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Josephus: The Jewish War
ISBN 088029034X / 9780880290340 / 0-88029-034-X
Publisher Dorset Pr
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For seven years the might of Rome was challenged by the Jewish War of 66-73 AD. The conflict is known through the writings of Josephus Ben Matthais, an eyewitness and participant in the events he described. A patrician of the priestly class, Josephus was a general of the Jewish patriots at the war's beginning. Captured by Vespasian in the Romans' two month siege of the town of Jotapata, he remained a prisoner in the future Emperor's camp, rejecting the anarchy and class strife of his countrymen, and casting his lot with Rome. His education led him to emulate the classical writers, like Herodotus and Thucidydes. He wrote first in Aramaic for the Jews of Eastern Diaspora, and then translated his work into Greek for posterity. We meet Herod, the Agrippas, Vespasian and Titus; we experience the horrors of class war as well as siege and battle; we are made familiar with the society that nurtured the early church and the writers of the New Testament, and learn in detail about the Essenes and the Sadducees -- contemporaries of Christ and his disciples. His firsthand knowledge of both sides' actions lead to an account that is accurate and conscientious. While his numbers tend to be exaggerated, modern archaeology has recently substantiated much of Josephus' writing, providing further proof of this graphic work's service to history. [via]