Extracts from Josephus, 
and Commentary

Part of the  Flavius Josephus Home Page     


The War
The New Testament

Modern Aspects

    Articles on signficiant topics in the works of Josephus are to be found here.  This page only includes articles posted on this site for the Flavius Josephus Home Page. For more Josephus scholarship on the web, please see the Links .

    An on-going work presented here are the Extracts from Josephus with Commentary. These are intended to serve both as an introduction and a scholarly resource to themes of Flavius Josephus. For each theme, I have tried to collect ALL of the passages related to that theme, thus serving as a convenient way to see everything Josephus has to say on a subject. Comments have been added to help introduce the context as well as to point out patterns and connections; but it is my goal not to stand between the reader and Josephus, letting the historian speak for himself. 

      Many of the translations in this collection have been reworked by myself based on Whiston and the original Greek (Loeb edition). See my Note on the translations and how to interpret reference numbers of the form  "Ant. 15.7.6 237-239".

If you would like to contribute an article to this site, please contact me .

- G. J. Goldberg          

The War

Extracts with Commentary

Josephus on 
Why the Almighty Allowed His Temple to Be Destroyed

The Causes of the War Against Rome


Part 1: Revolt in Jerusalem:
August-September 66 CE

Part 2: The Campaign of Cestius Gallus 
and the Defeat of the Twelfth Legion:
October-November  66 CE

Part 3: The New Government:
November 66 - March 67

Part 4: Josephus in Galilee:
December 66 - May 67
Part 5:  The Success of Vespasian 
January 67 - December 69

Part 6: The Factions Battle for Power
January 68 - May 70


Josephus as a Source for a Military History of the Jewish Revolt 

by Jim Bloom

"Josephus’ Jewish War is replete with detailed descriptions of the Roman army on campaign. Yet military historians have consulted it to interpret Roman warfare in every place except Palestine. A comparison between the neglected Judaean operations of 66-73 CE with the much-studied Claudian and Neronian skirmishes in Britain, shows that the Jewish uprising engaged over double the number of legionaries for a much more sustained period of conflict. So why is there no military history of the Jewish revolt based on Josephus?" (An abridgment of an address to the military classics seminar, Fort Myer, Virginia, September 19th, 2000) 

Crane Brinton's Model of Revolution and the Jewish Revolt

by Ken West

Crane Brinton's The Anatomy of Revolution (1938) identified a common pattern in the English revolution of the 1640s, the American Revolution, the French revolution and the Russian revolution. Ken West shows how the Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD compares to that model.

Lion Feuchtwanger
and his Josephus Trilogy

by Jim Bloom

The neglected German-Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger is one of the most stalwart defenders of Josephus’ blighted reputation. Feuchtwanger’s fiction trilogy, approximately based on Josephus’ discernible life history, is considered by many Josephan scholars to be in the forefront of the modern tendency towards moderation of the latter’s conventional traitor image. This article discusses Feuchtwanger's work and describes the re-discovery of Feuchtwanger's stage play about Josephus.


The New Testament




Josephus' Account of Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum
The highly controversial description of Jesus , newly analyzed. 

Extracts with Commentary

        New Testament Parallels

A comprehensive collection of passages showing the relationship between the works of Josephus and the New Testament. Highly recommended!

     Jesus of Nazareth -
  Extracts Related to Josephus' Account

The complete quotations of all references by Josephus to Jesus, James, and Pontius Pilate


        John the Baptist 
A discussion of Josephus' account of John the Baptist and its relation to New Testament passages. Includes an examination of Saulnier's dating of John the Baptist, discussing the discrepancies between Josephus' account  and the New Testament. 

 Josephus and the Star of Bethlehem

  The Star of Bethlehem described in the Gospel of Matthew has a number of similarities with a star that appeared over Jerusalem in 66 CE that was described by Josephus in The Jewish War (6.5.3 289). In an investigation of this resemblance, this article focuses on the idea that the war star influenced Matthew's account. 

         Honi the Circle-Drawer
A popular miracle-worker killed in Jerusalem at Passover. 

       See also 
Josephus on the Causes of the War Against Rome
which details the revolutionary movement, originating in Galilee, that lies in the background of the New Testament stories. 

Robert Eisler on the Testimonium Flavianum

     An extract from Chapter 3 of Robert Eisler's classic work The Messiah Jesus , in which Eisler reviews the history of the controversy over Josephus' description of Jesus (the "Testimonium Flavianum"), giving a number of interesting details that are not well known today.   Eisler follows this review with his own speculation as to the original form of the description, of which a brief synopsis is given.



Extracts with Commentary

Women in Josephus' Works-Overview 

Queen Alexandra

The full story of the the last Hasmonean princess, whom Herod married to secure his kingdom, and their stormy marriage. 

Esther - Her Point of View 
Josephus' retelling of the story of Esther, with commentary; focusing only on the passages in which Esther herself is involved. 


"Trouble-quiet Sowers of Unrest": Representations of Women, from Josephus to Cary 

by Maria M. Oberg

nbsp; Elizabeth Cary, the 17th century English playwright, drew from Josephus to compose her work The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry. The manner in which these two authors portray the actions of speech of women is the subject of this engrossing study by Maria M. Oberg (email: 



The Hasmonean Dynasty
Genealogical chart of the Jewish rulers of Judaea between the time of the end of the Hebrew Bible and the beginning of the New Testament, drawn from Josephus' account. 

  Ancient Jewish Coins Related to the Works of Josephus

The history of the rulers of Judaea as revealed in ancient silver and bronze coins. 



Extracts with Commentary

The collection of all occurrences of Passover stories in Josephus' works. Revised translations with commentary. 

     Pentecost / Shavuos 
Everything Josephus has to say about the celebration of  the festival of Pentecost (Shavuos) and the events that unfolded at its celebration -- including the most violent protest prior to the War. 

The Feast of Tabernacles, with its great crowds in Jerusalem, often marked the beginning and end of dynasties. Here is a summary of these events in the works of Josephus. 

     Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 
The holiest days of modern Judaism are barely mentioned by Josephus. Why?

Esther's story. 

  Did Josephus censor his description of Hanukkah? 


Modern Aspects

     The Campaign against Al Qaeda and the Jewish War: Some Parallels  

by Jim Bloom
  (December 2001)

     Remarks on Josephus in the Light of Current Events: 2001  

by G. J. Goldberg
  (December 30, 2001)

Quotation of material is allowed if credit is given to the appropriate author and to the Flavius Josephus Home Page.  If not  otherwise specified, text is written by G. J. Goldberg .
Copyright 1998-2001 G. J. Goldberg. All rights reserved. 

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