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JOSEPHUS 


BY 

NORMAN  BENTWICH 

Author  of  “  Philo-Judaeus  of  Alexandria  ” 


* 

^  i 
C-" 


Philadelphia 


The  Jewish  Publication  Society  of  America 

1914 


Copyright,  1914,  by 

The  Jewish  Publication  Society  of  America 

IT'm  J- 

9278 3  3 


PREFACE 


Joseplius  hardly  merits  a  place  on  his  own  account 
in  a  series  of  Jewish  Worthies,  since  neither  as  man  of 
action  nor  as  man  of  letters  did  he  deserve  particularly 
well  of  his  nation.  It  is  not  his  personal  worthiness, 
hut  the  worth  of  his  work,  that  recommends  him  to 
the  attention  of  the  Jewish  people.  He  was  not  a  loyal 
general,  and  he  was  not  a  faithful  chronicler  of  the 
struggle  with  Rome ;  but  he  had  the  merit  of  writing 
a  number  of  books  on  the  Jews  and  Judaism,  which 
not  only  met  the  desire  for  knowledge  of  his  nation  in 
his  own  day,  but  which  have  been  preserved  through 
the  ages  and  still  remain  one  of  the  chief  authorities 
for  Jewish  history.  He  lived  at  the  great  crisis  of 
his  people,  when  it  stood  at  the  parting  of  the  ways. 
And  while  in  his  life  he  was  patronized  by  those  who 
had  destroyed  the  national  center,  after  his  death 
he  found  favor  with  that  larger  religious  community 
which  was  beginning  to  carry  part  of  the  J ewish  mis¬ 
sion  to  the  Gentiles.  For  centuries  Josephus  was 
regarded  by  the  Christians  as  the  standard  historian 
of  the  Jews,  and,  though  for  long  he  wa,s  forgotten 
and  neglected  by  his  own  people,  in  modern  times  he 
has  been  carefully  studied  also  by  them,  and  his 
merits  and  demerits  both  as  patriot  and  as  writer 
have  been  critically  examined. 

It  has  been  my  especial  aim  in  this  book  to  consider 
Josephus  from  the  Jewish  point  of  view.  I  have  made 
no  attempt  to  extenuate  his  personal  conduct  or  his 


6 


PREFACE 


literary  faults.  My  judgment  may  appear  somewhat 
severe,  but  it  is  when  tried  by  the  test  of  faithful¬ 
ness  to  his  nation  that  Josephus  is  found  most  want¬ 
ing;  and  I  hope  that  while  extenuating  nothing  I 
have  not  set  down  aught  in  malice. 

Of  the  extensive  literature  bearing  on  the  subject, 
the  books  to  which  I  am  under  the  greatest  obligation 
are  Mese’s  text  of  the  collected  works  and  Schiirer’s 
History  of  the  Jewish  People  in  the  Time  of  Jesus. 
I  have  given  in  an  Appendix  a  Bibliography,  which 
contains  the  names  of  most  of  the  works  I  have  re¬ 
ferred  to.  I  would  mention  in  particular  Schlat¬ 
ter’s  Zur  Topographie  und  Geschichte  Palastinas, 
which  is  a  remarkably  stimulating  and  suggestive 
book,  and  which  confirmed  a  view  I  had  formed  inde¬ 
pendently,  that  in  the  Wars,  as  in  the  Antiquities, 
Josephus  is  normally  a  compiler  of  other  men’s  writ¬ 
ings,  and  constantly  expresses  opinions  not  his  own. 

My  greatest  debt  of  thanks,  however,  is  due  to  the 
spoken  rather  than  the  written  word.  Doctor  Biichler, 
the  Principal  of  Jews’  College,  London,  has  constantly 
assisted  me  with  advice,  directed  me  to  sources  of  in¬ 
formation,  and  let  me  draw  plentifully  from  his  own 
large  stores  of  knowledge  about  Josephus;  and  Doctor 
Friedlaender,  Sabato  Morais  Professor  at  the  Jewish 
Theological  Seminary  of  America,  has  done  me  the 
brotherly  service  of  reading  my  manuscript  and  mak¬ 
ing  many  valuable  suggestions  on  it.  To  their  gener¬ 
ous  help  this  book  owes  more  than  I  can  acknowledge. 

Nouman  Bentwich. 


j Cairo ,  February,  121k. 


CONTENTS 


PAGE 

I.  The  Jews  and  the  Romans .  11 

II.  The  Life  of  Josephus  to  the  Fall  of  Jotapata  37 

III.  The  Life  of  Josephus  from  the  Time  of  His 

Surrender  .  58 

IV.  The  Works  of  Josephus  and  His  Relation  to 

His  Predecessors  .  81 

V.  The  Jewish  Wars .  108 

VI.  Josephus  and  the  Bible .  136 

VII.  Josephus  and  Post-Biblical  Jewish  History  172 

VIII.  The  Apology  for  Judaism .  205 

IX.  Conclusion .  240 

Bibliography  .  261 

Abbreviations  Used  in  Referring  to  the 

Works  of  Josephus . 263 

Index  .  265 


■ 


V 


ILLUSTRATIONS 


Bas-relief  from  the  Arch  of  Titus  at 

Rome  . Frontispiece 

Coins  Current  in  Palestine  (34  b.  c.  e.  to 

98  c.  e.) . Between  pp.  114  and  115 

Ruins  of  an  Ancient  Synagogue  at  Kafr 

BirTm,  Upper  Galilee . Facing  p.  186 


JOSEPHUS 

i 

THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 

The  life  and  work  of  Flavius  Josephus  are  hound  up 
with  the  struggle  of  the  Jews  against  the  Romans,  and 
in  order  to  appreciate  them  it  is  necessary  to  sum¬ 
marize  the  relations  of  the  two  peoples  that  led  up 
to  that  struggle. 

It  is  related  in  the  Midrash  that  the  city  of  Rome 
was  founded  on  the  day  Solomon  married  an  Egypt¬ 
ian  princess.  The  Rabbis  doubtless  meant  by  this 
legend  that  the  power  of  Rome  was  created  to  be  a  - 
scourge  for  Israel’s  backslidings.  They  identified 
Rome  with  the  Edom  of  the  Bible,  representing  thus 
that  the  struggle  between  Esau  and  Jacob  was  carried 
on  by  their  descendants,  the  Romans  and  the  Jews, 
and  would  continue  throughout  history.1  Yet  the 
earliest  relations  of  the  two  peoples  were  friendly  and 
peaceful.  They  arose  out  of  the  war  of  independence 
that  the  Maccabean  brothers  waged  against  the 
Syrian  Empire  in  the  middle  of  the  second  century 
B.  c.  e.,  when  the  loyal  among  the  people  were 
roused  to  stand  up  for  their  faith.  Antiochus  Epiph- 

1  Lev.  R.  xiii.  (5),  quoted  in  Schechter,  Aspects  of  Rab¬ 
binic  Theology,  p.  100. 


12 


JOSEPHUS 


anes,  anxious  to  strengthen  his  tottering  empire,  which 
had  been  shaken  by  its  struggles  with  Rome,  sought  to 
force  violently  on  the  Jews  a  pagan  Hellenism  that 
was  already  making  its  way  among  them.  He  suc¬ 
ceeded  only  in  evoking  the  latent  force  of  their  national 
consciousness.  Rome  was  already  the  greatest  power 
in  the  world:  she  had  conquered  the  whole  of  Italy; 
she  had  destroyed  her  chief  rival  in  the  West,  the 
Phoenician  colony  of  Carthage ;  she  had  made  her  will 
supreme  in  Greece  and  Macedonia.  Her  senate  was 
the  arbiter  of  the  destinies  of  kingdoms,  and  though 
for  the  time  it  refrained  from  extending  Roman  sway 
over  Egypt  and  Asia,  its  word  there  was  law.  Its 
policy  was  “  divide  and  rule,”  to  hold  supreme  sway 
by  encouraging  small  nationalities  to  maintain  their 
independence  against  the  unwieldy  empires  which 
the  Hellenistic  successors  of  Alexander  had  carved  out 
for  themselves  in  the  Orient. 

At  the  bidding  of  the  Roman  envoy,  Antiochus 
Epiphanes  himself,  immediately  before  his  incursion 
into  J erusalem,  had  slunk  away  from  Alexandria ;  and 
hence  it  was  natural  that  Judas  Maccabaeus,  when  he 
had  vindicated  the  liberty  of  his  nation,  should  look  to 
Rome  for  support  in  maintaining  that  liberty.  In  the 
year  161  b.  c.  e.  he  sent  Eupolemus  the  son  of  Johanan 
and  J ason  the  son  of  Eleazar,  “  to  make  a  league  of 
amity  and  confederacy  with  the  Romans  ” 1 :  and  the 

1 1  Macc.  viii.  7.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  sons 
had  Greek  names,  while  their  fathers  had  Hebrew  names. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


13 


J ews  were  received  as  friends,  and  enrolled  in  the  class 
of  Socii._  His  brother  Jonathan  renewed  the  alliance  in 
146  b.  c.  e.  ;  Simon  renewed  it  again  five  years  later, 
and  John  Hyrcanus,  when  he  succeeded  to  the  high 
priesthood,  made  a  fresh  treaty.1  Supported  by  the 
friendship,  and  occasionally  by  the  diplomatic  inter¬ 
ference,  of  the  Western  Power,  the  Jews  did  not  re¬ 
quire  the  intervention  of  her  arms  to  uphold  their  in¬ 
dependence  against  the  Seleucid  monarchs,  whose 
power  was  rapidly  falling  into  ruin.  At  the  beginning 
of  the  first  century  b.  c.  e.,  however,  Rome,  having 
emerged  triumphant  from  a  series  of  civil  struggles 
in  her  own  dominions,  found  herself  compelled  to  take 
an  active  part  in  the  affairs  of  the  East.  During  her 
temporary  eclipse  there  had  been  violent  upheavals  in 
Asia.  The  semi-barbarous  kings  of  Pontus  and 
Armenia  took  advantage  of  the  opportunity  to  overrun 
the  Hellenized  provinces  and  put  all  the  Greek  and 
Roman  inhabitants  to  the  sword.  To  avenge  this  out¬ 
rage,  Rome  sent  to  the  East,  in  73  b.  c.  e.,  her  most 
distinguished  soldier,  Pompeius,  or  Pompey,  who,  in 
two  campaigns,  laid  the  whole  of  Asia  Minor  and 
Syria  at  his  feet. 

Unfortunately  civil  strife  was  waging  in,  Palestine 
between  the  two  Hasmonean  brothers,  Aristobulus  and 
Hyrcanus,  who  fought  for  the  throne  on  the  death  of 
the  queen  Alexandra  Salome,  Both  in  turn  appealed 
to  Pompey  to  come  to  their  aid,  on  terms  of  becoming 


*1  Mace,  xii.  3;  xiv.  24. 


14 


JOSEPHUS 


subject  to  the  Roman  overlord.  At  the  same  time,  a 
deputation  from  the  Jewish  nation  appeared  before 
the  general,  to  declare  that  they  did  not  desire  to  be 
ruled  by  kings :  “  for  what  was  handed  down  to  them 
from  their  fathers  was  that  they  should  obey  the 
priests  of  God;  but  these  two  princes,  though  the 
descendants  of  priests,  sought  to  transfer  the  nation 
to  another  form  of  government,  that  it  might  be  en¬ 
slaved/’ 

Pompey,  who  had  resolved  to  establish  a  strong 
government  immediately  subject  to  Rome  over  the 
whole  of  the  near  Orient,  finally  interfered  on  behalf 
of  Hyrcanus.  Aristobulus  resisted,  at  first  somewhat 
half-heartedly,  but  afterwards,  when  the  Roman 
armies  laid  siege  to  Jerusalem,  with  fierce  determina¬ 
tion.  The  struggle  was  in  vain.  On  a  Sabbath,  it  is 
recorded,  when  the  Jews  desisted  from  their  defense, 
the  Roman  general  forced  his  way  into  the  city,  and, 
regardless  of  Jewish  feeling,  entered  the  Holy  of 
Holies.  The  intrigues  of  the  Jewish  royal  house  had 
brought  about  the  subjection  of  the  nation.  As  it  is 
said  in  the. apocryphal  Psalms  of  Solomon,  which  were 
written  about  this  time :  “  A  powerful  smiter  has 
God  brought  from  the  ends  of  the  earth.  He  decreed 
war  upon  the  J ews  and  the  land.  The  princes  of  the 
land  went  out  with  joy  to  meet  him,  and  said  to  him, 
‘  Blessed  be  thy  way ;  draw  near  and  enter  in  peace/  ” 
Yet  Pompey  did  not  venture,  or  did  not  care,  to 
destroy  or  rob  the  Temple,  according  to  Cicero  and 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  EOMANS 


15 


Josephus,1  because  of  his  innate  moderation,  but 
really,  one  may  suspect,  from  less  noble  motives. 
It  was  the  custom  of  the  Eoman  conquerors  to  de¬ 
mand  the  surrender,  not  only  of  the  earthly  posses¬ 
sions  of  the  conquered,  but  of  their  gods,  and  to 
carry  the  vanquished  images  in  the  triumph  which 
they  celebrated.  But  Pompey  may  have  recognized 
the  difference  between  the  Jewish  religion  and  that 
of  other  peoples,  or  he  realized  the  widespread  power 
of  the  Jewish  people,  which  would  rise  as  a  single 
body  in  defense  of  its  religion;  for  he  made  no 
attempt  to  interfere  either  with  Jewish  religious  lib¬ 
erties,  or  with  a  worship  that  Cicero  declared  to  be 
“  incompatible  with  the  majesty  of  the  Empire.” 

The  Jews,  however,  were  henceforth  the  clients,  in¬ 
stead  of  the  allies,  of  Eome.  Though  Hyrcanus  was 
recognized  by  Pompey  as  the  high  priest  and  ethnarch 
of  Judea,  and  his  wily  counselor,  the  Idumean  Antipa¬ 
ter,  was  given  a  general  power  of  administering  the 
country,  they  were  alike  subject  to  the  governor  of 
Syria,  which  was  now  constituted  a  Eoman  province. 
Moreover,  the  Hellenistic  cities  along  the  coast  of 
Palestine  and  on  .the  other  side  of  Jordan,  which  had 
been  subjugated  by  John  Hvrcanua_and  Alexander 
Jannaeus,  were  restored  to  independence,  and  place? 
under  special  Eoman  protection,  and  the  Jewish  terri¬ 
tory  itself  was  shortly  thereafter  split  by  the  Eoman 
governor  Gabinius  into  five  toparchies,  or  provinces, 
each  with  a  separate  administration. 

1  Cicero,  Pro  Flacco,  69,  and  Ant.  XVI.  iv,  4. 


16 


JOSEPHUS 


The  guiding  aim  of  the  conqueror  was  to  weaken  the 
Oriental  power  (as  the  Jews  were  regarded)  and 
strengthen  the  Hellenistic  element  in  the  country. 
The  Jews  were  soon  to  feel  the  heavy  hand  and  suffer 
the  insatiate  greed  of  Rome.  National  risings  were 
put  down  with  merciless  cruelty,  the  Temple  treasury 
was  spoiled  in  56  b.  c.  e.  by  the  avaricious  Crassus, 
one  of  the  triumvirate  that  divided  the  Roman  Empire, 
when  he  passed  Jerusalem  on  his  way  to  fight  against 
the  Parthians;  even  the  annual  offering  contributed 
voluntarily  by  the  Jews  of  the  Diaspora  to  the  Temple 
was  seized  by  a  profligate  governor  of  Asia.  The 
Roman  aristocrats  during  the  last  years  of  the  Re¬ 
public  were  a  degenerate  body ;  they  regarded  a  gover¬ 
norship  as  the  opportunity  of  unlimited  extortion,  the 
means  of  recouping  themselves  for  ajl  the  gross  ex¬ 
penses  incurred  on  attaining  office,  and  of  making 
themselves  and  their  friends  affluent  for  the  rest  of 
their  lives.  And  Judea  was  a  fresh  quarry. 

A  happier  era  seemed  to  be  dawning  for  the  Jews 
when  Julius  Caesar  became  dictator.  At  the  begin¬ 
ning  of  the  civil  war  between  him  and  Pompey,  Hyr- 
canus,  at  the  instance  of  Antipater,  prepared  to  sup¬ 
port  the  man  to  whom  he  owed  his  position ;  but  when 
Pompey  was  murdered,  Antipater  led  the  Jewish 
forces  to  the  help  of  Caesar,  who  was  hard  pressed  at 
Alexandria.  His  timely  help  and  his  influence  over 
the  Egyptian  Jews  recommended  him  to  Caesar’s 
favor,  and  secured  for  him  an  extension  of  his  au¬ 
thority  in  Palestine,  and  for  Hyrcanus  the  confirma- 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


17 


tion  of  his  ethnarchy.  Joppa  was  restored  to  the 
Hasmonean  domain,  Judea  was  granted  freedom  from 
all  tribute  and  taxes  to  Rome,  and  the  independence 
of  the  internal  administration  was  guaranteed. 
Caesar,  too,  whatever  may  have  been  his  motive, 
showed  favor  to  the  Jews  throughout  his  Empire. 
Mommsen  thinks  that  he  saw  in  them  an  effective 
leaven  of  cosmopolitanism  and  national  decomposi¬ 
tion,  and  to  that  intent  gave  them  special  privileges ; 
but  this  seems  a  perverse  reason  to  assign  for  the 
grant  of  the  right  to  maintain  in  all  its  thoroughness 
their  national  life,  and  for  their  exemption  from  all 
Imperial  or  municipal  burdens  that  would  conflict 
with  it.  It  is  more  reasonable  to  suppose  that,  taking 
in  this  as  in  many  other  things  a  broader  view  than 
that  of  his  countrymen,  Caesar  recognized  the  weak¬ 
ness  of  a  world-state  whose  members  were  so  dena¬ 
tionalized  as  to  have  no  strong  feeling  for  any  com¬ 
mon  purpose,  no  passion  of  loyalty  to  any  community, 
and  he  favored  Judaism  as  a  counteracting  force  to 
this  peril. 

His  various  enactments  constituted,  as  it  were,  a 
Magna  Charta  of  the  Jews  in  the  Empire;  Judaism 
was  a  favored  cult  in  the  provinces,  a  licita.  religio  in 
the  capital.  At  Alexandria  Caesar  confirmed  and  ex¬ 
tended  the  religious  and  political  privileges  of  the 
Jews,  and  ordered  his  decree  to  be  inscribed  on  pillars 
of  brass  and  set  up  in  a  public  place.  At  Rome,  though 
the  devotees  of  Bacchus  were  forbidden  to  meet,  he 
permitted  the  Jews  to  hold  their  assemblies  and  cele- 

2 


18 


JOSEPHUS 


brate  their  ceremonials.  At  his  instance  the  Hellen¬ 
istic  cities  of  Asia  passed  similar  favorable  decrees  for 
the  benefit  of  the  Jewish  congregations  in  their  midst, 
which  invested  them  with  a  kind  of  local  autonomy. 
The  proclamation  of  the  Sardians  is  typical.  “  This 
decree,”  it  runs,  “  was  made  by  the  senate  and  people, 
upon  the  representation  of  the  praetors : 

Whereas  those  Jews  who  are  our  fellow-citizens,  and 
live  with  us  in  this  city,  have  ever  had  great  benefits 
heaped  upon  them  by  the  people,  and  have  come  now  into 
the  senate,  and  desired  of  the  people  that,  upon  the  resti¬ 
tution  of  their  law  and  their  liberty  by  the  senate  and 
people  of  Rome,  they  may  assemble  together  according  to 
their  ancient  legal  custom,  and  that  we  will  not  bring 
any  suit  against  them  about  it;  and  that  a  place  may  be 
given  them  where  they  may  hold  their  congregations  with 
their  wives  and  children,  and  may  offer,  as  did  their  fore¬ 
fathers,  their  prayers  and  sacrifices  to  God: — now  the 
senate  and  people  have  decreed  to  permit  them  to  as¬ 
semble  together  on  the  days  formerly  appointed,  and  to 
act  according  to  their  own  laws;  and  that  such  a  place 
be  set  apart  for  them  by  the  praetors  for  the  building  and 
inhabiting  the  same  as  they  shall  esteem  fit  for  that 
purpose,  and  that  those  who  have  control  of  the  provi¬ 
sions  of  the  city  shall  take  care  that  such  sorts  of  food 
as  they  esteem  fit  for  their  eating  may  be  imported  into 
the  city.”1 

Caesar’s  decrees  marked  the  culmination  of  Roman 
tolerance,  and  the  Jews  enjoyed  their  privileges  for 
but  a  short  time.  It  is  related  by  the  historian  Sue¬ 
tonius  that  they  lamented  his  death  more  bitterly  than 


1  Ant.  XIV.  x.  24. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


19- 


any  other  class.1  And  they  had  good  reason.  The  Re¬ 
publicans,  who  had  murdered  him,  and  his  ministers, 
who  avenged  him,  vied  with  each  other  for  the  sup¬ 
port  of  the  Jewish  princes ;  but  the  people  in  Palestine 
suffered  from  the  burden  that  the  rivals  imposed  on 
the  provinces  in  their  efforts  to  raise  armies.  Antip¬ 
ater  and  his  ambitious  sons  Herod  and  Phasael  con¬ 
trived  to  maintain  their  tyranny  amid  the  constant 
shifting  of  power;  and  when  the  hardy  mountaineers 
of  Galilee  strove  under  the  lead  of  one  Hezekiah 
(Ezekias),  the  founder  of  the  party  of  the  Zealots,  to 
shake  off  the  Roman  yoke,  Herod  ruthlessly  put  down 
the  revolt.  But  when  Antigonus,  the  son  of  that  Aris- 
tobulus  who  had  been  deprived  of  his  kingdom  by  Hyr- 
canus  and  Pompey,  roused  the  Parthians  to  invade 
Syria  and  Palestine,  the  Jews  eagerly  rose  in  support 
of  the  scion  of  the  Maccabean  house,  and  drove  out  the 
hated  Idumeans  with  their  puppet  J ewish  king.  The 
struggle  between  the  people  and  the  Romans  had  be¬ 
gun  in  earnest,  and  though  Antigonus,  when  placed  on 
the  throne  by  the  Parthians,  proceeded  to  spoil  and 
harry,  the  Jews,  rejoicing  at  the  restoration  of  the 
Hasmonean  line,  thought  a  new  era  of  independence 
had  come. 

The  infatuation  of  Mark  Antony  for  Cleopatra  en¬ 
abled  Antigonus  to  hold  his  kingdom  for  three  years 
(40-37  b.  c.  e.).  Then  Herod,  who  had  escaped  to 
Rome,  returned  to  Syria  to  conquer  the  kingdom  that 
Antony  had  bestowed  on  him.  He  brought  with  him 

1  Suetonius,  Caesar,  lxxxiv.  7. 


20 


JOSEPHUS 


the  Roman  legions,  and  for  two  years  a  fierce  struggle 
was  waged  between  the  Idumeans,  Romans,  and  Roma¬ 
nizing  Jews  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  national  Jews 
and  Parthian  mercenaries  of  Antigonus  on  the  other. 
The  struggle  culminated  in  a  siege  of  J erusalem.  As 
happened  in  all  the  contests  for  the  city,  the  power  of 
trained  force  in  the  end  prevailed  over  the  enthusiasm 
of  fervent  patriots.  Herod  stormed  the  walls,  put 
to  death  Antigonus  and  his  party,  and  established  a 
harsher  tyranny  than  even  the  Roman  conqueror  had 
imposed.  For  over  thirty  years  he  held  the  people 
down  with  the  aid  of  Rome  and  his  body-guard  of  mer¬ 
cenary  barbarians.  His  constitution  was  an  autocracy, 
supplemented  by  assassination.  In  the  civil  war  be¬ 
tween  Antony  and  Octavian,  he  was  first  on  the  losing 
side,  as  his  father  had  been  in  the  struggle  between 
Pompey  and  Caesar ;  but,  like  his  father,  he  knew  when 
to  go  over  to  the  victor.  The  master  of  the  Roman 
Empire,  henceforth  known  as  Augustus,  was  so  im¬ 
pressed  with  his  carriage  and  resolution  that  he  not 
only  confirmed  him  in  his  kingdom,  but  added  to  it  the 
territories  of  Chalcis  and  Perea  to  the  north  and  east 
of  the  Jordan.  Throughout  his  reign  Herod  contrived 
to  preserve  the  friendship  of  Rome  as  effectually  as  he 
contrived  to  arouse  the  hatred  of  his  Jewish  subjects. 
■"The  Imperial  Eagle  and  some  distinguished  Roman 
or  other,”  says  George  Adam  Smith,1  “  were  always 
fixed  in  Herod’s  heaven.”  He  ruled  with  a  strong  but 
merciless  hand.  He  insured  peace,  and  while  he  turned 


Jerusalem,  ii.  504. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


21 


his  own  home  into  a  slaughter-house,  he  glorified  the 
Jewish  dominion  outwardly  to  a  height  and  magnifi¬ 
cence  it  had  never  before  attained.  Yet  the  Jewish  dep¬ 
utation  that  went  to  plead  before  Augustus  on  his 
death  declared  that  “  Herod  had  put  such  abuses  on 
them  as  a  wild  beast  would  not  have  done,  and  no 
calamity  they  had  suffered  was  comparable  with  that 
which  he  had  brought  on  the  nation.”  1  Beneath  the 
fine  show  of  peace,  splendor,  and  expansion,  the  pas¬ 
sions  of  the  nation  were  being  aroused  to  the  breaking- 
point. 

Augustus  himself,  following  the  example  of  his  uncle 
Julius  Caesar,  yet  lacking  the  same  large  tolerance, 
held  towards  Judaism  an  ambiguous  attitude  of  im¬ 
partiality  rather  than  of  favor.  He  caused  sacrifices 
to  be  offered  for  himself  at  the  Temple  at  Jerusalem,’ 
but  he  praised  his  nephew  Gaius  for  having  refrained 
from  doing  likewise  during  his  Eastern  travels.3  He 
was  anxious  that  the  national  laws  and  customs  of 
each  nation  should  be  preserved,  and  he  issued  a  decree 
in  favor  of  the  Jews  of  Cyrene;  but  he  initiated  the 
worship  of  the  Emperors,  which  necessitated  a  con¬ 
flict  between  the  kingdom  of  God  and  the  kingdom  of 
Caesar,  and  in  the  end  destroyed  the  religious  liberty 
that  Julius  Caesar  had  given  to  the  Empire.  His  aim 
was  at  once  to  foster  the  veneration  of  the  Imperial 
power  and  establish  an  Imperial  worship  that  should 
replace  the  effete  paganism  of  his  subjects.  He  made 

1  Ant.  XVII.  xi.  2.  2  Philo,  De  Leg.  ii.  507. 

3  Suetonius,  Aug.  93. 


22 


JOSEPHUS 


no  attempt  to  force  this  worship  on  the  Jews,  but  its 
existence  fanned  the  prejudice  against  the  one  nation 
that  refused  to  participate.  And  the  Jews  could  not 
but  look  with  distrust  on  a  government  that  “  derived 
its  authority  from  the  deification  of  might,  whereof 
the  Emperor  was  the  incarnate  principle.” 1 

Marcus  Agrippa,  the  trusted  minister  of  Augustus, 
was  also  an  intimate  friend  of  Herod,  and  served  to 
link  the  two  courts.  But  on  the  death  of  Herod,  in 
4  c.  E.,  the  friendship  of  Borne  for  the  Idumean  royal 
house  was  modified.  Archelaus,  who  claimed  the 
whole  succession,  was  appointed  simply  as  ethnarch  of 
Judea,  while  Herod’s  two  other  sons,  Philip  and  Herod 
Antipas,  divided  the  rest  of  his  dominions.  The 
Zealots,  rid  of  the  powerful  tyrant  who  had  held  them 
down,  sought  again  to  throw  off  the  hated  yoke  of 
Idumea,  which,  not  without  reason,  they  identified 
with  the  yoke  of  Borne.  With  their  watchword,  “  Ho 
king  hut  God,”  they  attempted  to  make  Judea  inde¬ 
pendent,  and  a  fierce  struggle,  known  as  the  War  of 
Varus,  ensued.  Jerusalem  was  stormed  once  again 
by  Boman  legions  before  the  Zealots  were  subdued. 
Archelaus  was  deposed  by  his  masters  after  a  few 
years,  and  the  province  of  Judea  was  placed  under 
direct  Boman  administration.  The  Boman  procurator 
was  at  first  less  detested  than  the  Idumean  tyrant,  since 
he  interfered  less  with  the  legal  institutions,  such  as 
the  Sanhedrin  and  the  Bet  Din ;  but  his  presence  with 

1  Schechter,  Aspects  of  Rabbinic  Theology,  p.  108. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  HOMANS 


23 


the  legionaries  in  the  Holy  City  and  his  constant, 
though  often  involuntary,  affronts  to  the  religious  sen¬ 
timents  of  the  people  roused  the  hostility  of  the  nation¬ 
alist  party,  who  looked  forward  to  the  day  when  Israel 
should  “  tread  on  the  neck  of  the  Eagle.”  The  Phari¬ 
sees,  who  were  anxious  for  the  spiritual  rather  than 
the  political  independence  of  the  Jews,  counseled  sub¬ 
mission  to  Home,  and  were  willing  “  to  render  unto 
Caesar  the  things  that  are  Caesar’s,”  so  long  as  they 
were  not  compelled  to  give  up  the  Torah.  But  the 
Zealots  desired  political  as  well  as  religious  freedom, 
and  they  fomented  rebellion.  They  have  been  com¬ 
pared  by  Merivale  to  the  Montagnards  of  the  French 
Revolution,  driven  by  their  own  indomitable  passion 
to  assert  the  truths  that  possessed  them  with  a  ferocity 
that  no  possession  could  justify.  They  were  con¬ 
tinually  rousing  the  people  to  expel  the  foreign  rulers, 
and  in  the  northern  province  of  Galilee,  where  they 
found  shelter  amid  the  wild  tracts  of  heath  and  moun¬ 
tain,  they  maintained  a  constant  state  of  insurrection.1 

1  It  is  important  to  notice  that  much  of  our  knowledge 
of  the  Zealots  is  derived  from  Josephus,  who,  as  will  he 
seen,  set  himself  to  misrepresent  them,  and  repeated  the 
calumnies  of  hostile  Roman  writers  against  them.  The 
Talmud  contains  several  references  to  them,  describing 
them  as  Kannaim  (the  Hebrew  equivalent  of  Zealots), 
and  it  would  appear  that  they  were  in  their  outlook 
successors  of  the  former  Hasidim,  distinguished  as  much 
for  their  religious  rigidity  as  their  patriotic  fervor.  See 
Jewish  Encyclopedia,  s.  v.  Zealots. 


24  JOSEPHUS 

The  Romans,  on  their  side,  accustomed  to  the  ready 
submission  of  all  the  peoples  under  their  sway,  could 
not  understand  or  tolerate  the  Jews.  To  them  this 
people  with  its  dour  manners,  its  refusal  to  participate 
in  the  religious  ideas,  the  social  life,  and  the  pleasures 
of  its  neighbors,  its  eruptions  of  passion  and  violence 
on  account  of  abstract  ideas,  and  its  rigid  exclusion  of 
the  insignia  of  Roman  majesty  from  the  capital, 
seemed  the  enemies  of  the  human  race.  In  their  own 
religion  they  had  freely  found  a  place  for  Greek  and 
Egyptian  deities,  but  the  Jewish  faith,  in  its  uncom¬ 
promising  opposition  to  all  pagan  worship,  seemed,  in 
the  words  that  Anatole  France  has  put  into  the  mouth 
of  one  of  the  Roman  procurators,  to  he  rather  an 
a&ligion  than  a  religion,  an  institution  designed  rather 
to  sever  the  bond  that  united  peoples,  than  bind  them 
together.  Every  other  civilized  people  had  accepted 
their  dominion;  the  Jews  and  the  Parthians  alone 
stood  in  the  way  of  universal  peace.  The  near-Eastern 
question,  which,  then  as  now,  continually  threatened 
war  and  violence,  irritated  the  Romans  beyond  meas¬ 
ure,  and  they  came  to  feel  towards  J erusalem  as  their 
ancestors  had  felt  two  hundred  years  before  towards 
Carthage,  the  great  Semitic  power  of  the  West,  delenda 
est  Hierosolyma.  As  time  went  on  they  realized  that 
this  stubborn  nation  was  resolved  to  dispute  with  them 
for  the  mastery,  and  every  agitation  was  regarded  as 
an  outrage  on  the  Roman  power,  which  must  be  wiped 
out  in  blood.  It  was  the  inevitable  conflict,  not  only 
between  the  Imperial  and  the  national  principle,  but 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


25 


between  the  ideas  of  the  kingdom  of  righteousness  and 
the  ideas  of  the  kingdom  of  might. 

During  the  reign  of  Tiberius,  however,  the  Roman 
governors  were  held  in  check  to  some  extent  by  strong 
central  control  from  Rome,  and  their  extortion  was 
comparatively  moderate.  The  worst  of  them  was 
Pontius  Pilate,  and  the  odium  tlieologicum  has,  per¬ 
haps,  had  its  part  in  blackening  his  reputation. 
Nevertheless,  the  broad  religious  tolerance  initiated 
by  the  first  Caesar  was  being  continually  impaired. 
The  Jewish  public  worship  was  prohibited  in  Rome, 
and  the  Jews  were  expelled  from  the  city  in  19  o.  e.  ; 
while  at  Alexandria  an  anti- Jewish  persecution  was 
instigated  by  Sejanus,  the  upstart  freedman,  who  be¬ 
came  the  chief  minister  of  Tiberius.  In  Palestine, 
though  we  hear  of  no  definite  movement,  it  is  clear 
from  after-events  that  the  bitterness  of  feeling  between 
the  Hellenized  Syrians  and  the  Jewish  population  was 
steadily  fomented.  The  Romans  were  naturally  on 
the  side  of  the  Greek-speaking  people,  whom  they  un¬ 
derstood,  and  whose  religion  they  could  appreciate. 
The  situation  may  best  be  paralleled  by  the  condition 
of  Ireland  in  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries, 
when  England  supported  the  Protestant  population 
of  Ulster  against  the  hated  Roman  Catholics,  who 
formed  the  majority  of  the  people. 

It  had  been  the  aim  of  Tiberius  to  consolidate  the 
unwieldy  mass  of  the  Empire  by  the  gradual  absorp¬ 
tion  of  the  independent  kingdoms  inclosed  within  its 
limits.  In  pursuance  of  this  policy,  Judea,  Chalcis, 


26 


JOSEPHUS 


and  Abilene,  all  parts  of  Herod’s  kingdom,  had  been 
placed  under  Boman  governors.  But  when  Gaius  Ca¬ 
ligula  succeeded  Tiberius  in  3 J  c.  e.,  and  brought  to 
the  Imperial  throne  a  capricious  irresponsibility, 
he  reverted  to  the  older  policy  of  encouraging  client- 
princes,  and  doled  out  territories  to  his  Oriental 
favorites.  Prominent  among  them  was  Agrippa, 
a  grandson  of  Herod,  who  had  passed  his  youth 
in  the  company  of  the  Eoman  prince  in  Italy.  He 
received  as  the  reward  of  his  loyal  extravagance  not 
only  Judea  but  Galilee  and  Perea,  together  with 
the  title  of  king.  He  was  not,  however,  given  per¬ 
mission  to  repair  to  his  kingdom,  since  his  patron 
desired  his  attentions  at  Eome.  Later  he  was  de¬ 
tained  by  a  sterner  call.  Gaius,  who  had  passed 
from  folly  to  lunacy,  was  not  content  with  the  custom¬ 
ary  voluntary  worship  paid  to  the  Emperors,  but  im¬ 
agined  himself  the  supreme  deity,  and  demanded 
veneration  from  all  his  subjects.  He  ordered  his  image 
to  be  set  up  in  all  temples,  and,  irritated  by  the  petition 
•of  the  Jews  to  be  exempted  from  what  would  be  an 
offense  against  the  first  principle  of  their  religion,  he 
insisted  upon  their  immediate  submission.  In  Alex¬ 
andria  the  Greek  population  made  a  violent  attempt 
to  carry  out  the  Imperial  order ;  a  sharp  conflict  took 
place,  and  the  Jews  in  their  dire  need  sent  a  deputa¬ 
tion,  with  Philo  at  its  head,  to  supplicate  the  Emperor. 
In  the  East  the  governor  of  Syria,  Petronius,  was 
directed  to  march  on  Jerusalem  and  set  up  the  Impe¬ 
rial  statue  in  the  Holy  of  Holies,  whatever  it  might 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


27 


cost.  Petronius  understood,  and  it  seems  respected, 
the  faithfulness  of  the  Jews  to  their  creed,  and  he  hesi¬ 
tated  to  carry  out  the  command.  From  East  and  West 
the  J ews  gathered  to  resist  the  decree ;  the  multitude, 
says  Philo,  covered  Phoenicia  like  a  cloud.  Meantime 
King  Agrippa  at  Rome  interceded  with  the  Emperor 
for  his  people,  and  induced  him  to  relent  for  a  little. 
But  the  infatuation  again  came  over  Gaius ;  he  ordered 
Petronius  peremptorily  to  do  his  will,  and,  when  the 
legate  still  dallied,  sent  to  remove  him  from  his  office. 
But,  as  Philo  says,  God  heard  the  prayer  of  His  people : 
Gaius  was  assassinated  by  a  Roman  whom  he  had 
wantonly  insulted,  and  the  death-struggle  with  Rome, 
which  had  threatened  in  Judea,  was  postponed.  The 
year  of  trial,  however,  had  brought  home  to  the  whole 
of  the  Jewish  people  that  the  incessant  moral  conflict 
with  Rome  might  at  any  moment  be  resolved  into  a 
desperate  physical  struggle  for.  the  preservation  of 
their  religion.  And  the  warlike  party  gained  in 
strength. 

The  date  of  the  death  of  Gaius  (Shebat  22)  was 
appointed  as  a  day  of  memorial  in  the  Jewish  calendar; 
and  for  a  little  time  the  Jews  had  a  respite  from  tyr¬ 
anny.  Agrippa,  who,  after  the  murder  of  Gaius,  played 
a  large  part  in  securing  for  Claudius  the  succession 
to  the  Imperial  throne,  was  confirmed  in  the  grant  of 
his  kingdom,  and,  despite  his  antecedents  and  his  up¬ 
bringing,  proved  himself  a  model  national  king.  Per¬ 
haps  he  had  seen  through  the  rottenness  of  Rome, 
perhaps  the  trial  of  Gaius5  mad  escapades  had  deepened 


28 


JOSEPHUS 


his  nature,  and  led  him  to  honor  the  burning  faith  of 
the  Jews.  Whatever  the  reason,  while  remaining 
dutiful  to  Rome,  he  devoted  himself  to  the  care  of  his 
people,  to  the  maintenance  of  their  full  religious  and 
national  life,  and  to  the  strengthening  of  the  Holy  City 
against  the  struggle  he  foresaw.  To  the  Jews  of  the 
Diaspora,  moreover,  the  succession  of  Claudius  brought 
a  renewal  of  privileges.  An  edict  of  tolerance  was  pro¬ 
mulgated,  first  to  the  Alexandrians,  and  afterwards  to 
the  communities  in  all  parts  of  the  habitable  globe,  by 
which  liberty  of  conscience  and  internal  autonomy 
were  restored,  with  a  notable  caution  against  Jewish 
missionary  enterprise.  “We  think  it  fitting,”  runs 
the  decree,  “  to  permit  the  Jews  everywhere  under  our 
sway  to  observe  their  ancient  customs  without  hin¬ 
drance  ;  and  we  hereby  charge  them  to  use  our  gracious¬ 
ness  with  moderation  and  not  to  show  contempt  of  the 
religious  observances  of  other  people,  but  to  keep  their 
own  laws  quietly.”1  Nevertheless  the  tolerant  prin¬ 
ciple  on  which  Caesar  and  Augustus  had  sought  to 
found  the  Empire  was  surely  giving  way  to  a  more 
tyrannical  policy,  which  viewed  with  suspicion  all 
bodies  that  fostered  a  corporate  life  separate  from  that 
of  the  State,  whether  Jewish  synagogue,  Stoic  school, 
or  religious  college. 

The  conflict  between  Pome  and  Jerusalem  entered 
on  a  bitterer  stage  when  Agrippa  died  in  44  C.  e. 
Influenced  by  his  self-seeking  band  of  freedmen-coun- 
selors,  who  saw  in  office  in  Palestine  a  golden  oppor- 


1  Ant.  XIX.  v.  2. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


29 


tunity  for  spoliation,  Claudius  placed  the  vacant  king¬ 
dom  again  under  the  direct  administration  of  Roman 
procurators,  and  appointed  to  the  office  a  string  of  the 
basest  creatures  of  the  court,  who  revived  the  injus¬ 
tices  of  the  worst  days  of  the  Republic. 

From  48-52  c.  e.  Palestine  was  under  the  governor¬ 
ship  of  Yentidius  Cumanus,  who  seemed  deliberately 
to  egg  on  the  Jews  to  insurrection.  When  a  Roman  sol¬ 
dier  outraged  the  Jewish  conscience  by  indecent  con¬ 
duct  in  the  Temple  during  the  Passover,  Cumanus 
refused  all  redress,  called  on  the  soldiers  to  put  down 
the  clamoring  people,  and  slew  thousands  of  them  in 
the  holy  precincts.1  A  little  later,  when  an  Imperial 
officer  was  attacked  on  the  road  and  robbed,  Cumanus 
set  loose  the  legionaries  on  the  villages  around,  and 
ordered  a  general  pillage.  When  a  Galilean  Jew  was 
murdered  in  a  Samaritan  village,  and  the  Jewish 
Zealots,  failing  to  get  redress,  attacked  Samaria,  Cu¬ 
manus  fell  on  them  and  crucified  whomever  he  cap¬ 
tured.  Then,  indeed,  the  Roman  governor  of  Syria, 
not  so  reckless  as  his  subordinate,  or,  it  may  be,  cor¬ 
rupted  by  the  man  anxious  to  step  into  the  procurator’s 
place,  summoned  Cumanus  before  him,  and  sent  him  to 
Rome  to  stand  his  trial  for  maladministration. 

But  this  act  of  belated  justice  brought  the  J ews 
small  comfort;  Cumanus  was  succeeded  by  Felix,  an 
even  worse  creature.  He  was  the  brother  of  the  Em¬ 
peror’s  favorite  Narcissus,  “by  badness  raised  to  that 
proud  eminence,”  and  the  husband  of  the  Herodian 


1  Ant.  XX.  v.  3. 


30 


JOSEPHUS 


princess  Drusilla,  who  had  become  a  pagan  in  order 
to  marry  him.  Tacitus,  the  Roman  historian,  says 1 
that  “with  all  manner  of  cruelty  he  exercised  royal 
functions  in  the  spirit  of  a  slave.”  Under  his  rapacious 
tyranny  the  people  were  goaded  to  fury.  Bands  of 
assassins,  ^isaUi  (so  called  by  both  Romans  and  Jews 
because  of  the  short  dagger,  sica,  which  they  used), 
sprang  up  over  the  country.  How  they  struck  down 
Romans  and  Romanizers,  and  now  they  were  employed 
by  the  governor  himself  to  put  out  of  the  way  rich  J ew- 
ish  nobles  whose  possessions  he  coveted.  From  time  to 
time  there  were  more  serious  risings,  some  purely 
political,  others  led  by  a  pseudo-Messiah,  and  all  alike 
put  down  with  cruelty.  Roman  governors  were  habitu¬ 
ally  corrupt,  grasping,  and  cruel,  but  Mommsen  de¬ 
clares  that  those  of  Judea  in  the  reigns  of  Claudius  and 
Hero,  who  were  chosen  from  the  upstart  equestrians, 
exceeded  the  usual  measure  of  worthlessness  and  op¬ 
pressiveness.  The  J ews  believed  that  they  had  drunk 
to  the  dregs  the  cup  of  misery,  and  that  God  must 
send  them  a  Redeemer.  There  were  no  prophets  to 
preach  as  at  the  time  of  the  struggle  with  Babylon 
and  Assyria,  that  the  oppression  was  God’s  chastise¬ 
ment  for  their  sins.  And  it  was  inconceivable  to  them 
that  the  power  of  wickedness  should  be  allowed  to 
triumph  to  the  end. 

Steadily  the  party  that  clamored  for  war  gained  in 
strength,  and  the  apprehensions  of  the  Pharisees  who 
viewed  the  political  struggle  with  misgiving,  lest  it 

1Hist.  v.  9. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


31 


should  end  in  the  loss  of  the  national  center  and  the 
destruction  of  religious  independence,  were  overborne 
by  the  fury  of  the  masses.  The  oppression  by  Roman 
governors  and  Romanizing  high  priests  did  not  dimin¬ 
ish  when  Nero  succeeded  Claudius.  For  the  rest  of 
the  Empire  the  first  five  years  of  his  reign  (the  quin¬ 
quennium  Neronis)  were  a  period  of  peace  and  good 
government,  but  for  the  Jews  they  brought  little  or  no 
relief.  The  harsh  Roman  policy  toward  the  Jews  may 
have  been  specially  instigated  by  Seneca,  the  Stoic 
philosopher,  who  was  Nero’s  counselor  during  his 
saner  years,  and  who  entertained  a  strong  hatred  of 
Judaism.  But  we  need  not  look  for  such  special 
causes.  It  had  been  the  fixed  habit  of  Republican 
Rome  to  crush  out  the  national  spirit  of  a  subject 
people,  “  to  war  down  the  proud,”  as  her  greatest  poet 
euphemistically  expressed  it;  and  now  that  spirit  was 
adopted  by  the  Imperial  Caesars  in  dealing  with  the 
one  and  only  people  resolved  to  preserve  inviolate  its 
national  life  and  its  national  religion.  Nero  indeed 
recalled  Felix,  and  Festus,  who  was  appointed  in  his 
place,  made  an  attempt  to  mend  affairs,  but  he  died 
within  a  year,  and  was  succeeded  by  two  procurators 
that  were  worthy  followers  of  Felix.  The  first  of 
them  was  Albinus  (62-64),  of  whom  Josephus  says 
that  there  was  no  sort  of  wickedness  in  which  he  had 
not  a  hand.  The  same  authority  says  that  compared 
with  Gessius  Florus,  the  governor  under  whom  the 
Rebellion  burst  out,  he  was  “most  just.”  Florus 
owed  his  appointment  to  Poppaea,  the  profligate  wife 


32 


JOSEPHUS 


of  Hero,  and  his  conduct  bears  the  interpretation  that 
he  was  deliberately  anxious  to  fill  the  measure  of  perse¬ 
cution  to  the  brim  and  drive  the  nation  to  war. 

~^e  very  forms  of  privilege  which  had  been  left  to 
the  Jews  were  turned  to  their  hurt.  The  Herodian 
tetrarchs  of  Chalcis,  to  whom  the  Eomans  granted 
the  power  of  appointing  the  high  priests,  true  to  the 
tradition  of  their  house,  appointed  only  such  as  were 
confirmed  Romanizers,  and  the  most  unscrupulous  at 
that.  When  Felix  was  governor,  the  high  priest  was 
the  notorious  Ananias,  of  whom  the  Talmud  says, 
“  Woe  to  the  House  of  Ananias ;  woe  for  their  cursings, 
woe  for  their  serpent-like  hissings.” 1  Herod  Agrippa 
II,  the  son  of  Agrippa,  who  held  the  principate  from 
50-100  c.  E.,  and  was  the  faithful  creature  of  Rome 
throughout  the  period  of  his  people’s  stress,  proclaim¬ 
ing  himself  on  his  coins  “lover  of  Caesar  and  lover 
of  Rome,”  deposed  and  created  high  priests  with 
unparalleled  frequency  as  a  means  of  extorting  money 
and  rewarding  the  leading  informers.  There  were 
seven  holders  of  the  office  during  the  last  twenty  years 
of  Roman  rule,  and  “  he  who  carried  furthest  servility 
and  national  abnegation  received  the  prize.”  The 
high  priests  thus  formed  a  kind  of  anti-national  oli¬ 
garchy;  they  robbed  the  other  priests  of  their  dues, 
and  reduced  them  to  poverty,  and  were  the  willing  tools 
of  Roman  tyranny.  Together  with  the  Herodian 
princes,  who  indulged  every  lust  and  wicked  passion, 
they  undermined  the  strength  of  the  people  like  some 

1  Pesahim,  57a. 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  ROMANS 


33 


fatal  canker,  much  as  the  priests  and  nobles  had  done 
at  the  first  fall  of  J erusalem,  or,  again,  in  the  days  of 
the  Seleucid  Emperors.  Apart  from  governors,  tax- 
collectors,  and  high  priests,  the  Romans  had  an  in¬ 
strument  of  oppression  in  the  Greek-speaking  popula¬ 
tion  of  Palestine  and  Syria,  which  maintained  an  in¬ 
veterate  hostility  to  the  Jews.  The  immediate  cause 
of  the  great  Rebellion  actually  arose  out  of  a  feud  be¬ 
tween  the  Jewish  and  the  Gentile  inhabitants  of 
Caesarea.  The  Hellenistic  population  outnumbered  the 
♦  Jews  in  the  Herodian  foundations  of  Caesarea,  Sep- 
phoris,  Tiberias,  Paneas,  etc.,  as  well  as  in  the  old 
Greek  cities  of  Doris,  Scythopolis,  Gerasa,  Gadara,  and 
the  rest  of  the  Decapolis.  This  population  regarded 
religion  only  as  the  pretext  for  public  ceremonials  and 
entertainments;  it  was  scornful  of  the  Jewish  ab¬ 
stention  from  these  things,  and  was  aroused  to  the  bit¬ 
terest  hatred  by  the  social  aloofness  of  their  neighbors. 
Violent  riots  between  Jew  and  Gentile  were  constantly 
taking  place,  and  whether  they  were  the  aggressors  or 
merely  fighting  in  self-defense,  the  Jews  were  the 
scapegoats  for  the  breaking  of  the  peace.  Stung  by  con¬ 
stant  outrage  on  the  part  of  their  neighbors,  the  J ews 
turned  upon  them  at  Caesarea,  and  drove  them  out  of 
the  town.  Thereupon  Florus  called  them  to  reckoning, 
marched  on  Jerusalem,  and  plundered  the  Temple 
treasury.  This  event  happened  on  the  tenth  day  of 
Iyar  in  the  year  66  c.  e.  The  war-party  determined 
to  force  the  struggle  to  a  final  issue.  Hitherto  they 
had  only  been  able  to  arouse  a  section  to  venture 
3 


34 


JOSEPHUS 


desperate  sporadic  insurrection  against  the  might  of 
Pome.  How  they  carried  the  people  with  them  to 
engage  in  a  national  rebellion. 

Agrippa  II,  who  was  amusing  himself  at  Alexandria 
when  the  first  outbreak  occurred,  hurried  back  to 
Jerusalem,  and  sought  to  quiet  the  people  by  impress¬ 
ing  upon  them  the  invincible  power  of  Eome.  But  he 
failed,  and  the  Romanizing  priests’  party  failed,  and 
the  peaceful  leaders  of  the  Pharisees  failed,  to  shake 
their  determination.  Messianic  hopes  were  rife  among 
the  masses,  and  were  invested  with  a  materialistic  in¬ 
terpretation.  The  Zealots,  it  is  alleged  by  the  pagan 
as  well  as  the  Jewish  authorities  for  the  period,  be¬ 
lieved  that  the  destined  time  was  come  when  the  J ews 
should  rule  the  world.  The  people  looked  for  the 
realization  of  the  prophecy  of  Isaiah  (41:2),  “He 
shall  raise  up  the  righteous  one  from  the  East,  give  the 
nations  before  Israel,  and  make  him  rule  over  kings.” 

The  belief  in  the  approach  of  the  Messianic  king¬ 
dom  was  undoubtedly  one  of  the  mainsprings  of  the 
revolt.  There  had  been  a  series  of  popular  leaders 
claiming  to  be  Messiahs,  hut  in  the  final  struggle  it 
was  not  the  claim  of  any  individual,  hut  the  pas¬ 
sionate  faith  of  the  whole  people,  that  inspired  a 
belief  in  the  coming  of  a  perfect  deliverance.  Some 
events  appeared  to  favor  the  fulfilment  of  their  hopes 
of  temporal  sovereignty,  bred  though  they  were  of 
despair.  Eome  under  the  corrupting  influence  of 
Hero  seemed  to  be  passing  her  zenith;  national  move¬ 
ments  were  stirring  in  the  West,  in  Gaul  and  in  Ger- 


THE  JEWS  AND  THE  EOMANS 


35 


many ;  in  the  East  the  Parthians  were  again  threaten¬ 
ing  the  security  of  the  Roman  provinces.  The  Jewish 
cause,  on  the  other  hand,  seemed  to  be  gaining  ground 
everywhere.  Its  converts,  numerous  in  the  West, 
were  still  more  numerous  and  important  in  the  East. 
Among  those  recently  brought  over  to  the  true  faith 
as  full  proselytes  were  Helena,  the  queen  of  Adiabene, 
a  kingdom  situate  in  Mesopotamia,  and  her  son  Izates, 
who  built  themselves  splendid  palaces  at  Jerusalem. 
In  Babylon  the  Jews  had  made  themselves  almost  inde¬ 
pendent,  and  waged  open  war  on  the  Parthian  satraps. 
A  large  section  of  the  people  cherished  a  somewhat 
simple  theodicy.  How  could  God  allow  the  wicked 
and  dissolute  Romans  to  prosper  and  the  chosen  people 
to  be  oppressed  ?  The  Hellenistic  writers  of  Sibylline 
oracles  and  the  Hebrew  writers  of  Apocalypses,  imitat¬ 
ing  the  doom-songs  of  Isaiah  and  Ezekiel,  announced 
the  coming  overthrow  of  evil  and  the  triumph  of  good. 
Evil  had  reached  its  acme  in  Nero,  and  the  time  had 
come  when  God  would  break  the  “  fourth  horn  ”  of 
Daniel’s  vision  (ch.  8),  and  exalt  his  chosen  people. 

The  fight  for  national  independence  was  bound  to 
have  come,  for  nothing  could  have  prevented  the 
Romans  from  their  attempt  to  crush  the  spirit  of  the 
Jews,  and  nothing  could  have  held  back  the  Jews  from 
making  a  supreme  effort  to  obtain  their  freedom  from 
the  hated  yoke.  For  one  hundred  and  twenty  years 
Palestine  had  been  ground  beneath  the  iron  heel  of 
Roman  governors  and  Romanizing  tyrants.  The  con¬ 
ditions  of  the  foreign  rule  had  steadily  grown  more 


36 


JOSEPHUS 


intolerable.  At  first  tlie  oppression  was  mainly  fiscal ; 
then  it  had  sought  to  crush  all  political  liberty,  and 
finally  it  had  come  to  outrage  the  deepest  religious 
feeling  and  menace  the  Temple-worship.  As  Graetz 
says,  “  The  Jewish  people  was  like  a  captive,  who,  con¬ 
tinually  visited  by  his  jailer,  rattles  at  his  fetters  with 
the  strength  of  despair,  till  he  wrenches  them 
asunder.”  It  was  not  only  the  freedom  of  the  Jew, 
but  the  safety  of  Judaism  that  was  imperiled  by  the 
misrule  of  a  Claudius  and  a  Hero.  The  war  against 
the  Romans  was  then  not  merely  a  struggle  for 
national  liberty,  but,  equally  with  the  wars  of  the  Mac¬ 
cabees  against  the  Seleucids,  an  episode  in  the  more 
vital  conflict  between  Hebraism  and  paganism,  be¬ 
tween  material  force  and  the  ardent  passion  for  reli¬ 
gious  freedom. 


II 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS  TO  THE  FALL  OF 
JOTAPATA 

J osephus  was  essentially  an  apologist,  and  his  writ¬ 
ings  include  not  only  an  apology  for  his  people,  but  an 
apology  for  his  own  life.  In  contrast  with  the  greater 
Jewish  writers,  he  was  given  to  vaunting  his  own 
deeds.  We  have  therefore  abundant,  if  not  always 
reliable,  information  about  the  chief  events  of  his 
career.  It  must  always  be  borne  in  mind  that  he 
had  to  color  the  narrative  of  his  own  as  well  as  his 
people’s  history  to  suit  the  tastes  and  prejudices  of 
the  Eoman  conqueror.  He  was  born  in  37  c.  E.,  the 
first  year  of  the  reign  of  Gaius  Caesar,  the  lunatic 
Emperor,  who  nearly  provoked  the  Jews  to  the  final 
struggle.  Though  he  is  known  to  history  as  Josephus 
Flavius,  his  proper  name  was  Joseph  ben  Mattathias, 
Josephus  being  the  Latinized  form  of  the  Hebrew 
f]D1\  and  his  patronymic  being  exchanged,  when  he 
went  over  to  the  Piomans,  for  the  family  name  of 
his  patrons,  Flavius.  His  father  was  a  priest  of  the 
first  of  the  twenty-four  orders,  named  Jehoiarib, 
and  on  his  mother’s  side  he  was  connected  with  the 
royal  house  of  the  Hasmoneans.  His  genealogy,  which 
he  traces  back  to  the  time  of  the  Maccabean  princes,  is 


38 


JOSEPHUS 


a  little  vague,  and  we  may  suspect  that  he  was  not 
above  improving  it.  But  his  family  was  without 
doubt  among  the  priestly  aristocracy  of  Jerusalem, 
and  his  father,  he  says,  was  “  eminent  not  only  on 
account  of  his  nobility,  but  even  more  for  his  virtue.” 1 

He  was  brought  up  with  his  brother  Matthias  to  fit 
himself  for  the  priestly  office,  and  he  received  the  regu¬ 
lar  course  of  Jewish  education  in  the  Torah  and  the 
tradition.  He  says  in  the  Antiquities  that  “  only  those 
who  know  the  laws  and  can  interpret  the  practices  of 
our  ancestors,  are  called  educated  among  the  Jews ;  ” 
and  it  is  likely  that  he  attended  in  his  boyhood  one  of 
the  numerous  schools  that  existed  in  Jerusalem  at  the 
time.  According  to  the  Talmud  there  were  four  hun¬ 
dred  and  eighty  synagogues  each  with  a  Bet  Sefer  for 
teaching  the  written  law  and  a  Bet  Talmud  for  the 
study  of  the  oral  law.2  From  his  silence  we  may  infer 
that  he  did  not  study  Greek  at  this  period,  and  Ara¬ 
maic  was  his  natural  tongue.  He  was  never  able  to 
speak  Greek  fluently  or  with  sufficient  exactness,  be¬ 
cause,  as  he  says  in  the  Antiquities ,  “  Our  own  nation 
does  not  encourage  those  who  learn  the  language  of 
many  peoples,  and  so  color  their  discourses  with  the 
smoothness  of  their  periods:  for  they  look  upon  this 
sort  of  accomplishment  as  common,  not  only  to  free¬ 
men,  but  to  any  slave  that  pleases  to  learn  it.” 2 
When,  in  his  middle  age,  he  set  himself  to  write  the 
history  of  his  people  in  Greek,  he  was  compelled  to  get 


1  Vita,  2. 


*Yer.  Meg.  iii.  1. 


*  Ant.  XX.  xt.  2. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


39 


the  help  of  friends  to  correct  his  composition  and 
syntax. 

As  to  his  Hebrew  accomplishments,  he  tells  us,  with 
his  native  immodesty,  that  he  acquired  marvelous  pro¬ 
ficiency  in  learning,  and  was  famous  for  his  great 
memory  and  understanding.  When  he  was  fourteen 
years  of  age,  he  continues,  such  was  his  fame  that  the 
high  priests  and  principal  men  of  the  city  frequently 
came  to  consult  him  about  difficult  points  of  the  law. 
His  mature  works  do  not  show  any  profound  knowl¬ 
edge  either  of  the  Halakah  or  of  the  Haggadah,  so 
that  the  statement  is  not  to  he  taken  strictly.  It  is 
probably  nothing  more  than  a  grandiloquent  way  of 
saying  that  he  was  a  precocious  child,  who  impressed 
his  elders.  Paul,  too,  claimed  that  he  was  “  a  Phari¬ 
see  of  the  Pharisees,  and  zealous  beyond  those  of  his 
own  age  in  the  Jews’  religion,”  and  yet  he  can  hardly 
be  regarded  as  an  authority  on  the  tradition.  The 
autobiography  of  Josephus,  it  is  pertinent  to  re¬ 
member,  was  designed  to  impress  the  Romans  with  the 
greatness  of  the  writer,  and  its  readers  were  not 
equipped  with  the  means  of  criticising  his  Jewish 
accomplishments.  With  the  same  object  of  impress¬ 
ing  the  Romans,  Josephus  recounts  that,  when  about 
the  age  of  sixteen,  he  had  a  mind  to  imbue  himself 
with  the  tenets  of  the  three  Jewish  parties,  the  Sad- 
ducees,  the  Pharisees,  and  the  Essenes. 

Elsewhere  he  describes  the  teaching  of  these  sects  for 
the  benefit  of  his  Roman  readers  according  to  a  tech¬ 
nical  classification  borrowed  from  his  environment. 


40  JOSEPHUS 

A 

i.  e.  he  represents  them  as  three  philosophical  schools 
of  the  Greek  type,  each  holding  different  views  about 
fate  and  Providence  and  the  nature  of  the  soul  and  its 
immortality.  But  just  as  this  is  demonstrably  a  mis¬ 
leading  coloring  of  the  difference  between  the  sections 
of  the  Jewish  people,  so  is  his  attempt  to  represent  that 
he  attended,  as  a  cultured  Greek  or  Roman  of  the  time 
would  have  done,  three  philosophical  colleges.  He  was 
compelled  by  the  needs  of  his  audience  to  present 
Jewish  life  in  the  form  of  Greco-Roman  institutions, 
however  ill  it  fits  the  mould,  and  his  remarks  about 
sects  and  schools  must  always  be  taken  with  caution. 
It  is  as  though  a  modern  writer  should  describe  Juda¬ 
ism  as  a  Church,  and  express  its  ideas  and  observances 
in  the  language  of  Christian  theology. 

There  is,  however,  no  reason  to  doubt  that  Josephus 
made  himself  acquainted  with  the  tenets  of  the  chief 
teachers  of  the  time,  and  he  may  conceivably  have  sat 
at  the  feet  of  Rabbi  Gamaliel,  then  the  chief  sage  at 
Jerusalem.  But,  anxious  to  exhibit  his  catholicity, 
after  professing  himself  a  Pharisee,  he  says  that,  not 
content  with  these  studies,  he  became  for  three  years  a 
faithful  disciple  of  one  Banus,  who  lived  in  the  desert, 
and  used  no  other  clothing  than  grew  upon  trees,  ate 
no  other  food  than  that  which  grew  wild,  and  bathed 
frequently  in  cold  water  both  night  and  day.1  The 
extreme  hermit  form  of  the  religious  life  was  more 
fashionable  in  the  first  century  of  the  Christian  era 
among  Gentiles  than  among  Jews,  and  it  is  not  un- 


1  Vita,  2. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


41 


likely  that  Josephus  is  embroidering  his  idea  of  life 
in  an  Essene  community,  rather  than  setting  down  his 
actual  experience.  An  Essene  he  never  became,  but  he 
remained  throughout  his  life  very  partial  to  certain 
forms  of  the  Essene  belief,  more  especially  those  which 
coincided  with  the  Greco-Koman  superstitions  of  the 
time,  such  as  the  literal  prediction  of  future  events, 
the  meaning  of  dreams,  the  significance  of  omens.1 
These  ideas,  handed  down  from  primitive  Israel,  had 
lived  on  among  the  masses  of  the  people,  though  dis¬ 
carded  by  the  learned  teachers,  and  Josephus,  finding 
them  in  vogue  among  his  masters,  readily  professed 
acceptance  of  them. 

Abandoning  apparently  the  idea  of  being  a  hermit, 
Josephus  at  the  age  of  nineteen  returned  to  Jerusa¬ 
lem,  and  began  to  conduct  himself  according  to  the 
rules  of  the  Pharisee  sect,  which  is  akin,  he  says,  to 
the  school  of  the  Stoics.  The  comparison  of  the 
Pharisees  with  the  Stoics  is  again  misleading,  and 
based  on  nothing  more  than  the  formal  likeness  of 
their  doctrines  about  Providence.  The  Pharisees  were 
essentially  the  party  that  upheld  the  whole  tradition 
and  the  separateness  of  Israel.  They  numbered  in 
their  ranks  the  most  popular  teachers,  and  politically, 
though  opposed  to  Pome  and  all  its  ways,  they  coun¬ 
seled  submission  so  long  as  religious  liberty  was  not 
infringed.  It  may  be  that  Josephus  only  professed 
his  attachment  to  them  after  his  surrender,  because, 

1Comp.  B.  J.  II.  viii.  12;  III.  viii.  3;  VI.  v.  4. 


42 


JOSEPHUS 


as  pacifists  and  believers  in  moral  as  against  physical 
force,  they  were  favorably  regarded  by  the  Eomans; 
but  even  if  as  a  young  and  ambitious  priest  he  attached 
himself  to  their  body  early  in  life  in  order  to  gain 
influence  among  the  people,  he  was  not  a  representa¬ 
tive  Pharisee.  He  obtained  a  certain  acquaintance 
with  the  teaching  of  the  Pharisees,  and  partly  shared 
their  political  views,  though  not  from  the  same  motives 
as  their  true  leaders.  Yet  the  very  next  step  in  his  life 
that  he  chronicles  marks  his  outlook  as  fundamentally 
different. 

At  the  age  of  twenty-six,  after  seven  years  in  Jeru¬ 
salem,  during  which  he  exercised  his  priestly  func¬ 
tions,  he  journeyed  to  Pome.  The  cause  of  his  voyage, 
on  which  he  was  picturesquely  wrecked  and  had  to 
swim  for  his  life  through  the  night,  was  the  deliver¬ 
ance  from  prison  of  certain  priests  closely  related  to 
him,  who  had  been  sent  there  as  prisoners  by  Felix, 
the  tyrannical  Eoman  governor.  At  Eome,  through  his 
acquaintance  with  Aliturius,  an  actor  of  plays,  a  fa¬ 
vorite  of  Nero,  and  by  birth  a  Jew,  he  came  into  touch 
with  the  profligate  court.  To  the  genuine  Pharisee  a 
Jewish  play-actor  would  have  been  an  abomination. 
Josephus  used  his  acquaintance  to  obtain  an  intro¬ 
duction  to  Poppaea  Sabina,  the  Emperor’s  wife  for  the 
time.  Though  a  by-word  for  shamelessness  of  life, 
she  was  herself  one  of  “the  fearers  of  the  Lord” 
(vef36iJLevo i),  who  professed  adherence  to  the  Jewish 
creed  without  accepting  the  Jewish  law.  Josephus 
won  her  favor,  and  through  it  procured  the  liberation 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


43 


of  the  priests.  The  Imperial  city  was  then  at  the 
height  of  its  material  magnificence,  and  must  have 
made  an  immense  impression  of  power  upon  the  young 
J  ewish  aristocrat.  Having  acquired  a  lasting  admira¬ 
tion  for  Rome  and  a  desire  to  enter  her  society  and  a 
conviction  of  her  invincibility,  he  returned  to  Pales¬ 
tine  in  triumph — and  with  the  spirit  of  an  opportu¬ 
nist.  This  at  least  is  the  picture  he  draws  of  himself, 
but  a  more  kindly  interpretation  might  see  in  the 
moment  of  his  return  the  indication  of  a  genuine 
patriotic  feeling. 

When  he  arrived  in  Jerusalem,  in  the  year  65  c.  E., 
he  found  his  country  seething  with  rebellion.  The 
crisis  soon  came  to  a  head.  Gessius  Florus,  who  owed 
his  governorship,  as  Josephus  owed  the  success  of 
his  errand,  to  the  favor  of  the  “  God-fearing  ”  Pop- 
paea,  roused  the  people  to  fury  by  his  pillage  of  the 
Temple,  and  the  moderates  could  no  lpnger  hold  the 
masses  in  check.  The  Zealots  seized  the  fortress  of 
Antonia,  which  overlooked  the  Temple,  and,  having 
become  masters  of  the  city,  murdered  the  high  priest 
Ananias.  Eleazar,  whom  Josephus,  perhaps  confus¬ 
edly,  describes  as  his  son,  an  intense  nationalist  among 
the  priests,  became  the  leader  in  counsel,  and  sealed, 
the  rebellion  by  persuading  the  people  to  discontinue 
the  daily  sacrifice  offered  in  the  name  of  the  Roman 
Emperor. 

At  the  same  time  the  extermination  of  the  Jews  in 
the  Hellenistic  cities,  Caesarea,  Scythopolis,  and 
Damascus,  by  the  infuriated  Syrians,  who  organized 


44 


JOSEPHUS 


a  kind  of  Palestinian  Vespers,  convinced  the  people 
that  they  were  engaged  in  a  war  to  the  death.  The 
Herodian  party,  as  the  royal  house  and  its  supporters 
were  called,  endeavored  to  preserve  peace,  by  dwelling 
on  the  overpowering  might  of  Pome  and  the  inevitable 
end  of  the  insurrection,  but  in  vain.  In  fear  the 
priests  withdrew  to  their  duties  in  the  Temple,  and 
did  not  venture  out  till  the  Zealots  were  for  a  time 
dislodged.  The  Roman  legate  of  Syria,  Cestius  Gallus, 
after  the  defeat  of  the  Romanizing  party  by  the 
Zealots,  himself  marched  on  Jerusalem  in  the  autumn 
of  66  c.  E.  with  two  legions.  But  he  failed  ignomini- 
ously  to  quell  the  revolt.  The  Roman  garrison  in  the 
city  was  put  to  the  sword,  and  the  legate,  while  beating 
a  hasty  retreat,  was  routed  in  the  defiles  of  Beth- 
Horon,  where  two  centuries  before  the  Syrian  hosts 
had  been  decimated  by  Judas  the  Maccabee.  The  two 
legions  were  cut  to  pieces.  The  fierce  valor  of  the  un¬ 
trained  national  levies  had  broken  the  serried  cohorts 
of  the  Roman  veterans,  and  in  the  unexpectedness  of 
this  deliverance  the  party  of  rebellion  for  a  time  was 
triumphant  among  all  sections  of  the  Jewish  people. 

Even  those  who  had  been  the  most  determined 
Romanizers,  such  as  the  high-priestly  circle,  were  in¬ 
duced,  either  by  a  belief  in  the  chances  of  success  or 
from  a  desire  to  protect  themselves  by  a  seeming  adher¬ 
ence  to  the  national  cause,  to  throw  in  their  lot  with 
the  war  party.  It  might  have  been  better  for  their 
people,  had  they,  like  Agrippa,  joined  the  Romans. 
Half-hearted  at  best  in  their  support  of  the  struggle. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


45 


yet  by  their  wealth  and  position  able  at  first  to  obtain 
a  commanding  part  in  the  conduct  of  the  war,  they 
used  it  to  temporize  with  the  foe  and  to  dull  the  edge 
of  the  popular  feeling.  Josephus  unfortunately  does 
not  enlighten  us  as  to  the  inner  movements  in  Judea 
at  this  crisis.  He  merely  relates  that  the  Sanhedrin 
became  a -council  of  war,  and  Palestine  was  divided 
into  seven  military  districts,  over  most  of  which  com¬ 
manders  of  the  Herodian  faction  were  placed.  Joseph 
the  son  of  Gorion  and  Ananias  the  high  priest,  both 
members  of  the  moderate  party,  were  chosen  as  gover¬ 
nors  of  Jerusalem,  with  a  particular  charge  to  repair 
the  walls,  and  the  Zealot  leader  Eleazar  the  son  of 
Simon  was  passed  over. 

Josephus  himself,  though  he  possessed  no  military 
experience,  and  had  apparently  taken  no  part  in  the 
opening  campaign,  was  made  governor  of  Lower  and 
Upper  Galilee,  the  most  important  military  post  of  all ; 
for  Galilee  was  the  bulwark  of  Judea,  and  if  the 
Eomans  could  be  successfully  resisted  there,  the  rebel¬ 
lion  might  hope  for  victory.  It  lay  in  a  strategic  posi¬ 
tion  between  the  Eoman  outposts,  Ptolemais  (the 
modern  Acre)  on  the  coast  and  Agrippa’s  kingdom  in 
the  east.  It  was  a  country  made  for  defense,  a  country 
of  rugged  mountains  and  natural  fastnesses,  and  in¬ 
habited  by  a  hardy  and  warlike  population,  which,  for 
half  a  century,  had  been  in  constant  insurrection. 
Thence  had  come  the  founders  of  the  Zealots  and  the 
still  more  violent  band  of  the  Sicarii,  and  each  town  in 
the  region  had  its  popular  leader.  Josephus  was  ex- 


46 


JOSEPHUS 


pected  to  hold  it  with  its  own  resources,  for  little  help 
could  be  spared  from  the  center  of  Palestine.  Guerrilla 
fighting  was  the  natural  resource  of  an  insurgent  peo¬ 
ple,  which  had  to  win  its  freedom  against  well-trained 
and  veteran  armies.  It  had  been  the  method  of  Judas 
Maccabaeus  against  Antiochus  amid  the  hills  of  Ju¬ 
dea.  Josephus,  however,  made  no  attempt  to  practise 
it,  and  showed  no  vestige  of  appreciation  of  the  needs 
of  the  case. 

It  is  difficult  to  gather  the  reason  of  his  appoint¬ 
ment,  unless  it  be  that  in  his  writings  he  deliberately 
kept  back  from  the  Romans  the  more  enthusiastic  part 
he  had  played  at  the  outset  of  the  struggle.  So  far  as 
his  own  account  goes,  neither  devotion  to  the  national 
cause,  nor  experience,  nor  prestige,  nor  power  of  lead¬ 
ership,  nor  knowledge  of  the  country  recommended 
him.  His  distinguished  birth  and  his  friendship  for 
Rome  were  hardly  sufficient  qualifications  for  the  post. 
The  influence  of  his  friend,  the  ex-high  priest  Joshua 
hen  Gamala,  may  have  prevailed,  and  one  is  fain  to 
surmise  that  those  who  sent  him,  as  well  as  he  himself, 
were  anxious  to  pretend  resistance  to  Rome,  but  really 
to  work  for  resistance  to  the  rebellion. 

At  all  events,  at  the  end  of  the  autumn  of  67,  Jose¬ 
phus  repaired  to  his  command,  taking  with  him  two 
priests,  Joazar  and  Judas,  as  representatives  of  the 
Sanhedrin  at  Jerusalem.  In  the  record  which  he  gives 
of  his  exploits  in  the  Wars,  he  says  that  his  first  care 
was  to  gain  the  good-will  of  the  people,  drill  his  troops, 
and  prepare  the  country  to  meet  the  threatened  in- 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


47 


vasion.  In  the  Life,  which  he  wrote  some  twenty  years 
later,  when  he  had  perforce  to  cultivate  a  more  com¬ 
plete  servility  of  mind,  and  was  anxious  to  convince 
the  Eomans  that  he  was  a  double-dealino;  traitor  to  his 
country,  he  represents  that  he  set  himself  from  the 
beginning  to  betray  the  province.  The  record  of  his 
actions  points  to  the  conclusion  that  he  fell  between 
the  stools  of  covert  treachery  and  half-hearted  loyalty, 
that  he  was  neither  as  villainous  in  design  nor  as  heroic 
in  action  as  he  makes  himself  out  to  be.  He  made 
some  show  of  preparation  at  the  beginning,  but  from 
the  moment  the  Eoman  army  arrived  under  Vespasian, 
and  he  realized  that  Eome  was  in  earnest,  he  aban¬ 
doned  all  hope  of  success,  and  set  himself  to  make  his 
own  position  secure  with  the  conqueror. 

The  chief  cities  of  Galilee  were  Sepphoris,  situated 
on  the  lower  spurs  of  the  hills  near  the  plain  of  Es- 
draelon,  which  divides  the  country  from  Samaria  and 
Judea;  Tiberias,  a  city  founded  by  Herod  Antipas  on 
the  western  borders  of  the  Lake  of  Gennesareth,  and 
Tarichea,  also  an  ITerodian  foundation,  situate  prob¬ 
ably  at  the  southeast  corner  of  the  lake.  All  these 
Josephus  fortified;  and  he  strengthened  with  walls 
other  smaller  towns  and  natural  fortresses,  such  as 
J otapata,  Salamis,  and  Gamala.1  He  says  also  that  he 

1 B.  J.  II.  xx.  6.  His  account  of  his  actions  in  Galilee  is, 
however,  from  beginning  to  end,  open  to  question;  and 
the  contemporary  account  of  Justus  has  unfortunately 
disappeared  entirely.  It  is  likely  that  his  rival’s  nar¬ 
rative  would  have  shown  him  in  a  better  light  than  his 


own. 


48 


JOSEPHUS 


appointed  a  Sanhedrin  of  seventy  members  for  the 
province,  and  in  each  town  established  a  court  of  seven 
judges,  as  though  he  were  come  to  exercise  a  civil  gov¬ 
ernment.  He  did,  however,  get  together  an  army  of 
more  than  a  hundred  thousand  young  men,  and  armed 
them  with  the  old  weapons  which  he  had  collected. 
Though  he  despaired  of  their  standing  up  against  the 
Romans,  he  ordered  them  in  the  Roman  style,  appoint¬ 
ing  a  large  number  of  subordinate  officers  and  teaching 
them  the  use  of  signals  and  a  few  elementary  military 
movements.  His  army  ultimately  consisted  of  60,000 
footmen,  4,500  mercenaries,  in  whom  he  put  greatest 
trust,  and  600  picked  men  as  his  body-guard.  He  had 
little  cavalry,  but  as  Galilee  was  a  country  of  hills,  this 
deficiency  need  not  have  proved  fatal,  had  he  been  a 
strategist  or  even  a  loyalist.  During  the  eight  months’ 
respite  that  he  enjoyed  before  the  appearance  of  the 
Roman  army,  he  spent  most  of  his  time  in  civil  feud, 
and  succeeded  in  dividing  the  population  into  two 
hostile  parties.  He  boasts  that,  though  he  took  up  his 
command  at  an  age  when,  if  a  man  has  happily  es¬ 
caped  sin,  he  can  scarcely  guard  himself  against 
slander,  he  was  perfectly  honest,  and  refrained  from 
stealing  and  peculation 1 ;  but  he  is  at  pains  to  prove 
that  he  threw  every  obstacle  in  the  way  of  the  patriotic 
party,  and  did  all  that  an  open  enemy  of  the  Jews 
could  have  done  to  undermine  the  defense  of  the 
province. 


1  Vita,  15. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


49 


Before  his  arrival  in  the  north,  the  leader  of  the 
national  party  was  John  the  son  of  Levi,  a  man  of 
Gischala,  which  was  one  of  the  mountain  fastnesses  in 
Northern  Galilee,  now  known  as  Jish,  near  the  town  of 
Safed.1  Josephus  heaps  every  variety  of  violent  abuse 
upon  him  in  order,  no  doubt,  to  please  his  patrons. 
When  he  introduces  him  on  the  scene,  he  describes 
him  as  “  a  very  knavish  and  cunning  rogue,  out- ' 
doing  all  other  rogues,  and  without  his  fellow  for 
wicked  practices.  He  was  a  ready  liar,  and  yet  very 
sharp  in  gaining  credit  for  his  fictions.  He  thought  it 
a  point  of  virtue  to  deceive,  and  would  delude  even 
those  nearest  to  him.  He  had  an  aptitude  for  thiev¬ 
ing/’  and  so  forth.  Whenever  the  historian  mentions 
the  name  of  his  rival,  he  rattles  his  box  of  abusive 
epithets  until  the  reader  is  wearied  by  the  image  of  the 
monster  conjured  up  before  him.  But,  unfortunately 
for  his  credit,  Josephus  also  records  John’s  deeds,  and 
these  reveal  him  as  one  who,  if  at  times  cruel  and  in¬ 
triguing,  yet  lived  and  died  for  his  country,  while  his 
enemy  was  thinking  of  saving  himself. 

It  is  not  surprising  then  that  John,  having  eyes  only 
for  the  defense  of  the  land,  was  not  blind  to  the  double¬ 
dealing  of  the  priestly  governor,  who  had  been  sent  by 
the  Bomanizing  party  to  organize  resistance.  The  first 
event  that  brought  about  a  collision  between  them  was 
the  suspicious  conduct  of  Josephus  in  the  matter  of 

1  The  Hebrew  name  of  the  fortress  was  !2hJ>  mean¬ 
ing  “clot  of  cream”;  the  place  was  so  called  because  of 
the  fertility  of  the  soil  on  which  it  stands. 

4 


50 


JOSEPHUS 


some  spoil  seized  from  the  steward  of  King  Agrippa 
and  brought  to  Tarichea.  Agrippa  had  entirely 
turned  his  back  on  the  national  rising,  and  was  the 
faithful  ally  of  the  Eomans.  He  was  therefore  an  open 
enemy,  and  Tiberias,  which  had  been  under  his  domin¬ 
ion,  had  revolted  from  him.  Josephus  upbraided  the 
captors  for  the  violence  they  had  offered  to  the  king, 
and  declared  his  intention  to  return  the  spoil  to  the 
owner.  A  little  later  he  prevented  John  from  destroy¬ 
ing  the  corn  in  the  province  stored  by  the  Eomans  for 
themselves.  The  people  were  naturally  indignant  at 
this  conduct,  and  led  by  John  and  another  Zealot, 
Jesus  the  son  of  Sapphias,  the  governor  of  Tiberias, 
and  by  Justus  of  the  same  city,  who  was  afterwards  to 
be  a  rival  historian,  they  rose  against  Josephus.  With 
stratagems  worthy  of  a  better  cause  he  evaded  this  on¬ 
slaught. 

More  briefly  in  the  Wars,  and  in  the  Life  at  weari¬ 
some  length,  Josephus  tells  a  tale  of  intrigue  and 
counter-intrigue,  mutual  attempts  at  assassination, 
wiles  and  stratagems  to  undermine  the  power  of  each 
other,  which  took  place  between  him  and  John.  The 
city  of  Tarichea  was  his  stronghold,  Tiberias  the  hot¬ 
bed  of  the  movement  against  him.  The  part  he  pro¬ 
fesses  to  have  played  is  so  extraordinary  in  its  mean¬ 
ness  that  we  are  fain  to  believe  that  it  is  largely  fiction, 
composed  to  show  that  he  was  only  driven  in  the  end 
by  danger  of  his  life  to  fight  against  the  sacred  power 
of  Eome.  Hpwever  that  may  be,  John  reported  his 
doings  to  the  Sanhedrin  at  Jerusalem,  and  that  body. 


51 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 

r  o  r  ^ 

*  «•  •  « 

which  was  now,  it  seems,  in  the  control  of  the  Phari¬ 
sees  and  Zealots,  sent  a  deputation  to  recall  him. 
Simon,  the  celebrated  head  of  the  Sanhedrin  and  leader  ! 
of  the  national  party,  had  pressed  for  the  dismissal  of 
J osephus.1  Ananias,  the  ex-high  priest  and  Sadducee, 
had  at  first  been  his  champion,  but  he  had  been  over¬ 
borne.  The  deputation  consisted  of  two  Pharisees, 
Jonathan  and  Ananias,  and  two  priests,  Joazar  and 
Simon.  Warned  by  his  friends  in  Jerusalem  of  their 
coming,  Josephus  had  all  the  passes  watched,  seized 
the  embassy,  and  recaptured  the  four  cities  that  had 
revolted  from  him :  Sepphoris,  Gamala,  Gischala,  and 
Tiberias.  According  to  the  account  in  the  Wars,  the 
cities  revolted  again,  and  were  recaptured  by  similar 
stratagems;  and  when  the  disturbances  in  Galilee 
were  quieted  in  this  way,  the  people,  ceasing  to  prose¬ 
cute  their  civil  dissensions,  betook  themselves  to  make 
preparations  for  the  war  against  the  Eomans.  The 
invasion  had  begun  in  earnest,  and  J  osephus,  fortified, 
as  he  said,  by  a  dream,  which  told  him  not  to  be 
afraid,  because  he  was  to  fight  with  the  Eomans,  and 
would  live  happily  thereafter,  decided  for  the  time  not 
to  abandon  his  post. 

Josephus  had  displayed  his  administrative  talents 
in  these  eight  months  of  peaceful  government  by  losing 
all  that  had  been  gained  in  the  four  months  of  the  suc- 

1  It  is  notable  that  this  is  the  only  reference  in  the  work 
of  Josephus  to  the  great  Rabbi;  the  name  of  his  successor 
in  the  headship  of  the  Sanhedrin,  Johanan  ben  Zakkai, 
does  not  occur  even  once. 


52 


JOSEPHUS 


cessfui  'rebellion  at  Jerusalem.  He  now  had  an  oppor¬ 
tunity  of  displaying  his  military  abilities.  In  the 
♦during  of  67  c.  e.,  Flavius  Vespasian,  the  veteran  com- 
’mander  of  the  legions  in  Germany  and  Britain,  who, 
on  the  defeat  of  Cestius  Gallus,  had  been  chosen  by 
Nero  to  conduct  the  Jewish  campaign,  brought  his 
army  of  four  legions  from  Antioch  to  Ptolemais.  He 
was  met  there  by  King  Agrippa,  who  brought  a  large 
force  of  auxiliaries,  and  by  a  deputation  of  citizens 
from  Sepphoris,  the  chief  city  of  Galilee,  who  tendered 
their  submission  and  invited  him  to  send  a  garrison. 
Josephus,  though  he  knew  of  the  city’s  Komanizing 
leanings,  had  negligently  or  deliberately  failed  to 
occupy  it,  so  that  the  place  was  lost  without  a  blow. 
He  made  a  feeble  effort  to  recapture  it,  for  appearance 
sake  it  would  seem,  and  then,  though  he  had  an  un¬ 
limited  choice  of  favorable  positions,  and  the  Eoman 
forces  were  not  very  large  at  the  time,  he  abandoned 
the  attempt  of  meeting  the  enemy  in  the  field.  Titus 
arrived  from  Alexandria,  with  two  more  legions,  the 
fifth  and  the  tenth,  and  then  the  Eoman  army,  num¬ 
bering  with  auxiliaries  60,000  men,  set  out  from  Ptole¬ 
mais,  and  proceeded  to  occupy  Galilee. 

The  J ewish  forces  were  encamped  on  the  hills  above 
Sepphoris.  Josephus  describes  the  wonderful  array 
and  order  of  the  Eoman  army  on  the  march.  The 
sight  seems  to  have  led  a  large  part  of  his  army  to  run 
away.  He  himself,  when  he  saw  that  he  had  not  an 
army  sufficient  to  engage  the  enemy,  despaired  of  the 
success  of  the  war,  and  determined  to  place  himself  as 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


53 


far  as  he  could  out  of  danger.  In  this  inspiring  mood 
he  abandoned  the  rest  of  the  country,  sent  a  dispatch  to 
Jerusalem  demanding  help,  and  threw  himself  into 
the  fortress  of  Jotapata,  situated  on  the  crest  of  a 
mountain  in  Northern  Galilee,  which  he  chose  as  the 
most  fit  for  his  security.  Vespasian,  hearing  of  this 
step,  and,  as  Josephus  modestly  suggests,  “supposing 
that,  could  he  only  get  Josephus  into  his  power,  he 
would  have  conquered  all  Judea,”  straightway  laid 
siege  to  the  town  (Iyar  16).  For  forty-two  days  the 
place  was  besieged,  and  during  that  period  every  re¬ 
source  that  heroic  resistance  could  suggest,  according 
to  the  narrative  of  its  commandant,  was  exhausted. 
The  height  of  the  wall  was  raised  to  meet  the  Eoman 
embankments,  provisions  were  brought  in  by  soldiers 
disguised  in  sheep-skins,  the  Eoman  works  were  de¬ 
stroyed  by  fire,  boiling  oil  was  poured  on  the  assailants, 
and  finally  the  city  was  not  stormed  till  the  garrison 
was  worn  out  with  famine  and  fatigue.  But,  as  has 
been  pointed  out,  the  details  recorded  are  “  the  com¬ 
monplaces  of  poliorcetics,”  and  may  have  been  bor¬ 
rowed  by  Josephus  from  some  military  text-book  and 
neatly  applied.  Jotapata  fell  on  the  first  day  of  Tam- 
muz,  and  whatever  the  heroism  of  his  army,  the  general 
did  not  shine  in  the  last  days  of  his  command  or  in  the 
manner  of  his  surrender.  Suspected  by  his  men  and 
threatened  by  them  with  death,  he  was  unable  to  give 
himself  up  openly.  He  took  refuge  with  some  of  his 
comrades  in  a  deep  pit,  where  they  were  discovered 
by  an  old  woman,  who  informed  the  Eomans.  Ves- 


54 


JOSEPHUS 


pasian,  who,  we  are  again  told,  believed  that,  if  he  cap¬ 
tured  Josephus,  the  greater  part  of  the  war  would  be 
over,  sent  one  Nicanor,  well  known  to  the  Jewish  com¬ 
mandant,  to  take  him.  Josephus,  professing  propheti¬ 
cal  powers,  offered  to  surrender,  and  quieted  his  con¬ 
science  by  a  secret  prayer  to  God,  which  is  a  sad  com¬ 
pound  of  cant  and  cowardice : 

Since  it  pleaseth  Thee,  who  hast  created  the  Jewish 
nation,  now  to  bring  them  low,  and  since  their  good  for¬ 
tune  is  gone  over  to  the  Romans,  and  since  Thou  hast 
chosen  my  soul  to  foretell  what  is  to  come  to  pass  here¬ 
after,  I  willingly  surrender,  and  am  content  to  live.  I 
solemnly  protest  that  I  do  not  go  over  to  the  Romans  as  a 
deserter,  hut  as  Thy  minister. 

It  may  he  that  Josephus  really  believed  he  had  pro¬ 
phetic  powers,  and  thought  he  was  imitating  the  great 
prophets  of  Israel  and  Judah  who  had  proclaimed  the 
uselessness  of  resistance  to  Assyria  and  Babylon.  But 
they,  while  denouncing  the  wickedness  of  the  people, 
had  shared  their  lot  with  them.  And  Josephus,  who 
weakly  sought  a  refuge  for  himself  after  defeat,  re¬ 
sembles  rather  the  prophets  whom  Jeremiah  de¬ 
nounced:  “They  speak  a  vision  of  their  own  heart, 
and  not  out  of  the  mouth  of  the  Lord.  They  say  still 
unto  them  that  despise  me,  The  Lord  hath  said,  Ye 
shall  have  peace;  and  they  say  unto  everyone  that 
walketh  after  the  imagination  of  his  own  heart,  Ho 
evil  shall  come  upon  you.”1  His  comrades  however 
prevented  him  from  giving  himself  up,  and  called  on 
him  to  play  a  braver  part  and  die  with  them,  each  by 


1  Jer.  23:  16-17. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


55 


his  own  hand.  He  put  them  off  by  talking  philosoph¬ 
ically,  as  he  has  it,  about  the  sin  of  suicide,  a  euphe¬ 
mism  for  a  collection  of  commonplaces  on  the  duty 
of  preserving  their  lives.  But  when  this  enraged 
them,  he  bethought  him  of  another  device,  and  pro¬ 
posed  that  they  should  cast  lots  to  kill  each  other. 
They  assented,  and  by  Divine  Providence  he  was  left 
to  the  last  with  one  other,  whom  he  persuaded  to  break 
his  oath  and  live  likewise.1  Having  thus  escaped,  he 
was  led  by  Eleanor  to  Vespasian,  the  whole  Eoman 
army  gathering  around  to  gaze  on  the  hero.  Continu¬ 
ing  his  prophetical  function,  when  he  found  that  he 
was  like  to  be  sent  to  Eero,  he  announced  to  Vespasian, 
“  Thou  art  Caesar  and  Emperor,  thou,  and  this  thy 
son  ....  thou  art  not  only  lord  over  me,  but  over 
the  land  and  the  sea  and  all  mankind.”  The  Eoman 
general  was  incredulous,  till,  hearing  that  his  prisoner 
had  foretold  the  length  of  the  siege  of  Jotapata — a 
prophecy  which,  of  course,  he  had  the  ability  to  fulfil 
— and  further,  on  the  report  of  the  death  of  Eero,  hav¬ 
ing  conceived  the  possibility  of  becoming  Emperor,  he 
had  regard  to  the  Jewish  prophet,  and,  without  setting 
him  at  liberty,  bestowed  favors  on  him,  and  made  him 
easy  about  his  future.  Such  was  the  end  of  the  mili¬ 
tary  career  of  Josephus. 

1 A  charitable  explanation  of  this  self-debasing  account 
of  Josephus  is  that  he  was  driven  to  invent  some  story  to 
extenuate  his  resistance  to  the  Romans,  and  had  to 
blacken  his  reputation  as  a.  patriot  to  save  his  skin.  The 
fact  that  he  was  kept  prisoner  some  time  by  Vespasian 
suggests  that  he  was  not  so  big  a  traitor  as  he  pretends. 


56 


JOSEPHUS 


The  Talmud  relates  that  Eabbi  J ohanan  ben  Zakkai, 
the  head  of  the  Pharisees,  was  carried  in  a  coffin  out¬ 
side  the  walls  of  Jerusalem  by  his  disciples,  and  was 
brought  to  the  Roman  camp,  where  he  hailed  Vespa¬ 
sian  as  Emperor  and  Caesar,  and  thereby  gained  his 
favor.  If  not  apocryphal,  the  event  must  have  hap¬ 
pened  in  69  c.  E.,  when  the  Roman  commander  was 
generally  expected  to  aim  at  the  Imperial  throne,  then 
the  object  of  strife  between  rival  commanders.  The 
rabbi  belonged  to  the  peace  party,  and  from  the  begin¬ 
ning  had  opposed  the  war.  And  though  his  action  was 
disapproved  by  the  later  generations,  it  was  justified 
by  his  subsequent  conduct ;  for  it  was  he  who,  by  found¬ 
ing  the  famous  college  at  Jabneh,  kept  alive  the  Jewish 
spirit  after  the  fall  of  the  nation.  For  him  surrender 
was  a  valid  means  to  the  preservation  of  the  nation. 
The  action  of  Josephus  hardly  bears  the  same  justifi¬ 
cation.  His  desire  for  self-preservation  was  natural 
enough,  but  his  manner  of  effecting  it  was  not  honor¬ 
able.  He  was  a  general  who,  having  taken  a  lead  in  the 
struggle  for  independence,  had  seen  all  his  men  fall, 
and  had  at  the  end  invited  the  last  of  his  comrades  to 
kill  each  other,  and  he  saved  his  life  by  sacrificing 
his  honor.  His  mind  was  from  the  beginning  of  the 
struggle  subjugated  to  Rome,  but  unhappily  he  ac¬ 
cepted  the  most  responsible  post  in  the  national 
defense  and  betrayed  it.  His  address  to  Vespasian  was 
mere  flattery,  designed  to  impose  on  a  superstitious 
man’s  credulity;  for  the  ear  of  Vespasian,  says  Meri- 
vale,  “  was  always  open  to  pretenders  to  supernatural 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


57 


knowledge.”  Lastly  Josephus  used  his  safety,  not  for 
the  purpose  of  preserving  the  Jewish  heritage,  but  for 
personal  ends.  He  became  a  flunkey  of  the  Flavian 
house,  and  straightway  started  on  the  transformation 
from  a  Jewish  priest  and  soldier  into  a  Roman  court¬ 
ier  and  literary  hireling.  Hard  circumstances  com¬ 
pelled  him  to  choose  between  a  noble  and  an  ignoble 
part,  between  heroic  action  and  weak  submission.  He 
was  a  mediocre  man,  and  choseaJhe  way  that  was  not 
heroic  and  glorious.  Posterity  gained  something  by 
his  choice;  his  own  reputation  was  fatally  marred  by  it. 


Ill 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS  FEOM  THE  TIME 
OF  HIS  SURRENDER 

Josephus  was  little  more  than  thirty  years  old  at  the 
time  of  his  surrender.  At  an  age  when  men  usually 
begin  to  realize  their  ambition  and  ideal,  his  whole 
life’s  course  was  changed:  he  had  to  abandon  all  his 
old  associations,  and  accommodate  himself  to  a  differ¬ 
ent  and  indeed  a  hostile  society.  Henceforth  he  was  a 
liege  of  the  Roman  conqueror,  and  had  to  submit  to 
be  Romanized  not  only  in  name  hut  in  spirit.  His  con¬ 
dition  was  indeed  a  thinly-disguised  servitude.  The 
Romans  were  an  imperious  as  well  as  an  Imperial 
people,  and  though  in  some  circumstances  they  were 
ready  to  spare  the  lives  of  those  who  yielded,  they  re¬ 
quired  of  them  a  surrender  of  opinion  and  an  abase¬ 
ment  of  soul.  For  the  rest  of  his  years,  which  compre¬ 
hended  the  whole  of  his  literary  activity,  Josephus  was 
not  therefore  a  free  man.  He  acted,  spoke,  and  wrote 
to  order,  compelled,  whenever  called  upon,  to  do  the 
will  of  his  masters.  His  legal  condition  was  first  that 
of  a  libertus  (a  freedman)  of  Vespasian,  and  as  such 
he  owed  by  law  certain  definite  obligations  to  his 
patron’s  family.  But  the  moral  subservience  of  the 
favored  prisoner  of  a  subjugated  people  must  have  been 
a  far  profounder  thing  than  the  legal  obligation  aris- 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


59 


ing  from  his  status;  and  this  enforced  moral  and 
mental  subservience  is  a  cardinal  point  to  be  remem¬ 
bered  in  forming  a  judgment  upon  Josephus.  His 
expressed  opinions  are  often  not  the  revelation  of  his 
own  mind,  but  the  galling  tribute  which  he  was  com¬ 
pelled  to  pay  for  his  life.  And  apart  from  the  involun¬ 
tary  and  undeliberate  adoption  of  Roman  standards, 
which,  living  isolated  from  Jewish  life  in  Rome,  he 
could  not  escape,  he  had  in  writing,  and  no  doubt  in 
conversation,  deliberately  and  consciously  to  assume 
the  deepest-seated  of  the  Roman  prejudices  towards 
his  own  people.  Liberty  has  been  defined  as  the  power 
of  a  man  to  call  his  soul  his  own.  And  in  that  sense 
Josephus  emphatically  did  not  possess  liberty.  We 
must  be  on  our  guard,  therefore,  against  regarding 
him  as  an  independent  historian,  much  less  as  writing 
from  an  independent  Jewish  point  of  view.  From  the 
time  of  his  surrender  till  his  death  he  lived  and  wrote 
as  the  client  of  the  Flavian  house,  and  all  his  works 
had  to  pass  the  Imperial  censorship. 

His  domestic  life  is  characteristic  of  his  subserv¬ 
ience.  At  the  bidding  of  Vespasian,  when  in  the 
Roman  camp  at  Caesarea,  he  divorced  his  first  wife, 
who  was  locked  up  in  Jerusalem  during  the  siege. 
Though  by  Jewish  law  it  was  forbidden  to  a  priest  to 
marry  a  captive  woman,  he  took  as  his  second  wife  a 
Jewess  that  had  been  brought  into  the  Roman  camp. 
Having  no  children  by  her,  he  divorced  her  after  a 
year,  and  married  again  at  Alexandria.  By  his  third 
wife  he  had  three  sons,  but  with  a  Roman’s  carelessness 


60 


JOSEPHUS 


of  the  marriage  bond  he  divorced  her  late  in  life,  and 
married  finally  a  noble  Jewess  of  Crete,  by  whom  he 
had  two  more  sons,  Justus  and  Simon  Agrippa.  His 
last  two  wives,  be  it  noted,  came  from  Hellenistic- 
Jewish  communities,  and  were  doubtless  able  to  assist 
him  in  acquiring  Greek. 

The  public  as  well  as  the  domestic  life  of  J osephus 
was  controlled  by  the  Eoman  commander.  Till  the 
end  of  the  Jewish  struggle  it  followed  the  progress  of 
the  Eoman  arms.  He  continued  to  play  an  active  part 
in  the  war,  not,  however,  as  a  leader  of  the  Jews,  but 
as  the  adviser  of  their  enemies.  He  was  attached  to 
the  staff  of  Titus,  and  after  witnessing  the  fall  of  the 
two  fortresses  of  Galilee,  Gamala  and  Gischala,  which 
held  out  bravely  under  John  after  the  capture  of  Jota- 
pata,  he  accompanied  the  Eoman  at  the  end  of  the 
year  68  to  Alexandria.  There  he  spent  a  year,  till 
a  change  of  fortune  came  to  him. 

During  the  year  68,  Yespasian  captured  the  two 
chief  cities  which  the  Jewish  national  party  held  to  the 
east  side  of  the  Jordan,  Gadara  and  Gerasa.  He  then 
prepared  to  lay  siege  to  Jerusalem.  But  hearing  of 
the  death  of  Hero  and  of  the  chaos  at  Eome  that 
followed  it,  he  stayed  operations  to  await  events  in 
Italy.  In  the  following  year,  largely  by  the  aid  of  the 
Jewish  apostate  Tiberius  Alexander,  he  secured  the 
allegiance  of  all  the  Eastern  legions,  and  was  pro¬ 
claimed  Emperor.  Three  other  generals  laid  claim 
to  the  same  dignity,  under  the  same  title  of  armed 
force,  but  in  the  end  Vespasian’s  friends  in  Italy  made 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


61 


themselves  masters  of  Rome,  and  he  repaired  himself 
to  the  capital  and  donned  the  purple.  Josephus  was  re¬ 
warded  with  his  complete  freedom,  and  assumed  hence¬ 
forth  the  family  name  of  his  Imperial  patrons.  When, 
at  the  end  of  the  year  69,  Titus  was  appointed  hy  his 
father  to  finish  the  war,  he  accompanied  him  back  to 
Palestine.  In  the  eighteen  months’  respite  that  had 
been  vouchsafed  to  them,  the  Jews  had  spent  their 
energy  and  undermined  their  powers  of  resistance  by 
internecine  strife.  According  to  the  account  in  the 
Wars,  which  unfortunately  is  the  only  full  record  we 
have  of  events,  John  of  Gischala,  fleeing  to  Jerusalem 
after  the  fall  of  the  Galilean  fortresses,  roused  the 
Zealots  against  the  high  priest  Ananias,  who  was 
directing  the  Jewish  policy  towards  submission  to 
Rome.  Ananias,  who  was  of  the  same  party  as 
Josephus,  seems  to  have  come  to  the  conclusion  that 
resistance  was  hopeless,  and  he  was  anxious  to  make 
terms.  John  called  in  to  his  aid  the  half-savage  Idu- 
means,  who  had  joined  the  Jewish  rebellion  against 
Rome.  They  entered  the  city,  and,  possessing  them¬ 
selves  of  the  Temple  mount,  spread  havoc.  The  Tem¬ 
ple  itself  ran  with  blood,  and  8500  dead  bodies,  among 
them  that  of  the  high  priest,  defiled  its  precincts.1 
Josephus,  who,  to  suit  the  Roman  taste,  identifies 
religion  and  ritual,  declares  that  the  fall  of  the  city 
and  the  ruin  of  the  nation  are  to  be  dated  from  that 


1 B.  J.  IV.  vi.  1. 


62 


JOSEPHUS 


day,  and  upon  Ananias  he  passes  a  eulogy  that  is 
likewise  written  with  an  eye  to  Roman  predilections : 

He  was  a  prodigious  lover  of  liberty  and  of  democracy ; 
he  ever  preferred  the  public  welfare  before  his  own  ad¬ 
vantage,  and  he  was  thoroughly  sensible  that  the  Rom¬ 
ans  were  invincible.  And  I  cannot  but  think  that  it  was 
because  God  had  doomed  the  city  to  destruction  on 
account  of  its  pollution,  and  w'as  resolved  to  purge  His 
sanctuary  with  fire,  that  He  cut  off  thus  its  great 
protector. 

For  the  better  part  of  a  year,  according  to  our  his¬ 
torian,  the  Zealots  maintained  a  reign  of  terror,  and 
the  various  parties  fought  against  one  another  in  the 
Holy  City  as  fiercely  as  the  Girondists  and  Jacobins  of 
the  French  Revolution.  But  on  the  approach  of  Titus 
they  abandoned  their  strife  and  united  to  resist  the 
foe.  The  Roman  general  brought  with  him  four 
legions,  the  fifth,  tenth,  twelfth,  and  fifteenth,  be¬ 
sides  a  large  following  of  auxiliaries,  and  his  whole 
force  amounted  to  80,000  men.  As  head  of  his  staff 
came  Tiberius  Alexander,  the  renegade  nephew  of 
Philo  and  formerly  procurator  of  Judea.  Josephus 
also  was  on  the  besieger’s  staff — possibly  he  was  an  of¬ 
ficer  of  the  body-guard  ( praefectus  praetorio ) — and 
was  employed  to  bring  his  countrymen  to  reason.  Him¬ 
self  convinced,  almost  from  the  moment  when  he  took 
up  arms,  of  the  certainty  of  Rome’s  ultimate  victory, 
and  doubly  convinced  now,  partly  from  superstitious 
fatalism,  partly  from  a  need  for  extenuating  his  own 
submission,  he  wasted  his  eloquence  in  efforts  to  make 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


63 


them  surrender.  He  knew  that  within  the  besieged 
city  there  was  a  considerable  Romanizing  faction  (in¬ 
cluding  his  own  father),  and  either  he  believed,  or  he 
had  to  pretend  to  believe,  that  he  could  bring  over  the 
mass  to  their  way  of  thinking.  On  various  occasions 
during  the  siege  he  was  sent  to  the  walls  to  summon 
the  defenders  to  lay  down  their  arms.  He  enlarged 
each  time  on  the  invincible  power  of  Eome,  on  the 
hopelessness  of  resistance,  on  the  clemency  of  Titus  if 
they  would  yield,  and  on  the  terrible  fate  which  would 
befall  them  and  the  Temple  if  they  fought  to  the 
bitter  end.  What  must  have  specially  aroused  the  fury 
of  the  Zealots  was  his  insistence  that  the  Divine  Provi¬ 
dence  was  now  on  the  side  of  the  Romans,  and  that  in 
resisting  they  were  sinning  against  God.  It  is  little 
wonder  that  on  one  occasion  when  making  these  ha¬ 
rangues  he  was  struck  by  a  dart,  and  that  his  father 
was  placed  in  prison  by  the  Zealots.  Indeed  it  says 
much  for  the  tolerance  of  those  whom  he  constantly 
reviles  as  the  most  abandoned  scoundrels  and  the  most 
cruel  tyrants  that  they  did  not  do  him  and  his  family 
greater  hurt. 

Titus,  after  beating  back  desperate  attacks  by  the 
Jews,  fixed  his  camp  on  Mount  Scopas,  by  the  side  of 
the  Mount  of  Olives,  to  the  north  of  the  city,  and, 
abandoning  the  idea  of  taking  the  city  fortress  by 
storm,  prepared  to  beleaguer  it  in  regular  form.  The 
Jews  were  not  prepared  for  a  siege.  Josephus  and 
the  Rabbis  1  agree  that  the  supplies  of  corn  had  been 

1  Comp.  Abot  de  Rabbi  Nathan,  vi.,  ed.  Schechter,  p.  32. 


64 


JOSEPHUS 


burnt  by  the  Zealots  during  the  civil  disturbances ;  and 
as  the  arrival  of  Titus  coincided  with  the  Passover, 
myriads  of  people,  who  had  come  up  from  all  parts  of 
the  country  and  the  Diaspora  to  celebrate  the  festival, 
were  crowded  within  its  walls.  It  is  estimated  that 
their  number  exceeded  two  and  a  half  million.  The 
capital  was  a  hard  place  to  capture.  Josephus,  fol¬ 
lowing  probably  a  Eoman  authority,  gives  an  account 
of  the  fortifications  of  Jerusalem  from  the  point  of 
view  of  the  besieger,  which  is  confirmed  in  large  part 
by  modern  research.1  On  the  southeast  and  west  the 
city  was  unapproachable  by  reason  of  the  sheer  ravines 
of  Ivedron  and  Hinnom,  overlooked  by  almost  perpen¬ 
dicular  precipices,  which  surrounded  it.  It  was  vul¬ 
nerable  therefore  only  on  the  north,  where  the  two 
heights  on  which  it  was  built  were  connected  with  the 
main  ridge  of  the  Judean  hills ;  and  here  it  was  forti¬ 
fied  with  three  walls.  The  outermost,  which  was  built 
by  Agrippa  I,  encompassed  the  new  quarter  of  Bezetha, 
which  lay  outside  the  Temple  mount  to  the  northeast. 
The  second  wall  encompassed  the  part  of  the  city  on 
the  Temple  Mount  and  reached  as  far  as  the  Tower 
of  Antonia,  which  overlooked  and  protected  the 
Temple.  The  third  or  innermost  wall  was  the  oldest, 
and  encompassed  the  whole  of  the  ancient  city  where 
it  was  open,  including  the  hill  Acra  or  Zion  on  the 
southeast,  which  was  divided  from  Mount  Moriah  by 
the  cleft  known  as  the  Tyropoeon,  or  cheese-market. 
Beyond  this  hill  there  was  another  eminence  sloping 

1 B.  J.  V.  iv.  1. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


65 


gradually  to  the  north,  till  it  dropped  into  the  valley 
of  Jehoshaphat  with  an  escarpment  of  two  hundred 
feet. 

Thus  the  rampart  surrounded  the  two  hills  with  a 
continuous  line  of  defense,  and  the  three  quarters  of 
the  city  were  separated  from  each  other  by  distinct 
walls,  so  that  each  could  hold  out  when  the  other  had 
fallen.  The  walls  were  strengthened  with  several 
towers,  of  which  the  most  important  were  Psephinus, 
on  the  third  wall  at  the  northwest  corner,  Hippicus, 
on  the  old  wall,  which  was  opposite  Phasaelus,  and 
Mariamne.  But  the  strongest,  largest,  and  most  beau¬ 
tiful  fortress  in  Jerusalem  was  the  Temple  itself.  It 
was  not  merely  the  visible  center  of  Judaism,  it  was 
the  citadel  of  Judea.  As  each  successive  court  rose 
higher  than  the  last,  the  “  Mountain  of  the  House  ” 
itself  stood  on  the  highest  point  of  the  inclosure.  The 
Temple  was  guarded  by  the  tower  of  Antonia,  situated 
at  the  corner  of  the  two  cloisters,  upon  a  rock  fifty 
cubits  high,  overlooking  a  precipice.  Like  the  other 
towers,  Antonia  was  built  by  Herod,  and  manifested 
his  love  of  largeness  and  strength.  Within  these  for¬ 
tifications  there  were  eleven  thousand  men  under 
Simon,  and  not  more  than  thirty  thousand  trained 
soldiers  under  John,  to  pit  against  eighty  thousand 
Eoman  veterans;  but  of  the  two  and  a  half  million 
people  who,  it  is  calculated,  were  shut  up  in  the  city, 
thousands  were  ready  at  any  moment  to  sally  upon  the 
besiegers  and  lay  down  their  lives  for  their  beloved 
sanctuary. 

5 


66 


JOSEPHUS 


Within  the  city,  however,  there  were  also  a  number 
of  persons  wavering  in  their  desire  for  resistance  and 
anxious  to  find  a  favorable  opportunity  of  going  over 
to  the  Romans.  The  leaders  of  the  high-priestly  party 
had  been  killed  by  the  Zealots,  but  their  followers  re¬ 
mained  to  hamper  the  defense  of  the  city.  If  Josephus 
is  to  be  believed,  during  the  respite  of  the  Passover 
festival  at  the  beginning  of  the  siege,  while  the  Rom¬ 
ans  were  preparing  their  approaches  and  siege  works, 
the  party  strife  again  broke  out.  Eleazar  opened  the 
gates  of  the  Temple  to  admit  the  people  for  the  festival, 
but  John,  taking  treacherous  advantage  of  the  oppor¬ 
tunity,  led  his  men  in  with  arms  concealed  beneath 
their  garments,  put  his  opponents  to  the  sword,  and 
seized  the  sanctuarjn  Josephus  further  represents  that 
throughout  the  siege  Simon  and  John,  while  resisting 
the  Romans  and  defending  different  parts  of  the  walls, 
were  still  engaged  in  their  internecine  strife,  “  and 
did  everything  that  the  besiegers  could  desire  them  to 
do.”  1 

The  story  has  not  the  stamp  of  probability,  and  it  is 
more  likely  that  Josephus  is  distorting  the  jealousies 
of  the  two  commanders  into  the  dimensions  of  civil 
strife.  Anyhow,  the  resistance  which  the  Jews  offered 
to  the  Romans  showed  the  stubbornness  of  despair,  or 
what  the  historian  calls  “their  natural  endurance  in 
misfortune.”  At  every  step  the  legionaries  were 
checked:  in  pitching  their  camp,  in  making  their 
earthworks,  in  bringing  up  their  machines;  and  fre- 

1  B.  J.  Y.  vi. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


67 


quently  desperate  sallies  were  made  by  the  defenders 
upon  the  Boman  entrenchments.  Nevertheless,  after 
fifteen  days  the  first  wall  was  captured,  and  in  five 
days  more  the  second  was  taken.  By  a  desperate  sally 
the  besieged  recovered  it  for  a  little,  but  were  again 
driven  back  by  superior  numbers  and  force.  Josephus 
is  fond  of  contrasting  the  different  tempers  of  the  two 
armies :  on  the  one  side  power  and  skill,  on  the  other 
boldness  and  the  courage  bom  of  despair;  here  the 
habit  of  conquering,  there  intense  national  ardor. 

After  the  capture  of  the  second  wall,  he  was  sent  to 
parley  with  the  besieged,  and  urged,  as  he  had  done  be¬ 
fore,  the  invincible  power  of  his  masters.1  “  And  evi¬ 
dent  it  is,”  he  added  with  his  'renegade’s  theology, 
“  that  fortune  is  on  all  hands  gone  over  to  them,  and 
that  God,  who  has  shifted  dominion  from  nation  to 
nation,  is  now  settled  in  Italy.”  2  When  his  address 
was  received  with  scorn,  he  proceeded,  according  to  his 
account,  to  lecture  the  people  from  their  ancient  his¬ 
tory,  in  order  to  prove  that  they  had  never  been  suc¬ 
cessful  in  aggressive  warfare.  “  Arms  were  never 
given  to  our  nation,  but  we  are  always  given  up  to  be 
fought  against  and  taken.”  The  Zealots’  desecration 
of  the  Temple  deprived  them  of  Divine  help,  and  it 

1 B.  J.  Y.  ix.  3. 

2  We  are  reminded  of  the  saying  of  Rabbi  Akiba  some 
half-century  later.  When  asked  where  God  was  to  be 
sought  now  that  the  Temple  was  destroyed,  he  replied, 
“In  the  great  city  of  Rome”  (Yer.  Taanit,  69a).  But 
the  Rabbinical  utterance  had  a  very  different  meaning 
from  the  plea  of  Josephus. 


68 


JOSEPHUS 


was  madness  to  suppose  that  God  would  be  well-dis¬ 
posed  to  the  wicked.  Had  He  not  shown  favor  to 
Titus  and  performed  miracles  in  his  aid  ?  Did  not  the 
springs  of  Siloam  run  more  plentifully  for  the  Roman 
general?  All  his  appeals  had  no  effect,  and  though 
some  faint-hearted  persons  deserted,  the  multitude 
held  firm,  and  the  siege  was  pressed  on  more  vigorously 
than  ever.  A  wall  of  circumvallation  was  built  round 
the  city,  and  the  horrors  of  starvation  increased  daily. 
Between  the  months  of  Hisan  and  Tammuz  one  hun¬ 
dred  and  fifty  thousand  corpses  were  carried  out  of  the 
town.1  Josephus  expatiates  on  the  terrible  suffering, 
and  again  and  again  he  denounces  the  iniquity  of  the 
Zealots,  who  continued  the  resistance.  “  Ho  age  had  a 
generation  more  fruitful  in  wickedness;  they  con¬ 
fessed  that  they  were  the  slaves,  the  scum,  the  spurious 
and  abortive  offspring  of  our  nation.”  John  com¬ 
mitted  the  heinous  sacrilege  of  using  the  oil  preserved 
in  the  Temple  vessels  for  the  starving  soldiers.  “I 
suppose,”  says  the  ex-priest  writing  in  the  Roman 
palace,  “  that  had  the  Romans  made  any  longer  delay 
in  attacking  these  abandoned  men,  the  city  would 
either  have  been  swallowed  up  by  the  ground  opening 
on  them,  or  been  swept  away  by  a  deluge,  or  de¬ 
stroyed  as  Sodom  was  destroyed,  since  it  had  brought 
forth  a  generation  even  more  godless  than  those  that 
suffered  such  punishments.”  2 
Famine  and  weariness  were  breaking  down  the 
strength  of  the  Jews,  and,  after  fierce  resistance,  the 


1 B.  J.  V.  xiii.  7. 


B.  J.  V.  x.  and  xiii. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


69 


tower  of  Antonia  was  captured  and  razed  to  the 
ground.  Josephus  adds  another  chapter  to  detail  the 
horrors  of  the  famine,  in  which  he  recounts  the  story 
of  the  mother  eating  her  child,  which  occurs  also  in 
the  Midrash.1  The  Bomans,  he  tells  us,  were  filled 
with  a  religious  loathing  of  their  foes  on  account  of 
their  sins  in  violating  the  Temple  and  eating  for¬ 
bidden  food,  and  Titus  excused  himself  for  the  suffer¬ 
ings  he  caused,  on  the  gound  that,  as  he  had  given  the 
Jews  the  chance  of  securing  peace  and  liberty,  they 
had  brought  the  evil  on  themselves.  Slowly  but  surely 
the  Bomans  gained  a  footing  within  the  Temple  pre¬ 
cinct;  inch  by  inch  John  was  driven  hack,  and  on  the 
Ninth  of  Ab  the  sanctuary  was  stormed.  A  torch, 
hurled  probably  by  the  hand  of  Titus  (see  below,  p. 
128),  set  the  cloisters  alight,  and  the  fire  spread  till 
the  whole  house  was  involved.  The  crowning  catas¬ 
trophe,  the  burning  of  the  Holy  of  Holies,  happened 
on  the  following  day. 

Josephus  remained  in  the  Boman  camp  throughout 
the  siege,  advising  Titus  at  each  step  how  he  might 
proceed.  After  the  fall  of  the  Temple  he  witnessed  the 
last  desperate  struggle,  when  a  half-starved  remnant 
of  the  defenders  “  looked  straight  into  death  without 
flinching.”  A  great  modern  writer  sees  in  this  un¬ 
quenchable  passion  of  the  Zealots  for  liberty  a  sub¬ 
lime  type  of  steadfastness 2 ;  but  J osephus,  who  after 

1  Ekah  R.  65a. 

2  George  Eliot,  Impressions  of  Theophrastus  Such. 


70 


JOSEPHUS 


the  fall  of  the  Temple  had  made  another  unavailing 
effort  to  persuade  them  to  lay  down  their  arms,  again 
pours  forth  his  abuse  upon  those  who  fought  against 
the  sacred  might  of  Pome.  Over  a  million  had 
perished  in  the  siege,  and  less  than  one  hundred  thou¬ 
sand  were  captured,  of  whom  only  forty  thousand  were 
preserved.  His  favor  with  Titus  enabled  him  to  re¬ 
deem  from  captivity  his  brother  and  a  large  number 
of  his  friends  and  acquaintances  and  one  hundred  and 
ninety  women  and  children.1  His  own  estates  near 
Jerusalem  having  been  taken  for  a  military  colony, 
he  received  liberal  compensation  in  another  part  of 
Judea.  Prom  the  victor  he  also  obtained  a  scroll 
of  the  law. 

It  is  not  certain  whether  he  accompanied  “  the  gen¬ 
tle  Titus  ”  through  Syria  after  the  fall  of  the  city  and 
the  razing  of  its  walls.  The  victor’s  progress  was 
marked  at  each  stopping-place  by  the  celebration  of 
games,  wdiere  thousands  of  young  Jewish  captives  were 
made  to  kill  each  other,  “  butchered  to  make  a  Roman 
holiday”  and  feast  the  eyes  of  the  conqueror  and 
the  Herodian  ally  and  his  spouse.  But  he  certainly 
witnessed  at  Rome  the  triumph  of  the  Elavii,  father 
and  son,  and  gazed  on  the  shame  of  his  country, 
when  its  most  holy  monuments  were  carried  by  the 
noblest  of  the  captives  through  the  streets  amid,  the 
applause  and  ribald  jeers  of  a  Roman  crowd.  Josephus 


1  Vita,  75. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


71 


enlarges  with  apparent  apathy  on  the  procession,  which 
is  commemorated  and  made  vivid  down  to  our  own 
day  by  the  arch  in  the  Eoman  Forum,  through  which 
no  Jew  in  the  Middle  Ages  would  pass.  He  records, 
too,  that  Vespasian  built  a  Temple  of  Peace,  in  which 
he  stored  the  golden  vessels  taken  from  the  Jewish 
sanctuary,  and  put  up  the  whole  of  Judea  for  sale  as 
his  private  property.1  Josephus  himself  was  housed 
in  the  royal  palace,  and  it  does  not  appear  that  he  ever 
returned  to  Palestine.  The  tenth  legion  had  been 
left  on  the  site  of  Jerusalem  as  a  permanent  Eoman 
garrison,  and  a  fortified  camp  was  built  for  it  on  the 
northern  hill.  “  The  legions  swallowed  her  up  and 
idolators  possessed  her.”  A  chacun  selon  ses  oeuvres 
is  the  comment  of  Salvador,  the  Franco- Jewish  his¬ 
torian  (fl.  1850),  comparing  the  gilded  servitude  of 
Josephus  with  the  fate  of  the  patriots  of  Jerusalem; 
and  another  recent  historian,  Graetz,  has  contrasted 
the  picture  of  Jeremiah  uttering  his  touching  laments 
over  the  ruins  at  the  fall  of  the  first  Temple  with  the 
position  of  Josephus  pouring  out  his  fulsome  adula¬ 
tion  of  the  destroyer  at  the  fall  of  the  second. 

Henceforth  Josephus  lived,  an  exile  from  his  coun¬ 
try  and  his  countrymen,  in  the  retinue  of  the  Caesars, 
and  entered  on  his  career  as  his  people’s  historian. 
But  he  was  never  allowed  to  forget  his  dependence. 
His  first  work  was  an  account  of  the  Eoman  war,  in 


1  B.  J.  VII.  vi.  6. 


72 


JOSEPHUS 


which  he  vilified  the  patriots  to  extenuate  his  own 
surrender  and  his  master’s  cruelty.  It  is  true  that  he 
afterwards  composed  an  elaborate  apology  for  his 
people  in  the  form  of  a  history  in  twenty  volumes, 
which  may  be  considered  as  a  kind  of  palliation  for  the 
evil  he  had  done  them  in  action.  It  was  more  pos¬ 
sible  to  refute  the  Eoman  prejudices  based  on  utter 
ignorance  of  Jewish  history,  than  the  prejudices  based 
on  their  narrowness  of  mind.  But  even  here  the 
writer  has  often  to  accommodate  himself  to  a  pagan 
standpoint,  which  could  not  appreciate  Hebrew  sub¬ 
limity.  When  he  wrote  the  Antiquities,  his  mind  was 
already  molded  in  Greco-Boman  form,  and  where  he 
seeks  to  glorify,  he  not  seldom  contrives  to  degrade. 
His  works  are  a  striking  example  of  inward  slavery  in 
outward  freedom,  for  by  dint  of  breathing  the  foreign 
atmosphere  and  imbibing  foreign  notions  he  had  be¬ 
come  incapable  of  presenting  his  people’s  history  in  its 
true  light.  He  had  been  granted  full  Roman  citizen¬ 
ship,  and  received  a  literary  pension.  Still  he  was  not 
loved  by  other  courtiers  as  worthy  as  himself,  and  he 
had  frequently  to  defend  himself  against  the  charges 
of  his  enemies.  In  the  reign  of  Vespasian,  after  the 
Zealot  rising  in  Cyrene  had  been  put  down,  the  leader, 
Jonathan,  who  was  brought  as  a  prisoner  to  Rome, 
charged  Josephus  before  the  Emperor  with  having  sent 
him  both  weapons  and  money.  The  story  was  not  be¬ 
lieved,  and  the  informer  was  put  to  death.  After  that, 
J osephus  relates,  “  when  they  that  envied  my  good 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


73 


fortune  did  frequently  bring  censure  against  me,  by 
God’s  Providence  I  escaped  them  all.” 

He  remained  in  favor  under  Titus  and  Domitian, 
who  in  turn  succeeded  their  father  in  the  purple. 
Domitian  indeed,  though  he  persecuted  the  Jews,  and 
laid  new  fiscal  burdens  upon  them,  punished  the  ac¬ 
cusers  of  Josephus,  and  made  his  estate  in  Judea  tax- 
free,  and  the  Emperor’s  wife,  Domitia,  also  showed 
him  kindness.  But  perhaps  the  amazing  and  pathetic 
servility  of  the  Life  is  to  be  explained  by  fear  of 
the  vainglorious  despot,  whose  hand  was  heavy  on 
all  intellectual  work.  Historical  writers  suffered  most 
under  his  oppression,  and  it  may  have  been  necessary 
to  Josephus  to  make  out  that  he  had  been  a  traitor.  It 
may  appear  more  to  his  credit  as  a  courtier  than  as  a 
Jew  that  the  enemy  of  his  people  was  friendly  towards 
him.  But  his  position  must  have  been  perilous  during 
the  black  reign  of  the  tyrant,  who  rivaled  Nero  for 
maniac  cruelty.  His  chief  patron  was  one  Epaphro- 
ditus,  by  his  name  a  Greek,  perhaps  to  be  identi¬ 
fied  with  a  celebrated  librarian  and  scholar,  to  whom 
he  dedicated  his  Antiquities  and  the  books  Against 
Apion.  He  lived  on  probably1  till  the  beginning  of 

1  It  has,  however,  been  suggested  that  the  date  of 
Agrippa's  death,  which  is  recorded  in  the  Life,  was 
really  95  c.  e.,  instead  of  103  c.  e.,  as  is  usually  accepted;  If 
that  is  so,  Josephus  may  not  have  outlived  the  black 
reign  of  Domitian,  which  lasted  till  97  c.  e.  See  J.  H. 
Hart,  s.  v.  Josephus,  in  Encycl.  Brit.  11th  ed. 


74 


JOSEPHUS 


the  second  century,  through  the  short  but  tranquil 
rule  of  Uerva,  when  there  was  a  brief  interlude  of 
tolerance  and  intellectual  freedom,  into  the  reign  of 
Trajan,  who  was  to  deal  his  people  injuries  as  deep  as 
those  Titus  had  inflicted.  It  is  uncertain  whether  he 
survived  to  witness  the  horrors  of  the  desperate  rising 
of  the  Jews,  which  sealed  their  national  doom  through¬ 
out  the  Diaspora.  At  least  he  did  not  survive  to  de¬ 
scribe  it.  His  last  work  that  has  come  down  to  us  is 
the  Life ,  which  is  an  apologetic  pamphlet,  perversely 
self-vilifying,  in  which  he  sought  to  refute  the  accusa¬ 
tion  of  his  rival  Justus  of  Tiberias,  that  he  had  taken 
a  commanding  part  in  the  war  against  the  Romans  in 
Galilee,  and  had  been  the  guiding  spirit  of  the  Re¬ 
bellion. 

The  Life  is  the  least  creditable  of  Josephus’  works; 
but,  as  we  have  seen,  it  was  wrung  from  him  under 
duress,  and  cannot  be  taken  as  a  genuine  revelation  of 
his  mind.  It  is  not  a  full  autobiography;  save  for  a 
short  Prologue  and  a  short  Epilogue,  it  deals  exclu¬ 
sively  with  the  author’s  conduct  in  Galilee  prior  to  the 
campaign  of  Vespasian,  and  it  differs  materially  in 
political  color  as  well  as  in  the  narrative  of  facts  from 
the  account  of  the  same  period  in  the  Wars.  In  the 
earlier  work  his  object  had  been  to  excuse  his  country¬ 
men  for  their  revolt,  and  at  the  same  time  to  show 
the  ability  with  which  he  had  served  their  true  inter¬ 
ests,  as  the  representative  of  the  party  that  sought 
to  preserve  the  nation  at  the  sacrifice  of  its  independ- 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


75 


ence.  But  in  the  later  work  he  is  writing  not  a  parti¬ 
san  but  a  personal  apology,  composed  when  his  life  was 
in  danger,  and  when  he  no  longer  was  anxious  to  save 
appearances  with  his  countrymen.  And  he  devoted  his 
ingenuity  to  showing  that  throughout  the  events  in 
Galilee  he  was  the  friend  of  Rome,  seeking  under  the 
guise  of  resistance  to  smooth  the  way  for  the  in¬ 
vaders  and  deliver  the  gates  of  Palestine  into  their 
hands.  That  he  had  so  to  demean  himself  is  the  most 
pathetic  commentary  on  the  bitter  position  which  he 
was  called  on  to  endure  after  twenty  years  of  servile 
life.  The  work  was  published  or  reissued  after  the 
death  of  King  Agrippa,  which  took  place  in  103  c.  e., 
and  is  recorded  in  it.1  Agrippa  was  the  last  of  the 
Herodians  to  rule,  and  with  his  death  the  last  part  of 
Palestine  that  had  the  outward  show  of  independence 
was  absorbed  into  the  Roman  Empire.  But  though  the 
whole  of  the  Jewish  temporal  sovereignty  was  shat¬ 
tered  before  his  last  days,  Josephus  may  have  consoled 
himself  with  the  progressive  march  of  Judaism  in  the 
capital  city  of  the  conqueror. 

It  may  he  put  down  to  the  credit  of  Josephus  that 
amid  the  court  society  at  Rome  he  to  the  end  professed 
loyalty  to  his  religion,  and  that  he  did  not  complete  his 
political  desertion  by  religious  apostasy.  His  loyalty 
indeed  is  less  meritorious  than  might  seem  at  first 
sight.  The  Romans  generally  were  tolerant  of  creeds 
and  cults,  and  the  ceremonial  of  J udaisip,  especially  its 


1  See  note  above,  p.  73. 


76 


JOSEPHUS 


Sabbath,  appealed  to  many  of  them.  Within  the  po- 
moerium  (limits),  of  the  ancient  city  none  but  the  city 
gods  might  be  worshiped,  but  in  Greater  Rome  there 
were  numerous  synagogues.  In  the  time  of  Pompey,  an 
important  Jewish  community  existed  in  the  cosmopoli¬ 
tan  capital  of  the  Empire,  and  later  we  have  records  of 
a  number  of  congregations.  Philo  expressly  mentions 
the  religious  privileges  his  brethren  enjoyed  at  the 
heart  of  the  Empire,1  and  save  for  an  occasional  ex¬ 
pulsion  the  Jews  appear  to  have  been  unmolested. 
The  Flavian  Emperors,  satisfied  with  the  destruction 
of  the  sanctuary  and  the  razing  of  Jerusalem,  did  not 
attempt  to  persecute  the  communities  of  the  Diaspora. 
For  the  old  offering  by  all  Jews  to  the  Temple,  they 
substituted  a  tax  of  two  drachmas  (the  equivalent  of 
the  shekel  voluntarily  given  hitherto  to  Jerusalem), 
which  went  towards  the  maintenance  of  the  temple  of 
Jupiter  Capitolinus.  Later  the  fiscus  Judaicus,  to 
which  every  Jew  and  proselyte  had  to  pay,  became  an 
instrument  of  oppression,  but  in  the  reigns  of  Vespa¬ 
sian  and  Titus  it  was  not  harshly  administered.  Domi- 
tian  indeed  vented  his  indignation  on  the  people  which 
he  had  not  had  the  honor  of  conquering,  and  instituted 
a  kind  of  inquisition,  to  ferret  out  the  early  Maranos, 
who  dissembled  their  Judaism  and  sought  to  evade  the 
tax.  But  his  gentle  successor  Nerva  (96-98)  restored 
the  habit  of  tolerance,  and  struck  special  coins,  with 
the  legend  calumnia  Judaica  sublata  (on  the  abolition 
of  information  against  the  Jews),  in  order  to  mark  his 


1  De  Leg.  82. 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


77 


clemency.  Save,  therefore,  for  the  short  persecution 
under  Domitian,  Judaism  remained  a  licita  religio 
(legalized  denomination)  at  Home.  More  than  that, 
it  became  a  powerful  missionary  faith  among  the  lower 
classes,  and  in  small  doses  almost  fashionable  at  the 
court.  A  near  relative  of  the  Emperor,  Flavius 
Clemens,  outraged  Koman  opinion  by  adopting  its 
tenets.1  It  has  been  suggested,  and  it  is  likely,  that  the 
chief  historical  work  of  Josephus  was  written  pri¬ 
marily  for  a  group  of  fashionable  proselytes  to  Juda¬ 
ism,  to  whom  he  ministered.  He  mentions  members 
of  the  royal  house  that  commended  his  work.2 3 *  Some 
scholars  have  sought  to  associate  him  with  the  philoso¬ 
pher  at  Rome  that  was  visited  by  the  four  rabbis  of 
the  Sanhedrin,  the  Patriarch  Rabban  Gamaliel,  Rabbi 
Joshua,  Rabbi  Eleazar  ben  Arach,  and  Rabbi  Akiba, 
when  they  came  to  Rome  in  the  reign  of  Domitian.8 
But  apart  from  the  fact  that  he  would  hardly  be  de¬ 
scribed  as  a  philosopher — a  term  usually  reserved  in 
the  Talmud  for  a  pagan  scholar — it  is  as  unlikely  that 
the  leaders  of  the  Pharisaic  national  party  would  have 
had  interviews  with  the  renegade,  as  that  the  renegade 
would  have  befriended  them.  At  J otapata  he  deserted 

1  It  is  interesting  that  the  wife  of  the  first  Roman 
governor  of  Britain  was  accused,  in  57  c.  e.,  of  “  foreign 
superstition,”  and  is  said  to  have  lived  a  melancholy  life 
(Tac.  Ann.  xiii.  32),  which  may  mean  that  she  had 
adopted  Jewish  practices. 

2  C.  Ap.  i.  5. 

3  Sukkah,  22,  quoted  in  Vogelstein  and  Rieger,  Ge- 

schichte  der  Juden  in  Rom,  pp.  28  and  29. 


78 


JOSEPHUS 


his  people,  and  he  passed  thenceforth  out  of  their  life. 
It  is  significant  that,  while  the  history  of  the  war  was 
originally  written  in  Aramaic  for  the  benefit  of  the 
Eastern  Jews,  none  of  his  later  works  was  either 
written  in  his  native  language  or  translated  into  it, 
nor  were  they  designed  to  be  read  by  J ews. 

In  the  palace  of  the  Caesars  Josephus  became  a 
reputable  Greco-Roman  chronicler,  deliberately  ac¬ 
commodating  himself  to  the  tastes  of  the  conquerors  of 
his  people,  and  deliberately  seeking,  as  Renan  said, 
“  to  Hellenize  his  compatriots,”  i.  e.  to  describe  them 
from  a  Hellenized  point  of  view.  He  achieved  his 
ambition,  if  such  it  was,  to  be  the  classical  authority 
upon  the  early  history  of  the  Jews.  His  record  of  his 
people  survived  through  the  ages,  and  his  works  were 
included  in  the  public  libraries  of  Rome,  while  among 
the  Christians  they  had  for  centuries  a  place  next 
the  Bible. 

As  a  writer,  Josephus  has,  by  the  side  of  some  glar¬ 
ing  defects,  considerable  merits :  immense  industry, 
power  of  vivid  narrative,  an  ability  for  using  authori¬ 
ties,  and  at  times  a  certain  eloquence.  But  as  a  man 
he  has  few  qualities  to  attract  and  nothing  of  the 
heroic.  He  was  mediocre  in  character  and  mind,  and 
for  such  there  is  no  admiration.  It  may  be  admitted 
that  he  lived  in  hard  times,  when  it  required  great 
strength  of  character  for  a  Jew  born,  as  he  was,  in  the 
aristocratic  Romanizing  section  of  the  nation,  to  stand 
true  to  the  Jewish  people  and  devote  his  energies  to 
their  desperate  cause.  He  may  have  honestly  believed 


THE  LIFE  OF  JOSEPHUS 


79 


that  submission  to  Rome  was  the  truest  wisdom;  but  he 
placed  himself  in  a  false  position  by  associating  him¬ 
self  with  the  insurrection.  And  while  his  national 
feeling  led  him  later  to  attempt  to  defend  his  people 
against  calumny  and  ignorance,  the  conditions  under 
which  he  labored  made  against  the  production  of  a 
true  and  spirited  history.  Yet  if  he  does  not  appear 
worthy  of  admiration,  we  must  beware  of  judging  him 
harshly;  and  there  is  deep  pathos  in  the  fact  that  he 
was  compelled  in  writing  to  be  his  own  worst  detractor. 
The  combination,  which  the  autobiographical  account 
reveals,  of  egoism  and  self-seeking,  of  cowardice  and 
vanity,  of  pious  profession  and  cringing  obsequious¬ 
ness,  of  vaunted  magnanimity  and  spiteful  malice 
to  his  foes,  of  religious  scruples  and  selfish  cunning, 
points  to  a  meanness  of  conduct  which  he  was  forced 
to  assume  by  circumstances,  hut  which,  it  is  sug¬ 
gested,  was  not  an  expression  of  his  true  character. 
The  document  of  shame  was  wrung  from  him  by  his 
past.  He  might  have  been  a  reliable  historian  had  he 
not  been  called  on  to  play  a  part  in  action.  But  the 
part  he  played  was  ignoble  in  itself,  and  it  blasted 
the  whole  of  his  future  life  and  his  literary  credit.  It 
made  his  work  take  the  form  of  apology,  and  part  of 
it  bear  the  stamp  of  deliberate  falsehood.  His  be¬ 
setting  weakness  of  egoism  led  him  as  a  general  to 
betray  his  countrymen;  as  historian  of  their  struggle 
with  Rome,  to  misrepresent  their  patriotism  and  give 
a  false  picture  of  their  ideals.  Yet,  though  to  the 
Jews  of  his  own  day  he  was  a  traitor  in  life  and  a  tra- 


80 


JOSEPHUS 


ducer  in  letters,  to  the  Jews  of  later  generations  he 
appears  rather  as  a  tragic  figure,  struggling  to  repair 
his  fault  of  perfidy,  and  a  victim  to  the  forces  of  a 
hostile  civilization,  which  in  every  age  assail  his  people 
intellectually,  and  which  in  his  day  assailed  them  with 
crushing  might  physically  as  well  as  intellectually. 


IV 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS  AND  HIS  RELA¬ 
TION  TO  HIS  PREDECESSORS 

The  Jews,  though  they  are  the  most  historical  of 
peoples,  and  though  the}7  have  always  regarded  history 
as  the  surest  revelation  of  God’s  work,  have  produced 
remarkably  few  historians.  It  is  true  that  a  large  part 
of  their  sacred  literature  consists  of  the  national  an¬ 
nals,  from  the  earliest  time  to  the  restoration  of  the 
nation  after  its  first  destruction,  i.  e.  a  period  of 
more  than  two  thousand  years.  The  Book  of  Chron¬ 
icles,  as  its  name  suggests,  is  a  systematic  summary  of 
the  whole  of  that  period  and  proves  the  existence  of  the 
historical  spirit.  But  their  very  engrossment  with 
the  story  of  their  ancestors  checked  in  later  gener¬ 
ations  the  impulse  to  write  about  their  own  times. 
They  saw  contemporary  affairs  always  in  the  light  of 
the  past,  and  they  were  more  concerned  with  revealing 
the  hand  of  God  in  events  than  in  depicting  the  events 
themselves.  Thus,  during  the  whole  Persian  period, 
which  extended  over  two  hundred  years,  we  have  but 
one  historical  document,  the  Book  of  Esther,  to  ac¬ 
quaint  us  with  the  conditions  of  the  main  body  of  the 
Jewish  people.  The  fortunate  find,  a  few  years  back, 
of  a  hoard  of  Aramaic  papyri  at  Elephantine  has  given 
6 


82 


JOSEPHUS 


us  an  unexpected  acquaintance  with  the  conditions  of 
the  Jewish  colony  in  Upper  Egypt  during  the  fifth  and 
fourth  centuries,  and  furnished  a  new  chapter  in  the 
history  of  the  Diaspora.  But  this  is  an  archeological 
substitute  for  literary  history. 

The  conquest  of  the  East  by  Alexander  the  Great 
and  the  consequent  interchange  of  Hellenic  and 
Oriental  culture  gave  a  great  impulse  to  historical 
writing  among  all  peoples.  Moved  by  a  cosmopolitan 
enthusiasm,  each  nation  was  anxious  to  make  its  past 
known  to  the  others,  to  assert  its  antiquity,  and  to 
prove  that,  if  its  present  was  not  very  glorious,  it  had 
at  one  time  played  a  brilliant  part  in  civilization.  The 
Greek  people,  too,  with  their  intense  love  of  knowledge, 
were  eager  to  learn  the  ideas  and  experiences  of  the 
various  nations  and  races  who  had  now  come  into  their 
ken. 

Hence,  on  the  one  hand,  there  appeared  works  on 
universal  history  by  Greek  polymaths,  such  as  Heca- 
taeus  of  Abdera,  Theophrastus,  the  pupil  of  Aristotle, 
and  Ptolemy,  the  comrade  of  Alexander;  and,  on  the 
other  hand,  a  number  of  national  histories  were  writ¬ 
ten,  also  in  Greek,  but  by  Hellenized  natives,  such  as 
the  Chaldaica  of  Berosus,  the  Aegyptiaca  of  Manetho, 
and  the  Phoenician  chronicles  of  Dius  and  Menander. 
The  people  of  Israel  figured  incidentally  in  several  of 
these  works,  and  Manetho  went  out  of  his  way  to  in¬ 
clude  in  the  history  of  his  country  a  lying  account  of 
the  Exodus,  which  was  designed  to  hold  up  the  ances¬ 
tors  of  the  Jews  to  opprobrium.  From  the  Hellenic 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


83 


and  philosophical  writers  they  received  more  justice. 
Their  remarkable  loyalty  to  their  religion  and  their 
exalted  conception  of  the  Deity  moved  partly  the  ad¬ 
miration,  partly  the  amazement  of  these  early  encyclo¬ 
pedists,  who  regarded  them  as  a  philosophical  people 
devoted  to  a  higher  life.  The  Hellenistic  Jews  were 
led  later  by  the  sympathetic  attitude  of  Hecataeus  to 
add  to  his  history  spurious  chapters,  in  which  he  was 
made  to  deal  more  eulogistically  with  their  beliefs  and 
history,  and  they  circulated  oracles  and  poems  in 
the  names  of  fabled  seers  of  prehistoric  times — Or¬ 
pheus  and  the  Sihyl — which  conveyed  some  of  the 
religious  and  moral  teachings  of  Judaism.  Uor  were 
they  slow  to  adapt  their  own  chronicles  for  the  Greek 
world  or  to  take  their  part  in  the  literary  movement  of 
the  time.  In  Palestine,  indeed,  the  J ews  remained  de¬ 
voted  to  religious  thought,  and  never  made  history  a 
serious  interest.  But  in  Alexandria,  after  translating 
the  Scriptures  into  Greek  in  the  middle  of  the  third 
century,  they  began,  in  imitation  of  their  neighbors,  to 
embellish  their  antiquities  in  the  Greek  style,  and 
present  them  more  thoroughly  according  to  Greek 
standards  of  history. 

A  collection  of  extracts  from  the  works  of  the  Hel¬ 
lenistic  Jews  was  made  by  a  Gentile  compiler  of  the 
first  century  b.  c.  e.,  Alexander,  surnamed  Polyhistor. 
Though  his  book  has  perished,  portions  of  it  with 
fragments  of  these  extracts  have  been  preserved  in  the 
chronicles  of  the  ecclesiastical  historian  Eusebius,  who 
wrote  in  the  fourth  century  c.  E.  They  prove  the  exist- 


84 


JOSEPHUS 


ence  of  a  very  considerable  array  of  historical  writers, 
who  would  seem  to  have  been  poor  scholars  of  G-reek, 
but  ingenious  chronologists  and  apologists.  The 
earliest  of  >the  adapters,  of  whose  work  fragments  have 
been  thus  preserved  to  us,  is  one  Demetrius,  who,  in 
the  reign  of  Ptolemy  II,  at  the  end  of  the  third  century 
B.  c.  e.,  wrote  a  book  on  the  Jewish  kings.  It 
was  rather  a  chronology  than  a  connected  narrative, 
and  Demetrius  amended  the  dates  given  in  the  Bible 
according  to  a  system  of  his  own.  This  does  not 
appear  to  have  been  very  exact,  but  such  as  it  was  it 
appealed  to  J osephus,  who  in  places  follows  it  without 
question.  Chronology  was  a  matter  of  deep  import  in 
that  epoch,  because  it  was  one  of  the  most  galling  and 
frequent  charges  against  the  Jews  that  their  boasted 
antiquity  was  fictitious.  To  rebut  this  attack,  the  Jew¬ 
ish  chroniclers  elaborated  the  chronological  indica¬ 
tions  of  their  long  history,  and  brought  them  into  rela¬ 
tion  with  the  annals  of  their  neighbors. 

0  \ 

Demetrius  is  followed  by  Eupolemus  and  Artapanus, 
who  treated  the  Bible  in  a  different  fashion.  They 
freely  handled  the  Scripture  narrative,  and  methodi¬ 
cally  embellished  it  with  fictitious  additions,  for  the 
greater  glory,  as  they  intended,  of  their  people.  They 
imitated  the  ways  of  their  opponents,  and  as  these 
sought  to  decry  their  ancestors  by  malicious  inven¬ 
tion,  so  they  contrived  to  invest  them  with  fictitious 
greatness.  Eupolemus  represents  Abraham  as  the 
discoverer  of  Chaldean  astrology,  and  identifies  Enoch 
with  the  Greek  hero  Atlas,  to  whom  the  angel  of  God 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


85 


revealed  the  celestial  lore.  Elsewhere  he  inserts  into 
the  paraphrase  of  the  Book  of  Kings  a  correspondence 
between  Solomon  and  Hiram  (king  of  Tyre),  in  order 
to  show  the  Jewish  hegemony  over  the  Phoenicians. 
Artapanns,  professing  to  be  a  pagan  writer,  shows  how 
the  Egyptians  were  indebted  to  the  founders  of  Israel 
for  their  scientific  knowledge  and  their  most  prized 
institutions :  Abraham  instructed  King  Pharethothis 
in  astrology;  Joseph  taught  the  Egyptian  priests 
hieroglyphics,  and  built  the  Pyramids;  Moses  (who  is 
identified  with  the  Greek  seer  Musaeus)  not  only  con¬ 
quered  the  Ethiopians,  and  invented  ship-building 
and  philosophy,  but  taught  the  Egyptian  priests  their 
deeper  wisdom,  and  was  called  by  them  Hermes,  be¬ 
cause  of  his  skill  in  interpreting  ('E p^rjveia)  the  holy 
documents.  Fiction  fostered  fiction,  and  the  inven¬ 
tions  of  pagan  foes  stimulated  the  exaggerations  of 
Jewish  apologists.  The  fictitious  was  mixed  with  the 
true,  and  the  legendary  material  which  Artapanus 
added  to  his  history  passed  into  the  common  stock  of 
Jewish  apologetics. 

The  great  national  revival  that  followed  on  the 
Maccabean  victories  induced  both  within  and  without 
Palestine  the  composition  of  works  of  contemporary 
national  history.  For  a  period  the  Jews  were  as  proud 
of  their  present  as  of  their  past.  It  was  not  only  that 
their  princes,  like  the  kings  of  other  countries,  desired 
to  have  their  great  deeds  celebrated,  hut.  the  whole 
people  was  conscious  of  another  God-sent  deliverance 
and  of  a  clear  manifestation  of  the  Divine  Power  in 


86 


JOSEPHUS 


their  affairs,  which  must  be  recorded  for  the  benefit  of 
posterity.  The  First  Book  of  the  Maccabees,  which 
was  originally  written  in  Hebrew,  and  the  Chronicles 
of  King  John  Hyrcanus  1  bear  witness  to  this  outburst 
of  patriotic  self-consciousness  in  Palestine;  and  the 
Talmud2  contains  a  few  fragments  of  history  about 
the  reign  of  Alexander  Jannaeus,  which  may  have 
formed  part  of  a  larger  chronicle.  The  story  of  the 
Maccabean  wars  was  recorded  also  at  great  length  by 
a  Hellenistic  Jew,  Jason  of  Cyrene,  and  it  is  generally 
assumed  that  an  abridgment  of  it  has  come  down  to  us 
in  the  Second  Book  of  the  Maccabees. 

In  Palestine,  however,  the  historical  spirit  did  not 
flourish  for  long.  The  interest  in  the  universal  lesson 
prevailed  over  that  in  the  particular  fact,  and  the  tra¬ 
dition  that  was  treasured  was  not  of  political  events 
but  of  ethical  and  legal  teachings.  Moral  rather  than 
objective  truth  was  the  study  of  the  schools,  and  when 
contemporary  events  are  described,  it  is  in  a  poetical, 
rhapsodical  form,  such  as  we  find  in  the  Psalms  of 
Solomon,  which  recount  Pompey’s  invasion  of  Jerusa¬ 
lem.  The  only  historical  records  that  appear  to 
have  been  regularly  kept  are  the  lists  of  the  priests  and 
their  genealogy,  and  a  calendar  of  fasts  and  of  days  on 
which  fasting  was  prohibited  because  of  some  happy 
event  to  be  commemorated. 

JThey  are  referred  to  at  the  end  of  the  book.  Comp. 
I  Macc.  xvi.  23/. 

2Kiddushin,  66a. 

2  See  above,  p.  14. 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


87 


In  the  Diaspora,  on  the  other  hand,  and  especially  at 
Alexandria,  which  was  the  center  of  Hellenistic  Jewry, 
history  was  made  to  serve  a  practical  purpose.  It  was 
a  weapon  in  the  struggle  the  Jews  were  continually 
waging  against  their  detractors,  as  well  as  in  their 
missionary  efforts  to  spread  their  religion.  It  became 
consciously  and  essentially  apologetic,  the  end  being 
persuasion  rather  than  truth.  Fact  and  fiction  were 
inextricably  combined,  and  the  difference  between 
them  neglected. 

The  story  of  the  translation  of  the  Septuagint  by  the 
Jewish  sages  sent  to  Alexandria  at  the  invitation  of 
King  Ptolemy,  which  is  recounted  in  the  Letter  of 
Aristeas,  is  an  excellent  example  of  this  kind  of  his¬ 
tory.  It  is  decked  out  with  digressions  about  the  topo¬ 
graphy  of  Jerusalem  and  the  architecture  of  the  Tem¬ 
ple,  and  an  imaginative  display  of  Jewish  wit  and 
wisdom  at  a  royal  symposium.  The  Third  Book  of 
the  Maccabees,  which  professes  to  describe  a  persecu¬ 
tion  of  the  Jews  in  Egypt  under  one  of  the  Ptolemies, 
is  another  early  example  of  didactic  fiction  that  has 
been  preserved  to  us.  The  one  sober  historical  work 
produced  by  a  Jewish  writer  between  the  composition 
of  the  two  Books  of  the  Maccabees  and  of  the  Wars  of 
Josephus  was  the  account  given  by  Philo  of  Alex¬ 
andria  of  the  Jewish  persecutions  that  took  place  in 
the  reigns  of  Tiberius  and  Gaius.  It  was  originally 
contained  in  five  books,  of  which  only  the  second 
and  third  have  been  preserved.  They  deal  respec¬ 
tively  with  the  riots  at  Alexandria  that  took  place 


88 


JOSEPHUS 


when  Flaccns  was  governor,  and  with  the  J ewish  em¬ 
bassy  to  Gams  when  that  Emperor  issued  his  order 
that  his  image  should  be  set  up  in  the  Temple  at  Jeru¬ 
salem  and  in  the  great  synagogue  of  Alexandria.  Philo 
wrote  a  full  account  of  the  events  in  which  he  himself 
had  been  called  upon  to  play  a  part.  He  is  always 
at  pains  to  point  the  moral  and  enforce  the  lesson, 
but  his  work  has  a  definite  historical  value,  and  con¬ 
tains  many  valuable  details  about  Jewish  life  in  the 
Diaspora. 

But  if  the  Jews  were  somewhat  careless  of  the  exact 
record  of  their  history,  many  of  the  Greek  and  Roman 
historians  paid  attention  to  it,  some  specifically  for  the 
purpose  of  attacking  them,  others  incidentally  in  the 
course  of  their  comprehensive  works.  The  fashion  of 
universal  history  continued  for  some  centuries,  and 
works  of  fifty  volumes  and  over  were  more  the  rule 
than  the  exception.  These  “  elephantine  books  ”  were 
rendered  possible  because  it  was  the  fashion  for  each 
succeeding  historian  to  compile  the  results  of  his 
predecessor’s  labors,  and  adopt  it  as  part  of  his  own 
monumental  work.  Distinguished  among  this  school 
of  writers  were  Apollodorus  of  Athens,  who  in  150 
B.  c.  E.  wrote  Chronicles  containing  the  most  impor¬ 
tant  events  of  general  history  down  to  his  own  time, 
and  Polybius,  who  was  brought  as  a  prisoner  from 
Greece  to  Rome  in  145  b.  c.  e.,  and  in  his  exile  wrote 
a  history  of  the  rise  of  the  Roman  Republic,  in  the 
course  of  which  he  dealt  with  the  early  Jewish  rela¬ 
tions  with  Rome.  Then,  in  the  first  century,  there 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


89 


flourished  Posidonius  of  Apamea  (90-50  b.  c.  e.),  a 
Stoic  and  a  bitter  enemy  of  the  Jews,  who  continued 
the  work  of  Polybius  down  to  the  year  90,  and,  be¬ 
sides,  wrote  a  separate  diatribe  against  Judaism,  which 
he  regarded  as  a  misanthropic  atheism.  The  succes¬ 
sion  was  carried  on  by  Timagenes  of  Alexandria,  who 
wrote  a  very  full  history  of  the  second  and  the  first 
part  of  the  first  century. 

Among  Roman  writers  of  the  period  that  dealt  with 
general  affairs  were  Asinius  Pollio,  the  friend  of 
Herod,  and  Titus  Livius,  who,  under  the  name  of  Livy, 
has  become  the  standard  Latin  historian  for  school¬ 
boys.  Josephus  refers  to  both  of  them  as  well  as  to 
Timagenes,  Posidonius,  and  Polybius ;  but  as  there  is 
no  reason  to  think  that  he  ever  tried  to  master  the 
earlier  authorities,  it  is  probable  that  he  knew  them 
only  so  far  as  they  were  reproduced  in  his  immediate 
sources  and  his  immediate  predecessors.  The  two 
writers  whom  he  quotes  repeatedly  and  must  have 
studied  are  Strabo  of  Amasea  (in  Pontus)  and  Kich- 
olas  of  Damascus.  Strabo  was  an  author  of  remarkable 
versatility  and  industry.  Besides  his  geography,  the 
standard  work  of  ancient  times  on  the  subject,  he 
wrote  in  forty-seven  books  a  large  historical  work  on 
the  period  between  150  (where  Polybius  ended)  and 
30  B.  C.  E.  Hearly  the  whole  of  it  has  disappeared, 
but  we  can  tell  from  Josephus’  excerpts  that  he  ap¬ 
preciated  the  Jews  and  their  religion  as  did  few  other 
pagans  of  the  time.  He  dealt,  too,  at  considerable 
length  with  the  wars  of  the  Hasmonean  kings  against 


90 


JOSEPHUS 


the  Seleucids,  and  he  is  one  of  the  authorities  cited 
by  Josephus  for  the  period  between  the  accession  of 
John  Hyrcanus  and  the  overthrow  of  Antigonus  II 
by  Herod.  The  Jewish  historian  follows  still  more 
closely,  and  in  many  places  probably  reproduces,  Nich¬ 
olas,  who  was  the  court  historian  of  Herod.  Nicholas 
was  a  man  of  remarkable  versatility.  He  played  many 
parts  at  Herod’s  court,  as  diplomatist,  advocate,  and 
minister.  He  was  a  poet  and  philosopher  of  some 
repute,  and  he  wrote  a  general  history  in  forty-four 
books.  In  the  first  eight  books  he  dealt  with  the 
early  annals  of  the  Assyrians,  the  Greeks,  the  Medes, 
and  the  Persians.  Josephus,  who  took  him  for  his 
chief  guide  after  the  Bible,  often  reproduces  from  him 
comparative  passages  to  the  Scripture  story  which  he 
is  paraphrasing.  And  for  the  later  period  of  the 
Antiquities,  from  the  time  of  Antiochus  the  Great  (ab. 
200  B.  C.  E.),  he  depends  on  him  largely  for  the  com¬ 
parative  Hellenistic  history,  which  he  brings  into  rela¬ 
tion  with  the  story  of  the  Hasmoneans.  When  he 
comes  to  the  epoch  of  Herod,  the  disproportionate  ful¬ 
ness,  the  vivacity,  and  the  dramatic  power  of  the  nar¬ 
rative  in  books  xiv-xvi  of  the  Antiquities  are  due 
in  a  large  measure  to  the  historical  virtues  of  the  court 
chronicler.  We  can  tell  how  far  this  is  the  case  by  the 
immediate  and  marked  deterioration  of  the  narrative 
when  Josephus  proceeds  to  the  reigns  of  Archelaus  and 
Agrippa — where  Nicholas  failed  him. 

Among  Roman  writers  of  his  own  day  whom  Jose¬ 
phus  used  was  the  Emperor  Vespasian  himself,  who. 


THE  WOEKS  OE  JOSEPHUS 


91 


to  record  his  exploits,  wrote  Commentaries  on  the 
J ewish  War,  which  were  placed  at  his  client’s  disposal.1 
In  the  competition  of  flattery  that  greeted  the  new 
Flavian  dynasty,  various  Eoman  writers  described  and 
celebrated  the  Jewish  campaigns.2  Among  them  were 
Antonius  Julianus,  who  was  on  the  staff  of  Vespasian 
and  Titus  throughout  the  war,  and  at  the  end  of  it  was 
appointed  procurator  of  Judea;  Valerius  Flaccus,  who 
burst  into  ecstatic  hexameters  over  the  burning  of  the 
Temple;  and  Tacitus,  the  most  brilliant  of  all  Latin 
historians.  Besides  these  writers’  works,  which  have 
come  down  to  us  more  or  less  complete,  a  number  of 
memoirs  and  histories  of  the  war  appeared,  some  by 
those  who  wrote  on  hearsay,  others  by  men  who  had 
taken  some  part  in  the  campaigns.  It  was  an  age  of 
literary  dilettantism,  when  nearly  everybody  wrote 
books  who  knew  how  to  write ;  and  in  the  drab  monot¬ 
ony  of  Eoman  supremacy,  the  triumph  over  the  Jews, 
which  had  placed  the  Flavian  house  on  the  throne,  was 
a  happy  opportunity  for  ambitious  authors. 

It  has  been  suggested  that  the  Eoman  point  of  view 
that  pervades  the  Wars  of  Josephus,  the  frequent  ab¬ 
sence  of  sympathy  with  the  Jewish  cause,  and  the  in¬ 
congruous  pagan  ideas,  which  surprise  us,  can  be  ex¬ 
plained  by  the  fact  that  the  Jewish  writer  founded  his 
account  on  that  of  Antonius  Julianus,  which  is  re¬ 
ferred  to  by  the  Christian  apologist  Minucius  3  as  a 
standard  authority  on  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem. 


1  Vita,  68. 


JC.  Ap.  9-10. 


3  Epist.  ad  Octav.  33. 


92 


JOSEPHUS 


Antonius  is  mentioned  by  Josephus  as  one  of  the 
Eoman  staff  who  gave  his  opinion  in  favor  of  the  burn¬ 
ing  of  the  Temple,  and  he  has  also  been  ingeniously 
identified  with  the  Eoman  general  (called 
oroiD'JJx)  who  engaged  in  controversy  with  Eabbi 
Johanan  ben  Zakkai.1  The  evidence  in  favor  of  the 
theory  is  examined  more  fully  later;  but  whether  or 
not  the  history  of  Antonius  was  the  main  source  of  the 
Wars ,  it  is  certain  that  Josephus  had  before  him  Gen¬ 
tile  accounts  of  the  struggle,  and  he  often  slavishly 
adopted  not  only  their  record  of  facts  but  their  ex¬ 
pressions  of  opinion.  In  point  of  time  Tacitus  might 
have  derived  from  Josephus  his  summary  of  the  Jew¬ 
ish  Wars,  part  of  which  has  come  down  to  us,  and 
on  some  points  the  Jewish  and  the  Eoman  authors 
agree ;  but  the  correspondence  is  to  be  explained  more 
readily  by  the  use  of  a  common  source  by  both  writers. 
It  is  unlikely  that  the  haughty  patrician,  who  hated 
and  despised  the  J ews,  and  who  had  no  love  of  research, 
turned  to  a  Jewish  chronicle  for  his  information,  when 
he  had  a  number  of  Eoman  and  Greek  authors  to  pro¬ 
vide  him  with  food  for  his  epigrams. 

One  other  writer  on  contemporary  Jewish  history  to 
whom  Josephus  refers  as  an  author,  not  indeed  in  the 
Wars,  but  in  his  Life,  was  Justus  of  Tiberias.  Unfor¬ 
tunately  we  have  to  depend  almost  entirely  on  a  hostile 
rival’s  spitefulness  and  malice  for  our  knowledge  of 

^er.  Sanhedrin,  i.  4.  Comp.  Schlatter,  Zur  Topo- 
graphie  und  Geschichte  Palastinas,  pp.  97/^. 


THE  WOEKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


93 


Justus.  He  did  not  produce  his  work  on  the  wars  till 
after  Josephus  had  established  his  reputation,  and 
part  of  his  object,  it  is  alleged,  was  to  blacken  the  char¬ 
acter  and  destroy  the  repute  of  his  rival.  The  conduct 
of  Justus  in  the  Galilean  campaign  had  been  little 
more  creditable  than  that  of  Josephus — that  is,  if  the 
latter’s  account  may  be  believed  at  all.  He  had  been 
a  leader  of  the  Zealot  party  in  Tiberias,  and  had  roused 
the  people  of  that  city  against  the  double-dealing  com¬ 
mander  ;  but  on  the  breakdown  of  the  revolt  he  entered 
the  service  of  Agrippa  II.  He  fell  into  disgrace,  but 
was  pardoned.  Some  twenty-four  years  after  the  war 
was  over  he  wrote  a  History  of  the  Jewish  Kings  and 
a  History  of  the  War.  It  is  difficult  to  form  any  judg¬ 
ment  of  the  work,  because,  apart  from  the  abuse  of 
Josephus,  the  criticism  we  have  comes  merely  from 
ecclesiastical  historians,  who  imbibed  Josephus’  per¬ 
sonal  enmity  as  though  it  were  the  pure  milk  of  truth. 
Eusebius  and  Jerome 1 2  accuse  him  of  having  distorted 
Jewish  affairs  to  suit  his  personal  ends  and  of  having 
been  convicted  by  Josephus  of  falsehood.  His  chief 
crime  in  their  eyes  and  the  reason  for  the  disappear¬ 
ance  of  his  work  are  that  he  did  not  mention  any  of  the 
events  connected  with  the  foundation  of  the  Christian 
Church,  and  had  not  the  good  fortune  to  be  interpo¬ 
lated,  as  Josephus  was,  with  a  passage  about  Jesus.* 
Hence  Photius  says  that  he  passed  over  many  of  the 

1  Hist..  Eccl.  III.  x.  8;  De  Viris  Illustr.  14. 

2  See  below,  pp.  241  ff. 


94 


JOSEPHUS 


most  important  occurrences.1  We  know  of  him  now 
only  by  the  charges  of  Josephus  and  a  few  discon¬ 
nected  fragments. 

Coming  now  to  the  works  of  Josephus,  his  prefaces 
give  a  full  account  of  his  historical  motives.  He  origin¬ 
ally  wrote  seven  books  on  the  Wars  with  Rome  in 
Aramaic  for  the  benefit  of  his  own  countrymen.  He 
was  induced  to  translate  them  into  Greek  because  his 
predecessors  had  given  false- accounts,  either  out  of  a 
desire  to  flatter  the  Romans  or  out  of  hatred  to  the 
Jews.  He  claims  that  his  own  work  is  a  true  and 
careful  narrative  of  the  events  that  he  had  witnessed 
with  his  own  eyes  and  had  special  opportunities  of 
studying  accurately.  “  The  writings  of  my  prede¬ 
cessors  contain  sometimes  slanders,  sometimes  eulo¬ 
gies,  but  nowhere  the  accurate  truth  of  the  facts.”  He 
goes  on  to  complain  of  the  way  in  which  they  belittle 
the  action  of  the  Jews  in  order  to  aggrandize  the 
Romans,  which  defeats  its  own  purpose;  and  he  con¬ 
trasts  the  merit  of  one  W'ho  composes  by  his  own  in¬ 
dustry  a  history  of  events  not  hitherto  faithfully  re¬ 
corded,  with  the  more  popular  and  the  easier  fashion 
of  writing  a  fresh  history  of  a  period  already  fully 
treated,  by  changing  the  order  and  disposition  of  other 
men’s  works.  He  iterates  his  determination  to  record 
only  historical  facts,  and  says,  “  It  is  superfluous  for 
me  to  write  about  the  Antiquities  [ i .  e.  the  early  his¬ 
tory]  of  the  Jews,  because  many  before  me,  both 
among  my  own  people  and  the  Greeks,  have  composed 


1  Bibl.  Cod.  33. 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


95 


the  histories  of  our  ancestors  very  exactly.” 1  By  the 
Antiquities  he  means  the  Bible  narrative.  He  proposes 
therefore  to  begin  where  the  Bible  ends  and,  after  a 
brief  survey  of  the  events  before  his  own  age,  to  give 
a  full  account  of  the  great  Rebellion.  Josephus  falls 
short  of  his  promise.  Many  of  the  shortcomings  he 
pointed  to  in  his  predecessors  are  glaringly  present 
in  his  work.  Nor  is  it  probable  that  his  profession  of 
having  taken  notes  on  the  spot  is  true.  At  the  time  of 
the  siege  of  J erusalem  he  had  no  literary  pretensions, 
and  it  is  unlikely  that  he  contemplated  the  writing  of 
a  history.  It  has  been  pointed  out  that  his  account  is 
much  more  accurate  in  regard  to  events  in  which  he 
did  not  take  part  than  in  regard  to  those  in  which  he 
assisted. 

In  the  first  book  and  the  greater  part  of  the  second, 
where  he  is  taken  up  with  the  preliminary  introduc¬ 
tion,  he  had  ample  sources  before  him,  and  his  func¬ 
tions  were  only  to  abstract  and  compile ;  but  when  he 
comes  to  the  final  struggle  with  Rome,  he  would  have 
us  believe  that  he  depended  mainly  on  his  independent 
knowledge.  Recent  investigation  has  thrown  grave 
doubts  on  his  claim,  and  has  suggested  that  with 
Josephus  it  is  true  that  “  once  a  compiler,  always  a 
compiler.”  The  habit  of  direct  copying  from  the 
works  of  predecessors  was  fixed  in  the  literary  ethics 
of  the  day.  In  company  with  most  of  the  historians 

1 B.  J„  Preface.  The  Greek  name  Archaeologia  is  regu¬ 
larly  rendered  by  Antiquities ,  but  it  means  simply  the 
early  history. 


96 


JOSEPHUS 


of  antiquity  he  introduces  his  general  ideas  upon  the 
inarch  of  events  in  the  form  of  addresses,  which  he 
puts  into  the  mouth  of  the  chief  characters  at  critical 
moments.  Here  he  is  free  to  invent  and  intrude  his 
own  opinions,  and  here  he  almost  unfailingly  adopts 
a  Eoman  attitude.  The  work,  in  fact,  bears  the  char¬ 
acter  of  official  history,  and  has  all  the  partiality 
of  that  form  of  literature.  Titus,  as  the  author 
proudly  recalls,  subscribed  his  own  hand  to  it,  and 
ordered  that  it  should  be  published,  and  King  Agrippa 
wrote  a  glowing  testimonial  to  it  in  the  most  ap¬ 
proved  style.1  It  was  accepted  in  Eome  as  the  stand¬ 
ard  work  upon  the  Jewish  struggle.  Patronage  may 
have  saved  literature  at  certain  epochs,  but  it  always 
undermines  the  feeling  of  truth.  It  is  not  improbable 
that  a  juster  appreciation  of  events  was  contained  in 
the  original  writings  of  Josephus,  but  was  corrected  at 
the  order  of  the  royal  traitor  or  the  Imperial  master, 
to  whom  he  perforce  submitted  them. 

If  in  the  Wars  Josephus  assumes  the  air  of  a  scien¬ 
tific  historian,  in  the  Antiquities  he  is  more  openly  the 
apologist.  Despite  his  professions  in  the  preface  of 
the  earlier  work,  he  seems  to  have  found  it  necessary  or 
expedient  to  give  to  Greco-Eoman  society  a  fresh  ac¬ 
count  of  the  ancestry  and  the  early  history  of  his 
people  and  of  the  constitution  of  their  government. 
The  Eoman  Archaeologia  of  Dionysius  of  Halicarnas¬ 
sus,  who  fifty  years  earlier  had  written  in  twenty  books 


1  C.  Ap.  8.  See  below,  p.  221. 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


97 


the  early  events  of  Rome,  probably  suggested  the  divi¬ 
sion  and  the  name  of  the  work.  He  issued  it  after 
the  death  of  his  protector,  in  the  thirteenth  year  of  the 
reign  of  Domitian  and  in  the  fifty-sixth  year  of  his 
own  life.1  In  the  preface,  inconsistently  with  the 
statement  in  the  earlier  work,  he  declares  that  he 
intended  from  the  beginning  to  write  this  apology  of 
his  people,  but  was  deterred  for  a  time  by  the  magni¬ 
tude  of  the  labor  of  translating  the  history  into  an  un¬ 
accustomed  tongue.  He  ascribes  the  impulse  to  carry  v 
out  the  task  to  the  encouragement  of  his  patron 
Epaphroditus  and  of  his  other  friends  at  Rome.  It 
probably  came  also  from  his  circumstances  at  Rome 
and  the  necessity  of  refuting  calumnies  made  against 
him  on  account  of  his  race  and  religion.  And  with 
all  his  weaknesses  and  failings  he  was  not  lacking  in  a 
feeling  of  national  pride,  which  must  have  moved  him 
to  defend  his  people. 

Following  on  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  a  pas¬ 
sion  of  mixed  hatred  and  contempt  against  the  Jews 
moved  the  Roman  nobility  and  the  Roman  masses. 
The  Flavian  court,  representing  the  middle  classes, 
by  no  means  shared  the  feeling,  and  indeed  the  infatu¬ 
ation  of  Titus  for  the  Jewish  princess  Berenice,  the 
sister  of  Agrippa,  was  one  of  the  scandals  that  most 
stirred  the  anger  of  the  Romans.  But  the  nobles  hated 
those  who  had  obstinately  fought  against  the  Roman 
armies  for  four  years,  and  scorned  those  whose  God 

1  Ant.  XX.  xi.  3. 

7 


98 


JOSEPHUS 


had  not  saved  them  from  ruin.  At  the  same  time 
Jewish  persistence  after  defeat  and  the  continuance  of 
Jewish  missionary  activity  offended  the  majesty  of 
Rome,  which,  though  tolerant  of  foreign  religious 
ideas,  was  accustomed  not  merely  to  the  physical  sub¬ 
mission  of  her  enemies,  but  to  their  cultural  and  intel¬ 
lectual  abasement.  The  hatred  and  scorn  were  fanned 
by  a  tribe  of  scribblers,  who  heaped  distortion  on  the 
history  and  practices  of  the  Jewish  people.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  proselytes  to  Judaism,  “  the  fearers  of 
God,”  who  accepted  part  of  its  teaching — and  in  the 
utter  collapse  of  pagan  religion  and  morality  they 
were  many — desired  to  know  something  of  the  past 
grandeur  of  the  nation,  and  doubtless  were  anxious 
to  justify  themselves  to  those  who  regarded  their 
adoption  of  Jewish  customs  as  an  utter  degrada¬ 
tion.  For  those  who  mocked  at  him  as  a  renegade 
member  of  a  wretched  people,  which  consisted  of  the 
scum  of  the  earth,  which  harbored  all  kinds  of  low 
superstition,  and  which  fostered  inhumanity  and  mis¬ 
anthropy,  and  for  those  who  looked  to  him  as  the  ac¬ 
credited  exponent  of  Judaism  and  the  writer  most 
able  to  set  it  in  a  favorable  light,  Josephus  wrote  the 
twenty  books  of  his  Antiquities. 

The  work  differed  from  all  previous  apologies  for 
Judaism  in  its  completeness  and  its  historical  char¬ 
acter.  Philo  had  sought  to  recommend  Judaism  as  a 
philosophical  religion,  and  had  interpreted  the  Torah 
as  the  law  of  Nature.  Josephus  was  concerned  not  so 
much  with  Judaism  as  with  the  Jews.  He  seeks  to 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


99 


show,  by  his  abstract  of  historical  records,  that  his 
people  had  a  long  and  honorable  past,  and  that  they 
had  had  intercourse  with  ancient  empires,  and  had 
been  esteemed  even  by  the  Romans.  The  Antiquities 
comprised  a  summary  of  the  whole  of  Jewish  history, 
as  well  that  which  was  set  out  in  the  books  of  the  Bible 
as  that  which  had  taken  place  in  the  post-Biblical 
period  down  to  his  own  day.  Some  of  his  predecessors 
had  elaborated  only  the  former  part  of  the  story,  and 
that,  it  is  probable,  not  nearly  so  fully  as  Josephus. 
He  claims  not  to  have  added  to  or  diminished  from 
the  record  of  Scripture.  Though  neither  part  of  the 
claim  can  be  upheld,  he  does  undoubtedly  give  a  toler¬ 
able  account  of  the  Bible  so  far  as  it  is  an  historical 
narrative.  The  finer  spirit  of  the  Bible,  even  in  its 
narrative  parts,  its  deep  spiritual  teaching,  its  simple 
grandeur,  its  arresting  sincerity,  he  was  utterly  unable 
to  impart.  In  style,  too,  his  Greek  falls  immeasurably 
below  the  original.  We  feel  as  we  read  his  abstract 
with  its  omissions  and  additions 

The  little  more  and  how  much  it  is; 

The  little  less  and  what  miles  away. 

His  is  a  mediocre  transcription,  which  replaces  the 
naivete,  the  rapidity,  the  unaffected  beauty  of  the 
Hebrew,  with  the  rhetoric,  the  sophistication,  and  the 
exaggerated  overstatement  of  the  Greek  writing  of  his 
own  time.  Impressiveness  for  him  is  regularly  en¬ 
hanced  by  inaccuracy.  His  own  or  his  assumed  mate¬ 
rialistic  fatalism  lowers  the  God  of  the  Bible  to  a 
Power  which  materially  rewards  the  righteous  and 


100 


JOSEPHUS 


punishes  the  wicked.  In  this  immediate  retribution 
lie  finds  the  surest  sign  of  Divine  Providence,  and  it  is 
this  lesson  which  he  is  most  anxious  to  assert  through¬ 
out  his  work.  But  he  is  at  pains  to  dispel  the  idea 
of  a  special  Providence  for  Israel.  The  material 
power  of  Pome  made  him  desert  in  life  the  Jewish 
cause;  the  material  thought  of  Pome  made  him  dis¬ 
simulate  in  literature  the  full  creed  of  Judaism. 

The  second  part  of  the  Antiquities  is  a  more  am¬ 
bitious  piece  of  work.  The  compiler  brings  together 
all  that  he  could  find,  in  Jewish  and  Gentile  sources, 
about  Jewish  history  from  the  time  of  the  Babylonian 
captivity  to  the  outbreak  of  the  war  against  Rome. 
And  he  was  apparently  the  first  of  his  people  to  utilize 
the  Greek  historians  systematically  in  this  fashion. 
There  are  long  periods  as  to  the  incidents  of  which  he 
was  at  a  loss.  Without  possessing  the  ability  or  desire 
for  research,  he  is  not  above  confounding  the  chro¬ 
nology  and  perverting  the  succession  of  events  to  cover 
up  a  gap.  But  he  does  contrive  to  produce  a  con¬ 
nected  narrative  and  to  provide  some  kind  of  continu¬ 
ous  chronicle.  And  for  this  service  he  is  not  lightly 
to  be  esteemed.  Without  him  we  should  know  scarcely 
anything  of  the  external  history  of  the  Jewish  people 
for  three  centuries.  In  style  the  last  ten  books  vary 
remarkably.  It  depends  almost  entirely  on  his  source 
whether  the  narrative  is  dull  and  monotonous  or  lively 
and  dramatic.  Where,  for  example,  he  is  transcribing 
Nicholas  and  another  historian  of  the  period,  he  suc¬ 
ceeds  in  presenting  a  picture  of  Herod  that  has  a 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHS  ..  101 

C  »*  ®  c 

i-e 

certain  psychological  value.  Where,  on  the  other 
hand,  he  has  had  to  trust  largely  to  scattered  notes, 
as  in  the  record  of  Herod’s  successors,  his  history  is 
little  better  than  a  miscellany  of  disjointed  passages. 
He  lacks  throughout  a  true  sense  of  proportion,  and 
for  the  deeper  aspects  of  history  he  has  no  perception. 
He  does  not  show  in  spite  of  his  Jewish  training  the 
slightest  appreciation  of  the  spiritual  power  of  Juda¬ 
ism  or  of  the  divine  purpose  illustrating  itself  in  the 
rise  and  fall  of  nations.  His  conception  of  history  is  a 
biography  of  might,  tempered  by  occasional  manifesta¬ 
tions  of  divine  retribution.  The  concrete  event  is  the 
important  thing,  and  of  culture  and  literature  he  says 
scarcely  a  word.  His  occasional  moral  reflections  are 
on  a  mediocre  plane  and  not  true  to  the  finer  spirit 
of  Judaism.  He  is  consciously  or  unconsciously 
obsessed  by  the  power  of  Rome,  and  makes  little  at¬ 
tempt  to  inculcate  the  higher  moral  outlook  of  his 
people.  In  soul,  too,  he  is  Romanized.  He  admires 
above  all  material  power ;  he  exhibits  material  concep¬ 
tions  of  Providence;  he  looks  always  for  material 
causes.  Altogether  the  Antiquities  is  a  work  invalu¬ 
able  for  its  material,  but  a  somewhat  soulless  book. 

Josephus  conveys  more  of  the  spirit  of  Judaism  in 
his  two  books  commonly  entitled  Against  Apion , 
which  are  professedly  apologetic.  They  were  written 
after  the  Antiquities,  and  further  emphasize  two 
points  on  which  he  had  dwelt  in  that  work :  the  great 
age  of  the  Jewish  people  and  the  excellence  of  the 
Jewish  law.  He  was  anxious  to  refute  those  detractors 


102 


.JOSEPHUS 


■  \yho,  despite  the  publication  of  his  history,  still  con¬ 
tinued  to  spread  grotesquely  false  accounts  of  Israel’s 
origin  and  Israel’s  religious  teachings;  and  he  wrote 
here  with  more  spirit  and  with  more  conviction  than 
in  his  earlier  elaborate  works.  He  has  no  longer  to 
accommodate  himself  to  the  vanity  of  a  Eoman  Empe¬ 
ror,  or  to  distort  events  so  as  to  glorify  his  nation  or 
to  excuse  his  own  conduct.  He  is  able  for  once  to  set 
out  his  idea  wholeheartedly,  and  he  shows  that,  if  he 
had  few  of  the  qualities  required  for  a  great  histo¬ 
rian,  he  had  several  of  the  talents  of  an  apologist.  His 
own  calculated  misrepresentation  of  his  people  in  their 
last  struggle  would  have  afforded  an  opponent  the  best 
reply  to  his  apology.  In  itself  that  apology  was  an 
effective  summary  of  Judaism  for  his  own  times,  and 
parts  of  it  have  a  permanent  value.  For  seventeen 
centuries  it  remained  the  sole  direct  answer  from  the 
JeAvish  side  to  the  calumnies  of  the  enemies  of  the 
J  ews. 

The  last  extant  work  of  Josephus  was  the  Life ,  of 
which  we  have  already  treated,  and  it  were  better  to 
say  little  more.  It  was  provoked  by  the  publication  of 
the  History  of  Justus,  which  had  accused  Josephus  and 
the  Galileans  of  having  been  the  authors  of  the  sedition 
against  the  Komans.1  Josephus  retorts  that,  before  he 
was  appointed  governor,  Justus  and  the  people  of  Ti¬ 
berias  had  attacked  the  Greek  cities  of  the  Decapolis 
and  the  dominions  of  Agrippa,  as  was  witnessed  in  the 
Commentaries  of  Vespasian.  Not  content  with  this 


1  Vita,  65. 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


103 


crime,  Justus  had  failed  to  surrender  to  the  Romans 
till  they  appeared  before  Tiberias.  Having  charged  his 
rival  with  being  a  better  patriot  than  himself,1  Jose¬ 
phus  proceeds  to  argue  that  he  was  a  worse  historian : 
Justus  could  not  describe  the  Galilean  campaign,  be¬ 
cause  during  the  war  he  was  at  Berytus;  he  took  no 
part  in  the  siege  of  Jerusalem,  and,  less  privileged 
than  his  rival,  he  had  not  read  the  Commentaries  of 
Caesar,  and  in  fact  often  contradicted  them.  Con¬ 
scious  of  this  weakness,  he  had  not  ventured  to  publish 
his  account  till  the  chief  actors  in  the  story,  Vespasian, 
Titus,  and  Agrippa,  had  died,  though  his  books  had 
been  written  some  twenty  years  before  they  were  is¬ 
sued.  But  in  his  pains  to  gainsay  Justus  and  his  own 
patriotism,  such  as  it  was,  Josephus,  as  has  been 
noticed,  gives  an  account  of  his  doings  in  Galilee  that 
is  often  at  complete  variance  with  his  statements  in 
the  Wars.  The  Life,  in  fact,  is  untrustworthy  history 
and  unsuccessful  apology. 

At  the  end  of  the  Antiquities  Josephus  declares 
his  intention  to  write  three  books  concerning  the 
Jewish  doctrines  “about  God  and  His  essence,  and 
concerning  the  laws,  why  some  things  are  permitted, 
and  others  are  prohibited.”  In  the  preface  to  the 
same  work,  as  well  as  in  various  passages  in  its  course, 
he  refers  to  his  intention  to  write  on  the  philo¬ 
sophical  meaning  of  the  Mosaic  legislation.  The 

1  Justus,  no  doubt,  had  done  the  converse,  represent¬ 
ing  himself  as  a  thorough  Romanizer  and  Josephus  as  an 
ardent  rebel. 


104 


JOSEPHUS 


Looks  entitled  Against  Apion  correspond  neither  in 
number  nor  in  content  to  this  plan,  and  we  must 
therefore  assume  that  he  never  carried  it  out.  He 
may  have  intended  to  abstract  the  commentary  of 
Philo  upon  the  Law,  which  he  had  doubtless  come  to 
know.  Certainly  he  shows  no  traces  of  deeper  alle¬ 
gorical  lore  in  the  extant  works,  and  his  mind  was 
hardly  given  to  such  speculations.  But  a  humani¬ 
tarian  and  universalistic  explanation  of  the  Mosaic 
code,  such  as  his  predecessor  had  composed,  notably  in 
his  Life  of  Moses,  would  have  been  quite  in  his  way, 
and  would  have  rounded  off  his- presentation  of  the 
past  and  present  history  of  the  Jews.  The  need  of 
replying  to  his  personal  enemies  and  the  detractors  of 
his  nation  deterred  him  perhaps  from  achieving  this 
part  of  his  scheme.  Or,  if  it  was  written,  the  Christ¬ 
ian  scribes,  who  preserved  his  other  works,  may  have 
suppressed  it  because  it  did  not  harmonize  with  their 
ideas. 

Photius  ascribes  to  Josephus  a  work  on  The  Uni¬ 
verse,  or  The  Cause  of  the  Universe^v-epl  Aqs  tcu  ttcIvtos 
ahtas ) ,  which  is  extant,  but  which  is  demonstrably 
of  Christian  origin,  and  was  probably  written  by 
Hippolytus,  an  ecclesiastical  writer  of  the  third  cen¬ 
tury  and  the  author  of  Philosophumena.  Another 
work  attributed  to  Josephus  in  the  Hark  and  Middle 
Ages,  and  often  attached  to  manuscripts  of  the  An¬ 
tiquities,  is  the  sermon  on  The  Sovereignty  of  Reason, 
which  is  commonly  known  as  the  Fourth  Book  of  the 
Maccabees.  The  book  is  a  remarkable  example  of  the 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


105 


use  of  Greek  philosophical  ideas  to  confirm  the  Jewish 
religion.  That  the  Mosaic  law  is  the  rule  of  written 
reason  is  the  main  theme,  and  it  is  illustrated  by  the 
story  of  the  martyrs  during  the  persecution  of  Antio- 
chus  Epiphanes,  whence  the  book  takes  its  title.  In 
particular,  the  author  points  to  the  ethical  significance 
underlying  the  dietary  laws,  of  which  he  says  in  a 
remarkable  passage : 

When  we  long  for  fishes  and  fowls  and  fourfooted  ani¬ 
mals  and  every  kind  of  food  that  is  forbidden  to  us  by 
the  Law,  it  is  through  the  mastery  of  pious  reason  that  we 
abstain  from  them.  For  the  affections  and  appetites  are 
restrained  and  turned  into  another  direction  by  the 
sobriety  of  the  mind,  and  all  the  movements  of  the  body 
are  kept  in  check  by  pious  reason. 

Again,  of  the  Law  as  a  whole  he  says : 

It  teaches  us  temperance,  so  that  we  master  our  pleas¬ 
ures  and  desires,  and  it  exercises  us  in  fortitude,  so  that 
we  willingly  undergo  every  toil.  And  it  instructs  us  in 
justice,  so  that  in  all  our  behavior  we  give  what  is  due, 
and  it  teaches  us  to  be  pious,  so  that  we  worship  the  only 
living  God  in  the  manner  becoming.  His  greatness. 

Freudenthal  has  conclusively  disposed  of  the  theory 
that  Josephus  was  the  author  of  this  work.1  Neither 
in  language,  nor  in  style,  nor  in  thought,  has  it  a 
resemblance  to  his  authentic  works.  Nor  was  he  the 
man  to  write  anonymously.  It  reveals,  indeed,  a  mas¬ 
tery  of  the  arts  of  Greek  rhetoric,  such  as  the  Palestin- 

1  Freudenthal,  Die  Flavius  Josephus  beigelegte  Schrift 
fiber  die  Herrschaft  der  Yernunft,  1879. 


106 


JOSEPHUS 


ian  soldier  who  learnt  Greek  only  late  in  life,  and  who 
required  the  help  of  friends  to  correct  his  syntax, 
could  never  have  acquired.  It  reveals,  too,  a  knowl¬ 
edge  of  the  technical  terms  of  the  Stoic  philosophy  and 
a  general  grasp  of  Greek  philosophy  quite  beyond  the 
writer  of  the  Antiquities  and  the  Wars.  Lastly,  it 
breathes  a  wholehearted  love  for  J udaism  and  a 
national  ardor  to  which  the  double-dealing  defender 
of  Galilee  and  the  client  of  the  Eoman  court  could 
hardly  have  aspired. 

The  genuine  works  of  Josephus  reveal  him  not  as 
a  philosopher  or  sturdy  preacher  of  J  udaism,  but  as  an 
apologetic  historian  and  apologist,  distinguished  in 
either  field  rather  for  his  industry  and  his  ingenuity 
in  using  others’  works  than  by  any  original  excellence. 
He  learnt  from  the  Greeks  and  Romans  the  external 
manner  of  systematic  history,  and  in  this  he  stood 
above  his  J ewish  predecessors.  He  learnt  from  them 
also  the  arts  of  mixing  false  with  true,  of  invention, 
of  exaggeration,  of  the  suggestion  of  the  bad  and  the 
suppression  of  the  good  motive.  He  was  a  sophist 
rather  than  a  sage,  and  circumstances  compelled  him 
to  be  a  court  chronicler  rather  than  a  national  his¬ 
torian.  And  while  he  acquired  something  of  the  art 
of  historical  writing  from  his  models,  he  lost  the  in¬ 
tuitive  synthesis  of  the  Jewish  attitude,  which  saw  the 
working  of  God’s  moral  law  in  all  human  affairs.  On 
the  other  hand,  certain  defects  of  his  history  may  be 
ascribed  to  lack  of  training  and  to  the  spirit  of  the  age. 
He  had  scant  notion  of  accuracy,  he  made  no  independ- 


THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 


107 


ent  research  into  past  events,  and  he  was  unconscion¬ 
able  in  chronology.  In  his  larger  works  he  is  for  the 
most  part  a  translator  and  compiler  of  the  work  of 
others,  but  he  has  some  claim  to  originality  of  design 
and  independence  of  mind  in  the  books  against  Apion. 
The  times  were  out  of  joint  for  a  writer  of  his  caliber. 
For  the  greater  part  of  his  literary  life,  perhaps  for 
the  whole,  he  was  not  free  to  write  what  he  thought 
and  felt,  and  he  wrote  for  an  alien  public,  which  could 
not  rise  to  an  understanding  of  the  deeper  ideas  of  his 
people’s  history.  But  this  much  at  least  may  be  put 
down  to  his  credit,  that  he  lived  to  atone  for  the  mis¬ 
representation  of  the  heroic  struggle  of  the  Jews  with 
the  Romans  by  preserving  some  record  of  many  dark 
pages  in  their  history  and  by  refuting  the  calumnies 
of  the  Hellenistic  vituperators  about  their  origin  and 
their  religious  teachings. 


I 


y 

THE  JEWISH  WAES 

'i 

The  first  work  of  Josephus  as  man  of  letters  was  the 
history  of  the  wars  of  the  Jews  against  the  Eomans,  for 
which,  according  to  his  own  statement,  he  prepared 
from  the  time  of  his  surrender  by  taking  copious  notes 
of  the  events  which  he  witnessed.  He  completed  it  in 
the  fortieth  year  of  his  life  and  dedicated  it  to  Ves¬ 
pasian.1  He  seems  originally  to  have  designed  the 
record  of  the  struggle  for  the  purpose  of  persuading 
his  brethren  in  the  East  that  it  was  useless  to  fight 
further  against  the  Eomans.  He  desired  to  prove  to 
them  that  God  was  on  the  side  of  the  big  battalions, 
and  that  the  Jews  had  forfeited  His  protection  by 
their  manifold  transgressions.  The  Zealots  were  as 
wicked  as  they  were  misguided,  and  to  follow  them  was 
to  march  to  certain  ruin.  It  is  not  unlikely  that 
Josephus  was  commissioned  by  Titus  to  compose  his 
version  of  the  war  for  the  “  Upper  Barbarians,”  whose 
rising  in  alliance  with  the  Parthians  might  have 
troubled  the  conqueror  of  Jerusalem,  as  it  afterwards 
troubled  Trajan.  But,  save  that  it  was  written  in 
Aramaic,  we  cannot  tell  the  form  of  the  original  his¬ 
tory,  since  it  has  entirely  disappeared. 

Josephus  says  in  the  preface  to  the  extant  Greek 
books  that  he  translated  into  Greek  the  account  he  had 
already  written.  But  he  certainly  did  much  more  than 


1 B.  J.  VII.  xv.  8. 


THE  JEWISH  WAES 


109 


translate.  The  whole  trend  of  the  narrative  and  the 
‘purpose  must  have  been  changed  when  he  came  to 
present  the  events  for  a  Greco-Boman  audience.  He 
was  concerned  less  to  instil  respect  for  Borne  in  his 
countrymen  than  to  inspire  regard  for  his  countrymen 
in  the  Bomans,  and  at  the  same  time  to  show  that  the 
Eebellion  was  not  the  deliberate  wrork  of  the  whole 
people,  but  due  to  the  instigation  of  a  band  of  desper¬ 
ate,  unscrupulous  fanatics.  He  wras  concerned  also  to 
show  that  God,  the  vanquished  Jewish  God,  as  the 
Bomans  would  regard  Him,  had  allowed  the  ruin  of 
His  people,  not  because  He  was  powerless  to  preserve 
them,  but  because  they  had  sinned  against  His  law. 
Lastly,  he  was  anxious  to  emphasize  the  military 
virtue  and  the  magnanimity  of  his  patrons  Vespasian 
and  Titus.  He  intersperses  frequent  protests  in  va¬ 
rious  parts  of  the  seven  books,  and  repeats  them  in  the 
preface,  to  the  effect  that  while  his  predecessors  had 
written  “  sophistically,”  he  was  aiming  only  at  the 
exact  record  of  events.  But  it  is  obvious  that,  in  the 
Wars  as  in  his  other  works,  he  has  a  definite  purpose 
to  serve,  and  he  colors  his  account  of  events  to  suit 
this  purpose  and  to  please  his  patrons. 

He  sets  out  to  establish,  in  fact,  that  it  was  “  a  sedi¬ 
tion  of  our  own  that  destroyed  Jerusalem,  and  that  the 
tyrants  among  the  Jews  brought  upon  us  the  Eomans, 
who  unwillingly  attacked  us,  and  occasioned  the  burn¬ 
ing  of  our  Temple/’ 1  And  he  apologizes  for  the  pas¬ 
sion  he  shows  against  the  tyrants  and  Zealots,  which, 


1 B.  J.,  Preface. 


110 


JOSEPHUS 


he  admits,  is  not  consistent  with  the  character  of  an 
historian;  it  was  provoked  because  the  unparalleled 
calamities  of  the  Jews  were  not  caused  by  strangers 
but  by  themselves,  and  “  this  makes  it  impossible  for 
me  to  contain  my  lamentations.” 1  The  historian, 
therefore,  in  the  work  which  has  come  down  to  us,  is 
dominated  by  the  conviction,  whether  sincere  or 
feigned,  that  the  war  with  Rome  was  a  huge  error,  that 
those  who  fomented  it  were  wicked,  self-seeking  men, 
and  that  the  Jews  brought  their  ruin  on  themselves. 
This  being  his  temper,  it  is  necessary  to  look  very 
closely  at  his  representation  of  events  and  examine 
how  far  partisan  feeling  and  prejudices,  and  how  far 
servility  and  the  courtier  spirit,  have  colored  it.  We 
have  also  to  consider  how  far  his  reflections  represent 
his  own  judgment,  and  how  far  they  are  the  slavish 
adoption  of  opinions  expressed  by  the  victorious 
enemies  of  his  people. 

The  alternative  title  of  the  work  is  On  the  Destruc¬ 
tion  of  the  Temple,  but  its  scope  is  larger  than  either 
name  suggests.  It  is  conjectured  by  the  German 
scholar  Niese  that  the  author  called  it  A  History  of 
the  Jewish  State  in  Its  Relations  with  the  Romans.  It 
is  in  fact  a  history  of  the  Jews  under  the  Romans,  be¬ 
ginning,  as  Josephus  says,  “  where  the  earlier  writers 
on  Jewish  affairs  arid  our  prophets  leave  off.”  He  pro¬ 
poses  to  deal  briefly  with  the  events  that  preceded  his 
own  age,  but  fully  with  the  events  of  the  wars  of  his 
time.  The  history  starts,  accordingly,  with  the  perse- 


1  B.  J.,  Preface,  4. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


111 


cution  of  Antiochus  Epiphanes,  and,  save  that  he 
expatiates  without  any  sense  of  proportion  on  the  ex¬ 
ploits  of  Herod  the  Great,  J osephus  is  generally  faith¬ 
ful  to  his  program  in  the  introductory  portion  of  the 
work.  For  the  Herodian  period  he  found  a  very  full 
source,  and  the  temptation  was  too  powerful  for  him, 
so  that  the  greater  part  of  the  first  book  is  taken  up 
with  the  story  of  the  court  intrigues  and  family 
murders  of  the  king.  Very  brief  indeed  is  his  treat¬ 
ment  of  the  Maccabean  brothers,  and  not  very  accu¬ 
rate.  They  are  dismissed  in  two  chapters,  and  it  is 
probable  that  the  historian  had  not  before  him  either 
of  the  two  good  Jewish  sources  for  the  period,  the 
First  and  the  Second  Book  of  the  Maccabees.  In  his 
later  work,  in  which  he  dealt  with  the  same  period  at 
greater  length,  the  account  which  he  had  abstracted 
from  a  Greek  source,  probably  Nicholas  of  Damascus, 
is  corrected  by  the  Jewish  work.  The  two  records 
show  a  number  of  small  discrepancies.  Thus,  in  the 
Wars  he  states  that  Onias,  the  high  priest  who  drove 
out  the  Tobiades  from  Jerusalem,  fled  to  Ptolemy  in 
Egypt,  and  founded  a  city  resembling  Jerusalem; 
whereas  in  the  Antiquities  he  states  that  the  Onias 
who  fled  to  Egypt  because  Antiochus  deprived  him  of 
office  was  the  son  of  the  high  priest.  Again,  in  the 
Wars  he  makes  Mattathias  kill  the  Syrian  governor 
Bacchides;  whereas,  in  the  Antiquities,  agreeing  with 
the  First  Book  of  the  Maccabees,  he  says  that  the 
Syrian  officer  who  was  slain  at  Modin  was  Appelles. 

Josephus  in  the  Wars  follows  his  Hellenistic  source 
for  the  history  of  the  Hasmonean  monarchy  without 


112 


JOSEPHUS 


introducing  any  Jewish  knowledge  and  without  criti¬ 
cism.  His  summary  is  of  incidents,  not  of  movements, 
and  he  has  a  liking  for  romantic  color.  The  pier¬ 
cing  of  the  king’s  elephant  by  the  Maccabean  Eleazar, 
the  prediction  by  an  Essene  of  the  murder  of  Antigo- 
nus,  the  brother  of  King  Aristobulus  I,  are  detailed. 
The  inner  Jewish  life  is  passed  over  in  complete 
silence  until  he  comes  to  the  reign  of  Alexander. 
Then  he  describes  the  Pharisees  as  a  sect  of  Jews  that 
are  held  to  be  more  religious  than  others  and  to  inter¬ 
pret  the  laws  more  accurately.1  The  description  is 
clearly  derived  from  a  Greek  writer,  who  regards  the 
Jewish  people  from  the  outside.  It  is  quite  out  of 
harmony  with  the  standpoint  which  Josephus  himself 
later  adopts.  In  this  passage  he  presents  the  Pharisees 
as  crafty  politicians,  insinuating  themselves  into  the 
favor  of  the  queen,  and  then  ordering  the  country  to 
suit  their  own  ends.  Without  describing  the  other 
sects,  he  continues  the  narration  of  intrigues  and  wars 
till  he  reaches  the  intervention  of  Pompey  in  the 
affairs  of  Palestine. 

From  this  point  the  treatment  is  fuller.  No  doubt 
the  Hellenistic  historians  paid  more  attention  to  the 
Jews  from  the  moment  when  they  came  within  the 
orbit  of  the  Eoman  Empire;  but  while  in  the  Antiqui¬ 
ties  J osephus  refers  several  times  to  the  statements  of 
two  or  three  of  the  Greco-Eoman  writers,  in  the  Wars 
he  quotes  no  authority.  From  this  it  may  be  inferred 
that  in  the  earlier  work  he  is  following  but  one  guide. 


1 B.  J.  I.  v.  2. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


113 


He  gives  an  elaborate  account  of  the  rise  of  the  Idu- 
mean  family  of  Antipater,  and  hence  to  the  end  of  the 
book  the  history  passes  into  a  biography  of  Herod. 
The  first  part  of  Herod’s  career,  when  he  was  building 
up  his  power,  is  related  in  the  most  favorable  light. 
His  activity  in  Galilee  against  the  Zealots,  his  trial  by 
the  Sanhedrin,  his  subsequent  service  to  the  Romans, 
his  flight  from  Judea  upon  the  invasion  of  the  Par- 
thians,  his  reception  by  Antony,  his  triumphal  return 
to  the  kingdom  that  had  been  bestowed  on  him,  his 
valiant  exploits  against  the  Arabians  of  Perea  and 
Nabatea,  his  capture  of  Jerusalem,  his  splendid  build¬ 
ings,  and  his  magnificence  to  foreigners — all  these 
incidents  are  set  forth  so  as  to  enhance  his  great¬ 
ness.  The  description  throughout  has  a  Greek  ring. 
There  is  scarcely  a  suggestion  of  a  Jewish  point  of 
view  towards  the  semi-savage  godless  tyrant.  And 
when  Josephus  comes  to  the  part  of  Herod’s  life  which 
even  an  historian  laureate  could  not  misrepresent  to 
his  credit,  his  family  relations,  he  adopts  a  funda¬ 
mentally  pagan  outlook. 

The  foundation  of  the  Greek  drama  was  the  idea 
that  the  fortunate  incurred  the  envy  of  the  gods,  and 
brought  on  themselves  the  “  nemesis,”  the  revenge, 
of  the  divine  powers,  which  plunged  them  into  ruin. 
This  conception,  utterly  opposed  as  it  is  to  the  J ewish 
doctrine  of  God’s  goodness,  is  applied  to  Herod,  on 
whom,  says  Josephus,  fortune  was  revenged  for  his  ex¬ 
ternal  prosperity  by  raising  him  up  domestic  troubles.1 

1  B.  J.  I.  xxii.  1. 

8 


114 


JOSEPHUS 


He  introduces  another  pagan  idea,  when  he  suggests 
that  Antipater,  the  wicked  son  of  the  king,  returned  to 
Palestine,  where  he  was  to  meet  his  doom,  at  the 
instigation  of  the  ghosts  of  his  murdered  brothers, 
which  stopped  the  mouths  of  those  who  would  have 
warned  him  against  returning.  The  notion  of  the 
avenging  spirits  of  the  dead  was  utterly  opposed  to 
Jewish  teaching,  but  it  was  a  commonplace  of  the  Hel¬ 
lenistic  thought  of  the  time. 

Of  Hillel  and  Shammai,  the  great  sages  of  the  time, 
we  have  not  a  word ;  but  wdien  he  recounts  how,  in  the 
last  days  of  Herod,  the  people  under  the  lead  of  the 
Pharisees  rose  against  the  king  in  indignation  at 
the  setting  up  of  a  golden  eagle  over  the  Temple 
gate,  he  speaks  of  the  sophists  exhorting  their  follow¬ 
ers,  “  that  it  was  a  glorious  thing  to  die  for  the 
laws  of  their  country,  because  the  soul  was  immor¬ 
tal,  and  an  eternal  enjoyment  of  happiness  did  await 
such  as  died  on  that  account ;  while  the  mean-spirited, 
and  those  that  were  not  wise  enough  to  show  a 
right  love  of  their  souls,  preferred  death  by  disease 
to  that  which  is  a  sign  of  virtue.”  The  sentiments 
here  are  not  so  objectionable,  but  the  description  of  the 
Pharisees  as  sophists,  and  the  suggestion  of  a  Valhalla 
for  those  who  died  for  their  country  and  for  no  others 
— for  which  there  is  no  authority  in  Jewish  tradition. 
— betray  again  the  uncritical  copying  of  a  Hellenistic 
source. 

Finally,  in  summing  up  the  character  of  Herod,  all 
he  finds  to  say  is,  “  Above  all  other  men  he  enjoyed  the 


s. 


COINS  CURRENT  IN  PALESTINE  (34  B.  C.  E.TO  98  C.  E.) 

( Reproduced  from  originals  in  the  British  Museum  and  in  the  American  Numismatic  Society ) 

1  and  2.  Coins  of  Herod  the  Great.  3.  Coin  of  Herod  Agrippa  I.  4.  Coin 
of  Vespasian,  with  inscription  "ludaea  Capta.  ’  5  and  6.  Coins  of  Herod 

Archelaus.  7.  Coin  of  Pontius  Pilate. 


COINS  CURRENT  IN  PALESTINE  (34  B.  C.  E.  TO  98  C.  E.) 

{Reproduced  from  originals  in  the  British  Museum  and  in  the  American  Numismatic  Society) 

8.  Coin  of  Nero.  9.  Coin  of  Nero  and  Brltannlcus.  10.  Coin  of  Nerva,  with 
Inscription  “Flsci  ludaicl  Calumnia  Sublata.”  11  and  12.  Coins  of  the  First 
Revolt.  13.  Coin  ofVespasian,  with  inscription  “ludaea  Devlcta.” 


* 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


115 


favor  of  fortune,  since  from  a  private  station  he  ob¬ 
tained  a  kingdom,  and  held  it  many  years,  and  left  it 
to  his  sons;  but  yet  in  his  domestic  affairs  he  was  a 
most  unfortunate  man.”  Not  a  word  of  his  wickedness 
and  cruelty,  not  a  breath  of  the  Hebrew  spirit,  but 
simply  an  estimate  of  his  “  fortune.”  This  is  the  way 
in  which  the  Romanized  Jew  continued  the  historical 
record  of  the  Bible,  substituting  foreign  superstitions 
about  fate  and  fortune  for  the  Jewish  idea  that  all 
human  history  is  a  manifestation  of  God. 

Josephus  ends  the  first  book  of  the  Wars  with  an 
account  of  the  gorgeous  pomp  of  Herod’s  funeral,  and 
starts  the  second  book  with  a  description  of  the  costly 
funeral  feast  which  his  son  Archelaus  gave  to  the  muh 
titude,  adding  a  note— presumably  also  derived  from 
Nicholas — that  many  of  the  Jews  ruin  themselves 
owing  to  the  need  of  giving  such  a  feast,  because  he 
who  omits  it  is  not  esteemed  pious.  As  his  source 
fails  him  for  the  period  following  on  the  banishment 
of  Archelaus,  the  treatment  becomes  fragmentary,  but 
at  the  same  time  more  original  and  independent.  An 
account  of  the  various  Jewish  sects  interrupts  the 
chronicle  of  the  court  intrigues  and  popular  risings. 
Josephus  distinguishes  here  four  sects,  the  Essenes, 
the  Pharisees,  the  Sadducees,  and  the  Zealots,  but  his 
account  is  mainly  confined  to  the  first.1  He  describes 
in  some  detail  their  practices,  beliefs,  and  organiza¬ 
tions.  Indeed,  this  passage  and  the  account  in  Philo 
are  our  chief  Jewish  authorities  for  the  tenets  of  the 


1 B.  J.  II.  viii. 


116 


JOSEPHUS 


Essenes.  He  is  anxious  to  establish  their  claim  to 
be  a  philosophical  community  comparable  with  the 
Greek  schools.  In  particular  he  represents  that  their 
notions  of  immortality  correspond  with  the  Greek 
ideas  of  the  Isles  of  the  Blessed  and  of  Hades.  “  The 
divine  doctrines  of  the  Essenes,  as  he  calls  them,  Avhich 
consider  the  body  as  corruptible  and  the  soul  an  im¬ 
mortal  spirit,  which,  when  released  from  the  bonds  of 
the  flesh  as  from  a  long  slavery,  rejoices  and  mounts 
upwards,  lay  an  irresistible  bait  for  such  as  have  once 
tasted  of  their  philosophy.”  The  ideas  which  the  sect 
cherished  were  popular  in  a  certain  part  of  Greco- 
Roman  society,  which,  sated  with  the  luxury  of  the 
age,  turned  to  the  ascetic  life  and  to  the  pursuit  of 
mysticism.  Pliny  the  Elder,  who  was  on  the  staff  of 
Titus  at  Jerusalem,  appears  to  have  been  especially 
interested  in  the  Jewish  communists,  and  briefly  de¬ 
scribed  their  doctrines  in  his  books ;  and  the  circle  for 
whom  Josephus  wrote  would  have  been  glad  to  have 
a  fuller  account. 

Of  the  other  two  sects  he  says  little  here,  and  what 
he  says  is  superficial.  He  places  the  differentiation  in 
their  contrasted  doctrines  of  fate  and  immortality. 
The  Pharisees  ascribe  all  to  fate,  but  yet  allow  free¬ 
will — a  Hellenizing  version  of  the  saving  ascribed  to 
Rabbi  Akiba,  “  All  is  foreseen,  but  freedom  of  will  is 
given”1 — and  they  say  all  souls  are  immortal,  but 
those  of  the  good  only  pass  into  other  bodies,  while 
those  of  the  bad  suffer  eternal  punishment.  This 


1  Comp.  Abot,  iii.  15. 


THE  JEWISH  WAES 


117 


attribution  of  the  doctrine  of  metempsychosis  and 
eternal  punishment  is  another  piece  of  Hellenization, 
or  a  reproduction  of  a  Hellenistic  misunderstanding; 
for  the  Eabbinic  records  nowhere  suggest  that  such 
ideas  were  held  by  the  Pharisees.  “  The  Sadducees, 
on  the  other  hand,  deny  fate  entirely,  and  hold  that 
God  is  not  concerned  in  man’s  conduct,  which  is  en¬ 
tirely  in  his  own  choice,  and  they  likewise  deny  the 
immortality  of  the  soul  or  retribution  after  death.” 
Here  the  attempt  to  represent  the  Sadducees’  position 
as  parallel  with  Epicurean  materialism  has  probably 
induced  an  overstatement  of  their  distrust  of  Provi¬ 
dence.  Josephus  adds  that  the  Pharisees  cultivate 
great  friendships  among  themselves  and  promote  peace 
among  the  people;  while  the  Sadducees  are  somewhat 
gruff  towards  each  other,  and  treat  even  members  of 
their  own  party  as  if  they  were  strangers. 

Of  the  fourth  party,  the  Zealots,  Josephus  has  only 
a  few  words,  to  the  effect  that  when  Coponius  was  sent 
as  the  first  procurator  of  Judea,  a  Galilean  named 
Judas  prevailed  on  his  countrymen  to  revolt,  saying 
they  would  be  cowards  if  they  would  endure  to  pay 
any  tax  to  the  Eomans  or  submit  to  any  mortal  lord  in 
place  of  God.  This  man,  he  says,  was  the  teacher  of  a 
peculiar  sect  of  his  own.  While  the  other  three  sects 
are  treated  as  philosophical  schools,  J osephus  does  not 
attribute  a  philosophy  to  the  Zealots,  and  out  of  regard 
to  Eoman  feelings  he  says  nothing  of  the  Messianic 
hopes  that  dominated  them. 


118 


JOSEPHUS 


After  the  digression  about  the  sects,  Josephus  con¬ 
tinues  his  narrative  of  the  Jewish  relations  with  the 
Romans.  He  turns  aside  now  and  then  to  detail  the 
complicated  family  affairs  of  the  Herodian  family  or  to 
describe  some  remarkable  geographical  phenomenon, 
such  as  the  glassy  sands  of  the  Ladder  of  Tyre.1  The 
main  theme  is  the  growing  irritation  of  the  J ews,  and 
the  strengthening  of  the  feeling  that  led  to  the  out¬ 
break  of  the  great  war.  But  Josephus,  always  under  the 
spell  of  the  Bomans,  or  writing  with  a  desire  to  appeal 
to  them,  can  recognize  only  material,  concrete  causes, 
The  deeper  spiritual  motives  of  the  struggle  escape 
him  altogether,  as  they  escaped  the  Roman  procurators. 
He  recounts  the  wanton  insults  of  a  Pontius  Pilate, 
who  brought  into  Jerusalem  Roman  ensigns  with  the 
image  of  Caesar,  and  spoiled  the  sacred  treasures  of 
the  Korban  for  the  purpose  of  building  aqueducts ;  and 
he  dwells  on  the  attempt  of  Gaius  to  set  up  his  statue  in 
the  Temple,  which  was  frustrated  only  by  the  Emper¬ 
or’s  murder.  But  about  the  attitude  of  the  different 
sections  of  the  J ewish  people  to  the  Romans,  of  which 
his  record  would  have  been  so  valuable,  he  is  silent. 

After  the  brief  interlude  of  Agrippa’s  happy  reign, 
the  irritation  of  Roman  procurators  is  renewed,  and 
under  Cumanus  tumult  follows  tumult,  as  one  out¬ 
rage  after  another  upon  the  Jewish  feeling  is  counte¬ 
nanced  or  abetted.  The  courtier  of  the  Flavian  house 

*B.  J.  II.  x.  2.  The  same  phenomenon  is  recorded  in 
Pliny  and  Tacitus,  and  it  was  a  commonplace  of  the 
geography  of  the  age. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


119 


takes  occasion  to  recount  the  Emperor  Hero’s  mis¬ 
deeds  and  family  murders;  but  he  resists  the  desire 
to  treat  in  detail  of  these  things,  because  his  subject  is 
Jewish  history.1  He  must  have  had  before  him  a 
source  which  dealt  with  general  Roman  history  more 
fully,  and  he  shows  his  independence,  such  as  it  is,  in 
confining  his  narrative  to  the  Jewish  story.  But  the 
reliance  on  his  source  for  his  point  of  view  leads 
him  to  write  as  a  good  Roman;  the  national  party 
are  dubbed  rebels  and  revolutionaries  (o-raatacrrai). 
The  Zealots  are  regularly  termed  robbers,  and  the 
origin  of  war  is  attributed  to  the  weakness  of  the 
governors  in  not  putting  down  these  turbulent  ele¬ 
ments.  All  this  was  natural  enough  in  a  Roman,  but 
it  comes  strangely  from  the  pen  of  a  soi-disant  Jewish 
apologist,  who  had  himself  taken  a  part  in  the  rebel¬ 
lion.  Characteristic  is  his  account  of  the  turbulent 
condition  of  Palestine  in  the  time  of  Felix: 

Bands  of  Sicarii  springing  up  in  the  chaos  caused  by 
the  tyranny  infested  the  country,  and  another  body  of 
abandoned  men,  less  villainous  in  their  actions,  but  more 
wicked  in  their  designs,  deluded  the  people  under  pre¬ 
tense  of  divine  inspiration,  and  persuaded  them  to  rise. 
Felix  put  down  these  bands,  but,  as  with  a  diseased  body, 
straightway  the  inflammation  burst  out  in  another  part. 
And  the  flame  of  revolt  was  blown  up  every  day  more  and 
more,  till  it  came  to  a  regular  war.2 

Josephus  vents  his  full  power  of  denunciation  on 
the  last  ])rocurator,  Florus,  -who  goaded  the  people  into 

2  B.  J.  II.  xiii.  6. 


f 


1 B.  J.  II.  xiii.  1. 


120 


JOSEPHUS 


war,  and  by  his  repeated  outrages  compelled  even  the 
aristocratic  party,  to  which  the  historian  belonged,  to 
break  their  loyalty  to  Rome :  “  As  though  he  had  been 
sent  as  executioner  to  punish  condemned  criminals, 
he  omitted  no  sort  of  spoliation  or  extortion.  In  the 
most  pitiful  cases  he  was  most  inhuman ;  in  the  great¬ 
est  turpitudes  he  was  most  impudent,  nor  could  any¬ 
one  outdo  him  in  perversion  of  the  truth,  or  combine 
more  subtle  ways  of  deceit.”  Josephus,  not  altogether 
consistently  with  what  he  has  already  said,  seeks  to 
exculpate  his  countrymen  for  their  rising,  up  to  the 
point  in  which  he  himself  was  involved  in  it;  and 
though  he  admits  that  the  high  priests  and  leading 
men  were  still  anxious  for  peace  at  any  price,  and  he 
puts  a  long  speech  into  Agrippa’s  mouth  counseling 
submission,  he  is  yet  anxious  to  show  that  his  people 
were  driven  into  war  by  the  wickedness  of  Hero’s  gov¬ 
ernors.  His  masters  allowed  him,  and  probably  in¬ 
vited  him,  to  denounce  the  oppression  of  the  ministers 
of  their  predecessors,  and  the  Roman  historians  Sue¬ 
tonius  and  Tacitus  likewise  state  that  the  rapacity  of 
the  procurators  drove  the  Jews  into  revolt.  He  had 
authority,  therefore,  for  this  view  in  his  contemporary 
sources. 

The  die  was  cast.  Menahem,  the  son  of  Judas  the 
Galilean  and  the  head  of  the  Zealots,  seized  Jerusalem, 
drove  the  Romans  and  Romanizers  into  the  fortress  of 
Antonia,  and  having  armed  his  bands  with  the  con¬ 
tents  of  Herod’s  southern  stronghold  of  Masada,  over¬ 
powered  the  garrison  and  put  it  to  the  sword.  Mena- 


THE  JEWISH  WAES 


121 


hem  himself,  indeed,  was  so  barbarous  that  the  more 
moderate  leader  Eleazar  turned  against  him  and  put 
him  to  death.  But  Josephus  sees  in  the  massacre  of 
the  Boman  garrison  the  pollution  of  the  city,  which 
doomed  it  to  destruction.  In  his  belligerent  ethics, 
massacre  of  the  Bomans  by  the  Jews  is  always  a  crime 
against  God,  requiring  His  visitation;  massacres  of 
the  Jews  are  a  visitation  of  God,  revealing  that  the 
Bomans  were  His  chosen  instrument. 

With  the  history  of  the  war,  so  far  as  the  historian 
was  involved  in  it,  we  have  already  dealt.  We  are  here 
concerned  with  the  character  and  the  reliability  of  his 
account.  Josephus  is  somewhat  vague  and  confused 
about  the  dispositions  of  the  Jewish  leaders,  but  when 
he  is  not  justifying  his  own  treachery,  or  venting  his 
spite  on  his  rivals,  he  shows  many  of  the  parts  of  a 
military  historian.  He  surveys  with  clearness  and 
conciseness  the  nature  of  the  country  that  the  Bomans 
had  to  conquer,  and  he  describes  the  Boman  armies  and 
Boman  camp  with  greater  detail  than  any  Boman  his¬ 
torian,  his  design  being  “  not  so  much  to  praise  the 
Bomans  as  to  comfort  those  who  have  been  conquered 
and  to  deter  others  from  rising.”1  It  has,  however,  been 
pointed  out  with  great  force,  in  support  of  the  theory 
that  he  is  following  closely  and  almost  paraphrasing 
a  Boman  authority  on  the  war,  that  his  geographical 
and  topographical  lore  is  introduced  not  in  its  natu¬ 
ral  place,  but  on  the  occasions  when  Vespasian  is 

1  B.  J.  III.  v.  This  remark  must  clearly  have  appeared 
in  the  original  Aramaic. 


122 


JOSEPHUS 


the  actor  in  a  particular  district.1  Thus,  he  describes 
the  Phoenician  coast  when  Vespasian  arrives  at  Ptole- 
mais,  Galilee  when  Vespasian  is  besieging  Tarichea, 
Jericho  when  Vespasian  makes  his  sally  to  the  Jordan 
cities.2 

All  this  would  he  natural  in  a  chronicler  who  was  one 
of  Vespasian’s  staff,  but  it  is  odd  in  the  Jewish  com¬ 
mander  of  Galilee.  Again,  he  makes  certain  confus¬ 
ions  about  Hebrew  names  of  places,  which  are  easily 
explained  in  a  Koman,  hut  are  inexplicable  in  the 
learned  priest  he  represents  himself  to  be.  He  says  the 
town  of  Gamala  was  so  called  because  of  its  supposed 
resemblance  to  a  camel  (in  Greek,  Kamelos),  and  the 
Jews  corrupted  the  name.3  A  Boman  writer  no  doubt 
would  have  regarded  the  Hebrew  as  a  corruption 
of  the  Greek  word:  a  Jew  should  have  known  better. 

Again,  he  explains  Bezetha,  the  name  of  the  north¬ 
eastern  quarter  of  Jerusalem,  as  meaning  the  new 
house  or  city,4  a  mistake  natural  to  a  Boman  who  was 
aware  that  it  was  in  fact  the  new  part  of  the  city,  and 
alternatively  called  by  the  Greek  name  KcuvonoXt';, 
but  an  extraordinary  blunder  for  a  Jew,  who  would 
surely  know  that  it  meant  the  House  of  Olives,  while 
the  Aramaic  or  popular  name  for  “  new  city  ”  would 
be  Bet-Hadta.  He  does  not  once  refer  to  Mount  Zion, 
but  knows  the  hill  by  its  Greek  name  of  Acra.  Yet 
again  it  is  significant  that  he  inserts  in  his  geography 

1  Schlatter,  Zur  Topographie  und  Geschichte  Palastinas, 
pp.  99  ff. 

2B.  J.  III.  iii.  1  and  x.  7. 

4  B.  J.  Y.  v.  8. 


>  B.  J.  III.  iv.  2. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


123 


pagan  touches  that  are  part  of  the  common  stock  of 
Greco-Roman  notices  of  Palestine.  At  Joppa,  he  says, 
one  may  still  see  on  the  rock  the  trace  of  the  chains  of 
Andromeda,1  who  in  Hellenistic  legend  was  said  to 
have  been  rescued  there  by  the  fictitious  hero  Perseus. 
Describing  the  Dead  Sea,2  he  mentions  the  destruction 
of  the  cities  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah  as  a  myth,  as  a 
Greek  or  a  Roman  would  have  done.3  His  very  accu¬ 
racy  about  some  topographical  details  is  suspicious. 
Colonel  Conder4  points  with  surprise  to  the  fact  that 
his  description  of  the  fortress  of  Masada  overlooking 
the  Dead  Sea,  the  siege  of  which  he  had  not  seen,  is 
absolutely  correct,  while  his  account  of  Jotapata,  which 
he  defended,  is  full  of  exaggeration.  The  probable  ex¬ 
planation  is  that  in  the  one  place  he  copied  a  skilled 
observer ;  in  the  other,  he  trusted  to  his  own  inaccurate 
memory.  We  may  infer  that  as  in  the  Antiquities  he 
mainly  compiled  the  work  of  predecessors  that  are 
known,  so  in  the  Wars  he  compiled  the  works  of  prede¬ 
cessors  that  are  unknown,  adding  something  from  his 
personal  experience  and  his  national  pride. 

Apart  from  his  dependence  on  others’  work,  his 
chronicle  of  the  war  is  marred  by  the  need  of  justify¬ 
ing  his  own  submission,  his  Roman  standpoint,  and 
his  ulterior  purpose  of  pleasing  and  flattering  his 
patrons.  Yespasian  and  Titus  are  the  righteous  min¬ 
isters  of  God’s  wrath  against  His  people,  His  vicars  on 
earth,  and  every  action  in  their  ruthless  process  of  ex- 

1  B.  J.  IV.  ix.  3.  Pliny  says  the  same  thing  in  Latin. 

2  B.  J.  IV.  viii.  4.  3  Tac.  Hist.  v.  7. 

4  Tent  Work  in  Palestine,  i.  207. 


124 


JOSEPHUS 


termination  has  to  be  represented  as  a  just  retribution 
required  to  expiate  the  sin  of  Jewish  resistance.  Titus 
especially  is  singled  out  for  his  unfailing  deeds  of  brav¬ 
ery  ;  and  when  anything  is  amiss  with  the  proceedings 
of  the  Bomans,  the  Imperial  family  is  always  exculpa¬ 
ted.  Characteristic  is  the  palliation  of  Vespasian’s 
brutal  treatment  of  the  people  of  Tarichea.  When  they 
surrendered,  they  were  promised  their  lives,  but  twelve 
hundred  old  men  were  butchered,  and  over  three  thou¬ 
sand  men  and  women  were  sold  as  slaves.  Josephus 
cannot  find  the  execution  of  the  divine  will  in  this,  and 
so  he  is  driven  to  explain  that  Vespasian  was  over¬ 
borne  by  his  council,  and  gave  them  an  ambiguous 
liberty  to  do  as  seemed  good  to  them. 

It  is  the  pivot  of  the  story  of  the  wars,  as  has  been 
stated,  that  the  internal  strife  of  the  Jews  brought 
about  the  ruin  of  the  nation,  and  the  testimony  of 
Josephus  has  perpetuated  that  conception  of  the  last 
days  of  Jerusalem.  Our  other  records  of  the  struggle 
go  to  suggest  that  civil  strife  did  take  place.  Tacitus 1 
states  that  there  were  three  leaders,  each  with  his  own 
army  in  the  city,  and  the  Bahbinical  authorities 2 
speak  of  the  three  councils  in  Jerusalem.  It  is  further 
said  that  the  second  Temple  was  destroyed  because  of 
the  unprovoked  hatred  among  the  Jews,  which  was  the 
equal  of  the  sins  of  murder,  unchastity,  and  idolatry 
that  brought  about  the  fall  of  the  first  Temple.3  Yet 
the  fact  that  the  men  who  were  the  foremost  agitators 


1  Hist.  v.  12. 


2  Midr.  Kohelet,  vii.  11.  .  3Yoma,  95. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


125 


of  the  Rebellion  were  its  leaders  to  the  end  suggests 
that  the  people  had  reliance  on  their  leadership;  and 
Josephus  probably  traded  largely  on  his  prejudices  for 
the  particulars  of  the  civil  conflicts,  and  he  placed  all 
the  blame  on  the  party  that  was  least  guilty.  Adopt¬ 
ing  the  Roman  standpoint,  he  denounced  the  whole 
Zealot  policy,  and  for  John  of  Gischala,  their  leader, 
he  entertained  a  special  loathing.  It  is  therefore  his 
purpose  to  show  that  all  the  sedition  was  of  John’s 
making,  while  it  would  seem  more  probable  that  the 
disturbances  arose  because  the  Romanizing  aristocrats 
were  planning  surrender. 

According  to  Josephus,  the  Zealots,  who  were  mas¬ 
ters  of  the  greater  part  of  Jerusalem  during  the 
struggle,  established  a  reign  of  terror.  They  trampled 
upon  the  laws  of  man,  and  laughed  at  the  laws  of  God. 
They  ridiculed  the  oracles  of  the  prophets  as  the  tricks 
of  jugglers.  “  Yet  did  they  occasion  the  fulfilment  of 
prophecies  relating  to  their  country.  For  there  was  an 
ancient  oracle  that  the  citjr  should  be  taken  and  the 
sanctuary  burnt  when  sedition  should  affect  the  J ews.” 
Josephus  shares  the  pagan  outlook  of  the  Roman  his¬ 
torian  Tacitus,  who  is  horrified  at  the  Jewish  disre¬ 
gard  of  the  omens  and  portents  which  betokened  the 
fall  of  their  city,  and  speaks  of  them  as  a  people  prone 
to  superstition  (what  we  would  call  faith)  and  deaf 
to  divine  warnings  (what  we  would  call  superstition).1 
Josephus  and  his  friends  were  looking  for  signs  and 

1  Hist.  v.  13.  Gens  superstitioni  prona,  religioni  ob- 
noxia. 


126 


JOSEPHUS 


prophecies  of  the  ruin  of  the  people  as  an  excuse  for 
surrender;  the  Zealots,  men  of  sterner  stuff  and  of 
fuller  faith,  were  resolved  to  resist  to  the  end,  and 
would  brook  no  parleying  with  the  enemy.  They  were 
in  fact  political  nationalists  of  a  different  school  and 
leaning  from  the  aristocrats  and  the  priests.  The 
latter  regarded  political  life  and  the  Temple  service  as 
vital  parts  of  the  national  life,  and  believing  that  the 
legions  were  invincible  were  anxious  to  keep  peace  with 
Rome.  The  Zealots  regarded  personal  liberty  and 
national  independence  as  vital,  and,  to  vindicate  them, 
fought  to  the  end  with  Rome.  Both  the  extreme  politi¬ 
cal  parties  lacked  the  spiritual  standpoint  of  the  Phar¬ 
isees,  who  believed  that  the  Torah  even  without  politi¬ 
cal  independence  would  hold  the  people  together  till  a 
better  time  was  granted  by  Providence.  The  party 
conflicts  induced  violence  and  civil  tumult,  and  Jose¬ 
phus  would  have  us  believe  that  “  demoniac  discord  ” 
was  the  main  cause  of  the  ruin  of  Jerusalem.  Dur¬ 
ing  the  respite  which  the  Jews  enjoyed  before  the 
final  siege  of  Jerusalem,  he  alleges  that  a  bitter 
feud  was  waged  incessantly  between  Eleazar  the  son 
of  Simon,  who  held  the  Inner  Court  of  the  Temple, 
Simon  the  son  of  Gioras,  who  held  the  Upper  and  the 
greater  part  of  the  Lower  city,  and  John  of  Gischala, 
who  occupied  the  outer  part  of  the  Temple.  He  de¬ 
scribes  the  situation  rhetorically  as  “  sedition  beget¬ 
ting  sedition,  like  a  wild  beast  gone  mad,  which,  for 
want  of  other  food,  falls  to  eating  its  own  flesh.”  And 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


127 


he  bursts  into  an  apostrophe  over  the  fighting  that 
went  on  within  the  Temple  precincts : 

Most  wretched  city!  What  misery  so  great  as  this  didst 
thou  suffer  from  the  Romans,  when  they  came  to  purify 
thee  from  thy  internecine  hatred!  Thou  couldst  no 
longer  he  a  fit  habitation  for  God,  nor  couldst  thou  con¬ 
tinue  longer  in  being,  after  thou  hadst  been  a  sepulcher 
for  the  corpses  of  thine  own  people,  and  thy  holy  house 
itself  had  been  a  burial  place  in  their  civil  strife. 

It  is  curious  that  a  little  later,  when  he  resumes  the 
narrative  of  the  Roman  campaign,  and  returns  pre¬ 
sumably  to  a  Roman  source,  he  says  that  the  Jews, 
elated  by  their  unexpected  success,  made  incursions  on 
the  Greek  cities.  The  success  referred  to  must  be  the 
defeat  of  Cestius  Gallus,  and  it  looks  as  if  this  lurid 
account  of  the  horrors  of  the  civil  war  in  Jerusalem 
were  not  known  to  the  Roman  guide,  and  that  at  the 
least  Josephus  has  embroidered  the  story  of  the  feud 
to  suit  his  thesis.  The  measure  of  the  Jewish  writer’s 
dependence  for  the  main  part  of  his  narrative  of  the 
siege  is  singularly  illustrated  by  a  small  detail. 
Josephus  throughout  his  account  uses  the  Macedon¬ 
ian  names  of  the  months,  and  equates  them  loosely 
with  those  of  the  Jewish  calendar;  but  it  is  notable 
that  the  three  traditional  Jewish  dates  in  the  siege 
which  he  inserts,  the  fourteenth  of  Xanthicus  (Nisan), 
when  it  began,  the  seventeenth  of  Panemos  (Tammuz), 
when  the  daily  offering  ceased,  and  the  ninth  and 
tenth  of  Loos  (Ab),  when  the  Temple  was  destroyed, 
conflict  with  the  other  dates  he  gives  in  his  general 


128 


JOSEPHUS 


account  of  the  siege.  So  far  from  being  a  proof  of  his 
independence,  as  has  been  claimed,  his  Jewish  dates 
show  his  want  of  skill  in  weaving  his  Jewish  informa¬ 
tion  into  his  scheme.  When  he  is  original,  he  is  apt  to 
he  unhistorical.  Josephus  agrees  with  the  Talmud 
that  the  fire  lasted  to  the  tenth  of  the  month,1  but 
while  the  Eabbis  cursed  Titus,  who  burnt  the  Holy  of 
Holies  and  spread  fire  and  slaughter,  and  Roman  his¬ 
torians  2  declared  that  Titus  had  deliberately  fired  the 
center  of  the  Jewish  cult  in  order  to  destroy  the  na¬ 
tional  stronghold,  Josephus  is  anxious  to  preserve  his 
patron’s  reputation  for  gentleness  and  invest  him  with 
the  appearance  of  piety  and  magnanimity.  Voicing 
perhaps  the  conqueror’s  later  regrets,  he  declares  that 
he  protested  against  the  Romans’  avenging  themselves 
on  inanimate  things  and  against  the  destruction  of  so 
beautiful  a  work,  but  failed  despite  all  his  efforts  to  stay 
the  conflagration.  The  historian  writes  a  lurid  descrip¬ 
tion  of  the  catastrophe,  hut  he  omits  the  simple  details 
that  make  the  account  in  the  Talmud  so  pathetic. 
The  Temple,”  runs  the  Talmudic  account,3  “  was  de¬ 
stroyed  on  the  eve  of  the  ninth  day  of  Ab  at  the  out¬ 
going  of  Sabbath,  at  the  end  of  the  Sabbatic  year ;  and 

1  Comp.  Yer.  Taanit,  iv.  6. 

2  Comp.  Sulpicius  Severus,  who  used  Tacitus  (Chron. 
I.  xxx.  6.);.  and  the  poet  Valerius  Flaccus  acclaims  the 
victor  of  Solymae,  who  hurls  fiery  torches  at  the  Temple. 
Dion  Cassius  (lxvi.  4.)  declares  that  when  the  Roman 
soldiers  refused  to  attack  the  Temple  in  awe  of  its  holi¬ 
ness,  Titus  himself  set  fire  to  it;  and  this  appears  to  be 
the  true  account. 

3  Taanit,  29a. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


12!) 


the  watch  of  Jehoiarib  was  on  service,  and  the  Levites 
were  chanting  the  hymns  and  standing  at  their  desks. 
And  the  hymn  they  chanted  was,  ‘  And  He  shall  bring 
upon  them  their  own  iniquity,  and  shall  cut  them  off 
with  their  own  wickedness  5  (Ps.  94:23);  and  they 
could  not  finish  to  say,  ‘The  Lord  our  God  shall 
cut  them  off/  when  the  heathen  came  and  silenced 
them/’  This  account  may  not  be  historically  true, 
hut  it  represents  the  unquenchable  spirit  of  Judaism 
in  face  of  the  disaster. 


'sephus,  on  the  other  hand,  regards  the  fall  of  the 


Temple  as  a  favorable  opportunity  to  give  a  list  of  the 
prodigies  and  omens  that  heralded  it.  For  example, 
he  finds  a  proof  of  Providence  in  the  fulfilment  of  the 
oracle,  that  the  city  and  the  holy  house  should  be 
taken  when  the  Temple  should  become  foursquare. 
By  demolishing  the  tower  of  Antonia  the  Jews  had 
made  the  Temple  area  foursquare,  and  so  brought  the 
doom  upon  themselves.  He  tells,  too,  the  story  of 
a  prophet  Jesus,  who  for  years  had  cried,  “  Woe,  woe 
to  Jerusalem,”  and  in  the  end,  struck  by  a  missile,  fell, 
crying,  “  Woe,  woe  to  me  !  ”  For  any  reflections,  how¬ 
ever,  on  the  immortality  of  the  religion  or  for  any 
utterances  of  hope  for  the  ultimate  restoration  of  the 
Temple  and  the  coming  of  the  Messiah,  we  must  not 
look  to  the  Wars.  Such  ideas  would  not  have  pleased 
his  patrons,  had  he  entertained  them  himself.  He 
pointed  to  the  fulfilment  of  prophecy  only  so  far  as 
it  predicted  and  justified  the  destruction  and  ruin  of 
his  people.  The  expression  of  the  national  agony  at 


9 


130 


JOSEPHUS 


the  destruction  of  the  national  center  is  to  be  found 
in  the  apocryphal  book  of  Esdras  II. 

Over  his  account  of  the  final  acts  of  the  tragedy  we 
may  pass  quickly.  Undismayed  by  the  fall  of  the 
sanctuary  and  still  hoping  for  divine  intervention, 
John  and  Simon  withdrew  from  the  Temple  to  the 
upper  city.  Driven  from  this,  they  took  refuge  in  the 
underground  caverns  and  caves  to  be  found  every¬ 
where  beneath  Jerusalem,  and  finally  they  stood  their 
ground  in  the  towers,  until  these  too  were  captured,  a 
month  after  the  destruction  of  the  Temple,  on  the 
eighth  of  Elul  (Gorpiaeus,  as  the  Greek  month  was 
called). 

It  was  the  fifth  time  that  the  city  was  captured;  and 
2179  years  passed  between  its  first  building  and  its  last 
destruction.  Yet  neither  its  great  antiquity,  nor  its  vast 
riches,  nor  the  diffusion  of  the  nation  over  the  whole 
earth,  nor  the  greatness  of  the  veneration  paid  to  it  on 
religious  grounds,  was  sufficient  to  preserve  it  from  de¬ 
struction.  And  thus  ended  the  siege  of  Jerusalem. 

Though  the  war  was  not  finished,  the  crisis  of  the 
drama  was  over,  and  Josephus,  doubtless  following  his 
source;  relaxes  the  narrative  to  digress  about  affairs  in 
Pome  and  the  East.  The  last  book  of  the  Wars  is 
episodic  and  disconnected.  It  is  a  kind  of  aftermath, 
in  which  the  historian  gathers  up  scattered  records, 
but  does  not  preserve  the  dramatic  character  of  the 
history.  He  had  apparently  here  to  fall  hack  on  his 
own  feeble  constructive  power,  and  was  hard  put  to 
it  to  eke  out  his  material  to  the  proportions  of  a  book. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


131 


So  careless,  too,  is  lie  that  he  abstracts  references  from 
his  source  that  are  meaningless.  In  the  excursion 
into  general  history,  he  refers  to  “  the  German  king 
Alaric,  whom  we  have  mentioned  before,” 1  though  he 
is  brought  in  for  the  first  time ;  and  in  the  account  of 
the  siege  of  the  Zealots’  fortress  Machaerus  he  records 
the  death  of  one  “Judas  whom  we  have  mentioned 
before,”  2  though  again  there  was  no  previous  mention 
of  the  warrior.  In  the  same  chapter  he  describes  some 
magical  plant,  “  Baaras,  possessing  power  to  drive 
away  demons,  which  are  no  other  than  the  spirits  of  the 
wicked  that  enter  into  living  men  and  kill  them,  unless 
they  obtain  some  help  against  them.”  This  appar¬ 
ently  was  a  commonplace  of  Palestinian  natural  sci¬ 
ence,  as  known  to  the  Greco-Roman  world,  and  Jo¬ 
sephus  simply  copied  it. 

The  Zealots  still  maintained  resistance  in  remote 
parts  of  the  country,  and  the  legate  Bassus  was  sent  to 
take  their  three  fortresses.  He  died  before  the 
capture  of  Masada,  the  last  stronghold,  a  natural  fast¬ 
ness  overlooking  the  Dead  Sea,  which  had  been  forti¬ 
fied  by  Herod.  In  this  region  David  and  centuries 
later  the  Maccabean  heroes  had  found  a  refuge  at 
their  time  of  distress,  and  here  the  Jewish  people  were 
to  show  that  desperate  heroism  of  their  race  which  is 
evoked  when  all  save  honor  is  lost.  Masada  had  been 
occupied  by  Eleazar,  a  grandson  of  Judas  of  Galilee, 
the  leader  of  the  most  fanatical  section  of  the  Zealots ; 
and  it  fell  to  the  procurator  Flavius  Silva  to  reduce  it. 


1 B.  J.  VII.  iv.  4. 


2  B.  J.  VII.  vi.  4. 


132 


JOSEPHUS 


Josephus  utters  a  final  outburst  against  the  hated 
nationalist  party  and  especially  its  two  leaders,  Simon 
of  Gioras  and  John  of  Gischala,  though  both  had 
become  victims  of  Roman  revenge.  “  That  was  a 
time,”  he  exclaims,  “  most  prolific  in  wicked  practices, 
nor  could  anyone  devise  any  new  evil,  so  deeply  were 
they  infected,  striving  with  each  other  individually 
and  collectively  who  should  run  to  the  greatest  lengths 
of  impiety  towards  God  and  in  unjust  actions  towards 
their  neighbors.”  The  more  incongruous  is  it  that 
after  this  invective  he  puts  into  Eleazar’s  mouth  two 
long  speeches,  calling  on  his  men  to  kill  themselves 
rather  than  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  Romans,  which 
sum  up  eloquently  the  Zealot  attitude.1  Josephus  in¬ 
deed  introduces  in  the  speech  the  Hellenized  doctrine 
of  immortality,  which  regards  the  soul  as  an  invisible 
spirit  imprisoned  in  the  mortal  body  and  seeking 
relief  from  its  prison.  He  goes  on,  however,  to  make 
the  Jewish  commander  point  out  how  preferable  is 
death  to  life  servitude  to  the  Romans,  in  a  wray  in 
which  Eleazar  might  himself  have  spoken. 

And  as  for  those  who  have  died  in  the  war,  we  should 
deem  them  blessed,  for  they  are  dead  in  defending,  and 
not  in  betraying,  their  liberty:  but  as  to  the  multitude 
of  those  that  have  submitted  to  the  Romans,  who  would 
not  pity  their  condition?  And  who  would  not  make  haste 
to  die  before  he  would  suffer  the  same  miseries?  Where 
is  now  that  great  city,  the  metropolis  of  the  Jewish 
nation,  which  was  fortified  by  so  many  walls  round 
about,  which  had  so  many  fortresses  and  large  towers  to 


1  B.  J.  VII.  viii. 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


133 


defend  it,  which  could  hardly  contain  the  instruments 
prepared  for  the  war,  and  which  had  so  many  myriads  of 
men  to  fight  for  it?  Where  is  this  city  that  God  Himself 
inhabited?  It  is  now  demolished  to  the  very  foundations; 
and  hath  nothing  but  that  monument  of  it  preserved,  I 
mean  the  camp  of  those  that  have  destroyed  it,  which 
still  dwells  upon  its  ruins;  some  unfortunate  old  men 
also  lie  upon  the  ashes  of  the  Temple,  and  a  few  women 
are  there  preserved  alive  by  the  enemy  for  our  bitter 
shame  and  reproach.  Now,  who  is  there  that  revolves 
these  things  in  his  mind,  and  yet  is  able  to  bear  the  sight 
of  the  sun,  though  he  might  live  out  of  danger?  Who  is 
there  so  much  his  country’s  enemy,  or  so  unmanly  and 
so  desirous  of  living,  as  not  to  repent  that  he  is  still 
alive?  And  I  cannot  but  wish  that  we  had  all  died  before 
we  had  seen  that  holy  city  demolished  by  the  hands  of 
our  enemies,  or  the  foundations  of  our  holy  Temple  dug 
up  after  so  profane  a  manner.  But  since  we  had  a  gen¬ 
erous  hope  that  deluded  us,  as  if  we  might  perhaps  have 
been  able  to  avenge  ourselves  on  our  enemies,  on  that 
account,  though  it  be  now  become  vanity,  and  hath  left 
us  alone  in  this  distress,  let  us  make  haste  to  die 
bravely.  Let  us  pity  ourselves,  our  children,  and  our 
wives,  while  it  is  in  our  power  to  show  pity  to  them;  for 
we  are  born  to  die,  as  well  as  those  whom  we  have 
begotten;  nor  is  it  in  the  power  of  the  most  happy  of  our 
race  to  avoid  it.  But  for  abuses  and  slavery  and  the  sight 
of  our  wives  led  away  after  an  ignominious  manner  with 
their  children,  these  are  not  such  evils  as  are  natural  and 
necessary  among  men;  although  such  as  do  not  prefer 
death  before  those  miseries,  when  it  is  in  their  power  to 
do  so,  must  undergo  even  them  on  account  of  their 
own  cowardice. 

Responding  to  their  leader’s  call,  the  defenders  put 
their  wives  and  children  to  the  sword,  and  then  turned 


134 


JOSEPHUS 


their  hands  on  themselves:  and  when  the  Romans 
entered  the  place,  to  their  amazement  and  horror  they 
found  not  a  living  soul. 

Eleazar’s  speech  is  one  of  the  few  patriotic  outbursts 
in  the  seven  books  of  the  Wars,  and  it  reads  like  a 
cry  of  bitter  regret  wrung  from  the  unhappy  author 
at  the  end  of  his  work.  Like  Balaam  he  set  out  to 
curse,  and  stayed  to  bless,  his  enemies,  and  cursed  him¬ 
self.  Perhaps  this  apostrophe  hides  the  tragedy  of 
Josephus’  life.  Perhaps  he  inwardly  repented  of  his 
cowardice,  and  rued  the  uneasy  protection  he  had  se¬ 
cured  for  himself.  Perhaps  he  had  denounced  the 
Zealots  throughout  the  history  perforce,  to  please  his 
taskmasters,  and  in  his  heart  of  hearts  envied  the  party 
that  had  preferred  death  to  surrender.  We  could  wish 
he  had  ended  with  the  story  of  Masada’s  noble  fall, 
and  left  us  at  this  pathetic  doubt.  But  he  had  not  the 
dramatic  sense,  and  he  rounds  off  the  story  of  the  wars 
with  an  account  of  the  futile  Jewish  rising  in  Alex¬ 
andria  and  Cyrene,  fomented  by  the  surviving  rem¬ 
nants  of  the  Zealots.  The  first  led  to  the  closing  in 
Egypt  of  the  Temple  of  Onias,  the  last  sanctuary  of 
the  J ews ;  the  second  to  slanderous  attacks  on  the  his¬ 
torian.  Jonathan,  who  had  stirred  up  the  Cyrenaic 
rising  and  started  the  slanders,  was  tortured  and  burnt 
alive.  As  to  Catullus,  the  Roman  governor,  who  ad¬ 
mitted  the  calumnies,  though  the  Emperor  spared  him, 
he  fell  into  a  terrible  distemper  and  died  miserably. 
“  Thus  he  became  a  signal  instance  of  Divine  Provi¬ 
dence,  and  demonstrated  that  God  punishes  the 
wicked.” 


THE  JEWISH  WARS 


135 


Instead  of  concluding  upon  some  national  reflection, 
Josephus,  pathetically  enough,  disfigures  the  end  of 
his  work  with  a  final  revelation  of  personal  vanity  and 
materialistic  views  of  a  Providence  intervening  on  his 
behalf.  Egoism  and  incapacity  to  attain  to  the  noble 
and  sublime  either  in  action  or  thought  were  the  two 
defects  that  lowered  Josephus  as  a  man,  and  which 
mar  him  as  an  historian.  In  the  last  paragraph  of  the 
wrork  he  insists  that  he  has  aimed  alone  at  agreement 
with  the  facts;  hut  industrious  as  is  the  record  of 
events,  the  claim  is  shallow.  His  history  of  the  J ewish 
wars  lacks  authority  because  it  is  palpably  designed 
to  please  the  Roman  taste,  and  because  also  it  has  to 
serve  as  a  personal  apology  for  one  who,  when  heroism 
was  called  for,  had  failed  to  respond  to  the  call,  and 
who  was  thus  rendered  incapable  in  letters  as  in  life 
of  being  a  faithful  champion  of  his  people. 


VI 

JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


In  the  preface  to  the  Antiquities  Josephus  draws  a 
distinction  between  his  motives  for  the  composition  of 
that  work  and  of  the  Wars.  He  wrote  the  latter  be¬ 
cause  he  himself  had  played  a  large  part  in  the  war, 
and  he  desired  to  correct  the  errors  of  other  historians, 
who  had  perverted  the  truth.  On  the  other  hand,  he 
undertook  to  write  the  earlier  history  of  his  people 
because  of  the  great  importance  of  the  events  them¬ 
selves  and  of  his  desire  to  reveal  for  the  common  bene¬ 
fit  things  that  were  buried  in  ignorance.  He  was 
stimulated  to  the  task  by  the  fact  that  his  forefathers 
had  been  willing  to  communicate  their  antiquity  to  the 
Greeks,  and,  moreover,  several  of  the  Greeks  had  been 
at  pains  to  learn  of  the  affairs  of  the  Jewish  nation. 

It  would  appear  that  he  is  here  referring  to  the 
Septuagint  translation  of  the  Bible,  since  he  proceeds 
to  summarize  the  well-known  story  of  King  Ptolemy 
recounted  in  the  Letter  of  Aristeas,  which  he  after¬ 
wards  sets  out  more  fully.1  Josephus  shares  the  aim 
of  the  Hellenistic- Jewish  writers  to  make  the  Jewish 
Scriptures  known  to  the  Gentile  world,  and  he  inherits 


1  See  below,  p.  175. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


137 


also,  but  in  a  much  smaller  degree,  their  method  of 
presenting  Judaism  to  suit  Greek  or  Greco-Boman 
tastes,  as  a  philosophical,  i.  e.  an  ethical-philosophical, 
religion.  Perhaps  he  had  become  acquainted,  either 
at  Alexandria  or  at  Pome,  with  Philo’s  Life  of  Moses , 
which  was  a  popular  text-book,  so  to  speak,  of  uni¬ 
versal  Judaism.  Certain  it  is  that  the  prelude  to 
the  Antiquities  is  reminiscent  of  the  earlier  treatise. 
J osephus  reproduces  Philo’s  idea  that  Moses  began  his 
legislation  not  as  other  lawgivers,  “  with  the  detailed 
enactments,  contracts,  and  other  rites  between  one 
man  and  another,  but  by  raising  men’s  minds  upwards 
to  regard  God  and  His  creation.”  For  Moses  life  was 
to  be  an  imitation  of  the  divine.  Contemplation  of 
God’s  work  is  the  best  of  all  patterns  for  man  to  fol¬ 
low.  With  Philo  again,  he  points  out  the  superiority 
of  Moses  over  other  legislators  in  his  attack  upon  false 
ideas  of  the  divine  nature;  “for  there  is  nothing  in 
the  Scriptures  inconsistent  with  the  majesty  of  God  or 
with  His  love  of  mankind :  and  all  things  in  it  have 
reference  to  the  nature  of  the  universe.”  He  claims, 
too,  that  Moses  explains  some  things  clearly  and 
directly,  but  that  he  hints  at  others  philosophically 
under  the  form  of  allegory.  And  to  these  common¬ 
places  of  Alexandrian  exegesis  he  adds  as  the  lesson 
of  the  history  of  his  people  that  “  it  goes  well  with 
those  who  follow  God’s  will  and  observe  His  laws,  and 
ill  with  those  who  rebel  against  Him  and  neglect  His 
laws.”  To  exhibit  to  the  Greco-Roman  world  the 
power  and  majesty  of  the  Jewish  God  and  the  excel- 


138 


JOSEPHUS 


lence  of  the  Jewish  law — these  are  the  two  main  pur¬ 
poses  which  he  professes  to  set  before  himself  in  his 
rendering  of  the  Bible  story,  which  occupies  the  first 
half  of  the  Antiquities.  No  Jewish  writer  before  him 
had  treated  the  Bible  to  suit  Roman  predilections, 
which  attached  supreme  importance  to  material 
strength  and  the  concrete  manifestation  of  authority, 
and  Josephus  in  order  to  carry  out  his  aim  had  there¬ 
fore  to  proceed  on  new  lines. 

In  effect,  he  rarely  attempts  to  ethicize  the  Bible 
story.  For  the  most  part  he  paraphrases  it,  cuts  out 
its  poetry,  and  reduces  it  to  a  prosaic  chronicle  of  facts. 
The  exordium  in  fact  has  little  relation  to  the  book, 
and  looks  as  if  it  were  borrowed  without  discrimina¬ 
tion.  Josephus  next,  indeed,  professes  that  he  will 
accurately  set  out  in  chronological  order  the  incidents 
in  the  J ewish  annals,  “  without  adding  anything  to 
what  is  therein  contained  or  taking  anything  away 
from  it.”  It  may  be  that  he  regarded  the  oral  tradi¬ 
tion  as  an  inherent  part  of  the  law,  and  therefore  in¬ 
serts  selections  of  it  in  the  narrative,  but  anyhow  he 
does  not  observe  strictly  the  command  of  Deuteronomy 
(4:2)  that  prompted  his  profession,  “  Ye  shall  not  add 
unto  the  word  I  have  spoken,  neither  shall  ye  diminish 
aught  from  it.”  Not  only  does  he  freely  paraphrase 
the  Septuagint  version  of  the  Bible,  but,  more  espe¬ 
cially  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  work,  he  incorporates 
pieces  of  Palestinian  Haggadah  and  to  a  smaller  extent 
of  Alexandrian  interpretation,  and  he  omits  many 
episodes  that  did  not  seem  to  him  to  redound  to  the 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


139 


glory  of  his  people.  He  seeks  to  improve  the  Bible, 
and  though  he  did  not  invent  new  legends,  he  accepted 
uncritically  those  which  he  found  in  Hellenistic 
sources  or  in  the  oral  tradition  of  his  people.  His 
work  is,  therefore,  valuable  as  a  storehouse  of  early 
Haggadah.  It  is  unnecessary  to  accept  his  description 
of  himself  as  one  who  had  a  profound  knowledge  of 
tradition,  but  he  was  acquainted  with  the  popular  exe¬ 
gesis  of  the  Palestinian  teachers;  and  twenty  years 
of  life  at  the  Roman  court  had  not  entirely  eliminated 
his  knowledge. 

In  the  very  first  section  of  the  first  book,  he  notes 
that  Moses  sums  up  the  first  day  of  Creation  with  the 
words,  “  and  it  was  one  day  ” ;  whereas  afterwards  it 
is  said,  “  it  was  the  second,  the  third  day,  etc.”  He 
does  not  indeed  supply  the  interpretation,  saying  that 
he  will  give  the  reason  in  a  separate  treatise  which  he 
proposes  to  write ;  but  the  same  point  is  discussed  in 
the  Rabbinic  commentary.  He  gives  the  traditional 
interpretation  of  the  four  rivers  of  the  Garden  of  * 
Eden.1  He  derives  the  name  Adam  from  the  Hebrew 
word  for  red,  because  the  first  man  was  formed  out 
of  red  earth.2  He  states  that  the  animals  in  the 
Garden  of  Eden  had  one  language,  a  piece  of  Midrash 
which  occurs  also  in  the  Book  of  Jubilees.  He  relates 
that  Cain,  after  the  murder  of  his  brother,  was  afraid 

1  Gen.  R.  ii.  and  iii.,  quoted  in  Bloch,  Die  Quellen  des 
Flavius  Josephus,  1879.  The  rivers  are  the  Ganges,  Eu¬ 
phrates,  Tigris,  and  Nile. 

*  Yalkut  Gen.  21,  22. 


140 


JOSEPHUS 


of -falling  among  wild  beasts,  agreeing  with  the  IHid- 
rash  that  all  the  animals  assembled  to  avenge  the 
blood  of  Abel,1  but  God  forbade  them  to  destroy  Cain 
on  pain  of  their  own  destruction.  Seth  he  describes 
as  the  model  of  the  virtuous,  and  of  him  the  Eabbis 
likewise  say,  “  From  Seth  dates  the  stock  of  all  genera¬ 
tions  of  the  virtuous.”  He  pictures  him  also  as  a  great 
inventor  and  the  discoverer  of  astronomy,  and  tells 
how  he  set  up  pillars  of  brick  and  stone  recording 
these  inventions,  so  that  they  might  not  be  forgotten 
if  the  world  was  destroyed  either  by  fire  or  water ;  here 
again  agreeing  with  the  Book  of  Jubilees,  which  re¬ 
lates  that  Cainan  found  an  inscription  in  which  his 
forefathers  had  described  their  inventions.  Examples 
might  be  multiplied  from  the  first  chapters  of  the 
Antiquities  of  the  way  in  which  Josephus  weaves  into 
the  Bible  account  traditional  Midrashim,  but  these  in¬ 
stances  will  suffice. 

Besides  embroidering  the  Bible  text  with  Haggadic 
legends,  Josephus  is  prone  to  place  in  the  mouths  of 
the  characters  rhetorical  speeches  in  the  Greek  style, 
either  expanding  a  verse  or  two  in  the  Bible  or  com¬ 
posing  them  entirely.  Thus  God  says  to  Adam  and 
Eve  in  the  Garden  of  Eden  after  the  fall : 

I  had  before  determined  about  you  that  you  might  lead 
a  happy  life  without  affliction  and  care  and  vexation  of 
soul;  and  that  all  things  which  might  contribute  to  your 
enjoyment  and  pleasure  should  grow  up  by  My  Provi¬ 
dence  of  their  own  accord.  And  death  would  not  overtake 


1  Gen.  R.  xxii. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


141 


you  at  any  period.  But  now  you  have  abused  My  good¬ 
will  and  disobeyed  My  commands,  for  your  silence  is  not 
the  sign  of  your  virtue  but  of  your  guilty  conscience. 

Anticipating,  moreover,  the  methods  of  latter-day 
Biblical  apologists,  he  loses  no  opportunity  of  adding 
any  confirmation  he  can  find  for  the  Bible  story  in 
pagan  historians.  He  cites  for  the  truth  of  the  story 
of  the  flood  Berosus  the  Chaldean,  Hieronymus  the 
Egyptian,  Menander  the  Phoenician,  and  a  great  many 
others  1 ;  and  he  finds  confirmation  of  the  early  chap¬ 
ters  of  Genesis  in  general  in  Manetho,  who  wrote  a 
famous  Egyptian  history,  and  Mochus,  and  Hestiaeus, 
and  in  some  of  the  earliest  Greek  chroniclers,  Hesiod 
and  Hecataeus  and  Hellanicus  and  Acesilaus.  In  later 
years  he  was  to  deal  more  elaborately  with  the  question 
of  the  authority  of  the  Scriptural  history,2  and  then  he 
set  out  the  pagan  testimony  more  accurately.  In  the 
Antiquities  he  is  usually  content  to  refer  to  it.  It  is 
significant  that  in  the  passages  in  which  he  adduces 
pagan  corroboration  he  refers  to  Nicholas  of  Damas¬ 
cus,  and  in  the  first  of  them  repeats  his  words  about  the 
remains  of  the  Ark  lying  on  a  mountain  in  Armenia. 
It  is  well-nigh  certain  that  Josephus  did  not  study 
the  writings  of  any  of  these  chroniclers  and  historians 
at  first  hand,  for  he  shows  no  acquaintance  with  the 
substance  of  their  works.  They  were  quoted  by 
Nicholas,  and  where  his  source  had  given  excerpts 
from  their  writings  that  threw  any  light,  or  might 
be  taken  to  throw  light,  on  the  Hebrew  text,  Josephus, 


1  Ant.  I.  iii.  3. 


sComp.  below,  p.  223. 


142 


JOSEPHUS 


following  the  literary  ethics  of  his  day,  inserts  them. 
His  archeology  extended  only  to  the  reading  of  one  or 
more  writers  of  universal  ancient  history  and  taking 
from  them  whatever  bore  upon  his  own  subject.  He 
finds  authority  for  the  story  of  the  tower  of  Babel  in 
the  oracles  of  the  Sibyl,  which  we  now  know  to  be 
Jewish  forgeries,  but  which  professed  to  he  and  were 
regarded  by  the  less  educated  of  his  day  as  being  the 
utterances  of  an  ancient  seeress.  Josephus  para¬ 
phrases  the  hexameters  which  described  how,  when  all 
men  were  of  one  tongue,  some  of  them  built  a  high 
tower,  as  if  they  would  thereby  ascend  to  heaven ;  but 
the  deity  sent  storms  of  wind  and  overthrew  the  tower, 
and  gave  everyone  his  peculiar  language. 

Josephus  sets  considerable  store  by  the  exact 
chronology  of  the  Bible,  stopping  continually  to 
enumerate  the  number  of  years  that  had  passed  from 
the  Creation  to  some  other  point  of  reckoning.  His 
habit  in  this  respect  is  marred  by  a  singular  inaccu- 
,  racy  in  dealing  with  dates  and  figures,  varying  as 
jj  he  often  does  from  chapter  to  chapter,  sometimes 
from  paragraph  to  paragraph,  according  to  the  source 
he  happens  to  he  following.  Pie  gives  the  year  of  the 
flood  as  2656,  though  the  sum  of  the  years  of  the 
Patriarchs  who  lived  before  it  in  his  reckoning  totals 
only  2256.  It  has  been  conjectured 1  that  he  followed 
the  Septuagint  chronology  from  the  Creation  to  the 
flood  and  that  of  the  Hebrew  Bible  from  Abraham  on- 


1  Comp.  Destinon,  Die  Chronologie  des  Josephus,  1880. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


143 


wards,  and  for  the  intermediate  period  he  has  his  own 
reckoning.  The  result  is  that  his  calculations  are  often 
inconsistent.  In  his  desire  to  impress  the  Greco- 
Roman  reader,  he  dates  an  event  by  the  Macedonian 
as  well  as  the  Jewish  month,  whenever  he  knows  it, 
i.  e.  when  he  found  it  in  his  source.  Thus  the  flood  is 
said  to  have  taken  place  “  in  the  month  Dius,  which  is 
called  by  the  Hebrews  Marheshwan.”  From  the  same 
motive  he  dwells  on  the  table  of  the  descendants  of 
Noah,  identifying  the  various  families  mentioned  in 
the  Bible  with  peoples  known  to  the  Greek  world.  The 
sons  of  Noah  inhabited  first  the  mountains  Taurus 
and  Amanus,  and  proceeded  along  Asia  to  the  river 
Tanais,  and  along  Europe  to  Cadiz,  giving  their  names 
to  nations  in  the  lands  they  inhabited. 

What  Josephus  then  insists  on  in  his  paraphrase  of 
Scripture  is  the  fact  and  not  the  lesson,  the  letter  and 
not  the  spirit;  while  Philo,  who  is  the  true  type  of  Jew¬ 
ish  Hellenist,  was  always  looking  for  deeper  mean¬ 
ings  beneath  the  literal  text.  The  Romans  had  no  bent 
for  such  interpretations,  and  Josephus  Romanizes. 
He  treats,  for  example,  the  genealogies,  the  chronol¬ 
ogy,  and  the  ethnology  of  Genesis  as  things  of 
supreme  value,  and  though  he  occasionally  inserts 
Haggadic  tradition,  he  misses  the  Haggadic  spirit, 
which  sought  to  draw  new  morals  and  new  spiritual 
value  from  the  narrative.  In  his  account  of  Abram, 
indeed,  he  touches  upon  the  patriarch’s  higher  idea  of 
God,  which  led  him  to  leave  Chaldea.  But  here,  too. 


144 


JOSEPHUS 


he  distorts  the  genuine  Hebraic  conception,  and  pre¬ 
sents  Abram  as  a  kind  of  Stoic  philosopher.1 

He  was  the  first  that  ventured  to  publish  this  notion, 
that  there  was  but  one  God,  the  Creator  of  the  Universe, 
and  that,  as  to  the  other  gods,  if  they  contributed  to  the 
happiness  of  men,  they  afforded  it  according  to  their 
appointment  and  not  according  to  their  own  power.  His 
opinion  was  derived  from  the  study  of  the  heavenly 
bodies  and  the  phenomena  of  the  terrestrial  world.  If, 
said  he,  these  bodies  had  power  of  their  own,  they  would 
certainly  have  regular  motions.  But  since  they  do  not 
preserve  such  regularity,  they  show  that  in  so  far  as  they 
work  for  our  good,  they  do  it  not  of  their  own  strength 
but  as  they  are  subservient  to  Him  who  commands  them. 

This  is  one  of  the  few  pieces  of  theology  in  the 
Antiquities ,  and  we  are  fain  to  believe  that  he  bor¬ 
rowed  it  from  Nicholas,  who  is  quoted  immediately 
afterwards,  or  from  pseudo-Hecataeus,  a  J ewish 
pseudepigraphic  historian,  to  whom  a  book  on  the 
patriarch  was  ascribed.  So,  later,  following  the  Hel¬ 
lenistic  tradition,  he  represents  Abraham  as  the  teacher 
of  astronomy  to  the  Egyptians. 

Josephus  was  a  wavering  rationalist,  as  is  shown  by 
his  acceptance  of  the  story  of  Lot’s  wife  being  turned 
into,  a  pillar  of  salt.  “  I  have  seen  the  pillar,”  he  adds 
(though  again  he  may  be  blindly  copying),  “and  it 
remains  to  this  day.”  It  is  not  the  place  here  to  enter 
into  the  details  of  his  version  of  the  story  of  the  patri¬ 
archs.  He  gives  the  facts,  and  loses  much  of  the  spirit, 
often  spoiling  the  beauty  of  the  Biblical  narrative  by 
a  prosy  paraphrase.  Thus  God  assures  Abraham  after 

1  Ant.  I.  vii.  1, 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


145 


the  offering  of  Isaac/  that  it  was  not  out  of  desire  for 
human  blood  that  he  was  commanded  to  slay  his  son ; 
and  Isaac  says  to  Jacob,  who  comes  to  receive  the  bless¬ 
ing  :  “  Thy  voice  is  like  the  voice  of  Jacob,  yet  because 
of  the  thickness  of  thy  hair  thou  seemest  to  be  Esau.” 
One  is  reminded  of  Bowdler’s  improvements  of  Shakes¬ 
peare  in  the  eighteenth  century. 

The  first  book  of  the  Antiquities  ends  with  the  death 
of  Isaac.  The  second  deals  with  the  story  of  Joseph 
and  of  the  Exodus  from  Egypt.  The  method  is  the 
same:  partly  Midrashic  and  partly  rhetorical  embel¬ 
lishment  of  the  Biblical  text,  conversion  of  the  poetry 
into  prose,  and,  where  occasion  offers,  correlation  of 
the  Scripture  with  Hellenistic  history.  The  chapters 
dealing  with  the  life  of  Moses  are  particularly  rich  in 
legendary  additions:  Amram  is  told  in  a  vision  that 
his  son  shall  be  the  savior  of  Israel ;1  2 3  the  name  of 
Pharaoh’s  daughter  is  given  as  Thermuthis,  in  accord¬ 
ance  with  Hellenistic,  but  not  Talmudic,  tradition. 
Moses  in  his  childhood  dons  Pharaoh’s  crown,  and  is 
only  saved  from  death  by  the  king’s  daughter.* 
Finally  a  whole  chapter  is  devoted  to  an  account  of  the 
wars  of  Moses,  as  an  Egyptian  general  fighting  against 
the  Ethiopians,  which  is  taken  from  the  histories  of 
pseudo- Artapanus.4  Josephus  makes  no  attempt  to 

1  Ant.  I.  xiii.  4. 

2  Comp.  Mekilta,  ed.  Weiss,  p.  52.  This  and  the  follow¬ 
ing  Rabbinic  parallels  are  collected  by  Bloch,  op.  cit. 

3  Comp.  Tanhuma,  xii.  4. 

4  Comp.  Eusebius,  Praep.  vii.  2. 

10 


146 


JOSEPHUS 


rationalize  the  account  of  the  plagues,  but  on  the  con¬ 
trary  dilates  on  them,  “  both  because  no  such  plagues 
did  ever  happen  to  any  other  nation,  and  because  it  is 
for  the  good  of  mankind,  that  they  may  learn  by  this 
warning  not  to  do  anything  which  may  displease  God, 
lest  He  be  provoked  to  wrath  and  avenge  their  iniquity 
upon  them.”  At  the  same  time,  following  a  tradition 
reflected  in  the  Apocalyptic  and  Eabbinic  literature, 
he  modifies  the  Biblical  statement,  that  the  Jews 
spoiled  the  Egyptians  before  leaving  the  country,  by 
explaining  that  they  took  their  fair  hire  for  their 
labor.1  And  after  describing  the  drowning  of  the 
Egyptians  in  the  Red  Sea — which  Moses  celebrates 
with  a  thanksgiving  song  in  hexameter  verse 2 — he 
apologizes  for  the  strangeness  of  the  narrative  and  its 
miraculous  incidents.  He  explains  that  he  has  re¬ 
counted  every  part  of  the  history  as  he  found  it  in  the 
sacred  books,  and  people  are  not  to  wonder  “  if  such 
things  happened,  whether  by  God’s  will  or  by  chance , 
to  the  men  of  old,  who  Avere  free  from  the  wickedness 
of  modern  times,  seeing  that  even  for  those  who  accom¬ 
panied  Alexander  the  Greek,  who  lived  recently,  when 
it  Avas  God’s  Avill  to  destroy  the  Persian  monarchy,  the 
Pamphylian  sea  retired  and  afforded  a  passage.”  This 
homily  smacks  of  some  Hellenistic-Jewish  rationalist, 
whom  he  copied.  But  he  concludes  the  whole  with  a 

1  Comp.  Book  of  Jubilees,  xlviii.  18,  and  Sanhedrin,  91a. 

2  He  probably  had  in  mind  the  Greek  version  of  the 
Song  of  Moses  made  by  the  Jewish- Alexandrian  dramatic 
poet  Ezekiel,  which  was  written  in  hexameter  verse. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


147 


formula,  which  is  regular  when  he  has  stated  some¬ 
thing  which  he  fears  will  be  difficult  of  belief  for  his 
audience,  “  As  to  these  things,  let  everyone  determine 
as  he  thinks  best.”  He  treats  the  account  of  the  Deca¬ 
logue  in  a  similar  way.  “I  am  bound,”  he  says,  “  to  re¬ 
late  the  history  as  it  is  described  in  the  Holy  Writ,  but 
my  readers  may  accept  or  reject  the  story  as  they 
please.”  Josephus  therein  applied  the  rule,  “When 
at  Rome,  do  as  Rome  does.”  For  it  is  noteworthy  that 
the  Roman  historian  Tacitus,  who  wrote  a  little  later 
than  Josephus,  manifests  the  same  indecision  about 
the  interference  of  the  divine  agency  in  human  affairs, 
the  relation  of  chance  to  human  freedom,  and  the 
necessity  of  fate ;  and  in  many  cases  he  likewise  places 
the  rational  and  transcendental  explanations  of  an 
event  side  by  side,  without  any  attempt  to  reconcile 
them. 

Josephus  deals  summarily  with  the  Mosaic  Code  in 
the  Antiquities,  but  announces  his  intention  to  com¬ 
pose  “  another  work  concerning  our  laws.”  This  work 
is,  perhaps,  represented  by  the  second  book  Against 
Apion ;  or  possibly  the  intention  was  never  fulfilled. 
He  does  not  set  out  the  ten  commandments  at  length, 
explaining  that  it  was  against  tradition  to  translate 
them  directly.1  He  refers  probably  to  the  rule  that 
they  were  not  to  be  recited  in  any  language  but 
Hebrew,  though,  of  course,  the  Septuagint  contained 
a  full  version.  On  the  other  hand,  he  describes  the 


1  Ant.  III.  vi.  4. 


148 


JOSEPHUS 


construction  of  the  Tabernacle  with  some  fulness,  and 
dwells  particularly  on  the  robes  of  the  priests  and  the 
pomp  of  the  high  priest.  Eitual  and  ceremonial  ap¬ 
pealed  to  his  public ;  and  his  account,  which  was  based 
on  the  practice  of  his  own  day,  supplements  in  some 
particulars  the  account  in  the  Talmud.  But  unfortu¬ 
nately  he  does  not  describe  the  Temple  service.  He 
attaches  marked  importance  to  the  Uriin  and  Thum- 
mim,  which  formed  a  sort  of  oracle  parallel  with  pagan 
institutions,  and  says  that  the  breastplate  and  sar¬ 
donyx,  with  which  he  identifies  them,  ceased  to  shine 
two  hundred  years  before  he  wrote  his  book1  ( i .  e.  at 
the  time  of  John  Hyrcanus).  The  Talmud  under¬ 
stands  the  mystic  names  of  the  Bible  in  a  similar 
way,2  but  represents  that  the  oracle  ceased  with  the 
destruction  of  the  first  Temple,  and  was  not  known  in 
the  second  Temple.  Josephus  enlarges,  in  a  way  com¬ 
mon  to  the  Hellenistic- J ewish  apologists,3  on  the  sym¬ 
bolism  of  the  Temple  service  and  furniture. 

One  may  wonder  at  the  contempt  men  bear  us,  or  which 
they  profess  to  bear,  on  the  ground  that  we  despise  the 
Deity,  whom  they  pretend  to  honor:  for  if  anyone  do  but 
consider  the  construction  of  the  Temple,  the  Tabernacle, 
and  the  garments  of  the  high  priest,  and  the  vessels  we 
use  in  our  service,  he  will  find  our  lawgiver  was  inspired 
by  God  ....  For  if  he  regard  these  things  without 
prejudice,  he  will  find  that  everyone  is  made  by  way  of 
imitation  and  representation  of  the  Universe.4 


1  Ant.  III.  vii.  7. 

3  Comp.  Philo,  De  V.  Mos.  iii.  6. 


2Yer.  Sotah,  ix.  13. 
4  Ant.  III.  vii.  7. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


149 


The  ritual,  in  brief,  typifies  the  universal  character 
of  Judaism,  which  Josephus  was  anxious  to  empha¬ 
size  in  reply  to  the  charge  of  Jewish  aloofness  and  par¬ 
ticularism.  The  three  divisions  of  the  Tabernacle 
symbolize  heaven,  earth,  and  sea;  the  twelve  loaves 
stand  for  the  twelve  months  of  the  year;  the  seventy 
parts  of  the  candlestick  for  the  seventy  planets;  the 
veils,  which  were  composed  of  four  materials,  for  the 
four  elements ;  the  linen  of  the  high  priest’s  vestment 
signified  the  earth,  the  blue  betokened  the  sky;  the 
breastplate  resembled  the  shape  of  the  earth,  and  so 
forth.  We  find  similar  reflections  in  Philo,  but  in  his 
Avork  they  are  part  of  a  continuous  allegorical  exegesis, 
and  in  the  other  they  are  a  sudden  incursion  of  the 
symbolical  into  the  long  narrative  of  facts. 

Following  the  acount  of  the  Tabernacle  and  the 
priestly  vestments,  Josephus  describes  the  manner  of 
offering  sacrifices,  the  observance  of  the  festivals,  and 
the  Levitical  laws  of  cleanliness.  In  his  account  of 
these  laws  Josephus  makes  no  attempt  either  to  derive 
a  universal  value  from  the  Biblical  commands  or  to 
read  a  philosophical  meaning  into  them  by  allegorical 
interpretation.  He  normally  states  the  law  as  it  stands 
in  the  text,  and  in  the  selection  he  makes  he  gives  the 
preference,  not  to  general  ethical  precepts,  but  to  regu¬ 
lations  about  the  priests.  He  had  a  pride  of  caste  and 
a  love  of  the  pomp  and  circumstance  of  the  Temple 
service;  and  the  national  ceremony  could  be  more 
easily  conveyed  to  the  Gentile  than  an  understanding 
of  the  spiritual  value  of  Judaism.  The  Hellenistic 


150 


JOSEPHUS 


apologists  enlarged  on  the  humanitarian  character  of 
the  Mosaic  social  legislation ;  Josephus  mentions  with¬ 
out  comment  the  laws  of  the  seventh  year  release  and 
the  Jubilee,  though  in  his  later  apology,  which  was 
addressed  to  the  Greeks,  in  the  books  Against  Apion / 
he  dwelt  more  carefully  on  them.  His  interpretation 
of  the  laws,  so  far  as  it  goes,  in  places  agrees  with  the 
Eabbinic  Halakah,  but  he  admits  some  modification 
of  the  accepted  tradition.  Thus  he  states  that  the 
high  priest  was  forbidden  to  marry  a  slave,  or  a  captive, 
or  a  woman  who  kept  an  inn.  He  translates  the 
Hebrew  n21I.  which  probably  here  means  a  prostitute, 
by  innkeeper,  a  meaning  the  word  has  in  other  pas¬ 
sages  ;1  2  but  the  Aramaic  version  of  the  Bible  supports 
him.  He  gives,  too,  a  rationalizing  reason  for  the 
observance  of  Tabernacles,  saying,  “  The  Law  enjoins 
us  to  pitch  tabernacles  so  that  we  may  preserve  our¬ 
selves  from  the  cold  of  the  season  of  the  year.”  3  The 
Feast  of  Weeks  he  calls  Asartha,  perhaps  a  Grecized 
form  of  the  Hebrew  rPi'y,  which  was  its  old  name,  and 
he  does  not  regard  it  as  the  anniversary  of  the  giving 
of  the  Law.  He  promises  to  explain  afterwards  wdiy 
some  animals  are  forbidden  for  food  and  some  per¬ 
mitted,  but  he  fails  to  fulfil  his  promise.  Since,  how¬ 
ever,  the  interpretation  of  the  dietary  laws  as  a  disci¬ 
pline  of  temperance  was  a  commonplace  of  Hellenistic 

1  See  below,  p.  234. 

2  Judges,  4:  1;  Josh.  2;  and  Ezek.  23:  44. 

3  Ant.  IV.  viii.  4. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


151 


Judaism,  which  is- very  fully  set  forth  in  the  so-called 
Fourth  Book  of  the  Maccabees,1  the  absence  of  his  com¬ 
ments  is  not  a  great  loss. 

In  the  next  book  of  the  Antiquities ,  Josephus  deals 
with  other  parts  of  the  Mosaic  Law,  especially  such  as 
might  appear  striking  to  Roman  readers.  Thus  he 
gives  in  detail  the  law  as  to  the  Nazar ites,  the  Korban 
offering,  and  the  red  heifer,  and  he  completes  his  ac¬ 
count  of  the  Mosaic  Code  by  a  summary  description  of 
the  Jewish  polity,  in  which  he  abstracts  a  large  part 
of  the  laws  of  Deuteronomy  together  with  some  of  the 
traditional  amplifications.2  Moses  prefaces  his  fare¬ 
well  address  with  a  number  of  moral  platitudes. 
“  Virtue  is  its  own  principal  reward,  and,  besides,  it 
bestows  abundance  of  others.” — “  The  practice  of 
virtue  towards  other  men  will  make  your  own  lives 
happy,”  and  so  forth.  Josephus  again  proclaims  that 
he  sets  out  the  laws  in  the  words  of  Moses,  his  only 
innovation  being  to  arrange  them  in  a  regular  system, 
“for  they  were  left  by  him  in  writing  as  they  were 
accidentally  scattered.”  The  influence  of  Roman  law 
may  have  suggested  the  arranging  and  digesting  of 
the  Mosaic  Code,  as  well  as  several  of  his  variations 
from  the  letter  of  the  Bible. 

A  few  of  his  interpretations  are  noteworthy  as  com¬ 
prising  either  Palestinian  or  Hellenistic  tradition.  He 
understands  the  command  not  to  curse  those  in  au- 


1  See  above,  p.  105. 


2  Ant.  IV.  viii. 


152 


JOSEPHUS 


thority  ( DV^K,  Exod.  22 : 28)  as  referring  to  the 
gods  worshiped  in  other  cities,  following  Philo  and  a 
Hellenistic  tradition  based  on  a  mistranslation  of  the 
Septnagint.  A  late  passage  in  the  Talmud,  on  the 
other  hand,  says  that  all  abuse  is  forbidden  save  of 
idolatry.1 2  With  Philo  again,  he  inserts  into  the  code  a 
law  prohibiting  the  possession  of  poison  on  pain  of 
death/  which  is  based  on  an  erroneous  interpretation 
of  the  law  against  witchcraft.  Josephus  follows  the 
Hellenistic  school  also  when  he  deduces  from  the 
prohibition  against  removing  boundary  stones  the 
lesson  that  no  infraction  of  the  law  and  tradition  3 *  is 
to  be  permitted.  Nothing  is  to  be  allowed  the  imita¬ 
tion  of  which  might  lead  to  the  subversion  of  the  con¬ 
stitution.  He  introduces  a  law  about  evidence,  to  the 
effect  that  the  testimony  of  women  should  not  be  ad¬ 
mitted  “  on  account  of  the  levity  and  boldness  of  their 
sex.”'1  The  rule  has  no  place  in  the  Code  of  the  Pen¬ 
tateuch,  but  is  supported  in  the  oral  law.  He  adopts  \/ 
another  traditional  interpretation  when  he  limits  the 
commands  against  women  wearing  men’s  habits  to  the 
donning  of  armor  in  times  of  war.5  He  misrepresents, 
on  the  other  hand,  the  law  of  HCDt?  (seventh  year 
release),  stating  that  if  a  servant  have  a  child  by  a 

1  Sanhedrin,  63b. 

2  Comp.  Philo,  De  Spec.  Leg.  ii.  315. 

3  Comp.  Deut.  22:5,  and  Nazir,  59a,  with  Ant.  IV.  viii. 

43. 

*  Shebuot,  30a.  '  Comp.  Philo,  De  Spec.  Leg.  ii. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


153 


bondwoman  in  his  master’s  house,  and  if,  on  account 
of  his  good-will  to  his  master,  he  prefers  to  remain  a 
slave,  he  shall  be  set  free  only  in  the  year  of  jubilee. 
The  Bible  says  he  shall  be  branded  if  he  refuse  the 
proffered  liberty  in  the  seventh  year,  and  Philo  in  his 
interpretation  has  drawn  a  fine  homily  about  the  re¬ 
gard  set  on  liberty.  But  Josephus  may  have  thought 
that  the  institution  would  appear  ridiculous  to  the 
legal  minds  of  Homans.  To  accommodate  the  Jew¬ 
ish  law  again  to  the  Roman  standard,  he  moderates 
the  lex  talionis  (the  rule  of  an  eye  for  an  eye),  by 
adding  that  it  is  applied  only  if  he  that  is  maimed  will 
not  accept  money  in  compensation  for  his  injury,  a 
half-way  position  between  the  Sadducean  doctrine, 
which  understood  the  Biblical  law  literally,  and  the 
Pharisaic  rule,  which  abrogated  it.  But  in  several  in¬ 
stances  he  makes  offenses  punishable  with  death, 
which  were  not  so  according  to  the  tradition,  e.  g.  the 
insulting  of  parents  by  their  children  and  the  taking 
of  bribes  by  judges.1  Summing  up  the  version  of 
Deuteronomy,  it  may  be  said  that  Josephus,  by  omit¬ 
ting  a  law  here,  adding  one  there,  now  softening,  now 
modifying,  in  some  places  broadening,  in  others  nar¬ 
rowing  the  scope  of  the  command,  presents  a  code 
which  lacks  both  the  ruggedness  of  the  Torah  and  the 

1  Comp.  C.  Ap.  ii.  27.  It  has  been  suggested  by  Judge 
Mayer  Sulzberger  that  he  falsely  interpreted  the  Hebrew. 
“Vnx  (cursed  be!)  to  mean  death  punishment.  Comp. 
J.  Q.  R.,  n.  s.,  iii.  315. 


154 


JOSEPHUS 


maturer  humaneness  of  the  Eahbinical  Halakah,  but 
was  designed  to  show  the  reasonableness  of  the  J ewish 
system  according  to  Eoman  notions. 

Josephus,  from  a  different  motive,  is  silent  about  the 
golden  calf  and  the  breaking  of  the  tablets  of  stone. 
Those  incidents,  to  his  mind,  did  not  reflect  credit  on 
his  people ;  therefore  they  were  not  to  be  disclosed  to 
Greek  and  Eoman  readers.  He  omits,  for  other  rea¬ 
sons,  the  Messianic  prophecies  of  Balaam,  which  would 
not  be  pleasing  to  the  Flavians.  At  the  same  time 
one  of  the  blessings  in  the  prophecies  of  Balaam  gives 
him  the  opportunity  of  asserting  some  universal 
humanitarian  doctrines,  to  which  Philo  affords  a 
parallel.  The  Moabite  seer  talks  like  a  Hellenistic 
apologist  of  the  second  century  B.  c.  e.  or  a  Sibylline 
oracle :  “  Every  land  and  every  sea  will  be  full  of  the 
praise  of  your  name.  Your  offspring  will  dwell  in 
every  clime,  and  the  whole  world  will  be  your  dwell¬ 
ing-place  for  eternity.” 1 * 3  He  is  at  pains  to  extol  Moses 
as  of  superhuman  excellence,  as  is  proved  by  the  en¬ 
during  force  of  his  laws,  which  is  such  that  “  there  is 
no  J ew  who  does  not  act  as  if  Moses  were  present  and 
ready  to  punish  him  if  he  should  offend  in  any  way.”  a 
He  quotes  examples  of  the  Jewish  steadfastness  in  the 
Law,  which  would  have  impressed  a  Eoman :  the  regu¬ 
lar  pilgrimage  from  Babylon  to  the  Temple,  the  ab¬ 
stention  of  the  Jewish  priests  from  touching  a  crumb 

1  Comp.  Orac.  Sib.  iii.  271:  Tracro  dk  yala  aedev  TrXripys  teal 

7r aaa  OaXacrcra,  and  Philo,  De  V.  Mos.  ii.  126. 

3  Ant.  IV.  vi.  4. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


155 


of  flour  during  the  Feast  of  Passover,  at  a  time  when, 
during  a  severe  famine,  abundance  of  wheat  was 
brought  to  the  Temple.  But  he  somewhat  mars  the 
effect  of  his  praise  by  adding  a  not  very  exalted  motive 
for  the  piety  of  his  people — the  dread  of  the  Law  and 
of  the  wrath  which  God  manifests  against  trans¬ 
gressors,  even  when  no  man  can  accuse  the  actor. 
Josephus  is  in  a  way  a  loyal  supporter  of  the  Law,  and 
he  had  a  sincere  admiration  for  its  hold  on  the  people, 
but  he  was  led  by  the  conditions  of  his  appeal  to 
materialize  the  idea  of  Jewish  religious  intensity  and 
to  present  it  as  a  fear  of  punishment.  Nor  is  it  the 
humanity,  the  inherent  excellence  of  the  Law  which  he 
emphasizes,  but  its  endurance  and  the  Avidespread  al¬ 
legiance  it  commands.  Looking  at  Judaism  through 
Roman  spectacles,  he  treats  it  as  a  positive  force  com¬ 
parable  Avith  the  sway  of  the  Roman  Emperor. 

In  the  description  of  the  death  of  Moses  the  same 
habit  of  enfeebling  the  majesty  of  the  Biblical  text  to 
suit  the  current  taste  is  manifested.  Moses  weeps  be¬ 
fore  he  ascends  the  mountain  to  die.  He  exhorts  the 
people  not  to  lament  OATer  his  departure.  As  he  is  about 
to  embrace  Joshua  and  Eleazar,  he  is  coATered  with  a 
cloud  and  disappears  in  a  valley,  although  he 
piously  Avrote  in  the  holy  hooks  that  he  died  lest  the 
people  should  say  that,  because  of  his  marvelous 
virtue,  he  was  taken  up  to  God.  For  the  last  state¬ 
ment  Josephus  has  the  authority  of  some  sages,  Avho 


156 


JOSEPHUS 


discussed  whether  the  last  verses  of  Deuteronomy  were 
written  by  Moses  himself.1 

Josephus  continues  the  Biblical  narrative  in  less 
detail  in  the  fifth  book,  which  covers  the  period  of 
Joshua  and  the  Judges  and  the  first  part  of  Samuel. 
The  Book  of  Joshua  is  compressed  into  the  limits  of 
one  chapter,  but  the  exploits  of  each  of  the  judges  of 
Israel,  with  one  or  two  omissions,  are  recounted  in 
order,  and  the  episode  of  Buth  is  inserted  after  the 
story  of  Samson.  He  substitutes  for  the  famous 
declaration  of  Buth  to  Uaomi  the  prosy  statement: 
“  Xaomi  took  Buth  along  with  her,  as  she  was  not  to  be 
persuaded  to  stay  behind,  but  was  resolved  to  share  her 
fortune  with  her  mother-in-law,  whatsoever  it  should 
prove.”  And  he  justifies  his  insertion  of  the  episode 
by  the  reflection  that  he  desires  to  demonstrate  the 
power  of  God,  who  can  raise  those  that  are  of  common 
parentage  to  dignity  and  splendor,  even  as  He  ad¬ 
vanced  David,  though  he  was  born  of  mean  parents. 

With  his  fondness  for  royal  history,  and  no  doubt 
with  an  eye  to  his  noble  audience,  he  devotes  a  whole 
book  to  the  account  of  Saul’s  reign,  adhering  closely 
to  the  narrative  in  Samuel,  but  occasionally  adding  a 
passage  from  the  Book  of  Chronicles,  or  softening 
what  seemed  an  asperity  in  Scripture.  Samuel,  for 
example,  orders  Agag  to  be  killed,  whereas  in  the  Bible 
he  puts  him  to  death  with  his  own  hand.*  The  inci¬ 
dent  of  Saul  and  the  Witch  of  Endor  is  expanded  and 


1  Baba  Batra,  15a. 


2  Ant.  VI.  viii.  5. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


157 


invested  with  further  pathos.1  The  Witch  devotes  her 
only  possession,  a  calf,  for  the  king’s  meal,  and  the 
historian  expatiates  first  on  her  kindness  and  then  on 
Saul’s  courage  in  fighting,  though  he  knew  his  ap¬ 
proaching  doom.  We  may  suspect  that  this  digression 
was  induced  by  a  supposed  analogy  in  the  king  of 
Israel’s  lot  to  the  author’s  conduct  in  Galilee,  when, 
as  he  claimed,  he  fought  on  though  knowing  the  hope¬ 
lessness  of  resistance. 

The  next  book  is  taken  up  entirely  with  the  reign 
of  David,  and  contains  little  that  is  noteworthy.  On 
one  point  Josephus  cites  the  authority  of  Nicholas  of 
Damascus  to  support  the  Bible,  and  here  and  there  he 
adopts  a  traditional  interpretation.  David’s  son  by 
Abigail  is  said  to  be  Daniel,2  whereas  the  Book  of 
Samuel  gives  the  name  as  Kitab.  Absalom’s  hair  was 
so  thick  that  it  could  be  cut  with  difficulty  every  eight 
days.3  David  chose  a  pestilence  as  the  punishment  for 
his  sin  in  numbering  his  people,  because  it  was  an 
affliction  common  to  kings  and  their  subjects.4  The 
historian  ascribes  the  Psalms  to  David,  and  says  they 
were  in  several  (Greek)  meters,  some  in  hexameters 
and  others  in  pentameters.  Lastly  he  enlarges  on  the 
wonderful  wealth  of  David,  which  was  greater  than 
that  of  any  other  king  either  of  the  Hebrews  or  of 

1Ant.  VI.  viii.  14. 

2  Comp.  Ant.  VII.  i.  4;  Berakot,  4a. 

3  Ant.  VII.  viii.;  comp.  Nazir,  4&. 

4  Ant.  VII.  xiii. ;  comp.  Yalkut,  ii.  165. 


158 


JOSEPHUS 


other  nations.  Benjamin  of  Tudela  relates,  and  the 
Mohammedans  believe  to  this  day,  that  vast  treasure  is 
buried  with  the  king,  and  lies  in  his  reputed  sepulcher. 
The  story  must  have  been  accepted  in  the  days  of 
Josephus,  for  he  records  how  Hyrcanus,  the  son  of 
Simon  the  Maccabee,  being  in  straits  for  money  to  buy 
off  the  Seleucid  invader,  opened  a  room  of  David’s 
seprdcher  and  took  out  three  thousand  talents,  and 
how,  many  years  later,  King  Herod  opened  another 
room,  and  took  out  great  store  of  money;  yet  neither 
lighted  on  the  body  of  the  king.  Such  romantic  tales 
pleased  the  readers  of  the  Jewish  historian,  who  lived 
amid  the  wonderful  material  splendor  of  Borne,  and 
prized,  above  all  things,  material  wealth. 

When  he  comes  to  the  history  of  Solomon,  he  speaks 
of  his  proverbial  writings,  and  inserts  a  long  account 
of  his  miraculous  magical  powers,  based  no  doubt  on 
popular  legend.1 

He  composed  books  of  odes  and  songs  one  thousand 
and  five  [here  he  follows  Chronicles]  and  of  parables  and 
similitudes  three  thousand.  For  he  spoke  a  parable  on 
every  sort  of  tree,  from  the  hyssop  to  the  cedar,  and  in 
like  manner  about  every  sort  of  living  creature,  whether 
on  the  earth  or  in  the  air  or  in  the  seas.  He  was  not 
unacquainted  with  any  of  their  natures,  nor  did  he  omit 
to  study  them,  but  he  described  them  all  in  the  manner  of 
a  philosopher.  God  also  endowed  him  with  skill  in  ex¬ 
pelling  demons,  which  is  a  science  useful  and  health¬ 
giving  to  men.2 

1  Comp.  Yalkut,  ii.  177.  The  apocryphal  Wisdom  of 
Solomon  similarly  credits  the  king  with  power  over 
spirits  (vii.  20). 

2  Ant.  VIII.  ii.  5. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


159 


Joseplius  goes  on  to  describe  how,  in  the  presence  of 
Vespasian,  a  compatriot  cured  soldiers  who  were  de¬ 
moniacal.  We  know  from  the  New  Testament  that  the 
belief  in  possession  by  demons  was  widespread  among 
the  vulgar  in  the  first  century  of  the  common  era,  and 
the  Essenes  specialized  in  the  science  of  exorcism. 
As  the  belief  was  invested  with  respectability  by  the 
patronage  which  the  Flavian  court  extended  to  all 
sorts  of  magic  and  witchcraft,  Josephus  enlarges  on 
it.  Solomon  is  therefore  represented  as  a  thaumatur- 
gist,  and  while  not  a  single  example  is  given  of  the 
proverbs  ascribed  to  him,  his  exploits  as  a  miracle- 
monger  are  extolled.  Josephus  sets  out  at  length  the 
story  of  the  building  of  the  Temple,  and  dwells  on 
Solomon’s  missions  to  King  Hiram,  of  which,  he  says, 
copies  remained  in  his  day,  and  may  be  seen  in  the 
public  records  of  Tyre.  This  he  claims  to  be  a  signal 
testimony  to  the  truthfulness  of  his  history.1  He 
modernizes  elaborately  Solomon’s  speech  at  the  dedi¬ 
cation  of  the  sanctuary,  and  converts  it  into  an  apol¬ 
ogy  for  the  J ews  of  his  own  day.  Again  he  follows  an 
Alexandrian  model,  and  describes  God  in  Platonic 
fashion :  “  Thou  possessest  an  eternal  house,  and  we 
know  how,  from  what  Thou  hast  created  for  Thy¬ 
self,  Heaven  and  Air  and  Earth  and  Sea  have  sprung, 
and  how  Thou  fillest  all  things  and  yet  canst  not 
be  contained  by  any  of  them.”  2  Solomon  is  here  a 

1  Comp,  below,  p.  223. 

2  Ant.  VIII.  iv.  2.  Comp.  Philo,  De  Confus.  Ling.  i.  425. 


160 


JOSEPHUS 


preacher  of  universalism ;  he  prays  that  God  shall 
help  not  the  Hebrews  alone  when  they  are  in  distress, 
“  but  when  any  shall  come  hither  from  the  ends  of  the 
earth  and  repent  of  their  sins  and  implore  Thy  forgive¬ 
ness,  do  Thou  pardon  them  and  hear  their  prayer.  For 
thereby  all  shall  know  that  Thou  wast  pleased  with 
the  building  of  this  house,  and  that  we  are  not  of  an 
unsociable  nature,  nor  do  we  behave  with  enmity  to 
such  as  are  not  of  our  people,  but  are  willing  that  Thou 
shouldst  bestow  Thy  help  on  all  men  in  common,  and 
that  all  alike  may  enjoy  Thy  benefits.”  Solomon’s 
dream  after  the  dedication  service  provides  another 
occasion  for  pointing  to  the  Jewish  disaster  of  the 
historian’s  day.  For  he  foresees  that  if  Israel  will 
transgress  the  Law,  his  miseries  shall  become  a  prov¬ 
erb,  and  his  neighbors,  when  they  hear  of  them,  shall 
be  amazed  at  their  magnitude. 

The  description  of  the  Temple  is  followed  by  a 
glowing  account  of  the  king’s  palace,  of  which  the  roof 
was  “  according  to  the  Corinthian  order,  and  the 
decorations  so  vivid  that  the  leaves  seemed  to  be  in 
motion.”  We  are  told,  too,  of  the  great  cities  which 
the  king  built,  Tadmor  in  the  wilderness  of  Syria,  and 
Gezer,  the  Bible  narrative  being  supplemented  here 
with  passages  from  Nicholas.  The  Queen  of  Sheba  is 
represented  as  the  Queen  of  Egypt  and  Ethiopia,  and 
it  is  to  her  gift  that  Josephus  attributes  “the  root  of 
balsam  which  our  country  still  bears.”  Beveling  in 
the  material  greatness  of  the  Jewish  court  during  the 
golden  age  of  the  old  kingdom,  Josephus  catalogues 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


161 


the  wealth  of  Solomon,  the  number  of  his  horses  and 
chariots.  He  reproaches  him  not  only  for  marrying 
foreign  wives,  but  for  making  images  of  brazen  oxen, 
which  supported  the  brazen  sea,  and  the  images  of 
lions  about  his  throne.  For  these  sins  against  the 
second  commandment  he  died  ingloriously. 

With  the  death  of  Solomon  the  legendary  and 
romancing  character  of  this  part  of  the  Antiquities 
comes  to  an  end.  In  the  summary  of  the  fortunes  of 
the  kingdoms  of  Israel  and  Judah,  Josephus  adheres 
almost  exclusively  to  the  Biblical  text,  and  allows  him¬ 
self  few  digressions.  He  moralizes  a  little  about  the 
decay  of  the  people  under  Behoboam,  reflecting  that 
the  aggrandizement  of  a  kingdom  and  its  sudden  at¬ 
tainment  of  prosperity  often  are  the  occasion  of  mis¬ 
chief;  and  he  controverts  Herodotus,  who  confused 
Sesostris  with  Shishak  when  relating  the  Egyptian 
king’s  conquests.  It  is,  he  claims,  really  Shishak’s 
invasion  of  Jerusalem  which  the  Greek  historian  nar¬ 
rates,  as  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  he  speaks  of  cir¬ 
cumcised  Syrians,  who  can  be  no  other  than  Jews. 
The  fate  of  Omri  and  Zimri 1  moves  him  to  moralize 
again  about  God’s  Providence  in  rewarding  the  good 
and  punishing  the  wicked:  and  Ah  ah’s  death  evokes 
some  platitudes  concerning  fate,  “  which  creeps  on 
human  souls  and  flatters  them  with  pleasing  hopes, 
till  it  brings  them  to  the  place  where  it  will  be  too 
hard  for  them.”  3  Artapanus,  or  one  of  the  Jewish 

*  Ant.  IX.  xii.  6.  3  Ant.  IX.  xv.  6. 

11 


162 


JOSEPHUS 


Hellenists  masking  as  a  pagan  historian,  may  have 
provided  him  with  this  reflection. 

He  spoils  the  grandeur  of  the  scene  on  Mount  Car¬ 
mel,  when  Elijah  turned  the  people  from  Baal- worship 
back  to  the  service  of  God.  In  place  of  the  dramatic 
description  in  the  Book  of  Kings  he  states  that  the 
Israelites  worshiped  one  God,  and  called  Him  the 
great  and  the  only  true  God,  while  the  other  deities 
were  names.  He  omits  altogether  the  account  of 
Elijah’s  ascent  to  Heaven,  probably  from  a  desire 
not  to  appear  to  entertain  any  Messianic  ideas  with 
which  the  prophet  was  associated.  He  says  simply  that 
Elijah  disappeared  from  among  men.  But  he  gives 
in  detail  the  miraculous  stories  of  Elisha,  which  were 
not  subject  to  the  same  objection.  Occasionally  his 
statements  seem  in  direct  conflict  with  the  Hebrew 
Bible,  as  when  he  says  that  Jehu  drove  slowly  and  in 
good  order,  whereas  the  Hebrew  is  that  “he  driveth 
furiously.”1  Or  that  Joash,  king  of  Israel,  was  a 
good  man,  whereas  in  the  Book  of  Kings  it  is  written, 
“he  did  evil  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord.”  2  But  these 
discrepancies  may  be  due,  not  to  a  different  Bible  text, 
but  to  aberrations  of  the  copyists. 

The  story  of  dynastic  struggles  and  foreign  wars 
is  varied  with  a  short  summary  of  the  life  of  Jonah, 
introduced  at  what,  according  to  the  Bible,  is  its 
proper  chronological  place,3  in  the  reign  of  Jeroboam 

1  Ant.  IX.  vi.  3;  II  Kings,  9:  20. 

2 II  Kings,  13:  11. 


s  Ant.  IX.  x.  1. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


163 


II,  king  of  Israel.  The  picturesque  and  miraculous 
character  of  the  prophet’s  adventures  secured  him  this 
distinction,  for  in  general  Josephus  does  not  pay  much 
regard  to  the  lives  or  writings  of  the  prophets.  It  is 
only  where  they  foretold  concrete  events  that  their 
testimony  is  deemed  worthy  of  mention.  Of  the  other 
minor  prophets  he  mentions  Nahum,  and  paraphrases 
jrart  of  his  prophecy  of  the  fall  of  Nineveh,  cutting  it 
short  with  the  remark  that  he  does  not  think  it  neces¬ 
sary  to  repeat  the  rest,1  so  that  he  may  not  appear 
troublesome  to  his  readers.  In  the  account  of  Heze- 
kiah  he  mentions  that  the  king  depended  on  Isaiah 
the  prophet,  by  whom  he  inquired  and  knew  of  all 
future  events,2  and  he  recounts  also  the  miracle  of 
putting  back  the  sun-dial.  For  the  rest,  he  says  that, 
by  common  consent,  Isaiah  wTas  a  divine  and  wonderful 
man  in  foretelling  the  truth,  “  and  in  the  assurance 
that  he  had  never  written  what  was  false,  he  wrote 
down  his  prophecies  and  left  them  in  books,  that  their 
accomplishment  might  be  judged  of  by  posterity  from 
the  events.3  Nor  was  he  alone,  but  the  other  prophets 
[ i .  e.  the  minor  prophets  presumably],  who  were 
twelve  in  number,  did  the  same.”  It  is  notable  that 
this  phrase  of  the  Antiquities  about  the  prophets  bears 
a  resemblance  to  the  “  praise  of  famous  men  ”  con¬ 
tained  in  the  apocryphal  book  of  Ben  Sira,  which 
Josephus  probably  used  in  the  Greek  translation. 

1  Ant.  IX.  xi.  3. 

3  Ant.  X,  ii.  2.  Comp.  Is.  30:8/. 


3  Ant.  IX.  xiii. 


164 


JOSEPHUS 


While  lie  thus  cursorily  disposes  of  the  prophetical 
writers,  he  seizes  on  any  scrap  of  Hellenistic  authors 
which  he  could  find  to  confirm  the  Bible  story,  or 
rather  to  confirm  the  existence  of  the  personages  men¬ 
tioned  in  the  Bible.  Thus  he  quotes  the  Phoenician 
historian  Menander,  who  confirms  the  existence  and 
exploits  of  the  Assyrian  king  Shalmaneser.  So,  too, 
he  brings  forward  Herodotus  and  Berosus  to  confirm 
the  existence  and  doings  of  Sennacherib.1  He  refutes 
Herodotus  again,  doubtless  on  the  authority  of  a 
predecessor,  for  saying  that  Sennacherib  was  king  of 
the  Arabs  instead  of  king  of  the  Assyrians. 

As  with  Ahab,  so  with  Josiah,  Josephus,  sees  the 
power  of  fate  impelling  him  to  his  death,  and  substi¬ 
tutes  the  Hellenistic  conception  of  a  blind  and  jealous 
power  for  the  Hebrew  idea  of  a  just  Providence.  He 
ascribes  to  J eremiah  “  an  elegy  on  the  death  of  the 
king,  which  is  still  extant,” 2  apparently  following  a 
statement  in  the  Book  of  Chronicles,  which  does  not 
refer  to  our  Book  of  Lamentations.  Jeremiah  is 
treated  rather  more  fully  than  Isaiah.  Besides  a 
notice  of  his  writings  we  have  an  account  of  his  im¬ 
prisonment.  He  ascribes  to  Ezekiel  two  books  foretell¬ 
ing  the  Babylonian  captivity.  Possibly  the  difference 
between  the  last  nine  and  the  first  forty  chapters  of 
the  exile  prophet  suggested  the  idea  of  the  two  books, 
unless  these  words  apply  rather  to  Jeremiah. 

1  Ant.  X.  ii.  4. 

3  Ant.  X.  v.  2.  Comp.  II  Chron.  35:25. 


JOSEPHUS  AXD  THE  BIBLE 


165 


The  two  prophets  agreed  [he  remarks]  on  all  other 
things  as  to  the  capture  of  the  city  and  King  Zedekiah, 
but  Ezekiel  declared  that  Zedekiah  should  not  see  Baby¬ 
lon,  while  Jeremiah  said  the  king  of  Babylon  should  carry 
him  thither  in  bonds.  Because  of  this  discrepancy,  the 
Jewish  prince  disbelieved  them  both,  and  condemned 
them  for  false  tidings.1  Both  prophets,  however,  were 
justified,  because  Zedekiah  came  to  Babylon,  but  he  came 
blind,  so  that,  as  Ezekiel  had  predicted,  he  did  not  see 
the  city. 

The  episode  is  possibly  based  on  some  apocryphal 
book  that  has  disappeared,  and  the  historian  extracts 
from  it  the  lesson,  which  he  is  never  weary  of  repeat¬ 
ing,  that  God’s  nature  is  various  and  acts  in  diverse 
ways,  and  men  are  blind  and  cannot  see  the  future,  so 
that  they  are  exposed  to  calamities  and  cannot  avoid 
their  incidence.* 

Following  on  the  account  of  the  fall  of  the  last  of 
the  Davidic  line  and  the  destruction  of  the  Temple, 
Josephus  gives  a  chronological  summary  of  the  history 
of  Israel  from  the  Creation,  together  with  an  incom¬ 
plete  list  of  all  the  high  priests  who  held  office.  The 
latter  may  he  compared  with  the  list  of  high  priests 
with  which  he  closes  the  Antiquities .*  These  chrono¬ 
logical  calculations  were  dear  to  him,  hut  perhaps  he 
borrowed  them  from  one  of  the  earlier  Hellenistic 
Jewish  chroniclers.  He  takes  an  especial  pride 
throughout  the  Antiquities  as  well  as  in  the  Wars  in 
recording  the  priestly  succession,  which  served  to  em- 

1  Ant.  X.  vii.  2.  J  Ant.  X.  viii.  3. 

3  See  below,  p.  202. 


166 


JOSEPHUS 


phasize  the  antiquity  not  only  of  his  people,  but  of 
his  own  personal  lineage,  and  was  moreover  congenial 
to  the  ideas  of  the  Eomans,  who  paid  great  heed  to  the 
records  of  their  priests. 

As  might  be  expected,  he  dwells  at  some  length  on 
Daniel,1  whose  book  was  full  of  the  miraculous  legends 
and  exact  prophecies  loved  by  his  audience,  and  he 
recommends  his  book  to  those  who  are  anxious  about 
the  future.  Pie  elaborates  the  interpretation  of  the 
vision  of  the  image  (ch.  3:7),  but  finds  himself  in 
a  difficulty  when  he  comes  to  the  explanation  of  the 
stone  broken  off  from  the  mountain  that  fell  on  the 
image  and  shattered  it.  According  to  the  traditional 
interpretation,  it  portended  the  downfall  of  Borne, 
or  maybe  the  coming  of  the  Messiah,  an  idea  equally 
hateful  to  the  Boman  conquerors.  He  excuses  him¬ 
self  by  saying  that  he  has  only  undertaken  to  de¬ 
scribe  things  past  and  present,  and  not  things  that 
are  future.  Later  he  disclaims  responsibility  for  the 
story  of  Nebuchadnezzar’s  madness,  on  the  plea  that 
he  has  translated  what  was  in  the  Hebrew  book,  and 
has  neither  added  nor  taken  away.  The  story  probably 
looked  too  much  like  an  implied  reproach  on  a  mad 
Caesar.  He  adds  a  new  chapter  to  the  Biblical  account 
of  the  prophet :  Daniel  is  carried  by  Darius  to  Persia, 
and  is  there  signally  honored  by  the  king.  He  builds 
a  tower  at  Ecbatana,2  which  is  still  extant,  says  the  his¬ 
torian,  “  and  seems  to  be  but  lately  built.  Here  the 


1  Ant.  X.  x. 


Ant.  X.  xi.  7. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


167 


kings  of  Persia  and  Media  are  buried,  and  a  Jewish 
priest  is  the  custodian.”  Josephus  borrowed  this  ad¬ 
dition  from  some  apocalyptic  book  recounting  Daniel’s 
deeds,  and  he  speaks  of  “  several  books  the  prophet 
wrote  and  left  behind  him,  which  are  still  read  by 
us.”  The  short  story  in  the  Apocrypha  of  Bel  and 
the  Dragon,  with  its  apologue  about  Susannah,  af¬ 
fords  an  example  of  the  post-Biblical  additions  to 
Daniel,  and  in  the  first  century,  when  Messianic  hopes 
were  rife  among  the  people,  such  apocryphal  books 
had  a  great  vogue.  Daniel  is  in  fact  elevated  to  the 
rank  of  one  of  the  greatest  of  the  prophets,  because  he 
not  only  prophesied  generally  of  future  events  like 
the  others,  but  fixed  the  actual  time  of  their  accom¬ 
plishment.  It  is  claimed  for  him  that  he  foretold  ex¬ 
plicitly  the  persecution  of  Antiochus  Epiphanes  and 
the  Roman  conquest  of  Judea.  Anticipating  the 
theological  controversialists  of  later  times,  Josephus 
sets  special  store  on  the  Bible  book  that  is  most 
miraculous,  because  miracle  and  exact  prognostication 
of  the  future  are  for  his  audience  the  clearest  testi¬ 
mony  of  God.  Hence  the  predictions  of  Daniel  are 
the  best  refutation  of  the  Epicureans,  who  cast  Provi¬ 
dence  out  of  life,  and  do  not  believe  that  God  has  care 
of  human  affairs,  but  say  that  things  move  of  their 
own  accord,  without  a  ruler  and  guide. 

When  he  comes  to  the  history  of  the  Restoration 
from  Babylon,  Josephus  follows  what  is  now  known 
as  the  apocryphal  Book  of  Esdras,  in  preference  to  the 
Biblical  Ezra  and  Nehemiah,  probably  because  a  Hel- 


168 


JOSEPHUS 


lenistic  guide  whom  he  had  before  him  did  likewise. 
It  is  clear  that  he  based  his  paraphrase  on  the  Greek 
text.  His  chronicle  therefore  differs  considerably 
from  that  given  in  our  Scripture,  and  on  one  point  he 
differs  from  his  guide.  For  while  Esdras  represents 
Artaxerxes  as  the  king  under  whom  the  Temple  was 
rebuilt,  Josephus,  relying  on  a  fuller  knowledge  of 
Persian  history,  derived  probably  from  Nicholas  of 
Damascus,  substitutes  Cambyses.1  Our  Greek  version 
of  Esdras  I  is  unfortunately  not  complete,  but  the 
book,  differing  from  that  included  in  the  Bible,  must 
have  originally  comprised  an  account  of  Nehemiah. 
According  to  Josephus,  Ezra  dies  before  Nehemiah11 
arrives  in  Judea,  whereas  in  the  canonical  books  they 
appear  for  a  time  together.  He  states  also  that  Nehe¬ 
miah  built  houses  for  the  poor  in  Jerusalem  out  of  his 
own  means,  an  incident  which  has  not  the  authority  of 
the  Bible,  but  which  may  well  have  reposed  on  an 
ancient  tradition.  The  account  of  the  marriage  of 
Sanballat  with  the  daughter  of  Manasseh  the  high 
nriest,  which  is  touched  on  in  our  Book  of  Nehe¬ 
miah,  is  described  more  fully  by  Josephus,®  who  based 
this  account  on  some  uncanonical  source.  And  fol¬ 
lowing  the  Eabbis,  who  shortened  the  Persian  epoch 
in  order  to  eke  out  the  Jewish  history  over  the  whole 
period  of  the  Persian  kingdom  till  the  conquest  of 
Alexander,  he  makes  the  marriage  synchronize  with 
the  reign  of  Philip  of  Macedon.  Josephus  was  anxious 


1  Ant.  XI.  ii. 


2  Ant.  XI.  v. 


3  Ant.  XI.  vii.  2. 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


169 


to  avoid  a  vacuum,  and  by  a  little  vague  chronology 
and  the  aid  of  the  fragmentary  records  of  Ezra  and 
Nehemiah  and  a  priestly  chronicle,  the  few  Jewish 
incidents  known  in  that  tranquil,  unruffled  epoch 
are  spread  over  three  centuries. 

The  episode  of  Esther  is  treated  elaborately,  and, 
following  the  apocryphal  version,  is  placed  in  the 
reign  of  Artaxerxes.  The  Greek  Book  of  Esther,  which 
embroidered  the  Hebrew  story,  and  is  generally  at¬ 
tributed  to  the  second  century  b.  c.  e.,  is  laid  under 
contribution  as  well  as  the  Canonical  book;  from  it 
J osephus  extracted  long  decrees  of  the  king  and  elabo¬ 
rate  anti  -  Semitic  denunciations  of  a  Hellenized 
Haman.  He  omits  the  incident  of  casting  lots,  and 
contrives  to  explain  Purim,  by  means  of  a  Greek  ety¬ 
mology,  as  derived  from  <f>povpe at,  which  denotes  pro¬ 
tection.  Here  and  there  the  Biblical  simplicity  is 
elaborated :  Mordecai  moves  from  Babylon  to  Shushan 
in  order  to  be  near  Esther,  and  soldiers  with  bared  axes 
stand  round  the  king  to  secure  the  observance  of  the 
law  that  he  shall  not  be  approached.  We  have  some 
moralizing  on  Hainan’s  fall  and  the  working  of  Provi¬ 
dence  (to  6eiov),  which  teaches  that  “what  mischief 
anyone  prepares  against  another,  he  unconsciously 
contrives  against  himself.”  Less  edifying  is  the  addi¬ 
tion  that  “  God  laughed  to  scorn  the  wicked  expecta¬ 
tions  of  Haman,  and  as  He  knew  what  the  event  would 
be,  He  was  pleased  at  it,  and  that  night  He  took  away 
the  king’s  sleep.”  The  Book  of  Esther  does  not  men- 


170 


JOSEPHUS 


tion  God:  Josephus  calls  in  directly  the  operation  of 
the  Divine  Power,  but  represents  it  unworthily. 

With  the  completion  of  the  eleventh  book  of  the 
Antiquities ,  we  definitely  pass  away  from  the  region 
of  sacred  history  and  miracles,  and  find  ourselves  in 
the  more  spacious  but  more  misty  area  of  the  Hellen¬ 
istic  kingdom,  in  which  Jewish  affairs  are  only  a  detail 
set  in  a  larger  background.  Though  Josephus  himself 
does  not  explicitly  mark  the  break,  the  character  of  his 
work  materially  changes.  He  has  come  to  the  end  of 
the  period  when  the  Bible  was  his  chief  guide ;  he  has 
now  to  depend  for  the  main  thread  on  Hellenistic 
sources,  filling  in  the  details  when  he  can  from  some 
Jewish  record.  His  function  becomes  henceforth  more 
completely  that  of  compiler,  less  of  translator,  and 
his  work  becomes  much  more  valuable  for  us,  because 
in  great  part  he  has  the  field  to  himself.  Although, 
however,  the  Bible  paraphrase,  with  the  embroidery 
of  a  little  tradition  and  comparative  history  and  its 
Romanizing  reflections,  which  constitutes  the  first 
part  of  the  Antiquities,  had  not  a  great  permanent 
value,  for  a  very  long  period  it  was  accepted  as  the 
standard  history  of  the  Jewish  people;  and  in  the 
pagan  Greco-Roman  world  it  appealed  to  a  public  to 
which  both  the  Hebrew  Bible  and  the  Septuagint 
translation  were  sealed  books.  It  was  written  for  a 
special  purpose  and  served  it,  doing  for  the  Jewish 
early  history  what  Livy  did  for  the  hoary  past  of  the 
Romans.  If  it  was  not  a  worthy  record  in  many 
parts,  it  was  yet  of  great  value  as  an  antidote  to 


JOSEPHUS  AND  THE  BIBLE 


171 


the  crude  fictions  of  the  anti-Semites  about  the  origin 
and  the  institutions  of  the  people  of  Israel,  which 
had  for  some  two  centuries  been  allowed  to  poison  the 
minds  of  the  Greek-speaking  world,  and  had  fanned 
the  prejudices  of  the  Roman  people  against  a  nation¬ 
ality  of  whose  history  they  were  ignorant  and  of  whose 
laws  they  were  contemptuous. 


VII 


JOSEPHUS  AND  POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH 
HISTORY 

(The  Antiquities,  Books  xii-xx) 

Josephus  is  the  sole  writer  of  the  ancient  world  who 
has  left  a  connected  account  of  the  Jewish  people 
during  the  post-Biblical  period,  and  the  meagerness  of 
his  historical  information  is  not  due  so  much  to  his 
own  deficiencies  as  to  the  difficulty  of  the  material. 
From  the  period  when  the  Scriptures  closed,  the  affairs 
of  the  Jews  had  to  be  extracted,  for  the  most  part,  out 
of  works  dealing  with  the  annals  of  the  whole  of  civil¬ 
ized  humanity.  With  the  conquest  of  Alexander  the 
Great,  the  Jewish  people  enter  into  the  Hellenistic 
world,  and  begin  to  command  the  attention  of  Hellen¬ 
istic  historians.  They  are  an  element  in  the  cos- 
mopolis  which  was  the  ideal  of  the  world-conqueror. 
At  the  same  time  the  nature  of  the  history  of  their 
affairs  vitally  changes.  The  continuous  chronicle  of 
their  doings,  which  had  been  kept  from  the  Exodus 
out  of  Egypt  to  the  Restoration  from  Babylon,  and 
which  was  designed  to  impress  a  religious  lesson  and 
illustrate  God’s  working,  comes  to  an  end ;  and  their 
scribes  are  concerned  to  draw  fresh  lessons  from  that 
chronicle.  The  religious  philosophy  of  history  is  not 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  173 


extended  to  the  present.  The  Jews,  on  the  other 
hand,  chiefly  engage  the  interest  of  the  Gentiles  when 
they  come  into  violent  collision  with  the  governing 
power,  or  when  they  are  involved  in  some  war  between 
rival  Hellenistic  sovereigns.  Hence  their  history  dur- 
ing  the  two  centuries  following  Alexander’s  conquests, 
i.  e.  until  the  time  when  we  again  have  adequate 
Jewish  sources,  is  singularly  shadowy  and  incoherent. 

Josephus  was  not  the  man  to  pierce  the  obscurity  by 
his  intuition  or  by  his  research.  Yet  we  must  not  be  too 
critical  of  the  want  of  proportion  in  his  writing  when 
we  remember  that  he  was  a  pioneer;  for  it  was  an 
original  idea  to  piece  together  the  stray  fragments  of 
history  that  referred  to  his  people.  It  has  been 
shown  that  in  his  attempt  to  stretch  out  the  Biblical 
history  till  it  can  join  on  to  the  Hellenistic  sources, 
Josephus  interposes  between  the  account  of  Esther  and 
the  fall  of  the  Persian  Empire  a  story  of  intrigue 
among  the  high  priests.  He  there  describes  the  crime 
of  the  high  priest  John  in  killing  his  brother  in  the 
Temple  as  more  cruel  and  impious  than  anything  done 
by  the  Greeks  or  Barbarians — an  expression  which 
must  have  originated  in  a  Jewish,  probably  a  Pales¬ 
tinian,  authority,  to  whom  Greek  connoted  cruelty. 
And  in  the  next  chapter  Josephus  inserts  the  story  of 
the  Samaritan  Sanballat  and  the  building  of  the 
Samaritan  Temple  on  Mount  Gerizim,1  as  though 
these  events  happened  at  the  time  of  Alexander’s  in- 


1  Comp.  Neh.  13:  23. 


174 


JOSEPHUS 


vasion  of  Persia.  Rabbinical  chronology  interposes 
only  one  generation  between  Cyrus  and  Alexander. 
The  Sanballat  who  appears  in  the  Book  of  Nehemiah  is 
represented  as  anticipating  the  part  played  by  the  Hel¬ 
lenists  of  a  later  century,  and  calling  in  the  foreign 
invader  against  Judea  and  Jerusalem  in  order  to  set 
up  his  own  son-in-law  Manasseh  as  high  priest. 
Probably,  in  the  fashion  of  Jewish  history,  the  events 
of  a  later  time  were  placed  in  the  popular  Midrash  a 
few  generations  back  and  repeated.  Jewish  legendary 
tradition  is  more  certainly  the  basis  of  the  account  of 
Alexander’s  treatment  of  the  Jews.  The  Talmud  has 
preserved  similar  stories.1  According  to  both  records, 
the  Macedonian  conqueror  did  obeisance  before  the 
high  priest,  who  came  out  to  ask  for  mercy,  because 
he  recognized  in  the  Jewish  dignitary  a  figure  that 
had  appeared  to  him  in  a  dream.  And  when  Alexander 
is  made  to  revere  the  prophecies  of  Daniel  and  to  pre¬ 
fer  the  Jews  to  the  Samaritans  and  bestow  on  them 
equal  rights  with  the  Macedonians,  the  historian  is 
simply  crystallizing  the  floating  stories  of  his  nation, 
which  are  parallel  with  those  invented  by  every  other 
nation  of  antiquity  about  tbe  Greek  hero. 

Passing  on  to  Alexander’s  successors,  be  has  scarcely 
fuller  or  more  reliable  sources.  For  Ptolemy’s  capture 
of  Jerusalem  on  the  Sabbath  day,  when  the  Jews 
would  not  resist,  he  calls  in  the  confirmation  of  a  Greek 
authority,  Agatharchides  of  Cnidus.  But  he  has  to 

1  Comp.  Megillat  Taanit,  3,  and  Yoma,  69a. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  175 


gloss  over  a  period  of  nearly  a  hundred  years,  till  he 
can  introduce  the  story  of  the  translation  of  the  Scrip¬ 
tures  into  Greek,1  for  which  he  found  a  copious  source 
in  the  romantic  history,  or  rather  the  historical 
romance,  now  known  as  the  Letter  of  Aristeas.  This 
Hellenistic  production  has  come  down  to  us  intact,  and 
therefore  we  can  gather  how  closely  Josephus  para¬ 
phrases  his  authorities.  Hot  that  he  refrained  alto¬ 
gether  from  embellishment  and  improvement.  The 
Aristeas  of  his  version,  as  of  the  original,  professes 
that  he  is  not  a  Jew,  but  he  adds  that  nevertheless  he 
desires  favor  to  be  done  to  the  Jews,  because  all  men 
are  the  work  of  God,  and  “  I  am  sensible  that  He  is 
well  pleased  with  all  those  that  do  good.”  Josephus 
states  a  large  part  of  the  story  as  if  it  were  his  own 
narrative,  but  in  fact  it  is  a  paraphrase  throughout. 
He  reproduces  less  than  half  of  the  Letter,  omitting  the 
account  of  the  visit  of  the  royal  envoy  to  J erusalem  and 
the  discourse  of  Eleazar  the  high  priest.  For  the  sev¬ 
enty-two  questions  and  answers,  which  form  the  last 
part,  he  refers  curious  readers  to  his  source.  But  he 
sets  out  at  length  the  description  of  the  presents  which 
Ptolemy  sent  to  Jerusalem,  rejoicing  in  the  oppor¬ 
tunity  of  showing  at  once  the  splendor  of  the  Temple 
vessels  and  the  honor  paid  by  a  Hellenistic  monarch 
to  his  people. 

From  his  own  knowledge  also,  he  adds  a  glowing 
eulogy,  which  Menedemus,  the  Greek  philosopher, 


1  Ant.  XII.  ii. 


176 


JOSEPHUS 


passed  on  the  Jewish  faith.  The  Letter  of  Aristeas 
says  that  the  authors  of  the  Septuagint  translation 
uttered  an  imprecation  on  any  one  who  should  alter 
a  word  of  their  work;  Josephus  makes  them  invite 
correction,1  adding  in  consequently — if  our  test  is 
correct — that  this  was  a  wise  action,  “  so  that,  when 
the  thing  was  judged  to  have  been  well  done,  it  might 
continue  forever.” 

Having  disposed  of  the  Aristeas  incident,  Josephus 
has  to  fill  in  the  blank  between  the  time  of  Ptolemy 
Philadelphus  (250  b.  c.  e.)  and  the  Maccabean  revolt 
against  Antiochus  Epiphanes,  nearly  one  hundred 
years  later,  which  was  the  next  period  for  which  he  had 
Jewish  authority.  He  returns  then  to  his  Hellenistic 
guides  and  extracts  the  few  scattered  incidents  which 
he  could  find  there  referring  to  the  Jewish  people. 
But  until  he  comes  to  the  reign  of  Antiochus,  he  can 
only  snatch  up  some  “  unconsidered  trifles  ”  of  doubt¬ 
ful  validity.  Seleucus  Hicator,  he  says,  made  the  Jews 
citizens  of  the  cities  which  he  built  in  Asia,  and  gave 
them  equal  rights  with  the  Macedonians  and  Greeks 
in  Antioch.  This  information  he  would  seem  to  have 
derived  from  the  petition  which  the  Jews  of  Antioch 
presented  to  Titus  when,  after  the  fall  of  Jerusalem, 
the  victor  made  his  progress  through  Syria.  The 
people  of  Antioch  then  sought  to  obtain  the  curtail- 

1  Josephus  may  have  used  a  different  text  of  Aristeas 
from  that  which  has  come  down  to  us.  Or  the  passage  in 
our  Aristeas  may  be  a  later  insertion  introduced  as  a 
protest  against  Christian  interpolations  in  the  LXX. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTOEY  177 


ment  of  Jewish  rights  in  the  town,  but  Titus  refused 
their  suit.1  Josephus  takes  this  opportunity  of  extol¬ 
ling  the  magnanimity  of  the  Eoman  conqueror,  and 
likewise  of  inserting  a  reference  to  the  friendliness  of 
Marcus  Agrippa,  who,  on  his  progress  through  Asia  a 
hundred  years  before,  had  upheld  the  Jewish  privi¬ 
leges.2  He  derived  this  incident  from  Nicholas’  his¬ 
tory,  and  thus  contrived  to  eke  out  the  obscurity  of  the 
third  century  b.  c.  e.  with  a  few  irrelevancies. 

His  material  becomes  a  little  ampler  from  the  reign 
of  Antiochus  the  Great,  because  from  this  point  the 
Greek  historians  serve  him  better.  Several  of  the 
modern  commentators  of  Josephus  have  thought  that 
his  authorities  were  Polybius  and  Posidonius,  who 
wrote  in  Greek  on  the  events  of  the  period.  He  cites 
Polybius  explicitly  as  the  author  of  the  statement 
about  Ptolemy’s  conquest  of  Judea,  and  then  repro¬ 
duces  two  letters  of  Antiochus  to  his  generals,  direct¬ 
ing  them  to  grant  certain  privileges  to  his  Jewish  sub¬ 
jects  as  a  reward  for  their  loyal  service.  We  know 
that  Polybius  gave  in  his  history  an  account  of 
Jerusalem  and  its  Temple,  and  his  character-sketch 
of  Antiochus  Epiphanes  has  been  preserved  in  an 
epitome.  Josephus,  however,  be  it  noted,  has  only 
these  scanty  extracts  from  his  work.  The  letters  are 
clearly  derived,  not  from  him,  but  from  some  Hellen- 
istic-Jewish  apologist,  and  the  passages  from  Polybius, 
it  is  very  probable,  are  extracted  from  some  larger 

’Comp.  B.  J.  VII.  v.  3.  2  Ant.  XIII.  iii.  2. 

12 


178 


JOSEPHUS 


work.1  Here,  as  elsewhere,  both  facts  and  authorities 
were  found  in  Nicholas  of  Damascus. 

We  know  from  Josephus  himself  that  Nicholas  had 
included  a  history  of  the  Seleucid  Empire  in  his  mag¬ 
num  opus.  He  is  quoted  in  reference  to  the  sacking  of 
the  Temple  by  Antiochus  Epiphanes  and  the  victory 
of  Ptolemy  Lathyrus  over  Alexander  Jannaeus.8 
Josephus,  indeed,  several  times  appends  to  his  para¬ 
graphs  about  the  general  history  a  note,  “  as  we  have 
elsewhere  described.”  Some  have  inferred  from  this 
that  he  had  himself  written  a  general  history  of  the 
Seleucid  epoch,  but  a  more  critical  study  has  shown 
that  the  tag  belongs  to  the  note  of  his  authority,  which 
he  embodied  carelessly  in  his  paraphrase.8 

Josephus  supplements  the  Jewish  references  in  the 
Seleucid  history  of  Nicholas  by  an  account  of  the  in¬ 
trigues  of  the  Tobiades  and  Oniades,  which  reveals  a 
Hellenistic- Jewish  origin.4  Possibly  he  found  it  in 
a  special  chronicle  of  the  high-priestly  family,  which 
was  written  by  one  friendly  to  it,  for  Joseph  ben 
Tobias  is  praised  as  “  a  good  man  and  of  great  mag¬ 
nanimity,  who  brought  the  Jews  out  of  poverty  and 
low  condition  to  one  that  was  more  splendid.”  The 
chronology  here  is  at  fault,  since  at  the  time  at  which 

’Dr.  Biichler  (J.  Q.  R.  iv.  and  R.  E.  J.  xxxii.  179)  lias 
argued  convincingly  that  Josephus  had  not  gone  far  afield. 
For  the  genuineness  of  the  Letter,  comp.  Willrich, 
Judaica,  p.  51,  and  Biichler,  Oniaden  und  Tobiaden,  p.  143. 

1  Ant.  XIII.  xii.  6. 

s  Comp.  Ant.  XIV.  i.  2-3;  xi.  1. 


4  Ant.  XII.  iv. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  179 


the  incidents  are  placed  both  Syria  and  Palestine  were 
included  in  the  dominion  of  the  Seleucids ;  yet  Tobias 
is  represented  at  the  court  of  the  Ptolemies.  Josephus 
follows  the  story  of  these  exploits  with  the  letters 
which  passed  between  Areas,  king  of  the  Lacedemon¬ 
ians,  and  the  high  priest  Onias,  as  recorded  in  the  First 
Book  of  the  Maccabees  (ch.  12).  The  letters  are 
taken  out  of  their  true  place,  in  order  to  bridge 
the  gap  between  the  fall  of  the  Tobiad  house  and 
the  Maccabean  rising.  Areas  reigned  from  307-265, 
so  that  he  must  have  corresponded  to  Onias  I,  but 
Josephus  places  him  in  the  time  of  Onias  III. 

For  his  account  of  the  Maccabean  struggle  he  de¬ 
pends  here  primarily  upon  the  First  Book  of  the  Mac¬ 
cabees,  which  in  many  parts  he  does  little  more  than 
paraphrase.  Neither  the  Second  Book  of  the  Macca¬ 
bees  nor  the  larger  work  of  Jason  of  Cyrene,  of  which 
it  is  an  epitome,  appears  to  have  been  known  to  him. 
It  is  well-nigh  certain  that  in  writing  the  Wars  he  had 
no  acquaintance  with  the  Jewish  historical  book,  but 
was  dependent  on  the  less  accurate  and  complete  state¬ 
ment  of  a  Hellenistic  chronicle ;  and  in  the  later  work, 
though  he  bases  his  narrative  on  the  Greek  version  of 
the  Maccabees,  and  says  he  will  give  a  fresh  account 
with  great  accuracy,  he  yet  incorporates  pieces  of  non- 
Jewish  history  from  the  Greek  guide  without  much 
art  or  skill  or  consistency.  Thus,  in  the  Wars  he  says 
that  Antiochus  Epiphanes  captured  Jerusalem  by  as¬ 
sault,  while  in  the  Antiquities  he  speaks  of  two  cap¬ 
tures  :  the  first  time  the  city  fell  without  fighting,  the 


180 


JOSEPHUS 


second  by  treachery.  And  while  in  the  Book  of  the 
Maccabees  the  year  given  for  the  fall  of  the  city  is  113 
of  the  Selencid  era,  in  the  Antiquities  the  final  cap¬ 
ture  is  dated  145  1  of  the  era.  He  no  doubt  found  this 
date  in  the  Greek  authority  he  was  following  for  the 
general  history  of  Antiochus — he  gives  the  corre¬ 
sponding  Greek  Olympiad — and  applied  it  to  the  pil¬ 
lage  of  Jerusalem.  For  the  story  of  Mattathias  at 
Modin,  which  is  much  more  detailed  than  in  the  Wars, 
he  closely  follows  the  Book  of  the  Maccabees,  though 
in  the  speeches  he  takes  certain  liberties,  inserting,  for 
example,  an  appeal  to  the  hope  of  immortality  in  Mat¬ 
tathias’  address  to  his  sons.2  He  turns  to  his  Greek  au¬ 
thority  for  the  death  of  Antiochus,  and  controverts 
Polybius,  who  ascribes  the  king’s  distemper  to  his  sac¬ 
rilegious  desire  to  plunder  a  temple  of  Diana  in  Persia. 
Josephus,  with  a  touch  of  patriotism  and  an  unusual 
disregard  of  the  feelings  of  his  patrons,  who  can 
hardly  have  liked  the  implied  parallel,  says  it  is  surely 
more  probable  that  he  lost  his  life  because  of  his 
pillage  of  the  Jewish  Temple.  In  confirmation  of 
his  theory  he  appeals  to  the  materialistic  morality  of 
his  audience,  arguing  that  the  king  surely  would  not 
be  punished  for  a  wicked  intention  that  was  not  suc¬ 
cessful.  He  states  also  that  Judas  was  high  priest  for 
three  years,  which  is  not  supported  by  the  Jewish 
record ; 3  and  he  passes  over  the  miracle  of  the  oil 

1  Ant.  XII.  v.  3.  !  Ant.  XIII.  vi.  3. 

3  In  his  own  list  of  high  priests  at  the  end  of  the  work, 
the  name  of  Judas  does  not  appear. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  181 


at  the  dedication  of  the  Temple,  and  ascribes  the  name 
of  the  feast  to  the  fact  that  light  appeared  to  the 
Jews.  The  celebration  of  Hanukkah  as  the  feast  of 
lights  is  of  Babylonian- Jewish  origin,  and  was  only  in¬ 
stituted  shortly  before  the  destruction  of  the  Temple.1 

His  use  of  the  Book  of  the  Maccabees  stops  short  at 
the  end  of  chapter  xii.  He  presumably  did  not  know 
of  the  last  two  chapters  of  our  text,  which  contain  the 
history  of  Simon,  and  probably  were  translated  later. 
Otherwise  we  cannot  explain  his  dismissal,  in  one  line, 
of  the  league  that  Simon  made  with  the  Romans.2  The 
incident  is  dwelt  on  in  the  extant  version  of  the  First 
Book  of  the  Maccabees,  and  Josephus  would  surely  not 
have  omitted  a  syllable  of  so  propitious  an  event,  had 
he  possessed  knowledge  of  it.  On  the  other  hand,  he 
inserts  into  the  history  of  the  Maccabean  brothers  an 
account  of  the  foundation  of  a  Temple  by  Onias  V  in 
Leontopolis,3  in  the  Delta  of  Egypt,  and  describes  at 
length  the  negotiations  that  led  up  to  it ; 4  and  in  the 
same  connection  he  narrates  a  feud  between  the  J ewish 
and  Samaritan  communities  at  Alexandria  in  the  days 
of  Ptolemy  Philometor.  From  these  indications  it  has 
been  inferred  that  he  had  before  him  the  work  of  a 
Hellenistic- Jewish  historian  interested  in  Egypt — the 

1  Comp.  Krauss,  R.  E.  J.  xxx.  32. 

3  Ant.  XIII.  vii.  3. 

3  Ant.  XII.  ix.  7.  The  ruins  of  the  Temple  were  un¬ 
earthed  a  few  years  ago  by  Professor  Flinders  Petrie. 

4  Ant.  XIII.  iii. 


182 


JOSEPHUS 


collection  of  Alexander  Polyhistor  suggests  that  there 
were  several  such  at  the  time — while  for  the  exploits 
of  the  later  Maccabees  he  relied  on  the  chronicle  of 
John  Hyrcanus  the  son  of  Simon,  which  is  referred  to 
in  the  Book  of  the  Maccabees,1  but  has  not  come  down 
to  us. 

From  this  period  onwards  till  the  end  of  the  An¬ 
tiquities,  Josephus  had  no  longer  any  considerable 
Jewish  document  to  guide  him,  nor  have  We  any  Jew¬ 
ish  history  by  which  to  check  him.  For  an  era  of  two 
hundred  years  he  was  more  completely  dependent  on 
Greek  sources,  and  it  is  just  in  this  part  of  the  work 
where  he  is  most  valuable  or,  we  should  rather  say, 
indispensable.  Save  for  a  few  scattered  references  in 
pagan  historians,  orators,  and  poets,  he  is  our  only 
authority  for  Jewish  history  at  the  time.  It  is,  there¬ 
fore,  the  more  unfortunate  that  he  makes  no  independ¬ 
ent  research,  and  takes  up  no  independent  attitude. 
For  the  most  part  he  transcribes  the  pagan  writer  be¬ 
fore  him,  unable  or  unwilling  to  look  any  deeper.  And 
he  tells  us  only  of  the  outward  events  of  Jewish  his¬ 
tory,  of  the  court  intrigues  and  murders,  of  the  wars 
against  the  tottering  empires  of  Egypt  and  Syria,  of 
the  ignoble  feuds  within  the  palace.  Of  the  more  vital 
and,  did  we  but  know  it,  the  profoundly  interesting 
social  and  religious  history  of  the  time,  of  the  develop¬ 
ment  of  the  Pharisee  and  Sadducee  sects,  we  hear  little, 
and  that  little  is  unreliable  and  superficial.  Josephus 


’I  Macc.  xvi.  23/. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  183 


reproduces  the  deficiencies  of  his  sources  in  their  deal¬ 
ings  with  Jewish  events.  He  brings  no  original  virtue 
compensating  for  the  careful  study  which  they  made 
of  the  larger  history  in  which  the  affairs  of  Judea  were 
a  small  incident. 

The  foundation  of  his  work  in  the  latter  half  of 
book  xiii  and  throughout  books  xiv-xvii  is  Nicholas, 
who  had  devoted  two  special  books  to  the  life  of  Herod, 
and  by  way  of  introduction  to  this  had  dealt  more  fully 
with  the  preceding  Jewish  princes.1  We  must  there¬ 
fore  be  wary  of  imputing  to  Josephus  the  opinions 
he  expresses  upon  the  different  Jewish  sects  in  this 
part  of  the  Antiquities.  He  introduces  them  first  dur¬ 
ing  the  reign  of  Jonathan,  with  the  classification 
which  had  already  been  made  in  the  Wars:* *  the 
Pharisees  as  the  upholders  of  Providence  or  fate  and 
freewill,  the  Essenes  as  absolute  determinists,  the 
Sadducees  as  absolute  deniers  of  the  influence  of  fate 
on  human  affairs.3  The  next  mention  of  the  Pharisees 
occurs  in  the  reign  of  Hyrcanus,4  when  he  states  that 
they  were  the  king’s  worst  enemies. 

They  are  one  of  the  sects  of  the  Jews,  and  they  have 
so  great  a  power  over  the  multitude  that,  when  they  say 
anything  against  the  king  or  against  the  high  priest,  they 
are  presently  believed . Hyrcanus  had  been  a  dis- 


1  Biichler,  Sources  of  Josephus  for  the  History  of  Syria, 
J.  Q.  R.  ix.  311. 

*  B.  J.  II.  viii. 


3  Ant.  XIII.  v.  9. 


1  Ant.  XIII.  x.  5. 


184 


JOSEPHUS 


ciple  of  their  teaching;  but  he  was  angered  when  one  of 
them,  Eleazar,  a  man  of  ill  temper  and  prone  to  seditious 
practices,  reproached  him  for  holding  the  priesthood,  be¬ 
cause,  it  was  alleged,  his  mother  had  been  a  captive  in 
the  reign  of  Antiochus  Epiplianes,  and  he,  therefore,  was 
disqualified. 

This  account  is  taken  from  a  source  unfriendly  to 
the  Pharisees.  Though  the  story  is  based  apparently 
on  an  old  Jewish  tradition,  since  we  find  it  told  of 
Alexander  Jannaeus  in  the  Talmud,1  it  looks  as  if 
Josephus  obtained  his  version  from  some  author  that 
shared  the  aristocratic  prejudices  against  the  demo¬ 
cratic  leaders.  The  reign  of  Hyrcanus  had  been 
described  by  a  Hellenistic- Jewish  chronicler  or  a  non- 
Jewish  Hellenist,  from  whom  Josephus  borrowed  a 
glowing  eulogy,2  with  which  he  sums  it  up  ;  “  He  lived 
happily,  administered  the  government  in  an  excellent 
way  for  thirty-one  years,  and  was  esteemed  by  God 
worthy  of  the  three  greatest  privileges,  the  principate, 
the  high  priesthood,  and  prophecy.”  To  the  account 
of  the  Pharisees  is  appended  a  paragraph,  seemingly 
the  historian’s  own  work,  where  he  explains  that  “the 
Pharisees  have  delivered  to  the  people  the  tradition  of 
the  fathers,  while  the  Sadducees  have  rejected  it  and 
claim  that  only  the  written  word  is  binding.  And' 
concerning  these  things  great  disputes  have  arisen 
among  them ;  the  Sadducees  are  able  to  persuade  none 

1  Comp.  I.  Levi,  Talmudic  Sources  of  Jewish  History, 
R.  E.  J.  xxxv.  219;  I.  Friedlaender,  J.  Q.  R.,  n.  s.,  iv. 
443  y. 

2  Ant.  XIII.  x.  7. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  185 


but  the  rich,  while  the  Pharisees  have  the  multitude  on 
their  side.”  Again,  in  the  account  of  the  reign  of 
Queen  Alexandra.,  he  represents  the  Pharisees  as  pow¬ 
erful  but  seditious,  and  causing  constant  friction,  and 
ascribes  the  fall  of  the  royal  house  to  the  queen’s 
compliance  with  those  who  bore  ill-will  to  the  family. 

Whenever  the  opportunity  offers,  Josephus  brings  in 
references  to  J ewish  history  from  pagan  sources.  He 
quotes  Timagenes’  estimate  of  Aristobulus  as  a  good 
man  who  was  of  great  service  to  the  Jews  and  gained 
them  the  country  of  Iturea;  and  he  notes  Strabo’s 
agreement  with  Nicholas  upon  the  invasion  of  Judea 
by  Ptolemy  Lathyrus.1  General  history  takes  an  in¬ 
creasingly  larger  part  in  the  account  of  the  warlike 
Alexander  Jannaeus  and  the  queen  Alexandra,  and 
reference  is  made  to  the  consuls  of  Rome  contemporary 
with  the  reigns  of  Aristobulus  and  Hyrcanus,  in  order 
to  bring  Jewish  affairs  into  relation  with  those  of  the 
Power  which  henceforth  played  a  critical  part  in 
them. 

Josephus  marks  the  new  era  on  which  he  was  en¬ 
tering  by  a  fresh  preface  to  book  xiv.  His  aim,  he 
says,  is  “  to  omit  no  facts  either  through  ignorance  or 
laziness,  because  we  are  dealing  with  a  history  of  events 
with  which  most  people  are  unacquainted  on  account 
of  their  distance  from  our  times;  and  we  purpose  to 
do  it  with  appropriate  beauty  of  style,  so  that  our 
readers  may  entertain  the  knowledge  of  what  we  write 


1  Ant.  XIII.  xii.  6. 


186 


JOSEPHUS 


with  some  agreeable  satisfaction  and  pleasure.  But 
the  principal  thing  to  aim  at  is  to  speak  truly.”  1  It  is 
not  impossible  that  the  prelude  is  based  on  something 
in  Nicholas;  but  it  is  turned  against  him;  for  in  the 
same  chapter  Josephus  controverts  his  predecessor  for 
the  statement  that  “  the  Idumean  Antipater  [the 
father  of  Herod]  was  sprung  from  the  principal  Jews 
who  returned  to  Judea  from  Babylon.”  The  asser¬ 
tion,  he  says,  was  made  to  gratify  Herod,  who  by  the 
revolution  of  fortune  came  to  be  king  of  the  Jews.  He 
shows  here  some  national  feeling,  hut  in  general  he  ac¬ 
cepts  Nicholas,  and  borrows  doubtless  from  him  the 
details  of  Pompey’s  invasion  of  Judea  and  of  the  siege 
of  Jerusalem.  He  appeals  as  well  to  Strabo  and  the 
Latin  historian  Titus  Livius.2  But  though  it  is  likely 
that  he  had  made  an  independent  study  of  parts  of 
Strabo,  since  he  drags  in  several  extracts  from  his 
history  that  are  not  quite  in  place,3  there  is  no  reason 
to  think  he  read  Livy  or  any  other  Latin  author.  He 
would  have  found  reference  to  the  work  in  the  diligent 
Nicholas.  We  may  discern  the  hand  of  Nicholas,  too, 
in  the  praise  of  Pompey  for  his  piety  in  not  spoiling 
the  Temple  of  the  holy  vessels.4  Josephus  writes  alto¬ 
gether  in  the  tone  of  an  admirer  of  Rome’s  occupation, 
attributing  the  misery  which  came  upon  Jerusalem  to 
Hyrcanus  and  Aristobulus. 


1  Ant.  XIV.  i.  1.  2  Ant.  XIV.  iv.  3;  vi.  4. 

3  Comp.  Ant.  XIV.  vii.  2;  viii.  3.  4  Ant.  XIV.  iv.  5. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  187 


Thanks  to  his  copious  sources,  he  is  able  to  give  a 
detailed  account  of  the  relation  of  the  Jews  to  Julius 
Caesar  and  of  the  decrees  which  -were  made  in  their 
favor  at  his  instance.  It  has  been  conjectured  with 
much  probability  that  Josephus  obtained  his  series  of 
documents  from  Nicholas,  who  had  collected  them  for 
the  purpose  of  defending  the  Jews  of  Asia  Minor  in 
the  inquiry  which  Marcus  Agrippa  conducted  during 
the  reign  of  Herod.1 2  He  says  that  he  will  set  down  the 
decrees  that  are  treasured  in  the  public  places  of 
the  cities,  and  those  which  are  still  extant  in  the  Capi¬ 
tol  of  Rome,  “  so  that  all  the  rest  of  mankind  may 
know  what  regard  the  kings  of  Asia  and  Europe  have 
had  for  the  Jewish  people.”  In  a  subsequent  book, 
when  he  is  recounting  the  events  of  Herod’s  reign,* 
Josephus  sets  forth  a  further  series  of  decrees  in  favor 
of  the  Jews,  issued  by  Caesar  Augustus  and  his  lieu¬ 
tenant  Marcus  Agrippa.  These  likewise  he  probably 
derived  from  Nicholas,  who  was  the  court  advocate  and 
court  chronicler  at  the  time  they  were  promulgated. 
But  he  enlarges  on  his  motive  for  giving  them  at 
length,  pointing  to  them  with  pride  as  a  proof  of  the 
high  respect  in  which  the  Jews  were  held  by  the  heads 
of  the  Roman  Empire  before  the  disaster  of  the  war. 
Though  in  his  own  day  they  were  fallen  to  a  low 
estate,  at  one  time  they  had  enjoyed  special  favor : 

And  I  frequently  mention  these  decrees  in  order  to 
reconcile  other  peoples  to  us  and  to  take  away  the  causes 


1  Comp.  Bloch,  Die  Quellen  des  Flavius  Josephus. 

2  Ant.  XVI.  ii. 


188 


JOSEPHUS 


of  that  hatred  which  unreasonable  men  bear  us.  As  for 
our  customs,  he  continues,  each  nation  has  its  own,  and 
in  almost  every  city  we  meet  with  differences;  but 
natural  justice  is  most  agreeable  to  the  advantage  of  all 
men  equally,  and  to  this  our  laws  have  the  greatest  re¬ 
gard,  and  thereby  render  us  benevolent  and  friendly  to 
all  men,  so  that  we  may  expect  the  like  return  from 
others,  and  we  may  remind  them  that  they  should  not 
esteem  difference  of  institutions  a  sufficient  cause  of 
alienation,  but  join  with  us  in  the  pursuit  of  virtue  and 
righteousness,  for  this  belongs  to  all  men  in  common.1 

The  Jewish  rising  and  defeat  had  increased  the 
odium  of  the  Greco-Roman  world  towards  the  pecu¬ 
liar  people,  and  the  captive  in  the  gilded  prison  was 
fain  to  dwell  on  their  past  glory  in  order  to  cover 
the  wretchedness  of  their  present. 

Josephus  claims  to  have  copied  some  of  the  de¬ 
crees  from  the  archives  in  the  Roman  Capitol.2  The 
library  was  destroyed  with  the  Capitol  itself  during  the 
civil  war  in  69. 3  It  was  restored,  it  is  true,  during  the 
reign  of  Vespasian,  and  it  is  not  impossible  that  the 
old  decrees  were  saved.  But  Josephus  might  have  col¬ 
lected  from  the  Jewish  communities  those  documents 
which  he  did  not  find  ready  to  hand  in  Nicholas,  if 
they  formed  part  of  an  apology  for  the  Jews  of 
Antioch  in  70  c.  E.  At  least  there  is  no  good  reason  to 
doubt  their  authenticity,  and  they  are  in  quite  a  differ¬ 
ent  class  from  the  letters  and  decrees  attributed  to  the 
Hellenistic  sovereigns,  which  lack  all  authority. 

1  Comp,  below,  p.  234. 

2  Ant.  XIV.  x.  20. 


8  Comp.  Tac.  Hist.  iii.  71. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  189 


The  story  of  Herod’s  life,  which  is  set  out  in  great 
detail  in  these  books,  has  more  dramatic  unity  than 
any  other  part  of  the  Antiquities.  It  bears  to  the  whole 
work  the  relation  which  the  story  of  the  siege  of  Jeru¬ 
salem  bears  to  the  rest  of  the  Wars.  Josephus  seems 
to  manifest  suddenly  a  power  of  vivid  narrative  and 
psychological  analysis,  to  which  he  is  elsewhere  a 
stranger.  But  at  the  same  time,  where  the  story  is 
most  vivid  and  dramatic,  its  framework  is  most  pagan. 
The  Greco-Boman  ideas  of  fate  and  nemesis,  which 
dominate  the  shorter  account  of  the  king’s  life  in  the 
Wars,  are  still  the  underlying  motives.  The  reason 
for  the  dramatic  power  and  the  pagan  frame  are  one 
and  the  same:  Josephus  uses  here  a  full  source,  and 
that  source  is  a  pagan  writer. 

It  is  apparent  at  the  same  time  that  Josephus  had  a 
better  acquaintance  with  the  historical  literature  about 
Herod  than  when  he  wrote  the  Wars,  and  that  he  com¬ 
pared  his  various  authorities  and  exercised  some  judg¬ 
ment  in  composing  his  picture.  For  example,  in  relat¬ 
ing  the  murder  of  the  Hasmonean  Hyrcanus,  he  first 
gives  the  account  which  he  found  in  Herod’s  memoirs, 
designed  of  course  to  exculpate  the  king,  and  then  sets 
out  the  version  of  other  historians,  who  allege  that 
Herod  laid  a  snare  for  the  last  of  the  Maccabean 
princes.  Josephus  proudly  contrasts  his  own  critical 
attitude  towards  Herod  with  the  studied  partisanship 
of  Nicholas,1  who  wrote  in  Herod’s  lifetime,  and  in 
order  to  please  him  and  his  courtiers, 


1  Ant.  XIV.  xvi.  7. 


190 


JOSEPHUS 


touching  on  nothing  but  what  tended  to  his  glory,  and 
openly  excusing  many  of  his  notorious  crimes  and  dili¬ 
gently  concealing  them.  We  may,  indeed,  say  much  by 
way  of  excuse  for  Nicholas,  because  he  was  not  so  much 
writing  a  history  for  others  as  doing  a  service  for  the 
king.  But  we,  who  come  of  a  family  closely  connected 
with  the  Hasmonean  kings,  and  have  an  honorable  rank, 
think  it  unbecoming  to  say  anything  that  is  false  about 
them,  and  have  described  their  actions  in  an  upright  and 
unvarnished  manner.  And  though  we  reverence  many  of 
Herod’s  descendants,  who  still  bear  rule,  yet  we  pay 
greater  regard  to  truth,  though  we  may  incur  their  dis¬ 
pleasure  by  so  doing. 

It  was  not  so  difficult  for  the  historian  to  write  im¬ 
partially  of  Herod  as  to  write  impartially  of  Vespasian 
and  Titus.  At  the  same  time  Josephus,  though  in 
these  books  more  critical,  seldom  escapes  the  yoke  of 
facts,  and  says  little  of  the  inner  conditions  of  the 
people.  Of  Hillel  we  do  not  hear  the  name,  and 
Shammai  is  only  mentioned,  if  indeed  he,  and  not 
Shemaya,  is  disguised  under  the  name  of  Sameas,  as 
the  member  of  the  Sanhedrin  who  denounced  Herod.1 

The  speeches,  which  are  put  into  the  mouth  of  the 
king  on  various  occasions,  are  rhetorical  declamations 
in  the  Greek  style,  which  must  be  derived  either  from 
Nicholas  or  from  Herod’s  Memoirs,  to  which  the  his- 

1  Ant.  XV.  i.  1.  Schlatter  ingeniously  conjectures  that 
Pollio,  who  is  mentioned  as  predicting  to  the  Sanhedrin 
that  this  Herod  would  be  their  enemy  if  they  acquitted 
him,  is  identical  with  Abtalion,  of  whom  the  Talmud  tells 
a  similar  story.  ttoXXiW  may  be  an  error  for  E  vda\Lov, 
as  the  Hebrew  name  would  be  transcribed  in  Greek. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTOEY  191 


torian  had  access  through  his  intimacy  with  the  royal 
family.  Yet,  prosaic  as  the  treatment  is,  it  has  pro¬ 
vided  the  picture  of  the  “  magnificent  barbarian  ” 
which  has  inspired  many  writers  and  artists  of  later 
ages.  It  is  from  the  Jewish  point  of  view  that  it  is 
most  wanting.  He  does  indeed  say  that  Herod  trans¬ 
gressed  the  laws  of  his  country,  and  violated  the  an¬ 
cient  tradition  by  the  introduction  of  foreign  prac¬ 
tices,  which  fostered  great  sins,  through  the  neglect  of 
the  observances  that  used  to  lead  the  multitude  to 
piety.  By  the  games,  the  theater,  and  the  amphi¬ 
theater,  which  he  instituted  at  Jerusalem,  he  offended 
Jewish  sentiment;  “  for  while  foreigners  were  amazed 
and  delighted  at  the  vastness  of  his  displays,  to  the 
native  Jews  all  this  amounted  to  a  dissolution  of  the 
traditions  for  which  they  had  so  great  a  veneration.”  1 
And  he  points  out  that  the  Jewish  conspiracy  against 
him  in  the  middle  of  his  reign  arose  because  “  in  the 
eyes  of  the  Jewish  leaders,  he  merely  pretended  to  be 
their  king,  but  was  in  fact  the  manifest  enemy  of  their 
nation.”  It  has  been  suggested  that  J ustus  of  Tiberias 
supplied  him  with  this  Jewish  view  of  Herod,  which 
is  unparalleled  in  the  Wars.  But  in  another  passage, 
where  he  must  be  following  an  Herodian  and  anti- 
Pharisaic  source,  he  makes  some  remarks  in  quite  an 
opposite  spirit,  as  if  the  Pharisees  were  in  the  wrong, 
and  provoked  the  king.  He  says  of  them :  “  They 
were  prone  to  offend  princes  ; 2  they  claimed  to  foresee 


1  Ant.  XV.  viii.  1. 


2  Ant.  XVII.  ii.  8. 


192 


JOSEPHUS 


things,  and  were  suddenly  elated  to  break  out  into 
open  war.”  He  calls  them  also  Sophists,1  the  scornful 
name  which  the  Greeks  gave  to  their  popular  lecturers 
of  morality. 

In  dealing  with  Herod’s  character,  J osephus  is  more 
discriminating  than  in  the  Wars.  He  sums  him  up 
as  “  cruel  towards  all  men  equally,  a  slave  to  his 
passions,  and  claiming  to  be  above  the  righteous 
law :  yet  was  he  favored  by  fortune  more  than  any  man, 
for  from  a  private  station  he  was  raised  to  be  a  king.”  2 
One  piece  of  characterization  may  be  quoted,5  which  is 
not  the  less  interesting  because  we  may  suspect  that  it 
is  stolen : 

But  this  magnificent  temper  and  that  submissive  be¬ 
havior  and  liberality  which  he  exercised  towards  Caesar 
and  the  most  powerful  men  at  Rome,  obliged  him  to  trans¬ 
gress  the  customs  of  his  nation  and  to  set  aside  many  of 
their  laws,  by  building  cities  after  an  extravagant  man¬ 
ner,  and  erecting  Temples,  not  in  Judea  indeed,  for  that 
would  not  have  been  borne,  since  it  is  forbidden  to  pay 
any  honors  to  images  or  representations  of  animals  after 
the  manner  of  the  Greeks,  but  in  the  country  beyond  our 
boundaries  and  in  the  cities  thereof.  The  apology  which 
he  made  to  the  Jews  was  this,  that  all  was  done  not  of 
his  own  inclination,  but  at  the  bidding  of  others,  in  order 
to  please  Caesar  and  the  Romans,  as  though  he  set  more 
store  on  the  honor  of  the  Romans  than  the  Jewish  cus¬ 
toms;  while  in  fact  he  was  considering  his  own  glory. 


1  Ant.  XVII.  vi.  2. 

2  Ant.  XVII.  viii.  1. 


3  Ant.  XV.  ix.  5. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  193 


and  was  very  ambitious  to  leave  great  monuments  of  his 
government  to  posterity:  whence  he  was  so  zealous  in 
building  such  splendid  cities,  and  spent  vast  sums  of 
money  in  them. 

He  bursts  out,  too,  with  unusual  passion  against 
Herod  for  his  law  condemning  thieves  to  exile,  because 
it  was  a  violation  of  the  Biblical  law,  “  and  involved 
the  dissolution  of  our  ancestral  traditions.” 

If  the  account  of  the  Jewish  spiritual  movement 
at  a  time  of  great  spiritual  awakening  is  meager,  the 
picture  of  Herod’s  great  buildings,  despite  occas¬ 
ional  confusion  and  vagueness,  is  full  and  valuable. 
He  gives  us  an  excellent  description  of  Caesarea  and 
Sebaste,  the  two  cities  which  the  king  established  as 
a  compliment  to  the  Roman  Emperor,  and  an  account 
of  the  Temple  and  the  fortress  of  Antonia,  which  he 
himself  knew  so  well.  Of  the  Temple  we  have  another 
description,  in  the  Mishnah,  which  in  the  main  agrees 
with  Josephus.  Where  the  two  differ,  however,  the 
preference  cannot  be  given  to  the  writer  who  had 
grown  up  in  the  shadow  of  the  building,  and  might 
have  been  expected  to  know  its  every  corner.1  As  we 
have  seen  in  the  Wars,  he  was  in  topography  as  in  other 
things  under  the  influence  of  Greco-Roman  models. 

Josephus  did  not  enjoy  the  advantage  of  a  full 
chronicle  to  guide  him  much  beyond  the  death  of 
Herod.  Nicholas  died,  or  ceased  to  write,  in  the  reign 
of  Antipater,  who  succeeded  his  father.  Apparently 
he  had  no  successor  who  devoted  himself  to  recording 

1  Comp.  George  A.  Smith,  Jerusalem,  ii.  495  ff. 

13 


194 


JOSEPHUS 


the  affairs  of  the  Jewish  court.  Hence,  though  the 
events  of  the  troubled  beginning  of  Antipater’s  reign 
are  dealt  Avith  at  the  same  length  as  those  of  Herod, 
and  we  have  a  vivid  story  of  the  Jewish  embassy  that 
went  to  Eome  to  petition  for  the  deposition  of  the  king, 
the  history  afterwards  becomes  fragmentary.  Such  as 
it  is,  it  manifests  a  Roman  flaA^or.  The  nationalists 
are  termed  robbers,  and  the  pseudo-Messiahs  are 
branded  as  self-seeking  impostors.1  After  an  enumer¬ 
ation  of  various  pretenders  that  sought  to  make  them¬ 
selves  independent  rulers,  there  is  a  sudden  jump  from 
the  first  to  the  tenth  year  of  Archelaus,  who  was  ac¬ 
cused  of  barbarous  and  tyrannical  practices  and  ban¬ 
ished  by  the  Roman  Emperor  to  Gaul.  His  kingdom 
was  then  added  to  the  province  of  Syria.  Josephus 
dAvells  on  the  story  of  two  dreams  which  occurred  to 
the  king  and  his  wife  Glaphyra,  and  justifies  himself 
because  his  discourse  is  concerning  kings,  and  also  be¬ 
cause  of  the  advantage  to  be  drawn  from  it  for  the 
assurance  both  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul  and  the 
Providence  of  God  in  human  affairs.  “  And  if  any¬ 
body  does  not  believe  such  stories,  let  him  keep  his 
own  opinion,  but  let  him  not  stand  in  the  way  of 
another  who  finds  in  them  an  encouragement  to  vir¬ 
tue.” 

The  last  three  hooks  of  the  Antiquities  reveal  the 
Aveaknesses  of  Josephus  as  an  historian:  his  disregard 
of  accuracy,  his  tendency  to  exaggeration,  his  lack 
of  proportion,  and  his  mental  subservience.  He  had 


1  Ant.  XVII.  xiil.  2. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  195 


no  longer  either  the  Scriptures  or  a  Greek  chroni¬ 
cler  to  guide  him.  He  depended  in  large  part  for  his 
material  on  oral  sources  and  scattered  memoirs,  and 
he  is  not  very  successful  in  eking  it  out  so  as  to  produce 
the  semblance  of  a  connected  narrative.  His  chapters 
are  in  part  a  miscellany  of  notes,  and  the  construction 
is  clumsy.  The  writer  confesses  that  he  was  weary  of 
his  task,  but  felt  impelled  to  wind  it  up.  Yet,  just 
because  we  are  so  ignorant  of  the  events  of  Jewish 
history  at  the  period,  and  because  the  period  itself  is  so 
critical  and  momentous,  these  books  (xviii-xx)  are 
among  the  most  important  which  he  has  left,  and  on 
the  whole  they  deal  rather  more  closely  than  their 
predecessors  with  the  affairs  of  the  Jewish  people. 
The  palace  intrigues  do  not  fill  the  stage  so  exclusively, 
and  some  of  the  digressions  carry  us  into  byways  of 
J ewish  history. 

At  the  very  outset 1  Josephus  devotes  a  chapter  to  a 
fuller  delineation  than  he  has  given  in  any  other  place 
of  the  various  sects  that  flourished  at  the  time.  The 
account,  ampler  though  it  is  than  the  others,  does 
not  reveal  the  true  inwardness  of  the  different  reli¬ 
gious  positions.  He  repeats  here  what  he  says  else¬ 
where  about  the  Pharisaic  doctrine  of  predestination 
tempered  by  freewill,  but  he  enlarges  especially  on 
the  difference  between  the  parties  in  their  ideas  about 
the  future  life.2  The  Pharisees  believe  that  souls  have 


'Ant.  XVIII.  i.  1. 


2  Comp.  B.  J.  II.  viii. 


196 


JOSEPHUS 


an  immortal  vigor,  and  that  they  will  be  rewarded 
or  punished  in  the  next  world  accordingly  as  they 
have  lived  virtuously  or  wickedly  in  this  life;  the 
wicked  being  bound  in  everlasting  prisons,  while  the 
good  have  power  to  live  again.  The  Sadducees,  on 
the  other  hand,  assert  that  the  souls  die  with  the 
bodies,  and  the  Essenes  teach  the  immortality  of 
souls  and  set  great  store  on  the  rewards  of  right¬ 
eousness.  Their  various  ideas  are  wrapped  up  in 
Greco-Eoman  dress,  to  suit  his  readers,  and  the  doc¬ 
trine  of  resurrection  ascribed  to  the  Pharisees  is  almost 
identical  with  that  held  by  the  neo-Pythagoreans  of 
Borne.1  But  Josephus’  account  is  more  reliable  when 
he  refers  to  the  divergent  attitudes  of  the  sects  to  the 
tradition. 

The  Pharisees  strive  to  observe  reason’s  dictates  in 
their  conduct,  and  at  the  same  time  they  pay  great  respect 
to  their  ancestors;  and  they  have  such  influence  over 
the  people  because  of  their  virtuous  lives  and  their  dis¬ 
courses  that  they  are  their  friends  in  divine  worship, 
prayers,  and  sacrifice.  The  Sadducees  do  not  regard  the 
observance  of  anything  beyond  what  the  law  enjoins 
them,  but  since  their  doctrine  is  held  by  the  few,  when 
they  hold  the  judicial  office,  they  are  compelled  to  addict 
themselves  to  the  notions  of  the  Pharisees,  because  the 
mass  would  not  otherwise  tolerate  them.  The  Essenes 
live  apart  from  the  people  in  communistic  groups,  and 
exceed  all  other  men  in  virtue  and  righteousness.  They 
send  gifts  to  the  Temple,  but  do  not  sacrifice,  on  which 
account  they  are  excluded  from  the  common  court  of  the 
Temple. 


1  Comp.  Vergil,  Aeneid,  vi. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  197 


Lastly,  Josephus  turns  to  the  fourth  sect,  the  Zea¬ 
lots,  whose  founder  was  Judas  the  Galilean: 

These  men  agree  in  all  other  things  with  the  Pharisees, 
but  they  have  an  inviolable  attachment  to  liberty,  and 
they  say  that  God  is  to  be  their  only  Ruler  and  Lord. 
Moreover  they  do  not  fear  any  kind  of  death,  nor  do  they 
heed  the  death  of  their  kinsmen  and  friends,  nor  can  any 
fear  of  the  kind  make  them  acknowledge  anybody  as 
sovereign. 

Josephus,  however,  cannot  refrain  from  imputing 
low  motives  to  those  who  belonged  to  the  party  opposed 
to  himself  and  hated  of  the  Romans.  “  They  planned 
robberies  and  murders  of  our  principal  men,”  he  says, 
“  in  pretense  for  the  public  welfare,  but  in  reality  in 
hopes  of  gain  for  themselves.”  And  he  saddles  them 
with  the  responsibility  for  all  the  calamities  that  were 
to  come.  About  the  Messianic  hope,  which  appears  to 
have  inspired  them,  he  is  compulsorily  silent. 

The  historical  record  that  follows  is  very  sketchy. 
We  have  a  bare  list  of  procurators  and  high  priests 
down  to  the  time  of  Pontius  Pilate,  a  notice  of  the 
foundation  of  Tiberias  by  the  tetrarch  Herod,  and  an 
irrelevant  account  of  the  death  of  Phraates,  the  king 
of  the  Parthians,  and  of  Antiochus  of  Commagene, 
who  was  connected  by  marriage  with  the  Herodian 
house.  Still  there  is  rather  more  detail  than  in  the 
corresponding  summary  in  the  second  book  of  the 
Wars,  and  Josephus  must  in  the  interval  have  lighted 
on  a  fuller  source  than  he  had  possessed  in  his  first  his¬ 
torical  essay.  It  is  not  impossible  that  the  new  au- 


198 


JOSEPHUS 


thority  was  again  J ustus  of  Tiberias.  Of  the  unrest  in 
the  governorship  of  Pontius  Pilate  he  has  more  to  say, 
but  the  genuineness  of  the  passage  referring  to  the 
trial  and  death  of  Jesus,  which  is  dealt  with  else¬ 
where,1  has  been  doubted  by  modern  critics.  It  is  fol¬ 
lowed  in  the  text  by  a  long  account  of  a  scandal 
connected  with  the  Isis  worship  at  Eome,  which  led  to 
the  expulsion  of  Jews  from  the  capital.  In  this  way 
the  chronicler  wanders  on  between  bare  chronology 
and  digression,  until  he  reaches  the  reign  of  Agrippa, 
when  he  again  finds  written  sources  to  help  him.  The 
romance  of  Agrippa’s  rise  from  a  bankrupt  courtier  to 
the  ruler  of  a  kingdom  is  treated  with  something  of  the 
same  full  detail  as  the  events  of  Herod’s  career,  and 
probably  the  historian  enjoyed  here  the  use  of  royal 
memoirs.  Pie  may  have  obtained  material  also  from 
the  historical  works  of  Philo  of  Alexandria,  which 
were  partly  concerned  with  the  same  epoch.  He  refers 
explicitly  to  the  embassy  which  the  Alexandrian  Jews 
sent  to  the  Boman  Emperor  to  appeal  for  the  rescis¬ 
sion  of  the  order  to  set  up  in  the  synagogue  the  Impe¬ 
rial  image,  at  the  head  of  which  went  Philo,  “  a  man 
eminent  on  all  accounts,  brother  to  Alexander  the  Ala- 
barch,  and  not  unskilled  in  philosophy.”  Bloch 2  in¬ 
deed  is  of  the  opinion  that  the  later  historian  did  not 
use  his  Alexandrian  predecessor,  either  in  this  or  any 
other  part  of  his  writings,  and  points  out  certain  dif- 

1  Ant.  XVIII.  iii.  Comp,  below,  p.  241. 

2  Die  Quellen  des  Flavius  Josephus. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  199 


ferences  of  fact  between  the  two  accounts ;  but  in  view 
of  the  references  to  Philo  and  the  fact  that  Josephus 
subsequently  wrote  two  books  of  apology,  one  of  which 
was  expressly  directed  in  answer  to  Philo’s  bitter  op¬ 
ponent  Apion,  it  is  at  least  probable  that  he  was  ac¬ 
quainted  with  Philo’s  narrative.  He  may,  however, 
have  used  it  only  to  supplement  the  memoirs  of  the 
Herodian  house,  which  served  him  as  a  chief  source. 
J osephus  devotes  less  attention  to  the  Alexandrian  em¬ 
bassy  than  to  the  efforts  of  the  Palestinian  Jews  to 
obtain  a  rescission  of  the  similar  decree  which  Petro- 
nius,  the  governor  of  Syria,  was  sent  to  enforce  in 
Jerusalem.  His  account  is  devised  to  glorify  the  part 
which  Agrippa  played.  The  prince  appears  as  a  kind 
of  male  Esther,  endangering  his  own  life  to  save  his 
people;  and  indeed  higher  critics  have  been  found  to 
suggest  that  the  Biblical  book  of  Esther  was  written 
around  the  events  of  the  reign  of  Gaius. 

The  story  of  Agrippa  is  interrupted  by  a  chapter 
about  the  Jews  of  Babylon,  which  has  the  air  of  a 
moral  tale  on  the  evils  of  intermarriage,  and  may  have 
formed  part  of  the  popular  Jewish  literature  of  the 
day.  Another  long  digression  marks  the  beginning  of 
the  nineteenth  book  of  the  Antiquities ,  where  J  osephus 
leaves  Jewish  scenes  and  inserts  an  account  of  Caligu¬ 
la’s  murder  and  the  election  of  Claudius  as  Emperor. 
This  narrative,  while  of  great  interest  for  students  of 
the  Roman  constitution,  is  out  of  all  proportion  to  its 
place  in  the  Jewish  chronicle.  Josephus,  it  has  been 
surmised,  based  it  on  the  work  of  one  Cluvius  (re- 


200 


JOSEPHUS 


f erred  to  in  the  book  as  an  intimate  friend  of  Claud¬ 
ius),  who  wrote  a  history  about  70  c.  E. ;  he  may  be¬ 
sides  have  received  hitherto  unpublished  information 
from  Agrippa  II,  whose  father  had  been  an  important 
actor  in  the  drama,  or  from  his  friend  Aliturius,  the 
actor  at  Pome,  who  had  mixed  in  affairs  of  state.  Any¬ 
how,  he  took  advantage  of  this  chance  of  making  a 
literary  sensation.  Doubtless  also,  the  recital,  which 
threw  not  a  little  discredit  on  the  house  of  the  earlier 
Caesars,  was  for  that  reason  not  unwelcome  to  the  up¬ 
start  Flavians,  and  may  have  been  inserted  at  the 
Imperial  wish. 

Agrippa  I  is  the  most  attractive  figure  in  the  second 
part  of  the  Antiquities.  He  is  contrasted  with  Herod, 

who  was  cruel  and  severe  in  his  punishments,  and  had 
no  mercy  on  those  he  hated,  and  everyone  perceived  that 

he  had  more  love  for  the  Greeks  than  for  the  Jews . 

But  Agrippa’s  temper  was  mild  and  equally  liberal  to  all 
men.  He  was  kind  to  foreigners  and  was  of  agreeable 
and  compassionate  feeling.  He  loved  to  reside  at  Jeru¬ 
salem,  and  was  scrupulously  careful  in  his  observance  of 
the  Law  of  his  people.  On  his  death  he  expressed  his 
submission  to  Providence;  for  that  he  had  by  no  means 
lived  ill,  but  in  a  splendid  and  happy  manner. 

His  peaceful  reign,  however,  was  only  the  lull  before 
the  storm, .and  the  last  book  of  the  Antiquities  is 
mainly  taken  up  with  the  succession  of  wicked  procu¬ 
rators,  who,  by  their  extortions  and  cruelties  and 
flagrant  disregard  of  the  Jewish  Law  and  Jewish  feel¬ 
ing,  goaded  the  J ews  into  the  final  rebellion.  It  con¬ 
tains,  however,  a  digression  on  the  conversion  of  the 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  201 


royal  house  of  Adiabene  to  Judaism,  which  is  tricked 
out  with  examples  of  God’s  Providence.  Yet  another 
digression  records  the  villainies  of  Nero  (which  no 
doubt  was  pleasing  to  his  patrons)  and  the  amours  of 
Drusilla,  the  daughter  of  Agrippa  I.  But  of  the  rising 
discontent  of  the  Jewish  people  in  Palestine  we  have 
no  clear  picture.  Josephus  fails  as  in  the  Wars  to 
bring  out  the  inner  incompatibility  of  the  Roman 
and  the  Jewish  outlook,  and  represents,  in  an  unim¬ 
aginative,  matter-of-fact,  Romanizing  way,  that  it  was 
simply  particular  excesses — the  rapacity  of  a  Felix,  the 
knavery  of  a  Florus — which  were  the  cause  of  the 
Rebellion.  This  is  just  what  a  Roman  would  have 
said,  and  wffien  the  Jewish  writer  deals  at  all  with 
the  Jewish  position,  it  is  usually  to  drag  in  his  political 
feud.  He  especially  singles  out  the  sacrilege  of  the 
Zealots  in  assassinating  their  opponents  within  the 
Temple  precincts  as  the  reason  of  God’s  rejecting  the 
city;  “and  as  for  the  Temple,  He  no  longer  deemed 
it  sufficiently  pure  to  be  His  habitation,  but  brought 
the  Romans  upon  us  and  threw  a  fire  on  the  city  to 
purge  it,  and  brought  slavery  on  us,  our  wives,  and 
our  children,  to  make  us  wiser  by  our  calamities.” 
Thus  the  priestly  apologist,  accepting  Roman  canons, 
finds  in  the  ritual  offense  of  a  section  of  the  people 
the  ground  for  the  destruction  of  the  national  center. 
He  is  torn,  indeed,  between  two  conflicting  views  about 
the  origin  of  the  rebellion :  whether  he  shall  lay  the 
whole  blame  on  the  Jewish  irreconcilables,  or  whether 
he  shall  divide  it  between  them  and  the  wicked  Roman 


202 


JOSEPHUS 


governors;  and  in  the  end  he  exaggerates  both  these 
motives,  and  leaves  out  the  deeper  causes. 

The  penultimate  chapter  contains  a  list  of  the  high 
priests,  about  whom  the  historian  had  throughout 
made  great  pretensions  of  accuracy.  He  enumerates 
but  eighty-three  from  the  time  of  Aaron  to  the  end 
of  the  line,  of  whom  no  less  than  twenty-eight  were 
appointed  after  Herod’s  accession  to  his  kingdom; 
whereas  the  Talmud  records  that  three  hundred  held 
office  during  the  existence  of  the  second  Temple  alone.1 
That  number  is  probably  hyperbolical,  but  the  state¬ 
ment  in  other  parts  of  the  Eabbinical  literature,  that 
there  were  eighty  high  priests  in  that  period,2  throws 
doubt  on  this  list,  which  besides  is  manifestly  patched 
in  several  places. 

With  the  procuratorship  of  Floras,  Josephus  brings 
his  chronicle  to  an  end,  the  later  events,  having  been 
treated  in  detail  in  the  Wars ;  and  in  exclusion  he 
commends  himself  for  his  accuracy  in  giving  the  suc¬ 
cession  of  priests  and  kings  and  political'  adminis¬ 
trators  : 

And  I  make  bold  to  say,  now  I  have  so  completely  per¬ 
fected  the  work  which  I  set  out  to  do,  that  no  other  per¬ 
son,  be  he  Jew  or  foreigner,  and  had  he  ever  so  great  an 
inclination  to  it,  could  so  accurately  deliver  these  ac¬ 
counts  to  the  Greeks  as  is  done  in  these  books.  For 
members  of  my  own  people  acknowledge  that  I  far  ex¬ 
ceed  them  in  Jewish  learning,  and  I  have  taken  great 
pains  to  obtain  the  learning  of  the  Greeks  and  under- 


1  Yoma,  9a. 


sYer.  Yoma,  ix.,  and  Lev.  R.  xx. 


POST-BIBLICAL  JEWISH  HISTORY  203 


stand  the  elements  of  the  Greek  language,  though  I  have 
so  long  accustomed  myself  to  speak  our  own  tongue  that 
I  cannot  speak  Greek  with  exactness. 

He  makes  explicit  his  standpoint  with  this  envoi, 
which  shows  that  he  was  writing  for  a  Greek-speaking 
public  and  in  competition  with  Greeks,  and  this  helps 
to  explain  why  he  sets  special  store  on  the  record  of 
priests  and  kings  and  political  changes,  and  why  he 
so  often  disguises  the  genuine  Jewish  outlook.  As  an 
account  of  the  Jewish  people  for  the  prejudiced  society 
of  Rome,  the  Antiquities  undoubtedly  possessed  merit. 
History,  indeed,  at  the  time,  was  far  from  being  an 
exact  science,  nor  was  accuracy  esteemed  necessary  to 
it.  Cicero  had  said  a  hundred  years  earlier,  that  it  was 
legitimate  to  lie  in  narratives;  and  this  was  the  char¬ 
acteristic  outlook  of  the  Greco-Roman  writers.  The 
most  brilliant,  literary  documents  of  the  age,  the  An¬ 
nals  and  H/stories  of  Tacitus,  are  rather  pieces  of 
sparkling  journalism  than  sober  and  philosophical 
records  of  facts ;  and  therefore  we  must  not  judge  J ose- 
phus  by  too  high  a  standard. 

Weighed  in  his  own  balance,  he  had  done  a  great 
service  to  his  people  by  setting  out  the  main  heads  of 
their  history  over  three  thousand  years,  so  that  it 
should  be  intelligible  to  the  cultured  Roman  society; 
and  had  he  been  reproached  with  misrepresenting  and 
distorting  many  of  their  religious  ideas,  he  would  have 
replied,  with  some  justice,  that  it  was  necessary  to  do 
so  in  order  to  make  the  Romans  understand.  On  the 
same  ground  he  would  have  justified  the  omission  of 


204 


JOSEPHUS 


much  that  was  characteristic  and  the  exaggeration  of 
much  that  was  normal.  He  shows  throughout  some 
measure  of  national  pride.  To-day,  however,  we  can¬ 
not  but  regret  that  he  weakly  adopted  much  of  the 
spiritual  outlook  of  his  Gentile  contemporaries,  and 
that  he  did  not  seek  to  convey  to  his  readers  the  funda¬ 
mental  spiritual  conceptions  of  the  Jews,  which  might 
have  endowed  his  history  with  an  unique  distinction. 
His  record  of  two  thousand  years  of  Israel’s  history 
gives  hut  the  shadow  of  the  glory  of  his  people. 


yin 

THE  APOLOGY  FOE  JUDAISM 


In  every  age  since  the  dispersion  began,  the  Jews 
have  appeared  to  their  neighbors  as  a  curious  anomaly. 
Their  abstract  idea  of  God,  their  peculiar  religious  ob¬ 
servances,  their  refusal  to  intermarry  with  their  neigh¬ 
bors,  their  serious  habits  of  life — all  have  served  to 
mark  them  out  and  attract  the  wonder  of  the  philoso¬ 
phical,  the  vituperation  of  the  vulgar,  and  the  dislike 
of  the  ignorant.  Their  enemies  in  every  epoch  have 
repeated  with  slight  variation  the  charge  which 
Haman  brought  in  his  petition  to  King  Ahasuerus, 
“  There  is  a  people  scattered  abroad  and  dispersed 
among  the  peoples  in  all  the  provinces  of  thy  king¬ 
dom;  and  their  laws  are  diverse  from  those  of  every 
people,  neither  keep  they  the  king’s  laws  ”  (Esther 
3:8).  In  the  cosmopolitan  society  that  arose  in  the 
Hellenistic  kingdoms,  it  was  their  especial  offense  that 
they  retained  a  national  cohesion,  and  refused  to  in¬ 
dulge  in  the  free  trade  in  religious  ideas  and  social 
habits  adopted  by  civilized  peoples.  The  popular  feel¬ 
ing  was  fanned  by  a  party  that  had  a  more  particular 
grievance  against  them.  Though  certain  philosophi¬ 
cal  sects,  notably  the  schools  of  Pythagoras  and  Aris¬ 
totle,  were  struck  with  admiration  for  the  lofty  spirit¬ 
ual  ideas  and  the  strict  discipline  of  Judaism,  another 


206 


JOSEPHUS 


school,  and  that  the  most  powerful  of  the  time,  was 
smitten  with  envy  and  hatred. 

The  Stoics,  who  aspired  to  establish  a  religious 
philosophy  for  all  mankind,  and  pursued  a  vigorous 
missionary  propaganda,  particularly  in  the  East,  saw 
in  the  Jews  not  only  obstinate  opponents  but  danger¬ 
ous  rivals,  who  carried  on  a  competing  mission  with 
provoking  success.  The  children  of  Israel  were  spread 
over  the  whole  of  the  civilized  world,  and  everywhere 
they  vigorously  propagated  their  teaching.  Of  all 
enmities,  the  enmity  of  contending  creeds  is  the  bit¬ 
terest.  The  Stoics  became  the  first  professional  Jew- 
haters,  and  set  themselves  at  the  head  of  those  who  re¬ 
sented  Jewish  particularism,  either  from  jealousy  or 
from  that  unreasoning  dislike  which  is  universally 
felt  against  minorities  that  live  differently  from  the 
mass  about  them. 

The  ill-will  and  sectarian  hatred  were  most  preva¬ 
lent  at  Alexandria,  where  the  powerful  Jewish  com¬ 
munity  excited  the  attacks  of  the  half-Hellenized 
natives.  The  campaign  was  fought  mainly  as  a  battle 
of  books.  The  Hebrew  Scriptures  represented  the 
early  Egyptians  in  no  favorable  light.  The  Greco - 
Egyptian  historians  retaliated  by  a  malevolent  account 
of  the  origin  and  history  of  the  Hebrew  people,  of 
which  Manetho’s  story  is  the  prototype.  In  this  work 
of  the  third  century  b.  c.  e.  the  children  of  Israel  were 
represented  as  sprung  from  a  pack  of  lepers,  who  were 
expelled  from  Egypt  because  of  their  foul  disease.  A 
still  more  virulent  attack  on  the  Jewish  teaching  is 


THE  APOLOGY  FOE  JUDAISM 


207 


found  in  two  Stoic  writers  of  the  first  century  B.  c.  E., 
Posidonius  of  Apamea,  a  town  of  Phrygia,  and  Molon,1 
who  taught  at  Ehodes.  The  former  raised  the  charge 
that  the  J ews  alone  of  all  peoples  refused  to  have  any 
communication  with  other  nations,  but  regarded  them 
as  their  enemies.  Molon,  besides  a  general  travesty 
of  their  early  history,  wrote  a  special  diatribe  against 
them — the  first  document  of  the  kind  which  history 
records — accusing  them  of  atheism  and  misanthropy, 
cowardice  and  stupidity.  These  remained  the  stock 
charges  for  centuries,  and  they  assumed  an  added  bit¬ 
terness  after  the  Eornan  conquest,  when  to  the  peculi¬ 
arity  of  J ewish  customs  was  added  the  stigma  of  being 
a  subject  people.  The  hatred  of  Greek  and  Jew,  despite 
all  the  ostentatious  friendliness  of  a  Herod  for  Greek 
things,  became  deeper,  and  it  showed  itself  as  well 
without  as  within  Palestine.  At  Alexandria,  in  the 
beginning  of  the  first  century,  the  antagonism  devel¬ 
oped  into  open  riots,  and  the  leaders  of  the  anti-Jewish 
party  were  again  two  Stoics,  Apion  and  Chaeremon, 
the  one  orator  and  grammarian,  the  other  priest  and 
astrologer.  There  is  nothing  very  original  in  their 
libels,  which  are  modeled  upon  those  of  Posidonius 
and  Molon ;  but  some  fresh  detail  is  added.  It  was 
said  that  the  deity  worshiped  at  Jerusalem  was  the 
head  of  an  ass,  to  which  human  sacrifices  were  offered, 

1  Schiirer  (iii.  503#)  has  brought  cogent  reasons  to 
show  that  Molon  is  not  the  same  as  Apollonius,  another 
Jew-baiter,  with  whom  he  has  often  been  identified. 


208 


JOSEPHUS 


and  that  the  Jews  took  an  oath  to  do  no  service  for 
any  Gentile.  Apion,  a  naan  of  some  repute,  was  the 
head  of  the  Alexandrian  Stoic  school,  and  called  “  the 
toiler,”  because  of  his  industry.  He  was,  however,  also 
known  as  “  the  quarrelsome  ”  1  (o  TrAucrrovtK^?) .  An¬ 
other  critic  of  ancient  times  says  he  was  notorious  for- 
advertising  his  ideas  (in  doctrinis  suis  praedicandis 
venditator)  2 3 * * *,  and  the  Emperor  Augustus  declares  that 
he  was  the  drum  of  his  own  fame  ( i .  e.  the  blower  of 
his  own  trumpet) .  He  was  in  fact  a  mixture  of  scholar 
and  charlatan,  as  many  of  his  successors  have  been,  the 
Houston  Chamberlain  of  the  first  century. 

Apion  wrote  a  history  of  Egypt  in  which  his  attack 
upon  the  Jews  appears  to  have  been  an  episode,8  but 
his  prominence  as  an  anti-Semite  is  shown  by  the  fact 
that  he  went  as  the  spokesman  of  the  Greek  embassy 
to  Caligula  on  the  memorable  occasion  when  Philo 
was  the  champion  of  the  Jewish  cause.  In  that 
capacity  Philo  prepared  an  elaborate  apology  for  his 
people,  which  he  had  not  the  opportunity  to  deliver; 
but  it  contained  in  part  an  account  of  the  religious 
sects,  designed  to  show  their  philosophical  excellence, 
and  it  was  known  to  the  Church  fathers  of  the  early 
centuries  of  the  Christian  era.  Only  small  fragments 

1  Clemens,  Strom,  i.  21,  101. 

2  Gallus,  Noctes  Atticae,  v.  2. 

3  The  idea,  which  is  derived  from  the  Church  fathers, 

that  he  wrote  a  separate  Ao^os  against  the  Jews,  appears 

to  be  based  by  them  on  a  misunderstanding  of  Ant.  XVIII. 

viii.  1.  Comp.  Schiirer,  op.  cit.  iii.  541. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM  209 


of  it  are  preserved  by  Eusebius,  and  the  rest  of  the 
apologetic  writing  of  Alexandria,  which  was  in  all 
probability  very  extensive,  has  disappeared.  Yet  the 
Hellenistic- J ewish  literature  is  colored  throughout 
by  an  apologetic  purpose.  Whether  the  work  is  a 
professedly  historical  or  ethical  or  philosophical  treat¬ 
ise,  the  idea  is  always  present  of  representing  Juda¬ 
ism  as  a  sublime  and  a  humanitarian  doctrine,  and 
of  refuting  the  calumnies  of  the  Greek  scribes.  Thus, 
besides  his  elaborate  apology  prepared  for  the  Roman 
Emperor,  Philo  had  written  a  popular  presentation  of 
Judaism  in  the  form  of  a  Life  of  Moses,  with  ap¬ 
pended  treatises  on  Humanity  and  Nobility,  which 
was  but  a  thinly-veiled  work  of  apologetics.  Another 
part  of  the  defensive  literature  took  the  form  of  mis¬ 
sionary  propaganda  under  a  heathen  mask.  The  ora¬ 
cles  of  the  Sibyl  and  Orpheus,  a  forged  history  of 
Hecataeus,  and  monotheistic  verses  foisted  on  the 
Greek  poets,  were  but  attempts  to  carry  the  war  into 
the  enemy’s  territory.  Further,  there  must  have  been  a 
more  direct  presentation  of  the  Jewish  cause  by  way  of 
public  lectures  and  popular  addresses  in  the  syna¬ 
gogues.  Nevertheless,  the  specific  answers  to  the 
charges  advanced  by  the  anti- Jewish  scribblers  are  now 
to  be  found  most  fully  stated  in  Josephus.  In  his  day 
the  literary  campaign  against  the  Jewish  name  was 
as  remorseless  as  the  military  campaign  that  had  de¬ 
stroyed  their  political  independence.  The  Romans, 
tolerant  themselves  in  religion,  had  long  been  intole¬ 
rant  of  Jewish  separatism  and  national  exclusiveness, 
14 


210 


JOSEPHUS 


and  Cicero,1  shortly  after  the  capture  of  Jerusalem  by 
Pompey,  had  denounced  their  “  barbarian  supersti¬ 
tion  ”  in  language  that  is  typical  of  the  outlook  of  the 
Roman  aristocracy.  “  Even  when  Jerusalem  was  un¬ 
touched,  and  the  Jews  were  at  peace  with  us,  their 
religious  ceremonies  ill  accorded  with  the  splendor  of 
our  Empire ;  still  less  tolerable  are  they  to-day,  when 
the  nation  has  shown,  by  taking  up  arms,  its  attitude 
towards  us,  while  the  fact  that  it  has  been  conquered 
and  reduced  to  servitude  proves  how  much  the  gods 
care  for  it.” 

The  later  poets  of  the  Augustan  age,  Horace,  Ti¬ 
bullus,  and  Ovid,  expressed  a  supercilious  disdain  for 
the  Jewish  customs  of  Sabbath-keeping,  etc.,  which 
were  spreading  even  in  the  politest  circles.  As  the 
political  conflict  between  the  Romans  and  their  stub¬ 
born  subjects  became  more  pronounced,  the  Roman 
impatience  of  their  obstinacy  increased.  Seneca, 
writing  after  Palestine  had  been  placed  under  a 
Roman  governor,  speaks  bitterly  of  “  the  accursed  race 
whose  practices  have  so  far  prevailed  that  they  have 
been  received  all  over  the  world.”  Hating  the  Jews 
as  he  did  with  the  double  hatred  of  a  Roman  aristocrat 
and  a  Stoic  philosopher,  he  is  yet  fain  to  admit  that 
their  religion  is  diffused  over  the  Empire,  and  anxious 
as  he  is  to  decry  their  superstition,  he  reveals  part  of 
the  reason  of  their  success.  “  They  at  least  can  give 
an  explanation  of  their  religious  ceremonies,  whereas 
the' pagan  masses  cannot  say  why  they  carry  out  their 


1  Pro  Placco,  68. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOE  JUDAISM 


211 


practices.”  The  pagan  cults  were  languishing  because 
of  the  frigidity  of  their  forms  and  their  incapacity  for 
providing  men  with  an  ideal  or  a  discipline  or  a  solace ; 
and  the  people  turned  to  a  living  religion.  The  day 
had  come  that  was  foretold  by  the  prophet,  when 
men  shall  catch  hold  of  the  skirts  of  a  Jew,  saying, 
“  We  will  go  with  you,  because  we  have  heard  that  God 
is  with  you  ”  (Zech.  8:23). 

The  bitterest  and  the  most  envenomed  attacks  on  the 
Jews  were  written  after  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem, 
when  the  failure  of  Eome  to  break  the  stubborn  spirit  of 
her  conquered  foe  became  apparent.  The  legions  could 
destroy  Jerusalem;  they  could  not  uproot  Judaism  or 
even  stay  its  progress.  The  presence  of  thousands  of 
Jewish  captive  slaves  at  Eome  accelerated  indeed  the 
march  of  conversion.  Vespasian  and  Titus  forebore 
to  take  the  title  “  J udaicus  ”  after  their  triumph,  lest 
it  should  be  taken  to  mean  that  they  had  Judaized. 
The  speedy  defection  of  Eoman  citizens  to  the  super¬ 
stition  of  a  conquered  people  was  an  insult,  which, 
added  to  the  injury  of  their  obstinate  resistance,  roused 
to  fury  the  remnants  of  the  Eoman  conservatives. 
The  entanglement  of  Titus  with  the  Jewish  princess 
Berenice  was  the  final  outrage.  The  satiric  poets 
Martial  and  Juvenal  inserted  frequent  ribald  refer¬ 
ences  to  Jewish  customs ;  but  the  nature  of  their  works 
precluded  a  serious  criticism.  Martial  was  a  master  of 
flouts,  jeers,  and  gibes,  and  Juvenal  was  a  soured  and 
disappointed  provincial,  who  delighted  to  hurl  wild 
reproaches.  He  declaimed  against  the  passing  away 


212 


JOSEPHUS 


of  the  old  manners  of  Republican  Pome,  and  for  him 
the  spread  of  Jewish  habits  was  among  the  surest  signs 
of  degeneracy.  The  poets,  however,  did  not  so  much 
endeavor  to  misrepresent  as  to  ridicule  the  Jews  and 
their  converts.  But  the  classical  exponent  of  Roman 
anti-Semitism  is  Tacitus,  the  historian  w’ho  wrote  in 
the  time  of  ISTerva  and  Trajan,  i.  e.  just  after  Josephus, 
and  who  treated  of  the  Jews  both  in  his  Annals,  which 
were  a  history  of  the  last  century,  and  in  his  Histories, 
which  dealt  with  his  own  times.  He  surpassed  all  his 
predecessors,  Greek  or  Roman,  in  distortion  and  abuse, 
and  he  combined  the  charges  invented  by  the  jealousy 
and  rancor  of  Greek  sophists  with  the  abuse  of  Jewish 
character  induced  by  Imperial  Roman  passion.  His 
account  cannot  be  mistaken  for  a  sober  judgment. 
By  the  transparent  combination  of  earlier,  discredited 
sources,  by  blatant  inconsistencies,  and  by  neglect  of 
the  authorities  that  would  have  provided  him  with 
reliable  information,  he  shows  himself  the  partisan 
pamphleteer.  But  the  indictment  is  none  the  less  illu¬ 
minating.  Mommsen  speaks  of  the  solemn  enmity 
which  Tacitus  cherishes  to  the  section  of  the  human 
race  “  to  whom  everything  pure  is  impure,  and  every¬ 
thing  impure  is  pure.”  Doubtless  his  hatred  was 
founded  on  intense  national  pride,  but  it  was  fed  by 
his  tendency  to  blacken  and  exaggerate.  His  audience 
was  composed,  as  Renan  says,  of  “  aristocrats  of  the 
race  of  English  Tories,  who  derived  their  strength 
from  their  very  prejudices.”  Their  ideas  about  the 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


213 


Jewish  people  were  as  vague  as  those  of  the  ordinary 
man  of  to-day  about  the  people  of  Thibet,  and  they 
were  willing  to  believe  anything  of  them. 

Tacitus  gives  several  alternative  accounts  of  the 
origin  of  the  Jews.1  According  to  some  they  were 
fugitives  from  the  Isle  of  Crete  (deriving  their  name 
from  Mount  Ida),  who  settled  on  the  coast  of  Libya. 
According  to  others  they  sprang  from  Egypt,  and  were 
driven  out  under  their  captains  Hierosolymus  and 
J udas ;  while  others  stated  that  they  were  Ethiopians 
whom  fear  and  hatred  obliged  to  change  their  habi¬ 
tation.  He  supplies  himself  a  fanciful  account  of  the 
Exodus,  tricked  out  with  a  variety  of  misrepresenta¬ 
tions  of  their  observances,  which  are  ludicrously  incon¬ 
sistent  with  each  other : 

They  bless  the  image  of  that  animal  [the  ass],  by  whose 
indication  they  had  escaped  from  their  vagrant  condition 
in  the  wilderness  and  quenched  their  thirst.  They  ab¬ 
stain  from  swine’s  flesh  as  a  memorial  of  the  miser¬ 
able  destruction  which  the  mange  brought  on  them. 
That  they  stole  the  fruits  of  the  earth,  we  have  a  proof  in 
their  unleavened  bread.  They  rest  on  the  seventh  day, 
because  that  day  gave  them  rest  from  their  labors,  and, 
affecting  a  lazy  life,  they  are  idle  during  every  seventh 
year.  These  rites,  whatever  their  origin,  are  at  least 
supported  by  their  antiquity.2  Their  other  institutions 
are  depraved  and  impure,  and  prevailed  by  reason  of  their 
viciousness;  for  every  vile  fellow  despising  Kie  rites  of 
his  ancestors  brought  to  them  his  contribution,  so  that 
the  Jewish  commonwealth  was  augmented.  The  first 
lesson  taught  to  converts  is  to  despise  their  gods,  to  re¬ 
nounce  their  country,  and  to  hold  their  parents,  children. 


1  Hist.  v.  2ff. 


>Ch.  lvii. 


214 


JOSEPHUS 


and  brethren  in  utmost  contempt:  but  still  they  are  at 
pains  to  increase  and  multiply,  and  esteem  it  unlawful 
to  kill  any  of  their  children.  They  regard  as  immortal 
the  souls  of  those  who  die  in  battle,  or  are  put  to  death 
for  their  crimes.1  Hence  their  love  of  posterity  and 
their  contempt  of  death.  They  have  no  notion  of  more 
than  one  Divine  Being,  who  is  only  grasped  by  the 
mind.  They  deem  it  profane  to  fashion  images  of  gods 
out  of  perishable  matter,  and  teach  that  their  Being  is 
supreme  and  eternal,  immutable  and  imperishable.  Ac¬ 
cordingly,  they  erect  no  images  in  their  cities,  much  less 
in  their  temples,  and  they  refuse  to  grant  this  kind  of 
honor  to  kings  or  emperors. 

The  sage  Pliny,  who  himself  laughed  at  the  crude 
paganism  of  his  time,  could  also  point  the  finger  of 
scorn  at  the  J ews  as  “  a  people  notorious  by  their  con¬ 
tempt  of  divine  images/’  To  the  genuine  Roman,  the 
state  religion  might  not  be  true,  but  it  was  part  of 
the  civic  life,  and  therefore  its  rejection  was  unsocial 
and  disloyal.  Yet  the  account  of  Tacitus  contains  sev¬ 
eral  remarks  which,  in  their  author’s  despite,  reveal 
the  moral  superiority  of  the  conquered  over  the  con¬ 
querors.  He  notes  their  national  tenacity,  their  ready 
charity,  their  freedom  from  infanticide,  their  convic¬ 
tion  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  their  purely  spirit¬ 
ual  and  monotheistic  cult.  Tacitus  certainly  wrote 
after  the  works  of  Josephus  had  been  published,  so 
that  the  apology  is  not  an  answer  to  him;  but  his 

1  This  statement  agrees  remarkably  with  what  Josephus 
puts  into  the  mouth  of  several  of  his  speakers.  See  above, 
p.  114. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


215 


methods  of  misstatement  were  anticipated  at  Rome  by 
a  host  of  anti-Semitic  writers.  Though  Josephus 
never  mentions  a  single  Roman  detractor  of  his  peo¬ 
ple,  and  confines  his  reply  to  Greeks  who  were  long 
buried,  it  was  doubtless  against  this  class  that  he  was 
anxious  to  defend  himself  and  his  faith. 

He  declared  at  the  end  of  the  Antiquities  his  inten¬ 
tion  to  write  three  books  about  “  God  and  His  essence, 
and  about  our  laws,”  proposing,  perhaps,  to  imitate 
Philo’s  apology  for  Judaism,  which  was  in  three 
parts.  But  the  virulence  of  the  calumny  against 
Judaism  induced  him  to  modify  his  plan  and  write  a 
specific  reply  to  the  charges  made  against  the  Jews. 
It  was  necessary  to  refute  more  concisely  and  more 
definitely  than  he  had  done  in  his  long  historical 
works  the  false  tales  about  the  Jewish  past  and  the 
Jewish  law  that  were  circulated  and  believed  in  the 
hostile  Greco-Roman  w’orld.  He  directed  himself 
more  particularly  to  uphold  the  antiquity  of  the  J ews 
against  those  who  denied  their  historical  claims  and 
to  disprove  the  charges  leveled  against  the  Jewish 
religious  ideas  and  legislation.  These  two  subjects 
form  the  content  of  the  two  books  commonly  known 
to  us  as  Against  Apion.  Only  the  second,  however, 
deals  with  Apion’s  diatribe,  and  the  current  title  is 
certainly  unauthentic.  Origen,1  Eusebius,  and  Hie¬ 
ronymus  2  refer  to  the  first  book  as  About  the  An¬ 
tiquity  of  the  Jews,  and  Hieronymus  adds  the  descrip- 


1  Orig.  C.  Cels.  i.  14. 


2  De  Viris  Illustr.  13. 


216 


JOSEPHUS 


tion  avTipprjTiK.o'i  Aoyos,  A  Refutation.  Eusebius 
similarly 1  speaks  of  the  second  book  as  the  Eefutation 
of  Apion  the  grammarian.  Porphyry  calls  it  simply 
71700s  toiis  ''EAAr/vas,  The  Address  to  the  Greeks,  and 
it  is  possible  that  Josephus  so  entitled  his  work.  It 
is  noteworthy  that  he  directed  his  pleading  to  the 
Greek-speaking  and  not  to  the  Latin  public;  the 
Greeks,  he  recognized,  were  the  source  of  the  misrep¬ 
resentations  of  his  people,  and,  as  Greek  was  read  by 
all  cultured  people  in  his  day,  in  refuting  them  he 
would  incur  less  obloquy  and  attain  his  end  equally 
well. 

The  first  point  that  Josephus  seeks  to  make  good 
in  his  apology  is  the  antiquity  of  the  Hebrew  people 
and  the  historical  character  of  their  Scriptures.  In 
the  Greco-Eoman  world,  which  had  lost  confidence  in 
itself,  and  looked  for  inspiration  to  the  past,  age  was 
a  title  to  respectability,  and  it  was  the  aim  of  the 
Jewish  apologist  to  explain  away  the  silence  of  the 
Greeks.  For  the  certificate  of  the  Hellenic  historians 
was  in  the  Hellenistic  world  the  most  convincing 
mark  of  genuineness. 

By  my  works  on  the  Antiquity  of  the  Jews — thus  Jose¬ 
phus  begins— I  have  proved  that  our  Jewish  nation  is  of 
very  great  antiquity  and  had  a  distinct  existence.  Those 
Antiquities  contain  the  history  of  five  thousand  years, 
and  are  derived  from  our  sacred  books,  but  are  translated 
by  me  into  the  Greek  tongue. 


1H.  E.  III.  viii.  2. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


217 


Josephus  loosely  represents  that  the  whole  of  the 
Antiquities  is  based  on  the  Bible,  and  reckons  the 
period  of  history  at  nearly  a  thousand  years  more  than 
it  covered. 

But  since  I  observe  that  many  people  give  ear  to  the 
reproaches  that  are  laid  against  us  by  those  who  bear 
us  ill-will,  and  will  not  believe  what  I  have  written  con¬ 
cerning  the  antiquity  of  our  nation,  while  they  take  it  for 
a  plain  sign  that  our  nation  is  of  late  date  because  it 
is  not  so  much  as  vouchsafed  a  bare  mention  by  the 
most  famous  historians  among  the  Greeks,  I  therefore 
have  thought  myself  under  an  obligation  to  write  some¬ 
what  briefly  about  these  subjects,  in  order  to  convict  those 
who  reproach  us  of  spite  and  deliberate  falsehood  and  to 
correct  the  ignorance  of  others,  and  withal  to  instruct  all 
those  who  are  desirous  of  knowing  the  truth  of  what 
great  antiquity  we  really  are.  As  for  the  witnesses  whom 
I  shall  produce  for  the  proof  of  what  I  say,  they  shall  be 
such  as  are  esteemed  by  the  Greeks  themselves  to  be  of 
the  greatest  reputation  for  truth  and  the  most  skilful 
in  the  knowledge  of  all  antiquity.  I  will  also  show  that 
those  who  have  written  so  reproachfully  and  falsely 
about  us  are  to  be  convicted  by  what  they  have  them¬ 
selves  written  to  the  contrary,  and  I  shall  endeavor  to 
give  an  account  of  the  reasons  why  it  has  happened  that 
a  great  number  of  Greeks  have  not  made  mention  of  our 
nation  in  their  histories. 

Acting  on  the  principle  that  the  best  defense  is 
attack,  Josephus  starts  by  turning  on  the  Greeks  them¬ 
selves  and  discrediting  their  antiquity.  They  were  a 
mushroom  people,  or  at  least  their  records  were  mod¬ 
ern,  and  not  to  be  compared  in  age  with  the  records  of 
the  Phoenicians,  the  Hebrews,  or  the  Babylonians. 


218 


JOSEPHUS 


Comparative  sciences  had  flourished  in  the  cosmopoli¬ 
tan  city  of  Alexandria,  and  in  the  light  of  them  the 
Greek  claim  to  exclusive  wisdom  had  been  shattered. 
Josephus  had  made  himself  master  of  the  current 
knowledge  of  the  subject.  The  Greeks  learnt  their  let¬ 
ters  from  the  Phoenicians,  they  have  no  record  more 
ancient  than  the  Homeric  poems,  and  even  Homer  did 
not  leave  his  poems  in  writing,1  while  their  earliest  his¬ 
torians  lived  but  shortly  before  the  Persian  expedition 
into  Greece,  and  their  earliest  philosophers,  Pythag¬ 
oras  and  Thales,  learnt  what  they  knew  from  Egypt¬ 
ians  and  Chaldeans.  Having  shown  the  lateness  and 
Oriental  origin  of  Greek  culture,  Josephus  accuses 
Greek  writers  of  unreliability,  as  is  manifest  by  their 
mutual  disagreement.  He  makes  a  great  show  of 
learning  on  the  subject  and  uses  his  material  effec¬ 
tively.  Doubtless  he  found  the  topic  ready  to  hand  in 
some  predecessor,  and  it  is  somewhat  ironical  that  a 
Josephus  should  throw  stones  at  a  Thucydides  on  the 
score  of  inaccuracy. 

The  reason  for  the  want  of  authority  in  the  Greek 
historians — continues  Josephus — is  to  be  found  in  the  fact 
that  the  Greeks  in  early  times  took  no  care  to  preserve 
public  records  of  their  transactions,  which  afforded  those 
who  afterwards  would  write  about  them  scope  for  mak¬ 
ing  mistakes  and  displaying  invention:  conditions  which 
favored  literary  art,  but  marred  historical  accuracy. 
Those  who  were  the  most  zealous  to  write  history  were 

1  It  is  interesting  that  this  casual  statement  of  Jose¬ 
phus  was  one  of  the  starting  points  of  modern  Homeric 
criticism. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


219 


more  anxious  to  demonstrate  that  they  could  write  well 
than  to  discover  the  truth. 

The  contrast  between  the  individual  creative  im¬ 
pulse  of  the  Hellene  and  the  respect  for  tradition  of 
the  Hebrew,  which  anticipates  in  a  way  Matthew  Ar¬ 
nold’s  contrast  between  Hellenic  “  spontaneity  of  con¬ 
sciousness  ”  and  Hebraic  “  strictness  of  conscience,” 
is  pointedly  made  by  the  apologist : 1 

We  Jews  must  yield  to  the  Greek  writers  as  to  style 
and  eloquence  of  composition,  but  we  concede  them  no 
such  superiority  in  regard  to  the  verity  of  ancient  his¬ 
tory,  and  least  of  all  as  to  that  part  which  concerns  the 
affairs  of  our  country.  The  reliability  of  the  Hebrew  rec¬ 
ords  is  vouched  for  by  the  unbroken  succession  of  official 
annals  handed  down  by  priests  and  prophets.  The  purity 
of  the  priestly  caste  was  strictly  maintained  by  the  law 
of  marriage,  which  impelled  every  priest  to  make  a 
scrutiny  into  the  genealogy  of  his  wife  and  forward  a 
register  of  it  to  Jerusalem,  where  it  was  duly  recorded  in 
the  archives.  And  we  possess  the  names  of  our  high 
priests  from  father  to  son  for  a  period  of  two  thousand 
years.  Nor  is  there  individual  liberty  of  writing  among 
us:  only  the  prophets  (i.  e.  inspired  persons)  have 
written  the  earliest  accounts  of  things  as  they  learned 
them  of  God  Himself  by  inspiration,  and  others  have 
written  about  what  happened  in  their  own  times,  and 
that  too  in  a  very  distinct  manner.  We  have  no  mass  of 
books  disagreeing  with  each  other,  but  only  twenty-two 
books  containing  the  records  of  all  our  past,  which  are 
rightly  believed  to  be  inspired. 


1  C.  Ap.  6 ff. 


220 


JOSEPHUS 


The  reckoning  of  the  Canon  is  interesting : 1 II  there 
are  five  books  of  Moses,  thirteen  books  of  the  prophets, 
recording  the  history  from  the  death  of  Moses  to  the 
reign  of  Artaxerxes,  and  the  remaining  four  books, 
the  Ketubim,  contain  hymns  to  God  and  precepts  for 
the  conduct  of  human  life.  The  books  written  since 
the  time  of  Artaxerxes  have  not  the  same  trustworthi¬ 
ness,  because  the  exact  succession  of  prophets  has  not 
been  maintained.  The  intense  sentiment  which  the 
Jews  feel  for  their  Scriptures  is  proved  by  their  wil¬ 
lingness  to  die  for  them. 

Again  a  contrast  is  pointed  between  the  seriousness 
of  the  Hebraic  and  the  levity  of  the  Greek  attitude 
towards  literature.  Josephus  egotistically  draws  an 
example  from  the  record  of  the  recent  war.  The 
Greeklings  who  wrote  about  it 

put  a  few  things  together  by  hearsay,  and,  abusing  the 
word,  call  their  writings  by  the  name  of  histories.  But 
I  have  composed  a  true  history  of  the  whole  war  and  of 
all  the  events  that  occurred,  having  been  concerned  in  all 
its  transactions;  for  I  acted  as  general  of  those  among 
us  that  are  named  Galileans,  as  long  as  it  was  possible 
for  us  to  make  any  resistance.  I  was  then  seized  by  the 
Romans,  and  became  a  captive.  Vespasian  and  Titus  kept 
me  under  guard,  and  forced  me  to  attend  on  them  con- 


1  The  accepted  number  of  books  in  the  Jewish  Canon  is 
twenty-four,  and  this  number  is  found  in  the  Book  of 

II  Esdras,  xiv.  41,  which  is  probably  contemporaneous 
with  Josephus.  The  number  22  is  to  be  explained  by  the 
fact  that  Josephus  must  have  linked  Ruth  with  Judges 
and  Lamentations  with  Jeremiah.  See  J.  E.,  s.  v.  Canon. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


221 


tinually.  At  the  first  I  was  put  into  bonds,  but  later  was 
set  at  liberty  and  sent  to  accompany  Titus  when  he  came 
from  Alexandria  to  the  siege  of  Jerusalem,  during  which 
time  nothing  was  done  that  escaped  my  knowledge.  For 
what  happened  in  the  Roman  camp  I  saw,  and  wrote  down 
carefully;  and  what  information  the  deserters  brought 
out  of  the  city,  I  was  the  only  man  to  understand.  After¬ 
wards,  when  I  had  gotten  leisure  at  Rome,  and  when  all 
my  material  was  prepared  for  the  work,  I  obtained  some 
persons  to  assist  me  in  learning  the  Greek  tongue,  and 
by  these  means  I  composed  the  history  of  the  events,  and 
I  was  so  well  assured  of  the  truth  of  what  I  related,  that 
I  first  of  all  appealed  to  those  that  had  the  supreme  com¬ 
mand  in  that  war,  Vespasian  and  Titus,  as  witnesses  for 
me.  For  to  them  first  of  all  I  presented  my  books,  and 
after  them  to  many  of  the  Romans  that  had  been  engaged 
in  the  war.  I  also  recited  them  to  many  of  my  own  race 
that  understood  Greek  philosophy,  among  whom  were 
Julius  Archelaus,  Herod,  king  of  Chalcis,  a  person  of 
great  authority,  and  King  Agrippa  himself,  a  person  that 
deserved  the  greatest  respect.  Now  all  these  bore  their 
testimony  to  me  that  I  had  the  strictest  regard  to  truth; 
who  yet  would  not  have  dissembled  the  matter,  nor  been 
silent,  if  I,  out  of  ignorance,  or  out  of  favor  to  any  side, 
either  had  given  a  false  color  to  the  events,  or  omitted 
any  of  them. 

Josephus  here  indignantly  replies  to  his  Roman 
detractors,  who  accused  him  of  having  composed  a 
mere  partisan  thesis.  As  a  priest  he  had  a  special 
knowledge  of  the  Scriptures,  which  were  the  basis  of 
his  Antiquities,  and  as  an  important  actor  in  the  drama 
of  the  Roman  war,  he  wrote  of  its  events  with  the 
knowledge  of  an  eye-witness.  He  excuses  his  digres¬ 
sion  as  being  made  in  self-defense,  and  claims  to  have 


222 


JOSEPHUS 


proved  that  historical  writing  is  indigenous  rather 
to  those  called  Barbarians  than  to  the  Greeks.  He 
then  returns  to  the  task  of  refuting  those  who  say  that 
the  Jewish  polity  is  of  late  origin  because  the  Greek 
authors  are  silent  about  it.  One  main  cause  of  the 
silence  was  the  isolation  of  Judea  and  the  character  of 
the  Jewish  people,  who  did  not  delight  in  merchandise 
and  commerce,  but  devoted  themselves  to  the  cultiva¬ 
tion  of  the  soil.  This,  of  course,  is  a  picture  of  the 
Bible  times,  because  in  the  writer’s  days  they  were  be¬ 
ginning  their  mercantile  development.  Hence  the 
Jews  were  in  quite  a  different  condition  from  the 
Phoenicians,  the  Thracians,  the  Persians,  and  the 
Medes,  with  all  of  whom  the  Hellenes  came  into  con¬ 
tact.  They  are  rather  to  be  compared  with  the 
Romans,  who  only  entered  into  the  Greek  sphere  of 
interest  later  in  their  history. 

Josephus  makes  the  point  that  it  would  be  as  rea¬ 
sonable  for  the  Jews  to  deny  the  antiquity  of  the 
Greeks  because  there  is  no  mention  of  them  in  Hebrew 
records,  as  for  the  Greeks  to  deny  the  antiquity  of  the 
Jews  for  the  converse  reason.  And  if  the  Greeks  are 
ignorant  of  the  Hebrews,  he  argues  that  there  is 
abundant  testimony  in  the  histories  of  other  peoples. 
He  starts  with  the  Egyptian  evidence,  and  quotes 
from  Manetho,  the  anti- Jewish  historian,  giving  ex¬ 
tracts  about  the  Hyksos  tribes  and  Hyksos  kings, 
whom  he  identifies  with  Joseph  and  his  brethren.  The 
identification  was  popular  till  recent  times,  but  mod¬ 
ern  historical  criticism  has  rejected  it.  Josephus 


THE  APOLOGY  FOE  JUDAISM 


223 


dates  the  invasion  of  the  Hyksos  at  three  hundred 
and  ninety-three  years  before  Danaus  came  to  Argos, 
■which  in  turn  was  five  hundred  and  twenty  years 
before  the  Trojan  war.  Thus  he  puts  the  Bible  story 
far  ahead  in  age  of  Greek  myth.  Passing  on  to  the 
testimony  in  the  Phoenician  records,  he  derives  from 
the  public  archives  of  Tyre,  to  which  reference  was 
made  also  in  the  Antiquities /  evidence  of  the  relations 
between  Solomon  and  Hiram,  and  further  quotes  the 
account  given  by  the  Hellenistic  historian  Alexander 
of  Ephesus,  who  mentions  the  same  incident.  This 
Alexander  had  written  a  world-history,  and  had  col¬ 
lected  the  chronicles  of  the  various  peoples  that  formed 
part  of  Alexander’s  empire.  Josephus,  who  probably 
knew  of  his  work  through  Nicholas  or  some  other 
chronicler,  cites  him  to  confirm  the  Bible.  Collections 
of  extracts  about  the  Jewish  people  and  references  to 
the  Bible  in  Greek  literature  were  already  in  vogue, 
for  it  was  an  age  similar  to  our  own  in  its  love  of 
encyclopedias.  Josephus  uses  with  not  a  little  skill 
these  foreign  sources,  and  supplements  the  compara¬ 
tive  material  which  he  had  introduced  in  the  An¬ 
tiquities.  Confirmation  of  the  account  of  the  flood, 
as  also  of  the  rebuilding  of  the  Temple  after  the  re¬ 
turn  of  the  Jews  from  Babylon,  is  found  in  the  Chal¬ 
dean  history  of  Berosus ;  and  other  long  extracts  from 
Babylonian  history  are  inserted  that  furnish  a  cas¬ 
ual  mention  of  Judea  or  Jerusalem.  Josephus  at¬ 
tempts,  too,  with  doubtful  success,  to  combine  the 


1  Comp,  above,  p.  159. 


224 


JOSEPHUS 


Phoenician  and  Babylonian  records  in  order  to  prove 
that  they  agree  about  the  date  of  the  rebuilding  of  the 
Temple.  The  only  justifiable  inference  from  the 
passages,  however,  appears  to  be  that  both  sources 
agreed  on  the  existence  of  Cyrus,  king  of  Persia. 

Finally  he  adduces  passages  from  various  Greek 
writers,  to  show  that  the  Jews  were  not  entirely  un¬ 
known  to  the  Hellenes  before  Alexander’s  conquests. 
Josephus  had  no  doubt  predecessors  among  the  Hel¬ 
lenistic  Jewish  litterateurs  in  the  search  for  testimony, 
as  Avell  as  successors  among  the  Christian  apologists; 
but  his  collection  has  alone  survived,  and  has  become 
invaluable  to  modern  scholars,  who  have  ploughed  the 
same  field  for  a  different  purpose.  Authority  is 
brought  forward  to  show  that  Pythagoras  had  con¬ 
nection  with  the  Hebrews,  and  Herodotus,  it  is  ar¬ 
gued,  referred  to  the  Jews  as  circumcised  Syrians.1 
More  apposite  is  a  passage  quoted  from  Clearchus,  a 
pupil  of  Aristotle,  about  a  discussion  which  his  master 
had  with  a  Jew  of  Soli,  “who  was  Greek  not  only  in 
language  but  in  thought.”  The  genuineness  of  this 
excerpt  has  been  questioned,  but  without  good  reason. 
Aristotle’s  school  had  a  scientific  interest  in  the  Jews 
as  in  other  peoples  that  had  come  under  Greek  sway 
through  Alexander’s  conquests. 

Josephus  then  sets  out  some  very  eulogistic  passages 
about  his  people,  purporting  to  be  from  Hecataeus  of 
Abdera,  which  are  very  much  to  his  taste  and  his 
purpose.  Unfortunately,  however,  they  are  too  good 


1  Comp.  Ant.  VIII.  x.  3. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


225 


to  be  true,  and  modern  criticism  has  established  that, 
while  the  genuine  Hecataeus,  an  historian  who  wrote 
at  the  end  of  the  fourth  century  B.  c.  E.,  did  insert 
in  his  work  an  account  of  Jerusalem  and  the  Jews, 
the  glowing  testimonials  which  Josephus  adduces  are 
from  forged  books  devised  by  Jews  to  their  own  glory. 
A  passage  of  a  less  favorable  tone,  and  of  which  the 
genuineness  is  therefore  not  open  to  suspicion,  is 
quoted  from  Agatharchides,  a  Seleucid  historian.  Fi¬ 
nally,  with  an  incidental  mention  of  a  half-dozen  Hel¬ 
lenistic  writers  that  have  made  distinct  reference  to 
the  Jewish  people,  and  of  three  Jewish  writers,  De¬ 
metrius,  the  elder  Philo,  and  Eupolemus,  “  who  have 
not  greatly  missed  the  truth  about  our  affairs,” 
Josephus  closes  his  evidence  as  to  the  antiquity  of  his 
nation.1  Possibly  he  did  not  realize  that  his  last  three 
witnesses  were  of  his  own  race,  and  it  is  not  improb¬ 
able  that  this  string  of  names  was  to  him  also  a  string 
of  names  culled  from  Alexander  Polyhistor  or  a  simi¬ 
lar  authority. 

The  latter  part  of  the  first  book  is  devoted  to  the 
refutation  of  the  anti-Jewish  diatribes  of  several 
Greeks,  and  starts  off  with  a  few  commonplaces  upon 
the  topic,  to  the  effect  that  every  great  nation  incurs 
the  jealousy  and  ill-will  of  others.  “  The  Egyptians,” 
says  Josephus,  “  were  the  first  to  cast  reproaches  upon 
us,  and  in  order  to  please  them,  some  others  undertook 
to  pervert  the  truth.  The  causes  of  their  enmity  are 

1 C.  Ap.  23. 

15 


226 


JOSEPHUS 


their  chagrin  at  the  events  of  the  Exodus  and  the 
difference  of  their  religious  ideas.”1  Josephus  deals 
with  Manetho’s  description  of  the  going-out  from 
Egypt,,  and  undertakes  to  demonstrate  that  “  he  trifles 
and  tells  arrant  lies.”  He  dissects  the  charge  that  the 
Hebrews  were  a  pack  of  lepers  exiled  from  the  country, 
and  insists  upon  its  absurdity  and  the  lack  of  consist¬ 
ency  in  the  details.  He  offers  ingenuously  as  a  proof 
of  the  falsity  of  the  allegation  that  Moses  was  a  leper 
the  Mosaic  legislation  about  lepers.  “  How  could  it 
be  supposed,”  he  asks,  “  that  Moses  should  ordain  such 
laws  against  himself,  to  his  own  reproach  and  dam¬ 
age  ?  ”  Chaeremon  is  unworthy  of  reply,  because  his 
account,  though  equally  scurrilous,  is  inconsistent 
with  that  of  Manetho.  But  the  story  of  Lysimachus, 
a  writer  of  the  same  genus,  is  more  critically  ex¬ 
amined  and  found  wanting,  because  it  gives  no  expla¬ 
nation  of  the  origin  of  the  Hebrews.  Lysimachus  de¬ 
rived  the  name  Jerusalem  from  the  Greek  Hierosylen 
— to  commit  sacrilege — the  Hebrews,  according  to  his 
story,  owing  their  settlement  to  the  plunder  of 
temples;  and  Josephus  points  out  triumphantly  that 
that  idea  is  not  expressed  by  the  same  word  and  name 
among  the  Jews  and  Greeks.  But,  to  vary  a  saying  of 
Doctor  Johnson,  this  section  of  Josephus  must  he  read 
for  tjie  quotations,  for  if  one  reads  it  for  the  argument 
of  either  assailant  or  apologist,  one  would  shoot 
oneself. 


■C.  Ap.  24. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


227 


The  second  book  of  the  apology,  which  is  a  continu¬ 
ation  of  the  first,  opens  with  an  elaborate  refutation 
of  Apion.  Josephus  questions  whether  he  should 
take  the  trouble  to  confute  the  scurrilous  stories  of  the 
Alexandrian  grammarian,  “  which  are  all  abuse  and 
vulgarity  ” ;  but  because  many  are  pleased  to  pick  up 
mendacious  fictions,  he  thinks  it  better  not  to  leave 
the  charges  without  an  answer.  He  disposes  first  of 
Apion’s  tales  about  Moses  and  the  Exodus,  which  are 
of  the  same  character  as  those  of  Manetho  and 
Chaeremon.  Loaded  abuse  and  unmeasured  invective 
color  the  refutation,  but  Apion  apparently  deserved  it. 
We  may  take,  as  a  fair  specimen  of  his  veracity,  the 
statement  that  the  Hebrews  reached  Palestine  six 
days  after  they  left  Egypt  and  rested  on  the  seventh 
day,  which  they  called  Sabbath,  because  of  some  disease 
from  which  they  suffered,  and  of  which  the  Egyptian 
name  was  Sabbaton.  Apion  had  in  particular  at¬ 
tacked  the  Alexandrian  Jews,  and  Josephus  takes 
the  opportunity  of  enlarging  on  the  privileged  posi¬ 
tion  of  his  people,  not  only  in  the  Egyptian  capital, 
but  in  the  other  Hellenistic  cities  where  they  had  been 
settled.1  He  elaborates  and  amplifies  what  he  had 
stated  on  this  subject  in  the  Antiquities,  and  adds  a 
short  account  of  the  miraculous  delivery  of  the 
Egyptian  Jews  during  the  short-lived  persecution  of 
Ptolemy  Physcon,  which  is  recorded  more  fully  and 

1  This  part  of  the  hook,  it  may  he  noted,  has  only  been 
preserved  in  the  Latin  version;  the  Greek  original  has 
been  lost. 


228 


JOSEPHUS 


with  some  variation  of  detail  in  the  so-called  Third 
Book  of  the  Maccabees.  In  reply  to  Apion’s  charge, 
that  the  Jews  show  a  lack  of  civic  spirit  because  they 
do  not  worship  the  same  gods  as  the  Alexandrians, 
Josephus  launches  out  into  an  explanation  of  their 
conception  of  God,  describes  their  abhorrence  of 
idolatry,  and  deals  also  with  their  refusal  to  set  up 
in  their  temples  the  image  of  the  Emperor.  “  But 
at  the  same  time  they  are  willing,”  he  says,  “  to  pay 
honors  to  great  men  and  to  offer  sacrifices  in  their 
name.”  He  deals  also,  in  a  digression,  with  calum¬ 
nies  derived  from  Posidonius  and  Molon  about  the 
worship  of  an  ass  in  the  sanctuary  at  Jerusalem. 

Apion  had  invented  a  detailed  story  of  ritual 
murder  to  justify  Antiochus  Epiphanes  for  his  spoli¬ 
ation  of  the  Temple.  The  origin  of  this  charge  is  in¬ 
structive  of  the  methods  of  a  classical  anti-Semite. 
There  was,  in  the  innermost  sanctuary,  a  stone1  on 
which  the  blood  of  the  burnt  offering  was  sprinkled 
by  the  high  priest  on  the  Day  of  Atonement.  It  was 
known  as  the  pK,  and  tradition  said  that  the  ark 
of  the  covenant  had  rested  on  it.  Mystery  centered 
around  it,  and  the  Greek  scribes  imagined  that  it  was 
the  object  of  worship.  Now,  the  Greek  word  for  a 
stone  was  Onos,  which  likewise  meant  an  ass,  and  it 
was  probably  on  the  strength  of  this  blunder  that  prej¬ 
udice  for  centuries  accused  Jews  and  Christians  of 
worshiping  an  ass’  head.  Josephus  brings  proof  of  the 
emptiness  of  the  charge,  and  retorts  that  Apion  had 


1  Yer.  Yoma,  v.  2. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


229 


himself  the  heart  of  an  ass ;  and  then,  describing  the 
ritual  of  the  Temple,  insists  that  there  was  no  secret 
mystery  about  it.  It  gives  a  touch  of  pathos  that  he 
speaks  as  if  the  Temple  services  were  still  being  car¬ 
ried  out,  whether  because  he  was  copying  a  source 
written  before  the  destruction,  or  because  he  deliber¬ 
ately  disregarded  that  event.  Apion,  like  Cicero,  had 
taunted  the  Jews  on  account  of  their  political  subjec¬ 
tion,  which  proved,  he  argued,  that  their  laws  were  not 
just  nor  their  religion  true.  Josephus  meets  the 
charge — which  in  the  materialistic  thinking  of  the 
Roman  world  was  hard  to  answer — by  the  not  very 
happy  plea  that  the  Egyptians  and  Greeks  had  suffered 
a  like  fortune.  So,  too,  he  meets  the  gibe  that  the  Jews 
do  not  eat  pork,  by  saying  that  the  Egyptian  priests 
abstain  likewise.  He  omits  in  both  cases  the  true  re¬ 
ligious  answer,  which  would  probably  not  have  ap¬ 
pealed  to  his  public. 

At  this  point  the  reply  to  the  Alexandrian  anti- 
Semite  comes  to  an  end,  and  the  rest  of  the  book  com¬ 
prises  a  defense  of  the  Jewish  legislation,  “  which  is 
intended  not  as  an  eulogy  but  as  an  apology.”  The 
broad  aim  is  to  show  that  the  Law  inculcates  humanity 
and  piety ;  but  Josephus,  before  setting  himself  to  this, 
again  labors  to  point  out  that  it  is  pre-eminent  in 
antiquity  over  any  of  the  Greek  codes.  This  done, 
he  gives  a  summary  of  the  principles  of  J udaism,  which 
is  unlike  anything  else  he  wrote  in  its  masterly  grasp 
of  the  spirit  of  the  religion  and  in  its  philosophical 
attitude.  So  great  indeed  is  the  contrast  between  this 


230 


JOSEPHUS 


epilogue  and  the  bald  summary  of  the  Mosaic  laws 
in  the  Antiquities,  that  it  is  safe  to  say  that 
Josephus  had  for  his  later  work  lighted  on  a  fresh 
and  more  inspired  source.  His  presentation  has  the 
regular  characteristic  of  the  Alexandrian  school,  an 
insistence  on  the  universal  and  philanthropic  elements 
of  the  Mosaic  law ;  and  it  is  likely  that  he  had  before 
him  either  Philo’s  work  on  the  Life  of  Moses,  or 
another  work,  which  his  predecessor  had  used.  It  mat¬ 
ters  little  that  there  are  differences  of  detail  between 
his  and  Philo’s  interpretations:  the  manner  and  the 
general  purport  are  the  same,  and  the  manner  is  not 
the  usual  manner  of  Josephus,  and  altogether  different 
from  the  treatment  in  the  Antiquities. 

He  lays  down  with  great  clearness  the  dominant 
features  of  the  Mosaic  constitution.  It  is  a  theocracy, 
i.  e.  the  state  depends  on  God.  The  passage  in  which 
he  makes  good  this  principle  is  a  striking  piece  of 
reasoning  in  comparative  religion,  worthy  to  be  quoted 
in  full : 

Now  there  are  innumerable  differences  in  the  particu¬ 
lar  customs  and  laws  that  hold  among  all  mankind,  which 
a  man  may  briefly  reduce  under  the  following  heads: 
Some  legislators  have  permitted  their  governments  to  he 
under  monarchies,  others  put  them  under  oligarchies, 
and  others  under  a  republican  form;  but  our  legislator 
had  no  regard  to  any  of  these  forms,  but  he  ordained  our 
government  to  be  what,  by  a  strained  expression,  may  be 
termed  a  Theocracy,  by  ascribing  the  authority  and  the 
power  to  God,  and  by  persuading  all  the  people  to  have 
a  regard  to  Him  as  the  Author  of  all  the  good  things  en¬ 
joyed  either  in  common  by  all  mankind  or  by  each  one  in 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


231 


particular,  and  of  all  that  they  themselves  obtain  by 
praying  to  Him  in  their  greatest  difficulties.  He  informed 
them  that  it  was  impossible  to  escape  God’s  observation, 
either  in  any  of  our  outward  actions  or  in  any  of  our 
inward  thoughts.  Moreover  he  represented  God  as  un¬ 
begotten  and  immutable  through  all  eternity,  superior  to 
all  mortal  conceptions  in  form,  and  though  known  to  us 
by  His  power,  yet  unknown  to  us  as  to  His  essence.  I 
do  not  now  explain  how  these  notions  of  God  are  in  har¬ 
mony  with  the  sentiments  of  the  wisest  among  the  Greeks. 
However,  their  sages  testify  with  great  assurance  that 
these  notions  are  just  and  agreeable  to  the  divine  nature; 
for  Pythagoras  and  Anaxagoras  and  Plato  and  the  Stoic 
philosophers  that  succeeded  them,  and  almost  all  the  rest 
profess  the  same  sentiments,  and  had  the  same  notions 
of  the  nature  of  God;  yet  durst  not  these  men  disclose 
those  true  notions  to  more  than  a  few,  because  the  body 
of  the  people  were  prejudiced  beforehand  with  other 
opinions.  But  our  legislator,  whose  actions  harmonized 
with  his  laws,  did  not  only  prevail  with  those  who  were 
his  contemporaries  to  accept  these  notions,  but  so  firmly 
imprinted  this  faith  in  God  upon  all  their  posterity  that  it 
could  never  be  removed.  The  reason  why  the  constitu¬ 
tion  of  our  legislation  was  ever  better  directed  than  other 
legislations  to  the  utility  of  all  is  this:  that  Moses  did 
not  make  religion  a  part  of  virtue,  but  he  ordained  other 
virtues  to  be  a  part  of  religion — I  mean  justice,  and  for¬ 
titude,  and  temperance,  and  a  universal  agreement  of  the 
members  of  the  community  with  one  another.  All  our 
actions  and  studies  have  a  reference  to  piety  towards 
God,  for  he  hath  left  none  of  these  in  suspense  or  unde¬ 
termined.  There  are  two  ways  of  coming  at  any  sort  of 
learning  and  a  moral  conduct  of  life:  the  one  is  by  in¬ 
struction  in  words,  the  other  by  practical  exercises.  Now, 
other  lawgivers  have  separated  these  two  ways  in  their 
opinions,  and,  choosing  the  one  which  best  pleased  each 


232 


JOSEPHUS 


of  them,  neglected  the  other.  Thus  did  the  Lacedemon¬ 
ians  and  the  Cretans  teach  by  practical  exercises,  but 
not  by  words;  while  the  Athenians  and  almost  all  the 
other  Greeks  made  laws  about  what  was  to  be  done,  or 
left  undone,  but  had  no  regard  to  exercising  them  thereto 
in  practice. 

But  our  legislator  very  carefully  joined  these  two  meth¬ 
ods  of  instruction  together ;  for  he  neither  left  these  prac¬ 
tical  exercises  to  be  performed  without  verbal  instruc¬ 
tion,  nor  did  he  permit  the  learning  of  the  law  to  proceed 
without  the  exercises  for  practice;  but  beginning  im¬ 
mediately  from  the  earliest  infancy  and  the  regulation 
of  our  diet,  he  left  nothing  of  the  very  smallest  conse¬ 
quence  to  be  done  at  the  pleasure  and  disposal  of  the 
individual.  Accordingly,  he  made  a  fixed  rule  of  law, 
what  sorts  of  food  they  should  abstain  from,  and  what 
sorts  they  should  use;  as  also  what  communion  they 
should  have  with  others,  what  great  diligence  they  should 
use  in  their  occupations,  and  what  times  of  rest  should 
be  interposed,  in  order  that,  by  living  under  that  law  as 
under  a  father  and  a  master,  we  might  be  guilty  of  no 
sin,  neither  voluntary  nor  out  of  ignorance.  For  he  did 
not  suffer  the  guilt  of  ignorance  to  go  without  punish¬ 
ment,  but  demonstrated  the  law  to  be  the  best  and  the 
most  necessary  instruction  of  all,  directing  the  people  to 
cease  from  their  other  employments  and  to  assemble 
together  for  the  hearing  and  the  exact  learning  of  the 
law, — and  this  not  once  or  twice  or  oftener,  but  every 
week;  which  all  the  other  legislators  seem  to  have 
neglected. 

This  passage  contains,  in  many  ways,  an  admirable 
explanation  of  Judaism  as  a  law  of  conduct,  incul¬ 
cating  morality  by  good  habit;  it  lacks,  indeed, 
any  deep  spiritual  note  or  mystical  exaltation,  but 
it  was  likely  for  that  reason  to  appeal  to  the  prac- 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


233 


tical,  material-minded  Roman.  Josephus  corroborates 
what  Seneca  had  grudgingly  remarked,  that  the  Jews 
understood  their  laws;  and  it  is  this,  he  says,  which 
made  such  a  wonderful  accord  among  us,  to  which 
no  other  nation  can  show  a  parallel.  The  eloquent 
insistence  on  the  harmony  uniting  the  Jewish  people 
is  another  proof  that  Josephus  is  here  reproducing  the 
ideas  of  others,  for  it  is  in  complete  and  glaring  con¬ 
trast  with  what  he  had  repeatedly  written  in  his  An¬ 
tiquities  and  his  Wars  about  the  strife  of  different 
sects.  His  books  would  have  supplied  the  best  argu¬ 
ment  to  any  pagan  criticising  his  apology.  Josephus 
further  ascribes  to  the  singleness  of  the  tradition  the 
absence  of  original  genius  among  the  people.  The 
excellence  of  the  Law  produces  a  conservative  outlook, 
whereas  the  Greeks,  lacking  a  fixed  law,  love  a  new 
thing.  S.  D.  Luzzatto,  the  Hebraist  of  the  middle  of 
the  nineteenth  century,  emphasized  the  same  con¬ 
trast  between  Hellenism  and  Hebraism. 

Turning  in  detail  to  the  precepts  of  the  Law, 
Josephus  gives  eloquent  expression  in  the  Hellenis¬ 
tic  fashion  to  the  idea  of  the  divine  unity.  “  God,” 
he  says,  “  contains  all :  He  is  a  being  altogether  per¬ 
fect,  happy,  and  self-sufficient,  the  beginning,  the 
middle,  and  the  end  of  all  things;  God’s  aim  is  re¬ 
flected  in  human  institutions.  Rightly  He  has  but 
one  Temple,  which  should  be  common  to  all  men,  even 
as  He  is  the  common  God  of  all  men.”  He  develops, 
too,  the  humanitarian  aspect  of  Judaism  in  the  man¬ 
ner  of  the  Hellenistic  school.  “  And  for  our  duty 
at  the  sacrifices,  we  ought  in  the  first  place  to  pray  for 


234 


JOSEPHUS 


the  common  welfare  of  all  and  after  that  for  ourselves, 
for  we  were  made  for  fellowship,  one  with  another, 
and  he  who  prefers  the  common  good  before  his  own  is 
above  all  dear  to  God.”  He  points  to  the  excellence  of 
the  Jewish  conception  of  marriage,  another  common¬ 
place  of  the  Hellenistic  apologist,  as  we  know  from  the 
Sibylline  oracles;  to  the  respect  for  parents  and  to  the 
friendliness  for  the  stranger.  He  insists  with  Philo 1 
that  kinship  is  to  be  measured  not  by  blood,  hut  by 
the  conduct  of  life.  He  dwells,  likewise  in  company 
with  the  Hellenists,  on  a  law  that  lacks  Bible  au¬ 
thority:  that  the  Israelites  should  give,  to  all  who 
needed  it,  fire  and  water,  food  and  guidance.’  The 
impulse  to  this  interpretation  of  the  Torah  is  found  in 
the  charge  made  by  the  Jews’  enemies,  that  they  were 
to  assist  only  members  of  their  own  race.8  Josephus 
appears  to  be  original,  and,  as  is  quite  pardonable,  he 
may  be  writing  with  a  view  to  Roman  proclivities, 
when  he  praises  the  law  for  the  number  of  offenses  to 
which  it  attaches  the  capital  penalty.  Like  many  a 
later  Jewish  apologist  living  amid  an  alien  and  domi¬ 
nant  culture,  Josephus  accepts  foreign  standards,  and 
he  is  silent  about  the  Pharisaic  teaching  which  soft¬ 
ened  the  literal  prescripts  of  the  Bible.4 

1  Comp.  De  Nobilitate.  8  Comp.  Philo,  ii.  639. 

8  Comp.  Juvenal,  Sat.  xiv.  102. 

4It  has  been  noticed  above  (note,  p.  153)  that  Josephus 
appears  to  misunderstand  or  deliberately  misinterpret  the 
Hebrew  (cursed  be!),  which  precedes  many  pro¬ 

hibitions  of  the  Mosaic  law,  to  mean  “  he  shall  be  put  to 
death.” 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


235 


In  a  peroration  Josephus  returns  to  a  general  eulogy 
of  the  Jewish  Law,  on  account  of  the  faithful  alle¬ 
giance  which  it  commands,  and  denounces  the  pagan 
idolatry  in  the  manner  of  the  Greek  rationalists,  who 
had  made  play  with  the  Olympian  hierarchy.  While 
the  inherent  excellence  of  the  Jewish  Law  is  dependent 
on  the  sublime  conception  of  God,  the  inherent  defect 
of  the  Greek  religion  is  that  the  Greek  legislators  en¬ 
tertained  a  low  conception  of  God,  and  did  not  make 
the  religious  creed  a  part  of  the  state  law,  but  left  it  to 
the  poets  to  invent  what  they  chose.  The  greatest  of  the 
Greek  philosophers,  indeed,  agreed  with  the  Jews  as  to 
the  true  notions  about  God :  “  Plato  especially  imi¬ 
tated  our  legislation  in  enjoining  on  all  citizens  that 
they  should  know  the  laws  accurately.”  A  later  gene¬ 
ration  made  bold  to  declare  that  Plato  had  listened  to 
Jeremiah  in  Egypt  and  learnt  his  wisdom  from  the 
Jewish  prophet.  Josephus  compares  with  the  Jewish 
separateness  the  national  exclusiveness  of  the  Lacede¬ 
monians,  and  claims  that  the  Jews  show  a  greater 
humanity  in  that  they  admit  converts  from  other  peo¬ 
ples.  They  have,  moreover,  shown  their  bravery  not  in 
wars  for  the  purpose  of  amassing  wealth,  but  in  observ¬ 
ing  their  laws  in  spite  of  every  attempt  to  wean  them 
away.  The  Mosaic  law  is  being  spread  over  the  civil¬ 
ized  world : 

For  there  is  not  any  city  of  the  Greeks,  nor  any  of  the 
barbarians,  nor  any  nation  whatsoever  whither  our  cus¬ 
tom  of  resting  on  the  seventh  day  has  not  come,  and  by 
which  our  fasts  and  lighting  up  of  lamps  and  divers 


236 


JOSEPHUS 


regulations  as  to  food  are  not  observed.  They  also  en¬ 
deavor  to  imitate  our  mutual  accord  with  one  another, 
and  the  charitable  distribution  of  our  goods,  and  our 
diligence  in  our  trades,  and  our  fortitude  in  bearing  the 
distresses  that  befall  us;  and  what  is  here  matter  of  the 
greatest  admiration,  our  Law  hath  no  bait  of  pleasure  to 
allure  men  to  it,  but  it  prevails  by  its  own  force;  and 
as  God  Himself  pervades  all  the  world,  so  hath  our  Law 
passed  through  all  the  world  also. 

The  task  of  the  apologist  is  completed ;  “  for 
whereas  our  accusers  have  pretended  that  our  nation 
are  a  people  of  late  origin,  I  have  demonstrated^that 
they  are  exceedingly  ancient,  and  whereas  they  have 
reproached  our  lawgiver  as  a  vile  man,  God  of  old  bare 
witness  to  his  virtues,  and  time  itself  hath  been  proved 
to  bear  witness  to  the  same  thing.” 1  In  a  final  appre¬ 
ciation  he  concludes : 

As  to  the  laws  themselves,  more  words  are  unnecessary, 
for  they  are  visible  in  their  own  nature,  and  are  seen  to 
teach  not  impiety,  but  the  truest  piety  in  the  world. 
They  do  not  make  men  hate  one  another,  but  encourage 
people  to  communicate  what  they  have  to  one  another 
freely.  They  are  enemies  to  injustice,  they  foster  right¬ 
eousness,  they  banish  idleness  and  expensive  living,  and 
instruct  men  to  be  content  with  what  they  have  and  to 
be  diligent  in  their  callings.  They  forbid  men  to  make 
war  from  a  desire  of  gain,  but  make  them  courageous  in 
defending  the  laws.  They  are  inexorable  in  punishing 
malefactors.  They  admit  no  sophistry  of  words,  but  are 
always  established  by  actions,  which  we  ever  propose  as 
surer  demonstrations  than  what  is  contained  in  writing 
only ;  on  which  account  I  am  so  bold  as  to  say  that  we  are 


1  C.  Ap.  ii.  41. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOE  JUDAISM 


237 


become  the  teachers  of  other  men  in  the  greatest  number 
of  things,  and  those  of  the  most  excellent  nature  only. 
For  what  is  more  excellent  than  inviolable  piety?  What 
is  more  just  than  submission  to  laws?  And  what  is  more 
advantageous  than  mutual  love  and  concord?  And  this 
prevails  so  far  that  we  are  to  be  neither  divided  by 
calamities  nor  to  become  oppressive  and  factious  in  pros¬ 
perity,  but  to  contemn  death  when  we  are  in  war,  and  in 
peace  to  apply  ourselves  to  our  handicrafts  or  to  the 
tilling  of  the  ground;  while  in  all  things  and  in  all  ways 
we  are  satisfied  that  God  is  the  Judge  and  Governor  of 
our  actions. 

As  we  read  this  final  outburst  of  the  Jewish  apolo¬ 
gist  and  think  of  what  he  had  himself  written  to  gain¬ 
say  it,  and  what  he  was  yet  to  write  in  his  autobiog¬ 
raphy,  we  are  fain  to  exclaim,  o  si  sic  omnia!  One 
would  like  to  believe  that  in  the  defense  of  the  Jewish 
Law  we  have  the  true  Josephus,  driven  in  his  old  age 
by  the  goading  of  enemies  to  throw  off  the  mask  of 
Greco-Eoman  culture,  and  standing  out  boldly  as  a 
lover  of  his  people  and  his  people’s  law.  Such  latter- 
day  repentance  has  been  known  among  the  Flavii  of 
other  generations.  And  the  two  books  Against  Apion 
show  that  when  Josephus  had  not  to  qualify  his  own 
weakness  nor  to  flatter  his  patrons,  he  could  rise  to  an 
appreciation  and  even  to  an  eloquent  exposition  of 
Jewish  ideals.  Yet  it  was  not  the  Greek-writing  his¬ 
torian,  but  the  Palestinian  Eabbis,  that  were  to  prove 
to  the  world  the  undying  vigor,  the  unquenchable 
power  of  resistance  of  the  Jewish  Law.  The  Vineyard 
of  Jabneh  founded  by  Johanan  ben  Zakkai  was  the 


238 


JOSEPHUS 


sufficient  refutation  of  Eoman  scoffers,  while  the 
apology  of  Josephus  became  the  guide  of  the  early 
Church  fathers  in  their  replies  to  heathen  calumni¬ 
ators  who  repeated  against  them  the  charges  that  had 
been  invented  against  the  Jews.  It  is  significant  that 
Tacitus,  who  wrote  his  history  some  few  years  after 
the  defense  of  Josephus  was  published,  repeated  with 
added  virulence  the  fables  which  the  Jewish  writer 
had  refuted.  The  charges  of  anti-Semites  have  in 
every  age  borne  a  charmed  life :  they  are  hydra-headed, 
and  can  be  refuted,  not  by  literature,  but  by  life. 

Nevertheless  literary  libels,  if  unanswered  in  litera¬ 
ture,  tend  to  become  fixed  popular  beliefs,  and  in  the 
Dark  and  Middle  Ages  the  Jewish  people  were  to 
suffer  bitterly  from  the  lack  of  apologists  who  could 
obtain  a  hearing  before  the  peoples  of  Europe.  In 
the  early  centuries  of  the  Christian  era,  before  the 
Christian  Church  was  allied  with  the  Eoman  Empire, 
tolerance  ruled  in  the  Greco-Eoman  world,  and  the 
narrow  Eoman  hatred  of  Judaism  was  in  large  part 
broken  down.  Celsus,  Numenius,  and  Dion  Cassius, 
three  of  the  most  notable  authors  of  the  second  cen¬ 
tury,  speak  of  the  Jewish  people  and  Jewish  Scriptures 
in  a  very  different  tone  from  that  of  a  Tacitus  and  an 
Apion.  And  as  it  has  been  said,  “  Who  shall  know 
how  many  cultured  pagans  were  led  by  the  hooks  of 
Josephus  to  read  the  Bible  and  to  look  on  Judaism 
with  other  eyes?”1  If  the  apologies  of  Philo  and 

1  Comp.  Joel,  Blicke  in  die  Religion  sgeschichte,  ii.  118. 


THE  APOLOGY  FOR  JUDAISM 


239 


Josephus  could  not  pierce  the  armor  of  prejudice  and 
hatred  which  enwrapped  a  Tacitus  or  a  Christian 
ecclesiastic,  they  at  least  found  their  way  through  the 
lighter  coating  of  ignorance  and  misunderstanding 
which  had  been  fabricated  by  Hellenistic  Egyptians, 
but  which  had  not  fatally  warped  the  minds  of  the 
general  Greco-Roman  society. 


IX 

CONCLUSION 


The  works  of  Josephus  early  passed  into  the  cate¬ 
gory  of  standard  literature.  It  is  recorded  that  they 
were  placed  by  order  of  the  Flavian  Emperors  in  the 
public  library  of  Eome;  and  though  Suetonius,  the 
biographer  of  the  Caesars,  who  wrote  in  the  second 
century,  and  Diogenes,  the  biographer  of  the  philoso¬ 
phers,  who  wrote  a  century  later,  do  not  apparently 
hold  them  of  any  account,  it  is  certain  that  they  were 
carefully  preserved  till  the  triumph  of  the  Christian 
Church  gave  them  a  new  importance.  For  centuries 
henceforth  they  were  the  prime  authority  for  Jewish 
history  of  post-Biblical  times,  and  were  treasured  as  a 
kind  of  introduction  to  the  Gospels,  illuminating  the 
period  in  which  Christianity  had  its  birth.  The 
traitor-historian  was  soon  forgotten  by  his  own  people, 
if  they  ever  had  regard  for  him,  and  with  the  rest 
of  the  Hellenistic  writers  he  dropped  out  of  the  Bab- 
binical  tradition.  Possibly  the  Aramaic  version  of  theu 
Wars  survived  for  a  time  in  the  Eastern  schools,  but 
while  the  Jews  were  struggling  to  preserve  their  re¬ 
ligious  existence,  they  had  little  thought  for  such  a 
history  of  their  past. 

The  Christians,  on  the  other  hand,  had  a  special 
interest  in  the  works  of  Josephus,  since  they  found  In 


CONCLUSION 


241 


them  not  only  the  model  of  their  defense  against  pagan 
calumnies,  but  the  earliest  external  testimony  to  sup¬ 
port  the  Gospels.  Josephus  was  venerated  as  the  Jew 
who  had  recorded  the  fate  of  Jesus  of  Nazareth.  The 
Antiquities  contain  two  references  to  John  the  Baptist 
and  an  account  of  the  execution  of  James,  the  brother 
of  Jesus;  but  the  most  celebrated  of  the  “  evidential  ” 
passages  occurs  in  book  xviii  of  the  Antiquities ,  where 
in  our  text,  following  on  the  account  of  Pilate’s  perse¬ 
cution,  occurs  this  paragraph : 

Now,  there  lived  about  this  time  Jesus,  a  wise  man,  if 
it  be  lawful  to  call  him  a  man,  for  he  was  a  doer  of  won¬ 
derful  works,  a  teacher  of  such  men  as  receive  the  truth 
with  pleasure.  He  drew  over  to  him  both  many  of  the 
Jews  and  many  of  the  Gentiles.  He  was  the  Christ;  and 
when  Pilate,  at  the  suggestion  of  the  principal  men 
amongst  us,  had  condemned  him  to  the  cross,  those  that 
loved  him  at  the  first  did  not  forsake  him,  for  he  appeared 
alive  to  them  again  the  third  day,  as  the  divine  prophets 
had  foretold  these  and  ten  thousand  other  wonderful 
things  concerning  him.  And  the  tribe  of  Christians,  so 
named  from  him,  are  not  extinct  at  this  day  (ch.  3). 

An  enormous  literature  has  been  provoked  by  these 
lines,  and  the  weight  of  modern  opinion  is  that  they 
are  altogether  spurious.  The  passage  is  first  quoted 
by  Eusebius,1  the  historian  of  Caesarea,  who  wrote 
about  the  beginning  of  the  fourth  century  c.  E.  ;2 

1  Comp.  Schlatter,  op.  cit.  403. 

JH.  E.  i.  41;  Comp.  Freimann,  Wie  verhielt  sich  das 
Judenthum  zu  Jesus?  (Monatsschrift  f fir  die  Geschichte 
und  Wissenschaft  des  Judenthums,  1911,  p.  296). 


16. 


242 


JOSEPHUS 


but  Origen,  his  predecessor  by  a  hundred  years,  sig¬ 
nificantly  enough  does  not  know  of  it.  Josephus,  he 
says  simply,  did  not  acknowledge  the  Christ.1 2  At  the 
same  time  Origen  quotes  a  passage  from  the  same  book 
of  the  Antiquities /  to  show  that  the  Jews  ascribed  the 
defeat  of  the  Tetrarch  Herod  to  his  murder  of  John 
the  Baptist.  The  earliest  of  the  Patristic  writers, 
Clement  of  Alexandria,  quotes  Josephus  as  to  chro¬ 
nology,  but  it  is  fairly  certain  that  he  did  not  know 
the  works  at  first  hand,  since  the  era  he  refers  to 
runs  from  Moses  to  the  tenth  year  of  Antoninus,3  i.  e. 
till  the  better  part  of  a  century  after  the  death  of 
Josephus.  Origen  likewise  probably  knew  Josephus 
only  at  second  hand,  and  the  inference  is  that  both  the 
Alexandrian  ecclesiastics  derived  their  citations  and 
their  interpolation  in  the  text  of  Josephus  from  a 
pious  Christian  abstract  and  improvement.  The  un¬ 
compromisingly  Christian  character  of  the  text, 
the  discrepancy  between  Origen  and  Eusebius,  and 
the  notorious  aptitude  of  early  Christian  scribes  for 
interpolating  manuscripts,  and  especially  the  manu¬ 
scripts  of  Hellenistic  J ewish  writers,  with  Christologi- 
cal  passages  make  it  well  nigh  certain  that  the  para¬ 
graph  was  foisted  in  between  the  second  and  third 
century.  That  was  a  period  when,  as  has  been  said, 
“  faith  was  more  vivid  than  good-faith.”  The  will  to 
believe  its  genuineness,  however,  persisted  to  our  own 

1  Comm,  in  Matth.  ch.  xvii. 

2  Ant.  XVIII.  v.  5.  a  Strcm.  I.  xxi.  409. 


CONCLUSION 


243 


day,  and  some  have  made  a  compromise  between  their 
sentiment  and  their  critical  faculty,  by  arguing  that 
the  passage,  though  partly  corrupt,  is  founded  on 
something  Josephus  wrote.1 

It  is  alleged  that  many  of  the  words  are  such  as 
Josephus  might  have  used,  but,  apart  from  the  fact 
that  this  is  contested  by  other  authorities,  it  is  unrea¬ 
sonable  to  suppose  that  the  interpolator  would  go  out 
of  his  way  to  stamp  the  insertion  as  a  forgery  by  using 
extraordinary  words.  It  is  urged  again  that  the  pas¬ 
sages  about  John  and  James  in  the  Antiquities  sup¬ 
port  the  likelihood  of  Josephus’  having  mentioned 
Jesus.  But  these  passages  are  themselves  open  to  very 
grave  suspicions.  There  is  no  reference  to  them  in  the 
epitome  of  the  chapters  furnished  at  the  head  of  each 
book,  which  according  to  Niese  dates  from  the  age  of 
the  Antonines,  or  the  end  of  the  second  century.  Nor 
does  the  Slavonic  version  of  Josephus  contain  the  pas¬ 
sage  about  James,  and  while  Origen  refers  to  that  pas¬ 
sage,  he  had  a  different  version  of  it  from  that  which 
appears  in  our  manuscripts.  It  seems  that  he  has  in¬ 
corporated  the  gloss  of  a  Christian  believer.  And 
again,  while  our  text  imputes  the  blame  of  the  stoning 
of  James  to  the  Sadducees,  and  gives  credit  to  the 

1  Among  those  who  uphold  this  view  is  the  Franco- 
Jewish  savant  Theodore  Reinach,  whose  opinion  is  that 
the  Christian  scribe  changed  a  testimonium  de  Christo 
into  a  testimonium  pro  Christo  (R.  E.  J.  xxxv.  6).  Both 
Renan  and  Ewald  hold  that  our  passage  is  a  corrupted 
fragment  of  a  much  fuller  account  of  Jesus  in  the  Anti¬ 
quities.  See  Joel.  op.  cit.  p.  52. 


244 


JOSEPHUS 


Pharisees  for  endeavoring  to  prevent  it,  Hegesippus, 
the  Christian  writer  of  the  second  century,  uses  the 
alleged  account  of  the  incident  by  Josephus  to  gird  at 
the  Pharisees.  The  probability  is  then  that  different 
Christological  insertions  were  made  in  the  manuscripts 
of  Josephus  according  to  the  leaning  of  the  scribe,  but 
that  none  of  the  supposed  evidences  are  genuine,  or 
based  on  a  genuine  narrative.  The  absence  of  any  ref¬ 
erence  to  Jesus  and  the  apostles  in  Josephus  would 
have  seemed  damaging  to  the  truth  of  the  Christian 
testament,  and  therefore  the  passages  were  supplied. 

Nevertheless  we  may  be  grateful  to  the  interpola¬ 
tors,  because,  on  the  strength  of  these  passages,  Jose¬ 
phus  was  especially  treasured  through  the  Dark  and 
Middle  Ages,  and  he  alone  survived  of  the  Hellenistic 
apologists.  When  Christianity  established  its  center 
at  Pome,  Josephus  was  soon  translated  into  Latin,  and 
in  the  Vulgate  version  (if  we  may  so  call  it)  he  was 
best  known  for  centuries.  The  seven  books  of  the 
Wars  were  rendered  into  Latin  by  one  Tyrannus 
Rufinus  of  Aquilea,  who  was  a  contemporary  of 
Jerome  (Hieronymus,  345-410  c.  E.),  and  a  very 
industrious  translator  of  the  works  of  the  Greek 
Patristic  writers.  The  translation  of  the  Antiquities, 
though  ascribed  to  the  same  author,  was  made  later. 
Jerome  apparently  was  invited  to  undertake  the  task, 
for  in  one  of  his  letters  he  writes : 1  “  The  rumor  that 
the  works  of  dosephus  and  Papian  and  Polycarp  have 
been  translated  by  me  is  false.  I  have  neither  the  leis- 


1  Epist.  ad  Lucrinum,  5. 


CONCLUSION 


245 


ure  nor  the  strength  to  render  his  writings  into 
another  tongue  with  the  same  elegance”  [as  those 
already  done] .  It  is  uncertain  who  the  translator  was, 
but  the  work  was  carried  out  at  the  instigation  of 
Cassiodorus  (480-575),  who  lived  in  the  time  of 
Justinian,  and  was  a  versatile  historian.  He  wrote 
himself  a  chronicle  of  events  from  Adam  to  his  own 
day  as  well  as  a  history  of  the  Goths.  In  his  book  on 
the  Institutions  of  Holy  Literature  he  says : 

As  to  Josephus,  who  is  almost  a  second  Livy,  and  is 
widely  known  by  his  books  on  the  Antiquities  of  the  Jews, 
Jerome  declared  that  he  was  unable  to  translate  his 
works  because  of  their  great  volume.  But  one  of  my 
friends  has  translated  the  twenty-two  books  [i.  e.  the 
Antiquities  and  the  two  books  of  the  Apology ],  in  spite 
of  their  difficulty  and  complexity,  into  the  Latin  tongue. 
He  also  wrote  seven  books  of  extreme  brilliancy  on  the 
Conquest  of  the  Jews,  the  translation  of  which  some 
ascribe  to  Jerome,  others  to  Ambrose,  and  others  to 
Rufinus. 

The  autobiography  of  Josephus,  alone  of  his  writ¬ 
ings,  does  not  appear  to  have  been  done  into  the  lan¬ 
guage  of  the  Western  Church.  Perhaps  its  worthless¬ 
ness  was  apparent  even  in  the  dark  days.  More 
ancient,  however,  and  even  more  popular  than  the 
complete  Latin  version  of  Josephus,  was  an  abridg¬ 
ment  of  his  works  which  passed  under  the  name  of 
Hegesippus.  The  name  is  not  found  till  the  ninth 
century,  but  it  is  likely  that  the  work  was  written  in 
the  time  of  Ambrosius,  the  famous  bishop  of  Milan 
(c.  E.  350) .  In  this  form  the  seven  books  of  the  Wars 


246 


JOSEPHUS 


are  compressed  into  five,  and  the  words  and  phrases  of 
the  original  are  modified  throughout.  The  writer  in 
his  preface  explicitly  declares  that  it  is  a  kind  of  re¬ 
vised  version,  and  he  improves  the  original  by  Christo- 
logical  insertions,  explaining,  for  example,  the  de¬ 
struction  of  Jerusalem  as  a  judgment  upon  the  Jews 
for  the  murder  of  Christ.  Josephus,  he  says,  aims  a't 
the  careful  unraveling  of  events  and  at  sobriety  of 
speech,  but  he  lacks  faith  ( religio )  and  truth;  “and 
so  we  have  been  at  pains,  relying  not  on  intellectual 
force  but  on  the  promptings  of  faith,  to  probe  for  the 
inner  meaning  of  Jewish  history  and  to  extract  from 
it  more  of  value  to  our  posterity.”  J osephus  is  often 
mentioned  by  name  as  authority  for  the  statements, 
but  at  the  same  time  considerable  additions  are  made 
from  other  Eoman  sources.  Some  have  thought  that 
there  was  a  compiler  named  Hegesippus,  others  that 
the  word  is  hut  a  corruption  of  the  Latinized  form  of 
the  Jewish  historian’s  name:  Josippus,  formed  from 
Twff?y7ros,  would  become  Egesippus,  and  finally  He¬ 
gesippus. 

A  Greek  epitome  of  Josephus  also  existed.  We  find 
it  used  by  a  Byzantine  historian,  John  Zonaras,  during 
the  tenth  and  the  eleventh  century,  in  the  composition 
of  his  chronicles.  It  omitted  the  speeches  and  histori¬ 
cal  evidences  of  the  fuller  work  and  pruned  its  exces¬ 
sive  garrulousness.  By  the  uncritical  scholiasts  and 
the  prolix  chroniclers  of  the  Byzantine  and  Papal 
courts,  Josephus  was  esteemed  as  a  distinguished  and 
godlike  historian,  and  as  a  truthloving  man  (<£iA.aA??0??s 


CONCLUSION 


247 


avrjp ) .  He  was  dubbed  by  Jerome  “  the  Greek  Livy,” 
and  to  Tertullian  and  his  followers  he  was  an  un¬ 
failing  guide.  Choice  passages  in  his  writings  are 
frequently  extracted,  often  with  a  little  purposive 
modification,  to  emphasize  some  Christological  design. 
Eustathius  of  Antioch  in  the  sixth  century,  Syncellus 
in  the  eighth,  and  Cedrenus  and  Glycas  some  three  or 
four  hundred  years  later,  are  among  those  whose  ex¬ 
tant  fragments  prove  a  frequent  use  of  J osephus.  And 
the  neo-Platonist  philosopher  Porphyry  (ab.  300  c. 
e.),  who  was  well  acquainted  with  Jewish  literature, 
reproduces  in  his  treatise  on  Abstinence  the  various 
passages  about  the  Essenes  from  the  Wars  and  the 
Antiquities.  The  Emperor  Constantine  later  ordered 
extracts  from  the  Wars  to  be  put  together  for  his  edi¬ 
fication  in  a  selection  bearing  the  title  About  Virtue 
and  Vice. 

Owing  to  this  popularity,  we  have  abundant  manu¬ 
scripts  of  Josephus.  The  oldest  of  the  Latin  is  as 
early  as  the  sixth  century ;  the  Greek  date  from  the 
tenth  century  and  later.  Niese,  the  most  authorita¬ 
tive  editor  of  Josephus  in  modem  times,  thinks  that 
our  manuscript  families  go  back  to  one  archetype  of 
the  second  century  in  the  epoch  of  the  Antonines. 
The  earliest  printed  copy  like  the  earliest  manuscript 
of  his  work  contains  the  Latin  version,  being  a  part 
of  the  Antiquities,  which  was  issued  in  1470  at  Augs¬ 
burg.  The  whole  corpus  was  printed  in  1499,  and, 
after  a  number  of  Latin  editions,  the  first  Greek 
edition  was  published  at  Basel  by  Arten,  in  1544, 


248 


JOSEPHUS 


together  with  the  Fourth  Book  of  the  Maccabees, 
which  was  ascribed  to  the  historian. 

In  the  days  of  vast  but  undiscriminating  scholar¬ 
ship  that  followed  the  Renaissance,  J osephus  still  en¬ 
joyed  a  great  repute,  and  Scaliger,  prince  of  poly¬ 
maths,  regarded  him  as  superior  to  any  pagan  his¬ 
torian.  The  great  Dutch,  scholar  Havercamp  made  a 
special  study  of  the  manuscripts,  and  produced,  in 
1726,  a  repertory  of  everything  discovered  about  his 
author.  A  little  later  Whiston,  professor  of  mathe¬ 
matics  at  Cambridge,  published  an  English  transla¬ 
tion  of  all  the  works,  which  is  still  serviceable,  but 
not  critical,  together  with  some  dissertations,  which 
are  neither  serviceable  nor  critical.  Later  trans¬ 
lations  into  English  and  almost  every  other  language 
were  made,  but  the  greatest  work  of  modern  times 
on  Josephus  is  the  edition  of  Niese.  Lastly,  it  may 
be  mentioned  that  we  have  a  Slavonic  version,  which 
goes  back  to  the  eighth  or  the  ninth  century,  and  a 
Syriac  version  of  the  sixth  book  of  the  Wars,  which 
is  included,  immediately  after  the  Fourth  Book  of  the 
Maccabees,  in  a  manuscript  of  the  Syriac  version  of 
the  Bible  dating  from  the  sixth  century,  and  is  en¬ 
titled  the  Fifth  Book  of  the  Maccabees.  It  has  been 
suggested  that  the  Syriac  was  based  on  the  work  which 
Josephus  published  in  Aramaic  before  he  wrote  the 
Greek;  but  Professor  Noldeke  has  shown  that  the 
theory  is  not  probable,  since  the  translator  clearly 
used  the  Greek  text.1  Somewhat  late  in  the  day  a 

1  Literarisches  Centralblatt,  1880,  no.  20,  p.  881. 


CONCLUSION 


249 


Hebrew  translation  of  the  books  Against  Apion,  which 
were  regarded  as  the  most  Jewish  part  of  his  work,  was 
made  in  the  Middle  Ages,  and  printed,  together  with 
Abraham  Zacuto’s  Yuhasin,  at  Constantinople,  in 
1506,  by  Samuel  Shullam.  The  Hebrew  translation  is 
very  free,  and  is  marred  by  several  large  omissions. 
It  was  very  probably  made  with  the  help  of  the  Latin 
version. 

While  J osephus  enjoyed  great  honor  among  Christ¬ 
ian  scholars,  for  centuries  he  passed  out  of  the  knowl¬ 
edge  of  his  own  people.  The  Talmud  has  no  reference 
to  him,  for  the  surmise  that  he  is  the  “  philosopher  ” 
visited  by  the  four  sages  who  journeyed  from  Pales¬ 
tine  to  Borne1  is  no  more  than  a  vague  possibility. 
Nor  has  the  supposed  identification  with  the  Joseph 
Hakohen  that  is  mentioned  in  the  Midrash  anything 
more  solid  to  uphold  it.2  In  the  Middle  Ages,  however, 
when  Spain,  Italy,  and  North  Africa  witnessed  a  re¬ 
markable  revival  of  Jewish  literature,  both  secular  and 
religious,  and  when  scientific  studies  again  interested 
the  people,  the  historical  literature  of  other  peoples  be¬ 
came  known  to  their  scholars,  and  several  Jewish  writ¬ 
ers  mention  the  chronicles  of  one  Yosippon,  or  “  little 
Joseph.”  The  text  of  the  chronicle  itself  is  widely 
known  from  the  eleventh  century  onwards.  The  first 
author  to  mention  it  is  David  ben  Tammum  (ab.  950), 
and  an  extract  from  the  book  is  found  about  a  century 
later.  Four  manuscripts  of  it  have  come  down  to  us : 

1  Derek  Erez,  ed.  Goldberg,  iii.  10. 

a  Moed  Katon,  23a.  See  above,  p.  177. 


250 


JOSEPHUS 


two  in  the  Vatican,  one  in  Paris,  and  one  in  Turin,  and 
it  was  among  the  earliest  Hebrew  books  printed.  Pro¬ 
fessing  to  be  the  work  of  Joseph  ben  Gorion,  one  of  the 
Jewish  commanders  in  the  war  with  Pome  and  a  pre¬ 
fect  of  Jerusalem,  it  is  written  in  a  Eabbinical  Hebrew 
that  is  nearer  the  classical  language  than  most  medie¬ 
val  compositions.  It  was  indeed  argued  on  the  ground 
of  its  pure  classical  idiom  that  it  dated  from  the  fourth 
century,  'but  Zunz  1  showed  that  this  was  impossible. 
It  bears  all  the  traces  of  the  pseudepigraphic  tendency 
of  a  period  that  produced  the  first  works  of  the  Ca¬ 
bala,  the  Seder  Olam  Zutta  of  Eabbi  Joshua,  and  the 
neo-Hebraic  apocalypses.  The  attempt  to  write  an 
archaic  Hebrew  is  marred  by  the  presence  of  Eabbini¬ 
cal  and  novel  terms.  Eeference  to  events  or  things 
only  known  to  later  times  is  combined  with  the  pre¬ 
tension  of  an  ancient  chronicle.  The  country  and  the 
date  of  the  author  are  uncertain,  but  probabilities 
point  to  Italy,  where  in  the  ninth  and  tenth  centuries 
Jewish  culture  flourished,  and  where  both  Arabic  and 
Latin  works  were  well  known  in  the  Ghettos.  The 
transcription  cf  foreign  names,  the  frequent  intro¬ 
duction  of  the  names  of  places  in  Italy,  the  acquaint¬ 
ance  with  Eoman  history,  and  the  fact  that  Italian 
Jews  are  among  the  first  to  recognize  Yosippon  favor 
this  theory.  It  is  fitting  that  the  country  where 
Josephus  wrote  his  history  should  also  have  produced 
a  Jewish  imitation  of  his  work.  Yosippon  indeed  was 
soon  translated  into  Arabic,  and  its  narratives  and 

1  Comp.  Zunz,  Gottesdienstliclie  Vortrage,  pp.  154 ff. 


CONCLUSION 


251 


legends  passed  into  the  current  stock  of  Ghetto  history. 
The  book  was  swollen  by  later  additions,  which  Zunz 
has  proved  to  belong  to  the  twelfth  century.  One 
"i  erahmeel  ben  Shelomoh  who  flourished  in  that  epoch 
is  mentioned  in  an  early  manuscript  as  a  compiler  of 
Yosippon  and  other  histories;  and  it  is  possible  that 
he  was  himself  responsible  for  parts  of  the  work  in  its 
present  form. 

The  chronicle  of  Yosippon  is  a  summary  of  Jewish 
history,  with  considerable  digressions — many  of  them 
later  interpolations — about  the  history  of  the  nations 
with  whom  the  Hebrew  people  came  into  contact, 
Babylon,  Greece,  and  Borne.  Like  the  Book  of 
Chronicles,  it  begins  with  Adam  and  genealogies,  ex¬ 
plains  the  roll  of  the  nations  in  Genesis,  and  then 
springs  suddenly  from  the  legendary  origin  of  Babel 
and  Borne  to  the  relation  of  the  Jews  with  Babylon. 
The  history  proper  contains  the  record  of  the  Jews 
from  the  first  to  the  second  captivity,  but  is  broken  by 
a  mass  of  legendary  material  about  Alexander  the 
Great — reproducing  much  of  what  is  found  in  pseudo- 
Callisthenes — and  by  a  short  account  of  the  Cartha¬ 
ginian  general  Hannibal  and  several  incidents  of 
Boman  history.  These  include  a  description  of  a 
coronation  of  the  Emperor,  which,  it  is  suggested,  ap¬ 
plies  to  the  medieval  and  not  the  classical  period  of  the 
Empire. 

The  book  was  known  throughout  the  later  part  of 
the  Middle  Ages  and  down  to  the  eighteenth  century 
as  the  Hebrew  Josephus,  and  contrasted  with  the 


252 


JOSEPHUS 


D'?or6  fia'Div,  or  “  Latin  Josephus.”  When  the  genu¬ 
ine  works  of  our  worthy  became  known  to  the  Jews, 
Yosippon  was  regarded  as  the  true  representative 
of  the  Jewish  point  of  view  against  the  paganizing 
traitor.  Its  author  had  not  a  first-hand  acquaintance 
with  our  Josephus.  He  knew  him  only  through  the 
Latin  versions,  which  were  mixed  with  much  later 
material.  Possibly  he  meant  to  pass  off  his  work  as  the 
Hebrew  original  of  the  Jewish  history,  and  confused 
Joseph  ben  Gorion  with  Joseph  ben  Mattathias;  for 
in  the  introduction  to  one  manuscript  we  read,  “  I  am 
Joseph,  called  Josephus  the  Jew,  of  whom  it  is  written 
that  he  wrote  the  book  of  the  wars  of  the  Lord,  and 
this  is  the  sixth  part.”  This,  however,  may  be  the 
gloss  of  a  later  scribe,  who  found  an  anonymous  hook, 
and  thought  fit  to  supply  the  omission.  In  places  the 
Hebrew  translator  reproduces,  though  with  some 
blunders,  the  Latin  ILegesippus,  but  he  sought  to  give 
charm  to  his  work  by  legendary  additions,  which  more 
often  show  Arabic  and  other  foreign  influences  than 
traces  of  the  Jewish  Haggadah.  Interpolations  have 
served  to  increase  the  legendary  element,  and  take 
away  from  the  historical  value.  But  it  is  this  element, 
reflecting  the  ideas  of  the  age,  that  gives  the  compo¬ 
sition  a  peculiar  literary  interest. 

Though  only  to  a  small  extent  representing  Jewish 
tradition,  the  book  remained  very  popular  among  the 
Jews  both  of  the  West  and  the  East,  and  was  long 
regarded  as  authoritative.  The  first  printed  edition 
was  issued  at  Mantua,  in  1476,  and  was  followed  by 


CONCLUSION 


253 


the  edition  of  Constantinople,  in  1520,  arranged  in 
chapters  and  enlarged,  and  an  edition  of  Basel,  in 
1541,  containing  a  Latin  preface  and  a  Latin  trans¬ 
lation  of  the  greater  part.  In  1546  a  printed  Yiddish 
edition  appeared  in  Zurich,  and  in  the  Ghetto  it  retains 
its  popularity  to  the  present  day.  Other  editions  and 
translations  have  followed.  Steinschneider  has  noted 
that  as  late  as  1873  an  abstract  of  the  Arabic  trans¬ 
lation  together  with  the  Arabic  version  of  the  Book  of 
the  Maccabees  was  published  at  Beirut.1  The  spurious¬ 
ness  of  the  work  has  now  been  established,  and  of  mod¬ 
ern  scholars  Wellhausen  2  is  almost  alone  in  ascribing 
to  it  any  independent  historical  worth.  In  the  Spanish 
period  of  Jewish  culture  the  real  as  well  as  the 
spurious  Josephus  was  read  by  many  of  his  race,  and 
some  hard  things  were  said  of  him.  Thus  Rabbi  Isaac 
Abrabanel,  the  statesman  and  apologist  (1457-1508), 
regarded  him  as  a  common  sycophant  and  wrote,  “  In 
many  things  he  perverted  the  truth,  even  where  we 
have  the  Scriptures  before  us,  in  order  to  court  favor 
with  the  Romans,  as  a  slave  submits  himself  to  the  will 
of  his  master.”  Azariah  de  Rossi  (ab.  1650),  antici¬ 
pating  the  ideas  of  a  later  age,  alone  balanced  his 
'merits  against  his  demerits.  Among  the  great  Chris¬ 
tian  scholars  of  the  Renaissance,  however,  he  en¬ 
joyed  great  fame.  Joseph  Scaliger,  the  most  emi¬ 
nent  of  the  seventeenth  century  critics,  could  write  of 

1  J.  Q.  R.  xvi.  393. 

2  Der  arabische  Josippus;  see  J.  E.,  s.  v.  Joseph  ben 
Gorion. 


254 


JOSEPHUS 


him,  “Josephus  was  the  most  diligent  and  the  most 
truthloving  of  all  writers,  and  one  can  better  believe 
him,  not  only  as  to  the  affairs  of  the  J ews,  but  also  as 
to  the  Gentiles,  than  all  the  Greek  and  Latin  writers, 
because  his  fidelity  and  his  learning  are  everywhere 
conspicuous.” 1  It  is  illustrative  of  his  popularity  that 
Kembrandt  named  one  of  his  great  Jewish  pictures 
after  him.  Whiston’s  English  translation  of  his  works 
became  a  household  book,  found  side  by  side  with  the 
Bible  and  The  Pilgrim’s  Progress? 

In  modern  times  his  reputation  as  a  trust¬ 
worthy  authority  has  depreciated  considerably,  and 
it  is  still  depreciating.  More  accurate  study  and 
wider  knowledge  have  exposed  his  grave  defects  as  an 
historian,  and  the  critical  standpoint  has  dissipated 
the  halo  with  which  his  supposed  Christian  sympathies 
had  invested  him,  and  laid  bare  his  weakness  and  his 
essential  unreliability.  Yet  with  all  his  glaring  faults 
and  unlovable  qualities  he  has  certain  solid  merits. 
The  greatest  certainly  is  that  his  works  so  appealed  to 
later  generations  as  to  have  been  preserved,  and 
thereby  posterity  has  been  enabled  to  get  some  knowl¬ 
edge,  however  inadequate,  of  the  history  of  the  Jewish 
polity  during  its  last  two  hundred  years — between  the 

1  De  Emend.  Temp.  Proleg.  17. 

s  Readers  of  Rudyard  Kipling  may  recall  that  in  Cap¬ 
tains  Courageous  one  of  the  seamen  on  board  the  “  We’re 
Here”  Schooner  reads  aloud  on  Sunday  from  a  book 
called  Josephus:  “  It  was  an  old  leather-bound  volume 
very  solid  and  very  like  a  Bible,  but  enlivened  with  ac¬ 
counts  of  battles  and  sieges.” 


CONCLUSION 


255 


time  of  the  Maccabees  and  the  fall  of  the  nation — ■ 
which  would  otherwise  have  been  buried  in  almost  un¬ 
relieved  darkness.  And  at  the  same  time  he  has  pre¬ 
served  a  record  of  some  interesting  pieces  of  Egyptian, 
Syrian,  and  Eoman  history.  Just  because  he  was  so 
little  original,  he  has  a  special  usefulness;  for  he  re¬ 
produces  the  statements  of  more  capable  writers  than 
himself,  who  have  disappeared,  and  he  has  embodied 
an  aspect  of  the  Hellenistic- Jewish  literature  which 
had  otherwise  been  lost.  We  can  estimate  his  value 
to  us  as  an  historian  from  our  ignorance  of  what  was 
happening  in  Judea  during  the  fifty  years  after  his 
account  comes  to  an  end. 

It  is  true  that  he  brings  before  us,  for  the  most  part, 
but  the  external  facts  and  the  court  scandals  in  place 
of  the  vital  movements  and  the  underlying  principles ; 
and  in  dealing  with  contemporary  events  he  has  a  per¬ 
verted  view,  borrowed  largely  from  Eoman  foes  and 
feebly  corrected.  But  it  is  something  to  have  preserved 
even  these  facts,  and  in  the  account  of  the  Wars  he  of¬ 
ten  draws  a  vivid  picture.  The  siege  of  Jerusalem  has 
passed  into  the  roll  of  the  world’s  heroic  events,  and  it 
owes  its  place  there  largely  to  the  narrative  of  Jose¬ 
phus.  Moreover,  in  spite  of  his  pusillanimity  and  his 
subservience  to  his  Eoman  patrons,  Josephus  did  pos¬ 
sess  a  distinct  pride  of  race  and  a  love  of  his  people. 
It  led  him  at  times  to  glorify  them  in  a  gross  way,  but 
notably  in  the  books  Against  Apion  it  could  inspire 
a  certain  eloquence ;  and  many  hostile  outsiders  must 


256 


JOSEPHUS 


have  learnt  from  his  pages  to  appreciate  some  of  the 
great  qualities  of  the  Jewish  people. 

To  appraise  him  fairly  is  difficult.  He  has  few  of 
the  qualities,  either  personal  or  literary,  that  attract 
sympathy  and  many  of  the  defects  that  repel.  He  is 
at  once  vain  and  obsequious,  servile  and  spiteful,  pro¬ 
fessing  candor  and  practising  adulation,  prolix  and 
prosaic.  As  a  general  he  proved  himself  a  traitor ;  as 
apologist  of  the  J ews,  a  function  which  he  asserted  for 
himself,  he  marred  by  a  lack  of  independence  the 
service  which  he  sought  to  render  his  people.  In  his 
account  of  their  past  he  was  often  false  to  their  funda¬ 
mental  ideas  of  God  and  history.  Whether  he  was 
really  under  the  influence  of  the  debased  Greco-Boman 
culture  of  the  day,  which  consigned  mankind  to  the 
dominion  of  fatality,  or  whether  he  deliberately 
masked  his  own  standpoint  to  please  his  audience,  he 
presented  the  history  of  the  Hebrew  nationality  in  the 
light  of  ideas  of  fate  strange  to  it.  He  has  perpetuated 
a  false  picture  of  the  Zealots,  whose  avowed  enemy  he 
was,  and  he  reveals  an  inadequate  understanding  of  the 
deeper  ideas  and  deeper  principles  of  the  Pharisees, 
whose  champion  he  professed  to  be.  Generally,  in  deal¬ 
ing  with  the  struggle  against  Borne,  his  dominating 
desire  to  justify  his  own  submission  and  please  the 
Bomans  led  him  to  distort  the  facts,  and  rendered  him 
blind  to  the  real  heroism  of  his  countrymen.  The 
client  in  him  prevails  over  the  historian :  we  can  never 
be  sure  whether  he  is  expressing  his  own  opinion  or 
only  what  he  conceives  will  be  pleasing  to  his  patrons 


CONCLUSION 


257 


and  masters.  This  dependence  affects  his  presentation 
of  Judaism  as  well  as  of  the  Jewish  people.  He  dis¬ 
sembled  his  theological  opinions  in  his  larger  his¬ 
torical  works,  and  it  is  only  in  his  last  apologetic 
composition  that  he  asserts  confidently  a  Jewish  point 
of  view. 

Yet  it  is  but  fair  to  Josephus  to  consider  the  times 
and  circumstances  in  which  he  wrote.  It  was  an  age 
when  the  love  of  truth  was  almost  dead,  extinguished 
partly  by  the  crushing  tyranny  of  omnipotent  Emper¬ 
ors,  partly  by  the  intellectual  and  moral  degeneration 
of  pagan  society.  The  Flavian  house  soon  showed 
the  same  characteristics  of  a  vainglorious  despotism 
as  the  line  of  Caesars  which  it  had  supplanted.  Under 
Domitian  “  the  only  course  possible  for  a  writer  with¬ 
out  the  risk  of  outlawry  or  the  sacrifice  of  personal 
honor  was  that  followed  by  Juvenal  and  Tacitus  dur¬ 
ing  his  reign,  viz.,  silence.”  It  was  an  age  when,  in 
the  words  of  Mazzini,  “  a  hollow  sound  as  of  dissolu¬ 
tion  was  heard  in  the  world.  Man  seemed  in  a  hideous 
case :  placed  between  two  infinities,  he  knew  neither. 
He  knew  not  past  nor  future.  All  belief  was  dead; 
dead  the  belief  in  the  gods,  dead  the  belief  in  the 
Kepublic.”  The  material  power  of  Eome,  while  it 
dazzled  by  its  splendor,  seemed  invincible,  and  it 
crushed,  in  all  save  the  strongest,  independence  of 
thought  and  independence  of  national  life.  Unfor¬ 
tunately  it  fell  to  Josephus  to  write  amid  these  sur¬ 
roundings  his  account  of  the  Jewish  wars  and  the  his¬ 
tory  of  the  Jews,  and  he  may  have  been  driven  to  dis- 


17 


258 


JOSEPHUS 


tortion  to  keep  his  perilous  position  at  court.  The 
moral  environment,  too,  was  such  as  to  contaminate 
those  who  had  not  a  deep  faith  and  a  strong  Hebrew 
consciousness.  At  Alexandria  it  was  possible  to  achieve 
a  harmony  between  Judaism  and  the  spiritual  teaching 
of  Greek  philosophy;  but  the  basic  conceptions  of 
Eoman  Imperialism  were  not  to  be  brought  into  ac¬ 
cord  with  Jewish  ideas. 

Josephus  had  no  conception  of  the  moral  weakness, 
he  felt  only  the  invincible  power,  of  the  conqueror.  He 
was  a  Jew,  isolated  in  Rome,  estranged  from  his  own 
people,  and  not  at  home  in  his  environment,  a  favored 
captive  in  a  splendid  court,  a  member  of  a  subject  peo¬ 
ple  living  in  the  halls  of  the  mighty.  Did  ever  situation 
more  strongly  conduce  to  moral  servility  and  mental 
dependence  !  It  was  well  nigh  impossible  for  him,  even 
had  he  possessed  the  ability,  to  write  an  honest  and 
independent  history  of  the  Jews.  It  required  some 
courage  and  steadfastness  to  write  of  the  Jews  at  all. 
In  such  circumstances  he  might  well  have  become  an 
apostate,  as  his  contemporary  Tiberius  Alexander  had 
done,  and  it  is  a  tribute  to  his  Jewish  feeling  that 
he  remained  in  profession  and  in  heart  true  to  his  peo¬ 
ple,  that  he  was  not  among  those  who  with  the  fall  of 
the  second  Temple  exclaimed,  “  Our  hope  is  perished : 
we  are  cut  off/’  He  had  indeed  chosen  the  easier  and 
less  noble  way  on  the  destruction  of  the  national  life 
of  his  people ;  he  preferred  the  palace  of  the  Palatine 
with  its  pomp  to  the  Vineyard  at  Jabneh  with  its  wise 
men.  While  J ohanan  ben  Zakkai  was  saving  J udaism, 


CONCLUSION 


259 


Josephus  -was  apologizing  for  it.  Yet  he  too  has  done 
some  service:  he  preserved  some  knowledge  of  his 
people  and  their  religion  for  the  Gentiles,  and  became 
one  of  the  permanent  authorities  for  that  heretical 
body  of  Jewish  proselytes  who  in  his  own  day  were  be¬ 
ginning  to  mark  themselves  off  as  a  separate  sect,  and 
who  carried  on  to  some  extent  the  work  of  Hellenistic 
Judaism.  Perhaps  the  true  judgment  about  him  is 
that  he  was  neither  noble  nor  villainous,  neither 
champion  nor  coward,  but  one  of  those  mediocre  men 
of  talent  but  of  weak  character  and  conflicting  im¬ 
pulses  struggling  against  adversity  who  succumb  to 
the  difficulties  of  the  time  in  which  their  life  is  passed, 
and  sacrifice  their  individuality  to  comfort.  But  he 
wrote  something  that  has  lived;  and  for  what  he  wrote, 
if  not  for  what  he  was,  he  has  a  niche  in  the  literary 
treasure  house  of  the  Jewish  people  as  well  as  in  the 
annals  of  general  history.  As  a  man,  if  he  cannot  in¬ 
spire,  he  may  at  least  stand  as  a  warning  against  that 
facile  subservience  to  external  powers  and  that  fatal 
assimilation  of  foreign  thought  which  at  once  destroy 
the  individuality  of  the  Jew  and  deprive  him  of  his 
full  humanity. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The  best  Greek  text  of  Josephus  is  that  edited  by  Niese 
(Berlin,  1887-1894),  but  the  editions  of  Bekker  (Leipzig, 
1855)  and  Dindorf  (Paris,  1845)  are  still  serviceable. 

The  standard  English  translation  of  the  complete  works 
is  that  made  by  William  Whiston,  of  Cambridge,  a  cen¬ 
tury  ago.  It  has  been  revised  in  modern  times — not  very 
thoroughly — by  Shilleto  (London,  1890)  and  by  Margo- 
liouth  (London,  1909). 

A  French  translation,  which  contains  excellent  notes 
to  the  text,  is  in  the  course  of  publication  under  the  gen¬ 
eral  editorship  of  M.  Theodore  Reinach;  and  there  are 
German  translations  of  the  whole  works,  by  Demme,  and 
of  the  Antiquities,  by  Martin  (Koln,  1852)  and  Clementz 
(Halle,  1900).  The  Life  and  the  books  Against  Apion 
were  translated  by  M.  Jost  (Leipzig,  1867)  and  books 
xi-xiii  of  the  Antiquities  by  Horschitzky.  And  there 
is  another  elaborately  annotated  edition  of  the  books 
Against  Apion  by  J.  G.  Muller. 

The  best  modern  works  on  the  Roman  history  of  the 
period  are  Mommsen’s  Roman  Provinces,  and  Merivale’s 
History  of  the  Roman  Empire;  and  of  the  literature  of 
the  contemporaries  of  Josephus,  the  Annals  and  Histories 
of  Tacitus  and  the  Lives  of  the  Caesars  by  Suetonius  are 
the  most  valuable  historical  sources. 

For  Jewish  history,  the  fullest  account  is  provided  by 
Schiirer’s  Geschichte  des  jiidischen  Volkes  im  Zeitalter 
Jesu  (fourth  edition),  which  contains  a  thorough  criti¬ 
cism  of  Josephus  and  the  best  general  investigation  into 
his  sources.  The  work  has  been  translated  into  Eng¬ 
lish.  Joel’s  Blicke  in  die  Religionsgeschichte  is  sug¬ 
gestive  upon  certain  aspects  of  the  period. 


262 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 


Graetz,  of  course,  deals  with  the  events,  and  in  the 
Stories  of  the  Nations  Series  (Putnam)  there  is  a  volume 
on  The  Jews  under  the  Romans  by  Hosmer,  which  is  read¬ 
able. 

The  opening  chapters  of  Berliner’s  Die  Juden  in  Rom 
and  of  Yogelstein  and  Rieger’s  Geschichte  der  Juden  in 
Rom  (Berlin,  1895)  are  concerned  with  the  relations  of 
Jews  and  Romans  in  the  first  century;  and  a  series  of 
articles  on  the  same  subject  by  Hils,  in  the  Revue  des 
etudes  juives  (vols.  viii  and  xi),  is  noteworthy.  Anatole 
France  has  written  two  very  vivid  sketches  of  the  Roman 
attitude  to  the  Jews,  which  give  a  better  impression  of 
the  inner  conflict  between  the  two  peoples  than  any 
strictly  historical  work,  “  Gallion  ”  in  Sur  la  pierre 
blanche,  and  “  Le  Procurateur  de  Judee  ”  in  L’6tui  de 
nacre. 

Among  critical  studies  of  Josephus  as  an  historian  the 
most  striking  works  are: 

Schlatter,  Zur  Topographie  und  Geschichte  Palastinas 
(Stuttgart,  1893). 

Bloch,  Die  Quellen  des  Flavius  Josephus  (Leipzig, 
1879). 

Nussbaum,  Observationen  in  Flavius  Josephus  (Got¬ 
tingen,  1875). 

Destinon,  Die  Chronologie  des  Josephus  (Kiel,  1880) 
and  Die  Quellen  des  Josephus  (1882). 

Biichler,  A.,  Les  Sources  de  Josephe,  R.  E.  J.  xxii.  and 
xxiv.,  and  The  Sources  of  Josephus  for  the  History  of 
Syria,  J.  Q.  R.  ix. 

Holscher,  G.,  Die  Quellen  des  Josephus,  etc.  (Leipzig, 
1904). 

For  the  relation  of  Josephus  to  the  Bible  and  Jewish 
tradition,  the  following  monographs  may  be  consulted: 

Duschak,  Josephus  und  die  Tradition  (Vienna,  1864). 

Olitzki,  Flavius  Josephus  und  die  Halacha  (Berlin, 
1885). 


ABBREVIATIONS 


2G3 


Schlatter,  Die  hehrdischen  Namen  hei  Josephus  (Guters- 
loh,  1913.) 

Griinhaum,  Die  Priester-Gesetze  hei  FI.  Josephus 
(1887). 

Poznanski,  Deher  die  religionsphilosophischen  An- 
schauungen  des  FI.  Josephus  (Berlin,  1887). 

The  apologetic  works  of  Josephus  are  especially  dealt 
with  by: 

Friedlaender,  M.,  Die  Geschichte  der  jiidischen  Apolo- 
getik  (Vienna,  1906). 

Muller,  J.  G.,  Des  FI.  Josephus  Schrift  gegen  den  Apion 
(Basel,  1877). 

Gutschmid,  Kleine  Schriften,  iv.  (Leipzig,  1893). 

The  work  of  M.  Theodore  Reinach,  Textes  des  auteurs 
grecs  et  romains  relatifs  au  judaisme,  is  a  very  useful 
collection  of  the  pagan  accounts  of  Jewish  life  which 
Josephus  was  seeking  to  refute. 

Among  general  appreciations  of  Josephus,  there  may  be 
mentioned  those  of: 

Edersheim,  in  Smith  and  Wace’s  Dictionary  of  Christ¬ 
ian  Biography. 

Poakes-Jackson,  in  the  Jewish  Review,  iv. 

Margoliouth,  in  his  edition  of  Whiston’s  translation. 

Niese,  in  the  Historische  Zeitschrift,  lxxvi. 


ABBREVIATIONS 

USED  IN  REFERRING  TO  THE  WORKS  OF  JOSEPHUS 

Ant.:  The  Antiquities  of  the  Jews. 

B.  J.  :  The  Wars  (Bellum  Judaicum) 

-  C.  Ap.  :  Against  Apion  (Contra  Apionem) 


INDEX 


Agrippa,  the  friend  of  Herod,  22, 
177. 

Agrippa  I,  favorite  of  Gaius,  26; 
becomes  king  of  Judea,  27 ; 
Character,  28,  200. 

Agrippa  II,  Romanizing  character, 
32;  failure  to  control  people, 
34;  life  and  death,  75;  gives 
testimonial  to  Josephus,  221. 

Antiochus  Epiphanes,  coercion  of 
Judea,  12;  Josephus’  picture  of, 
177. 

Aplon,  writings  against  Jews,  207 
ff. ;  refuted,  277  ff. 

Archelaus,  succeeds  Herod,  22. 

Aristeas,  Letter  of,  used  by  Jose¬ 
phus,  136,  174. 

Artapanus,  historian,  85. 

Augustus,  attitude  toward  Judaism, 

21. 

Ben  Sira,  parallel  with  Josephus, 
163. 

Berosus,  cited  in  reference  to  Sen¬ 
nacherib,  164;  cited  in  con¬ 
firmation  of  the  flood,  223. 

Caesar,  Julius,  favors  the  Jews,  16, 
17;  decrees  for  benefit  of  Jews, 
187  ff. 

Cicero,  condemns  Judaism,  15,  210. 

Claudius,  becomes  Emperor,  27 ; 
Josephus’  account  of,  199; 
tolerance  to  Jews,  28. 

Crassus,  spoils  the  Temple,  16. 

Cumanus,  procurator  of  Judea,  29. 

Daniel,  importance  attached  to, 
166. 

Demetrius,  Jewish  historian,  84. 

Domitian,  favors  Josephus,  73; 
persecutes  Jews,  76. 

Eleazar,  Zealot  leader,  speech  of, 
132. 

Epaphroditus,  patron  of  Josephus, 
73. 

Esdras,  Book  of,  followed  by  Jo¬ 
sephus,  167  ff. 

Esdras  II,  Book  of,  reference  to, 
130. 

Essenes,  sympathy  of  Josephus  for, 
41;  account  of,  116,  196. 

Esther,  Book  of,  reproduced  by 
Josephus,  169. 


Eupolemus,  historian,  84. 

Eusebius,  preserves  fragments  of 
Jewish  history,  83;  quotes 
passage  about  Jesus,  241. 

Ezekiel,  mention  of,  164  ff. 

Felix,  tyrannical  governor  of  Judea, 
29. 

Florus,  cruelties  of,  31;  provokes 
people,  43;  denounced  by  Jo¬ 
sephus,  119. 

France,  Anatole,  quoted  on  Juda¬ 
ism,  24. 

Gaius,  succeeds  to  Roman  throne, 
26;  madness  of,  26. 

Galilee,  center  of  Zealots,  23;  Jo¬ 
sephus  sent  to  govern,  45; 
physical  nature  of,  47. 

Gallus,  Cestius,  marches  on  Jerusa¬ 
lem,  44. 

Gamaliel,  teacher  of  Josephus,  40. 

Graetz,  quoted,  36,  71. 

Haggadah,  Josephus’  knowledge  of, 
39. 

Halakah,  Josephus’  relation  to, 
150  ff. 

Hecataeus  of  Abdera  quoted,  224; 
spurious  works  of,  83,  225. 

Hegesippus,  Latin  version  of  Jose¬ 
phus,  245. 

Herod,  conquers  Palestine,  19  ff. ; 
reign,  21  ff. ;  Josephus’  account 
of,  113  ff.,  186  ff.,  192  ff. 

Herodotus,  criticised,  161;  quoted, 
164,  167. 

Hillel,  silence  of  Josephus  about, 
114. 

Hyksos,  identified  with  Hebrews, 

222. 


Isaiah,  notice  of,  163. 

James,  passage  about,  243. 

Jeremiah,  account  of,  164;  con¬ 
trasted  with  Josephus,  71. 

Jerusalem,  taken  by  Pompey,  14; 
by  Herod,  20;  besieged  by 
Titus,  63;  fortifications  of,  64 
ff. ;  Josephus’  account  of  siege, 
129  ff. 


266 


INDEX 


Jesus,  passage  about  in  Antiqui¬ 
ties,  241;  genuineness  dis¬ 
cussed,  242. 

Johanan  ben  Zakkai,  conduct  in 
war,  66;  preserves  Judaism, 
237;  contrasted  with  Josephus, 
258. 

John  of  Gischala,  national  leader, 
49;  feud  with  Josephus,  50; 
flees  to  Jerusalem,  61;  struggle 
with  Simon,  66;  denunciation 
of,  132. 

Jotapata,  fortified  by  Josephus,  47; 
besieged  by  Vespasian,  53. 

Julianus,  Antonius,  writes  history, 
91;  debt  of  Josephus  to,  92. 

Justus,  rival  of  Josephus,  50;  at¬ 
tacked  in  Life,  74,  103;  his¬ 
torical  works  of,  93  fi. 

Life  of  Josephus,  contents,  74  ff. ; 
character  and  object,  102  ff. 

Lysimachus,  anti-Semite,  refuted, 
226. 

Maccabees,  alliance  with  Rome, 
13;  history  of,  86;  Josephus’ 
account  of,  111  ff.,  179  ff. ;  Third 
Book  of,  nature,  87;  Fourth 
Book  of,  attributed  to  Jose¬ 
phus,  104  ff. 

Manetho,  Egyptian  historian,  82; 
attacks  Jews,  82;  referred  to  in 
confirmation  of  Bible,  141;  ac¬ 
count  of  the  Exodus,  206;  re¬ 
futed  by  Josephus,  226  ff. 

Midrash,  parallels  with  Josephus, 
139  ff.,  145  ff. 

Nero,  becomes  Emperor,  31;  vil¬ 
lainies  recorded  by  Josephus, 
201. 

Nerva,  clemency  toward  Jews,  76. 

Nicholas  of  Damascus,  historical 
works,  89;  Josephus’  debt  to, 
90;  chief  source  for  Hellenistic 
period,  178,  183. 

Petronius,  ordered  to  march  on  Je¬ 
rusalem,  26. 

Pharisees,  political  outlook,  23,  41; 
Josephus’  connection  with,  40; 
account  of,  117,  183,  196;  not 
faithfully  represented,  256. 

Philo,  sent  to  supplicate  Gaius,  26; 
historical  works  of,  88;  copied 
bv  Josephus,  137,  230,  198;  re¬ 
ply  to  Apion,  209. 

Polybius,  deals  with  Jewish  events, 
88;  quoted,  177. 

Pompey,  conquers  East,  13;  spares 
the  Temple,  14,  15. 


Pontius  Pilate,  outrages  in  Judea, 
25,  118. 

Poppaea,  aids  Josephus,  42. 

Posidonius,  anti-Semitic  writings, 
89,  207. 

Pythagoras,  supposed  connection 
with  Hebrews,  224. 

Sadducees,  Josephus’  account  of, 
117,  196. 

Salvador,  judgment  on  Josephus, 
71. 

Scaliger,  eulogy  on  Josephus,  248, 
253. 

Seneca,  attacks  Judaism,  210. 

Smith,  G.  A.,  cited  about  Herod, 
20;  about  Temple,  193. 

Stoics,  jealousy  of  Jews,  206  ff.  i 

Strabo,  historical  works  of,  89;  j 
cited  by  Josephus,  185,  186. 

Suetonius,  cited  on  Jewish  grief 
for  Caesar,  18. 

Tacitus,  quoted  about  Felix,  30; 
relations  with  Josephus,  92; 
theology  of,  147;  anti-Semitic 
utterance,  212  ff. 

Tarichea,  stronghold  of  Josephus, 
50. 

Temple  the,  fortress  of  Jerusalem, 
65;  fired  by  Romans,  69,  128  ff. ; 
described  by  Josephus,  193. 

Tiberias,  center  of  Josephus’  ene- 
Inies,  50. 

Tiberius,  checks  Roman  governors, 
25. 

Titus,  commands  Roman  troops, 
52;  sent  to  complete  Judean 
war,  61;  besieges  Jerusalem, 
63;  fires  the  Temple,  69,  128; 
hero  of  the  Wars,  124. 

Vespasian,  sent  to  command  in 
Judea,  52;  spares  Josephus,  55; 
becomes  Emperor,  60;  Josephus’ 
attitude  to,  123. 

Yerahmeel,  part  author  of  Yosip- 
pon,  251. 

Yosippon,  chronicle  of,  origin,  249; 
character,  250;  contents  of, 
251. 

Zealots,  aim  to  shake  off  Roman 
yoke,  19,  22;  religious  and  po¬ 
litical  standpoint,  23,  117,  126, 
197;  Messianic  beliefs,  34;  feuds 
in  siege  of  Jerusalem.  66,  125; 
denounced  by  Josephus,  68; 
heroism  of,  69;  referred  to 
about  Yosippon,  250. 

Zunz,  on  the  age  of  Yosippon,  250. 


>  l  'VI  ,■ 


V