Shorter Reviews and Notices -- Josephus and the New Testament by Steve Mason

Article excerpt

Josephus and the New Testament, by Steve Mason. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1992. 248 pp. n.p. (paper). ISBN 0-943575-99-0.

The purpose of this book is to assist New Testament students in reading Josephus. The first chapter describes abuse of Josephus by Christians who used his writings to glean background information without considering his purpose as an apologist for Judaism, and who manipulated his writings to speak against Judaism. An introduction to Josephus follows, including his life, career, and writings, focusing on historical context; his world-view as a first-century Jew; his purpose in writing, and how various themes serve his literary aims.

In light of his purpose and perspective, Mason discusses the treatment by Josephus of persons and groups that are of special interest to New Testament readers: Herod and family, the Roman governors, the high priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. Mason's most original work shows how our understanding of the historical figure John the Baptist is enhanced when Josephus and the New Testament are read together. …