Josephus in Modern Jewish Culture


The contributions to this volume trace for the first time how the modern Jewish reception of Josephus, the ancient historian who witnessed and described the destruction of the Second Temple, took shape within different scholarly, religious, literary and political contexts across the Jewish world, from Amsterdam to Berlin, Vilna, Breslau, New York and Tel Aviv. The chapters show how the vagaries of his tumultuous life, spent between a small rebellious nation and the ruling circles of a vast empire, between Jewish and non-Jewish cultures, and between political action and historical reflection have been re-imagined by Jewish readers over the past three centuries in their attempts to make sense of their own times.

"The project and this volume can encourage greater awareness of the complex origins of Josephus’ controversial reputation as a Jewish priest, diplomat in Rome, military leader of the first Jewish revolt against the Romans, as an advocate for surrender to imperial forces, as a witness to the Hurban, as a citizen of Rome, and as a historian....Recommended highly for all Jewish and academic libraries." - David B Levy, Touro College, NYC, in: Association of Jewish Libraries News and Review 1.2 (2019)

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Andrea Schatz, Ph.D. (2003), is a reader in Jewish Studies at King’s College London. She has published widely on language, nation and diaspora in the early modern period and the eighteenth century, and on Jewish interpretations of religion and secularism.
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Reading and Re-writing Josephus for Modern Times
Andrea Schatz

1 Josephus in Early Modern Jewish Thought from Menasseh to Spinoza
Jacob Abolafia

2 Hidden Polemic: Josephus’s Work in the Historical Writings of Jacques Basnage and Menaḥem Amelander
Bart Wallet

3 A Tradition in the Plural: Reframing Sefer Yosippon for Modern Times
Andrea Schatz

4 The “Maskil Hero”: The Image of Josephus in the Worldview of the Jewish Enlightenment
Yotam Cohen

5 Josephus and the Jewish Chronicle: 1841–1855
Sarah Pearce

6 Kalman Schulman’s Josephus and the Counter-History of the Haskalah
Shmuel Feiner

7 Kalman Schulman’s Hebrew Translation of Josephus’s Jewish War
Lily Kahn

8 In the Shadow of Napoleon: The Reception of Josephus in the Writings of Jost, Salvador and Graetz
Marcus Pyka

9 Dismantling Orientalist Fantasies and Protestant Hegemony: German Jewish Exegetes and Their Retrieval of Josephus the Jew
Alexandra Zirkle

10 Can’t Live with Him, Can’t Live without Him: Josephus in the Orthodox Historiography of Isaac Halevy and Ze’ev Yavetz
Eliezer Sariel

11 Josephus through the Eyes of Zvi Hirsch Masliansky (1856–1943): Between Eastern Europe, the USA and Eretz Yisra’el
Tessa Rajak

12 Taking Josephus Personally: The Curious Case of Emanuel Bin Gorion
Orr Scharf

13 ‘Flavius’ on Trial in Mandate Palestine, 1932–1945: Natan Bistritzky’s Hebrew Play and Lion Feuchtwanger’s German Trilogy
Yael S. Feldman

14 Reading and Interpreting Flavius Josephus in the Vilna and Warsaw Ghettos (1941–1943)
Shifra Sznol
All interested in the modern reception of Josephus and its relevance to Jewish Studies, History, Classics, Modern Literature, Reception Studies, and to wider debates on history, memory, nation, and diaspora.
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