I. Life: Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, was born in the first year of the reign of Caligula, 37-38 A.D.; d. at Rome after 100 A.D. His father Matthias belonged to a respected family of priests in Jerusalem. Josephus reports proudly that at the age of sixteen he went through the three "philosophical schools "of the Jews, those of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, and that for the next three years he lived with a hermit named Banus. At the age of nineteen he publicly joined the Pharisees (Vita, i.-ii.). In 64 A.D. he undertook a journey
The works of Josephus were all composed in the Greek language, with the exception of his first draft of the "Jewish War," which was in Aramaic. His principal purpose was to communicate to the Greco-Roman world the knowledge of the history of his people, whom he defends and glorifies in every possible way. The "History of the Jewish War," in seven books, is his earliest and most carefully written work. The first and second books gave a survey of Jewish history from the time of the Maccabees to the outbreak of the insurrection against the Romans. The rest of the work is a detailed account of the war from the beginning in 66 to the complete suppression in 73. It was written late in the reign of Vespasian (69 to 79 A.D.; cf. War, preface, chap. i.; Ant., preface, chap. i.). It was presented to Vespasian, Titus, and Agrippa II., and the author received commendation for the accuracy of his account. The "Antiquities" ("Jewish Archeology") is a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from the beginnings of Biblical history to the outbreak of the war in 66 A.D., in twenty books, after the model of the Romaike archaiologia of Dionysius of Halicarnassus. It was completed in the thirteenth year of Domitian, 93-94 A.D. For the Biblical period (books I.-XI.) Josephus draws almost exclusively from the Bible in the Septuagint version, but he modifies the Biblical story and supplements it by legends, following current traditions. Here and there he seems to have employed also Hellenistic compilations of Biblical history, especially those of Demetrius and Artapanus. Finally, he inserted notices from Greek writers of profane history when he dealt, for instance, with the flood, with primitive man, with Phenician history, and the like. The post-Biblical period of Jewish history is treated by Josephus without any due sense of proportion according to the condition of his sources. He has little to say on the period from Alexander the Great to the time of the Maccabees, filling the gap with an extensive extract from Pseudo-Aristeas (see ARISTEAS) on the origin of the Greek translation of the Bible. For the history of the Maccabees (175-135 B.C.) he had an excellent source in I Maccabees (see APOCRYPRA, A, IV., 9), which he supplemented from the works of Polybius. The later history of the Hasmoneans seems to depend upon the more general works of Strabo and Nicolas of Damascus. The main source for the history of Herod (books XV.-XVII.) was Nicolaus Damascenus, who, as an intimate councilor of Herod, was acquainted with the internal history of the court and described in great detail the history of his land. The history from the death of Herod to the outbreak of the war (books XVIII.-XX.) is treated quite meagerly. For the last decades Josephus was able to draw from oral information or from his own experience. He inserted a number of documents--decrees of the Roman senate, letters of Roman magistrates, decrees of cities of Asia Minor under Roman influence, and the like--the majority of these dating from the time of Cæsar and Augustus and having high value. The genuineness of the passage on Jesus Christ (XVIII., iii. 3) is generally given up.
The title affixed to the autobiography (Vita) of Josephus is misleading, since it recounts and justifies his activity in Galilee in the winter of 66-67 A.D. In this work Josephus attacks especially Justus of Tiberias, who, being a man of conservative tendencies, had, like Josephus, joined the insurrection more by force than by free will and had subsequently tried to exonerate himself for participation in the rebellion and to place the responsibility upon Josephus. The latter retaliated in his Vita by representing Justus as the chief agitator and himself as the real friend of the Romans. The work was written after the death of Agrippa II., therefore after 100 A.D. The Contra Apionem presents a well-written systematic apology for Judaism in reply to various attacks, especially in the literary world. The usual title Contra Apionem is misleading, since only a part of the work is occupied with the polemic against Apion. Porphyry (De abstinentia, iv. 11) quotes it under the title Pros tous Hellenas, the oldest Church Fathers under the title Peri tes ton Joudaion archaiotetos. Jerome was the first to use the title Contra Apionem. Since Josephus quotes in this work the "Antiquities" it must have been written later than 93 A.D. That IV Maccabees was wrongly ascribed by the Fathers to Josephus is now universally recognized. Similarly the work discussed in Photius,
The first edition of the Greek text of the works of Josephus was published by Frobenius and Episcopius (Basel, 1544). It was followed by the Geneva editions of 1611 and 1634, and by the edition of Ittig (Leipsic, 1691). A text of the complete works, revised after manuscripts, was furnished by Hudson (2 vols., Oxford, 1720). Then came the editions of Havercamp (2 vols., Amsterdam, Leyden, Utrecht, 1726), of Oberthür (3 vols., Leipsic, 1782-1785), and of Richter (6 vols., Leipsic, 1826-27). On the basis of Havercamp's material the text was revised by Dindorf (2 vols., Paris, 1845-47). This was followed by the pocket edition of Bekker (6 vols., Leipsic, 1855-56). A comprehensive collation of all good manuscripts was made only in recent times by Niese; his efforts resulted in a critical edition which by the richness of the apparatus far excels all former editions (Flavii Josephi opera edidit et apparatu critico instruxit Benedictus Niese, 6 vols., Berlin, 1887-94; vol. vii. is a carefully compiled index, 1895). On the basis of Niese's apparatus appeared an edition by Naber (6 vols., Leipsic, 1888-96). There exists an early Latin translation of the complete works of Josephus, with the exception of the Vita. Cassiodorus seems to be the author of the Latin translation of the "Antiquities" and of the Contra Apionem. The first printed edition of the Latin Josephus was published by Johann Schüssler in Augsburg, 1470. Since then until the appearance of the first Greek edition it has been printed frequently, and the later editions were frequently corrected after the Greek. A critical edition of the Latin version, resting upon a comprehensive use of the sources, was begun by Boysen as vol. xxxvii. of the Vienna CSEL (Vienna, 1898). With the Latin translation of the Bellum Judaicum is not to be confounded a Latin condensation which is known under the name of Egesippus or Hegesippus. The name Egesippus is only a corruption from Josippus, a Latin form of "Josephus." The work has some original additions, dates from the second half of the fourth century A.D., and has been doubtfully ascribed to Ambrose. The first edition appeared in Paris, 1510; a critically revised text appeared under the title Hegesippus qui dicitur sive Egesippus de bello Judaico ope codicis Casellani recognitus, ed. Weber, opus morte Weberi iuterruptum absolvit Caesar (Marburg, 1864). Under the name Josippon or Joseph, son of Gorion, there exists a history of the Jewish people to the destruction of Jerusalem, in the form of a compendium written in Hebrew, which is in the main excerpted from Josephus but in many respects differs widely from him. There appeared an edition of it with a Latin translation, by J F. Breithaupt (Gotha, 1707, 1710). Since the sixteenth century the works of Josephus have been translated into almost all modern European languages. Among the English translations Traill's, giving the Vita and the War, are especially esteemed (London, 1862). [The standard English translation has long been that of W. Whiston (London, 1737, often reproduced, latest ed. by D. S. Margoliouth, 1906). Others were by T. Lodge (1602, and often); Sir R. L. l'Estrange (1702 and often); J. Court (1733, and often); E. Thompson and W. C. Price (2 vols., 1777-78); and T. Bradshaw (1792)].
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The best discussion is in Schürer, Geschichte, i. 74-106 607-613, iii. 370, Eng transl. I., i. 77-82, ii. 214-223, II. iii. 221-222; Schürer furnishes very abundant material in the original article in Hauck-Herzog, RE, ix. 377 sqq. A very full discussion is to be found in DCB, iii. 441-460. The older material is suggested in Fabricius-Harles Bibliotheca Graeca, v. 49-56. Consult further: V. E. P. Chasles, De l'autorité historique de Flavius Josèphe, Paris, 1841; Creuzer, in TSK, xxvi (1853), 45-86, 906-928; Reuss, in Revue de théologie, 1859, pp. 253-319; W. A. Terwogt, Het Leven van . . . Flavius Josephus, Utrecht, 1863; R. Nicolai, Griechische Literaturgeschichte, ii. 2, pp. 553-559, Magdeburg, 1877; A. von Gutschmid, Kleine Schriften, iv. 336-384, Leipsic, 1893; C. Wachsmuth, Einleitung in das Studium der alten Geschichte, pp. 438-449, ib. 1895; Niese, in Historische Zeitschrift, lxxvi (1896), 193-237; Unger, in SMA philosophisch-philologische Klasse 1895, pp. 551-604, 1896, pp. 357-397, 1897, pp.189-244; H. Peter, Die geschichtliche Literatur über die römische Kaiserzeit, i. 394-401, Leipsic, 1897; P. Krüger, Philo and Josephus als Apologeten des Judentums, ib. 1906; Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, i. 314-327.
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