Josephus in Modern Jewish Culture: New Perspectives


Title page of Kalman Schulman’s Milhamot Ha-Yehudim, ‘Wars of the Jews’, vol. 2 (Vilna, 1862). Schulman’s translations of Josephus’s works into Hebrew form a key step in the reception of Josephus in the 19th century.

Contributions of scholars from Europe, Israel, the UK, and the United States to the research project will be presented in a volume, which we expect to publish in 2016. The volume is edited by Dr Andrea Schatz, with the assistance of Dr Annelies Cazemier.

The book chapters examine how modern Jews built on earlier uses of Josephus’s writings and how they transformed them for their own purposes. In doing so, the chapters also seek to trace reasons for fluctuations of interest over time and in different places. Finally, the authors ask how larger trends as well as contradictions and paradoxes in the Jewish reception of Josephus were shaped by contemporary issues and how, in turn, they shaped them.

Throughout the volume it is apparent that Josephus remained relevant for modern Jews because of (rather than in spite of) the fascinating and irresolvable complexities and ambiguities of his persona and work.

The volume will be relevant for Jewish Studies and related fields such as Modern History, Modern Literature, and Israel Studies, and it will also be of interest to scholars of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Moreover, it will address a wider public whose interest in Josephus continues to be stimulated by the image and site of Masada and by current public debates on the history of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation.

For further information about the Volume, please contact Dr Andrea Schatz: