Josephus was a Jewish historian and lived from AD 37-100. He was born at Jerusalem in 37 or possibly 38, narrowly missing being Jesus' contemporary. He tells us that Jesus came into prominence about the time a popular uprising opposed Pilate's attempts to use temple revenues to improve Jerusalem water supply, that Jesus was a wise man and a doer of wonderful works. Josephus turned collaborationist at the time of the Roman invasion of Palestine 67-70.

Born as the son of a priestly aristocratic family, at the age of 19 Josephus allied himself to the Pharisaic party. He says he had belonged to the Alexandrian Jews of the Diaspora. Josephus had an extensive education in Jewish and Greek culture in Rome. He wrote that when he was 14 years old, he was already famous in Jerusalem for his knowledge of the Law and that the chief priests and other notables would consult him on difficult questions. When it came to himself, Josephus was prone to flattery.

Josephus was governor of Galilee 34 years after Jesus ministry there. He was the military commander in the Jewish war for freedom against Rome and was present at the destruction of Jerusalem. He was considered energetic, brilliant, and endowed with an intellect capable of transforming every desire into a virtue, but when he had any purpose to serve, Josephus was not in the least to be trusted. He had been in Rome and there had convinced himself of the power of the Empire. He was 27 when he accepted the important post of commander of Galilee, where it was expected that the Romans would strike first. He forthwith organized a provincial government, collected an army which he proceeded to train, and took measures to put into a more or less satisfactory state of defense. Josephus was most brilliant in the open, more brilliant when cornered. For so long, the Romans had never been able to beat him. In victory he's arrogant, in defeat brazen. In some miraculous manner he rescues both himself and his troops to fight the next day.

Victory only fleeting, Josephus was ultimately captured and prophesied that Vespasian would be emperor. Vespasian released him, and gradually accepted him as a useful advisor in the war against the Jews. When Vespasian left for Alexandria, Josephus accompanied Titus to the siege of Jerusalem. He later attained questionable honors as historian at the court of Domitian.

The earliest of Josephus writings were not published until 75 and his great historical book, The Antiquities around 93. He speaks with great respect of Jesus, John the Baptist's death and James.

You may find the Complete Works of Flavius Josephus at
[315, 316, 319, 320, 324, 330, 338, 376, 392]

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