Flavius Josephus' Self-Characterization in First-Century Rome: A Literary Analysis of the Autobiographical Passages in the Bellum Judaicum

Eelco Glas

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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The Bellum Judaicum, which is often perceived as one of the most influential texts in Western history after the Bible, describes the history of the Judaean revolt against Rome (AD 66-70). One of the most striking features of this work is that Flavius Josephus, its author, elaborately describes his actions during this conflict. Until recently, scholars have mainly studied these passages to recover Josephus’ life and thinking. His controversial life story — especially his decision to surrender to the Romans through his interpretation of his own dreams and to write about the war in Rome under the protection of the emperor — has resulted in a clear bias of some scholars against this Judaean historian and the intellectual merits of his work. Breaking with this trend, the present study asks how Josephus’ self-characterization can be explained in the literary context of the Bellum and in the historical context of first-century Rome. To this end, it uses Graeco-Roman literary conventions (historiographical, autobiographical, rhetorical) as an interpretative point of departure to investigate Josephus’ presentation of himself as a character.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Mason, Steve, Supervisor
  • Roig Lanzillotta, Lautaro, Supervisor
Award date2-Nov-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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