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Josephus

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Titus Flavius Josephus was an ethnic Hebrew man, a soldier, a husband many, many times as well as a historian. Because he was a historian he was able to attain knowledge pertaining to different sects in Judaism. This ability allowed him to choose to be a Pharisee. His opinion may have been that he was against the war between the Romans and Jews but it did not change the fact that he became the commander of Galilee. In essence, he fought the Romans between the years of 66 A.D and 73 A.D as not only a commander but as a leader. Given this fight and Jews’ determination, thousands of people were still killed after being invaded by the Romans after the Jewish garrison of Yodfat’s fate was put into the Roman’s hands. After Galilee broke down, people of Jerusalem were not left with many options. They could have either surrendered to the Romans or committed suicide. Josephus did not commit suicide, but instead he opted to surrender to the Romans by bringing in his intelligence to their table in 67 A.D. When he decided to surrender to the Romans, the Romans took notice and admired him greatly. The general of Vespasian of Rome admired him so much that he took his name “Flavius” as his own. He informed the Romans about certain Although he called himself Josephus, people came to call him Titus Flavius. Even though Josephus’ life was in shambles during the war due to the fact that his wife and family ceased to exist when the Romans invaded Galilee, Vespasian compensated for that by arranging him to marry a captured woman in Rome. It seemed like it was going to go well, but when that wife left him in 70 A.D he married again with a Jewish lady and it resulted in three male children, but only of his children managed to survive. Soon he left this wife and five years later married a more respectable women who managed to have two more sons for him that survived. Throughout Josephus’ life he had created many works of writings which made his style very predictable. With that said, it was scandalous to read the “Testimonium Flavianum” claimed to have been written by Josephus his readers had a hard time believing it. Although there was no proof as to whether or not Josephus wrote “Testimonium Flavianum” in its entirety experts felt its safe to assume he did not. The text shows many Christian-historian inspired writings above all things. Namely, the word of Jesus was never seen-- it was just simply spread through the word of mouth. Christianity’s idea of Jesus was different from Josephus’. “The casual link would be clearer if we could be sure that epagogeto meant ‘seduced, astray.’ That is possible, though not necessary, meaning of the verb, Once again, Josephus might be engaging in a studied ambiguity.” (1) This quote delicately pointed out the subtle difference in the stylistic writings compared to Josephus’ earlier works but at the same time did not completely discredit the writing. Many writers thought that perhaps he was just being ambiguous because he had spent most of his writing career being very ambiguous and that had become another style of Josephus. With that in mind, there was a reference to Jesus in Antiquities of the Jew where he was saying one thing yet meaning something more. “He was a doer of wonderful deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure.” (2) This implied that he acknowledged a Jesus and felt compelled to let others know of this but he was not being very detailed about who he was writing about. Other writers, such as Mark made it very clear when he spoke of Jesus and even went as far as to say His name. “But Jesus said, ‘Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.’” (3) This showed his willingness to expose Jesus to nonbelievers and it pulled the wool off of ignorant eyes. He never explained why he chose to surrender to the Romans during the Jewish war or why he never fully understood the severity of his betrayal to Jerusalem but to him it never mattered. He was the one that benefited handsomely for that betrayal. His actions at times made people question whether he was a true historian or if his writings were just ways to exploit untrue statements to make Rome look better. Although it is simple to consider him an exploit, there are some redeemable qualities about him. Although he was considered a Roman citizen at some point, he was always said that he was law abiding Jew. He even went as far to expose people to the ways of Judaism and how it could have been applicable to Romans. He was always looked for an opportunity to show how civilized and educated the Jews were.

Footnotes
1) Jesus the Jew: Fall 2007 Course Readings: Josephus; pg.78, line 34
2) Antiquities of the Jews: Book 18; Chapter 3, paragraph 3
3) Mark 9:39
4) Sources: Josephus, “Jesus the Jew,” page 56

Bibliography
Jesus the Jew: Fall 207 Course Readings Professor Wendy Raver
The New American Standard Bible
Flavius Josephus Home Page: http://members.aol.com/fljosephus/home.htm

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