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Book reviews for "Josephus,_Flavius" sorted by average review score:

Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary: Judean Antiquities 1-4
Published in Hardcover by Brill Academic Publishers (1999)
Authors: Flavius Josephus, S. N. Mason, and Louis H. Feldman
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The Definitive Josephus
Most will want to compare this edition to the Loeb Classics version. Loeb offers facing page Greek text, which this edition does not. However, since I don't read Greek, this was not a problem. Whereas Loeb carries a modicum of footnotes explaining disputed points, the Brill edition is about 75% commentary, contained in extensive and enlightening footnote/essays on every page. The general introduction to Josephus as well as the introduction to Antiquities in particular has something to say to both novice and the reader familiar with Josephan scholarship. My own interest is in the War and the Life, which will not be printed for a few years. So I ordered Antiquities to see whether the project was worthwhile for future reference. I will have no hestiation in ordering other volumes as they become available. Louis Feldman's masterful commentary is a compendium of current scholarship on Josephus' rendition of the Old Testament. Even Books III, which concern matters of Jewish law, chiefly as concerns ritual and observance, but also social strictures, were enlivened and made relevant to Josephus' aims and historical context by Dr. Feldman's expert insights. The indices key on ancient texts,including the Torah, Rabbinical commentary (Midrash) and parallel relevant Greek and Roman historical works, plus persons, places, and modern authors. I compared the translation of the opening paragraph to the same passage in the Loeb. The differences are quite interesting and clearly show how Dr. Feldman and his colleagues picked up nuances from the original that Thackeray (the Loeb translator) had missed. I unhesitatingly recommend this edition. Of course the entire set will be prohibitively costly. University libraries will carry them no doubt. However if you are intrigued with Josephus, as I am, you will want to own some selected volumes. This is truly a work of reference to which I will return again and again.

Josephus: The Essential Writings
Published in Paperback by Kregel Publications (1990)
Authors: Flavius Josephus, Paul L. Maier, and Flauius Josephus
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it looked a lot less intimidating than the others
This was the first book on Josephus that I have read. The reason I selected this edition over other full length, unabridged versions is that it looked a lot less intimidating (I get shivers down my spine when I think that I am going to have to read through an encyclopedia length tome from cover to cover). My hunch was rewarded with a well organized version that is very easy to read and understand. It covers the essentials of "Jewish Antiquities" and "The Jewish War" in a way that allows you to read through it fairly quickly without having to ponder very long what you have read. The only difficulty I encountered was to keep straight in my mind the family relationships of the nobility in "The Jewish War". Although it is still a fairly long read, I recommend it to anyone who is just starting their studies on Josephus.

Josephus Complete Works
Published in Hardcover by Nelson Reference (15 November, 1998)
Authors: Flavius Josephus and William Whiston
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Captivating reading
Anyone interested in the modern view of the Jewish faith and the Jewish people must start in the past, and this book is the canonical reference. In addition, anyone who is interested in Biblical history and apologetics will be interested in the reading of this book, as well as those involved in the study of the ancient Greek language. The translator includes passages in original Greek for these readers, and as one who was learning ancient Greek at the time I read it, it was helpful to have these included in the book. It would take an established expert however to judge whether the translation of Whiston, who lived in the time of Isaac Newton, is in any sense an adequate one.

One also learns briefly of the life of Josephus, and gains an insight as to why Josephus chose to write this lengthy history of the Jewish people. What is most interesting about the reading of Josephus is his reliance on Jewish scriptures for delineating the history of the Jewish people before his time. He departs from this however when discussing the events of his own time. In addition, the reader obtains a discussion of the famous passages in Josephus on the historical authenticity of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, these being questioned by some scholars of Josephus.

A fine comprehensive history of Biblical times
The value of this volume is threefold, and all are noteworthy.

First, Josephus' account of the historical events and people in Judea during the 1st century A.D. has no peer. Josephus' facts are the most reliable from any secular historian during that period.

Second, Josephus' histories corroborate the Biblical accounts. Josephus, a Jewish general captured by the Romans during Judea's struggle for independence which ended in 70 A.D., mentions John the Baptist, the Herodian rulers of Judea, Pontius Pilate, and Jesus Christ. Josephus "fills in the blanks" by supplying detail not mentioned by the New Testament authors and gives flesh, bone (and blood) to the characters the Gospels and the Book of Acts relates.

Third, the translator, William Whiston, adds insightful and invaluable footnotes throughout the text. Whiston corrects Josephus where necessary or gives the reader more detail in support of Josephus' assertions by reference to other primary sources, many of which are no longer extant. Where Josephus refers to Jewish customs, Whiston explains them for the Gentile reader.

Thus, this book is best used as a reference book, though reading through Josephus' complete works is fruitful. The book is fairly compact for one containing 1000 pages. The pages are thin, which allows for its compact size, but which causes any highlighting or margin notes to "bleed" through to the reverse side of the page. The font size is 10 point, which makes for comfortable reading on the eyes. The appendices contain very helpful charts, including one which lists those excerpts from the Bible which run parallel to Josephus' chapters.

This is a great source book for any historian or Biblical scholar.

Getting the "news" from 20 centuries ago!
This is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in Palestine as it was during the intertestimental period. Himself a Jew who was taken captive by his Roman conquerors, Flavius Josephus became an accomplished historian of his day and his writings demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the Romans and Jews of his time. His writings offer insights into Jewish history, religion and customs as well as the war which ended Jewish independence for nearly two thousand years.

As with any account of history, this one bears its own biases and preferences. Begin with a personal study of Josephus and his background and what we know of the production of his historical accounts. From this starting point, however, nothing will prove more satisfying than reading the words of Josephus (in translation) for yourself! This volume begins with the historian's own autobiography and it only gets better as one continues to read.

Josephus and the New Testament
Published in Paperback by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. (01 November, 1992)
Author: Steve Mason
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Good introduction to Josephus and NT writings
Recommended!! Written by an author who is a specialist in the literary traditions and content of first century authors like Josephus. Provides useful detailed insights and commentary on the comparitive style and content of Josephus and NT writers. For most of the book the author stays on-topic, and readers will find the Luke/Acts chapter one of the best in the book. The author should have pruned some of the off-topic wandering into biblical interpretation of the NT with no real connection to Josephus; fundamentalists might find the author's comments annoying, but there are enough plain interesting quirks in the NT text that the author cites to be useful nevetheless.

Connects Luke to Josephus
Great book that tells the affect that the Jewish revolt in A.D. 70 had on the Roman Empire and the writers of the time. Talks about the different groups within the Jewish Community. Gives a comparison between Luke and Josephus in treatment of events and N.T. characters. It describes how Josephus contradicts himself and sometimes seems to change his view on an event. So reading a single one of Josephus' books may not give a clear picture. This book does. I have never read Josephus, but I feel that I know what to expect.

One of the Best Overall Introductions to Josephus
As a Jew, I was not looking for a pietistic Christian work, but one that would give me insights into how Josephus was received and utilized by the Church Fathers. I found Steve Mason to be an amicable and informative guide to the Christian perspective as well as a wonderful introduction to Josephus' life, works and world in general. I have read all of Josephus in the annotated Loeb editions and found new insights throughout this excellent little survey. Further, it contains one of the most incisive and reasonable discussions of the highly controversial Testimonium Flavianum -- Josephus' alleged witness to the life and mission of Jesus. I have since have had the pleasure of reading other books by Steve Mason on Josephus and have corresponded with Dr. Mason by e-mail. He is, along with Louis Feldman (who focuses on Old Testament issues) a leading authority on Josephus. This book illustrates why he is not only a great authority but a most effective instructor. Highly recommended.

The New Complete Works of Josephus
Published in Paperback by Kregel Publications (1999)
Authors: Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, and Paul L. Maier
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Almost worth five stars
In studying Judean history in the first century CE, there is no historian more important than Josephus, especially when one is interested in the study of the historical Jesus or of the world around him (the religious/social/political climate, etc.) Josephus is not only the only Jewish historian of this era to comment on Jesus, he is the only Jewish historian to thoroughly present the history as well as psychological outlook of Jews through a lengthy span of time. His works are immeasurably important to anyone interested in this line of study. This book contains all of his important works and more: his autobiography, Jewish Antiquities, The Jewish War, Against Apion, and an extract out of Josephus's Discource to the Greeks Concerning Hades (the last of which is EXTREMELY HELPFUL in understanding the Jewish view of the afterlife at the time of Josephus.)
This edition of Josephus is helpful, with occasional essays on certain topics (i.e. "Josephus and the Romans" or the family tree of the House of Herod.) The translation is a little stale, but easy enough to understand (and I am assured that the faults in the original Whiston translation have been corrected.) The textual notes are VERY helpful, if a little dated and biased. It is for these negatives that I gave this work 4 stars instead of 5-- though I really am indebted to those who put together this extremely comprehensive, helpful volume of one of the most important historians relating to the history of Israel/Judea.

"Simply Remarkable, A Historical Novelty and Treasure"
To put it concisely, the introduction generalizes the contents of this work, the segment on "The Life of Flavius Josephus" gives a familiar aquaintance with the 1st century A.D. historian, "The Antiquities of the Jews" covers the time of creation to the riegn of Nero, "The Jewish War" covers the time from the taking of Jerusalem to Titus' riegn and subsequent destruction of the Temple, "Against Apion" defends and ascertains the validity of Josephus' history, the seven "Dissertations" consist of numorous interesting topics, "The Table of the Jewish Weights and Measures, The List of Ancient Testimonies and Records, The Old Testamant Parellel to the Josephus' History, and Harmony of the Numbering System" all sum up the gist of this work, inasmuch as the titles and themes go.

The content of this work provides a profound sense of history, and extends without an end a greater sense of it. This book acts many times as a supplement to the bible in filling important gaps that biblical history failed to provide.

The benefits of this work are inumerable and unweighable when contrasted with the abundance of historical resources and the give-away price offered.

The "New Complete Works of Josephus" Translated by William Whiston and the commentary by Paul L. Maier, is undoubtably the best edition yet. Buy this one you will not regret it.

A true classic made superbly accessible to modern readers.
Enhanced with expert commentary by Paul L. Maier (Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University), William Whiston's (1662-1752) translation of the historical writings of Josephus (c. A.D. 37-100) is now available in a completely revised, expanded, and linguistically updated edition. The New Complete Works Of Josephus is a core title for any academic or public library world history collection, Judaic studies or Roman history reading list, as well as of sustained interest to scholars and students of Mideast and Mediterranean antiquity. Whiston provides a much needed updating of vocabulary and spellings in all five of the complete and unabridged works by Josephus and presents them in a single volume. More than forty photographs of ancient sites and artifacts, numbers charts, tables, maps, cross reference numbers to the Geek text of Josephus in the Loeb Classical Library, a revised subject index, and an index of Old Testament texts paralleling Josephus' writings make this edition a very necessary acquisition. The New Complete Works Of Josephus is also available in hard cover.

The Jewish War (The Penguin Classics)
Published in Paperback by Viking Press (1984)
Author: Flavius Josephus
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1st Century clash between Romans and Jews
I bought this book to read before a trip to Israel in 1999. It's a very readable English translation. This gives Josephus' account of the war between the Romans and the Jews in the 1st century. Most fascinating (and horrible) are the accounts of the destruction of Gamla and Jerusalem and the final siege of Masada. Scholars are critical of Josephus because he puts too much of himself into the story and because it is probably biased in favor of his Roman benefactors. (Josephus began fighting against the Romans, but then came over to their side when he was captured and convinced of the hopelessness of the rebellion. He tried to convince the Jews not to fight, but to accept Roman rule. He wrote this history for the Romans' benefit after the war.) Nevertheless, there are very few good historical accounts of this place and time. Reading it gives you a taste of what life would have been like in that ancient land during this terrible period. It's well worth the time spent reading it, especially if you plan to visit the places described.

Josephus's works are treaures in the Jewish history
The Jewish War is a very valuable source in studying the Jewsih history under the Roman domination. The book covers the facts happened from the occupation of the Greek in Jews, to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In other words, it is crossing from the Old Testament to the New Testament. However, most of the events it recorded are not covered in the Scripture. Such events as the domination of the Greek and the Macabee reovlt, a period between the two Testaments, are always missed by the Christian since it is not recorded in the Bible. Also, the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, famous to most of the Christian, but only know little. So, this book supplies a lot of information for the background of the Old and New testaments. Herod, Flenix, King Agrippas, they were the names that are familiar with. Therefore, to better understand the New Testament, this book is a must. In imitating Herotodus's style in writing history, Josephus left a lot of other information when depicting the Jewish-Roman war. This book is thus a good source-book for the solidery system of the Roman. How the Roman soldiers matched, how they fought, how they used their battling machinery etc. , and also the geographic information of Palestine and Israel. I highly recommend this book.

A Fine Modern Translation of Josephus' Chronicle
Part history, part memoir, Josephus' account of the events leading up to and during the Jewish revolt against Rome from A. D. 66 to A. D. 73 is still regarded by many historians as the primary account of the war. Admittedly, it is a heavily biased account, a mea culpea written to restore Josephus' tarnished reputation among his fellow Jews and to heap praise on his benefactors, the Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus. I commend Penguin Classics for issuing a very readable translation that was written in 20th Century English. Anyone interested in getting a glimpse into what Rome or ancient Judea was like during the first century before or after the birth of Christ will find this essential reading.

Josephus, the Essential Works: A Condensation of Jewish Antiquities and the Jewish War
Published in Hardcover by Kregel Publications (1995)
Authors: Paul L. Maier and Flavius De Bello Judaica Josephus
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Excellent Translation
This is a good introduction to the works of Josephus that are really quite crucial to understanding Second Temple Judaism, the Qumran sect, and the fate of the Jews in the War with Rome. Scholars of both history and religion alike will benefit from this book.

Josephus and Judaean Politics (Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition, Vol 18)
Published in Hardcover by Brill Academic Publishers (1997)
Authors: S. Schwarts and Seth Schwartz
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For a topic this broad the author has delivered a very slender volume. The author relies heavily on the scholarship of his predecessors. He has a propensity of extrapolating examples from Jewish texts, taking them out of context, and frequently failing to provide adequate translation to demonstrate the connections he is attempting to construct. In all should one wish to consult a reputable authority on the subject the gold standard is still Leiberman.

Schwartz is a genius. This is not subtle. He is a genius.

Flavius Josephus
Published in Paperback by Free Press (2001)
Author: Hadas Lebel
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Pity this book is out of print...
As an in depth introduction to the times and life of Flavius Josephus, this book is very good. What prevents me from giving it a 4-star rating is not the text, but the (bluntly) inadequate appendices. The there are no family trees of the kings and high priests of the period (167 BCE to 95 CE). The maps are very incomplete (no indication of the locations of Sepphoris or Jotapata, for example!). There is no time line of Flavius Josephus's life. The "Dramatis Personae" does not list the dates of birth and death of each person. Many characters who briefly appear are not even listed. One minor quibble with the book is the Epilogues; though the author is French, I wish she had leaned a bit less on French evaluations over the centuries of Josephus's significance. The basic book, lest I be misunderstood, is excellent. I appreciated her liberal use of external sources, including but not limited to, the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud, the Tosefta, Suetonius, Philo of Alexandria, Tacitus, Pliny, the Midrash Sifre, among many others. The horror of warfare during the revolt, and the heart-breaking destruction of the Second Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem -- they are here. Josephus's predicament, as he is caught between the super-power of his time and the insanity of his own people blindly bent on bringing destruction down on their people and land, is tragedy. The futile attempts of one man to stop history -- doomed to failure -- are caught in these pages. This book is worth reading (but bring a pen and paper to compensate for the sorry lack of summary information normally provided in a good set of appendices!)

Jewish Rights in the Roman World - The Greek and Roman Documents Quoted by Josephus Flavius
Published in Hardcover by J.C.B. Mohr (1998)
Author: Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev
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