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 Historical accountsJosephus, Flavius
"Antiquities of the Jews"

external link: BibleStudyTools: Flavius Josephus

Josephus' greatest work, Antiquitates Judaicae (The Antiquities of the Jews), completed in 20 books in AD 93, traces the history of the Jews from creation to just before the outbreak of the revolt of AD 66-70. It was an attempt to present Judaism to the Hellenistic world in a favourable light. By virtually ignoring the Prophets, by embellishing biblical narratives, and by stressing the rationality of Judaic laws and institutions, he stripped Judaism of its fanaticism and made it appealing to the cultivated and reasonable man. Historically, the coverage is patchy and shows the fatigue of the author, then in his middle fifties. But throughout, sources are preserved that otherwise would have been lost, and, for Jewish history during the period of the Second Commonwealth, the work is invaluable.

The Antiquities contains two famous references to Jesus Christ: the one in Book XX calls him the "so-called Christ." The implication in the passage in Book XVIII of Christ's divinity could not have come from Josephus and undoubtedly represents the tampering (if not invention) of a later Christian copyist.

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