Library JournalA century ago, the name Josephus would have evoked recognition from Westerners in all walks of life. His first-century eyewitness accounts of Rome's wars against Judaea provided classical scholars with valuable source material while his singular allusion to Jesus Christ made him popular with Christians. Within the Jewish community, however, there has always been controversy about his motives and actions. Was this Jew, who wrote so dramatically of the tragedy of Masada and the destruction of Jerusalem, a traitor to his people because he surrendered to the Romans and was honored by Vespasian and Titus? French scholar Hadas-Lebel explores Josephus's background and influences in order to answer this question. Her work is less a biography than an interpretation of her subject's behavior, thus defining his place in Jewish literature. Academic libraries may find this book a worthwhile addition. History Book Club alternate.-- Rose Cichy, Osterhout Free Lib . , Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Margaret FlanaganHadas-Lebel has penned an absolutely fascinating biography of an often misunderstood and overlooked historian. Born in Jerusalem in A.D. 37, the artistocratic Josephus was both a respected Jewish soldier and a statesman. Appointed governor of Galillee at the onset of the war between the Romans and the Jews, he was eventually taken prisoner by the Roman general and future emperor, Vespasian. Favored by Vespasian and subsequent emperors, Josephus willingly served the Romans as diplomat, interpreter, and court historian. Though freed several years after his capture, Josephus chose to spend the remainder of his life in Rome, where he continued to record Jewish history in such significant treatises as "The Jewish War, Antiquities of the Jews," and "Against Apion". A memorable chronicle of an authentic witness to the ancient history of both Judaea and Rome.
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