Reading Josephus

Other Greek writings of the New Testament era, including papyri and inscriptions
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Reading Josephus

Postby Louis L Sorenson » September 29th, 2013, 9:49 pm

What books are available to help one read through some of Josephus?

Is there a special lexicon tailored to his works? I know Henry. St. John Thackeray and Ralph Marcus, had been working on a lexicon. http://openlibrary.org/books/OL21877071M/A_lexicon_to_Josephus. Are there any commentaries dealing with the Greek or with some of his writings?

I'm also looking for "The Best of Josephus." What texts would be of most interest. I think the description of the temple would be one. The discussion of the Essenes, Pharisees, and Saducees would be another. Stuff about the Samartians, etc. I would like to build a list of passages that would be suitable for a Greek reader.

Logos has the Niese edition, which I believe has morphology attached: https://www.logos.com/product/5776/josephus-in-greek-niese-critical-edition-with-apparatus. Perseus has Niese' Greek texts and William Whiston's translation. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/collection?collection=Perseus:collection:Greco-Roman Perseus also has some tools. In addition, the Alpheios tools are available: http://alpheios.net/.

Many of the Loeb editions have not had their copyright renewed. Links can be found at http://www.edonnelly.com/loebs.html.
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Tony Pope » September 30th, 2013, 3:15 am

See also the PACE site http://pace.mcmaster.ca/york/york/texts.htm, where you can read Greek and English on the same page (Brill translation where available with commentary, and Whiston). The Greek words are linked to Perseus.

PACE also has Polybius in the same format.
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Ken M. Penner » October 1st, 2013, 8:04 am

Certainly you would be hard-pressed to do better than the PACE site Tony mentioned.
Note K. H. Rengstorf’s concordance lists glosses for each word. Rengstorf, K. H. 1973–83. A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus. 4 vols. Leiden.
You might be interested in Ladouceur, D. J. 1977. Studies in the Language and Historiography of Flavius Josephus. Ph.D. diss., Brown University.
For a selection of readings from Josephus, I agree regarding his descriptions of the various sects of Judaism (in War and Antiquities). I found Antiquities easier, possibly because a lot of the subject matter was familiar. Of course, the Testimonium Flavianum is crucial. I might also include his descriptions of other messianic figures. Life is good. Apion is not quite as interesting; it's harder (polished), too.
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby RandallButh » October 2nd, 2013, 1:47 am

Louis--
There are alot of 'favorite passages' that make for good reading. In addition to those that you and Ken mentioned, I like students to see the siege passage in War 5: 258-302, partially because it has the funny "son is coming" האבן באה ('patriarchal' is specifically Hebrew, not Aramaic) and also War 6: 281-310 where the strange occurrences before the fall of the temple and the sad prophet are described.
If students are mainly interested in NT, then things like the Archelaus delegation to Rome as the background of the parable in Luke 19 are also good reading.
If touring the Land of Israel, then the fall of Yotfat, a nice walk above the real Cana, is excellent though quite long. (Seems it was important to Josephus :) )
Other passages of interest would be the description of Gamla (a short movie is available at the museum in Qatsrin) not too far from Gamla itself,
and the description of the sea battle on the Kinneret is good when going to see the Galilee boat at Ginosar. Lowering soldiers down the Arbel cliffs makes a nice read//hike, too.

We've thought that a special Josephus course would be nice to run, where texts are read/discussed and sites visited, but the amount of text that students would need to read are so extensive that enrollment would be limited and not financially feasible.
The same limitation applies to doing a course on Herodotus or Thucydides. But the battle of Salamis overlooking the island makes a nice read after a Greek breakfast on a clear day. And then there's Pausanius.

I can only see this as feasible in a "pinnacle program" (to be discussed at the ETS Applied Linguistics section, Baltimore 2013) where third-fourth year students have reached a level of classroom fluency on par with what vigorous French/German programs achieve at upper division.
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby ed krentz » October 2nd, 2013, 11:00 am

Ken M. Penner wrote:Certainly you would be hard-pressed to do better than the PACE site Tony mentioned.
Note K. H. Rengstorf’s concordance lists glosses for each word. Rengstorf, K. H. 1973–83. A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus. 4 vols. Leiden.
You might be interested in Ladouceur, D. J. 1977. Studies in the Language and Historiography of Flavius Josephus. Ph.D. diss., Brown University.
For a selection of readings from Josephus, I agree regarding his descriptions of the various sects of Judaism (in War and Antiquities). I found Antiquities easier, possibly because a lot of the subject matter was familiar. Of course, the Testimonium Flavianum is crucial. I might also include his descriptions of other messianic figures. Life is good. Apion is not quite as interesting; it's harder (polished), too.

==================
I would suggest beginning the reading of Josephus with his treatise Against Apion. Read the opening of book 1 through his discussion of the canon, then move to his positive discussion of Judiasm in book 2. You will read some relatively easy Greek (though the vocabulary may challenge you) and you will learn how a literate Jew presented Judaism to a non-Jewish audience.

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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Louis L Sorenson » September 16th, 2014, 8:54 am

I've sent Steve Mason an email asking him what he thinks would be good Greek passages to read in Josephus. Looking at
Against Apion
, I have decided that section 12. (60) is perhaps the place to start in Against Apion. The English is....

As for ourselves, therefore, we neither inhabit a maritime country, nor do we delight in merchandise, nor in such a mixture with other men as arises from it; but the cities we dwell in are remote from the sea, and having a fruitful country for our habitation, we take pains in cultivating that only.

Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson.


I co-teach a Greek class and we are looking for three-four weeks of readings from Josephus (2 Loeb pages per week). Logos offers me the option to rent ($11 per month) the title "Early Chistian and Jewish Literature." Although I do not need crutches to read Josephus, many in my class do. So the Logos version of Niese could be used. I detest the Logos presentation -- If I want to read just the Greek text, I cannot. When I open my Logos Josephus texts, I have to have three lines of text, all above each other: (1. The Greek word, 2. The parsing, 3. The lemma of the Greek word found in the lexicon.); the same case exists for Philo and the Pseudepigrapha. Perhaps sometime, Logos will decide to offer an only Greek text for Josephus, Philo, the Pseudepigrapha -- but for now, Logos says I only need something close to an interlinear. (So the current situation is that if you as a Logos customer want to read Josephus, forget it. Go to the Perseus site and read their text, or get a subscription to TLG. Or go to Steve Mason's site. Logos falls flat on Josephus, Philo, and the Pseudepigrapha for students of Greek who want a text of only the Greek. You cannot get a Greek-only text to read -- If you want to read Josephus, or the Pseudepigrapha, or Philo in a continuous Greek text on the Logos platform, you are not able to do this.

It is amazing that such an advanced company that seeks to fulfill the requests of students of NT Greek and the ancillary texts falls flat on its face -- it cannot even give a student of Greek a pure (Greek only text). I think that says a lot about Logos and who they consider their constituency to be. I find this very disturbing, for a company that wants me to pay dollars each month for access to basically an interlinear. What are they thinking?
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Jonathan Robie » September 16th, 2014, 9:57 am

Why not use Alpheios for this?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Ken M. Penner » September 16th, 2014, 10:08 am

The following is not fair to Logos:
Louis L Sorenson wrote:So the Logos version of Niese could be used. I detest the Logos presentation -- If I want to read just the Greek text, I cannot. When I open my Logos Josephus texts, I have to have three lines of text, all above each other: (1. The Greek word, 2. The parsing, 3. The lemma of the Greek word found in the lexicon.); the same case exists for Philo and the Pseudepigrapha. Perhaps sometime, Logos will decide to offer an only Greek text for Josephus, Philo, the Pseudepigrapha -- but for now, Logos says I only need something close to an interlinear. (So the current situation is that if you as a Logos customer want to read Josephus, forget it. ... Logos falls flat on Josephus, Philo, and the Pseudepigrapha for students of Greek who want a text of only the Greek. You cannot get a Greek-only text to read -- If you want to read Josephus, or the Pseudepigrapha, or Philo in a continuous Greek text on the Logos platform, you are not able to do this.

It is amazing that such an advanced company that seeks to fulfill the requests of students of NT Greek and the ancillary texts falls flat on its face -- it cannot even give a student of Greek a pure (Greek only text). I think that says a lot about Logos and who they consider their constituency to be. I find this very disturbing, for a company that wants me to pay dollars each month for access to basically an interlinear. What are they thinking?

There is simply a setting you need to change in order to read the Greek text alone. Click on "Display" and unselect "Inline".
Logos Josephus Inline.jpg
Logos Josephus with no interlinear
Logos Josephus Inline.jpg (74.14 KiB) Viewed 744 times
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Tony Pope » September 16th, 2014, 12:09 pm

In case anyone happens to read my September 2013 post on this thread, I'd like to point out that the URL for the PACE website has changed and is now http://pace-ancient.mcmaster.ca/york/york/texts.htm

On the PACE site you can read Josephus (and Polybius) with either the Greek only, or the English only, or both as a diglot. Where the Brill translation is available (with commentary) you can have that as an alternative to Whiston.

And you can click on a Greek word and go to the Perseus Word Study Tool, from which you can access LSJ if desired.

I should also mention that using Firefox as browser I had to import an add-on (Charset Switcher) to get the unicode to display correctly on my machine.
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Re: Reading Josephus

Postby Ken M. Penner » September 17th, 2014, 9:46 am

Or you can read the plain text online at http://biblia.com/books/josgk/JosephusW ... AgAp_I,_12
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