Antiquities of the Jews

Antiquities of the Jews

"Antiquities of the Jews" ("Antiquitates Judaicae" in Latin) was a work published by the importantStephen L. Harris, "Understanding the Bible", (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985).] 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.Stephen L. Harris, "Understanding the Bible", (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985).]


This twenty-one 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.


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 sources, and as such is sometimes cited as independent evidence for the historical existence of Jesus. Most scholars view the Testimonium Flavianum as partially genuine with some Christian interpolations.


One of the best known translations of this work was provided by William Whiston in 1737, which has been in print continuously since then. [A new updated version of Whiston's translation was published by Hendrickson Publishers in 1987. However, the Loeb Classical Library has a more recent translation normally preferred academically.


External links

* [ Whiston translation of Antiquities of the Jews]

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