Presented here are the working papers from the workshops held from January 2013 until June 2014. For most papers, login credentials are required to gain full access, and this is limited to collaborators, investigators, workshop presenters, and workshop participants. If you would like to request permission, please write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Adcock, Oxfordshire City Council
Josephus, Augustine, Sabellicus: The Duke of Norfolk’s petition from the Tower of London
In 1546 King Henry VIII determined to destroy the Duke of Norfolk and his son, the Earl of Surrey. Norfolk was a successful general and Henry’s long-serving councillor. Norfolk and Surrey were imprisoned in the Tower of London and treason charges devised against them. While Surrey awaited execution . . .
Meir Ben Shahar, The Hebrew University
Jaddus the High Priest and Alexander the Great – Fact or Fiction? Religion, Politics and Historiography in Late 17th Century England
While little blood was shed during the Glorious Revolution, ink – used to pen many dozens of pamphlets and counter-pamphlets – flowed freely. The stormy disputes over religion and politics pertained to many areas of political theory and religious thought. In the following I will discuss one of the peripheral offshoots . . .
Steven Bowman, University of Cincinnati
Foundational Tales and Polemic in Sepher Yosippon
The recognition of the Foundation Tale in Sefer Haqabbalah by Gershon Cohen opened a new perspective on medieval Jewish stories. Scholars were already familiar with foundation tales, earlier studied as myths by Classicists, and later by scholars of Christianity. The claim by Rome to a dual apostolic foundation was early accepted by Christian leaders to recognize . . .
Saskia Dönitz, Goethe University Frankfurt
From Heroes to Villains – the Maccabees and the Hasmoneans in Sefer Yosippon
In the 10th century Southern Italy was divided into several areas with different cultural orientations. Apulia and Calabria were under Byzantine influence while also the Islamic conquests left its cultural prints. The Lombards reigned over the duchy of Spoleto and the Principalities of Benevento and Salerno. The region of Naples was organized as an independent duchy under Byzantine rule. Somewhere in this cultural hub Sefer Yosippon or Sefer Yosef ben Gorion was written . . .
Rivkah Fishman-Duker, The Hebrew University
Josephus in Byzantine Chronicles: An Overview
Byzantine world chronicles, written in Greek mainly from the sixth through the twelfth centuries, served as a major source of knowledge of the past and influenced the writing of history in the Greek Orthodox East and the Latin West. Written mainly by churchmen, monks or imperial officials, chronicles begin with . . .
Gohei Hata, Tama Art University
The First Edition of William Whiston’s English Translation of Josephus published in 1737
The English translations of Josephus have a long history, of more than four hundred years. Although the name “P. Morisyn” appears as the first translator of Josephus in the preface to the translation of Roger L’Estrange published in 1692 or in the preface to the translation of J. Court published in 1733, we usually regard Thomas Lodge as the first translator of the entire works of Josephus from both Latin and French. Lodge’s translation contains . . .
Edith Parmentier, University of Angers
Herod’s death rewritten by Eusebius
The narration of Herod’s final days is particularly developed and dramatized in Josephus’ War I and Antiquities XVII. Among the numerous overlappings of Josephus’ narration and the beginnings of Christian historiography, the episode of Herod’s death plays an essential role. Through the theme of the slaughter of the Innocents . . .
Daniel Stein Kokin, University of Greifswald
“That Noble and Famous Jew”: Josephus and His Writings in the Renaissance Italian Imagination
In assessing the reception of Flavius Josephus in the Italian Renaissance, we are confronted straightaway by a paradox. On one hand, the continued popularity of the ancient Jewish historian in fourteenth- through sixteenth-century Italy is well-known, the dissemination of his writings at this time amply charted. Manuscripts of Josephus were zealously sought out by and exchanged among humanist scholars and Josephus, after Tacitus, was the most frequently translated . . .
Joan E. Taylor, King’s College London
Josephus on the Essenes (War 2:119-61): Hippolytus, Porphyry and Eusebius
Since offering to present a paper in this workshop I have reflected on what ‘reception’ means: how might a work of literature be ‘received’? Perhaps because of my archaeological interests I am drawn particularly to the physical artefacts of ancient books: scrolls and codices. In visualising ‘reception’, it seems appropriate to . . .
Katja Vehlow, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Fascinated by Josippon: Four Translations into the Vernacular by Hans Schwyntzer, Georg Wolff, Peter Morwen, and James Howell
This paper traces the fascinating and complex publication history of one of the many versions of the Antiquities circulating in early modern Europe. Known to some of its translators as Josippon but originally written by the historian and philosopher Abraham ibn Daud of Toledo (ca. 1110-1180), the text covered the history of the Second Temple Period from Alexander the Great to Masada on what amounts to approximately . . .
Nadia Zeldes, The Hebrew University
The Renaissance Quest for Jewish History: Diffusion, Interpretation, and Translation of Sefer Josippon in Italy and Sicily
Several trends characterisic of the Renaissance period joined together to spark the interest of Christian scholars in Sefer Josippon which they believed to be the Hebrew version of the writings of Josephus Flavius. Renaissance humanism, as defined in ‘The Origins of Humanism’ by Nicholas Mann, “it is that concern with the legacy of antiquity – and in particular . . .
Jacob Abolafia, University of Cambridge
Josephus, Josephism, and Spinoza’s Critique of the Hebrew Republic
Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus has found itself at the centre of two recent scholarly trends, the study of early modern theorists who attempted to describe the political structure of the divinely ordered ‘Hebrew republic,’ and the growing interest in ‘civil religion’ as a crucial category in the history of political thought. By examining the role of the ancient historian Flavius Josephus in the general context of political hebraism and . . .
Jonathan Elukin, Trinity College
Josephus and the Miracle of Jewish History
In order to understand the influence of Josephus on post-Reformation English thought about Jewish history, we need to begin with Augustine. He believed the Jews had an important role in a Christian world. Although God had punished them by destroying Jerusalem and damning them to wander the earth, Christians should tolerate Jews because they were witnesses . . .
Oswyn Murray, University of Oxford
The Western Traditions of Ancient History
The study of ‘ancient history’ in western Europe has always been connected with the classical tradition and the influence of Greece and Rome on the formation of European culture. The critical and comparative study of this tradition with other ancient civilizations such as Israel, Egypt, the Near East, India, China, and Japan to create an ‘ancient world history’, arrived late and has remained peripheral . . .
Oded Steinberg, University of Oxford
Alfred Edersheim – Another 19th century ‘Jewish’ observation of Josephus?
It may seem rather peculiar that for a workshop on the Jewish reception of Josephus I choose to concentrate of on the writings of the Christian writer, Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889). However, as I intend to show, in his reception of Josephus, Edersheim’s opinion resembles the prevailing opinion of the leading Jewish historian, Heinrich ( צבי ) Greatz (1817-1891). Edersheim was born to a high middle class Jewish family . . .
Alexandra Zirkle, University of Chicago
Modeling a Jewish Exegetical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Peshat and Heinrich Graetz’s Commentaries on Kohelet and Song of Songs
The nineteenth century witnessed a flourishing of German-Jewish scriptural exegesis; over the century, more than ten German-Jewish exegetes published significant commentaries to the Torah or portions of the Tanakh. These remarkable commentaries were agents of cultural paideia, or Bildung; through scriptural hermeneutics, exegetes modeled cultural ideals for their nineteenth-century German-Jewish readers. Each commentary modeled a . . .
Steven Bowman, University of Cincinnati
Josephus and Yosippon in the 19th century
The 19th century introduced an era of nationalism in Europe and the Balkans. The French invasions and the spread of their propaganda under Napoleon stimulated peoples to activate their dreams of independence from the Ottoman Turks and helped more ancient peoples to rise in revolt in order to resurrect their ancient states. The contribution of Sepher Yosippon to Balkan nationalism anticipated the rise of Zionism . . .
Yotam Cohen, Ben-Gurion University
“One of the Greatest of the Ancient Scholars and Recorders of History”: The Image of Josephus Flavius in the Worldview of the Jewish Maskilim
Theoretically the meaning of the workshop’s title is clear: how Jews in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries accepted Josephus into the circles of their culture. But on second thought, some questions arise: why did Josephus need to be accepted? Is he a stranger to the Jewish culture? Some additional thought will clarify the issue. Josephus had two personae; this can be learnt to some extent, from his two different names . . .
Shmuel Feiner, Bar-Ilan University
Kalman Schulman’s Josephus and the Counter-History of the Haskalah
The first time I heard of Kalman Schulman was at a meeting with Prof. Menahem Stern in the corridors of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem when I was a young student. He was told that I was interested in the Haskalah and said that he expects someone to thoroughly study Schulman who played a major role in his life. In a nostalgic tone he revealed . . .
Lily Kahn, University College London
Kalman Schulman’s Hebrew Translation of Josephus’ The Jewish War
Kalman Schulman’s two-volume work מלחמות היהודים עם הרומאים (The Wars of the Jews against the Romans), published in Vilna in 1861-2, is the first complete Hebrew translation of Josephus’ The Jewish War. As was typical of translated Hebrew texts in the maskilic period (Toury 2012: 165-8), Schulman’s work was an indirect rendition translated not from the Greek original but rather via . . .
Eliezer Sariel, Ohalo College, Shaanan College
Orthodox Use of a Hellenistic Historian: Rabbi Isaac HaLevi’s Approach to the Writings of Josephus
Rabbi Isaac HaLevi Rabinovitz, who presented the most comprehensive, profound and significant Orthodox response to the wissenschaft des judentums school of historiography, at least in everything concerning the history of the Oral Torah, did not enjoy the honor this might be expected to have earned him in the pantheon of Orthodox Jewish lights. To a certain extent, HaLevi did not have good fortune. The Orthodox world did not appreciate . . .
Eyal Ben-Eliyahu, University of Haifa
Josephus’ Role in Shaping the Image of Tourist Sites in Israel
In this lecture, I shall analyze how Josephus’ writings have helped to shape the way in which events and sites from the period of the Second Temple I are presented to modern tourists and pilgrims in Israel. In the first section of the lecture, I shall focus on the sites themselves, examining the way Josephus’ identification and description have influenced two models on show in Jerusalem with respect to the Temple and the Temple Mount on the one hand and . . .
Jim Bloom, Independent Researcher
Psalm of the World Citizen: Alienation, Assimilation, and Zionism in Feuchtwanger’s Josephus Trilogy
It was portentous that the manuscript of the projected second volume of Lion Feuchtwanger’s (hereafter, LF) planned two-volume novel about Josephus’ life and times was destroyed by the Nazi toughs who plundered his Berlin home and forced him into exile. In a flight worthy of a spy thriller, the author escaped from a French internment camp in 1940 and made his way, via disguises, subterfuge, and safe houses, to the US to join fellow German refugee writers and artists . . .
Steven Bowman, University of Cincinnati
Josephus versus Yosippon since World War One
Yosippon, which as we have noticed in prior workshops, began to be challenged by Josephus already in the 19th century, not in terms of demographics but in terms of the new field of Geschichte, a challenge already successfully explored in the 16th and 17th centuries. For the previous millennium Yosippon has been the major source for Second Temple history among Jews and Muslims, and until the Renaissance it competed . . .
Yael Feldman, New York University
Masada, Cosmopolitan Rome, or Messianic Judea? “Flavius-Feuchtwanger” and the Turmoil of Mandate Palestine, 1923-1945
The powerful presence of ‘Josephus’ in the ethos of pre-state Israel is usually attributed to two textual events: the publications of both Simhoni’s Hebrew translation of The Jewish War  and Yitzhak Lamdan’s dramatic poem Masada [1923-26]. Much ink, including my own, has been spent on the impact of Masada as a symbol and a challenge for the new Yishuv, eager for national myths of heroism-even-unto-death . . .
Amir Mashiach, Orot Israel College, Ariel University
Incorporating Josephus Flavius and the Story of Masada in Halakhic Discourse
In 73CE, moments before the Romans broke into Masada, Eleazar ben Yair, commander of the rebels, addressed his comrades in two speeches, calling upon them to murder their family members and to commit suicide. The narrator of the story, Joseph ben Matthias, also known as Josephus Flavius, goes on to describe what happened next: . . .
Sarah Pearce, Southampton University
Josephus and the Jewish Chronicle
With the present issue, the Jewish Chronicle appears under new proprietorship. A grave responsibility rests upon those who, through the Press, endeavour to influence public opinion. That responsibility is not lessened when Jewish destinies are in the slightest involved—it is heightened not inconsiderably when the present position and the prospects in the immediate future . . .
Eliezer Sariel, Ohalo College, Sha’anan College
Can’t Live With Him, Can’t Live Without Him: The Approach of Ze’ev Ya’avetz to the Writings of Josephus
The approach of Ze’ev Yaavetz (1847-1924) a Zionist Orthodox historian, author of the 14-volume history, Toldot Yisrael, rests on three pillars: nationalism, Orthodoxy, and historical inquiry. I would like to briefly discuss each of these pillars, the most significant of which, in my view, is his nationalism. Yaavetz’s approach to Josephus will serve as a test case for his general historiographical conception. Yaavetz’s complex thinking reflects the varied mosaic . . . (Download an additional translation here)