The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus
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Pub. Ed. $27.95
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First-century Roman-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus has become emblematic of the singular Jew in the Gentile world. With A Jew Among Romans, Frederic Raphael has written a bold new history of Josephus that places his life and works in proper context.
Joseph ben Mattahias fought in the Jewish uprising against Rome that began in 66 C.E. After making peace with the Roman commander and future Emperor Vespasian, he became a historian of the Jewish War and a Roman citizen. When Vespasian’s son Titus laid siege to Jerusalem, Josephus tried and failed to convince the Jewish leaders to surrender. While his histories, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, have been criticized as Roman propaganda, they are nevertheless historical landmarks.
Raphael charts Josephus’ transformation in a narrative that offers an incisive historical appraisal of Diasporan Jews seeking to blend into the cultures they inhabited. In portraying Josephus as the prototype for the assimilated Jew, he illuminates the lives of recurrent figures in the Diaspora, from Spinoza to Disraeli to Arendt.
Written with scholarly rigor and a novelist’s imagination, A Jew Among Romans is a fascinating look at an emblematic life.
Hardcover Book : 368 pages
Publisher: Pantheon Books Inc./Random House ( January 15, 2013 )
Item #: 13-647039
Product Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.25 inches
Product Weight: 23.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Very little is actually known about the life of Joseph, except for what he chose to tell us in his autobiography and other works. Thus Raphael was in the position of trying to make bricks with very little straw. But, drawing on his study of the classics at Cambridge and a lifetime of research, he succeeded brilliantly. Reading the book is like having a series of conversations with an erudite and entertaining Cambridge don -- very enjoyable.
Reviewer: Andrew J