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Josephus by Norman Bentwich

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studied are Strabo of Amasea (in Pontus) and Nicholas 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. Nearly the whole of it has
disappeared, but we can tell from Josephus' excerpts that he appreciated
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 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, Nicholas, 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 comparative Hellenistic
history, which he brings into relation with the story of the Hasmoneans.
When he comes to the epoch of Herod, the disproportionate fulness, the
vivacity, and the dramatic power of the narrative 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

Among Roman writers of his own day whom Josephus used was the Emperor
Vespasian himself, who, to record his exploits, wrote _Commentaries on
the Jewish War_, which were placed at his client's disposal.[1] In the
competition of flattery that greeted the new Flavian dynasty, various
Roman 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 monotony of Roman supremacy, the triumph over the Jews,
which had placed the Flavian house on the throne, was a happy
opportunity for ambitious authors.

[Footnote 1: Vita, 68.]

[Footnote 2: C. Ap. 9-10.]

It has been suggested that the Roman point of view that pervades the
_Wars_ of Josephus, the frequent absence of sympathy with the Jewish
cause, and the incongruous pagan ideas, which surprise us, can be
explained by the fact that the Jewish writer founded his account on that
of Antonius Julianus, which is referred to by the Christian apologist
Minucius[1] as a standard authority on the destruction of Jerusalem.
Antonius is mentioned by Josephus as one of the Roman staff who gave his
opinion in favor of the burning of the Temple, and he has also been
ingeniously identified with the Roman general (called [Hebrew: Otaninus]
or [Hebrew: Ananitus]) who engaged in controversy with Rabbi Johanan ben
Zakkai.[2] 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 Gentile accounts
of the struggle, and he often slavishly adopted not only their record of
facts but their expressions of opinion. In point of time Tacitus might
have derived from Josephus his summary of the Jewish Wars, part of which
has come down to us, and on some points the Jewish and the Roman 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 Jews, and who had no love of
research, turned to a Jewish chronicle for his information, when he had
a number of Roman and Greek authors to provide him with food for his

[Footnote 1: Epist. ad Octav. 33.]

[Footnote 2: Yer. Sanhedrin, i. 4. Comp. Schlatter, Zur Topographie und
Geschichte Palästinas, pp. 97_ff_.]

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, Unfortunately we have to depend almost entirely on a hostile
rival's spitefulness and malice for our knowledge of 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
character 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 commander; 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 judgment of the work, because, apart
from the abuse of Josephus, the criticism we have comes merely from
ecclesiastical historians, who imbibed Josephus' personal enmity as
though it were the pure milk of truth. Eusebius and Jerome[1] 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 disappearance 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 interpolated, as
Josephus was, with a passage about Jesus.[2] Hence Photius says that he
passed over many of the most important occurrences.[3] We know of him
now only by the charges of Josephus and a few disconnected fragments.

[Footnote 1: Hist. Eccl. III. x. 8; De Viris Illustr, 14.]

[Footnote 2: See below, pp. 241 ff.]

[Footnote 3: Bibl. Cod. 33.]

Coming now to the works of Josephus, his prefaces give a full account of
his historical motives. He originally 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 predecessors
contain sometimes slanders, sometimes eulogies, 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 contrasts the merit of one who composes
by his own industry a history of events not hitherto faithfully
recorded, 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 history] of the Jews,
because many before me, both among my own people and the Greeks, have
composed 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 Jerusalem 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

[Footnote 1: B.J., Preface. The Greek name _Archaeologia_ is regularly
rendered by _Antiquities_, but it means simply the early history.]

In the first book and the greater part of the second, where he is taken
up with the preliminary introduction, he had ample sources before him,
and his functions 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 of antiquity
he introduces his general ideas upon the march 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 Roman attitude. The
work, in fact, bears the character 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 approved style.[1] It was accepted in Rome as the standard 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

[Footnote 1: C. Ap. 8. See below, p. 221.]

If in the _Wars_ Josephus assumes the air of a scientific 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-Roman society a fresh account
of the ancestry and the early history of his people and of the
constitution of their government. The Roman _Archaeologia_ of Dionysius
of Halicarnassus, who fifty years earlier had written in twenty books
the early events of Rome, probably suggested the division 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
magnitude of the labor of translating the history into an unaccustomed
tongue. He ascribes the impulse to carry 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.

[Footnote 1: Ant. XX. xi. 3.]

Following on the destruction of Jerusalem, a passion 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 infatuation 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 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 submission of
her enemies, but to their cultural and intellectual 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 degradation. 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 misanthropy, and for those who looked to him as the accredited
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 character. 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 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 tolerable 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 naïveté, 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 enhanced by
inaccuracy. His own or his assumed materialistic fatalism lowers the God
of the Bible to a Power which materially rewards the righteous and
punishes the wicked. In this immediate retribution he finds the surest
sign of Divine Providence, and it is this lesson which he is most
anxious to assert throughout his work. But he is at pains to dispel the
idea of a special Providence for Israel. The material power of Rome made
him desert in life the Jewish cause; the material thought of Rome made
him dissimulate in literature the full creed of Judaism.

The second part of the _Antiquities_ is a more ambitious 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 chronology and perverting the succession of
events to cover up a gap. But he does contrive to produce a connected
narrative and to provide some kind of continuous 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 succeeds
in presenting a picture of Herod that has a 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 Judaism 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
manifestations 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 attempt to inculcate the higher
moral outlook of his people. In soul, too, he is Romanized. He admires
above all material power; he exhibits material conceptions of
Providence; he looks always for material causes. Altogether the
_Antiquities_ is a work invaluable 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 who, despite the publication of his history, still continued
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 Roman Emperor, 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 historian, 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 Jewish side to the calumnies of the enemies
of the Jews.

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
Romans.[1] Josephus retorts that, before he was appointed governor,
Justus and the people of Tiberias 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 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,[2]
Josephus proceeds to argue that he was a worse historian: Justus could
not describe the Galilean campaign, because 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. Conscious 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 issued. 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.

[Footnote 1: Vita, 65.]

[Footnote 2: Justus, no doubt, had done the converse, representing
himself as a thorough Romanizer and Josephus as an ardent rebel.]

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
philosophical meaning of the Mosaic legislation. The books 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
allegorical lore in the extant works, and his mind was hardly given to
such speculations. But a humanitarian 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 Christian 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 Universe_, or _The Cause of
the Universe_ ([Greek: peri taes tou pantos aitias]), which is extant,
but which is demonstrably of Christian origin, and was probably written
by Hippolytus, an ecclesiastical writer of the third century and the
author of _Philosophumena_. Another work attributed to Josephus in the
Dark and Middle Ages, and often attached to manuscripts of the
_Antiquities_, 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 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 Antiochus 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 animals 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

Again, of the Law as a whole he says:

It teaches us temperance, so that we master our pleasures 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 mastery of the arts of Greek
rhetoric, such as the Palestinian 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 knowledge 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 Judaism and a national ardor to which
the double-dealing defender of Galilee and the client of the Roman court
could hardly have aspired.

[Footnote 1: Freudenthal, Die Flavius Josephus beigelegte Schrift über
die Herrschaft der Vernunft, 1879.]

The genuine works of Josephus reveal him not as a philosopher or sturdy
preacher of Judaism, 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 Jewish 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 historian. And while he acquired
something of the art of historical writing from his models, he lost the
intuitive 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 independent
research into past events, and he was unconscionable 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
misrepresentation 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.



The first work of Josephus as man of letters was the history of the wars
of the Jews against the Romans, 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 Vespasian.[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 Romans. 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 history, since it has entirely

[Footnote 1: B.J. VII. xv. 8.]

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 translate. The whole trend of the narrative
and the purpose must have been changed when he came to present the
events for a Greco-Roman audience. He was concerned less to instill
respect for Rome in his countrymen than to inspire regard for his
countrymen in the Romans, and at the same time to show that the
Rebellion was not the deliberate work of the whole people, but due to
the instigation of a band of desperate, unscrupulous fanatics. He was
concerned also to show that God, the vanquished Jewish God, as the
Romans 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 various 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 sedition of our own
that destroyed Jerusalem, and that the tyrants among the Jews brought
upon us the Romans, who unwillingly attacked us, and occasioned the
burning of our Temple."[1] And he apologizes for the passion he shows
against the tyrants and Zealots, which, 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."[2] 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.

[Footnote 1: B.J., Preface.]

[Footnote 2: B.J., Preface, 4.]

The alternative title of the work is _On the Destruction 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, beginning, as Josephus says, "where the
earlier writers on Jewish affairs and our prophets leave off." He
proposes 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 persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, and, save that
he expatiates without any sense of proportion on the exploits of Herod
the Great, Josephus is generally faithful 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
treatment of the Maccabean brothers, and not very accurate. 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 introducing any Jewish knowledge and
without criticism. His summary is of incidents, not of movements, and he
has a liking for romantic color. The piercing of the king's elephant by
the Maccabean Eleazar, the prediction by an Essene of the murder of
Antigonus, 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 interpret 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.

[Footnote 1: B.J. I. v. 2.]

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 Roman Empire; but while in the
_Antiquities_ Josephus refers several times to the statements of two or
three of the Greco-Roman 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.

He gives an elaborate account of the rise of the Idumean 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 Parthians, 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 buildings, and his magnificence to foreigners--all these
incidents are set forth so as to enhance his greatness. 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
fundamentally 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 Jewish doctrine of God's
goodness, is applied to Herod, on whom, says Josephus, fortune was
revenged for his external prosperity by raising him up domestic
troubles.[1] 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
Hellenistic thought of the time.

[Footnote 1: B.J. I. xxii. 1.]

Of Hillel and Shammai, the great sages of the time, we have not a word;
but when 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 followers, "that it was a glorious thing to die
for the laws of their country, because the soul was immortal, 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 favor of fortune, since from a
private station he obtained 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 multitude, 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
organizations. Indeed, this passage and the account in Philo are our
chief Jewish authorities for the tenets of the 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,
which consider the body as corruptible and the soul an immortal 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 described their doctrines in his books; and the circle for whom
Josephus wrote would have been glad to have a fuller account.

[Footnote 1: B. J. II. viii.]

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 freewill--a Hellenizing version of the saying 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
attribution of the doctrine of metempsychosis and eternal punishment is
another piece of Hellenization, or a reproduction of a Hellenistic
misunderstanding; for the Rabbinic 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 entirely 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 Providence.
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.

[Footnote 1: Comp. Abot, iii. 15.]

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 Romans 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, Josephus does not attribute a
philosophy to the Zealots, and out of regard to Roman feelings he says
nothing of the Messianic hopes that dominated them.

After the digression about the sects, Josephus continues 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 Jews, and the strengthening of the feeling that led to the
outbreak of the great war. But Josephus, always under the spell of the
Romans, 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 Emperor's murder. But about the attitude of
the different sections of the Jewish people to the Romans, of which his
record would have been so valuable, he is silent.

[Footnote 1: 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.]

After the brief interlude of Agrippa's happy reign, the irritation of
Roman procurators is renewed, and under Comanus tumult follows tumult,
as one outrage after another upon the Jewish feeling is countenanced or
abetted. The courtier of the Flavian house takes occasion to recount the
Emperor Nero's misdeeds 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 ([Greek:
stasiastai]). 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 elements. 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 rebellion. 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 pretense 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]

[Footnote 1: B.J. II. xiii. 1.]

[Footnote 2: B.J. II. xiii. 6.]

Josephus vents his full power of denunciation on the last procurator,
Floras, who goaded the people into 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 greatest turpitudes he was most impudent, nor could anyone 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 Nero's governors. His masters allowed him, and probably
invited him, to denounce the oppression of the ministers of their
predecessors, and the Roman historians Suetonius 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 contents of
Herod's southern stronghold of Masada, overpowered the garrison and put
it to the sword. Menahem 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 Roman garrison the pollution of the
city, which doomed it to destruction. In his belligerent ethics,
massacre of the Romans by the Jews is always a crime against God,
requiring His visitation; massacres of the Jews are a visitation of God,
revealing that the Romans 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 Romans had
to conquer, and he describes the Roman armies and Roman camp with
greater detail than any Roman historian, his design being "not so much
to praise the Romans 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 Roman authority on the war, that his geographical
and topographical lore is introduced not in its natural place, but on
the occasions when Vespasian is the actor in a particular district.[2]
Thus, he describes the Phoenician coast when Vespasian arrives at
Ptolemais, Galilee when Vespasian is besieging Tarichea, Jericho when
Vespasian makes his sally to the Jordan cities.[3]

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

[Footnote 2: Schlatter, Zur Topographie und Geschichte Palastinas, pp.
99 _ff_.]

[Footnote 3: B.J. III. iii. 1 and x. 7.]

All this would be natural in a chronicler who was one of Vespasian's
staff, but it is odd in the Jewish commander of Galilee. Again, he makes
certain confusions about Hebrew names of places, which are easily
explained in a Roman, but 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.[1] A Roman writer no doubt would have
regarded the Hebrew [Hebrew: Namal] as a corruption of the Greek word: a
Jew should have known better.

[Footnote 1: B.J. III. iv. 2.]

Again, he explains Bezetha, the name of the northeastern quarter of
Jerusalem, as meaning the new house or city,[1] a mistake natural to a
Roman who was aware that it was in fact the new part of the city, and
alternatively called by the Greek name [Greek: kainopolis], 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 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,[2] who in Hellenistic
legend was said to have been rescued there by the fictitious hero
Perseus. Describing the Dead Sea,[3] he mentions the destruction of the
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as a myth, as a Greek or a Roman would have
done.[4] His very accuracy about some topographical details is
suspicious. Colonel Conder[5] 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
explanation 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 predecessors that
are unknown, adding something from his personal experience and his
national pride.

[Footnote 1: B.J. V. v. 8.]

[Footnote 2: B.J. IV. ix. 3. Pliny says the same thing in Latin.]

[Footnote 3: B.J. IV. viii. 4.]

[Footnote 4: Tac. Hist. v. 7.]

[Footnote 5: Tent Work in Palestine, 1. 207.]

Apart from his dependence on others' work, his chronicle of the war is
marred by the need of justifying his own submission, his Roman
standpoint, and his ulterior purpose of pleasing and flattering his
patrons. Vespasian and Titus are the righteous ministers of God's wrath
against His people, His vicars on earth, and every action in their
ruthless process of extermination 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 bravery; and when
anything is amiss with the proceedings of the Romans, the Imperial
family is always exculpated. 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 thousand 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 overborne by his
council, and gave them an ambiguous liberty to do as seemed good to

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 Rabbinical
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 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. Adopting 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.

[Footnote 1: Hist. v. 12.]

[Footnote 2: Midr. Kohelet, vii. 11.]

[Footnote 3: Yoma, 9b.]

According to Josephus, the Zealots, who were masters 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 city should be taken
and the sanctuary burnt when sedition should affect the Jews." Josephus
shares the pagan outlook of the Roman historian Tacitus, who is
horrified at the Jewish disregard 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 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 political parties lacked the
spiritual standpoint of the Pharisees, who believed that the Torah even
without political independence would hold the people together till a
better time was granted by Providence. The party conflicts induced
violence and civil tumult, and Josephus would have us believe that
"demoniac discord" was the main cause of the ruin of Jerusalem. During
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
describes the situation rhetorically as "sedition begetting sedition,
like a wild beast gone mad, which, for want of other food, falls to
eating its own flesh." And 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 be a fit habitation for God, nor couldst thou
continue 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."

[Footnote 1: Hist. v. 13. Gens superstitioni prona, religioni obnoxia.]

It is curious that a little later, when he resumes the narrative of the
Roman campaign, and returns presumably 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 Macedonian 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 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 information
into his scheme. When he is original, he is apt to be unhistorical.
Josephus agrees with the Talmud that the fire lasted to the tenth of the
month,[1] but while the Rabbis cursed Titus, who burnt the Holy of
Holies and spread fire and slaughter, and Roman historians[2] declared
that Titus had deliberately fired the center of the Jewish cult in order
to destroy the national 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 description of the catastrophe, but he omits the simple
details that make the account in the Talmud so pathetic. "The Temple,"
runs the Talmudic account[3] "was destroyed on the eve of the ninth day
of Ab at the outgoing of Sabbath, at the end of the Sabbatic year; and
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' (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, but it
represents the unquenchable spirit of Judaism in face of the disaster.

[Footnote 1: Comp. Yer. Taanit, iv. 6.]

[Footnote 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
holiness, Titus himself set fire to it; and this appears to be the true

[Footnote 3: Taanit, 29a.]

Josephus, 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,
however, 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 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 everywhere 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 destruction. 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 Rome 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 back
on his own feeble constructive power, and was hard put to it to eke out
his material to the proportions of a book.

So careless, too, is he 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 apparently was a
commonplace of Palestinian natural science, as known to the Greco-Roman
world, and Josephus simply copied it.

[Footnote 1: B.J. VII. iv. 4.]

[Footnote 2: B.J. VII. vi. 4.]

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 fastness
overlooking the Dead Sea, which had been fortified 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.

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 indeed 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 way in
which Eleazar might himself have spoken.

[Footnote 1: B.J. VII. viii.]

"'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
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 generous
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 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 himself. Perhaps
this apostrophe hides the tragedy of Josephus' life. Perhaps he inwardly
repented of his cowardice, and rued the uneasy protection he had secured
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
Alexandria and Cyrene, fomented by the surviving remnants of the
Zealots. The first led to the closing in Egypt of the Temple of Onias,
the last sanctuary of the Jews; the second to slanderous attacks on the
historian. Jonathan, who had stirred up the Cyrenaic rising and started
the slanders, was tortured and burnt alive. As to Catullus, the Roman
governor, who admitted the calumnies, though the Emperor spared him, he
fell into a terrible distemper and died miserably. "Thus he became a
signal instance of Divine Providence, and demonstrated that God punishes
the wicked."

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 work he insists that he has aimed alone at
agreement with the facts; but industrious as is the record of events,
the claim is shallow. His history of the Jewish 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



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 because 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 themselves and
of his desire to reveal for the common benefit 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 afterwards 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
also, but in a much smaller degree, their method of presenting Judaism to
suit Greek or Greco-Roman tastes, as a philosophical, i.e. an ethical-
philosophical, religion. Perhaps he had become acquainted, either at
Alexandria or at Rome, with Philo's _Life of Moses_, which was a popular
text-book, so to speak, of universal Judaism. Certain it is that the
prelude to the _Antiquities_ is reminiscent of the earlier treatise.
Josephus 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
follow. 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 commonplaces 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
excellence of the Jewish law--these are the two main purposes 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 therefore to
proceed on new lines.

[Footnote 1: See below, p. 175.]

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 discrimination. Josephus
next, indeed, professes that he will accurately set out in chronological
order the incidents in the Jewish annals, "without adding anything to
what is therein contained or taking anything away from it." It may be
that he regarded the oral tradition as an inherent part of the law, and
therefore inserts 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 especially 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 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 exegesis 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 of falling among wild beasts, agreeing with the
Midrash that all the animals assembled to avenge the blood of Abel,[3]
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 Rabbis
likewise say, "From Seth dates the stock of all generations 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 relates 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 instances will suffice.

[Footnote 1: Gen. R. ii. and iii., quoted in Bloch, Die Quellen des
Flavius Josephus, 1879. The rivers are the Ganges, Euphrates, Tigris,
and Nile.]

[Footnote 2: Yalkut Gen. 21, 22.]

[Footnote 3: Gen. R. xxii.]

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
composing 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 Providence of their own accord. And death would not overtake 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 chapters 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 Damascus, 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, 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 be and were regarded by the less
educated of his day as being the utterances of an ancient seeress.
Josephus paraphrases 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.

[Footnote 1: Ant. I. iii. 3.]

[Footnote 2: Comp. below, p. 223.]

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 inaccuracy in dealing with dates and
figures, varying as he often does from chapter to chapter, sometimes
from paragraph to paragraph, according to the source he happens to be
following. He 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 onwards, 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

[Footnote 1: Comp. Destinon, Die Chronologie des Josephus, 1880.]

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 Jewish Hellenist, was always looking for deeper
meanings beneath the literal text. The Romans had no bent for such
interpretations, and Josephus Romanizes. He treats, for example, the
genealogies, the chronology, 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, he distorts the genuine Hebraic conception, and
presents Abram as a kind of Stoic philosopher.[1]

[Footnote 1: Ant. I. vii. 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 borrowed it from Nicholas, who is quoted
immediately afterwards, or from pseudo-Hecataeus, a Jewish
pseudepigraphic historian, to whom a book on the patriarch was ascribed.
So, later, following the Hellenistic 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 patriarchs. 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 the
offering of Isaac,[1] 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 blessing: "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 Shakespeare in the eighteenth century.

[Footnote 1: Ant. I. xiii. 4.]

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 embellishment
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] the name of Pharaoh's daughter is given as
Thermuthis, in accordance 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.[2] 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.[3]
Josephus makes no attempt to rationalize the account of the plagues, but
on the contrary 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
Rabbinic 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.[4] And after describing the drowning
of the Egyptians in the Red Sea--which Moses celebrates with a
thanksgiving song in hexameter verse[5]--he apologizes for the strangeness
of the narrative and its miraculous incidents. He explains that he has
recounted 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 were free from the wickedness
of modern times, seeing that even for those who accompanied Alexander the
Greek, who lived recently, when it was God's will 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 formula, which is regular when he has stated
something 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 Decalogue in a similar way. "I am bound," he says, "to
relate 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

[Footnote 1: Comp. Mekilta, ed. Weiss, p. 52. This and the following
Rabbinic parallels are collected by Bloch, _op. cit._]

[Footnote 2: Comp. Tanhuma, xii. 4.]

[Footnote 3: Comp. Eusebius, Praep. vii. 2.]

[Footnote 4: Comp. Book of Jubilees, xlviii. 18, and Sanhedrin, 91a.]

[Footnote 5: 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 deals summarily with the Mosaic Code in the _Antiquities_, but
announces his intention to compose "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 construction of the Tabernacle with some fulness, and dwells
particularly on the robes of the priests and the pomp of the high
priest. Ritual and ceremonial appealed 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 unfortunately he does not
describe the Temple service. He attaches marked importance to the Urim
and Thummim, which formed a sort of oracle parallel with pagan
institutions, and says that the breastplate and sardonyx, with which he
identifies them, ceased to shine two hundred years before he wrote his
book[2] (i.e. at the time of John Hyrcanus). The Talmud understands the
mystic names of the Bible in a similar way,[3] 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 common to the
Hellenistic-Jewish apologists,[4] on the symbolism 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."[5]

[Footnote 1: Ant. III. vi. 4.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. III. vii. 7.]

[Footnote 3: Yer. Sotah, ix. 13.]

[Footnote 4: Comp. Philo, De V. Mos. iii. 6.]

[Footnote 5: Ant. III. vii. 7.]

The ritual, in brief, typifies the universal character of Judaism, which
Josephus was anxious to emphasize in reply to the charge of Jewish
aloofness and particularism. 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
work 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 account 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 regulations 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 apologists enlarged on the humanitarian character of the
Mosaic social legislation; Josephus mentions without 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_,[1] he
dwelt more carefully on them. His interpretation of the laws, so far as
it goes, in places agrees with the Rabbinic 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 [Hebrew: zonah], which probably here
means a prostitute, by innkeeper, a meaning the word has in other
passages;[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
ourselves from the cold of the season of the year."[3] The Feast of
Weeks he calls Asartha, perhaps a Grecized form of the Hebrew [Hebrew:
Atzereth], 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
why some animals are forbidden for food and some permitted, but he fails
to fulfil his promise. Since, however, the interpretation of the dietary
laws as a discipline of temperance was a commonplace of Hellenistic
Judaism, which is very fully set forth in the so-called Fourth Book of
the Maccabees,[4] the absence of his comments is not a great loss.

[Footnote 1: See below, p. 234.]

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

[Footnote 3: Ant. IV. viii. 4.]

[Footnote 4: See above, p. 105.]

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 Nazarites, the Korban
offering, and the red heifer, and he completes his account 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.[1] Moses prefaces his farewell 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.

[Footnote 1: Ant. IV. viii.]

A few of his interpretations are noteworthy as comprising either
Palestinian or Hellenistic tradition. He understands the command not to
curse those in authority ([Hebrew: Elohim], Exod. 22:28) as referring to
the gods worshiped in other cities, following Philo and a Hellenistic
tradition based on a mistranslation of the Septuagint. A late passage in
the Talmud, on the other hand, says that all abuse is forbidden save of
idolatry.[1] With Philo again, he inserts into the code a law
prohibiting the possession of poison on pain of death,[2] 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
imitation of which might lead to the subversion of the constitution. He
introduces a law about evidence, to the effect that the testimony of
women should not be admitted "on account of the levity and boldness of
their sex."[4] The rule has no place in the Code of the Pentateuch, 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 [Hebrew: shemitah] (seventh year release),
stating that if a servant have a child by a 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 regard set on liberty. But Josephus may have thought that the
institution would appear ridiculous to the legal minds of Romans. To
accommodate the Jewish 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 instances 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.[6] Summing up the version of Deuteronomy, it may be
said that Josephus, by omitting a law here, adding one there, now
softening, now modifying, in some places broadening, in others narrowing
the scope of the command, presents a code which lacks both the
ruggedness of the Torah and the maturer humaneness of the Rabbinical
Halakah, but was designed to show the reasonableness of the Jewish
system according to Roman notions.

[Footnote 1: Sanhedrin, 63b.]

[Footnote 2: Comp. Philo, De Spec. Leg. ii. 815.]

[Footnote 3: Comp. Deut. 22:5, and Nazir, 59a, with Ant. IV. viii. 43.]

[Footnote 4: Shebuot, 30a.]

[Footnote 5: Comp. Philo, De Spec. Leg. ii.]

[Footnote 6: Comp. C. Ap. ii. 27. It has been suggested by Judge Mayer
Sulzberger that he falsely interpreted the Hebrew [Hebrew: 'Arur]
(cursed be!) to mean death punishment. Comp. J.Q.R., n.s., iii. 315.]

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 Roman readers. He omits, for other reasons, 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 dwelling-place for eternity."[1] He is at pains to
extol Moses as of superhuman excellence, as is proved by the enduring
force of his laws, which is such that "there is no Jew who does not act
as if Moses were present and ready to punish him if he should offend in
any way."[2] He quotes examples of the Jewish steadfastness in the Law,
which would have impressed a Roman: the regular pilgrimage from Babylon
to the Temple, the abstention of the Jewish priests from touching a
crumb 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 transgressors, 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 widespread allegiance it commands. Looking at
Judaism through Roman spectacles, he treats it as a positive force
comparable with the sway of the Roman Emperor.

[Footnote 1: Comp. Orac. Sib. 111. 271: [Greek: pasa de gaia sethen
plaeres kai pasa thalassa] and Philo, De V. Mos. ii. 126.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. IV. vi 4.]

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 before he ascends the mountain to die. He
exhorts the people not to lament over his departure. As he is about to
embrace Joshua and Eleazar, he is covered with a cloud and disappears in
a valley, although he piously wrote in the holy books that he died lest
the people should say that, because of his marvelous virtue, he was
taken up to God. For the last statement Josephus has the authority of
some sages, who discussed whether the last verses of Deuteronomy were
written by Moses himself.[1]

[Footnote 1: Baba Batra, 15a.]

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 Ruth is
inserted after the story of Samson. He substitutes for the famous
declaration of Ruth to Naomi the prosy statement: "Naomi took Ruth 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 advanced 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.[1] The
incident of Saul and the Witch of Endor is expanded and invested with
further pathos.[2] 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 approaching 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 hopelessness of resistance.

[Footnote 1: Ant. VI. viii. 5.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. VI. viii. 14.]

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,[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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
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 sepulcher 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 Rome, and prized, above all
things, material wealth.

[Footnote 1: Comp. Ant. VII. i. 4; Berakot, 4a.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. VII. viii.; comp. Nazir, 4b.]

[Footnote 3: Ant. VII. xiii.; comp. Yalkut, ii. 165.]

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
expelling demons, which is a science useful and health-giving to

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

[Footnote 2: Ant. VIII. ii. 5.]

Josephus goes on to describe how, in the presence of Vespasian, a
compatriot cured soldiers who were demoniacal. 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 thaumaturgist, 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 dedication of the sanctuary, and converts it into an
apology for the Jews 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 Thyself,
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 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
forgiveness, 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 proverb, and his neighbors, when they hear of them, shall be
amazed at their magnitude.

[Footnote 1: Comp. below, p. 223.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. VIII. iv. 2. Comp. Philo, De Confus. Ling. i. 425.]

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." Reveling
in the material greatness of the Jewish court during the golden age of
the old kingdom, Josephus catalogues 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 himself few digressions. He
moralizes a little about the decay of the people under Rehoboam,
reflecting that the aggrandizement of a kingdom and its sudden
attainment of prosperity often are the occasion of mischief; 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 narrates, as is proved
by the fact that he speaks of circumcised 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 Ahab'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."[2] Artapanus, or
one of the Jewish Hellenists masking as a pagan historian, may have
provided him with this reflection.

[Footnote 1: Ant. IX. xii. 6.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. IX. xv. 6.]

He spoils the grandeur of the scene on Mount Carmel, 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.

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

[Footnote 2: II Kings, 13:11.]

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,[1] in the reign of Jeroboam
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 part of his prophecy of the fall of
Nineveh, cutting it short with the remark that he does not think it
necessary to repeat the rest,[2] so that he may not appear troublesome
to his readers. In the account of Hezekiah he mentions that the king
depended on Isaiah the prophet, by whom he inquired and knew of all
future events,[3] and he recounts also the miracle of putting back the
sun-dial. For the rest, he says that, by common consent, Isaiah was 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.[4] 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" contained in
the apocryphal book of Ben Sira, which Josephus probably used in the
Greek translation.

[Footnote 1: Ant. IX. x. 1.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. IX. xi. 3.]

[Footnote 3: Ant. IX. xiii.]

[Footnote 4: Ant. X. ii. 2. Comp. Is. 30:8_f_.]

While he 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
mentioned 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.

[Footnote 1: Ant. X. ii. 4.]

As with Ahab, so with Josiah, Josephus sees the power of fate impelling
him to his death, and substitutes the Hellenistic conception of a blind
and jealous power for the Hebrew idea of a just Providence. He ascribes
to Jeremiah "an elegy on the death of the king, which is still
extant,"[1] 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 imprisonment. He ascribes to Ezekiel two books
foretelling 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

"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 Babylon, 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.[2] 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."

[Footnote 1: Ant. X. v. 2. Comp. II Chron. 35:25.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. X. vii. 2.]

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 repeating, 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.[1]

[Footnote 1: Ant. X. viii. 3.]

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 incomplete
list of all the high priests who held office. The latter may be compared
with the list of high priests with which he closes the _Antiquities_.[1]
These chronological calculations were dear to him, but 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 emphasize
the antiquity not only of his people, but of his own personal lineage,
and was moreover congenial to the ideas of the Romans, who paid great
heed to the records of their priests.

[Footnote 1: See below, p. 202.]

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. He 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 Rome, or maybe the coming of the Messiah, an idea
equally hateful to the Roman conquerors. He excuses himself by saying
that he has only undertaken to describe 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
historian, "and seems to be but lately built. Here the kings of Persia
and Media are buried, and a Jewish priest is the custodian." Josephus
borrowed this addition 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, affords 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 accomplishment. It is claimed for him that he
foretold explicitly 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 testimony of God. Hence the predictions of
Daniel are the best refutation of the Epicureans, who cast Providence
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.

[Footnote 1: Ant. X. x.]

[Footnote 2: Ant. X. xi. 7.]

When he comes to the history of the Restoration from Babylon, Josephus
follows what is now known as the apocryphal Book of Esdras, in

Book of the day: