Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Jewish Palestine: The Evidence from Josephus

Synopsis

Isolated passages from the writings of Josephus are routinely cited in general studies of early Jewish prophecy, but the present work is the first comprehensive examination of this material. Gray begins with a discussion of the significance of the belief--widely attested in Jewish sources from the late Second Temple period--that prophecy had ceased. She proceeds to outline a general theory about the nature and status of prophecy in this period. Giving careful consideration to the prophetic claims that Josephus makes for himself, she argues that these claims are more substantial and more important for understanding Josephus than is usually thought. Gray goes on to examine Josephus' reports concerning prophecy among the Essenes and Pharisees, and his accounts of the activities of the "sign prophets" and other figures. In every instance, Gray interprets the evidence about prophecy in relation to Josephus' personal career and his thought and work as a whole. Drawing on a range of evidence, much of which has not played a significant role in other studies of early Jewish prophecy, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in Josephus, the history of prophecy in Israel, or the historical Jesus.

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