E-Sustainability-The Amazing and True Story of Flavius Josephus. (Information Trends)

By Abram, Stephen | Information Outlook, July 2003 | Go to article overview

E-Sustainability-The Amazing and True Story of Flavius Josephus. (Information Trends)


Abram, Stephen, Information Outlook


He was born Joseph Ben Matthathias in Jerusalem, in 37 CE. He received the traditional education and intense religious training that was expected for a boy in a devout Jewish family, yet his life could not have taken more unexpected turns. Throughout his life, Josephus, as he was later known, assumed many roles: priest, soldier, commander, prophet, historian, and scholar. Critics, both in his time and since, have labeled him a traitor, liar, and con man. One thing is certain: He was born during interesting times, and his prolific accounts of his life and times provide us with some of our best sources of knowledge, sometimes our only source, for that period of history. His writings were the definitive primary content.

Josephus was born during the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, when Caligula was the emperor of Rome. We know from his writing that Josephus was an extremely intelligent scholar. General dissatisfaction with the Roman occupation of Jerusalem grew stronger throughout Josephus' youth and young adulthood. When some priests he knew were sent in chains to Rome in 64 CE, Josephus decided to follow them and plead with the emperor, Nero, for their release. His powers of persuasion won favor with the emperor's consort, and she supported his cause. His mission was a success; but Josephus was dazzled by the life he saw in Rome and came away convinced that the Jewish revolt against Rome was misguided.

Events conspired against this belief. Unrest in Jerusalem grew, and Josephus found himself commander-in-chief of Galilee. His military career ended in the summer of 67 CE when the Romans took the rebel stronghold in Jotopata. Josephus and his troops had defended the fort known as Masada against all odds, but in the end they were defeated, suffering from exhaustion and lack of food and water. Josephus, realizing that the situation was hopeless, claims to have counseled his men against rash action. Nevertheless, most of the men were prepared to be killed or kill themselves rather than surrender to the Romans, so the siege of Jotopata was a bloodbath.

Amazingly, Josephus survived the attack. He hid in an empty cistern and, once discovered, persuaded his captors that he had a vital prophecy for the Roman general Vespasian. Josephus claimed that he foresaw that both Vespasian and his son, Titus, would be emperor. Vespasian decided to keep Josephus around, in case he did have the power to foretell the future. In 69 CE, Vespasian did indeed become emperor.

Josephus was kept as a hostage until the end of the war, so he was an eyewitness to the destruction and chaos. It must have been a trying time for Josephus. On the one hand, he was alive; on the other hand, he had to watch the decimation of his people. Many people in Jerusalem thought Josephus was a turncoat and totally unscrupulous. Perhaps the many volumes of history he subsequently produced stemmed from a need to explain himself and justify his actions.

After the war, Josephus was taken to Rome, freed, and granted Roman citizenship. He was even provided with an income and a place to live on Vespasian's estates. He latinized his name to Josephus and adopted Vespasian's family name, Flavius, and began his career as a historian.

The first of Josephus' works was The Jewish War, his eyewitness account of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in Jerusalem. Josephus originally wrote in Aramaic, partly so that Syrian Jews could read the account and be warned against similar revolts. As a court-supported Roman citizen, he defended the position of the Roman emperors. A lot of Josephus' work was conflicted in this way. Later his work was translated into Greek.

Josephus also wrote a 20-volume history of the Jews, called Jewish Antiquities. It was modeled on the most valuable book of his time, Roman Antiquities, and based on research of Hebrew scripture, other Jewish writing, and Greek and Roman historians.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

E-Sustainability-The Amazing and True Story of Flavius Josephus. (Information Trends)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.