Flavius Josephus

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Flavius Josephus (37–100 CE) was a 1st-century Jewish army captain and later became an author. He was actively involved in the Jewish war with the Romans that climaxed in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. After 70 he went to Rome and dedicated his life to writing. He wrote two history works:

He also wrote:


  • And when the book of Daniel was showed him [Alexander the Great] wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that he himself was the person intended.

The Jewish War (source) (c. 75 AD)

  • Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the city (Jerusalem), or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there; but being overcome with his violent passions, and remembering what he had suffered during the siege, he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine's flesh upon the altar; against which they all opposed themselves, and the most approved among them were put to death.
    • Book 1.1.2
  • Their exercises are unbloody battles, and their battles bloody exercises.
    • Book 3.5.1, trans. William Whiston
  • I protest openly that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee.
    • Book 3.8.3, trans. William Whiston
    • (regarding his defection to the Roman Empire)
  • Antipater, now undisputed heir, had called down on his head the utter loathing of the nation, for everyone knew that all the slanders directed against his brothers had originated with him.
    • Chap. 5, opening, trans. G. A. Williamson
  • Its literary merits must be left to the judgment of its readers; as to its truth, I should not hesitate to make the confident assertion that from the first word to the last I have aimed at nothing else.
    • Closing words, trans. G. A. Williamson

Quotes about Flavius Josephus

  • Josephus failed to organize a strong stand against the Romans. The Jewish forces suffered setback after setback. Finally, Josephus and his men were forced to retreat to the fortress of Jotapata. After a siege of two months, Jotapata fell. The forty men who were left in the fortress killed themselves before the Romans entered it. Of all the brave fighters of Jotapata, only Josephus and his armor-bearer survived, and they were taken prisoners by the Romans. They had not joined the others who preferred death to dishonor.
    • Ruth Samuels, Pathways Through Jewish History, Chapter XIII, p. 126
  • Titus had a strange companion in those days: Josephus, the descendant of the Maccabees. From the enemy camp, Josephus now called Josephus Flavius, after the family of Vespasian and Titus, watched the defeat of his people.
    • Ruth Samuels, Pathways Through Jewish History, Chapter XIII, p. 127
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