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By Wayne State University Press / 1987/
Titus Flavius Josephus, as a writer and historical figure, sits at the intersection of history. After being captured by Roman forces led by Vespasian, Josephus claimed that the Jewish Messianic prophecies pointed to Vespasian as the future Emperor of Rome. Two years later, Vespasian did become Emperor, and he granted Josephus his freedom. Josephus took on Vespasian’s family name—Flavius—and became a Roman citizen. As a historian, Josephus provided invaluable records of the Jewish War, addressed to the Jews living in Mesopotamia.
Throughout Christian history, the Works of Josephus have been indispensable in helping us reconstruct the history and the world of the New Testament. He writes from a unique position situated among these events: the beginning of Christianity, the evolution of Second Temple Judaism into Rabbinic Judaism with the destruction of the Temple, and the meeting of East and West as the Romans crush the Jewish revolts of 60s and 70s AD. With Josephus’ unique position in mind, Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata compile essays from world-class scholars on Josephus and his relationship to Judaism and Christianity.
Louis H. Feldman earned his PhD in classical philology from Harvard University. He is professor of classics at Yeshiva University. He has written Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World and Studies in Hellenistic Judaism.
Gohei Hata earned his PhD in Jewish studies from Dropsie University for Hebrew and Cognate Learning. He is a professor at Tama Art University in Japan. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and has written numerous books and articles related to Josephus, the Old Testament, and Ancient Judaism.