A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (2016)

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StephenGoranson
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A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (2016)

Post by StephenGoranson » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:10 am

A detailed, learned, provocative, expensive new book, blurbed by Cambridge U. P. as follows:
A conflict that erupted between Roman legions and some Judaeans in late A.D. 66 had an incalculable impact on Rome's physical appearance and imperial governance; on ancient Jews bereft of their mother-city and temple; and on early Christian fortunes. Historical scholarship and cinema alike tend to see the conflict as the culmination of long Jewish resistance to Roman oppression. In this volume, Steve Mason re-examines the war in all relevant contexts (e.g., the Parthian dimension, Judaea's place in Roman Syria) and phases, from the Hasmoneans to the fall of Masada. Mason approaches each topic as a historical investigation, clarifying problems that need to be solved, understanding the available evidence, and considering scenarios that might explain the evidence. The simplest reconstructions make the conflict more humanly intelligible while casting doubt on received knowledge.

iskander
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by iskander » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:49 am

StephenGoranson wrote:A detailed, learned, provocative, expensive new book, blurbed by Cambridge U. P. as follows:
A conflict that erupted between Roman legions and some Judaeans in late A.D. 66 had an incalculable impact on Rome's physical appearance and imperial governance; on ancient Jews bereft of their mother-city and temple; and on early Christian fortunes. Historical scholarship and cinema alike tend to see the conflict as the culmination of long Jewish resistance to Roman oppression. In this volume, Steve Mason re-examines the war in all relevant contexts (e.g., the Parthian dimension, Judaea's place in Roman Syria) and phases, from the Hasmoneans to the fall of Masada. Mason approaches each topic as a historical investigation, clarifying problems that need to be solved, understanding the available evidence, and considering scenarios that might explain the evidence. The simplest reconstructions make the conflict more humanly intelligible while casting doubt on received knowledge.
Is this book a new interpretation of Josephus?

StephenGoranson
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:39 am

It is in part interpretation of Josephus, but not limited to him. For example, Mason discusses the way Vespasian and Titus used propaganda about the war politically. How much a reader will find new depends in part on what has been read before. For example, Mason continues (as in previous works) to regard Josephus as highly skilled in Greek rhetoric and somewhat less dependent on (or limited by) sources than some other modern historians think.

semiopen
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by semiopen » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:15 pm

I guess somebody Jewish should point out the price.

https://www.amazon.com/History-Jewish-W ... r+ad+66+74

Kindle $120

StephenGoranson
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by StephenGoranson » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:03 am

Here's a review of Mason's book by M. V. Novenson:
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2017/2017-02-51.html

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DCHindley
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by DCHindley » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:34 pm

StephenGoranson wrote:It is in part interpretation of Josephus, but not limited to him. For example, Mason discusses the way Vespasian and Titus used propaganda about the war politically. How much a reader will find new depends in part on what has been read before. For example, Mason continues (as in previous works) to regard Josephus as highly skilled in Greek rhetoric and somewhat less dependent on (or limited by) sources than some other modern historians think.
There was a while there (Josephus in the NT, 1st ed. 1992) when I was not sure Mason was confident that he could distinguish historical facts from Josephus' rhetoric. I think I skimmed his 2001 edition at the library, and if anything he seemed even more skeptical that anything good can come out of Josephus' mouth.

Shaye Cohen (Josephus in Galilee and Rome, 2002) discounts what he perceives to be rhetorical statements on Josephus' part, but Steve seemed (to me) to be really skeptical. If only a copy of the history of the war by Justas of Tiberias can be found (it was in libraries as late as 900 CE), maybe then we could separate the wheat from the chaff ...

DCH

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DCHindley
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by DCHindley » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:39 pm

semiopen wrote:I guess somebody Jewish should point out the price.

https://www.amazon.com/History-Jewish-W ... r+ad+66+74

Kindle $120
Ah, but "22 New from $104.50". I am sure these are remainders, many from UK sellers (so add postage). I think the Kindle edition goes for about $101. Cheap!

DCH (even cheaper)

neilgodfrey
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:46 pm

DCHindley wrote:
semiopen wrote:I guess somebody Jewish should point out the price.

https://www.amazon.com/History-Jewish-W ... r+ad+66+74

Kindle $120
Ah, but "22 New from $104.50". I am sure these are remainders, many from UK sellers (so add postage). I think the Kindle edition goes for about $101. Cheap!

DCH (even cheaper)
check out scribd

neilgodfrey
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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:52 pm

DCHindley wrote:
StephenGoranson wrote:It is in part interpretation of Josephus, but not limited to him. For example, Mason discusses the way Vespasian and Titus used propaganda about the war politically. How much a reader will find new depends in part on what has been read before. For example, Mason continues (as in previous works) to regard Josephus as highly skilled in Greek rhetoric and somewhat less dependent on (or limited by) sources than some other modern historians think.
There was a while there (Josephus in the NT, 1st ed. 1992) when I was not sure Mason was confident that he could distinguish historical facts from Josephus' rhetoric. I think I skimmed his 2001 edition at the library, and if anything he seemed even more skeptical that anything good can come out of Josephus' mouth.

Shaye Cohen (Josephus in Galilee and Rome, 2002) discounts what he perceives to be rhetorical statements on Josephus' part, but Steve seemed (to me) to be really skeptical. If only a copy of the history of the war by Justas of Tiberias can be found (it was in libraries as late as 900 CE), maybe then we could separate the wheat from the chaff ...

DCH
I like Steve Mason's sceptical bent, but I guess I like novelty and to be learning new things all the time, itching ears, ever learning and never coming to the final point of truth. It's not only Josephus, but when even Thucydides finds it okay to create imaginative scenes of the Athenian plague entirely on the basis of "what might reasonably be thought to have happened", adorned with turns of phrase and imagery from the poets, and when Homer is counted among the ancient historians, and when Herodotus appears not to have traveled outside Greece anyway (quite possibly) . . . . I think we approach Josephus looking for Jack and instead we find he gives us Jill. And it turns out that Jill might be more interesting in her own way than Jack. It's too easy to take even the Roman and Greek historians too literally as if they shared our interests.

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Re: A History of the Jewish War AD 66-74 by Steve Mason (201

Post by maryhelena » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:32 am

StephenGoranson wrote:Here's a review of Mason's book by M. V. Novenson:
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2017/2017-02-51.html
I found this a very interesting observation on Mason's approach to the Jewish war with Rome:

  • There is one theme, however, on which, it seems to me, Mason mishandles his own method, namely, the religion of the Judaeans: their god, temple, priests, oracles, and so on. On the Judaean side of the conflict, Mason treats religion as an anomaly: extreme, irrational, and unusual, not to be invoked by way of explanation if simpler, more realist, more human factors (e.g., ambition, self-preservation) are on offer, as they always are. But I would argue that for the Jews, as for ancient peoples generally (though not for us moderns), nothing was more realist or more human than religion. For just this reason, they often expressed other, ostensibly more realist ideas in the language of religion. By their lights, military intervention by the Parthians was not a different, simpler outcome than salvation by a god. The former just was the latter. Interestingly, on the Roman side, Mason does allow for the tremendous importance of gods, priests, and sacrifices as social facts (see 139-155, especially 152-153). But he does not extend this courtesy to the Judaeans, perhaps on the assumption that their god has been given rather too much credit for the war already (see 199).
my bolding
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