From Josephus to Yosippon and Beyond

Text – Re-interpretations – Afterlives


Two millennia ago, the Jewish priest-turned-general Flavius Josephus, captured by the emperor Vespasian in the middle of the Roman-Jewish War (66–70 CE), spent the last decades of his life in Rome writing several historiographical works in Greek. Josephus was eagerly read and used by Christian thinkers, but eventually his writings became the basis for the early-10th century Hebrew text called Sefer Yosippon, reintegrating Josephus into the Jewish tradition. This volume marks the first edited collection to be dedicated to the study of Josephus, Yosippon, and their reception histories. Consisting of critical inquiries into one or both of these texts and their afterlives, the essays in this volume pave the way for future research on the Josephan tradition in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and beyond.
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Carson Bay, PhD (2018), Florida State University, is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Institute for Jewish Studies at the University of Bern. He has published on Josephus, his Latin reception and Pseudo-Hegesippus, and the Hebrew Sefer Yosippon. His book Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (Cambridge University Press, 2023), won a 2023 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award.

Michael Avioz, PhD (2002), Bar-Ilan University, is Full Professor in the Department of Bible at Bar-Ilan University. His research focuses on biblical historiography and early biblical interpretation. He is author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including Josephus’ Interpretation of the Books of Samuel and, most recently, Legal Exegesis of Scripture in the Works of Josephus (T&T Clark, 2020).

Jan Willem van Henten, PhD (1986), Leiden University, is Emeritus Professor of Religion at the University of Amsterdam, and Extra-Ordinary Professor of Biblical Studies at Stellenbosch University. He is editor of The Books of the Maccabees: Literary, Historical, and Religious Perspectives (Peeters, 2022) and co-author of Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity: From the Books of Maccabees to the Babylonian Talmud (Brill, 2023, with Friedrich Avemarie and Yair Furstenberg).
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

1 An Introduction to Josephus, Yosippon, and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future of a Josephan Legacy in Modern Scholarship
Carson Bay, Michael Avioz and Jan Willem van Henten

Part 1: Flavius Josephus: Context, Greek Text, and Literary Features

2 Interpreting Josephus Contextually: Composition, Audiences, Messages, and Meaning
Steve Mason

3 Josephus and the Bible
Erich S. Gruen

4 Ancient Jewish Court-Tales, Scriptural Adaptation, and Greco-Roman Discourses of Exemplarity: Joseph, Esther, and Agrippa I in Josephus’ Antiquitates Judaicae
David R. Edwards

5 The Language of the Law: Narratology and Register Variation in Josephus’ Cultic Laws and Constitution
Silvia Castelli

6 Free Speech and Moses’ Laws: The Limits of παρρησία in Josephus’ Works
Ursula Westwood

Part 2: Sefer Yosippon and Latin Josephus: Manuscripts and Text Criticism

7 The Hebrew Manuscripts of Sefer Yosippon
Saskia Dönitz

8 Beyond Flusser: The Text of Latin Antiquities 13 and Sefer Yosippon
David B. Levenson

Part 3: Sefer Yosippon: Traditions, Intertexts, and (Re-)Interpretations

9 The Beginning of the End: Yosippon’s ‘Aeneid’ and Adso’s Apocalypse
Ruth Nisse

10 The Maccabean Mother and Her Seven Sons in Sefer Yosippon 15: Interconnections with Previous Versions of the Martyrdom and Important Motifs
Jan Willem van Henten

11 Killing Matthias: De excidio 5.22 and Sefer Yosippon 81 (פא)
Carson Bay

12 Yosippon as an Innovative and Creative Genius
Steven Bowman

13 Sefer Yosippon as a Source for Hasmonean History: The Mysterious Story of John Hyrcanus and the Parthians
Kenneth Atkinson

14 Sefer Yosippon and Sefer Masaʿot: A Reconsideration
Daniel Stein Kokin

Part 4: Beyond Josephus and Yosippon: Reception, Afterlives, and Legacy

15 English Versions of Josephus in the Nineteenth Century: Omissions and Additions
Martin Goodman

16 Josephus on the School Bench
Meir Ben Shahar

17 ‘Josephus Proudly Presents’: Figurations of Josephus Presenting His Work in High Medieval Latin Manuscripts (12th and 13th Centuries)
Katharina Heyden

18 Between Josephus and Yosippon: Lamdan’s Masada
Yael S. Feldman

19 Schalit’s Modern Hebrew Translation of Josephus’ Antiquitates Judaicae: A Reassessment
Michael Avioz

20 Zena Ayhud (The History of the Jews): The Text and Context of the Ethiopic Version of Sefer Yosippon
Yonatan Binyam

21 The Christian Reception of Sefer Yosippon in Western Europe
Nadia Zeldes

22 Un-writing the End: Histories and Counter-histories in the Early Modern Yosippon
Andrea Schatz

Index of Modern Authors
Index of Ancient and Medieval Sources
Index of Subjects
Scholars of Jewish studies, especially Hellenistic Judaism. Students interested in Josephus, ancient or medieval Judaism, or Second Temple Jewish history. Libraries with Jewish studies and Classics collections. Jewish Studies institutes.
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