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Abstract

Josephus’ Temple ekphrasis in his Jewish War (5.136–247) is a significant literary monument. The description of this quintessential Jewish holy place has a great deal to do with Jewish identity. In the late fourth century, the Latin Christian author Pseudo-Hegesippus, in his work On the Destruction of Jerusalem, rewrote the Temple description to emphasize Christian identity as central to the Temple’s construction, not Jewish identity. In the tenth century, the Jewish author of the Hebrew Sefer Yosippon rewrote the Temple description again to emphasize Jewish identity. By reading these Greek, Latin, and Hebrew Temple descriptions comparatively, one may identify an ongoing identity discourse about Jewish and/or Christian identity vis-à-vis the Jerusalem Temple. These three accounts, with each subsequent account based on the one that came before, illustrate a back-and-forth discussion between Jewish and Christian authors across a millennium about what the Temple means and is/was for Jews and Christians.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies

Abstract

The study of exempla and exemplarity in Mediterranean antiquity touches the methodological borderlines and interest areas of several distinct academic disciplines. Earlier studies focused on semantics and the development from the Greek παράδειγμα to the Roman exemplum. More recently, the field of Classics has tended to examine exemplarity as a phenomenon with a distinctively Roman edge. At the same time, scholars in adjacent disciplines like ancient Judaism and early Christianity have engaged Classics scholarship on this topic in their own work. This paper extends this arena by clarifying aspects of exemplarity within two paradigmatic texts of Hellenistic- and Roman-era Judaism. We examine 1 Maccabees 2:49–68 and Josephus’ Jewish War 6.99–110, both speeches set within “contemporary” histories written by Jewish authors. By examining these ancient Jewish passages, written within the Greco-Roman world, we help add clarity and meaning to what could be “Jewish” about exemplarity in ancient Mediterranean contexts.

Open Access
In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
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 several 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.