Titus Flavius Josephus

Titus Flavius Josephus (37-100) was a Roman historian. It also contains the earliest surviving texts which are attributed to him.
Jerome called Josephus the “Greek Livy”.[4]


37 CE: He was born as Yosef ben Matityahu in Jerusalem to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.

67: He led the Jewish forces in Galilee against the Romans during the First Jewish-Roman War. He surrendered to Vespasian’s troops. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that started the First Roman-Jewish War were talking about Vespasian becoming emperor, so Vespasian kept Josephus as a slave.

69: He was freed from being a slave. He adopted the name ‘Flavius’. Flavius Josephus became a Roman citizen, and later a friend and advisor of Vespasian’s son Titus.

75: He wrote ‘The Jewish War’.

94: He wrote ‘Antiquities of the Jews’.

100: He died.


There are 5 works attributed to Josephus. The first two are his main works, and the last three are minor/other works. The dates placed after the titles represent the date of the earliest surviving MSS of those works.

1 – Antiquities of the Jews (9th c., 10th c., or 11th c.)

2 – War of the Jews (10th c. or 11th c.)

3 – Vita (9th c. or 10th c.)

4 – Contra Apion (11th c.)

5 – Old Slavonic/Russian Josephus (14th-16th cc.)

Textual Transmission Scholarship

The three big names to know for the Josephan scholarship pertaining to the transmission of the texts are: Benedikt Niese (1849-1910), Heinz Schreckenberg (1928-2017), and Tommaso Leoni (alive).[5, p.150] Two predecessors to Niese are Hudson (1662-1719) and Cardwell (1787-1861).[8, p.158]

1720: John Hudson’s Flavius Josephus was published posthumously at Oxford.[8, p.158]

1837: Edward Cardwell’s edition of The Jewish War was published at Oxford.[8, p.158]

1887-1895: Benedikt Niese published his 7 volume Flavii Josephi opera (Works of Flavius Josephus).[5, p.150] I have seen conflicting claims about when this work was first published. The earliest places the first publication in 1885[6] while the latest paces it in 1888[7]. This work was the greatest advance in Josephan textual knowledge since Hudson’s 1720 publication.[8, p.158]

1972: Heinz Schreckenberg published his Die Flavius-Josephus-Tradition in Antike und Mittelalter.[9]

2009: Leoni

2016: Leoni

Recommended Reading

Chapman, Honora Howell, and Zuleika Rodgers. A Companion to Josephus (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World). 1st ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

Goodman, M., & Weinberg, J. (2016). The Reception of Josephus in the Early Modern Period. International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 23(3), 167–171. doi:10.1007/s12138-016-0398-2 

Tommaso Leoni, “The Text of the Josephan Corpus: Principal Greek Manuscripts, Ancient Latin Translations, and the Indirect Tradition”, in H.H. Chapman & Z. Rodgers (eds.), A Companion to Josephus, Wiley-Blackwell, Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World, Malden-Oxford-Chichester 2016, pp. 307-321.

More Ctruth Articles on Josephus

1 – Early References to Josephus

2 – Jesus in Josephus

3 – List of the Printed Editions of Josephus

4 – Josephus in Fomenko’s New Chronology



[1] – https://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Author?author=Josephus%2C+Flavius. Accessed 6 Apr. 2019.

[2] – http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199840731/obo-9780199840731-0049.xml. Accessed 6 Apr. 2019.

[3] – https://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1470_augsburg_schussler.html. Accessed 6 Apr. 2019.

[4] – Goodman, M., Weinberg, J. The Reception of Josephus in the Early Modern Period. Int class trad 23, 167–171 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12138-016-0398-2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12138-016-0398-2. Accessed 6 Apr. 2019.

[5] – Leoni, Tommaso. “The Text of Josephus’s Works: An Overview.” Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period, vol. 40, no. 2, 2009, pp. 149–184. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24669883. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

[6] – Pearse, Roger. “Josephus: all the Manuscripts” (2004). http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/josephus_all.htm. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

[7] – Universiteits Bibliotheek Gent. https://lib.ugent.be/catalog/rug01:002360926. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

[8] – H. E. R. (1889). Flavii Josephi Opera – Flavii Josephi Opera. Edidit et apparatu critico instruxit Benedictus Niese. Vol. I. Antiquitatum Iudaicarum Libri i.—v., 1887. Vol. II. Antiquitatum Iudaicarum Libri vi.—x., 1886. Berolini : Weidmann. Vol I. 14 Mk. Vol II. 12 Mk. – Editio Minor. Vol. I. II. (ditto). 3 Mk. each. The Classical Review, 3(4), 158-160. doi:10.1017/S0009840X00194569. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/classical-review/article/abs/flavii-josephi-opera-flavii-josephi-opera-edidit-et-apparatu-critico-instruxit-benedictus-niese-vol-i-antiquitatum-iudaicarum-libri-iv-1887-vol-ii-antiquitatum-iudaicarum-libri-vix-1886-berolini-weidmann-vol-i-14-mk-vol-ii-12-mk-editio-minor-vol-i-ii-ditto-3-mk-each/888E66EF48A50E450D81E94306357A24. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

[9] – Heinz SCHRECKENBERG, Die Flavius-Josephus-Tradition in Antike und Mittelalter. Leiden: Brill (1972). doi:10.1163/9789004331815. https://brill.com/view/title/1557. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

Become a Ctruth patron today on:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: