This volume contains a fresh English translation of Josephus’ apologetic treatise Against Apion, based on the new textual research conducted by the Münster Josephus project. It also provides the first English commentary on this treatise, with comprehensive treatment of the historical, literary, and rhetorical features of Josephus’ most engaging literary product.
Against Apion contains the most important evidence for hostility to Judeans in antiquity, as Josephus responds to both Egyptian and Hellenistic slurs on the Judean people, their origins and character. Josephus’ robust defense of his people, with his striking account of the Judean constitution (“theocracy”), also constitutes the finest example of Judean apologetics from antiquity.
The commentary will provide a richly-documented resource for the many readers of this treatise – those who study and teach early Judaism, early Christianity, and the cultural politics of antiquity. It also offers the first “postcolonial” reading of Josephus, in his attempt to present his Judean tradition under the cultural hegemony of the Greek intellectual tradition and the political power of Rome.
John M.G. Barclay (Ph.D. 1986 University of Cambridge) is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University. His previous publications include Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE – 117 CE) (T & T Clark/University of California Press: 1996).
"this is a work of great quality which [...] provides us with an excellent instrument for research, and excellent reference for studies on Josephus." – Francesca Calabi, University of Pavia, in: Journal for the Study of Judaism, 2009
"Es handelt sich um den bisher umfassendsten und zweifelsohne besten Kommentar zu diesem Traktat, der in den letzten Jahren vermehrt in den Blickpunkt der Forschung genommen wurde ... John Barclays Kommentar zu Josephus' Apion ist ein Meilenstein in der Josephus-Forschung, an dem man sich gerne orientiert und der eine enorme Bereicherung für die Erforschung des Judentums der griechisch-römischen Zeit insgesamt ist." – René Bloch, Universität Bern, Bern, Switzerland "It is a first rate work of scholarship.I suspect that the commentary will be used principally as a reference work. It can be so used with profit. Each section is full enough to stand on its own. It will also reward those who spend the time to work through the whole.[...] I do not anticipate another English commentary to Contra Apionem for many years. Thankfully, we will not need one. Barclay's commentary will serve us well for many years." – Gregory Sterling, in: The Studia Philonica Annual 20 (2008)
All those interested in early Judaism, ancient apologetics, and the cultural politics of the classical world.