The Sicarii in Josephus's Judean War

Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observations


This book offers a comprehensive study of the Sicarii in Josephus’s Judean War. Detailed
rhetorical analyses are provided not only for the Masada narrative, where Josephus tells how
the Sicarii famously committed suicide, but also for all other places in War where their
activities are described or must be inferred from the context. The study shows how Josephus
adopted the Sicarii in his narrative to develop and bring to a resolution several major themes
in War. In a departure from the classical proposal that the Sicarii were an armed and
fanatical off-shoot of the Zealots, this work concludes that from a historical perspective,
“Sicarii” was a somewhat fluid term used to describe Jews of the Judean revolt who were
associated with acts of violence against their own people for religious/political ends.

Biographical Note

Mark Andrew Brighton is Associate Professor of Biblical Languages and Literature at Concordia University, Irvine, California.