Judean Antiquities 1-4/life of Josephus

By Stoutenburg, Dennis | Journal of Biblical Literature, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Judean Antiquities 1-4/life of Josephus


Stoutenburg, Dennis, Journal of Biblical Literature


Judean Antiquities 1-4, by Louis H. Feldman. Volume 3 of Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, edited by Steve Mason. Leiden: Brill, 1999. Pp. xlv + 615. $151.00 (cloth). Life of Josephus, by Steve Mason. Volume 9 of Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, edited by Steve Mason. Leiden: Brill, 2001. Pp. liv + 287 + maps. $44.95 (paper).

The present critical translation and commentary series not only revises preceding works by both authors (e.g., Feldman, Josephus and. Modern Scholarship [1937-1980] [de Gruyter, 1984]; Mason, "An Essay in Character: The Aim and Audience of Josephus's Vita, in Internationales josephus-Kolloquium Munster [ed. F. Siegert and J. Kalms; LIT, 1998], 31-77) dealing with Josephus's Judean Antiquities Books 1-4 and Life, but it also includes copious sources excluded from those studies, as well as emendations of observations made there and in subsequent examinations. The ever-increasing complexity of Josephus studies in the past two decades has led to a need for the kind of ordering and explanation to be found in this series. Beyond this, Mason's and Feldman's works have collected a massive amount of research that will undoubtedly elicit new studies in many fields related to Josephan literature.

Under Mason's general editorship, this series follows a format that is uncomplicated and therefore extremely user-friendly: abbreviations, series preface, introduction to the particular text, translation and commentary, bibliography, and indices. The indices in Feldman's volume impressively incorporate Ancient Texts (under the headings of Jewish Scriptures, Greek translations of the Bible [non-LXX], Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament, Christian Writers, Moslem Sources, Philo, Pseudo-Philo, Josephus, Other [Alleged] Greco-Jewish Writers, Rabbinic and Allied Literature, Mishnah, Tosefta, Babylonian Talmud, Minor Tractates, Jerusalem Talmud, Targumim, Midrashim and Other Rabbinic Works, Medieval Jewish Biblical Commentaries and Other Medieval and Modern Jewish Works, Samaritan Literature, Classical Greek Authors, Classical Latin Authors, Inscriptions, Papyri); Names and Subjects; Geographical Place-Names; Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic [Meanings of Hebrew and Aramaic Words], Arabic, and Coptic-Egyptian Words; and Modern Scholars. Life adds Appendix A: "Josephus' Galilee in Archaeological Perspective, by Mordechai Aviam and Peter Richardson (pp. 177-201), with thirty-seven annotated plates (pp. 202-10) and eight maps (Judea, Galilee, and Transjordan: Overview; Galilee and the Golan; Galilee and the Coast; judea and Samaria; Lake Region: Detail; Lake Region: Large Detail; Lower Galilee; Upper Galilee-two back-cover inserts); Appendix B: "Josephus' Itinerary in the Life," with reference to H. St. J. Thackeray and K. E. Niese (pp. 211-12); Appendix C: "Synopsis: Parallel Episodes in Josephus' Life and War," including both narrative and thematic parallels (pp. 213-22); Appendix D: "Hapax Legomena: Josephan Vocabulary Appearing Only in the Life" (pp. 223-24); Appendix E: "Photius, Bibliotheca, Codex 33" (p. 225).

The present study differs from former analyses in two major respects. First, it presents a comprehensive literary-historical commentary on Antiquities 1-4 and Life, whereas in general the Loeb series serves primarily as a modern English translation with text-critical apparatus, while Whiston's work (1737) offers both uncritical and outdated commentary in antiquated language. Second, it provides a comprehensive and informed contextualization of Josephus within his own literary and historical contexts, arranged in logical and sequential manner, so that the reader may be able to see the state of the question for various facets of Josephan scholarship. Previous studies of Antiquities 1-4 and Life have treated the material thematically and selectively, with limited indication of the connection of other related works.

Both Mason and Feldman provide extensive, albeit selective, bibliographies, including some three hundred (313) to nearly six hundred (591) entries respectively. …

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