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Anders Runesson, Donald D. Binder and Birger Olsson

Despite the recent explosion of research on ancient synagogues, investigators in the field have hitherto been forced to cull relevant evidence from a vast assortment of scholarly publications. This volume gathers for the first time all of the primary source material on the early synagogues up through the Second Century C. E. In the case of literary, epigraphic and papyrological evidence, catalog entries contain the texts in their original language and in English translation. For archaeological remains, entries provide technical descriptions along with plans and photographs. All listings are accompanied by bibliographic citations and interpretative comments. An Introduction frames the current state of synagogue research, while extensive indices and cross-references allow for easy location of specific allusions. An appendix to the catalog contains source materials on Jewish temples outside of Jerusalem.

Flavius Josephus: Against Apion

Translation and Commentary

John M.G. Barclay

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.

Vriezen and Adam van der Woude

Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature offers more than simply an introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). The Hebrew Bible remains not only the primary quantitative source for our knowledge of the literature of Ancient Israel, it also enjoys decisive religious and cultural significance for both Judaism and Christianity. However, increased interest in Early Judaism as successor to the religion of Ancient Israel and background to the New Testament demands an introduction that guides the reader through the maze of Jewish literature dating from the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.
This introduction primarily offers a literary and historical-critical approach to the material it treats. Given the nature of certain Ancient Israelite inscriptions, the books of the Hebrew bible and the texts of Early Judaism, however, it contains some religio-historical or theological explanations where appropriate. In particular, the literary-historical analysis found in this volume underlines the canonical character of the Hebrew Bible.
The book concludes with a helpful appendix that briefly explains technical concepts and exegetical methods.

Judean Antiquities Books 1-4

Translation and Commentary

Louis Feldman

Flavius Josephus is without a doubt the most important witness to ancient Judaism from the close of the biblical period to the aftermath of the destruction of the temple in 70 CE. His four surviving works--- Judean War, Judean Antiquities, Life, and Against Apion---provide the narrative structure for interpreting the other, more fragmentary written sources and physical remains from this period. His descriptions of the Temple, the Judean countryside, Jewish-Roman relations and conflicts, and groups and institutions of ancient Judea have become indispensable for the student of early Judaism, the Classicist, and the reader of the New Testament alike.
The priestly aristocrat Josephus was born in 37 CE and died around the year 100. After fighting against the Romans in the war of 66-74 and surrendering in the earliest phase of the campaign, he moved to Rome where he began a productive literary career. His four surviving works in thirty Greek volumes are widely excerpted for historical purposes, but still not often read in their literary and historical contexts. This project aims to assist every serious reader of Josephus by providing a new literal translation, along with a commentary suggesting literary and historical connections.

Please note that Judean Antiquities Books 1-4 is also available in hardback, ISBN 90 04 10679 0 (still available)

Resurrection of the Body in Early Judaism and Early Christianity

Doctrine, Community, and Self-Definition

Claudia Setzer

Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus

Translation and Commentary

Steve Mason

Within the writings of Flavius Josephus his shortest work, the autobiographical Life, has often seemed the simplest to understand: as a defensive response to Josephus' rival Justus of Tiberias. Read in this vein, it is usually regarded as the clearest evidence of Josephus' utter carelessness as an author and of his willingness to tell patent lies as he attempted to justify what he knew to be his own sordid behavior during the earliest phase of the war with Rome. Refocusing our attention from the personal character and psychological motives of Josephus (which we cannot know) to the work itself (which is before us), Steve Mason brings this crucial narrative to life in new historical and literary contexts. He shows that it is a carefully structured appendix to Josephus' magnum opus, the Judean Antiquities, and that Josephus uses it to unashamedly celebrate his character according to the values and standards of his time. In the process, Josephus explains much about the geography of Galilee and about the social and political world of Judea in crisis. Most importantly, however, he emerges as a Judean statesman trying to communicate with his peers from other Mediterranean centers. Thus The Life is a rich mine of information, not only about the specifics of the Galilean society and the Judean-Roman war, but also about Roman-provincial relations and elite culture in Judea. Steve Mason enriches us with both an excellent literal translation and invaluable philological, literary, historical, archeological, and sociological commentary. Josephus' extensive corpus is generally acknowledged to be basic for the study of Judaism in the Roman world, for the background to early Christianity, and for aspects of Roman history. This model for understanding the historian's autobiography provides a an agenda for reading the other volumes as well.
This is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English. Steve Mason, York University, Toronto, edits the scheduled 10 volumes.

Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus is previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 11793 8, still available)

Josephus in Galilee and Rome

His Vita and Development as a Historian


Josephus, a Palestinian Jew, authored Bellum Judaicum, which chronicled the Jewish revolt against Rome begun in 66 C.E. in Jerusalem, and roughly twenty years later wrote Antiquitates Judaicae, a study of Jewish history from the creation to 66 C.E. In both Bellum Judaicum and the Vita, an appendix to Antiquitates Judaicae, Josephus deals with his own role in the war. Although both works have apologetic aims, Josephus changes his story from one work to the next. By viewing these two works in the greater context of Josephus’s life and not in isolation from each other, Cohen traces Josephus’s development as a historian, as an apologist, and as a Jew. Cohen bases his historical reconstruction of Josephus’s participation in the war on a delineation of specific contradictions between the two works, a survey of the scholarship on the subject, a discussion of the literary relationship between the two documents, an investigation of how Josephus treated his sources, and a detailed analysis of both the Bellum Judaicum and the Vita. Comprehensive and contextual, this work will be of general interest to students and scholars of ancient Judaism and classical antiquity.

Please note that Josephus in Galilee and Rome was previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 05922 9, no longer available).

Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees

A Composition-Critical Study

Steve Mason

Mason has answered the call of scholars for a new, critical history of the Pharisees. Required is a careful analysis of each source's evidence as a prior condition of historical judgements. By analyzing Flavius Josephus' portrayal of the group, this study clarifies some of the crucial evidence that any hypothesis must explain.
Josephus writes about the Pharisees in three of his four extant works, describing their actions under the Hashmoneans, Herod the Great, and during his own tenure as Galilean commander of the revolt against Rome. This study tries to show how his discussions of the Pharisees contribute to his literary aims. With the help of K.H. Rengstorf's new concordance, the author explores the ten pertinent passages in their contexts, supplying also introductory chapters on the Jedean War, the Jewish Antiquities, and the Life. This analysis yields the conclusion that, although the Pharisees were the most popular party in first-century Judaism, Josephus was consistently hostile toward them for reasons peculiar to his own situation.

Please note that Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees was previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 09181 5, no longer available).

E. Mary Smallwood

It is remarkable that Judaism could develop given the domination by Rome in Palestine over the centuries. Smallwood traces Judaism's constantly shifting political, religious, and geographical boundaries under Roman rule from Pompey to Diocletian, that is, from the first century BCE through the third century CE. From a long-standing nationalistic tradition that was a tolerated sect under a pagan ruler, Judaism becomes, over time, a threat that needs to be repressed and confined against a now-Christian empire. This work examines the galvanizing forces that shaped and defined Judaism as we have come to know it.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Sabbath and Synagogue

The Question of Sabbath Worship in Ancient Judaism

Heather A. McKay

Sabbath worship as a communal event does not feature in the Hebrew Bible. In the context of the first century CE, according to Philo and Josephus, the sabbath gatherings took place only for the purpose of studying the law, and not for the liturgical recital of psalms or prayer. Classical authors depict Jews spending the sabbath at home. Jewish inscriptions provide no evidence of sabbath-worship in prayer-houses ( proseuchai), while the Mishnah prescribes no special communal sabbath activities.
The usual picture of Jews going on the sabbath to the synagogue to worship thus appears to be without foundation. It is even doubtful that there were synagogue buildings, for "synagogue" normally meant "community."
The conclusion of this study, that there is no evidence that the sabbath was a day of communal Jewish worship before 200 CE, has far-reaching consequences for our understanding of early Jewish-Christian relationships.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.