Josephus and truth. Why start now?
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:48 pm
Cecil Roth, in the article "The Jewish Revolt Against Rome: The War of 66-70 CE" in Commentary Magazine, June 1, 1959, on the rhetoric of Josephus:
https://www.commentarymagazine.com/arti ... 66-70-c-e/... [T]he judgments of the renegade Josephus have been accepted blindly for various reasons by the general run of historians. In Jewish history of the period, he played a role not dissimilar from that of Benedict Arnold, the renegade American general in the American War of Independence. How Josephus’s literary work should be regarded can best be illustrated by a hypothetical quotation from a non-existent “History of the American Rebellion” as Arnold might have written it:
Imagine this spirit protracted over a long work, and you have Josephus’s account of the War of 66-70. It is the historian’s task to distinguish the true motives and attitudes behind the actions and personalities which we know only from Josephus’s jaundiced pages.In the winter of 1779 large numbers of these brigands gathered together in the hill country near Philadelphia, at a spot named Valley Forge. They were led by an ex-officer named Washington, who had been impelled by ambition to repudiate his oath of allegiance and place himself at the head of the rebels. From this favorable position they carried out raids on those peaceful farmers in the vicinity who remained loyal to the government. The brigands received much encouragement from the scribblings of a dissolute mechanic named Benjamin Franklin, now almost senile, who in consequence of having printed a number of almanacs for the lower classes considered himself a man of letters.