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Josephus and truth. Why start now?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.

Josephus and truth. Why start now?

Postby DCHindley » 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:

... [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:

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.


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.

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/arti ... 66-70-c-e/

DCH
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Re: Josephus and truth. Why start now?

Postby Secret Alias » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:11 pm

Amazing what gems there are lying around in old books. Thanks David
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
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Re: Josephus and truth. Why start now?

Postby Adam » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:23 pm

I remember Cecil Roth so well. His ideas on the Dead Sea Scrolls were charmingly idiosyncratic, that they were written AFTER Christianity and derived from it. Great words from a great thinker, but don't necessarily take him as authoritative. Quite an offset to Solomon Zeitlin on the other extreme of Jewish writers on the DSS, who seemed to have no basis for what he said.
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