Jew among Romans

Jew among Romans February 19, 2013

Josephus is known mainly as a historian of ancient Judaism and the Jewish war. Frederic Raphael’s lucid A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus pays more attention to the life than the work, and presents Josephus as archetype as well as man:

“The attachment, in midlife, of ‘Titus Flavius’ to the Latinized equivalent of the author’s original name symbolized the indenture of a Judaean notable to the service of the upstart Flavian dynasty. He would be marked forever as having accepted the favors, and taken the brand, of those who had destroyed his native city and massacred or enslaved its citizens. Not the least of Josephus’s sins is that he survived to report news no one wanted to hear. The verbose individual who, from the time he left his native Judaea, never stopped writing about the past of his people, and about himself, has been stigmatized as the incarnation of an uneasy consciousness. Accused of treachery to the cause he once served, he has something in common both with the Wandering Jew and with Judas Iscariot, archetypal embodiments of the Jew as guild-laden pariah.”

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