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Antiquities of the Jews (Antiquitates Judaicae in Latin) was a work published by the important[1] Jewish historian Flavius Josephus about the year 93 or 94. Antiquities of the Jews is a history of the Jewish people, written in Greek for Josephus' gentile patrons. Beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve, it follows the events of the historical books of the Hebrew Bible, but sometimes omits or adds information.

This work, along with Josephus's other major work, The Jewish Wars, provides valuable background material to historians wishing to understand first-century Judaism and the early Christian period.[1]

Contents

Content

This twenty volume work was completed in the last year of the Roman emperor Flavius Domitian. He claims that interested persons have pressed him to give a fuller account of the Jewish culture and constitution. Here, in expounding Jewish history, law and custom, he is entering into many philosophical debates current in Rome at that time. Again he offers an apologia for the antiquity and universal significance of the Jewish people.

Beginning with biblical creation, he outlines Jewish history. Abraham taught science to the Egyptians, who in turn taught the Greeks. Moses set up a senatorial priestly aristocracy, which like that of Rome resisted monarchy. The great figures of the biblical stories are presented as ideal philosopher-leaders.

There is also an autobiographical appendix defending Josephus' own conduct at the end of the war when he cooperated with the Roman forces.

Manuscripts

The extant copies of this work, which all derive from Christian sources (even the recently-recovered Arabic version), contain two passages about Jesus. The long one has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum. If genuine, it is the earliest record of Jesus in Jewish, and as such is sometimes cited as independent evidence for the historical existence of Jesus.

Translations

One of the best known translations of this work was provided by William Whiston in 1737, which has been in print continuously since then.[2] However, the Loeb Classical Library has a more recent translation normally preferred academically.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Stephen L. Harris, Understanding the Bible, (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985).
  2. ^ A new updated version of Whiston's translation was published by Hendrickson Publishers in 1987.

External links

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Antiquities of the Jews (Antiquitates Judaicae in Latin) is a twenty volume historiographical work composed by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the thirteenth year of the reign of Roman emperor Flavius Domitian which was around 93 or 94 CE.[1] Antiquities of the Jews contains an account of history of the Jewish people, written in Greek for Josephus' gentile patrons. 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.

This work, along with Josephus's other major work, The Jewish Wars (Bellum Judaicarum), provides valuable background material to historians wishing to understand first-century CE Judaism and the early Christian period.[2]

Contents

Content

In the preface of A.J., 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.[3]

Josephan scholar, Louis Feldman, highlights several of the misconceptions about the Jewish people that were being circulated in Josephus' time. 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.[4] With these harsh accusations against the Jews fluttering about the Roman empire, Josephus, formerly Joseph ben Matthias, set out to provide a Hellenized version of the Jewish history. 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. For example, the "Song of the Sea" sung by Moses and the people of Israel after their deliverance at the Red Sea is completely omitted in Josephus' text.[5] He does mention, however, that Moses composed a song to God in hexameter--a rather unusual (and Greek) metrical scheme for an ancient Hebrew.[6] Josephus also writes that Abraham taught science to the Egyptians, who in turn taught the Greeks, and that Moses set up a senatorial priestly aristocracy, which like Rome resisted monarchy. 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.

While his retelling of ancient Jewish history may be slightly skewed, Jospehus' Judean Antiquities is a vital source for the history of the Intertestamental period and the Jewish war against Rome.[7]

Josephus also adds a short account of his personal life, Vita, as an appendix to the Judean Antiquities.

Manuscripts

The extant copies of this work, which all derive from Christian sources (even the recently-recovered Arabic version), contain two passages about Jesus. The long one has come to be known as the Testimonium Flavianum. If genuine, it is an early record of Jesus, and as such is sometimes cited as independent evidence for the historical existence of Jesus.

Translations

One of the best known translations of this work was provided by William Whiston in 1737, which has been in print continuously since then.[8] However, the Loeb Classical Library has a more recent translation normally preferred academically.

See also

References

  1. ^ Freedman, David Noel, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, (New York: Doubleday) 1997, 1992
  2. ^ Stephen L. Harris, Understanding the Bible, (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985).
  3. ^ Ant. 1.5. Trans. by William Whiston, A.M., 1895
  4. ^ Louis Feldman, Josephus’ Interpretation of the Bible (Berkeley: University of California, 1998),132-162.
  5. ^ Exodus 15
  6. ^ Ant. 2:346
  7. ^ Freedman, David Noel, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, (New York: Doubleday) 1997, 1992.
  8. ^ A new updated version of Whiston's translation was published by Hendrickson Publishers in 1987.

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Antiquities of the Jews article)

From Wikisource

The Antiquities of the Jews
by Josephus
Translated by William Whiston
  • Preface
  • Book I — From Creation to the Death of Isaac
  • Book II — From the Death of Isaac to the Exodus out of Egypt
  • Book III — From the Exodus out of Egypt to the Rejection of the Generation
  • Book IV — From the Rejection of that Generation to the Death of Moses
  • Book V — From the Death of Moses to the Death of Eli
  • Book VI — From the Death of Eli to the Death of Saul
  • Book VII — From the Death of Saul to the Death of David
  • Book VIII — From the Death of David to the Death of Ahab
  • Book IX — From the Death of Ahab to the Captivity of the Ten Tribes
  • Book X — From the Captivity of the Ten Tribes to the First Year of Cyrus
  • Book XI — From the First Year of Cyrus to the Death of Alexander the Great
  • Book XII — From the Death of Alexander the Great to the Death of Judas Maccabeus
  • Book XIII — From the Death of Judas Maccabeus to the Death of Queen Alexandra
  • Book XIV — From the Death of Queen Alexandra to the Death of Antigonus
  • Book XV — From the Death of Antigonus to the Finishing of the Temple by Herod
  • Book XVI — From the Finishing of the Temple by Herod to the Death of Alexander and Aristobulus
  • Book XVII — From the Death of Alexander and Aristobulus to the Banishment of Archelaus
  • Book XVIII — From the Banishment of Archelaus to the Departure of the Jews from Babylon
  • Book XIX — From the Departure of the Jews from Babylon to Fadus the Roman Procurator
  • Book XX — From Fadus the Procurator to Florus

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