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Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus: Translation and Commentaryby Flavius Josephus
Synopses & Reviews
Flavius Josephus is without a doubt the most important witness to ancient Judaism from the close of the biblical period to the aftermath of the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. His four surviving works - "Judean War, Judean Antiquities, Life, and "Against Apion - provide the narrative stucture for interpreting the other, more fragmentary written sources and physical remains from this period. His descriptions of the Temple, the Judean countryside, Jewish-Roman relations and conflicts, and groups and institutions of ancient Judea have become indispensable for the student of early Judaism, the Classicist, and the reader of the New Testament alike.
The priestly aristocrat Josephus was born in A.D. 37 and died around the year 100. After fighting against the Romans in the war of 66-73/4 and surrendering in the earliest phase of the campaign, he moved to Rome where he began a productive literary career. His four surviving works in thirty Greek volumes are widely excerpted for historical purposes, but still not often read in their literary and historical contexts. This project aims to assist every serious reader of Josephus by providing a new literal translation, along with a commentary suggesting literary and historical connnections.
This is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English. Steve Mason, "York University, Toronto, edits the scheduled 10 volumes.
"Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus is previously published by Brill Academic Publishers in hardback (ISBN 90 04 11793 8, still available)
Book News Annotation:
Mason, a specialist on Josephus (he teaches classics and religious studies at York U. in Toronto, Canada), produced a magisterial translation of the historian's autobiography, first published by Brill in 2001. This paperback edition reprints the cloth original, in which the translation is accompanied by Mason's extensive commentary presented in the lengthy footnotes and historical introduction. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Within the writings of Flavius Josephus his shortest work, the autobiographical Life, has often seemed the simplest to understand: as a defensive response to Josephus' rival Justus of Tiberias. Read in this vein, it is usually regarded as the clearest evidence of Josephus' utter carelessness as an author and of his willingness to tell patent lies as he attempted to justify what he knew to be his own sordid behavior during the earliest phase of the war with Rome. Refocusing our attention from the personal character and psychological motives of Josephus (which we cannot know) to the work itself (which is before us), Steve Mason brings this crucial narrative to life in new historical and literary contexts. He shows that it is a carefully structured appendix to Josephus' magnum opus, the Judean Antiquities, and that Josephus uses it to unashamedly celebrate his character according to the values and standards of his time. In the process, Josephus explains much about the geography of Galilee and about the social and political world of Judea in crisis. Most importantly, however, he emerges as a Judean statesman trying to communicate with his peers from other Mediterranean centers. Thus The Life is a rich mine of information, not only about the specifics of the Galilean society and the Judean-Roman war, but also about Roman-provincial relations and elite culture in Judea. Steve Mason enriches us with both an excellent literal translation and invaluable philological, literary, historical, archeological, and sociological commentary. Josephus' extensive corpus is generally acknowledged to be basic for the study of Judaism in the Roman world, for the background to early Christianity, and foraspects of Roman history. This model for understanding the historian's autobiography provides a an agenda for reading the other volumes as well. This is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English. Steve Mason, York University, Toronto, edits the scheduled 10 volumes. Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus is previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 11793 8, still available)
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