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Editor: Westenholz
This catalogue was published to accompany the special exhibition "The Jewish Presence in Ancient Rome" held at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem from December 1994 to 1995. Edited by Dr. Joan Goodnick Westenholz, the volume surveys the history and character of Rome's earliest Jewish settlement, from its obscure beginnings in the second century BCE to the flourishing community of some 50,000 souls which had developed by the next century. The volume contains a catalogue raisonne of the objects displayed in the exhibition, all of which are illustrated and a general bibliography.
This synthetic treatment of Josephus and his times has two aims. The first is to establish Josephus' attitudes to the various Judaean aristocratic groups of the first century - priests, descendants of Herod, certain sectarians - and how these attitudes changed. The second aim is more speculative: to connect these changes with actual changes in Judaean politics and society in the c. 30 years of Josephus' literary activity, a critical period of transformation following the destruction of Jerusalem.
The first chapter examines Josephus' life from his detection to Vespasian, and suggests that Josephus always retained an interest in current public affairs, particularly those of Judaea. Chapters 2-4 discuss the changes of attitude within the Josephan corpus and place them in the context of the evidence of the coins, inscriptions, Rabbinic literature and pagan historians. It is argued that these changes allow us to trace the decline of the pre-66 aristocracy groups after 70. Chapter 5 argues that there arose a new aristocracy in the 80s and 90s, a rise which left its mark in Josephus' later work.