Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, 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. After fighting against the Romans in the war of 66-73 and surrendering in the earliest phase of the campaign, he moved to Rome where he began a productive literary career. His four surviving works - Judean War, Judean Antiquities, Life, and Against Apion, in thirty Greek volumes - provide the narrative structure for interpreting the other, more fragmentary written sources and physical remains for 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, of Classics, and of Christian origins alike.

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.

This is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English.

Schedule, Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary
Updated Schedule December 2018
Vol Authors Title Planned for
1a Seeman War 1 2020
1b Mason War 2 Published 2008
1c Seeman War 3 2023
2a Mason War 4 2024
2b Chapman War 5 2023
2c Martin/Levenson War 6 2020
2d McLaren War 7 2021
3 Feldman/Mason Ant 1-4 Published 1999
4 Begg Ant. 5-7 Published 2005
5 Begg/ Spilsbury Ant. 8-10 Published 2006
6 Spilsbury Ant. 11 Published 2016
6b Lembi Ant. 12-13 2021
7a Lembi/ van Henten Ant. 14 2022
7b van Henten Ant. 15 Published 2013
7c Van Henten Ant. 16-17 2023

8 Schwartz Ant 18-20 2020/21
A Composition-Critical Study
In the past two decades, scholars have called 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 Jewish 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.
Translation and Commentary
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)
A Composition-Critical Study
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).
Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, is among the most important writers from classical antiquity. The significance of the works of Josephus as sources for our understanding of biblical history and of the political history of Palestine under Roman rule, can scarcely be overestimated.

This is the second volume published in this commentary series, which is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English.

Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus is also published by Brill in paperback (ISBN 0 391 04205 x, still available)
Volume 1b in Brill's Josephus Project contains Book 2 of Josephus' Judean War (translation and commentary). This book deals with a period of enormous consequence: from King Herod's death (4 BCE) to the first phase of the war against Rome (66 CE). It covers: the succession struggle, the governments of Herod's sons, Judea's incorporation as a Roman province, some notable governors (including Pilate), Kings Agrippa I and II, the Judean philosophical schools (featuring the Essenes), various rebel movements and the Sicarii, tensions between Judeans and their neighbors, events leading up to the revolt, the failed intervention of the Syrian legate Cestius Gallus, and preparations for war in Judea and Galilee. The commentary aims at a balance between historical and literary issues.
In: Flavius Josephus Online