Avishai Margalit contrasts the legacies of a historian and a prophet
Titus Flavius Josephus is best remembered as an unparalleled chronicler of first-century C.E. Jewish history. His legacy also includes a military record marked by the betrayal of his peers and capitulation to the Romans. As a commander in the Jewish revolt, Josephus attempted to persuade his companions to open the gates of Yodfat for the Romans, and when the city fell, he reneged on the group’s suicide pact and personally surrendered. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Titus Flavius Josephus lived as a Roman citizen in the emperor’s palace, enjoying the luxurious life of a dignitary and scholar.
Josephus’s repeated calls for surrender to the Romans have been labeled as betrayal. In the September/October 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, distinguished scholar Avishai Margalit contrasts the historian’s tarnished reputation with that of the prophet Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah also urged total surrender to a militarily superior foe, the Babylonians. He tried to escape Jerusalem, and, much like Titus Flavius Josephus, was accused of trying to defect. Avishai Margalit asks: how is it that the Biblical prophet Jeremiah is revered while Josephus is criticized?
Avishai Margalit writes that “Josephus offers two kinds of defenses: defense of creed and defense of his people.” Josephus portrayed the zealots as irrational while defending the majority of Jews and the Roman dynasty, conveniently omitting the widespread support for the revolt and the atrocities committed by the Romans. Margalit writes that Jeremiah is also a historian, but “his appeal to history is not out of an interest in human affairs as such, but rather in history as a source of obligations to God. The religion of the Bible is, broadly speaking, a historically based religion; the primary arena of the Bible is history; the divine manifestation is set essentially in history.”
Neither Titus Flavius Josephus nor the prophet Jeremiah considered the creation of a Judean vassal state to be idolatry, and both took it upon themselves to warn their people of the superior military force of their enemies. Yet Avishai Margalit states that, “Josephus was tainted by his relation to power; Jeremiah was willing to risk everything. Josephus’s relation to power should not disqualify him as a witness in the court of history but it does disqualify him as a moral witness: a moral witness is never in the service of the ruling power.”
Not a subscriber yet? Join today.
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Bible, Brought Back to Life
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in September 2012.
The world of the Bible is knowable. We can learn about the society where the ancient Israelites, and later Jesus and the Apostles, lived through the modern discoveries that provide us clues.
Biblical Archaeology Review is the guide on that fascinating journey. Here is your ticket to join us as we discover more and more about the biblical world and its people.
Each issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features lavishly illustrated and easy-to-understand articles such as:
• Fascinating finds from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament periods
• The latest scholarship by the world's greatest archaeologists and distinguished scholars
• Stunning color photographs, informative maps, and diagrams
• BAR's unique departments
• Reviews of the latest books on biblical archaeology
The BAS Digital Library includes:
• 45+ years of Biblical Archaeology Review
• 20+ years of Bible Review online, providing critical interpretations of biblical texts
• 8 years of Archaeology Odyssey online, exploring the ancient roots of the Western world in a scholarly and entertaining way,
• The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land
• Video lectures from world-renowned experts.
• Access to 50+ curated Special Collections,
• Four highly acclaimed books, published in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution: Aspects of Monotheism, Feminist Approaches to the Bible, The Rise of Ancient Israel and The Search for Jesus.
The All-Access membership pass is the way to get to know the Bible through biblical archaeology.
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the illuminating world of the Bible with a BAS All-Access membership. Combine a one-year tablet and print subscription to BAR with membership in the BAS Library to start your journey into the ancient past today!Subscribe Today
Actually, it was Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, who had argued in Jerusalem to not oppose the Romans, but the Zealots and sicarii did not heed him. When it became obvious he was being ignored, he put himself into a coffin to be buried outside of the Holy City. It was he who went to the Roman forces and told Vespasian that he’d be the next Roman Emperor, a fact that was confirmed within mere days.
In return, he asked only that the Romans spare the city of Yavne (Jamnia) with its scholars, so Judaism would continue to exist.; the descendants of Rabban Gamliel, who was of the Davidic dynasty, and a physician to treat Rabbi Tzadok, who had fasted for 40 years to stave off the destruction of Jerusalem.
One easily seen source for this is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yohanan_ben_Zakkai#Yochanan's_encounter_with_Vespasian. However, my source of this is the G’mara (Talmud) itself.
Carbon dating allows for the age estimation. The releases of carbon dioxide into the biosphere as a consequence of industrialization have additionally depressed the proportion of carbon-14 by a couple of p.c; conversely, the quantity of carbon-14 was elevated by above-floor nuclear bomb exams that were carried out into the early 1960s. Additionally, an increase in the solar wind or the Earth’s magnetic discipline above the present worth would depress the quantity of carbon-14 created in the atmosphere. Additionally, though I wonâ€™t focus on Tinder in this post, it’s value downloading it to your telephone regardless that I donâ€™t recommend it for locating a long term relationship. We had a historical past even before we had a relationship. Do you dream of an everlasting relationship that lasts longer than one Valentine Day? A sangoma is someone who can willfully connect with a number of of your loved ones who’ve passed on; a sangoma is somebody who makes a speciality of communicating intuitive information about your life, relationships and your future.
And we get it as a result of first dates can make or break the second one, and the third one and so forth. I felt like a giddy teenager and placed on qpid my favourite gown, put my contact lenses in and went to the salon to get my hair styled. â€œThe dance flooring is empty and your favorite music is played. What are your favourite hobbies/interests? Oranumâ€™s psychics can be found 24/7 in each single time zone, and you can easily find out which readers are dwell by visiting their homepage. A site with extra girls than men, there is no particular kind of single individual for the site as people of all ages are on there surfing for dates, though a majority of the members are over 35, as I discussed earlier than. I am unable to inform in the event that they’re the jealous kind. The brainchild of our PM Meg Dimma, VIBE began in our Foundations course as an thought for a brand new kind of dating app, and stored growing from there. The results of the conferences is due on Oct. 26 and if no candidate wins more than half the vote there might be a run-off. So, in case you try to sign up, you’ll be blocked because of your foreign IP address.
Even so, Seeking Millionaire steps out of its forerunnerâ€™s shadow by also giving members an opportunity at dating a millionaire. Nonetheless, the pair have remained close for the reason that collapse of their marriage and subsequent divorce – hanging out collectively and even posting snaps of each other online as well as working on Strictly together. I’ve by no means wondered what his intentions have been or how he feels about me. Alex begins his on-line journey on the lookout for a one-evening stand however eventually finds a lady that he feels is particular. We’ve got prepared for you a list of the main points to consider when on the lookout for a bride. Have you ever ever gotten back along with an ex? When i first traveled to Germany approach again in 2000, online dating really didnâ€™t exist. With out a way to disprove your involvement, you might lose your job or worse. And then, if you happen to donâ€™t wish to danger legal complications or even shedding your payoff, you would possibly wish to verify yourself earlier than you drive exterior of that state. Try your potential date on social media. In reality, simply organizing all one’s social contacts can get complicated.
Most websites may also allow you to jot down about your self in a extra freeform method — a chance to get across more of your character than a collection of pull-down lists can provide. The preferences can be set and matched according to the totally different answers you provided to the categorized questions and queries. Earlier than you know it you will have the particular person of your desires at your aspect. In addition they come with a charging case that can make it attainable for them to be used for 28 hours before youâ€™ll need to seek out an outlet. Whereas you can find good sites in pretty much any niche, the sites and apps Iâ€™ll focus on under are geared towards mainstream daters. When I was in Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Ulm, and Heidelberg, I would regularly login to those sites and apps to seek out 1000’s of users on-line at any given time. Also save your time and aggravation as a result of producing a person monthly take a look at.
Nobody can determine if Josephus was a christian or not but one of his writings he mentions in Antiquities to “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”. Though being born when Jesus died he definitely had contact with christians and may have heard of Jesus voicing the end of Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44 English Standard Version (ESV)
“41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” ” Jesus also gave a warning to christians when they were to leave Jerusalem and that happened in 66 when Cestius Gallus mysteriously fled the city with the Jews in hot pursuit. Josephus put the exit of the christians as a fulfillment and then figured that the end of Jerusalem was the next thing that was going to happen when Titus took command of the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus was trying to save his fellow Jews with this foreknowledge but in vain.
Okay, question. What about the prophet Daniel? How would he be viewed?
Didn’t he have an important title with the Babylonians or Assyrians?
Does anyone know the original source for that picture of Josephus?
It is a romanticized engraving from William Whiston’s 1737 Translation of Josephus’ works.
Was Masada a cover-up by either Paul or the Romans to locate and destroy any and all documents in an effort to whip out any evidence of Jesus of Nazareth and His Way Movement. Thus, setting up a new invention of the Christian Church and its absolute control with power, greed etc.
The major difference between Jeremiah and Josephus was that God told Jeremiah to proclaim to Israel that they would be taken into captivity by Babylon. Josephus appeared to be simply surviving.
The “facts” stated here are completely different than history and archeology has shown us this far. Very strange that it seems major things were completely changed for this post. Definitely a red flag and makes you wonder even more deeply.
Some of you say things like “Mostly fake history……His is not factual history, only sprinkled with physical facts 4some context. “Tainted”, eh?”. May I ask how, since you were not there, how you know such a thing? Do you have another source that somehow qualifies as more reliable(still not sure how you would know which one was more reliable) that contradicts the witness of Josephus? In fact, is there any other witness to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD? If not, I don’t know how you can contradict what he wrote.
Also, Joseph says “In Josephus’ time there were no Christians as yet. The religion took off like wild fire, but this was not in the first century. The term Christian first emerged 174 CE” and Darcy says “There are no mentions of Jesus by any contemporaries. Josephus was also born 3 or 4 years after jesus’ supposed death. Pliny the Elder would have definitely heard of a jesus if he existed and would have written about him but it never happened.”
Pliny the Younger(about 112) wrote about persecuting Christians, but Pliny the Elder may well not have heard about Him. Since most of his time during the life of Jesus and for quite a while after was spent in Germany, I’m not sure why he would be expected to know of Jesus who died over in Jerusalem during those years?
While it is true that the famous Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus was not a contemporary of Jesus and neither was Nero, Tacitus wrote about Nero(64AD) torturing Christians, and about their leader Christus being executed in the reign of Tiberius by Pilate(which would have been about AD30). Both Tacitus and Nero were a long time before 174AD. And for there to have been Christians for Nero to torture, then they must have been growing for some years before 64AD. Where do you get this “The term Christian first emerged 174 CE” idea? Or are you saying that Tacitus’ statement is a forgery? If so, how do you know that?
And what about the hostile references in the Talmud between 70 and 200AD? These are hostile to Jesus, but he must have existed for them to be so hostile in their writings. (Still not a contemporary, but awfully close). What about the Apostles? They were contemporaries for sure.
OK, I get that many no more believe in them than they do Jesus. But what about the early Church fathers, from many different countries, whose writings we have and date back to about 100? Some of them claim to have studied at the feet of the Apostle John. There are quite a few of these guys. Many of them existing way, way before 174. How could there be so many if the term Christian was not even used until 174? Plus, there is a copy of John 18 that dates to 125. 174? Good grief. I think more likely used by 64, by the time of Nero or earlier.
There are no mentions of Jesus by any contemporaries. Josephus was also born 3 or 4 years after jesus’ supposed death. Pliny the Elder would have definitely heard of a jesus if he existed and would have written about him but it never happened. The writings mentioning Jesus mysteriously pop up during the 3rd century and I commonly thought of as a forgery.
Everything I have red was of my interest
What about Daniel…..He was in the service of the ruling power
What about Esther….she as in the service of the ruling power yet revered as a heroine
What about Joseph…………and the list goes on!!
[…] Trapped in the desert fortress-palace Herod built in the previous century, the rebels chose—as Jewish historian Josephus tells us—to commit mass suicide rather than be captured and enslaved by the […]
[…] Josephus cites Manetho’s historical past associating the Israelites with the Hyksos, many up to date […]
[…] While Josephus cites Manetho’s history associating the Israelites with the Hyksos, many modern scholars see problems with Manetho’s conflation of the expulsion of the Hyksos and the Biblical narrative. Manetho lived many centuries after these events took place, and he may have combined two different narratives, wittingly or unwittingly, when associating the Hyksos and Israelites. Ahmose’s defeat of the Hyksos occurred centuries before the traditional date of the Exodus. In addition, the basic premise of the Hyksos and Exodus histories differ: the Hyksos were expelled rulers of Egypt, not slaves, and they were forced out, not pursued. […]
[…] Gregorian calendar is also a bit uncertain. According to a translator of a lawful interpretation of Josephus, a ancient historian who gives us a many minute (if infrequently unreliable; see sidebar) comment […]
No matter what Josephus did to save himself it was the will of God that achieved this. If a much less sophisticated and educated man than Josephus had survived he may have not had the ability or the will to leave so much knowledge of Jewish life and history for prosperity or to confirm the existence of Christ outside of the Bible in a secular venue.
good article but I would disagree with one supposition:
“Josephus’s relation to power should not disqualify him as a witness in the court of history but it does disqualify him as a moral witness: a moral witness is never in the service of the ruling power.”
I would say Yosef (Joseph) under Potiphar and then under Pharaoh brings just a couple of many examples to mind of the an antithesis of the above quote from this article . . .
I understand the premise of the supposition, but “NEVER”
I concur, most forget that Jeremiah was the king’s nephew, that is pretty close to power….
Religion requires unconditional faith in rabidly believing that which is not sensible, in fact “childish”. [As Einstein wrote]
Josephus was clearly an arrogant, selfish and immoral man who quickly betrayed anyone 4his own personal benefit. He lived lavishly in Rome after many betrayals by glorifying Rome’s defeated Jewish enemies, making their defeat even sweeter. Mostly fake history.
His is not factual history, only sprinkled with physical facts 4some context. “Tainted”, eh?
Joseph – Acts 11:26 tells us, “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Acts of the Apostles was completed around A.D. 62, while Paul yet lived. Also, Claudius (r. A.D. 47-54)banished the Jews from Rome, “because of Chrestus”
In Josephus’ time there were no Christians as yet. The religion took off like wild fire, but this was not in the first century. The term Christian first emerged 174 CE. Josephus was a captive and his writings are inclined in white washing the Romans as nice guys. Otherwise, his writings of the temple stats, brick sizes and other details are 100% correct.
correction: … information about His LIFE, … WAS SOUGHT FOR, resulting in …
It is worth noting that Josephus is the only non-Christian source that mentions Jesus by name, which is not surprising since the immediate SECULAR impact of His ministry was minor, and those who were not part of the movement would regard him as just “one of the Jewish rebels” who got a few followers from time to time. Even WITHIN the Christian movement, it was not until the 70’s or 80’s that information about His LIFE, rather than His theological role as described by Paul, resulting in the Gospel of Mark; and not until the 80’s or 90’s that Matthew and Luke tried to get the scoop on His birth circumstances (since their stories contradict in several important points, they probably both relied on rumors). So it is not surprising that the first references in secular documents are to the Christians as a movement rather than the founder of that movement. Rome did not think Jesus was important until they began to worship Him!
Scholars are not sure how much of what Josephus’ writings say about Jesus are his own and how much were added by pious Christian editors to later copies. At a bare minimum, he seems to acknowledge that a “rebel” (from his viewpoint) named Jesus was crucified, indicating that this Jesus (there were probably others, since Yeshua or Joshua was a common name) was well enough known to be mentioned. Some other passages describing Him as Savior were probably added by copyists.
The romans won the battle, while the Jews won the war. The romans lost by winning, while the Jews won by losing. This is the eternal riddle of the people of Israel throughout the centuries.
The fundamental factor about Josephus is he was emmersed in a war much bigger than he realized, and this may also apply to us, this generation. Far from being limited by religious groups scoring points, this was an epic battle for Monotheism. Josephus’ focus was about survival and he would have never imagined the Jews would come out triumphant. We know who won because we do not worship Jupiter or Zeus today!?
Whatever else he was, Josephus became an instrument of God to chronicle the fulfillment of Prophecy.
His writings reveal the wonder of Christ’s call for the destruction of the evil city “that murdered the Prophets and God’s Saints” being carried out as he proclaimed in Matt. 23, 24 and the Book of Revelation..