν αρχιληστου και χειρωθεντος υφ Ηρωδου βασιλεως συστησας πληθος ουκ ολιγον αναρρηγνυσιν τας βασιλικας οπλοθηκας και τους περι αυτον οπλισας τοις την δυναστειαν ζηλουσιν επεχειρει.

At this time there were great disturbances in the country, and that in many places; and the opportunity that now offered itself induced a great many to set up for kings. And indeed in Idumea two thousand of the veteran soldiers of Herod got together and armed and fought against those of the party of the king, against whom Achiabus, first cousin of the king, fought, and that out of some of the places that were the most strongly fortified, but so as to avoid a direct conflict with them in the plains. In Sepphoris also, a city of Galilee, there was one Judas, the son of that arch-thief Hezekias who formerly overran the country and had been subdued by king Herod; this man got no small multitude together and broke open the place where the royal armor was laid up, and armed those about him, and attacked those that were so earnest to gain the dominion.

Κατα δε την Περαιαν Σιμων τις των βασιλικων δουλων ευμορφια σωματος και μεγεθει πεποιθως περιτιθησιν μεν εαυτω διαδημα, περιιων δε μεθ ων συνηθροισεν ληστων τα τε εν Ιεριχοι βασιλεια καταπιμπρησιν και πολλας ετερας των πολυτελων επαυλεις, αρπαγας ραδιως εκ του πυρος αυτω ποριζομενος. καν εφθη πασαν οικησιν ευπρεπη καταφλεξας, ει μη Γρατος ο των βασιλικων πεζων ηγεμων τους τε Τραχωνιτας τοξοτας και το μαχιμωτατον των Σεβαστηνων αναλαβων υπαντιαζει τον ανδρα. των μεν ουν Περαιων συχνοι διεφθαρησαν εν τη μαχη, τον Σιμωνα δ αυτον αναφευγοντα δι ορθιου φαραγγος ο Γρατος υποτεμνεται και φευγοντος εκ πλαγιου τον αυχενα πληξας απερραξε. κατεφλεγη δε και τα πλησιον Ιορδανου βασιλεια κατα βηθαραμινενθα συσταντων ετερων τινων εκ της Περαιας.

In Perea also Simon, one of the servants to the king, relying upon the handsome appearance and tallness of his body, put a diadem upon his own head also; he also went about with a company of thieves that he had gotten together, and burnt down the royal palace that was at Jericho, and many other costly edifices besides, and procured himself very easily spoils by rapine, as snatching them out of the fire. And he would have soon burnt down all the fine edifices, had Gratus, the captain of the foot of the party of the king, not taken the Trachonite archers and the most warlike of Sebaste and met the man. His footmen were slain in the battle in abundance; Gratus also cut to pieces Simon himself, as he was flying along a strait valley, when he gave him an oblique stroke upon his neck as he ran away, and broke it. The royal palaces that were near Jordan at Betharamptha were also burnt down by some other of the seditious that came out of Perea.

Τοτε και ποιμην τις αντιποιηθηναι βασιλειας ετολμησεν Αθρογγαιος εκαλειτο, προυξενει δ αυτω την ελπιδα σωματος ισχυς και ψυχη θανατου καταφρονουσα, προς δε τουτοις αδελφοι τεσσαρες ομοιοι. τουτων εκαστω λοχον υποζευξας ενοπλον ωσπερ στρατηγοις εχρητο και σατραπαις επι τας καταδρομας, αυτος δε καθαπερ βασιλευς των σεμνοτερων ηπτετο πραγματων. τοτε μεν ουν εαυτω περιτιθησιν διαδημα, διεμεινεν δ υστερον ουκ ολιγον χρονον την χωραν κατατρεχων συν τοις αδελφοις και το κτεινειν αυτοις προηγουμενον ην Ρωμαιους τε και τους βασιλικους, διεφευγεν δε ουδε Ιουδαιων ει τις εις χειρας ελθοι φερων κερδος. ετολμησαν δε ποτε Ρωμαιων λοχον αθρουν περισχειν κατ Αμμαουντα σιτα δ ουτοι και οπλα διεκομιζον τω ταγματι. τον μεν ουν εκατονταρχην αυτων Αρειον και τεσσαρακοντα τους γενναιοτατους κατηκοντισαν, οι δε λοιποι κινδυνευοντες ταυτο παθειν Γρατου συν τοις Σεβαστηνοις επιβοηθησαντος εξεφυγον. πολλα τοιαυτα τους επιχωριους και τους αλλοφυλους παρ ολον τον πολεμον εργασαμενοι μετα χρονον οι μεν τρεις εχειρωθησαν, υπ Αρχελαου μεν ο πρεσβυτατος, οι δ εξης δυο Γρατω και Πτολεμαιω περιπεσοντες ο δε τεταρτος Αρχελαω προσεχωρησεν κατα δεξιαν. τουτο μεν δη το τελος υστερον αυτους εξεδεχετο, τοτε δε ληστρικου πολεμου την Ιουδαιαν πασαν ενεπιμπλασαν.

At this time it was that a certain shepherd ventured to set himself up for a king; he was called Athrongeus. It was his strength of body that made him expect such a dignity, as well as his soul, which despised death; and besides these qualifications he had four brothers like himself. He put a troop of armed men under each of these his brothers, and made use of them as his generals and commanders when he made his incursions, while he did himself act like a king, and meddled only with the more important affairs. And at this time he put a diadem about his head, and continued after that to overrun the country for no little time with his brothers, and became their leader in killing both the Romans and those of the party of the king, nor did any Jew escape him if any gain could accrue to him thereby. He once ventured to encompass a whole troop of Romans at Emmaus, who were carrying corn and weapons to their legion; his men therefore shot their arrows and darts, and thereby slew their centurion Arius, along with forty of the stoutest of his men, while the rest of them, who were in danger of the same fate, upon the coming of Gratus with those of Sebaste to their assistance, escaped. And when these men had thus served both their own countrymen and foreigners, and that through this whole war, three of them were after some time subdued, the eldest by Archelaus, the two next by falling into the hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus. But the fourth delivered himself up to Archelaus, upon his giving him his right hand for his security. However, this their end was not till afterward, while at present they filled all Judea with a piratic war.

Josephus, Wars 2.8.1 §117-118 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Της δε Αρχελαου χωρας εις επαρχιαν περιγραφεισης επιτροπος της ιππικης παρα Ρωμαιοις ταξεως Κωπωνιος πεμπεται μεχρι του κτεινειν λαβων παρα Καισαρος εξουσιαν. επι τουτου τις ανηρ Γαλιλαιος Ιουδας ονομα εις αποστασιν ενηγε τους επιχωριους κακιζων, ει φορον τε Ρωμαιοις τελειν υπομενουσιν και μετα τον θεον οισουσι θνητους δεσποτας. ην δ ουτος σοφιστης ιδιας αιρεσεως ουδεν τοις αλλοις προσεοικως.

And now that part of Judea belonging to Archelaus was reduced into a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of death put into his hands by Caesar. It was under his administration that a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said that they were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans and would after God submit to mortal men as their lords. This man was a teacher of a peculiar sect of his own, and was not at all like the rest of those their leaders.

Josephus, Antiquities 17.10.4-7 §269-284 (translation modified from William Whiston):

Εν τουτω δε και ετερα μυρια θορυβων εχομενα την Ιουδαιαν κατελαμβανεν πολλων πολλαχοσε οι κατ οικειων ελπιδας κερδων και Ιουδαιων εχθρας επι το πολεμειν ωρμημενων δισχιλιοι μεν των υφ Ηρωδη ποτε στρατευσαμενων και ηδη καταλελυκοτες εν αυτη Ιουδαια συσταντες προσεπολεμουν τοις βασιλικοις αντιστατουντος αυτοις Αχιαβου του Ηρωδου ανεψιου, και των μεν πεδιων εις τα μετεωρα ανεωσμενου δι εμπειριαν την εις τα πολεμικα των ανδρων, ταις δε δυσχωριαις σωζοντος οποσα δυνατα.

Now at this time there were ten thousand other disorders in Judea, which were like tumults because a great number put themselves into a warlike posture, either out of hopes of gain to themselves, or out of enmity to the Jews. In particular, two thousand of the old soldiers of Herod, who had been already disbanded, got together in Judea itself and fought against the troops of the king, although Achiabus, first cousin of Herod, opposed them; but, as he was driven out of the plains into the mountainous parts by the military skill of those men, he kept himself in the fastnesses that were there, and saved what he could.

Ιουδας δε ην Εζεκιου του αρχιληστου υιος επι μεγα δυνηθεντος υφ Ηρωδου δε μεγαλοις ληφθεντος πονοις. ουτος ουν ο Ιουδας περι Σεπφωριν της Γαλιλαιας συστησαμενος πληθος ανδρων απονενοημενων επιδρομην τω βασιλειω ποιειται και οπλων κρατησας οποσα αυτοθι απεκειτο ωπλιζε τους περι αυτον και αποφερεται χρηματα οποσα κατεληφθη αυτοθι, φοβερος τε απασιν ην αγων και φερων τους προστυγχανοντας επιθυμια μειζονων πραγματων και ζηλωσει βασιλειου τιμης, ουκ αρετης εμπειρια του δε υβριζειν περιουσια κτησεσθαι προσδοκων το εντευθεν γερας.

There was also Judas, the son of that Hezekiah who had been head of the thieves. This Hezekiah was a very strong man, and had with great dificulty been caught by Herod. This Judas, having gotten together a multitude of men of a profligate character about Sepphoris in Galilee, made an assault upon the palace and seized upon all the weapons that were laid up in it, and with them armed every one of those that were with him, and carried away what money was left there. And he became terrible to all men by tearing and rending those that came near him, and all this in order to raise himself, and out of an ambitious desire of the royal dignity; and he hoped to obtain that as the reward, not of his virtuous skill in war, but of his extravagance in doing injuries.

Ην δε και Σιμων δουλος μεν Ηρωδου του βασιλεως, αλλως δε ανηρ ευπρεπης και μεγεθει και ρωμη σωματος επι μεγα προυχων τε και πεπιστευμενος. ουτος αρθεις τη ακρισια των πραγματων διαδημα τε ετολμησε περιθεσθαι, και τινος πληθους συσταντος και αυτος βασιλευς αναγγελθεις μανια τη εκεινων και ειναι αξιος ελπισας παρ οντινουν το τε εν Ιεριχουντι βασιλειον πιμπρησιν δι αρπαγης αγων τα εγκατειλημμενα, πολλας τε και αλλας των βασιλικων οικησεων πολλαχου της χωρας πυρ ενιεις ηφανιζεν, τοις συνεστηκοσιν λειαν αγειν τα εγκαταλελειμμενα επιτρεπων. επεπρακτο δ αν τι μειζον υπ αυτου μη ταχειας επιστροφης γενομενης ο γαρ Γρατος ο των βασιλικων στρατιωτων Ρωμαιοις προστεθειμενος μεθ ης ειχεν δυναμεως υπαντιαζει τον Σιμωνα, και μαχης αυτοις μεγαλης επι πολυ γενομενης το τε πολυ των Περαιων ασυντακτοι οντες και τολμη μαλλον η επιστημη μαχομενοι εφθαρησαν, και αυτου Σιμωνος δια τινος φαραγγος σωζοντος αυτον Γρατος εντυχων την κεφαλην αποτεμνει. κατεπρησθη δε και τα επ Ιορδανη ποταμω εν Αμμαθοις βασιλεια υπο τινων συσταντων ανδρων Σιμωνι παραπλησιων. ουτως πολλη αφροσυνη ενεπολιτευσε τω εθνει δια το βασιλεα μεν οικειον ουκ ειναι τον καθεξοντα το πληθος αρετη, τους δ αλλοφυλους επελθοντας σωφρονιστας του μη στασιασοντος των ανθρωπων υπεκκαυμα αυτων δια τε του υβριζειν και πλεονεκτειν γενεσθαι.

There was also Simon, who had been a slave of Herod the king, but in other respects a comely person, of a tall and robust body; he was one that was much superior to others of his order, and had had great things committed to his care. This man was elevated at the disorderly state of things, and was so bold as to put a diadem on his head while a certain number of the people stood by him, and by them he was declared to be a king, and thought himself more worthy of that dignity than any one else. He burnt down the royal palace at Jericho and plundered what was left in it. He also set fire to many other of the houses of the king in several places of the country, and utterly destroyed them, and permitted those that were with him to take what was left in them for a prey; and he would have done greater things unless care had been taken to repress him immediately; for Gratus, when he had joined himself to some Roman soldiers, took the forces he had with him and met Simon, and, after a great and a long fight, no small part of those that came from Perea, who were a disordered body of men and fought rather in a bold than in a skillful manner, were destroyed; and although Simon had saved himself by flying away through a certain valley, yet Gratus overtook him and cut off his head. The royal palace also at Amathus, by the river Jordan, was burnt down by a party of men that were got together, as were those belonging to Simon. And thus did a great and wild fury spread itself over the nation, because they had no king to keep the multitude in good order, and because those foreigners who came to reduce the seditious to sobriety did, on the contrary, set them more in a flame, because of the injuries that they offered them, and the avaricious management of their affairs.

Επει και Αθρογγης ανηρ ουτε προγονων επιφανης αξιωματι ουτε αρετης περιουσια η τινων πληθει χρηματων, ποιμην δε και ανεπιφανης τοις πασιν εις τα παντα ων, αλλως δε μεγεθει σωματος και τη κατα χειρας αλκη διαπρεπων, ετολμησεν επι βασιλεια φρονησαι τω κτωμενον τε αυτην ηδονης πλεον υβρισαι και θνησκων ουκ εν μεγαλοις τιθεσθαι της ψυχης το επι τοιοισδε αναλωμα γενησομενον. ησαν δε αυτω και αδελφοι τεσσαρες μεγαλοι τε και αυτοι και επι μεγα προυχειν τη κατα χειρας αρετη πεπιστευμενοι, προεχμα ειναι της καθεξεως της βασιλειας δοκουντες, λοχου τε αυτων ηρχεν εκαστος συλλεγεται γαρ μεγαλη πληθυς προς αυτους. και οιδε μεν στρατηγοι ησαν και υπεστρατευον αυτω οποσα εις τας μαχας φοιτωντες δι αυτων, ο δε διαδημα περιθεμενος βουλευτηριον τε ηγεν επι τοις ποιητεοις και τα παντα γνωμη ανακειμενα ειχεν τη αυτου. διεμενε τε επι πολυ τωδε τω ανδρι η ισχυς βασιλει τε κεκλημενω και α πρασσειν εθελοι μη αποστερουμενω, φονω τε και αυτος και οι αδελφοι ησαν επι μεγα προσκειμενοι Ρωμαιων τε και βασιλικων μισει πολιτευοντες ομοιως προς αμφοτερους, τουτο μεν υβρει η χρησαιντο επι της Ηρωδου αρχης, Ρωμαιους δε ων το παρον εδοξαν αδικειν. προιοντος δε χρονου και επι πλεον ομοιως εξηγριωθησαν διαφευξις τε ουκ ην τοις πασιν εμπεσειν, τα μεν κερδους ελπιδι, τα δε και συνηθεια του φονευειν. επιτιθενται δε ποτε και Ρωμαιων λοχω κατα Εμμαουντα, οι σιτον τε και οπλα της στρατιας εφερον. και περισταντες Αρειον μεν τον εκατονταρχον, ος ηγειτο του παντος και τεσσαρακοντα των περι αυτον πεζων τους κρατιστους κατηκοντισαν. οι δε λοιποι δεισαντες προς το παθος αυτων Γρατου συν τοις βασιλικοις, οι περι αυτον ησαν, σκεπης αυτοις γενομενης σωζονται τους νεκρους καταλιποντες. και πολυν μεν τοιουτοτροποις χρωμενοι χρονον μαχαις Ρωμαιους τε παρελυπησαν ουκ εις ολιγα και το εθνος εκακωσαν επι μεγα. χειρουται δε αυτων χρονω υστερον ο μεν Γρατω συμβαλων ο δε Πτολεμαιω, και τον πρεσβυτατον Αρχελαου λαβοντος ο τελευταιος παθει τε τω εκεινου λελυπημενος και απορον επι πλεον ορων την σωτηριαν υπο μονωσεως και καματου πολλου ψιλωθεις της δυναμεως επι δεξιαις και πιστει του θειου Αρχελαω παραδιδωσιν αυτον. και ταδε μεν υστερον γινεται.

But because Athronges, a person neither eminent by the dignity of his progenitors, nor for any great wealth he was possessed of, but one that had in all respects been a shepherd only, and was not known by anyone, yet because he was a tall man, and excelled others in the strength of his hands, he was so bold as to set up for king. This man thought it so sweet a thing to do more than ordinary injuries to others that, although he should be killed, he did not much care if he lost his life in so great a design. He had also four brothers who were tall men themselves, and were believed to be superior to others in the strength of their hands, and thereby were encouraged to aim at great things, and thought that strength of theirs would support them in retaining the kingdom. Each of these ruled over a band of men of their own, for those that got together to them were very numerous. They were every one of them also commanders, but when they came to fight, they were subordinate to him, and fought for him, while he put a diadem about his head and assembled a council to debate about what things should be done, and all things were done according to his pleasure. And this man retained his power a great while; he was also called king, and had nothing to hinder him from doing what he pleased. He also, as well as his brothers, slew a great many both of the Romans and of the forces of the king, and managed matters with the like hatred to each of them. The forces of the king they fell upon because of the licentious conduct that they had been allowed under the government of Herod; and they fell upon the Romans because of the injuries that they had so lately received from them. But in process of time they grew more cruel to all sorts of men, nor could anyone escape from one or the other of these seditions, since they slew some out of the hopes of gain, and others from a mere custom of slaying men. They once attacked a company of Romans at Emmaus who were bringing corn and weapons to the army, and fell upon Arius, the centurion, who commanded the company, and shot forty of the best of his foot soldiers; but the rest of them were affrighted at their slaughter and left their dead behind them, but saved themselves by the means of Gratus, who came with the troops of the king that were about him to their assistance. Now these four brothers continued the war a long while by such sort of expeditions, and much grieved the Romans, but did their own nation also a great deal of mischief. Yet they were afterwards subdued, one of them in a fight with Gratus, another with Ptolemy; Archelaus also took the eldest of them prisoner, while the last of them was so dejected at the misfortune of the others, and saw so plainly that he had no way now left to save himself, his army being worn away with sickness and continual labors, that he also delivered himself up to Archelaus, upon his promise and oath to God. But these things came to pass a good while afterward.

Josephus on the Jewish burial of victims of crucifixion.

From Josephus, Wars of the Jews 4.5.2 §317 (translation based on that of William Whiston):

Προηλθον δε εις τοσουτον ασεβειας ωστε και αταφους ριψαι, καιτοι τοσαυτην Ιουδαιων περι τας ταφας προνοιαν ποιουμενων ωστε και τους εκ καταδικης ανεσταυρωμενους προ δυντος ηλιου καθελειν τε και θαπτειν.

But they went on to such irreligiosity as to even cast away [the corpses] unburied, although the Jews used to take such care of burials that they took down even those that were condemned and crucified before the sun set and interred them.

Josephus on youth and age.

W. Whiston, in note 26 on book 1 of the Antiquities of Josephus, calls attention to the following passages having to do with relative youth and age: Antiquities 1.12.3 (Ishmael a young child or infant, though he is 13 years old); Antiquities 2.6.8 (Judah and his brothers are young men, though Judah is 47 years old); Mark 5.39-42 (a girl of 12 called a little child); Antiquities 14.9.2 and Wars 1.10 (Herod called a young man at 25); Antiquities 15.2.6-7 (Aristobulus called a very little child at 16); Wars 7.4.2 (Domitian called a very young child at 18 on German expedition); Antiquities 5.8.6 and 5.9.2-3 (wife of Samson and Ruth called children after widowed).

Josephan error in reading Genesis.

In Antiquities 1.18.1 Josephus states that Rebekah became pregnant with her twins after the death of Abraham instead of after the death of Sarah. The nonchronological order of Genesis probably led him into this error.

Josephus on Herodias, Philip, and Antipas.

Josephus, Antiquities 18.5.4 §136:

Και ταδε μεν των αρσενων τεκνα. Ηρωδιας δε αυτων η αδελφη γινεται Ηρωδη Ηρωδου του μεγαλου παιδι, γεγονοτι εκ Μαριαμμης της του Σιμωνος του αρχιερεως, και αυτοις Σαλωμη γινεται, μεθ ης τας γονας Ηρωδιας επι συγχυσει φρονησασα των πατριων Ηρωδη γαμειται του ανδρος τω ομοπατριω αδελφω διαστασα ζωντος. την δε Γαλιλαιων τετραρχιαν ουτος ειχεν.

And these were the children of the male line. But Herodias, their sister, was [married] to Herod [Philip], the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne [the daughter] of Simon the high priest, and to her Salome was born; after whose birth Herodias, having thought out a confusion of [the customs of] our fathers, is married to Herod [Antipas], the brother of her husband by the same father, after having separated from him while he was alive; this man was tetrarch of Galilee.


Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).

Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on Josephus:

Emil Schürer writes: "The best known historian of Jewish affairs in the Greek language is the Palestinian Josephus, properly Joseph, the son of Matthias, a priest of Jerusalem. Of his two chief works one is, the Ιουδαικη Αρχαιολογια, a comprehensive delineation of the entire Jewish history from the beginning to his own times. It is the most extensive work on Jewish history in the Greek language with which we are acquainted, and has on that account so retained the lasting favour of Jewish, heathen and Christian readers, as to have been preserved entire in numerous manuscripts. . . . Notwithstanding its great difference from the philosophizing delineation of Philo, its tendency is similar. For it is the purpose of Josephus, not only to instruct his heathen readers, for whom it was in the first instance intended, in the history of his people, but also to inspire them with respect for the Jewish nation, both as having a history of hoary antiquity, and a long series of celebrities both in peace and war to point to, and as able to bear comparison in respect of laws and institutions with any nation (comp. especially Antt. xvi. 6. 8). The other chief work of Josephus, the History of the Jewish War from A.D. 66-73, gives the history more for its own sake. The events of these years are in themselves so important, that they seemed worthy of a detailed description. Perhaps it was written by command of Vespasian, from whom Josephus received an annual salary (Vita, 76), and to whom the work was delivered as soon as it was completed (contra Apion, i. 9; Vita, 65). If a tendency to boasting is detected in it, this refers rather to the individual Josephus and the Romans than to the Jewish nation." (The Literature of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, pp. 221-222)

Martin McNamara writes: "All of Josephus' four extant works are important sources for Jewish history and tradition. The first to be composed was The Jewish War—an account of the war of the Jews against the Romans. Josephus himself tells us that he wrote two versions of this. The first one was in his own vernacular, i.e. Aramaic, and composed for 'the up-country barbarians', i.e. the Aramaic-speaking Jews of the Parthian kingdom, especially those of Babylon. This edition is lost. The extant Greek version is an adaptation by Josephus himself of the Aramaic work. It was published about A.D. 78, when Josephus was about 40 years old. The next work to be published was The Jewish Antiquities, about sixteen years later (A.D. 94 or so). It appears that soon before the publication of The Antiquities Justus of Tiberias had published his history of the Jewish War, with serious accusation of misconduct during the war in Galilee directed against Josephus. It is possible that Josephus' third and autobiographical work, the Life, was published at the same time as the Antiquities and as a reply to Justus. Some scholars, however, maintain that the Life was published about A.D. 96, and may have appeared together with a second edition of the Antiquities that appeared between A.D. 93/94 and 100. Josephus' final extant work to be published was Against Apion, or to give its original title, On the Antiquity of the Jews. In the first part of this work Josephus sets out to refute the detractions and contentions of anti-Semitic writings. In the course of doing so he excerpts from a large number of works no longer extant. In the second part Josephus gives his positive defence of the Jewish people, setting forth the inner value of Judaism and its superiority over Hellenism. In this we have a rather full presentation of Jewish halakah as known to Josephus." (Intertestamental Literature, p. 239)

James C. VanderKam writes: "After preparing the Galilee militarily, Josephus led the fight in the north against the advancing Roman army under the command of Vespasian. The Romans defeated Josephus' forces and he himself was eventually captured by them. Josephus was brought before Vespasian and predicted that he would become emperor. Vespasian kept him in custody until he was indeed declared emperor by his troops in 69 CE in Egypt. At that point he released the prophetic Josephus, and the future historian returned to Judea with Titus, Vespasian's son, who now had the task of suppressing the revolt. At Titus's behest he would, from time to time, try to convince the defenders of Jerusalem to surrender, but to no avail; he was himself injured in the process (War 5.363-419)." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, p. 143)

Raymond F. Surburg writes: "In evaluating the historical worthiness of The Jewish War, it must not be forgotten that the Memoirs are written from a Roman point of view. Furthermore, the fact that Josephus is writing under imperial patronage tended to give the work a pro-Roman bias. A comparison between The Jewish War and the Life does not present a consistent portrayal of the Galilean campaign. Laquer, in Der juedische Historiker Flavius Josephus suspects Josephus of deliberate misrepresentation of details so that he might find favor with his other patron, King Agrippa II." (Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, p. 165)