Synagogues in the Works of Flavius Josephus, Andrew Krause analyses the place of the synagogue within the cultural and spatial rhetoric of Flavius Josephus. Engaging with both rhetorical critical methods and critical spatial theories, Krause argues that in his later writings Josephus portrays the Jewish institutions as an important aspect of the post-Temple, pan-diasporic Judaism that he creates. Specifically, Josephus consistently treats the synagogue as a supra-local rallying point for the Jews throughout the world, in which the Jewish customs and Law may be practiced and disseminated following the loss of the Temple and the Land. Conversely, in his earliest extant work,
Bellum judaicum, Josephus portrays synagogues as local temples in order to condemn the Jewish insurgents who violated them.
Scholars have long believed that the “ancestral customs” of the Pharisees mentioned in texts such as Antiquitates judaicae 13.297 and Matt 15:1-9 were proto-rabbinic oral tradition, based on apparently corroborating readings of Rabbinic works. However, in this article, I will show that this terminology should be understood within the context of the codes of Graeco-Roman associations. Such language is consistent with both the use of association terminology elsewhere in Josephus, as well as with the corpus of association-related inscriptions and papyri presently extant. The idea of the Pharisees as a semi-private association is not unique, though this terminology provides further corroboration that the Pharisees were understood as a semi-private, itinerant association by contemporary Jewish writers.