The Texts of Josephus’ War of the Jews

This article aims to establish the creation dates of the main textual sources used for the Josephus’ War of the Jews texts. I present the common conclusion here; all the sources were created after the alleged year of 900AD.

The fundamental MSS for the books are listed by their siglum, followed by the century in which they were allegedly written. MSS which have no details given at all are not listed.

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Printed Editions

It was first printed in 1470 in Latin by Johann Schüssler in Augsburg.

“In her pioneering article on the Latin BJ, Guiliana Ussani compares sections of Rufinus’s translations of two passages from Eusebius quoting Josephus with the Latin BJ, demonstrating the markedly different content and style of the two translations. In addition, she notes that Gennadius’s fifth century De viris illustribus (ch. 17) does not list any work of Josephus among the numerous Greek texts translated by Rufinus into Latin. On this basis Ussani convincingly argues that Rufinus was almost certainly not the author of the Latin translation of the War.” D. B. Levenson, T. R. Martin, page 792

“Ussani incorrectly states, however, that the ascription to Rufinus goes back to the 12th century. Apparently misled by catalogue entries, she cites three 12th century and three 14th century MSS that she says has the attribution to Rufinus. In fact, none of the 12th century MSS attribute the BJ to Rufinus, and of those she lists as 14th century (they are all actually from the 15th century), only one for certain (Plut. 66.8) and possibly one other (Urb. Lat. 384, which we have not been able to examine) ascribes the translation to Rufinus. Of the MSS we have examined, only four name Rufinus as a translator of Josephus’s works. Three of these are 15th century MSS, now in the Laurentian Library: Plut. 66.3 (AJ, CA), Plut. 66.4 (AJ 1-7), Plut. 66.8 (BJ). The fourth reference to Rufinus is found in two 15th or 16th century additions to the 12th century Berlin lat. 226 (Werd).” D. B. Levenson, T. R. Martin . pg 793

“the attribution of the translations to Rufinus in all later editions and in library catalogues (which have misled many) appears to depend ultimately on the 1481 Venice edition.” D. B. Levenson, T. R. Martin . pg 793

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P. 10th or 11th cc.

A. 10th or 11th cc.

M. 11th or 12th cc.

L. 11th or 12th cc.

V. 11th c.

R. 11th or 12th cc.

C. 11th c.

N. 12th c.

T. 12th c.

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[1] –

[2] –
Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy

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